But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 2:4-6
God is not dead. It’s a message that is kind of going around recently. It’s a terrific message, too…one the world needs to hear…one the church needs to send. For a lost and broken world, for a world in need of a savior, it is very, very good news…UNLESS, he is also fair. You see, if God is very much alive and is also very much about fairness, then you and I (and everyone else) are very much doomed.
When scripture says, “…even when we were dead in our trespasses…” that is what it means: doomed. It means that you and I (and everyone else) have made choice after choice after choice to please ourselves with little or no regard to God. It means we have opted for short-term prizes with enormous long-term (eternal) consequences. It means we have chosen to live without God and that is exactly what we deserve…an eternity without God. “Fairness”, then, would only mean one thing: getting what we deserve. It would mean our utter and complete destruction. That would be “fair”. That’s what we each have earned, according to our creator’s standards.
We don’t like to think of ourselves that way, of course. We look at our poor choices and bad behavior and then we immediately look for justification for it. We look to blame others for it. We look to compare ourselves to others and, finding someone who is “worse” than we are, we can take some solace in it and convince ourselves that maybe we aren’t deserving of quite as much certain destruction as “they” are. But we are fooling ourselves. At the end of the day, fair is fair. And we deserve only death. That, my friends, is what it means to be “dead in our trespasses”.
So, the next critical message for the church (after “God is not dead”) is that God is not fair. God loves us and is willing to bring us back to life after being “dead in our trespasses”. God loves us and chooses to NOT give us what we deserve. We have not earned this favorable treatment. But he gives it to us anyway, as a free gift. There is nothing fair about it. Nothing at all. In fact, it is totally and outrageously unfair. We are dead, and God throws fairness to the wind and brings us back to life in Christ. We are saved through grace. That, it seems to me, is the rest of the message His church must be sending. God is not dead, and God is not fair.
So, the next time you catch yourself complaining about your circumstances and feeling like you have somehow been cheated or otherwise dealt a bad hand, remind yourself of this: God is not fair…and aren’t we glad for that?