October 17, 2018: God is Just

Talk about how the game was rigged. It was unfair for those that were playing because there was no chance to win. I got to set the rules, and I chose to make it unfair.

Tonight we are going to talk about one of God’s characteristics that fits in with what just happened. God is just. He sees and treats everyone the same. He doesn’t care if you are an athlete, cheerleader, musician, expert snap chatter, videogame player, valedictorian or worst in your class. God judges and views everyone with the same level of wisdom, love and passion.

Psalm 99:4

·        The Strength of the King loves justice; You have established equity, you have executed justice, and righteousness in Jacob.

o   Loves Justice

§  based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.

·        God holds everyone to the same standard (based on the law.)

o   Established Equity

§  God is the one who set the rules as to what is right and what is wrong. That moral code that each of us have, inherently (existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.) that we choose to listen or ignore…you know, your conscience. (Romans 1:18 says that we know but some suppress the truth)

o   Executed Justice and Righteousness

§  Not only is God the author of these things, He is also the judge. He is the authority on what is right and what is wrong, and because of that He is able to judge us fairly.

§  He acts righteously and desires that relationship with you and me. Are our relationships driven by righteousness? If not, that is injustice, which God hates.

So, how does God have this type of ability?

Psalm 11:4-7

·        The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.

·         (v4- God is Holy)

o   God is apart from us in that He is holy. His separation is one of the reasons that allow Him to judge fairly.

o   We have talked about transcendence before (to exist above and independent from; to rise above, surpass, succeed.) God’s existence is not dependent on anything. Our existence is dependent on God.)

·        V5- He tests  (The righteous and the wicked)

o   Ever wonder why sometimes things happen that we don’t exactly understand but it puts us in situations where we have to make the right decision?

§  God will put us in places that will test if we are going to hold strong to our faith, and trust Him or if we are going to turn our back on Him.

·        I honestly wonder if God does that so that we know whether or not we would stand strong. He already knows, and I believe these are Him proving to us who we really are. Kind of like having evidence for our heart.

o   He hates those who love violence

o   V6- Just Consequences

§  Promoted to customer at Walmart…our actions are what brings the consequences that we receive. If we reject Christ and reject God, it is our choice that we choose hell. If we choose to follow Christ, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and repentance, we are saying we are choosing to follow God.

·        Either way, whether we realize it or not, we are choosing the just consequences that God has laid before us.

§  He will judge those who are wicked…even if it takes longer than we would like.

o   V7- God is righteous-

§   The Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness, the upright will behold his face.

§  This paints a picture of the final judgment. Those that do not seek after righteousness will face the just consequences of their actions (Eternity separated from God)

§  Those that seek after the righteousness will face the just consequences of their actions. (Eternity with God)

o   Even though it isn’t the popular thing now, there is a right and a wrong. God doesn’t flip-flop. He gave us what the expectation of righteousness is. As Christians, we can pursue justice and righteousness. This means not doing what may be convenient or easy, but doing what is right.

·        Two weeks ago we talked about how God is holy. This means he is pure, correct? This means He has a very clear sense of right and wrong. Right and wrong doesn’t change based on what the culture says. It doesn’t change based on your or my opinion, emotions, or biases. God hates that evil happens in the world, and as we just read in Psalm 11, one day all of it is going to be answered for.

·        Growing closer to Jesus means becoming more like Him. As our relationship with Jesus deepens, we start to gain a better idea or understanding of justice. We have a greater awareness of injustice in the word, and we look for ways to handle it. Jesus wants us to recognize injustice, but he also calls us to act and respond when we see injustice being inflicted on other people.

Psalm 92:12-15

·        The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree. He will grow like the cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in an old age. They shall be full of sap and very green.

·        V12- Like a Palm tree

o   In this section of scripture, the palm tree and the cedar symbolized permanence and strength.

·        V13- Planted

o   They will flourish in the courts of our God: When a tree was planted in the courtyard of the temple it symbolized the thriving conditions of those who maintain a close relationship with the Lord. So, what we can take from this is that we need to make sure that we understand the justice of God because there are times that His justice and what we think is justice don’t mesh.

·        V14- Ripe Fruit

o   As people get older, or more mature in their faith, they grow closer to God. The writer of Psalm 92, here attributes that to a tree. As a tree gets older, it gets bigger and stronger and can produce more than a little sapling. Like an adult tree, these mature Christians are able to produce seeds that are planted into the ground, or the hearts of those around them.

o   There is a level of trust that we need to have for God that will help us to have faith even when we think things are bad. Like that tree that thrives in the court of the temple, our faith needs to thrive in the Lord. We have the Holy Spirit within us, those of us that have chosen to follow Christ, and so that seed is already there. We are to water that seed within ourselves through reading scripture, prayer, being discipled, being involved in study at church and even teaching others (this is what helps me the most.)

·        V. 15 - Declare

o   To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

o   This again, draws us to the fact that God has this otherness about Him. He is righteous and the judge of all things.

o   He is our rock. There is permanence in Him that we can take shelter in for protection.

o   He will always be righteous and just meaning that we never have to worry about Him changing His mind on what is right and what is wrong. This means that regardless of what society says, we can take a stand with what scripture states because if He said it, we can believe it.

One thing we need to remember, as we are wrapping this up is that even though God is Just and that He is holy, He is also right here with us, in the trenches. Those things that you have been tempted with, Christ was tempted as well. (Hebrews 4:15- For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has bene tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.) Christ showed us the example of what it takes to live a perfect life, fulfilling the moral and righteous requirements that God set for us. Knowing that we are not able to fulfill this, in His mercy, God has allowed Christ to pay the price for our consequences. This is why salvation is so important. We are not able to live a sinless life, no matter how hard we try. From the first time we sin, we are wicked, and because of the Justness of God, our consequence is hell.