Over the last two weeks, we have discussed two attributes of God’s goodness: His holiness and His integrity. Today, I’d like to discuss another: His justice.
First, let me say, that God’s justice is not one of the most popular attributes of God. In fact, just the mention of God’s justice seems to rub people the wrong way. Our culture tends to view God like a buffet line. We pick and choose the ingredients (attributes of God) we like, and we pass by the ones we don’t like. So, I’ll take a lot of God’s love, mercy and grace, but I wouldn’t care for any of His justice. That doesn’t sound too appealing.
But justice is a good thing. In fact, most all of us have some sense of justice. Even the most merciful and compassionate people have a line that they draw. They have a point where they believe justice must be served. Justice is good. A world without justice would be complete chaos and anarchy.
God’s justice is closely connected with His righteousness. Here’s a general understanding of those two attributes:
God’s righteousness: God adheres to His law
God’s justice: He administers His law
So, the One who administers His law is the same One who adheres to His law. In other words, God is not asking us to do something He does not do Himself. God practices what He preaches. He is not hypocritical.
Let me mention three truths about God’s justice:
1. God’s justice is based on His nature.
God’s justice can be rightly administered because of His other attributes. For example:
God’s omnipresence means God is everywhere and sees all…He is THE witness to what transpires, and therefore can be a just Judge
God’s omniscience means that God knows everything that happens
God’s omnipotence means that God is all-powerful to enforce His justice
God’s righteousness means that God does the right thing at all times. God’s justice is not some random act of anger or rage, or an occasional act of mercy…God rightly administers justice all of the time. There is a “straightness” to God. He is always the same. Therefore, His justice is straight, and not “crooked” like man’s so often is.
2. God’s justice is balanced with His love.
This balance is seen in the Christ. 1 Peter 2:23-23 says, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
This balance is seen in the cross. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Justice is the fact that someone had to die because of our sin.
Love is the fact that Jesus died for us.
As has been said…
Justice is getting what you deserve
Mercy is not getting what you deserve
Grace is getting what you do not deserve
Think about this: the God who demands our righteousness is the same God who gives us His righteousness. That is love! You cannot understand the mercy and grace of God without understanding the justice of God. As Romans 3:25-26 says that Jesus “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
3. God’s justice often delayed due to His patience.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Justice delayed does not mean justice denied! God is patient wanting everyone to come to repentance and to a saving faith in Jesus. But make no mistake about it: God is justice, and will administer His justice when He sees fit.
Let’s remember that God’s justice is actually an attribute of His goodness. Justice is a good thing. I am grateful that God is just, and He will punish sin in the right way. But I’m infinitely grateful that the God of justice is my Justifier. What a Savior!