The first lived a reprobate life, living only for himself, making it a practice to lie, steal, womanize, drinking often until he passed out, culminating in one final event of killing his girlfriend after a heated argument. Upon his death bed he is approached by a hospital chaplain who tells him of the salvation available in the good graces of Jesus Christ, to which the man repents and believes the Gospel ten minutes before he dies. God forgives him and welcomes him into Heaven.
The second grew up in a Christian home, attending a good church, loving his mother and father, and especially his little sister, with only your standard adolescent crimes strewn through, some white-lies here and there, a candy-bar stolen from the local store, and the occasional irreverent use of the name of God. During Christmas of his twelfth year, while reading the Gospel of Luke, he realizes that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, and he repents and believes the Gospel, and then goes on to live seventy more years, serving God as a pastor, feeding the hungry, loving the unloved, raising a morally-upright family, praying daily, and dying peacefully in his sleep having commended his soul unto the Lord. God welcomes him into Heaven.
Indeed, God is not fair. Who deserved Heaven? Who deserved Hell? Surely, if there are such places, our standard measurement of morality would say that the pastor deserves Heaven and the murderer deserves Hell, because the pastor was a good man and the murderer a bad man. God would be unfair to the pastor by letting the murderer into the same Heaven.
God is not fair. Consider this startling statistic: People are stepping out of this world and falling into Hell at the rate of about two a second. That is over one-hundred a minute, six thousand an hour, one-hundred-fifty thousand a day, and by the time this century is out, over ten billion people will have died and faced Judgment. Of these people stepping out of this world, falling into Hell, God is catching about every hundredth person and resurrecting them to Life-everlasting. The other ninety-nine never had a chance.
God is not fair. You’re right, he’s not, but not because of those 99 who perish, but because of that one who is saved. Men have no right to salvation, we have no freedom from death, we have made ourselves enemies of God in our minds through wicked works, we have transgressed God and recompense is due. In the wise words of Marshall Foster, you don’t break the law, the law breaks you. In the same way that jumping off of a building results in a few free-falling seconds of gravity transgression with no ill-consequences, this immutable law will ultimately break you into a thousand tiny pieces.
God is the just judge who by no means will clear the guilty. God describes men in this way:
We look at the murderer and think that we’re better than him, and indeed, in an earthly sense we are. But the entrance exam for Heaven is not comparing ourselves to other people, Heaven’s gates are only open to the righteous, and the only way to get in is to be perfect, to have rightly reacted to every event in your life, loving righteousness and hating wickedness, abstaining from evil and lifting up the downtrodden, compared ultimately to Jesus Christ. We have sinned against Heaven, and God will judge the world in righteousness, he has promised to punish the murderer, the rapist, and the con-artist, and in that we rejoice, but we do well not to speak too soon, for he has promised that all liars will have their place in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, and that no thief will inherit the kingdom of God, that no blasphemer will go unpunished, and that no covetous person has a part in the kingdom of Christ. One murder makes you a murderer, one rape a rapist, one lie a liar, and one covetous moment an idolater.
The wicked are estranged from the womb;
they go astray from birth, speaking lies.
They have venom like the venom of a serpent,
like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter. – Psalm 58:3-5
Beloved, we’re in trouble, we stand to be judged by the King of Righteousness, who is angry with sinners every day and is described as a consuming fire. If God were fair, all men would be instantly cast into Hell forever, which is the fair judgment because of the heinous nature of sin and the damage that it has caused, is causing, and will cause. Above all, we have wrongly misrepresented an infinitely big God through our actions done in his image, and therefore our punishment will fit the crime.
The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. Mankind will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth." – Psalm 58:10-11But God is not fair. The soul that sins shall die, and after this, the Judgment. But God does not delight in the destruction of the wicked, and he demonstrated his love for us, that while we were in open rebellion to him, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the payment for our sins. The Perfect, Sinless, Son of God faced the infinite wrath stored up for us, and in his substitutionary death, we can become his Righteousness, and face God not as his enemy, but as his sons and daughters.
God is not fair, a fair God would crush all sinners where they stand. But he is patient, and he is kind, and his goodness is meant to lead us to repentance in faith in his Son, who defeated death and rose from the grave three days after he was dead and buried. A fair God would see all sinners punished for eternity in Hell, but a loving God would send his only Begotten Son to ransom a people who had utterly sold themselves into hopelessness, so that the Son would face the wrath and the sinners would go free.
In the eyes of God, the intent is as damnable as the offense. Jesus Christ said that whosoever looks upon someone to lust after them has committed adultery with them already in their heart. The physical action is a sin, but the damnable intent begins in the heart. The life of sin or the moment of sin have transgressed the law, the law which will find fruition in the eternal torment of the sinner. Whether you’ve lived the life of a reprobate or a man of God, without the mercy afforded in Jesus Christ through the cross, God would be perfectly fair in condemning you for eternity because of your sins.
God is not fair, he is better than fair; thank him for that, that he has extended his mercy and kindness towards us, giving us peace through the death of his Son and life through his Resurrection. Repent towards God and trust in Jesus Christ, and he will save you, and then while you see 99 perish, you will know that God is our only source of goodness and our gracious Lord, who saved us in spite of our actions, for his glory.