Attributes of God- part 4
I spend alot of time praying for justice, so was happy that the next chapter of my book was about God’s justice. Should be easy, I thought!! God takes care of the ‘bad guys’ or those who have not accepted Him, ect, ect. Right?
To start with, just what is justice? We all have our own view of its meaning, but what is God’s view, because that really is the only one that matters….
In Hebrew, the word for justice is the same as that used for righteousness, just translated differently throughout the years. So justice is bringing things into rightness- how they should be, or better- how God created them to be. And how did He create things? To run smoothly, to be in communion with Him, to seek and desire Him. The only way that can occur is through mankind humbling themselves before Him and loving Him, God doesn’t just do justice, He IS justice. What’s the difference? Doing things implies a choice. To be something is to not have a choice- God must be what He is. His justice must always occur, because He must be. He is not required to do justice- He is justice. The Old Testament teaches that God is one God, which means more than just our common view of there being one God. That is true, but there is a deeper meaning, and that meaning was also meant in the Old Testament proclamation- “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God” (Deuteronomy 6:4) This means that He was not made up of different parts like we are- you can take away a man’s appendix, tonsils, hands and feet, half his liver, a large portion of his heart, and myriad other body parts and still have a man. You cannot take away parts of God- He was not created. He is complete and whole and cannot be separate. His emotions or self never argue with each other- they all work in tandem, harmoniously. Everything He does works together smoothly.
And, while Jesus died on the cross to save us, His death did not change God’s justice. Christ did not die to change God; he died to change our moral situation- to cause us to be able to be saved, to come into a relationship with God.
So, God sending someone to hell does not mean that His justice is quarrelling with His mercy. He is not sitting there crying because He must send you there; nor is He rejoicing at dispensing this judgment. Everything in Him- His mercy, pity, compassion, judgment are all there, working together. His judgment demands the same outcome as His mercy.
So why does He not just have compassion and forgive all- isn’t that what a good God should do? –is an argument I hear often. Compassion is justice. You cannot have compassion on anyone without having a sense of justice, too. Can you feel pity and compassion for a homeless child without wishing for justice on her parents who left her? Can you feel compassion for a drunk driver who got into an accident and is not lying in a hospital bed in agony without feeling that need for him to stop driving drunk? Two small, earthly examples of human mixtures of compassion and justice. How much more must it be for God, Who is those attributes, instead of just feeling them a bit?
So, I thank God for His justice and compassion over me. His justice means that I can never be good enough for Him, no matter how hard I try, and His compassion means that I don’t have to. His justice means that I don’t have to worry about bringing about the ending of evil myself, but that He will take care of the problem, and He will do it in a compassionate way. Yes, He may use me to do a part of that, but in reality, it is all Him.
Deep, perhaps hard to understand, but also very hard to put into words….. J