I used to love the God of love, but the God of justice? – Not so much.
The God of love seemed so much nicer than the God of justice. The God of love liked to be with people. He understood people. He was kind and compassionate towards others. The God of love didn’t seem to spend His time punishing people so much. He didn’t seem to delight in “smiting people in his mighty wrath”.
When I looked at the life of Jesus, I saw Him doing “loving” things. He helped the outcasts, the down-trodden, and the abused. He healed and forgave people. Really, I didn’t see Him executing justice.
But I was blind, because I didn’t understand the meaning of love, and what justice really is, and I didn’t understand the character of God. Now, because I have understood the Gospel, I can honestly say that now I love the God of justice!
God is a God of love. Love rescues, love vindicates, love rights wrongs. And these are all the purposes of God’s justice.
God is a God of justice
Our God is certainly a God of justice. The Bible tells us that justice is the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14) We are told that:
“…all his ways are justice… just and upright is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
That’s why God’s purpose on earth is all about justice, from beginning to end. In the Old Testament, Micah expressed the often-repeated prophetic cry for justice:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Before him, the prophet Isaiah had written:
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and please the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17).
In the New Testament, Christ announced at the beginning of his ministry that His purpose was to work justice:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).
Christ was here quoting the prophet Isaiah (61:1–2; 25:6), demonstrating that He saw His ministry as a continuation of the work of the prophets. His merciful works were works of justice. He made what was wrong, right. He referred to those who pretended to be religious while neglecting pursuing justice for others as hypocrites (Luke 11:42).
God’s love and His justice are not different things, nor are they two sides of the same coin: they are the same thing
The Cross is the epitome of justice, for there He loved the unlovable, forgave sin, and turned lost sinners into sons and daughters. And at His resurrection He destroyed death. What could be more just than that!
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life…” (John 3:36).
This too is just. It’s a personal choice. It is loving for our wishes to be respected. Our choices have consequences, and sometimes eternal consequences. Think about it: if God were to take those who obstinately reject his love to heaven, what kind of happiness could they have in a never-ending life of perfect love?
God’s love and His justice are not different things, nor are they two sides of the same coin: they are the same thing. As Christians we should pursue justice. And it should spill over into every aspect of our lives. Shouldn’t we “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” (Psalm 82:3)?
This isn’t a philosophical thing; it’s not a social thing; it’s not a political thing. It’s a Christian thing. If God loves justice, then shouldn’t you?
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the senior pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question. Sign up to his free online course called Becoming a Follower of Jesus to learn about Jesus and His message.