“Is God Fair?” Pt. 2
April 17, 2016
When I was in seminary, the professor for an introductory missions class had the same assignment for his students every year. They were to write a short paper answering the question: “will the heathen who have never heard and responded in faith to the gospel be condemned to Hell?” It seemed to me to be a pretty straight-forward question, but there was always lots of discussion on campus over that assignment — it just seemed to be wrong that those who don’t hear the gospel are consigned to Hell. That assignment always begged the question, “Is God Fair?”
This is the very issue addressed by Paul in Romans 2:12-16, a study we began last week. In fact, someone told me this week that as he left the worship service last week, the predominant question in his mind was, “Is that fair?!” Even hearing the evidence that it is fair makes us ask the question again, “Is God Fair?”
He is. In all His dealings with all men, God is exactly and infinitely fair and just. He cannot not be fair.
Remember that in verse 11 of this section, Paul makes the statement, “For there is no partiality with God.” And anticipating possible objections to that statement, Paul offers two primary defenses of that statement in vv. 12-16; we will see his second answer today. We can summarize his teaching this way:
God is fair in all His judgments of all people.
In verses 6-11, Paul talked about two kinds of judgment — the judgment of the righteous for rewards and the judgment of the unrighteous to Hell. Of those two judgments, man’s only objection is going to be against the wrath of God against sinners. So that’s the issue Paul addresses in vv. 12-16, and he does so by considering the two kinds of people God judges — those who have knowledge of Him and those who do not have knowledge of Him. And He is fair in judging both.
- God is Fair in Judging All Men (vv. 12-13)
- The “untaught” have sin
- The self-righteous have sin (v. 12b)
- The self-righteous have “heard” (v. 13)
- God is Fair in Judging the “Ignorant” (vv. 14-16)
- They have knowledge (v. 14-15a)
- They have a conscience (v. 15b)
- They have “secrets” (v. 16)
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 2:12-16.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.