This originally appeared as a weekly devo on whillschurch.org
One of the hardest issues to deal with concerning the Old Testament and God in general is the idea of His judgement of sin. Take Achan and his family for example. His sin of stealing from God cost him, his wife and his children their lives. (Joshua 7) And God ordered that. There isn’t any way around these facts.
The biggest obstacle in dealing with God is the concept of fair. We tackle issues and immediately seek to find the fair solution. If there is an argument between two kids, we want to settle the argument fairly. If a party sues another party, the courts are responsible to find a fair settlement. We encounter a loss or pain, we look for a fair resolution.
The inherent problem in issues concerning God and sin is that none of it is fair.
Sin is not fair. The rejection of God and his principles have always had far-reaching consequences. It’s the nature of sin to reach beyond the immediate to ruin and destroy as much as possible. One sin attempts to infect hundreds of other decisions. So a decision by a man to steal ends up killing 36 other men, stops the whole movement of God, forces the entire nation to come before the scrutiny of a judge, and kills the man who originally committed the sin and the rest of his family.
I can attempt to explain away the angst. Achan was told plenty of times what the consequence would be. He was given plenty of opportunity to repent – Joshua brought the entire nation to a stop to find the problem. The robe that he stole was for his wife and was a symbol of worldly wealth so that meant she was in on it. The kids were probably older and knew what was going on. Do any of these explanations really solve the problem?
The don’t. At the end of the day we have a lot of dead bodies and a nagging doubt in the back of our mind that the God we worship is really fair at all.
And He’s not fair. God is NOT fair. “Fair” was never going to solve SIN. FAIR will never solve SIN.
GRACE solves SIN. And GRACE isn’t fair either. If the reaches of sin are far, grace reaches further. If the consequences of sin are deep, the benefits of grace are deeper. If sin has victims, grace has benefactors.
Grace says death isn’t the final answer, that God covers it with Himself. Paul writes that the unbelieving get benefit from the believing because of grace. Grace makes life on earth a glimpse of heaven, not just a taste of hell. Grace is why as dark as the human experience can be, it will never be so dark that the light can’t penetrate through it. Grace is the cross where one man chose to sacrifice for ALL, when the one didn’t deserve it. Jesus didn’t come to earth for FAIR. He didn’t die for FAIR. He didn’t rise again for FAIR.
When push comes to shove, I doubt any of us really want FAIR. We shouldn’t want it. FAIR leaves me alone to fend for my sin on my own. FAIR measures out every little mistake I make in my life. I don’t want FAIR because every inclination of my heart at one point in time was to be my own god. It’s less so now but that is because of God’s GRACE changing my heart.
So I’m giving up on fair. And that is a good thing.