June 29, 2022

Here Is Why God Is Just

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  Revelation 20:12, KJV

For just a few moments, let’s suppose.  Let’s suppose that a certain judge in your city faces an indigent who was accused of a crime, and that this unfortunate individual had only a court-appointed attorney.  Furthermore, the defendant has a surly disposition—the kind that, just by looking at the person, you “know” he committed the crime.  Sure enough, in almost record time, the judge says, “Guilty!” as he slams down his gavel and pronounces a harsh sentence.

But, as observers notice, when someone with money, education and good attorneys as well as good family connections faces the judge, this person almost always gets off free, or if the person is found guilty, the sentence is only a slap on the wrist.

“We want justice!” we scream.  But where does this idea of justice come from?  That we even conceive of justice and injustice is a reflection of the fact that we are made in God’s image, and the farther away we are from God, the more warped will be our concept of what is just and unjust.

God could not be righteous or upright if he was unjust or inconsistent in His dealings with people.  Though He is a God of mercy, He is also a God of justice.  Several times in the Bible we are told that there is no respect of persons with God.  Romans 2:11 says, “God does not show favoritism.”  Colossians 3:25 says, “But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Colossians 3:25, NKJV).

Our concept of justice in the Western World is based on Judeo-Christian principles, ones which Jews and Christians of all stripes and sorts agree to: namely, that there is a Supreme Judge of the Universe to whom man is accountable, and that certain issues are right and wrong, and those who violate them pay the ultimate consequences.

Even in civil law, justice demands that someone judge, that someone say, “This is right,” or “This is wrong”—something we have become very hesitant to do, lest we offend someone, or leave the impression that the mentality of “I’m OK; You’re OK” is not really OK at all.

For centuries churches and religious institutions were bastions of justice and champions of right and wrong.  But too often their moral voices have been muffled with fear that someone—especially a major contributor—would not respond warmly to the reality that God is a just God and that His wrath is as much part of His nature and personality as is His mercy and love.  Surprised that I say this?  You shouldn’t be.  A secular publication recently decried, “Houses of worship have become basketball courts and bingo parlors and places in which to serve a wedding dinner” (David Raphael Klein, “Is There a Substitute for God?” Reader’s Digest, March 1970, p. 55).  Not all of them, of course.

A final thought on this rather heavy subject.  The reality that God ultimately enforces justice both comforts and concerns.  To know that someday God has His payday is a comfort when I see so much injustice in our world.  But the flip side of that is the reality that I, too, am accountable to a just God who knows my actions and thoughts better than I, myself, do.

A study of Scripture shows clearly that my timetable and God’s are vastly different.  Sometimes I mistakenly assume that injustice triumphs in my world.  It doesn’t!  What I think is so flagrantly needing retribution hasn’t escaped God’s notice.   He simply chooses to deal with it in His time.  But deal with it, He eventually does.

Yes, indeed. God has His payday someday. Just be patient.

 

Resource reading: Isaiah 61:1-9