God Is Just by Patrick O’Rourke
“He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
“God’s justice or righteousness is revealed in his moral law expressing His moral nature and in His judgment, granting to all, in matters of merit, exactly what they deserve.”
Perhaps God’s justice can be summed up in the rhetorical question from the mouth of Abraham, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen.18:25) In Exodus 32:4 Moses sings “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.” God never acts unfairly, He is always fair and He always judges with equity. When God passed in front of Moses in Exodus 34, God proclaimed about Himself, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished…” As part of His own self disclosure, God highlights the fact that because He is just, He will not let sin go unpunished.
It is important to note that God Himself is the only standard of justice. There exists no outside principle or force which God conforms to, but God’s very character is just and righteous. When we evaluate anything in regards to justice or righteousness, the only measurement we have is God Himself. Whatever He does is just and right and anything that is not in line with His character is unjust. This also means that justice is not limited to punishing sin. The Bible makes it clear that God’s justice has to do with how the the poor, broken, and weak are treated. Zechariah 7:9-10 says “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” God is very concerned with how we treat the marginalized and forgotten because He cares for them deeply and will give them justice in the end.
Since God is sovereign and just, it begs the question; why is there so much injustice in the world? Why doesn’t God put an end to corrupt governments that exploit their people, rapists and murderers that walk away without punishment, and powerful people that oppress the poor? King David wrestled with this thought as well. Psalm 73 records his struggle as he asks God why the wicked are rich, carefree, and prosperous. He admits in Psalm 73:16, “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” David found comfort in the fact that even though it may seem like injustice is prevailing, the God of justice will make all things right in the end.
Another problem that arises when considering the justice of God is our own sin. If God is just and will not let sin go unpunished, how can we possibly escape the punishment of the righteous judge, or if we do, how can God remain just? The way that God pardoned our sin and remained just was by transferring the punishment that we deserve onto Jesus on the cross. As the song goes, “Til on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied…” God is just in forgiving us because He punished Jesus on our behalf and did not let any sin go unpunished. He will always do right, He will always administer true justice because His character is just and He will bring all things into conformity with Himself.
You are a God of justice. You hate injustice and so should we. Help us to find comfort in the fact that even if we are the victims of injustice in this world, You will make all things right. Help us to become like you and stand for true justice. We love you and thank you for taking our sin and the punishment that we deserve.