Is God fair?

When people ask if God is fair, they are often asking from a human perspective if God deals with people in the way they deserve. From that perspective, no, God is not fair. All have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23) and deserve death as a result (Romans 6:23). Yet God has provided salvation as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) to anyone who believes in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 4:12). Far more than being fair, God is gracious (giving us not what we deserve, but what we need) and merciful (not giving us the punishment we do deserve). He is also just (morally consistent or fair) and righteous.

Justice is served in salvation because Jesus paid the price for our sins. We were gifted with grace, and He was given just punishment for our inequities (2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:5; Hebrews 2:14-18; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57). Some ask whether God is just in His offer of salvation to all people. It seems that God is closer to some than to others, and that His salvation is beyond the reach of some. For example, some people are raised in Christian families, and others live in areas where being a Christian results in persecution. How is this fair? Yet Romans 1:20 teaches, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." God teaches that no one will have a valid excuse for unbelief, as He has made Himself known to everyone through His creation.

God is also interested in justice on earth. Deuteronomy 10:18 teaches, "He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing." Romans 12:19 says, "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'"

Not only does God execute justice, He instructs His people regarding fairness as well. The Old Testament is filled with God's instructions to His people to live justly to reflect His justice. Exodus 23:2 instructs, "You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice." Verse 6 adds, "You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit." Deuteronomy 16:19 states, "You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous." God invests much time communicating ways in which His people are to live justly toward Him and one another. This helps us to realize God cares greatly about justice both eternally and temporally.

God has been more than fair in His dealings with people. Despite our sins (Romans 3:23), He has offered forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and eternal life to those who will believe in His Son Jesus (John 3:16). Further, as King and Creator of all things, He can do as He pleases. He is not obligated to treat us as we wish or in ways that we "feel" are fair. Instead, He works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) as part of His perfect plan.

Related Truth:

The attributes of God, what are they?

Is God immutable? What is the significance of the immutability of God?

Why does God let bad things happen to good people?

Is God sovereign or do we have free will?

Does God love everyone or just Christians?

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