Fortunately for us, God is not fair. Fairness would mean that everyone receives exactly what he or she deserves. In many people’s minds, fairness is everyone being treated the same. If God were completely fair, we would all spend eternity in hell paying for our sin, which is exactly what we deserve. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23) and are therefore worthy of eternal death (Romans 6:23). If we received what we deserve, we would end up in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). But God is not fair; instead, He is merciful and good, so He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). All we have to do is believe in Him and we will be saved, forgiven, and we will receive an eternal home in heaven (John 3:16).
However, despite God’s loving grace, no one would believe in Him on his own (Romans 3:10-18). God has to draw us to Himself in order for us to believe (John 6:44). God does not draw everyone, but only certain people He has sovereignly chosen (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5,11). This is not “fair” in our eyes because it appears God is not treating all people equally. However, God does not have to choose anyone. Again, it would be entirely fair for everyone to spend eternity in hell. God saving some is not unfair to those who remain unsaved, as they are receiving precisely what they deserve.
Those whom God has chosen are receiving God’s love and grace. But, when God draws our hearts and opens our minds, we all have the opportunity to respond to the revelation of the creation (Psalm 19:1-3), as well as the conscience God has put within us (Romans 2:15), and turn to God. Those who do not will receive what they truly deserve because of their rejection of Him. Those who reject Him receive the punishment that is fair (John 3:18, 36). Those who believe are receiving far more, and much better, than what they deserve. No one, though, is being punished beyond what he or she deserves. Is God fair? No. Thankfully, God is much more than fair! God is gracious, merciful, and forgiving–but also holy, just, and righteous.