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2. The Justice of God

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Key Verse “The LORD shall judge the people” Psalm 7 v 8

Read: Psalm 11 v 4-7

The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

God is just. Because He is just, He judges. Abraham called God the Judge of all the earth. When the Bible writers spoke of judgment, they did not merely mean condemnation. There is a positive as well as a negative side to judgment. Peter showed this when he spoke of human judges. He said they are

“for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well”(1 Peter 2 v. 14).

The Bible tells us that God judges “the fatherless and the oppressed”. This means He stands up for the rights of those who are helpless, and those who oppress them will have to answer to Him

God has given ample proof that He is just. The very fact that we have rulers to make and enforce just laws is due to God, according to Romans 13 v. 14.

It is true that those in authority sometimes fail in this task. On the whole, however, they do aim to prevent or punish wrongdoing and ensure that people’s rights are protected, which is what God intends them to do.

Further proof of God’s love of justice is seen in the instructions He gave to Israel’s judges through Moses,

“Do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great.”

“Do not pervert justice…. Do not accept bribe…. Follow justice and justice alone” (Lev. 19 v. 15: Deut. 16 v., 19, 20 NIV).

Prophet after prophet spoke of God’s hatred of injustice, condemning corrupt judges. “They do not defend the rights of the pour, Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 5 v. 28, 29 NIV).

God’s justice is seen, too, in Ha punishment of wrongdoing. Peter once wrote about people who poured scorn on the idea that God would punish sin. “He has never done it yet”, they were saying, and He never will”. Peter replied that such people were deliberately ignoring a clear example of God’s judgment. In Genesis 6 we are told that

“the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth… And the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created”.

And He did just that by sending the Flood to destroy mankind. He saved only Noah and his family, telling him to make the ark. Peter admitted that God does not immediately punish every sin. This, he explained, is because He is patient and is giving people chance to repent. In the end, however, although it may be delayed, God’s judgment will come (2 Peter 3 v. 3:9).

God’s judgment is absolutely inescapable and absolutely fair. “Be not deceived”, wrote Paul, “God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6 v. 7). What we do now affects our future and our final destiny.

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9 v. 27).

In John’s vision of the final day of judgment,

“the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their work.” (Rev 20 v. 12).

The Lord Jesus Himself tells us that

“Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement” (Matt. 12 v. 36).

Paul spoke of “that day when God shall judge the secrets of men” (Rom. 2 v. 16). Actions, words, even secret thoughts, God knows them all, and sooner or later each one of us has to answer for them all.

We have all sinned. If God is just, must He not then condemn us all? No, the scriptures tell us that without ceasing to be just He is able to forgive sins. How? The Lord Jesus voluntarily bore the consequences of our sins. As Isaiah put it,

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:… and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”.

Because He has fully satisfied God’s justice, the Lord Jesus now has the right to forgive the sins of those who belong to Him.

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