The Justice of God in an Unjust World

Have you ever noticed that life isn’t fair? When’s the last time you wondered why the wicked seem to get away with their wickedness? In our day, it certainly seems the darkness is winning – at least when you look at things from a surface level. Why do those who walk in integrity and honesty suddenly lose their livelihood with no warning? Why do those who serve God get sick, suffer, and die, when He paid for our healing? Is it fair for unborn children to have their lives taken, or for innocent children to be abused, or die of horrible things like cancer?justice

These and similar questions have plagued mankind since the beginning. Especially when we are told that God is in control, that He is good, and that He knows what we are going through. The truth is, that all of these things are true. Life isn’t fair, God is good, and He knows what we are going through. I have heard someone say, “For the believer, this earth is the closest to hell we will ever get, and to the unbeliever, it is the closest to heaven they will ever get.” In other words, this life, on this earth and in this age, isn’t meant to be fair. It is meant to show us we need a Savior, and to spend whatever time we are given to prepare to rule and reign with Him forever.

When things don’t go our way, when we are treated unjustly, we need to get a different perspective – a much bigger, eternal one. This life isn’t about us, or our comfort, convenience, happiness, fulfillment, accomplishments, etc. – it is about Him. Are we allowing Him to work the cross in us – dying to our desires, selfishness, etc., every day? Or do we retaliate or scream and yell to get our way, or to let the world know we are pissed when we don’t get our way? Do we recognize every act of injustice as an opportunity to be conformed into His image? Or do we miss the moment, giving in to self-pity and a victim mentality instead?

I believe God allowed injustice to be a part of our lives in this age purposely. How else would we know justice if we never suffered from injustice? How could we relate to the ultimate injustice He embraced on our behalf, if we never experienced it at the hands of others? Could we truly have compassion on those who suffer unfairly if we were ignorant of its effects?

God has given us a sense of justice and injustice because He is perfectly just in all His ways. If He lives within us, we will “weep with those who weep” and “comfort those who mourn” because He does. We will stand up and speak out on behalf of those who have no voice. Injustice will cause us to be moved by compassion as Jesus was. Though this life isn’t fair, we can rest assured that the day is soon coming when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

 

 

 

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The Jealous Nature of God

God has many different attributes that make up His character. One that we don’t hear The-Lion-of-Judahor talk about very much is His jealousy. Because we don’t fully know Him as He truly is, we think in terms of human jealousy, which seems to conflict with the other attributes of His nature. Human jealousy is rooted in insecurity, greed, and covetousness, none of which characterize our Lord. The jealousy God feels toward us is much different.

In Exodus 34:14, God says to Moses, Do not worship any other god,for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” He does not only declare His nature as jealous, but even goes so far as to say Jealous is His name! According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, the word, “qanna,” translated as jealous, could also be interpreted to mean “zealous” or filled with righteous zeal. “In man’s relation to God, the act of zeal is more positively viewed as the act of the advancement of God and His glory over against substitutes.” In other words, God is a lover who will tolerate no other lovers (aka idols) in our lives. He means to have us as His very own possession.

This is good and bad news, in a sense. Good, in that He will not leave us alone. He promises to care for our needs and to never forsake us. He has made a way for us to know Him and live with Him forever – that’s good news! The bad news is, if we are determined to live in sin, we will find ourselves in direct opposition to Him. He opposes the proud (those bent and insistent on doing it their way) but gives grace to the humble (those who submit to His leadership). He will do all that is necessary to burn up all that hinders love in us. In actuality, this is good news, too, for it means He will deliver us from every bondage that hinders our relationship with Him, as long as we are willing.

We will see the ultimate consummation of His jealous zeal when He returns for a bride made ready for Him. This depiction is given for us in Revelation 19. At that time, He will return to the earth to judge His enemies, those who war against Him, and those that have persecuted His bride. He will make every wrong thing right as the Righteous Judge and King of all the earth, and justice will fully prevail. His eyes of blazing fire speak of His righteous anger toward those who have worshiped the beast, as well as His passion to deliver His bride once and for all. He will stop at nothing to see to it that His plans and purposes are fulfilled upon the earth – that His kingdom WILL come and His will WILL be done even as it is in heaven! I don’t know about you, but I am glad our God is a jealous, zealous God.

The Paradoxical Nature of God

The nature of God is a fascinating and complex subject. Though we are created in His paradoximage, He is wholly other than we are. His thoughts and ways are completely, radically different than ours. His perspective on everything is beyond our comprehension. His limitless wisdom and understanding far exceed our finite intellectual capacity. One of the great mysteries of His being is described as paradoxical. A paradox is defined as, “any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.” I will mention a few examples from Scripture.

Jesus stated in Matthew 19:30, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Again, in Matthew 10:39 He says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”  In Mark 10:43-44 He says, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” These Kingdom principles represent the paradoxical nature of our God.

God is both a God of love and of justice, for He is both a Lover and a Judge. Psalm 33:5 says, “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” Many struggle with this seeming paradox. How can God love people unconditionally, yet judge them for their wickedness? Would a God of love really send people into a lake of fire for eternity? Yet, on the other hand, how can God be just and not punish the wicked? For those who have suffered great loss at the hands of evil, unremorseful, and unrepentant people, God’s justice is one proof of His love.

Though He loves even the wicked, His justice will not let them go unpunished if they refuse to repent of their sin. This seeming paradox is not at all contradictory. You cannot have love without justice, nor justice without love; they are two sides of the same coin. To emphasize one aspect of His nature over the other is to seriously misrepresent Him. He is not just one or the other, He is equally both.

God’s love and justice were both displayed on the cross, where His love motivated Him to pay the price that His justice required for our salvation. To all who believe on Him, this gift is freely and readily available. To those who refuse Him, their inability to live up to His standard of holiness will determine their eternal fate. This is not unloving on the part of Him who IS Love. Rather, He honors the choices each of us makes with the free will He has given us.

At the end of this age when Jesus returns, He will come as Bridegroom, King, and Judge with justice in His heart to fully avenge His persecuted bride. (Rev. 5:9-10, 7:14-17, 19:11-21) He will make all wrong things right. We will judge beside Him during His millennial reign. (Rev. 20:4) Until that time, we must guard our hearts against offense towards Him so that we are not among those who will fall away from the faith. (Matt. 24:10, 2 Thess. 2:3) When His ways seem to be contradictory, we have His Holy Spirit to give us understanding and lead us into all truth.

In what ways has God’s nature seemed paradoxical to you? Please comment below.