Is Election Fair?

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.”

Romans 9:14


“Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

Romans 9:19-21


  1. We are predestinarian Baptists, in that we believe God elected and predestinated some men to eternal life.
    1. We believe the will of God to elect some to salvation is the determining factor in obtaining eternal life.
    2. We believe the destination of every angel and human has been fixed by predestination from eternity.
  2. When others find out we do not believe the modern idea of man saving himself, they ask the title question.
  3. When reprobates find out we believe in an electing God, they reject and scorn the doctrine as grossly unfair.
  4. God knew men would cavil about the doctrine of election, so He cut off their questions (Romans 9:14-24)!

Why the Question?

  1. The common scheme of salvation taught today is God’s universal love for all men, Christ’s universal death for all men, the Holy Spirit’s universal conviction of all men, with the outcome entirely determined by the choice of each sinner through the use of his free will.
    1. Because of this presumption and emphasis, the doctrine of election raises questions and scorning.
    2. While we have no time for scorners (Pr 9:7-8; Rom 3:8; II Tim 2:23), we will answer wise men.
    3. Regardless of what preachers say of election, if they do not preach it, they must think it unfair.
  2. Men do not want a God Who can dictate their lives and eternities; they want control (Luke 19:14).
  3. What is fair? Men want to hold God accountable to match their ideas of proper conduct and fairness.
  4. Fair. Of conduct, actions, arguments, methods: Free from bias, fraud, or injustice; equitable, legitimate. Hence of persons: Equitable; not taking undue advantage; disposed to concede every reasonable claim. Of conditions, position, etc.: Affording an equal chance of success; not unduly favourable or adverse to either side.
  5. Men do not even have a right to such questions, but who is going to stop this rebellious generation?
    1. Paul knew the rebellious heart of man would ask questions, so he rejected them (Rom 9:14,20).
    2. The Bible compares man to clay, and it compares God to a sovereign Potter (Rom 9:21; Is 45:9).
  6. Rather than trust God’s inspired revelation, men look to rationalization to define God’s character.
    1. Rationalization is man’s effort to make a thing (a) conform to human reasoning, (b) rationally explainable to his mind, and (c) agreeable to his concept of right, wrong, and human sensibility.
    2. Men measure a thing by its humane nature; but God is divine and far out of our mental reach.
    3. Scripture provides God’s divine disclosure of the certain reality and truth of things as they are.
    4. All men have selfish ideas of fairness, so we must submit to Scripture (Is 8:20; II Tim 3:16-17).
    5. While you may wish God saved everyone and there was no hell, such thoughts are lying vanity.

Is God Fair?

  1. A fundamental axiom of Scripture is the absolute and impeccable fairness and righteousness of God.
  2. Abraham, who knew God well as His friend, knew He could only do right (Gen 18:25; James 2:23).
  3. Jacob freely confessed that God was more than fair in His many dealings with him (Genesis 32:10).
  4. Moses, who knew God even better, denied any imperfection in His character (Ex 6:3; Deut 32:4).
  5. Elihu, one of the greatest true philosophers of all time, justified God extensively (Job 36:1-23).
  6. David, Jeremiah, and Nebuchadnezzar believed Him to be fair (Psalm 99:4; Jer 9:24; Daniel 4:37).
  7. Jesus, defending gospel privileges, assumed God has rights, though men may cavil (Matt 20:1-16).

Is Life Fair?

  1. If the teaching of election confuses your mind and leads to thoughts of unfairness, then just look around; God has shown in His providence over human existence to create enormous differences.
  2. Are all men created equal, as in the Declaration of Independence? No, they are all created unequal!
  3. Just as there are no two identical snowflakes, there are no two persons with identical features.
  4. All men are blessed with or deprived of advantages in numerous respects that have enormous consequences on their lives, and not a single man was ever consulted regarding any of these choices.
    1. God did not ask you if you wanted to exist, or if you approved of the circumstances for your life.
    2. After He gave you existence, you cannot end it – you must deal with Him now and in eternity!
  5. If you must question the fairness of election, then you must also question the fairness of life itself.
    1. The blessed God dealt with this issue by mocking those questioning His creation (Isaiah 45:9).
    2. Nebuchadnezzar learned God does according to His will, and it cannot be questioned (Dan 4:35).
    3. What about parents? Intelligence? Generation of birth? Strength? Health? Nation of birth? Job opportunities? Educational opportunities? Coordination? Race? Musical ability? Allergies? Inheritance? Acts of God? Abuse? Military draft? Chance events? Marital opportunities? Height? Body type? Temperament? Conviction? Pastor? First grade teacher?
    4. What about aborted babies? Starving children in Sudan? The mentally challenged missing most of life? Children born without fathers? Millions ravaged by disease and war they did not seek?
    5. Life is not fair from an arrogant human perspective; but it is most fair from the Creator’s view.

Is Hell Fair?

  1. Of course, no man thinks hell fair, for how can any human system of justice require eternal torment?
    1. No matter how heinous a man’s crimes, surely he should not have to suffer infinitely for them.
    2. Bleeding heart humanists of our time do not even believe capital punishment for murder is fair.
    3. Whatever man can justify eternal torment for sin must define sin in a way to deliver his soul.
  2. Hell is not something you can discover by meditating on cloud movement. It is a thing of revelation.
  3. Why not start with the Flood? Do you believe it occurred? Can you think about it in graphic detail?
  4. Why not start with birth defects? Do you believe they occur? Can you think about them in detail?
  5. Why not start with man’s differences? Do you believe they occur? Do they show God’s sovereignty?
  6. Why not start with persons forced to leap from the top ten floors of the World Trade Center in 2001?
  7. Why not start with Satan and his angels? Do you believe they deserve hell? Why them, and not man?
  8. Hell is very fair, when just a little thought is put into the holiness of God and the rebellion of man.

Is Election True?

  1. What is election? It is God’s choice of the specific people whom He would save by Christ’s death.
  2. Is it conditional or unconditional? It is unconditional, for all men are totally corrupt (Psalm 14:1-3).
  3. What about elect angels (I Tim 5:21)? Why no worry about God’s fairness with the devil (Jude 1:6)?
    1. The fallen angels are given as an example of God’s righteous judgment on sinful creatures.
    2. On what basis does He owe them any further choices or options for restoration or eternal life?
  4. What about reprobation? It is merely the opposite of election, referring to those God passed over.
    1. The Bible speaks of ungodly men who were before of old ordained to condemnation (Jude 1:4).
    2. The Bible declares that God was willing to show His wrath and power in some men (Rom 9:22).
    3. The Bible declares that some men were appointed to the judgment of God (I Pet 2:8; I Thes 5:9).
    4. Reprobates are called vessels of wrath, because God’s wrath was against their sins (Rom 9:22).
  5. Those who end up glorified in heaven were predestinated to it by God (Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:3-12).
  6. Those who end up saved were chosen to salvation before the world began (II Tim 1:9-10; I Pet 1:2).
  7. Jesus Christ had a very specific purpose of saving a specific group (John 6:38; 17:2; Heb 2:12-13).
  8. Names in the Book of Life were written there before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8).

Is Sin Fair?

  1. You had your fair choice for eternal life in Adam, which is far fairer than having the choice yourself.
    1. Adam was a perfect man. God said all He had made was very good, and Adam was without sin.
    2. Adam did not have a sin nature, for sin had not yet entered the world or corrupted his heart.
    3. There was only one commandment to keep, which was a very simple, clear, discrete precept.
    4. There was no world to tempt him with carnal advertisements, peer pressure, or false teaching.
    5. He was fully aware of the consequences, at least to himself, which he flagrantly ignored anyway.
    6. You blow your choices every day, which show you are at least as foolish and wicked as Adam.
  2. The decisions of mere men, from fathers to presidents, can evilly affect others for many generations.
    1. A wicked mother, aborting an unborn child, can have it pulled apart slowly by a vacuum cleaner!
    2. A foolish mother, conceiving children in poverty, can cause it to starve to death slowly in Africa.
    3. A foolish father, giving a bad example and neglecting child training, can corrupt generations.
    4. An ambitious king, violating another nation, can bring pillaging, murder, and rape on his people.
    5. On what basis did the first child of David and Bathsheba die? Was that fair? Was God fair?
  3. Adam and you were not forced to sin, which makes sin and its punishment totally fair (Jas 1:13-16).
  4. God is infinitely holy, which no man can grasp; this makes sin infinitely unfair to God (Hab 2:13).
    1. He cannot acquit or clear guilty sinners – it is totally contrary to His nature (Ex 34:7; Nah 1:3).
    2. A vision of God, no matter how brief, brings noble men down (Job 42:5-6; Is 6:1-8; Rev 1:17).

Is Free Will Fair?

  1. If men are saved by free will, every person in heaven will justly take the glory for salvation himself.
  2. If men are saved by free will, then God is no more the Saviour of those in heaven than those in hell.
  3. If men are saved by free will, and man’s will is totally depraved, then not a single man will be saved.
  4. If men are saved by free will, and he must hear the gospel, its unequal distribution is totally unfair; for there are poor sinners eager to be saved that will go to hell to pay for the missionary’s vacation!
  5. If men are saved by free grace before the age of accountability, abortion and infanticide are good!
  6. If God had allowed you to have your own choice, you would choose anything but Him and heaven.
  7. The key here is today’s total rejection of the Bible doctrine of human depravity and man’s hatred for God and His ways (Ps 14:1-3; Is 26:10; Luke 16:31; John 3:3; 8:43,47; Rom 3:9-18; I Cor 2:14).
  8. Free will is totally unfair, for it destroys the glory of God and any possibility of salvation for men!
  9. Free will is totally false, for the Bible describes man with a destroyed will (John 5:40; Romans 8:8).

Is Grace Fair?

  1. Thankfully, grace is not fair! If God were fair, all would go to hell. But God is gracious, not fair.
    1. Sin deserves the wages of death (Rom 3:23; 6:23)! If God paid fairly, all men would go to hell.
    2. If all men got what they deserve, then all men would go to hell, for all deserve torment for sin.
    3. If you or I were God, based on our treatment of those who offend us, we would send all to hell.
  2. God did not ordain innocent creatures for damnation; He ordained sinful creatures for damnation.
    1. Scholars fuss about supralapsarianism or infralapsarianism. Let us just submit to Scripture alone.
    2. God has not revealed the workings of His eternal counsel and its decrees. Let us not speculate.
    3. Election and reprobation are both for the glory of God; the elect are saved from sin, and reprobates are damned because of sin.
    4. Election is only unconditional as it pertains to man, because Jesus Christ made election possible.
    5. Reprobation is conditional as it pertains to man, for God’s justice cannot punish the innocent.
  3. If you listen to Arminians pray, most of them will fervently thank God for their salvation. Why? Because they know that thanking themselves would be arrogant and contrary to plain Bible doctrine.
  4. What should we think of grace for picking the less fortunate for salvation (I Cor 1:26-31; Jas 2:5)?
  5. Is election fair? It is more than fair! It is gracious, merciful, and wonderful! It is far more than fair!


  1. God answered the question in the perfect Bible. “Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid” (Rom 9:14).
  2. God answered the question in the perfect Bible. “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Rom 9:20.)
  3. While one man says, “Why did God not save everyone?” another man says, “Why did God save anyone?”
  4. While one man says, “I do not understand why God hated Esau”; another man says, “I do not understand why God loved Jacob.” The different perspective is by knowing the sinfulness of man and sovereignty of God.
  5. Without election, all men are lost … by Adam … by ability … by desire … by foreknowledge … by angels.
  6. We must not conclude by merely acknowledging the fact and reality of God’s election; we must apply it.
    1. We are bound, by supreme obligation, to give thanks always for this great mercy (II Thess 2:13-17).
    2. We are specifically and repetitively told to make our election sure to our own souls (II Peter 1:5-11).
    3. If God is half as great as the Bible describes, He deserves your all (Jer 9:23-24; Heb 10:31; 12:28-29).

For Further Study:

  1. Sermon outline: Does God Love Everybody
  2. Sermon outline: What If Election Is True?
  3. Sermon outline: Is There a Burning Hell?
  4. Sermon outline: God’s Will or Free Will?
  5. Sermon outline: The Book of Life.
  6. Arthur W. Pink’s unabridged book, “The Sovereignty of God.”
  7. Jerome Zanchius’s book, “Absolute Predestination.”