Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 12 April 19:
Romans 3:22-26 — “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
God is a God of love, but He is also a God of justice. In fact, love and justice go hand-in-hand. A loving God cannot accept injustice. God in His character of love and justice cannot simply overlook or excuse any sin – that would be unjust, unloving. The penalty must be paid. God has shown His righteousness through Jesus Christ by demanding the full penalty for sin, and penalty that we could not bear. And He has shown His mercy, grace and love through the sacrifice of His One and Only Son on our behalf.
Through Christ, God reveals that He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” God Himself offers to pay the penalty for our sins “as a gift.” Said another way, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).” However, a person doesn’t own a gift until they accept it from the giver. Who do you know who hasn’t accepted the gift of grace through Jesus Christ? Do you love that person enough to patiently lead them to Christ and to freedom?
We have all fallen short, and justice demands our eternal death, but through the grace of God, Jesus paid the price for our sins that we can have freedom from God’s judgment and the gift eternal life. Having received grace and forgiveness from God through Jesus, God expects us to live our lives lovingly but also justly, and He holds us accountable for our sins and disciplines us, though not unto eternal death. Of God, the Bible says – “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he (Deuteronomy 32:4); of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice (Job 24:12). Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty (Job 34:17)? But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice (Psalm 9:7); He loves righteousness and justice (Psalm 33:5). Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you (Psalm 89:14). Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24). But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness (Isaiah 5:16). It is from the Lord that a man gets justice (Proverbs 29:26).” The God of love hates injustice: “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight (Proverbs 11:1). For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense (Isaiah 61:8). But woe to you Pharisees! For you… neglect justice and the love of God (Luke 11:42).” God calls justice light and injustice darkness (Isaiah 59:9).
God says that His disciples are to be a light in the world, modelling the attribute of God’s justice. The God of love who hates injustice demands that people not only live justly but also fight against injustice — “You shall not pervert justice (Deuteronomy 16:19). Justice, and only justice, you shall follow (Deuteronomy 16:20). You shall not pervert the justice (Deuteronomy 24:17). Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice (Deuteronomy 27:19). He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 17:15). The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy (Psalm 111:7). “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God (Hosea 12:16). Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate (Amos 5:15).”
Can you imagine a world totally without any justice? How dark would that be? How unloving? How evil? Have the courage to stand up against injustice in the Name of Jesus and under the authority of Jesus.
– Matthew 12:18 — Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 Apr 19: Proclaim God’s justice, mercy and grace today.