Friday, August 22, 2008

Is God Unfair? Continued...

Previously,I described how modern evangelicalism has an almost allergic reaction to the doctrine of divine unconditional election(UE). People impose an inconsistent "manish" view of God upon the doctrine, and misunderstand God's sense of fairness and justice.

Again we need to take the surgical steel of God's incisive WORD and cut into the heart of this bad theology.

To ask the Pauline question: "IS there unrighteousness with God?". Straight answer-GOD FORBID. Absolutely not! Why, some things just need to be stated. Paul derives his conclusion from Scripture. He quotes a part of Exodus that deals with, interestingly, the Glory of God and His choosing of Israel as a separated people from all other nations.( Exodus 33:13-16) Moses wanted to see YHWH's Glory, and for God to go with Israel to demonstrate his Presence to the world.

God condescends to Moses' request by saying " I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight..." Exodus 33:17. Notice that Moses found grace. God did not owe Moses anything. God determined by his grace to reveal Himself to Moses. He says to Moses further, " I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion".

Paul applies this text to his treatise on God's election of grace in the New Covenant. Romans 9:16 "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." Mercy is a divine attribute. God does not owe it to any sinner. Man's will cannot move God to give it. It is NOT OF HIM WHO WILLS. The will is hostile to God, and so we DESERVE the wrath of God. It is not our will, in bondage to the lusts of the carnal nature, but GOD'S WILL that is the basis of mercy.

Paul then takes up the example of Pharoah from Exodus. God's will was to show his power and Name through Pharoah, not to save Pharoah from his sins.

I can still hear the objection that it seems unfair, and unjust of God to harden a sinner's heart, or not to show them mercy. But, if such a person can prove that God owes grace to anyone who has violated His Law, them maybe they have a case. Ultimately, Paul leaves his readers with an illustration. It would be more familiar to his day, than ours, but still we can relate well. He tells us that God is the Potter who has the right to make his vessels for various purposes. Some vessels are for common use. They may be used to hold dirty water and be discarded. Other vessels may be for noble purposes. They may hold precious ointments. The vessels have no say in the Potter's work. He is the Maker and the one who shapes the vessels with his own hands.
Is God unfair? No. We are sinners, and it is fair of God to judge sinners. It is just of God to condemn the wicked. It is loving of God to love unconditionally some out of all who do not deserve, or are owed any electing love. So, like Paul said...who are you to talk back to God?


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