Our Awesome God | 5

In Psalm 89:14 we read; righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. In Deuteronomy 32:4 we read; He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. We see a great demonstration of God’s justice in Genesis 18.

In his book Knowing God, JI Packer says; Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of God as Judge. Speak to them of God as a Father, a friend, a helper, one who loves us despite all our weakness and folly and sin, and their faces light up; you are on their wavelength at once. But speak to them of God as Judge, and they frown and shake their heads. Their minds recoil from such an idea. They find it repellent and unworthy. The doctrine of God’s judgment is a good thing. If there is no Judgment Day there are only two options left for us – lose all hope and live as you please or resort to vigilantism. On the one hand if there is no judgement then it matters not whether you live a life of justice or one of cruelty. If however the Hitler’s and Stalin’s and IS masterminds of terror bomb attacks will be judged we live with vibrant hope – because all wrongs will finally be redressed. On the other hand, if there is no judgment then there will always be the irresistible temptation for us to take up the sword and smite the wrongdoer. Round up the posse, take the law into our own hand. All that results is a world that resembles the old American Wild West – everyman for himself. If we believe in the Day of reckoning it enables us to live with hope and peace.

What is involved in God being the judge?

  1. A judge is a person with authority. As our creator, God has the right to make laws for us, and reward us according to whether or not we keep them. In Genesis 18:17 God says then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
  2. A judge is a person who is identified with that which is good and right. Any judge who has an interest in seeing wrong triumph over right, is by biblical standards a monstrosity. A judge who is willing to be bought by powerful people should be disbarred. The bible leaves us in no doubt that God loves righteousness and hates iniquity. In Genesis 18 Abraham feels confident in pleading on behalf of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. If fifty, forty, thirty, twenty or ten righteous people can be found God assures him he will spare the city. The basis for Abraham’s confident appeal is found in vrs 25 far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
  3. A judge is a person with wisdom to discern the truth. In a court of law a judge can be hoodwinked by the slick arguments of a defence lawyer. In God’s courtroom this is not possible. In Judges 18:21 God tells Abraham that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” In God’s courtroom he knows everything including the very thoughts of defendants. Trials in his court can never be frustrated by lack of evidence or eye-witnesses.
  4. A judge is a person with power to impose sentences. In Genesis 19 God’s judgment descends on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

How then is God’s justice against sinners satisfied so that we can receive mercy? The answer is found in the cross. In Romans 3:25, 26 we read, God presented him (Christ) as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Notice the two references to God’s justice in these verses. God’s justice is satisfied in that our sin was punished in Christ. This is why God is described as just and the justifier of those who exercise faith in Christ.