We all say, at some time in our lives, “that’s not fair!” Parents can count on hearing this all the time from their children. Even those who are the most obsessed about keeping their kids from uttering the words, like infant-sized temper tantrums, the impulse to judge is hard wired into who we are. (Those same obsessive parents will then be saying, “Hey, this isn’t fair!”) Oh, for a dollar for all the conversations where the originating comment was “that’s not fair!”
Let’s talk about fairness, then. If you sat down with a pen and paper to answer the query, “What in your life, in your judgment, isn’t fair?” the chances that you’d be staring at a blank piece of paper after five minutes are close to nil. From the shape of our bodies to the size of what’s in our bank accounts; from the cars we drive to the phones we carry; from the promotions we didn’t get to the taxes that we have to pay. Our fairness meters are very active.
Is this on your list of unfair things “I’m going to heaven”? If you’re a Christian, it’s likely that you’ve considered the patent unfairness of that statement. If you haven’t, you should. I was reflecting on these words from William Farley’s book, Gospel Powered Parenting (pg. 75):
The Father’s love for his Son is intense: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). It is not a common love. It is holy. He loves his Son with omnipotence, which means all power, with infinite intensity. He loves his Son with omniscience – all knowledge. His gaze penetrates the infinite perfection of his Son’s deity. Since the Son’s glory is infinite, only an infinite intellect can fully know and love him. He knows the Son exhaustively, and what the Father knows and sees is the infinite perfection of the Son’s divinity.
But here is the stunning truth: such is the holiness of the Father that when the Son bore our sin and transgressions, God separated himself from him. “My God, my God,” Jesus cried from the cross, “why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).
The holiness of God, His utter uniqueness and separation from all that’s not like Him, at that time demanded that He turn from His Son. The very One with Whom He’d spent eternity in perfect harmony and relationship. Why on earth would He ever do such a thing? Jesus’ quote of Psalm 22 about being forsaken is surely among the most stunning and breathtaking statements ever written. Do we not see just what has taken place?
Add this to your paper (under a new heading, “Really Not Fair”),
- I was born in sin (Psalm 51:5)
- I sin because it was my nature (Ephesians 2:1-2)
- My sins will lead to my death – justly and fairly (Romans 6:23)
- They don’t (Romans 6:4)
They don’t. But why don’t they? They must! I am the man! I am the angry man; I am the thief; I am the adulterer; I am the one who rages against the rule of God! I am the one guilty of my sins. Why on earth do we read of the blameless Holy Son walking the streets of Jerusalem soaked in blood carrying a cross? Why is He the one who’s been nailed to it? Why?
Don’t talk yourself into the good news until you’ve come to grips with the cosmic truth that what happened at Calvary wasn’t fair. All that is or isn’t fair is judged in light of that event. Those events weren’t fair in ways that we can never really grasp – larger ways that should scare you. Do Paul’s words in Romans 8, stun you?
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?
Shocking truths that we must consider. This leads to what we must also talk ourselves into: the truth that in Jesus Christ, having been covered in His blood, we appear before the throne of God. And as He looks to you and me, affection and welcome and rest are given in abundant measures. Wow.
I am scarcely able to lift my head to gaze upon them…But, I don’t have to, He reaches down to all those who call upon His name and He lifts our heads (Psalm 3:3). His grace never ends. Alleluia.