In the first part of this exploration, we discussed how it is that we got to this point of life not being fair. Here I want to explore some reasons why it is that is a good thing for us. It is not good that we are not in the garden mind you, but as always, things work toward good for those who love Him.
First, and probably most obviously, it is good life is not fair, because if it were there could be no justification for us. If life were fair, we would get what we have earned…and what we have earned is death. The wages of sin and all that. Here is what Wesley had to say about that.
Death – Temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Is the due wages of sin; but eternal life is the gift of God – The difference is remarkable. Evil works merit the reward they receive: good works do not. The former demand wages: the latter accept a free gift.”
Perhaps even a better explanation lies with Coke.
“Rom_6:23. For the wages of sin is death— The wages of sin does not here signify the wages which are paid for sinning, but the wages which sin pays. This is evident not only from the opposition which is here put between the wages of sin, and the gift of God; namely, that sin rewards men with eternal death for their obedience; but that which God freely gives to those, who, believing in Jesus Christ, labour sincerely after righteousness, is life eternal: but it farther appears by the whole tenor of St. Paul’s discourse, wherein he speaks of sin as a person and a master, who is served and obeyed. And so the wages of sin, being the wages of a person here, must be what it pays. We may observe, that sin pays death to those who are its obedient vassals: but God rewards the obedience of those to whom he is Lord and Master, by the gift of eternal life. Their utmost endeavours and highest performances can never entitle them to it of right; and so it is to them not wages, but a free gift”
Because we have salvation available to us, even though it is not fair, we should examine it further I think. Wesley of course had a great deal to say on the matter, but we will focus in here on sermon 1. In preaching on Ephesians 2:8 Wesley started an exploration of salvation. The first question is really what faith is it by which we we are saved?
“What faith is it then through which we are saved It may be answered, first, in general, it is a faith in Christ: Christ, and God through Christ, are the proper objects of it. herein, therefore, it is sufficiently, absolutely distinguished from the faith either of ancient or modern heathens. And from the faith of a devil it is fully distinguished by this: it is not barely a speculative, rational thing, a cold, lifeless assent, a train of ideas in the head; but also a disposition of the heart. For thus saith the Scripture, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness;” and, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.””
Wesley says some interesting things next as well that draws the difference between our faith and the faith of the apostles while Christ was on earth.
“And herein does it differ from that faith which the Apostles themselves had while our Lord was on earth, that it acknowledges the necessity and merit of his death, and the power of his resurrection. It acknowledges his death as the only sufficient means of redeeming man from death eternal, and his resurrection as the restoration of us all to life and immortality; inasmuch as he “was delivered for our sins, and rose again for our justification.” Christian faith is then, not only an assent to the whole gospel of Christ, but also a full reliance on the blood of Christ; a trust in the merits of his life, death, and resurrection; a recumbency upon him as our atonement and our life, as given for us, and living in us; and, in consequence hereof, a closing with him, and cleaving to him, as our “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” or, in one word, our salvation.”
So we start to delve into what this faith is a little deeper and it becomes even more clear how life is not at all fair and why it is a good thing. Surely it is not fair that one man has to die so that all men might live. That is not fair. Spock would be proud (“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”), but it certainly is not fair. Yet, because it is not fair, we have the assurance of salvation if we are faithful. Thank the good Lord that life is not fair here on earth. Thank Him even more that it will be once the new heaven and earth come. There is a lot of great stuff in this sermon, so please take the time to read it through and contemplate it deeply in ways that a blog does not have the room for. Salvation is the beginning of our journey after all, and if you start on the wrong road, you will not get to where you are going should you stay on it.
I will finish this installment as Wesley finished sermon 1, full of thanks and praise that life is not fair.
“For this reason the adversary so rages whenever “salvation by faith” is declared to the world: for this reason did he stir up earth and hell, to destroy those who first preached it. And for the same reason, knowing that faith alone could overturn the foundations of his kingdom, did he call forth all his forces, and employ all his arts of lies and calumny, to affright Martin Luther from reviving it. Nor can we wonder thereat; for, as that man of God observes, “How would it enrage a proud, strong man armed, to be stopped and set at nought by a little child coming against him with a reed in his hand!” especially when he knew that little child would surely overthrow him, and tread him under foot. Even so, Lord Jesus! Thus hath Thy strength been ever “made perfect in weakness!” Go forth then, thou little child that believest in him, and his “right hand shall teach thee terrible things!” Though thou art helpless and weak as an infant of days, the strong man shall not be able to stand before thee. Thou shalt prevail over him, and subdue him, and overthrow him and trample him under thy feet. Thou shalt march on, under the great Captain of thy salvation, “conquering and to conquer,” until all thine enemies are destroyed, and “death is swallowed up in victory.”
Now, thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, for ever and ever. Amen”