God is not so sovereign that He can lie and yet still call Himself righteous because He is God. I don’t know that anyone actually believes this, but I do know some people consider it erroneous or even wicked to think of God justifying Himself. I’m left to wonder about these people, do they think God has lied, but because He is sovereign He can still call Himself righteous?
In God’s word we find God stating in no uncertain terms that He is holy. And yet we then find Him putting Onan to death for doing what was wicked in the sight of the Lord (Genesis 38:6-10), but not putting David to death for committing another wickedness in the sight of the Lord (2 Samuel 11). We find Him overlooking ignorance in one part, but not overlooking it in another. We find Him passing over some people’s sins, while not passing over other’s.
This discrepancy does not exist purely from the fact God is sovereign. That is, God did not arbitrarily have regard for His holiness in respect to Onan, but then disregard His holiness in respect to David. No, there was a just and righteous reason why God took Onan’s life, but not David’s.
I ask a series of questions below. Every one of these questions relate directly to God’s righteousness. I recently presented these questions on Facebook and was surprised to find no one able to answer them. In the face of a question concerning God’s sovereignty, every person who tried to answer came back with something about God’s sovereignty.
Why, for instance, was God righteous to harden Pharaoh’s heart? Says 100% of the people who tried to answer, “because God is sovereign.” This makes me wonder whether they believe God actually was unrighteous to harden Pharaoh’s heart, but because He is sovereign we still have to call His hardening a righteous act anyway.
No. God was righteous to harden Pharaoh’s heart, because God had from eternity determined that Christ shall not die for Pharaoh; therefore, God had also determined from eternity that He shall raise Pharaoh up so that He might proclaim His power throughout all the earth.
All these questions are answered by the gospel. The gospel is the revelation of God’s righteousness. Therefore, any question concerning God’s righteousness must be addressed by the gospel. The gospel is not only God is sovereign.
Why was God righteous to harden Pharaoh’s heart?
Why is God righteous to have mercy upon whom He has mercy and compassion upon whom He has compassion?
Why is God righteous to hate Esau but love Jacob before either were born and could do anything either good or bad?
Why is God righteous to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? one vessel for salvation and the other vessel for destruction?
Why is God righteous to forgive those He has chosen for salvation from before the foundation of the world, but not forgive those vessels who have been prepared beforehand for destruction?
Why is God righteous to save not only Jews, but also Gentiles?
Why is God righteous to save only some people, but not all?
Why was Christ righteous to die only for His sheep and not also for goats?
Why was God righteous to overlook former ignorance and pass over former sins?