Key Verse – “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”
The righteousness and justice of God are so closely tied together that they are the same word in Hebrew but translated differently in English depending on the context. So because of God’s righteousness, he is required to act justly. There is no need for lawyers as God knows all already, and no one will be excused as a matter of technicality.
It is because of God’s holiness that righteousness is demanded. No sin can enter God’s presence. There must be something done – either man is forever kept from God’s presence or there is made another way to appease God’s need for justice.
Where has God’s justice gone?
There are many that wish to dismiss God’s justice in favor of God’s love. Even in our passage from Genesis, it would appear that God would have relented if there were even ten righteous people in Sodom. But this is a mistake to think this way. First of all, even if God did not destroy Sodom for the sake of the righteous in the city, this doesn’t mean that the sinners would escape judgment. Just as in America today, God may be preventing disaster from striking because of the sake of faithful believers who continue to pray. But this doesn’t mean that the entire nation is saved – even if we wish to incorrectly call ourselves a “Christian nation.”
There are those who wish to disregard God’s sense of justice altogether however. A loving God cannot send a person to Hell and thus God’s righteousness must be ignored. Such a focus makes God totally impotent in dealing with sin however.
We must be careful not to take God’s justice into our own hands however. Bombing abortion clinics – committing murder in order to stop murder – denies the fact that God is in control and it is His right to judge and according to His time. Some of histories most notorious sinners saw conversions later on in their life because God was patient, unlike us.
God has given us guidelines by which we are to judge. Even Martin Luther King foolishly stated that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” However, we cannot totally ignore justice while here on earth, waiting upon God to judge in eternity. We are not to judge rashly or out of emotion, but we have every right to call sin what it is.
Fortunately there is an appeasement to God justice. Next time we will look at God’s love and understand what it does and doesn’t mean to all of humanity.