One of the first things that young children become concerned about, especially if they have brothers and sisters, is the concept of “fairness” or “equity”. They are seldom concerned that this same “fairness” be demonstrated to their siblings, but are adamant that it be administered to them when it is to their own advantage. Adults, unfortunately, are not much different even though experience teaches them that the affairs of this world seem seldom fair, in the human perception.
Man in his natural state is not equipped to adequately judge true “fairness” or “justice” and often complains about his perceived lack of fairness and equity. The Psalmist even makes such a lament “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psa 73:3) Because man has the “law written in his heart” (see Rom 2:15) he can readily see what he believes to be “inequity”, when it concerns himself, but he cannot embrace true “justice”. He can easily overlook his own “unfairness” towards others as long as he feels that he is being treated “fairly”, which in his own mind means that he gains an advantage..
GOD’s justice arises not from some “cosmic necessity”, a law to which HE is subject, or a “force in the universe” but rather, HIS justice derives solely from HIS own character and sovereign will. GOD is just in all that HE does simply because HE is GOD. Justice is defined by what HE does and HE answers to no tribunal but HIS own purpose and will. HIS justice most certainly cannot be weighed by men.
It is pure folly and wickedness that would ever cause a man to consider a scenario (either real or hypothetical) which would result in labeling GOD as unjust. Yet we have heard men say and often argue that GOD would be “unjust” if HE did thus or so. How foolish is such an argument, yet in order to establish HIS mercy in HIS dealings with HIS elect HE would even forbear this foolishness of men such as HIS conversation with Abraham where Abraham seeks to bring HIM to account by saying.” “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25)
This question needed not even to be asked, for whatever action the LORD was pleased to take it would most certainly be just and right. HIS justice does not hinge upon what we perceive to be just. Rather, when the revelation of HIS holy character is revealed, then also is the fact that anything which HE undertakes to do whether it be unto our benefit or unto our destruction, is manifested as just. Job understood this concept when HE said, “Though HE slay me yet will I trust HIM.” HE may show mercy but HE will be “just.
We most often hear the questioning of GOD’s justice brought forth when the doctrine of unconditional election and its companion doctrine, particular redemption; are discussed (or cussed) by those who are ignorant of GOD’s purpose in the earth or either in rebellion against HIS sovereign prerogative to do with HIS own as HE sees fit.
Those who worship at the shrine of “free will”, usually have no qualms at all of seeking to sit in judgment of GOD’s “justice”. They come up with all sorts of scenario’s to “explain” the entrance of sin into the world and usually conclude by saying that unless it is strictly a matter of man’s “free will” then GOD would be “unjust” to destroy him for it. Away with such nonsense. All things are ordered by the LORD to occur exactly according to HIS eternal purpose, none can stay HIS hand nor question HIS doing. (see Dan.4:35; Rom. 9:20; Isa. 45:6-9; 46:9-11) GOD is JUST and will do all things according to HIS justice.
This is the hope of the Psalmist as he says, “Let my sentence come forth from thy presence”. Though he surely desired the mercy of GOD to be visited upon him, he understood that the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE will do righteously according to HIS own will, and according to the law which HE has revealed unto men.
When a man is brought into a court of law, he can forget about mercy, for there is no such thing as mercy when the decision of that court is to be based upon the law. If this is true in the courts of this world where men preside, it is doubly true when they are brought before the solemn tribunal of a Thrice HOLY GOD. HE may show mercy but HE will be “just.
In reality the ONE who is standing in that tribunal awaiting the just sentence of the JUDGE in this Psalm is none other than the LORD JESUS CHRIST. HE is in HIMSELF a MAN of purity and holy purpose, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” (Psa 17:3) For HE is that ONE “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (1Pet 2:22-23)
HE did not plead this for HIS own sake, even though all of it was exactly true, but rather this is that advocacy which HE undertook in the behalf of those for whom HE came as a SUBSTITUTE. HE imputes HIS righteousness to those for which HE came and pleads HIS own righteousness before the judgment bar of GOD, in their behalf, declaring HIS own perfections to be theirs. The justice of GOD demands that those who are perfect and without the least taint of sin be found accepted according to the law under which they are subjected.
By the same token and under the same law; that justice demanded a payment for sin. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Eze 18:20) GOD would not therefore, according to HIS own justice simply overlook sin, lest an inequity be demonstrated. Therefore HE “would be just and the JUSTIFIER” not by overturning the law but by fulfilling it. Thus this same ONE who has imputed HIS own righteousness to an unworthy people, making them as those without sin before GOD, has imputed their sin to HIMSELF and has willingly undergone the sentence of death which that law demanded of every sinner. The JUST for the unjust.
1 From whence this fear and unbelief? Hast thou, O Father, put to grief
Thy spotless Son for me? And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin Which, Lord, was charged on thee?
2 Complete atonement thou hast made, And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er thy people owed; How then can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in thy righteousness, And sprinkled with thy blood?
3 If thou hast my discharge procured, And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine, Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand, And then again at mine.
4 Turn, then, my soul, unto thy rest; The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty; Trust in his efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God, Since Jesus died for thee. (#227 Gadsby’s by Toplady)
HE may show mercy but HE will be “just. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psa 85:10) CHRIST is our EQUITY.mam