Justice for all?

It’s not fair that some people have much more than others.

It’s not fair that some live in misery and poverty when some live in comfort and wealth. It’s not fair when I’m treated badly. It’s not fair that people who do bad things get away with it. It’s not fair that rich people can flout the tax laws. We have a deep sense of justice – what’s right and what’s wrong! 

Since God made us and the world we inhabit and since we are made in his image it should not surprise us that God has a sense of justice too. Our systems and attitude to justice are far from perfect but God’s justice is without flaw. One day we will all appear before his judgement throne. The outcome of that examination is certain – we will be found to have fallen short of God’s perfect law: the stuff that we do and the stuff that we think is totally incompatible with God’s perfect being. The sentence is eternal banishment from the presence of God to a place the bible describes as ‘the second death’. This is all bad news, but there is exquisitely good news too.

God is for sure a God of justice but he is also a God of love. He provides a means of dealing with our seemingly hopeless situation. The punishment that God’s perfect law demands needs to be paid and the thing is, God has already paid it. He entered this world as a human being, just like us, with one difference – he perfectly kept God’s perfect law.  God’s law demands death, and that law was satisfied by the death of Jesus. He was our substitute. 

There’s a picture in the Old Testament that helps us see how this works, we go back to the time that Israel were slaves in Egypt. On a particular night death was scheduled to visit every household in Egypt. But God provided a remedy. Each family was to kill a blemish-free lamb and apply its blood to the doorframe. The angel of death would not be permitted to enter all such houses because God would protect. Since God’s presence ‘passed over’ the doorway offering protection this event is celebrated to this day as ‘Passover’. The death of an innocent lamb offered protection. Jesus was described as the Passover lamb. He died to offer rescue from the second death, to pay the price that God’s perfect law demands of us. People who believe in Jesus are like those who applied the blood of a perfect lamb to the doorframe. 

The demands of God’s law in this way may be met. When we come before God’s judgement throne we can claim to be legally justified and that the law has no hold on us because the price is already paid.