When I write, I am aware that I can sound a little, “Polly-Annish”. For those of you too young to understand this reference, “PollyAnna” was a character in a book, then play, and then a movie, who was always looking on the bright side of things. She played a game her father taught her, called— “The Glad Game.”
The reason, I reference this character, is because I would like to talk about a subject that is out of character for my usual PollyAnnish self, but I think is necessary to present the full picture of who God is. I talk a great deal about God’s overwhelming love for us—but I hardly ever talk about God’s character of justice and righteousness.
I do however believe that God is just and righteous. What do I mean by this—I mean that God has a standard, by which He judges all of us, and by which all of us have fallen short. Romans 3: 23
When someone has offended me, I am delighted that God is a Judge, and I hope that He is judging the offensive person and giving them a consequence for their sin against me. However, when I am aware that I have offended someone else and God in the process, I am grateful for God’s mercy and forgiveness. (I noticed this same dichotomy in my children, when they were offended, they wanted the guilty party to pay, but when they were the offender, they either denied offending, justified offending, or cried out for mercy and forgiveness.)
I know that I am grateful that God is a righteous God and will judge—when I see the atrocities, we as people commit against each other. A stroll through the travesties of time leaves me feeling dirty and in need of a shower, but grateful that God will be holding evil Kings and dictators accountable for their holocausts. The thought that these people who gave themselves completely over to the dark one, will be standing before the judgement seat of God and quaking in their boots for what awaits them, satisfies the need to see righteousness and justice in my soul.
Yet, if I am honest with myself, I know that when I look at my own life, and my actions– justice and righteousness demand that I pay as well. Try this exercise out for yourself—imagine someone has made your life into a movie and they included everything in the movie, all the good parts and the bad parts of you. Would you be embarrassed if this movie were shown to the world? I would be mortified!! This is how I know that I too have earned God’s Judgement.
This is where, I am so grateful to God, because His love and His justice are fully seen in Jesus Christ. Because God loved us so much, Jesus came. Because God is so righteous and just, Jesus came.
Jesus came to pay the penalty that I owe, and that you owe—-“The wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23
We have each earned a death penalty for our sins against God and against each other.
Jesus paid that penalty for each of us when He died on the cross. Jesus—because He is God Incarnate, with His One Death could pay for ALL our Sins.
However, we each need to recognize that we need a Savior and accept what Jesus did for us individually to receive the gift of Peace with God. In other words–we can know God—as our Father—not as our Judge, but as our Dad. “ So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
This is the “good news.” Indeed–this is Great News!!! In fact, the rest of the verse, (or the rest of the story as Paul Harvey likes to say) is this: “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is Eternal Life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Someday, our lives on this earth will be over, and we will each stand before God. Will we stand as people who accepted the great gift offered to us through Jesus—the gift of salvation and forgiveness? Will we stand before our loving Dad, or the Righteous Judge?
I for one, am grateful that I will not be standing before God as a Judge, but as God as my Dad, even though God is one and the same—a God of love and a God of Righteousness. In fact, I propose that one cannot know and understand the magnificent gift of Jesus coming to earth and dying for our sins, until one embraces both aspects of God.
If you would like to know more about how to have a relationship with God as, “Your Dad”, you can click here.
I don’t know about you, but the fact that we all deserve death, but God instead offers us all life is a great encouragement to me!!