Imagine sweating nervously as the walls of the courtroom seem to blur into each other. You shuffle uncomfortably in the defendant’s chair and listen as your case is pleaded.
We all view justice differently than each other and, depending on which side of a trial you are on, you could either love it or hate it. The truth is, regardless of our opinion, justice is needed and deserved. When someone does something wrong, justice says that they should be punished. Without this mentality, society cannot function.
God designed us this way. He engineered us to crave justice and to feel indignant when we do not have it. How much does God value this concept if even in us – His greatest creation – He instilled such need for it? He recognized the need for it, gave it to us, and yet we are the only beings in all creation for which this law has been averted. We sin. We have taken God’s laws and ignored them. We deserve God’s justice, and the idea that we are not held responsible for this is something we all take for granted.
The angels were the first beings to cross God’s line. Many sinned; they thought themselves greater than God. Therefore, they were punished and will be, for all eternity, in the lake of fire itself. There was no mercy for the angels, those hallowed beings who lived in the very presence of God. They had no second chances. Those angels that sinned, including Satan himself, will suffer for all eternity for their choice.
We, as Christians, choose to sin so severely and so often, and we are forgiven every time. How, though, was this debt paid? It was paid through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The difference between heaven and earth is tremendous. One is beautiful and perfect, beyond our imagination or the scope of any dream a man, woman, or child has ever had. The other is a place that needs much more from us than we are willing to give and is rarely a pleasant place.
Now, to say that Jesus was held in great respect would be a sore understatement, but because I could never grasp, much less convey, His authority, I will just carry on. Jesus was held in great respect in heaven. He created all things and is literally God, yet He was born on this earth, in an era and place that is now appalling in the pages of our history books; born into a nation occupied by soldiers of the greatest empire the world had ever seen! The people of Israel were ruled by Rome and Jesus was born to a lowly carpenter; not a noble, not a rabbi, not some dictator with power or comfort, not anything but a carpenter. He was born in a manger, and not the sort we set up at Christmas…the real type. It was filled with smelly animals, their dung, and their filth. That is where Jesus, the God of heaven, started His walk among the people who wronged him so greatly in the past and would never stop. He did all of this because He loved us and wanted to pardon our sins; but because He is a just God, payment had to be made.
Everyone will tell you that God is a God of love. He is, but He is also a just God. Every sin comes at a price. Every wrongdoing has its own wages. Just because our debt is paid, does not mean we are free to gallivant about as we please.
Job 37:23 says, “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.“ (KJV)
God’s supreme justice is not founded on indifferent musings or simple preference, it is His will for us. It is what’s best for us, and most of all, what we need. We must pay for our sins, as must those around us.
Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (KJV)
Death is a result of our sins and it is a terrible thing. Justice is perfect and it punishes those who are not, but Jesus Christ loves us so much that for one time, and one time only, justice punished our perfect sacrifice. God is love, but He is also justice, and that is what gave us our part in the most unbelievable and perfect story ever told.