Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Reconciling God’s Love and Justice
Read | Psalm 33:4-5
Some people reject the message of salvation because they are offended by the Bible’s description of God’s wrath. Even believers struggle to reconcile the Lord’s love and justice. How can He at the same time be perfectly loving and perfectly just? In an attempt to come to terms with this dilemma, we often try to soften the message of judgment and instead emphasize the Father’s loving qualities. But love and justice are not contradictory terms. In fact, you can’t have one without the other.
God’s love brings good into our lives. But if there is no justice, sin runs rampant and causes untold pain and suffering. No one thinks a judge is loving when he refuses to punish guilty criminals. To set them loose in society is not healthy for either the wrongdoer or the community. In the same way, our loving heavenly Father cannot allow sin to go unpunished.
But this presents an even bigger dilemma for mankind. We are all guilty before a holy God. That is why Christ came to earth. He bore divine wrath for all our sins so that the Father could be both just and forgiving. His justice was satisfied by the most loving act of all time—Christ’s death on the cross. Now those who by faith accept Jesus’ offer of salvation will never experience punishment for their sins.
Although in heaven believers will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, there will be no reason to fear. Our judgment has the purpose of determining rewards, not dishing out punishment. Out of gratitude, we should prepare now for that time by living for the Lord every day.
Psalm 33 (NASB)
Praise to the Creator and Preserver.
1 Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
3 Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
4 For the word of the LORD is upright,
And all His work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.
6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
10 The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.
13 The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
14 From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.
16 The king is not saved by a mighty army;
A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a false hope for victory;
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
22 Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You.