In “conditionalism is fair” Jefferson Vann explains that God’s penalty for rebellion and sin is consistent and fair, but traditionalism disregards that fact.
conditionalism is fair
Ezekiel 18:29-32 CSB
29 But the house of Israel says, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’ Is it my ways that are unfair, house of Israel? Instead, isn’t it your ways that are unfair?
30 “Therefore, house of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn from all your rebellious acts, so they will not become a sinful stumbling block to you.
31 “Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel?
32 “For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. “So repent and live!
conditionalism is fair
The Lord condemned the Israelites through the ministry of Ezekiel because they refused to obey him, claiming that he was being unfair to them. But the Lord brought that charge back to them. It was not God who was being unfair.
What is fair when it comes to our dealings with God? Fair is getting life for obeying our covenant, and death if we do not. Those were the stipulations under the covenant agreement.
Jesus came and offered us a new covenant. Under the new covenant, those who believe in Christ will receive eternal life, and those who refuse Christ will suffer permanent destruction.
The teachings of conditionalism accentuate the fairness of God. People still have an opportunity for life, and they can still choose death.
But traditionalism teaches that God has changed the rules. It teaches that God has already gifted everyone with eternal life, and those who rebel against his covenant will suffer perpetually with no relief, even by death.
When we conditionalists claim that there is no biblical basis for this teaching, we are accused of misunderstanding God’s holiness. God was holy when he approached his rebellious people through Ezekiel. But his holiness did not require that he immortalize every soul. It only required that he stand by the stipulations of his covenant.
When we say God is holy, we assert a number of things about him. But the least we can agree to is that God’s holiness necessitates his fairness. God does not change the consequences of obeying him, nor will he change the consequences of disobeying him. If the wages of sin is death, it will remain death.
Dr Glenn Peoples put it this way: “If (the wicked) are excluded for God’s plan of salvation, then they are excluding themselves from the future, full stop. They have consigned themselves, to borrow New Testament language, to the current order of things that is passing away. God will not grant them eternal life.” (Hell is an apologetics concern).
And is is entirely fair that he withhold eternal life from them. After all, those who reject Christ have judged themselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46).
For more on conditional immortality, see: