Is God Unfair?
Perhaps the most common challenge that is ever brought against the sovereignty of God is that God would be unfair if he did not give everybody a chance to be saved. Most of you have probably encountered that complaint at one time or another. If somebody hears that you
believe in predestination, that is very likely the very first thing they are going to say.
Think about that for a moment. Consider the audacity of anybody who would dare to challenge God, and to accuse God of being unfair. It is a small thing for us to challenge some other man, but for man to accuse His Maker, to bring God into the dock, and to sit in judgment on God is the height of arrogance. That is what sinful man has wanted all along. That is what the serpent wanted in the garden. He said, 'Yea, hath God said .... ?" He challenged the truthfulness of God. He said, "God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Do
you see? He was accusing God. Far be it from the creature to accuse his Maker of being unfair.
For that matter God would be completely fair if he had allowed the human race to run its course from the morning of time until the very last day, and never have provided salvation for anybody. God did not owe salvation to anybody. He did not owe salvation to me, nor to you, nor to any other person. Paul said to the Romans, "For who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again." Paul was saying, "Is there any of you who ever gave God anything. If there is, let him step forward, and God will pay him." "Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed
unto him again." If God owes you anything, he will pay you. But God does not owe you anything. He does not owe you the very breath you are breathing. God would have been completely fair if he had never saved anybody.
Salvation is not based on chance in the first place. Chance is a gambling term. Various forms of gambling are referred to as "a game of chance." That expression is synonymous with gambling. Our salvation is not a game of chance. Our salvation is based on the firm and sure decrees of our Maker.
But, for the sake of discussion, let us consider this question of "an equal chance of being saved." Salvation is not based on chance, but since somebody is forever bringing up the subject, let us consider the matter from that point of view, and see if their argument can survive on that basis.
Many years ago I heard one good brother say that, at some time between the cradle and the grave, everybody will have at least one chance to be saved. For the sake of discussion, let's imagine that salvation is based on chance. Those who will tell you that your salvation is based on chance will also usually tell you that in order to be saved you must hear the gospel and believe it, and that you must repent of sin and turn from it. That is probably a broad enough statement to cover most of those who have that idea. Some of them insist that you must also "hold out
faithful" until the end, that you must not lose your salvation once you get it. Others insist on adding water baptism to the formula. Some of them modify the formula one way, and some modify it another way, but all of them will usually agree that, as a minimum, you must hear the gospel and believe it, and that you must repent of sin and turn from it.
Now, I ask you, if those are the things that are necessary in order for any person to be born again, does everybody have an equal chance to be saved?
Let's consider the possibilities. Here is one little fellow who is born into a godly home. His mom and dad love the Lord. They read their Bible regularly. They live godly lives. They do the very best they can to instill into his mind the principles they have learned from the Bible. The very first place he is taken, after he is old enough to be out of the house, is to church. And from then on it is twice every Sunday and every Wednesday night. Whether he wants to go or not, he is in church. He hears a lot more preaching than he really wants to hear. He gets to be about
fifteen or sixteen years old, and he decides that he does not want to go to church today. His folks tell him, "It doesn't matter; you get ready; you are going to church." He may put up a fuss, but his dad tells him something on the order of, "As long as you are under my roof, and eat at my table, you are going to church when the rest of us go to church." Some of you may have had that conversation with one of your children.
Sometimes somebody tells me, "I never have tried to force my children to go to church. I have always let them make up their own minds." Now, why would you do anything like that? On Monday morning do you let them make up their own minds as to whether they go to school or not? Which do you think is the more important: reading, writing, and arithmetic, or faith, and repentance, and reading the Bible. I do not want to diminish the importance of going to school, but I certainly do not want to diminish the importance of keeping those little fellows in church either. As long as they
are under your influence, it is your place to have them in church on a regular basis.
But this little boy's parents bring him to church every Sunday, and every Sunday night, and most every Wednesday night. Along about age fifteen he begins counting down. He starts telling himself something like, "In another two years, and eleven months, and fourteen days I will be eighteen, and then I will make up my own mind. Then I will decide for myself whether I want to go to church or not. I will make my own decisions." And surely enough, he turns eighteen, and he quits going to church. He does not go back. In those eighteen years he heard a lot of preaching, and heard
the Bible read a lot, but now he feels like he is old enough to make his own decisions, and he decides he has heard enough preaching to do him for a long time to come.
But in a few years he meets the prettiest little girl he ever saw. One thing leads to another, and before long they are married. The first Sunday after they are married he is sleeping in. He has just turned over for the second time, and he is ready to snooze for a while longer. About that time his wife comes to the door and says, "Breakfast is about ready, get up."
He says, "I don't think I want anything; I will just eat some cereal when I get up."
She tells him, "Get up, it's going to be time to go to church in a little while."
He says, "I am not going. You go ahead, if you want to, but I don't think I want to go."
About that time she tells him, "Now you listen here; it is Sunday and I am going to church; I have always gone to church; so roll out of there; you have got to take me."
He just thought he was old enough to make his own decisions. So for years to come he is in church every Sunday morning, and every Sunday night, and most every Wednesday night.
Now consider another little fellow. He is born into a wicked home. His parents are wicked. There is hardly anything they will not do. They do not go to church. They do not encourage him to go to church, and they had just as soon that he did not go. He uses the vilest language. From the time he is old enough to talk they teach him to use profanity. They think it is cute. He gets into every kind of meanness. He is about seventeen years old. He is drinking; he is on drugs. One night he is out with his buddies, and they get into a racket. One of them produces a gun, and a
moment later he is lying in the street, dying. He has never been inside a church in his life, and he is lying there with
his life slipping away.
Somebody tells me, "God is unfair if he does not give everybody an equal chance to be saved." I would like for somebody to take the time to explain to me --- if hearing the gospel is what gives a person a chance to be born again --- how is it that this little boy has the same chance as the first boy has?
Salvation is not based on chance. It is based on the sure and firm decrees of a sovereign God. God can and does reach right down into some of the most wicked of homes, and saves those whom he chooses to save. If it was based on chance those who are born into wicked homes would have very little, if any, chance, but God sovereignly, irresistibly, sends His Spirit into the hearts of those whom he chooses to save, and no power on earth can stop him from doing what he chooses to do.
I have known children who were born into some of the most wicked of homes, who turned out to be very fine people. It was obvious that God's Spirit lived in their hearts. No chance system would ever have reached them, but God's Spirit did. And I have know some children who were born into righteous homes, who turned out bad. It works both ways.