Exodus 34:5-7, Psalm 146:5-9, John 5:19-30, Romans 2:1-11, Revelation 20:11-12
God is righteous. He is the standard for all that is just and fair.
We are often unsure what to make of our just God. But His righteousness can and should be cause for celebration, a source of immense comfort in a world where earthly justice falls short.
We ache for justice when we experience the ramifications of sin, both on a personal and a systemic scale. When something we love is violated, wounded, or broken, we don’t respond with indifference—we cry out, demanding accountability. If we, with our limited perspective, are so affected by injustice, how much more does God demand justice when His standard of what is good is not upheld?
God loves more deeply and thoroughly than we could ever imagine. He loves perfectly. When proclaiming Himself to Moses, God says He is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:6–7).
God’s understanding of guilt is also perfect, because He is all-knowing, holy, and infinite. He has no statute of limitations. He is not swayed by false testimony or inconclusive evidence. He is the perfect witness, who searches and knows every heart, every intention, every action (Job 28:24; Psalm 69:5). He is “faithful forever, executing justice for the exploited,” even when our lives are not long enough to see it (Psalm 146:7).
Unlike what we experience from one another on earth, God is not faulty or vindictive. He does not overlook sin, nor does He demand more than what is just. This is good news, because we are not only victims of sin and injustice; we are also perpetrators. And yet the steep price our guilt demands is a price Christ already paid on the cross. And “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Jesus tells us He has been given the right to pass judgment, and that He gives life to those who hear His Word and believe it (John 5:24). Our just Judge is also our Savior. He alone can mend the brokenhearted and offer hope to the unrighteous.