The Harmony of Love & Justice
Read Psalm 99:2-5
Great is the LORD in Zion; He is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name-He is holy. The King is mighty, He loves justice-you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right. Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; He is holy.
Do you tend to praise God more for His love or for His justice?
It is very common to hear our culture praising God for His love. It is less common, though, to hear our culture praising Him for His justice. In fact, I have often heard Christians use His love to rationalize the acceptance of sin. For example, since God is love, it doesn’t matter what a person believes or how a person behaves. They say because God is love, it is ok to just be you and do what you do.
Wrong! God definitely is love! But He is more than that. Over and over again, the Bible reminds us that God is also holy, and He is just. Because He is holy, He cannot tolerate sin. Because He is just, sin must be punished.
I like to watch true crime documentaries on Netflix. Do you know what the victims are always seeking? Justice. They know that what happened to them or to their loved ones was wrong! They want someone to care enough to do something about it. When crimes, especially murder, go unpunished, it feels like their loved one’s life wasn’t worth anything. Like what happened to them didn’t even matter. So they cry out for justice.
God loves His children. When sin against one another, it does matter to God. The person we sinned against does have worth. So, he punishes sin. What’s more, He is a perfect judge. We don’t have to convince God like a jury of our peers that someone is guilty. He knows what happened, and He fairly gives everyone what they deserve.
Unfortunately, everyone has sinned both against God and our fellow man. Thus, we all deserve to be punished. The punishment is death.
But, because God is also love, He sent Jesus to pay the price that our sins deserved. Jesus bore the wrath that justice required, and He did it because He loves us.
God’s love and His justice are not mutually exclusive. He is both. His justice shows us that He cares. Would we really love a God that tolerated evil and wickedness? I don’t think so.
Thank you Lord, for your justice. Because you are perfectly fair, we can trust that You will always do right. Thank you for loving me enough to take the punishment that I deserved. Amen.