15th May 2019

Grace Is Not Fair!

“I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?”
Matthew 20:14-15 (NKJV)

My husband recently gave a sermon on the parable of the vineyard workers found in Matthew 20. This parable follows the discussion Jesus had with his disciples in chapter 19, where he told them it was easier for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle! The disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?” To which Jesus replied, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (verse 25-26). The parable in Matthew 20 follows on from this to show that it is by God’s grace that we are saved.

When you read the parable it is easy to think it is about salary and that God is being unreasonable and unfair by paying those who worked all day the same as those who worked only the last hour. But look at it again, because it begins “the kingdom of heaven is like…” It is using vineyard, landowner and workers to illustrate that we attain the kingdom of heaven by God’s goodness, mercy and grace, not by how long or how hard we work! Matthew 20:14 says “I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.”

The landowner (representing God) goes looking for more labourers at the third, sixth, ninth and eleventh hours. At the eleventh hour he finds some still waiting to be hired and says “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” and they reply “Because no one hired us” (Matthew 20:6-7). In many countries there are places where the unemployed know to come to stand and wait for someone to come hire them. The skilled, healthy and strong would be hired first, then the unskilled and less able, and often at the end of the day those left would be the lame, the elderly and those less able to work. This illustrates that God wants everyone to come to repentance and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven! (2 Peter 3:9).

So bearing this in mind, read the parable of the vineyard workers again through the lens of God’s grace—the parable is not about being fair and just, but about grace, which is totally unfair. What we deserve is death—for all have sinned and come under that penalty if true justice were done! I certainly do not want this kind of justice from God, but rather love, mercy and grace.

God of grace, thank you that in your love and mercy you extend forgiveness and grace.

Study by Nancy Silcox

About the Author:
Nancy Silcox attends the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK. Nancy prepares and uploads the Day by Day studies submitted by members of the Worldwide Church of God UK/Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

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