Summary: "And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them?” Luke 18:7 (ESV)
Theme: The Lord our God is just
Text: Jer. 31:27-34; 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8
Television has exposed us in recent months to what happens in the court room and given us a better understanding of the description of God in the Scriptures as ‘the righteous Judge’. In today’s parable, Jesus describes an unrighteous judge that has no resemblance whatever with the righteous Judge He taught us to call ‘Father’. William Barclay notes that the judge in this parable is not a Jewish judge because ordinary Jewish disputes came before the elders and not the public courts. The judge here was one of the paid magistrates appointed by Herod or by the Romans. Such judges were notorious and unless a plaintiff had influence and money to bride, he or she had no hope of ever getting his or her case settled. The widow represents the poor and defenceless and it was obvious that without any resource they had no hope of ever getting justice from such a judge. This poor widow succeeded because of her persistence and determination. She pursued her goal with such determination that it yielded the desired result. If a corrupt unrighteous judge can be prevailed upon to deliver justice, what are we to expect from a righteous judge? God, who is just, will always deliver justice.
The Scriptures reveal God as “the righteous Judge”. As a righteous Judge He demands righteousness and must punish sin. He laid down His requirements in the Law He gave the Israelites on Mount Sinai. The purpose of the Law was to point the people to sin “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) Since no one was capable of fulfilling the Law God provided a remedy for sin, the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb. The sin of the sinner was tranferred to the lamb that was then killed “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23) This verse points to our need for a Saviour, the lamb of God, who would deal with sin once and for all. The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as the promised Saviour, the Lamb of God. He was blameless and without sin and the only one qualified to pay the penalty for sin. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin”. (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was made sin with the sin of the whole world, past, present and future and paid the just punishment for sin. He suffered the judgement of God for our forgiveness to make us righteous with His righteousness.
God is just and His judgement fell on Christ that we might be forgiven and spared God’s judgement. This good news about the sacrifice of Christ needs to be preached and shared. As believers we are “to be ready in season and out of season”. We need to share the good news that because of the sacrifice of Christ “God will be merciful towards our iniquities and will remember our sins no more”. (Heb. 8:12) We are to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”. (2Ti 4:2) This is because we are living in times when people want to hear what suits and benefits them rather than the word of God. They do not want to hear about love, salvation and judgment but about living a life of affluence. They are not interested in helping others but are only concerned about meeting their own desires. We need to share the truth about the love and sacrifice of Christ. We cannot share what we do not have and therefore must first believe in Christ and be saved. It is only then that we will not see prayer as a way to manipulate God but as a way to deepen our intimacy with Him, our trust in Him and our obedience to Him.
The sacrifice of Christ paid the penalty for sin. Christ shed His blood for “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”. (Hebrews 9:22) Justice demands the punishment of the guilty. Jesus Christ, our Creator, took our place and endured God’s divine judgement on our sin to pay the price for our forgiveness. Jesus Christ was made sin with our sin that we might be made righteous with His righteousness. He shed His blood to cleanse us and justify us, just – as – if – we had never sined. Christ’s justification gives us access to God’s presence, blessings and provisions. We can now come boldly before His presence, know Him and His will and by faith enter into the provisions of His grace, God’s undeserved favour. God’s blessings are no longer dependent on us but on Christ. We are favoured because of what Christ has done.