Summary: A focus on the just character of God.
"Our Just God"
Welcome back to our series on Knowing God. In this series, we’re attempting to know more of what God is like MENTALLY, so that we might know Him better EXPERIENTIALLY.
Thus far, we have uncovered 4 attributes of God’s being. We have spoken of His Immutability, Omni-presence, Omnipotence, Omniscience , and Holiness.
Today, we look at another attribute, set forth in our text at the end of Ps.97:2 which says.. "Righteousness and JUSTICE are the foundation of His throne."
So justice is our focus this morning... for we want to know about our just God.
Speaking of justice... in the Old West, vigilantes were once self-appointed law enforcement. One writer says that "vigilantism was often carried out by citizens who were moderate and orderly in their appli- cation of force," but notes... "the danger of mob rule was also present." Yeah! Just ask the poor fellow who’s grave at Boot Hill Cemetery bears this epitaph: "LYNCHED BY MISTAKE."
T.S. Now, let’s begin by asking the question...
WHAT IS JUSTICE? Consider for a moment...
Generally speaking, justice is the "act, practice, or obligation of awarding each his just due." To this, we must add the ideas of "equity, fairness, and impartiality. Not to have these... is not to have justice, but injustice!
But let’s go further...consider...
For justice to occur, there must be 4 essential elements:
First, a DESIRE for justice above everything else. Without a desire for justice, how can justice occur?
Second, there must a LAW or STANDARD by which conduct is measured. Without a standard, how can a proper judgment be made? It can’t... or at least not fairly!
Third, there must be a FAIR AND IMPARTIAL PENALTY for each act of disobedience. Penalties must be fairly matched with offenses and impartiality carried out. Liars do not get the death penalty; nor should Hitler receive the same degree of punishment as a very moral person who rejected Christ as Savior!
Fourth, and most importantly, there must be a Judge with SUFFICIENT KNOWLEDGE, AUTHORITY and MEANS by which to punish offenders.
Justice is impossible without all these elements.. Now, to raise a second question...
WHY IS JUSTICE SO IMPERFECTLY FOUND AMONG MEN?
FIRST, MAN IS FINITE.
Admittedly, man has limitations that directly impact the prospect of justice. What sort of limitations?
For one thing, HE IS LIMITED IN HIS DESIRE FOR JUSTICE
Usually, we don’t really desire justice, unless we’re the offended party. For instance...
The last time you were pulled over for speeding... did you want the officer to give you a ticket or a warn-ing? Like most, you probably desired a warning. If so, you desired mercy, NOT justice. Justice demands that lawbreakers be ticketed.
However, now suppose somebody ran a red light and crashed into your car. The other driver admits he was at fault, but tells the officer he doesn’t want a ticket, and won’t pay for your damaged car. Do you want the officer to give him a ticket, or a warning? You want justice don’t you? Why because you’re the offended party!
So our desire for justice isn’t always there... unless it’s personal. A second limitation...
MAN IS LIMITED BY HIS LAW
In order for justice to occur, a proper standard and penalty must be in place. However, the problem is... laws enacted, and penalties imposed... aren’t always fair. Some laws aren’t enforced, some are obsolete, and some laws are down right stupid!
My friends, did you know that’s it’s still against the law to take a bath on Sunday in some communities? The law is still on the books in some places! Did you know further that it is estimated that we have 35 million laws to enforce 10 Commandments?
However, good laws are necessary.... For without them... we have an inadequate standard by which to measure conduct which frustrates justice.Again...
THIRD, MAN IS LIMITED IN HIS KNOWLEDGE AND APPLICATION OF THE LAW
In other words, even when our laws are just... often it is not enforced! Why? Sometimes judges and juries don’t have all the relevant facts; other times, they have the facts, but their power is limited to bring about justice.
For not all murderers are caught, and when they are.. often they are not convicted. If the O.J. Simpson trial taught us anything... it taught us that people can and do get away with murder!
At the same time, some people are falsely arrested and convicted of crimes they did not commit. One man named...
Ron Eaton did 16 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Afterwards he said, "I didn’t have a dime in my pockets or a friend in the world, when they put me on trial for armed robbery. That’s why I spent 16 years in prison for a crime committed by 2 other men while I was 1,700 miles away.