THE JUSTICE OF GOD
Psalm 7:9-11 Lonnie Branam
Psalm 7:9 says, “For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.” The righteous God is the just God.. Justice and righteousness are synonyms. Verse 11 says that God is a just God and is angry with the wicked every day.” Justice is one of God's attributes. In Psalm 119:128 the writer says, “All your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right. I hate every false way.” Not only is God just, but all of His precepts are just. The justice of God is probably the most difficult of all His attributes to understand.
My first comment on this subject is that the justice of God, for the most part, is of the same nature as the justice in man. Man also has a strong sense of justice, even as does God. Man recognizes the absolute necessity of justice in this evil world. All governments of the world treat men and women according to the respective laws under which they live. Man believes that for the welfare of society, justice should and must be carried out. When, therefore, we speak of the justice of God, we speak of something that strongly exists in the nature of man.
We have before us at this present time several high profile court cases involving people who have seriously violated the laws of the land, and society demands that justice be done. One older man and and a young boy, who was his accomplice, shot and killed people with high powered rifles. They didn't even know these people and killed them without rhyme or reason. The older man was sentenced to death The young boy was given life in prison without possibility of parole. The boy may yet get the death penalty, for other cities want to try him. Many don't agree with the justice of these sentences. Many think the death penalty is unjust. Others think the boy was too young to get life in prison. Another high profile case is Martha Stewart. Martha was found guilty of lying about her stock dealings and illegally made a lot of money. However, great numbers of people think that she should not go prison. for what she did, even though she was guilty. These differing views clearly show that man's justice is flawed; he doesn't know what is just and unjust. However all agree that some form of justice is necessary and is right.. Hence, since a strong sense of justice exists in man as it does in God, man should be hesitant to question the justice of God, for He possesses perfect justice. God will never do anything which does not become Him, which is not agreeable to His perfect knowledge of right and wrong. God can do anything He pleases but His exercise of power is limited His goodness and love.
Let us now turn to the attribute of the justice of God. We have studied some of His wonderful attributes: omnipotence, omniscience,
omnipresence, goodness and eternity. They all are calculated to make different impressions on our minds, and they lead to our admiration,
reverence and love. His power delights us by the universe He has created, the earth and all creatures therein. His goodness charms us by the richness and variety of His manifold gifts. But when we turn our thoughts to his perfect sense of justice which He carries out with perfect wisdom and judgment in His moral government of mankind, He does not seem so attractive to us. In fact, it kind of repels us. It stirs up emotions of fear and wonder and disturbance.
This seems to contradict His goodness and love and kindness. We tremble before Him as an offended Ruler and Judge. On this subject we have no wish to cultivate close association. We are repelled by the severity of His countenance. We don't like to talk about the subject, and we really don't care to hear much preaching on the subject. Perhaps this feeling is caused by the awareness that Divine justice is more formidable than that of man and because offenders cannot conceal themselves from God. We have ways down here of convincing a jury that we are not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, if we violate God's laws He knows it. . Hebrews 4:13 says, “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
I don't know how you feel about it, but in all subjects and specially in one of so much importance as the character of Him to whom we must all give account, truth should be our aim; and any ideas or objections which might interfere with it should be dismissed from our thoughts. Right thinking will lead us to the same conclusion with the scriptures, that God is just as well as wise and good, that He is not only the Maker and Preserver, but also the ruler of the world. Justice is necessary even in heaven among angelic beings who are also are proper subjects of Divine law. Some of them violated His law and fell. In like manner, God's justice is absolutely essential to the propr government and control of His creatures on earth, who are the proper subjects of His law and may deserve to be rewarded or punished. Sad to say, the greater part of the peopl;e on earth do not recognize God's rulership, or His moral laws which govern and control all intelligent and moral agents. Nevertheless, it is certain that God has an absolute dominion over all His creatures on earth and in heaven.
All I can do in this first study is to give a brief introduction to the subject. Justice respects the relation in which God stands to His creatures
as their religious and moral Governor. God will treat men and women according the law under which they lived in this life-- patriarchal, Jewish, or Christian. Justice rightly belongs to God as the Governor of mankind. When we speak of His Justice we speak of His Rulership and Governorship.
The first thing to be understood about the justice of God is that it consists in giving just laws to His creatures which are proper and suited to their nature and ability. All of God's laws are based on two basic, elementary duties. Underlying all other precepts are two basic laws which are right by nature. The first is that man is to love God, and the second is man is to love his fellow human beings.. These two basic truths is not just because God commanded them, but because they are just and right in and of themselves. Jesus expressed these two famous laws like this, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” The second law is, “You shall love our neighbor as yourself”(Matthew 22:37-40). Jesus restated this second law like this, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, .for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). It might well be added to those words, “This is the law of Christ and the law of the apostles.” These words are repeated several times in the gospel. These two great principles of human conduct have won the universal admiration of all unprejudiced and upright minds.