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Justice. It’s a word we hear a lot these days. Though usually prefaced by a word like “social” first – “social justice.”
Webster’s defines justice as “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” Of course, all of that implies there is some standard against which we can judge what is just and what is not. And every society builds its laws around its own understanding of right and wrong. Sometimes that understanding is informed by God’s Word, and sometimes not.
Not surprisingly then, God’s Word has a lot to say about justice – especially from God’s point of view. And out of our 3 readings today, John 4:46-5:17; 1 John 5:1-5 – it is Ezekiel 16-19 where justice gets some pretty interesting treatment.
I’m Reid Ferguson, and we’ll explore justice just a bit today on Through the Word in 2020.
God and God’s people had a controversy about justice.
God said, if an evil guy repents and walks with God, he’ll be treated accordingly and if a righteousness guy goes off the tracks and starts doing evil – his previous good doesn’t count. They thought God wasn’t just.
Where the Israelites erred was on 2 counts: a. They were measuring justice by how they thought things ought to work rather than the way God said it is to work. b. They set up their own standard, and didn’t like it that God got to impose His.
Now it doesn’t take a lot of looking to see that our human justice systems have their problems.
In some places, justice is for sale. And justice can be perverted for all kinds of reasons: Racial prejudice, backdoor bribes, people with status getting off easy, high paid and high powered attorneys cutting deals – you name it. But this much is sure – however justice among men may fail, God’s justice cannot.
There is a day of reckoning where there will be utter impartiality as one stands before the God who knows all and cannot be influenced by any outside power. He will judge each and every one of us – no matter how we may have escaped that justice in this life. His rules. His standards. His justice. For all.
And this is why the Gospel is so important. For God is so just, that He cannot let any sin or sinner go unaddressed. So how can there be salvation for any? As Ps. 130:3 says: “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”
The answer? The satisfaction of God’s justice against sin, punished – really and truly. But in His system, against His willing Son, on behalf of all those who put their trust in Him. Justice carried out, and yet grace and mercy provided.
You and I my friend will one day stand before Him. We will have to give an answer for every wrong inclination, desire, act, word, deed and thought. And there will be a just judgment for all of them.
The only helpful plea in that day will be: “But Jesus already died in my place – and I am His!”
If you know that to be true and have cast yourself upon His mercy in trusting Jesus’ substitutionary death on your account – justice was carried out at Calvary. It is finished.
If not – you will have to face the eternal justice your sin deserves yourself.
This is God’s system.
Based upon His standard of perfect holiness.
It is miraculous.
And available to all who call upon the name of Jesus Christ.
Now that is good news indeed.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.