That’s Not Fair!

How many times have you heard someone exclaim, “That’s not fair!” when things do not go their way. Someone else makes more than they do for the same job; one person gets a speeding ticket and the other gets a warning; one student gets a fortunate break in an athletic event and the other does not. It goes on and on and on and the typical response is, “That’s not fair!” Of course, when someone has things work in their favor, you don’t hear them say that.

As my children were growing up, they became used to me telling them, “Get over it, life is not fair; never was, never will be.” The fact is that there is nothing “fair” about life and none of us really want life to be “fair” anyhow. Were life “fair,” then we would always get what we deserved. What we worked for, that would be our recompense. And the bad news about that is when it comes to earthly and eternal things, we all deserve the wrath of God poured out on our each and every sin. That, beloved, would be fair. And, to boot, Jesus would have never sacrificed and died on the cross because that is one of the most unfair events in history.

So no, life is not fair. Get over it. It was not fair from the point that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit in the garden of which they were forbidden to eat. It is as plain and simple as that. They were made morally neutral in the sense that they were not biased toward disobedience like we are and they had the ability to obey the Law of God, which makes their sin even more condemnable. Yet they chose disobedience and when they did a blessed unfairness entered into the world. God should have condemned them and all of their offspring to eternal hell right then and there, yet he did not. God should have turned the beauties of this world into horrific and frightful caricatures of their original selves, but he did not, and God should have punished each and every sin in our lives immediately and harshly by his wrath, but he did not. He had a plan for grace and grace is not fair.

So, is it unfair that we are deprived the ability to fully obey the law? Not really, that was the righteous penalty on mankind for our first father’s sin. Is it unfair that our nature is to sin and nothing more? Again, that is the end result of the decision made by our first father, Adam. Children regularly (even today!) either benefit or suffer from the decisions made by their parents. As I look back at decisions that I have made, I sometimes wonder how different my family’s life would be were I have done that as opposed to this at various junctures. Of course, you cannot live in a world of “what if’s,” so it is not worth dwelling there. God is sovereign and has ordered my life (and yours) for his glory. And again, it is unfair, but praise God for that unfairness. Your sin nature, though, that was fairly given because of the rebellion of Adam and, as Heidelberg Catechism records, by Adam and Eve’s actions, they deprived themselves and us of the ability to obey.

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