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)
The theme for today’s sermon is “the Lord our God is just”. Every person expects justice and in today’s world lawyers represent clients before judges and both are entrusted with the duty to ensure justice. In our courts the lawyers and judges still wear collars with what is known as barrister’s bands or tabs. Ministers of the gospel also wear collars with the same bands known as preaching bands or tabs. They are often simply referred to as a bib. The two bands are symbolic of the two tablets of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments. Lawyers and judges just like ministers of the gospel wear the collar as a constant reminder that they are to dispense justice as they serve the people. Revelations by the investigative journalist Anas has revealed how some judges and members of the judiciary dispense justice and this has often been referred to as justice for sale. They act as auctioneers dispensing justice to the highest bidder and denying justice to the poor and disadvantaged who are left to seek justice from a just God.
Step One: God is just
a) God is just and must judge sin
God is just and must judge sin. God created everything that man would ever need before He created man. The only thing that God withheld from him was the fruit of one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam made the choice to disobey God, he came under the judgement of God.
b) God’s judgement on sin
God’s judgement on sin is death for “The wages of sin is death”. (Rom. 6:23) God is just and gave the Law through Moses on Mount Sinai to reveal His righteous requirements. He required the death of a lamb without blemish, the lamb of God.
c) Jesus Christ was judged
Christ, God’s only Son, who “In every respect was tempted as we are, yet without sin”, (Hebrews 4:15) bore the judgement of God. He was the only one who qualified to bear the judgement of God on sin
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus describes an unrighteous judge who has no resemblance whatever with the righteous Judge He taught us to call ‘Father’. According to Bible theologian William Barclay there were two ways to settle disputes in Israel in those times. Jewish disputes ordinary came before the elders whereas the rest came before the public courts. The judges of the public courts were appointed by Herod or by the Romans in the same way as the tax collectors. These judges were notorious and more interested in money than in discharging justice and unless a plaintiff had influence and money to bribe, he or she had no hope of ever getting his or her case settled justly. The destitute widow who had no one to help her came before such a corrupt, dishonest, and unjust judge. She represents the poor and defenceless and it was obvious that without any resource she had no hope of ever getting justice from such a judge. Although she was legally protected by the Law. the Judge was unwilling to dispense justice. This poor widow succeeded because of her persistence and determination. She pursued her goal with an attitude that was not ready to give up until it yielded the desired result.
If a corrupt unrighteous judge can be prevailed upon to deliver justice, what are we to expect from a just God. Our persistence is not to change God to dispense justice as He is a just Judge, our persistence is to change us to have the right mindset about Christ.
Step Two: Jesus Christ justifies the sinner
a) Christ paid the price for forgiveness
God is just and justice demands the punishment of the guilty. Christ paid the price for our forgiveness. He was made sin, bore our curse, condemnation, humiliation and shame that we might be forgiven.
b) Christ justified the sinner
Jesus Christ took our place and endured God’s divine judgement on sin to pay the price for our forgiveness for “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”. (Hebrews 9:22) We are not only forgiven but also justified. Justification means just-as-if-I had never sinned. It means being made righteous with His righteousness, a righteousness that has never known sin.
c) Christ accepts those who believe
Christ has paid the price for our forgiveness and justified whosoever will believe in Him. We cannot do anything to be saved but we must accept what Christ has done for us to benefit from His sacrifice.
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16) As believers we cannot keep this good news to ourselves. We must let the world know that God’s judgement on sin fell on Christ so that we might be spared. We must always “be ready in season and out of season” to share such good news. Today we are living in times when people want to hear what suits and benefits them rather than the word of God and there is a need to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”. (2Ti 4:2) The reason why many people today are only concerned about themselves and not about others is they do not know the source of their provisions. Jesus Christ is the source of everything we need in life and can be trusted to take care of us.