Summary: What God has revealed concerning Himself is called His attributes. This sermon is going to look at two of these attributes: justice and mercy.
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
PART2: JUSTICE AND MERCY
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
While comprehending the ineffable is a task being human ability, through the Spirit of God our soul’s yearning to know God can be satisfied. What God has revealed concerning Himself is called His attributes. In Part I we reviewed three of these attributes. First, God is infinite and by this, I mean that He is without limits, boundaries, beginning or ending. He who laid the foundations of this universe is not limited to time, matter, motion or energy. Second, God is immanent and by this, I mean He is above all things, beneath all things, outside all things and inside all things. God is indivisibly present everywhere and infinitely larger than this entire universe. Third, God is good and by this, I mean kind-hearted, gracious, good natured and benevolent in his intention. While the Fallen deserve Hell, God’s goodness can be found in His offering of salvation of all who believe in the atoning sacrifice of His Son! This week’s sermon is going to focus on two more attributes of God: justice and mercy.
ATTRIBUTE 4: GOD’S JUSTICE
5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; 6 for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” 7 And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”
When one looks out upon the atrocities of this Fallen world one cannot help but question if there truly is any justice. What does one say to the 43 % of our children who are being cyber-bullied with little or no recourse available because the means to detect these high-tech crimes have not yet been sufficiently developed? Or what does one say to the approximately 800,000 women, children and men who are sold into sex trade every year? What does one say to the families with victims of genocide such as the Holocaust and ethnic cleansings of Rwanda that left more than six million Jewish people and 800,00 Hutus dead merely because of their race? To the person who is murdered every minute and the person sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, what do you say to them about justice especially when only 6 out of every 1,000 people who commits these crimes are ever punished? With the depravity of the human race almost limitless, does that mean that justice is truly nothing more than a fantasy of those who forever must drown in their own sorrows while the perpetrators of this world walk around free? How does one tell this world that God is sovereign and His justice perfect when to the world, it appears that God is overlooking such atrocities?
It is not just non-Christians who wrestle with this issue but Christians do as well. Psalms 73 describes how Asaph wrestled with God’s justice. He starts off the passage by making a statement that he doubts but wants to prove as being true: “surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart?” (1). Asaph then states that he almost lost his faith in God because he became envious of the prosperity of the wicked (2-3). Why is it that those with callous hearts and evil imaginations (7) with no limits can wear pride like a necklace, cloth themselves in violence (6), scoff, speak with malice and constantly threated to oppress others (8); and yet they themselves have no struggles, their bodies are healthy and strong and have riches beyond imagination? Asaph then asks a rhetorical question in which he is almost fearful to answer: “surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence” (13)? After all, Asaph did not receive prosperity like the wicked had but instead received afflictions and new punishments every morning as his apparent reward for following God’s commands (14)! It was only through a proper understanding of the unity of God and a balanced perspective of the passion of Christ and God’s unchanging attitude towards holding people accountable that Asaph was able to find God’s justice as being truly perfect!
Unity of God. Unlike humanity who are composed of many parts such as spirit, soul and body; God is not created and is unitary in His being. The Jews taught the unitary being of God in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” and so did the early church as seen in the Athanasius Creed: “we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. ” Since God is one, Tozer argues that “everything that God does harmonizes with everything else that God does perfectly because there are no parts to get out of joint and no attributes to face each other and fight it out. All God’s attributes are one, and together.” This means that God’s infinity, immensity, goodness, justice and mercy and so on are always emphasized perfectly and never in conflict with one another. For example, there will never be a time in which God mercy wants to pardon a person but cannot because God’s justice demands otherwise. Given this is true then how can God “overlook” evil and yet remain a perfect judge?