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“And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: ‘Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.'” Revelation 15:2-3
Human minds will never more fully understand God’s justice than when we stand before Him in heaven. Then we will see Him face to face, even as He has always seen us [1 Corinthians 13:12]. Then we will know how all of His essence is one, even as He is also one [Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29]. Then we will see our finite existence from the perspective of a holy eternity.
God is just because all truth is His truth. And justice cannot operate without truth.
God is just because He is also good and loving and all-knowing and unchanging. He is just because He is also holy and sovereign and wise and all-powerful. He is just because He is also transcendent and everywhere-present and faithful and gracious and merciful. He is just because He is also self-existent and self-sufficient and eternal and infinite.
All of His character works together as one unit, rather than as separate entities. He is never more or less any of these qualities, just as none of these traits exists outside of His person. God is just, because that is who He is.
He is self-existent and self-sufficient, so His justice is not counseled by any created being.
He is unchanging and He is holy, so His justice never wavers to the left or to the right [Proverbs 4:27].
He is all-knowing and wise, so His justice has always faithfully extended grace.
He is all-powerful and sovereign, so His justice is precisely exacted.
But He is also good and merciful and loving and gracious, so He provided a substitution for the wages of our sins [Romans 5:8 & 6:23; 1 John 2:2]. A substitute to accept our condemnation so that, by His grace, we could be considered righteous [Romans 3:20-24, 5:9-11 & 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8].
He is transcendent and yet everywhere present, so His justice is always objective while His grace and mercy are always faithfully at hand.
He is infinite, so His justice is not limited in any way. He is eternal, so His justice contains all of our finite existence, but will endure for all eternity.
God is just.
Have you ever found yourself questioning this truth? Do you know others who question God’s justice? Often this is because we don’t like that God’s justice means there is a right way and a wrong way. But as God said to Cain nearly 6,000 years ago, If you do what is right, will you not be accepted [Genesis 4:7]?
“And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished;” Exodus 34:6-7a
God is faithful. That is, He is constant, steadfast and resolute. He sticks unwavering to His purposes and promises.
Faithful is a good trait. Yet in this day and age, where bad is called good and good is called bad [Isaiah 5:20], God’s faithfulness is exactly why many choose to turn their back on Him. In general, people want God to be faithful in His love, goodness, kindness, mercy and grace–as long as it applies the way they expect it to, satisfying each of their desires. But they don’t want Him to be faithful when it comes to His sovereignty, justice and holiness, for example. Because justice means that there is a moral law that we each must adhere to, and that there are consequences if we don’t.
In our self-as-god mentalities, we want to be our own sovereign and determine what is just for our situation–especially if it means opposing God’s holy precepts to fit our perceived needs. In this way, we are not being faithful–steadfast and constant–as God must be.
With God, who is transcendent, moral compliance is black and white–no shades of grey. Either we have forgiveness of sins or we don’t. Either we behave in godly ways or godless ways. Either we glorify Him with our lives, or we dishonor Him. Either we obey or we disobey. It’s like building a house with a rubber band for a ruler, stretching the measuring stick to make it say that the boards are the right length even when they’re truly not. And if every board is slightly off from the true measure, the house will never stand!
Consider that the opposite of a faithful God is one who is careless, cold and corrupt. One who is dishonest, fraudulent and negligent. One who is undependable, unscrupulous and untrustworthy. But these are all words that describe unfaithful human beings. These are the marks of sin in our world, not the hand of God.
God is faithful, we can depend that He will always forgive the repentant sinner. We can trust that He will maintain the seasons, days and years until He renews and restores His Creation [Genesis 8:22]. We can rest assured that He will keep His promise never to destroy the earth again in a worldwide flood [Genesis 9:11]. He was faithful to send His Son, Jesus, to carry out the plan of redemption instituted from the advent of sin [Genesis 3:15] despite the rampant unfaithfulness of human kind in every generation since. And He will be faithful, when the time has reached its fullness, to send Jesus to gather us home [Matthew 13:32 & 24:36].
God is infinitely and eternally faithful. And we are made in His image. We were made to return His faithfulness–to be steadfast in our love for and faith in Him. Do you?
We were made to reflect His constant love and forgiveness to others in our lives. Do you?
“This is what the Lord says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar–the Lord Almighty is His name: ‘Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,’ declares the Lord, ‘will Israel ever cease being a nation before me,’ declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: ‘Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” Jeremiah 31:35-37
God never changes.
Though many have come to believe that the God portrayed in the Old Testament possesses a wholly different character than the God portrayed in the New Testament. Let scripture assure you, that the God of the Bible is one and the same [Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29].
He created the sun, moon and stars to govern the light [Genesis 1:16 & 18; Psalm 136:9]. They mark out seasons, days and years for us. They have since the fourth day of Creation and they will until the earth shall be no more [Genesis 8:22]. We know this is true, because God promised us in His Word and His Word is truth [John 17:17]. His promises have never failed. And the governing light that He established will never fail.
In Jeremiah, we read that if in fact these bodies of light did fail, then God would no longer recognize Israel as His chosen, holy nation. And if human beings could actually measure heaven and plumb the depths of the earth, then God would hold all of the descendants of Israel responsible for their sins and reject them, rather than forgive them.
So is this evidence of the harshly hateful Old Testament God who is seemingly contradictory to the loving God of the New Testament? Not at all!
God declares this impossible circumstance to illustrate that He is unchanging and His love faithful despite our sinful shortcomings. The sun, moon and stars will continue as long as the first Creation. The seas will remain. And even in the end times when God’s wrath is visited upon the earth, mercifully only one third of the sun, moon and stars are blotted out, and only one third of the sea rendered useless [Revelation 8:8-12]. Even then, God’s love for His chosen people and all people will stay His hand and extend His forgiveness.
But in the new heaven and the new earth neither sun nor moon, neither stars nor seas will exist [Revelation 21:1 & 22:5]. Here Israel will cease to be a nation before God’s face–not because God has rejected His people–but because all the faithful in heaven will be one nation belonging to God. No people groups will be separate. Everyone will be citizens of one kingdom belonging to Jesus Christ.
Can you see God’s unchanging nature throughout scripture? If not, pray and read. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and reveal to you the truth of who God is.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever…to Him who alone does great wonders…who by His understanding made the heavens…who spread out the earth upon the waters…who made the great lights–…the sun to govern the day…the moon and stars to govern the night, His love endures forever.” Psalm 136: 1 & 4-9
Every created thing changes, and these changes precipitate from either our sin nature or our redeemed nature.
As human beings made for eternity we want to believe that our race is evolving and growing bigger. Better. Stronger. Scientists hawk this lie to school children from the youngest age. Television and politics agree. Even history books have been rewritten to conform with non-theistic origins.
But the sad truth is that each of these proclaims the untruth of evolution while also affirming the scientific law of chaos. It’s a conflict. Everything in the universe tends towards disorder, not order. Everything falls apart with time, it doesn’t naturally, or even selectively, improve.
Yet sadly, while youth are being taught that they came from rain on rocks that spawned a slime that crawled out onto dry land and sprouted legs, they begin to act like the very animals they were told they came from. Morals are abandoned. Selfishness–as in survival of the fittest–reigns. Self-as-supreme-authority dictates the cultural values and norms of our day. Defiance and violence follow.
But unlike the fairy tale of human evolution or the truth of our deteriorating sinful nature, God never changes. And His love endures forever.
Though we can never ourselves attain godhood, through His Holy Spirit, we can be redeemed and made more like Christ every day [John 13:35]. While our sin nature seeks to leach our mortal lives until they are utterly destroyed within us [John 10:10], God heals. God restores. God regenerates. God gifts us with eternal life [John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9].
And even though the world around us degenerates into sinful chaos, denying the existence of God and crowning self as sovereign [Romans 1:25], God’s love endures forever.
His love is just as unchanging as He is. He loved us from the moment He created Adam from dust and breathed life into his nostrils [Genesis 2:7]. He loved us from the moment our sins crushed the last breath out of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross [Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46; John 19:30]. He has always loved us. He loves us now. And He will always love us with an eternally unchanging, never failing, infinitely merciful yet holy love [Jeremiah 31:3].
Even atheists want everyone else around them to behave with godly obedience, mercy and love toward them–so long as no one tries to impose any regulations on them. Because everyone wants God’s love and the good things that it produces in their lives. But not very many choose to abdicate their self-appointed throne to get it.
God is unchanging. His infinite love for us never changes and never fails. Will you lay aside your life and be transformed by that love [John 15:13]?
“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:17-19b
Whim is not a Godly word. Caprice can never describe our Creator. God is unchanging [aka immutable].
He is the anchor of our souls.
An anchor secures a ship at sea so that the wind and the waves cannot push it to destruction.
He is the cornerstone of our lives.
A cornerstone sets the standard for the rest of the structure. And any building that perfectly aligns with every predetermined point of its cornerstone will not fall.
He is the head of our churches.
A head directs even the smallest functions of the body to work together for the good of the whole and to the glory and honor of God. Any body part that refuses to function as it was intended and as is needed for the health of the body, is removed so that the body does not become sick, infected, or diseased. And ultimately, so that it will not die.
God is the measure. We are the measured in Him.
But imagine taking a test where the rules are different for everyone. The teacher uses different questions for each person depending on how well they like them, or maybe on how they feel that day. Grading is done with answer keys that don’t match the tests that were given, and the teacher doesn’t want to hear that it’s an unfair practice. Students and parents alike would be in an uproar. And rightly so.
You see, rubber bands don’t make good rulers.
God is unchanging. He is the Sovereign authority because He created all that is. He is the epitome of morality because good from bad is discernible only in the light of His person.
We can trust that whenever we come to God, He is going to act consistently with His character. He is not going to turn His back on the repentant. He is not going to get angry at the forgiven when they stumble and fall. He is not going to weary of our prayers. He is not going to break His promises.
And if a whim is not of God, then should we who are being made into His image act on ours? If caprice cannot describe our Creator, then should it describe those of us who have been made a new creation in Him?
Is the Christ-likeness of your character consistent or capricious?
“O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond searching out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” Romans 11:33-34
God is infinite.
His eternality is only one facet of this truth. It is His infinite nature in regards to the aspect of time.
But everything that God is, He is so infinitely.
No one can calculate the depth of His wisdom, or knowledge, or great love. No one can comprehend the fullness of His truth or the holiness of His justice. No one can give thanks in equal measure to His goodness and mercy. No one can appraise His riches or quantify any aspect of God in anyway. Because–while He Created the order of logic that governs mathematics–He Himself cannot be contained or defined by numbers.
He is God. He is infinite–that is He has no limits, no one and nothing bounds Him in.
We are limited in every way. But in this, and every human weakness, God shows Himself strong in our lives–if we allow Him to [2 Corinthians 12:9-11]. A fact that King Belshazzar was reminded of the hard way.
The hand appeared out of thin air and inscribed on the wall for all to read: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN. Mene and Parsin spoke specifically to Belshazzar’s kingdom, but Tekel speaks to us all.
TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting [Daniel 5:27].
To be weighed on a balance scale, there must be something or someone that we are being weighed against–a measure that we need to match. Being perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect [Matthew 5:48]. Being sinless just as Christ was sinless [2 Corinthians 5:21]. Things that we can never attain by our own works [Ephesians 2:8-9]. An infinite plumb line measures our finite existence. Boundless righteousness measures the filthy rags of our most humane works [Isaiah 64:6]. The sinlessly perfect heart of Christ is weighed against our own sinfully rebellious one.
Is there any wonder that we are found wanting?
Only God Himself can meet up to this measure of Godliness. And He gladly did so for our sakes. He lovingly sacrificed His perfect Son Jesus for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:13]. Christ became our righteousness, making peace with God on our behalf [Romans 5:18-21; Ephesians 2:14-18].
Our finite, sinful hearts can never balance in the scales as compared to the infinite, righteous heart of Christ–but it doesn’t have to . By God’s grace, all we need to do to balance the heavenly scales of judgment is accept Christ by faith [John 3:16]. When we do, His heart takes our place. Mercifully, God weighs Jesus’s heart against Jesus in our heart, and the scale balances.
Will you accept God’s infinite love for you? Will you accept His infinite grace in finite faith? Or will you insist on weighing your human effort on the scales and be found wanting?
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:19-23
Veiled in flesh, the Christmas hymn sings. Hail th’incarnate Deity.
Veiled means to be covered in or hidden behind. Flesh is human skin, while incarnate means that God came in that human skin. Deity is God. And hail means to enthusiastically praise in public.
We so often sing, quote, read and hear things that we’ve never really thought about. Words that we know by heart whose meanings have never penetrated the self-same heart.
God is beyond comprehension, self-existent and self-sufficient [amongst other things that we will soon get to], yet many see in the person of Jesus, just a person. Since He was able to be looked upon without people falling dead in His presence, then somehow–if in fact, Jesus is who the scriptures say He is–the Old Testament stories about God the Father must just be lore.
Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar, [Romans 3:4]! THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY by theologian A.W. Tozer puts it this way, “the Man who walked among us was a demonstration, not of unveiled deity, but of perfect humanity.” Jesus was fully God, but He didn’t expose us to the awful glory of the Godhead because no one could’ve survived it. Rather, being also fully Man–a perfectly sinless man–He clothed His deity to walk among us.
Jesus is the holy standard that we live to attain. We will never be perfectly sinless in this life, but when we grow in our relationship with Him, we learn what it is that God truly desires for each of our lives. He works the sin out of our hearts like a therapist massaging the knots out of strained muscles, and we become more like Him with each moment lived by faith.
Let us be oh so careful not to diminish the awesome power of God in our understanding based on the approachable smile of the painted reminiscences of His Son. But let us live a life worthy of the calling set before us [Philippians 3:14], having the covering of our own human sinfulness removed from our hearts [Deuteronomy 10:12-17, 30:6; Romans 9:25-29]. So that the Word of God can penetrate soft soil rather than ricochet off the hardened heart [Mark 4:8 & 20; Hebrews 3:8 & 15].
What is the condition of your heart–ready to receive God’s Word or impenetrable, hard-pan soil?