The Justice of God

 "He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." As in all of his attributes and characteristics God is perfectly just. God has never acted or done anything that is unjust. His justice is just! According to Gen. 18:25 God is the "judge of all the earth." Isaiah declares in Isa. 33:22, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us."

God as the "judge of all the earth" and the only Creator of all things certainly has the right to establish and set forth any law that pleases him. David said in Psms. 19:7 that "The law of the Lord is perfect..." All laws that God sets forth are perfect as is everything that God does.

In the beginning when God had created all things in this natural universe, he placed Adam in the garden of Eden and gave him one commandment, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die." Adam was free to eat of every tree of the garden but one. God certainly had the right to place this restriction on Adam, because He created all things and all things belong to him. The penalty for breaking the law was death. The marginal reading for "die" is "dying thou shalt die." This indicates an immediate death followed by another future death. Once this law went forth from the mouth of God and because God is Just, the sentence absolutely had to be carried forth, as God uttered it. As soon as Adam transgressed he died in trespasses and sin, that is, his innocent nature changed into a totally depraved state absent any fellowship with God and separated from all godliness. Furthermore, the motions of sin in his mortal body began the process of bringing the mortal body back to the dust of death. In addition, when Adam transgressed he brought himself under the eternal wrathful judgment of God known as the second death.

According to Rom. 5:12, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sins; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned." This teaches us that Adam was the representative of all his posterity and that the consequences of what he did passed upon all men. It also teaches us that the sin nature is hereditary. It passes from father to child. Please note that by one man sin entered into the world. Eve was the first to sin and she fell, but sin did not pass from Eve to the children, it passed from Adam to the children.

As the judge of all the earth God gives us his laws. Sin is defined in 1 John 3:4 "for sin is the transgression of the law." No sin is ever committed, but that God knows it as Heb. 4:12, 13 teaches us: "... God discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart...all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Prov. 24;9 says "The thought of foolishness is sin." Further David said in Ps. 139:2, "thou understandest my thought afar off." God knows our thoughts even before we think them and the thought of foolishness is sin the eyes of God. Thus the idea that someone can hide their sins from God is foolish indeed. Some people think that because they see no immediate consequences to their sins that they have therefore "gotten away with sin." This is faulty thinking as we read in Heb. 2;2 "every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward." Remember God is just and there is no such thing as anyone getting away with any sin that they have ever committed. All sin is brought before the judgment seat of God. Every sin bears the same penalty as stated in Rom. 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death..." Since we have all died in Adam and because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, we were all under the same judgment of condemnation before God.

We like to think upon the mercy and grace of God. However, God does not lay aside his justice in order to show mercy and grace. His justice must be executed because He is perfectly just. Since all of us have sinned and come under the condemnatory judgment of God, how can we escape the wrathful execution of that judgment? This we will show but first consider Ps.85:10, "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Mercy and truth would seem to be opposing principles. Likewise righteousness and peace with God for a sinner would at first appear to be impossible. However, God has made a way.

Throughout the old testament God has illustrated the principle of substitution through animal sacrifices. The idea was that ceremoniously the sins of the people would be laid upon the sacrifice. However, Heb. 10:3, 4 teaches us, "But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." While this teaches us that only a human can be a substitute sacrifice for another human, those sacrifices also taught us of the requirement of perfection. Not just any sacrifice was suitable, but it had to be without spot or blemish. God would/will accept only perfection. Thus I could not be a substitute for you, nor you for me.

For someone to be a substitute in God's execution of justice he had to be perfect (without sin). Furthermore, he could not even possess the sin nature of fallen man. When Jesus was born of the virgin he was born without sin. He was declared to be that Holy thing and In Matt. Jesus said "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, but I have come to fulfill it. One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. According to Heb. 7:26, Jesus was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." Thus Jesus was qualified to be the substitute atoning sacrifice for His people. God made Jesus to be sin for us on the cross in order to satisfy his divine justice. According to II Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." In the three hours of darkness God meted out on Jesus all that His divine justice required because of all our sins. His justice was perfectly executed and satisfied and it was here at the cross that mercy and truth met together and righteousness and peace kissed each other.

I Tim. 5:24 summarizes and illustrates God's justice, "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment, and some men they follow after." For those for whom Christ died their sins went before to judgment (at the cross). For those who are not redeemed, their sins follow after and judgment will be according to their works and they will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11 15). Thus every sin is brought to judgment for God is Just.

Elder Vernon Johnson