Grace and Fairness

Read the story of Noah this morning. And in the story it says, “Noah found favor in the sight of the LORD.”

In the middle of all kinds of human depravity and wickedness, Moses somehow found favor, grace, in God’s sight. When reading stories like Noah’s we tend to put in all the reasons that Noah found favor in God’s sight. Somehow he was offering the right sacrifices, he was praying the right way, he wasn’t killing people. These are all good reasons to find favor in the sight of the LORD.

But the Bible doesn’t give us any reasons for the grace that Noah received.

A few chapters before we can read the story of Cain and Abel. The text says that God had regard for Abel’s offerings from his flocks, but not for Cain’s, which were from grains and plants. The Bible doesn’t tell us why God had regard for Abel’s offering. We put in the story well because Abel was offering the right kind of offering, and his heart was better, and so on. The Bible doesn’t tell us that.

When we read stories like this we want to justify God’s grace, favor, or regard. We want to give God a reason for being gracious, because if God has a reason for those people then somehow I can find that reason. Then I can work my way towards justifying why I deserve grace too.

But grace isn’t fair. It’s God’s gift to give. And when we turn the the New Testament, we see that God chooses to give that gift through Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Now this seems entirely unfair.

We want to be able to build a case why we deserve grace for the things that we do. But we don’t deserve grace at all. That’s why it’s grace. It’s God’s gift to give. It doesn’t seem fair to us, but for God to give grace, forgiving our sins at all, that is an incredibly generous gift. It really isn’t fair to God that he should give us any grace.

Grace isn’t fair. If it was fair it wouldn’t be grace.

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