Devotional Readings

The Justice of God

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25.

There had been popular uprisings against Pilate, governor of Judea, and to restore order to the province, he had allowed his soldiers to invade the Temple and kill Galilean pilgrims who were offering sacrifices to God.

The Jews told Jesus about this calamity, not from a sense of pity and sympathy, but with a deep-down sense of satisfaction that “this hasn’t happened to me–therefore I must be better and more favored than those people to whom it happened.” Jesus knew that, and said, “I suppose you think this happened because they were great sinners above the rest of you.” He continued: “Not so. Unless you repent, you are all going to perish.”

Jesus does not ignore the justice of God. In fact, it is an important thing to recognize the justice and judgment of God.

We know that a time will come when mercy will no longer plead and justice will be dealt. The Bible describes times in the past when God “spared not,” because His justice could no longer permit conditions to continue as they were. One of the times when God “spared not” is recorded in Genesis 18. Abraham, “the friend of God,” was bargaining with Him about Sodom’s fate. He must have had a deep relationship with a friendly God to bargain in this way.

He questioned, “Are You going to destroy the righteous along with the wicked? Suppose there are 50 righteous people within the city. Will You spare it for the righteous that are within?” He appealed to God’s fairness.

God was patient with this man who was trying to tell his Creator the proper thing to do, for He answered, “If I find in Sodom 50 righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”

Then Abraham became nervous. What if there weren’t 50? So he continued to bargain for a lower number–45, 30, 20, and finally 10. And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it for 10’s sake.” You know the rest of the story. God saw a point past which iniquity and rebellion could no longer be allowed to continue, because He is a God of justice. There weren’t even 10 righteous people, and Sodom was destroyed. But the pitiful handful of righteous were spared.

from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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