The Fairness of God

Most children’s games are simple.  They have simple rules and simple goals.  Yet every parent can attest that in no time at all, most children’s games devolve into intense and serious litigation.   Claims and counter-claims of unfairness erupt like Mount St. Helens.

Concern for justice and fairness is lodged deep within our souls.  For this reason the following scriptures from Romans 9 often cause fear and anxiety in our relationship to God.

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.   Romans 9:10-16

These verses are provocative and appear to reveal a capricious God who acts unfairly, that is, until we go back to Genesis and consider the account of Jacob and Esau and realize there are no human heroes in their story.  Neither the brothers nor their parents act as we would expect Christians to act.  Modern counselors might say they put the ‘d’ in ‘dysfunctional family.’

Yet the focus is not on them, but on God’s determined purpose to be gracious to sinners and to freely choose to save some out of their sin.  Not because of anything worthy in them, but because of his free love alone.  God did not choose Jacob because of his greater worth, but in spite of his unworthiness.  This is the foundation of grace – that God demonstrates His love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Join us this Lord’s Day, September 24, as we examine the troubling story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 27 and consider how God graciously saves us not because of what we have done, but in spite of it.  We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions.

Come with a friend you and join us for fellowship and conversation. We look forward to seeing you there.

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