Fairness, as defined in our age of tolerance, is that everyone should get the same thing, be given “what we deserve.” In light of this, when we ask the question, “Is God fair?” we have to answer the question, with “No,” “Yes” and “No.”
So, is God fair? First, “No.” If God were fully fair and gave us what we actually and naturally deserved all people, as sin-twisted rebels would all be sent to Hell immediately. As the Word says, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), and that in our natural selves there dwells no good thing (Rom 7:18). Since God is righteous, He must punish sin–if He did not punish sin, there would be no justice, no hope of change for the good, no solution to the problem of evil. Before a just God, we would naturally all go to Hell right now–if He acted only from fairness.
However, praise God, His character is not limited to the low and simplistic standard of being fair. He is also merciful, loving and full of grace. Therefore, in this area, He chooses to not be fair; that is, He does not give us what we deserve, but instead offers the possibility of pardon.
An entry in my worship journal expands on this.
You, Lord Jesus are faithful–faithful to Your righteousness, to your holiness, to your justice, to perfect judgment of evil. You will always follow through on who you are. And you, Heavenly Father, being love itself, are faithful in your hatred of sin, of evil, of anything contrary to your character. In your love you judge sin, rebellion, and anything that does not measure up to your righteousness; if you didn’t judge, you would not be love, for righteous, pure and perfect love cannot abide with anything that is tainted by unlove: selfishness, pride and evil.
I praise you, O Lord God,that you rise far above our ability to comprehend. How could One who hates sin so profoundly, provide, against all logic we know, a pardon for your creatures who are so thoroughly sinful, selfish, evil and rebellious–so contrary to you?
Yet, in your wonderful, rich grace, you opened the way, at great personal expense, providing reconciliation through crushing your Son without mercy that mercy might flow to all your enemies (us), giving us the potential for redemption, reconciliation, transformation, and eternal life with you. You are faithful to your character: you are Light, your are Love, you are Life itself and you are altogether lovely. You have not been fair, but have given us the opposite of what we deserve, and we praise you for it!