Friday, October 30, 2020

The Justice of God

This might sound insensitive, but this world is God’s creation, and He has a right to set the standards:

• “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?” (Psalm 24:1-3 ESV)

God even determines the required qualifications for those who can approach Him. However, God is also just, according to both the dictates of His own righteous character and even the truths He has inscribed upon our hearts and minds. Therefore, Paul rhetorically asks:

• But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? ( I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? (Romans 3:5-6)

Many had claimed that since God makes good use of our unrighteousness, He is partaking in unrighteousness, and this disqualifies Him from judging us. However, Paul assured us that God’s judgments are righteous. If He is not entirely righteous, He wound not be able to judge us. Before this, Paul correctly assumed that we all can agree with God’s righteous judgments:

• We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:2-5)

In speaking to the rebellious Cain, God also assumed that Cain was able to understand God’s just requirements:

• The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)

Cain had no argument against this. Why not? He knew and understood the truth of God’s counsel, because he shared this knowledge with God, but Cain had no intention to live according to it.

Rebellion against God’s truths is rebellion against God, as Adam and Eve had also rebelled against God’s Word. They knew it but disregarded it.

God’s ways are just, and we know it. This forms the basis of our condemnation. What we love and surrender to condemns us:

• “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:17-20)

How are they “condemned already.” Their hatred of the Light of God’s truth and their embrace of the lie of darkness has condemned them.

If Jesus doesn’t condemn us, how then are we condemned? It seems that it is the implanted Word (Romans 2:14-16) which will condemn:

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:47-48)

It seems that it is this very implanted Word that causes us to flee the Light of God to take refuge in the darkness of denial.

Israel blamed God for many things but never for their love of the darkness. God may surrender us to the darkness of our own desires (Romans 1:24-28), but He never implants these desires within us (James 1:13-14).



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