Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.
(Job 34:12 NIV)
God is righteous and just. God has never done wrong. God has never wrongly judged anyone.
In Ezekiel’s time, however, some of the people accused God of not being just:
“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?” (Ezekiel 18:25)
The same happens today: People accuse God of not being just, but the reality is that God’s accusers are not just. People try to justify their sin by accusing God of having wrong standards. The reality is that they reject true righteousness and justice.
God was righteous and just when he destroyed the world with a flood (Genesis 6 to 8). God was righteous and just when he rained sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). God was righteous and just when he commanded that the Canaanites be destroyed because of their sins (Leviticus 18:24-30; Deuteronomy 9:4-5, 12:29-31, 18:9-12). God was righteous and just when he brought the Babylonian army against his own chosen people (2Chronicles 36:11-21). God is righteous and just whenever he judges people for their sins. God would be righteous and just to condemn each of us for our sins; for all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
However, God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). God is not only righteous and just; he is also merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love (Exodus 34:6-7). Righteousness and justice and love are all important characteristics of God:
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:5 NIV)
“…but 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)
It is because of God’s righteousness, justice, and love that Jesus went to the cross to redeem us from our sins, so that we would not be condemned. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is God’s perfect provision for our sin, satisfying God’s righteous judgment against us through God’s love.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
For Further Reflection
Matthew 5:17-48: God’s righteous standards.
Romans 5:6-21: Reconciled to God through Jesus.
Psalm 96:13, 98:9: God will judge with righteousness.
Matthew 25:31-46: The sheep and the goats.
2Peter 2:1-22: God’s judgment on the ungodly.
Revelation 20:11-15: Final judgment.
Isaiah 9:6-7: Justice and righteousness forever.
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