THE JUSTICE OF GOD # 2
In this passage David said that God takes no pleasure in wickedness and does not allow evil to be His presence. Furthermore, He hates all workers of iniquity; He will destroy those who speak falsehood; and He abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful people. Habakkuk the prophet made this statement about God, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wickedness”(Hab. 1:13). Note these words in Proverbs 17:15, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” That verse tells us what God thinks of all injustice that man exerts on his fellow human beings. I call your attention to one more scripture. Hebrews 12:28,29 says, “Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” In regard to evil, wickedness, falsehood or any other form of injustice, God is a consuming fire. All of these scriptures is a divine commentary on the justice of God.
I suggested in our last study that the justice of God is the most difficult of all God's attributes to understand. It puts God in a most unfavorable light to many people. It makes people turn away from Him. He is a God of punishment, and it makes people afraid of Him. Even the Bible tells Christians to serve Him with reverence and godly fear. Why? Because God is a consuming fire. Why is He so harsh, so strict, so demanding, so willing to hurt and punish us? By the way He created us.. If it were not for Him, we wouldn't be here. Why be so hard on us? If we sin and disobey, why not just forgive us by His mercy, and let it go at that?. What is the need to punish wrongdoing and evil? Why did He make Jesus go through all that terrible shame and suffering of the cross. in order to forgive the human race?. If He wanted to, He could just forgive us by His love and mercy. The Creator can do anything He wants to do. What is so necessary about the punishment of evildoing? Some have maintained that He could have pardoned sin without the blood of Christ, and others maintain that He could not. However partial we are to ourselves we cannot but see that conduct which implies contempt of the supreme authority and directly aim at disturbing the moral order and government of the universe deserves to be dealt with in the most severe manner. Such punishment seems to a reasonable mind to be proper and necessary. Such are some of the criticisms and doubts that have entered into the human mind about the justice of God. What shall we say about things? Are these just criticisms of God? Do they have any real merit?
If the rejection of all punishment is really the answer to the problem of man's disobedience to the Creator, and forgiveness, mercy and love is the way to treat evil and wickedness, then we should put our money where our mouth is. We should close all prisons and all jails and give all the murderers, thieves and all criminals their freedom. We should not punish them, and we should not incarcerate anyone. Man is in charge of this world; he can do as he pleases. We should not allow the government to be so harsh and lock up all these people If we put this idea of justice into law, life on this earth would be miserable and unbearable. The human race knows that justice is an absolute necessity for human happiness. No, my friends, the human race believes in justice; they demand justice, and if the government fails to give them justice, they will take justice into their own hands. Without justice on this earth and the punishment of evil, this earth would be a madhouse. Shall we then demand the punishment of evildoers among ourselves and deny our God to use justice in our relationship to Him? All human relations must be regulated by good and just laws. Liberty and justice for all is what we Americans believe in. The human race demands that their fellow human beings treat them with justice, but are not willing for God to treat them with justice when they disobey and mistreat Him. Be it with God or man injustice demands punishment
In the time that remains, let us inquire into God's nature that requires Him to be just in His relations to the human race. Romans 3:4,5 says, “Is God unjust who inflicts wrath(I speak as a man). Certainly not. For then how will God judge the world?” God is never unjust when He punishes man for his disobedience. If God is unjust, that alone would disqualify Him to judge the world. His nature is such that He cannot be unjust. God's laws by which he governs mankind are good and just, and He is holy and wise. He hates all workers of iniquity, and His eyes are to pure to behold evil. James 1:13 says, “God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He himself tempt anyone.” Tempt means to seduce to evil; God seduces no one to do evil. The truth expressed here is that God's nature is such that He is not susceptible to evil or sin. Evil cannot be in His presence. Bible writers affirm the absolute holiness of God. He is loving by nature; He cannot lie; He is a God of holiness. Peter wrote to Christians, “As He who has called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
It is important that we understand that God's justice is based on the just laws which He has given to His creatures, and all these laws are right, good and suited to their nature and ability. The laws of God are enforced by rewards and punishments. The rewards are great for obeying God's laws, and the rewards are really greater than we deserve. When it comes to the rewards, they are really much more than justice should require. No one can
render enough service to earn or deserve eternal life. However, no wrong is done when a person receives more than He is entitled to. With respect to punishment, justice requires that it should be exactly adjusted to the crime. To be punished with too great severity is cruel, but to punish with too little severity is contrary to moral justice. The purpose of punishment is to deter further disobedience in the person and also to deter others from transgression. God's punishment has a twofold purpose–to improve the character of the violator and also to deter others from disobeying God.. We have already received more favors from God than we are able to repay. Our services are previously due, and after we have performed them, we are still in debt.
From these considerations and from the scriptures we have read, it would appear that the use of punishment for wrongdoing comes from God's pure and holy nature. The obvious inference is that sin, evil and wrongdoing is contrary to the holy and moral nature of God. God cannot be reconciled to sinful creatures, considered in themselves. Could we believe in a God to whom human actions are indifferent, good or bad. The world according to their own wisdom might have us to redeemed without the blood of Christ.
But the wise judgment of God was that the only was to reconcile sinful people to Himself and satisfy His justice at the same time was for one of the Godhead to suffer punishment in behalf of the human race. Both man and God are agreed that punishment alone can satisfy justice. It was the decision of God that the suffering and punishment of Christ would satisfy His justice. Christ was man, and as a representative of mankind, He suffered a just punishment for all mankind. It is punishment that satisfies justice, and God accepted the punishment of Christ a fitting substitute for the human race. God let the human race off of the hook, but not without punishment. In effect what this means is that God punished himself as a substitute for the human race. It was the Father who sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Everything we admire about Jesus comes from God. Jesus made this clear when He said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He can only do what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also”(John 5:19). Whether we can understand the justice of this arrangement to let Jesus be punished in our stead, since His arrival and His atoning death the world has never been the same. God's plan has worked. Great numbers of the human race have been reconciled to God and worship Him ins spirit and in truth.