Holy Justice and Grace
By Shawn Tomlin
Justice. That’s a word that brings to mind a lot of ideas. Think of a serial killer, child rapist, or the classic example, Hitler. None of us would ever say that these people shouldn’t be held responsible for their crimes. It would be an injustice if they weren’t. What about Holy Justice? We don’t mind people who we see as evil get what we think they deserve, but when the finger is pointed at us, we tend to squirm a bit. We never think we ourselves need justice, especially Holy Justice, which we usually see as injustice. We tend to demand grace and hate it when justice is served, but what we need to remember is that we ALL deserve Holy Justice and NONE of us deserve grace.
We tend to demand grace and hate it when justice is served
This brings me to our first passage, Exodus 33:19. To be more specific we are focusing on what the LORD said in the last half of verse 19, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” Similarly, in Romans 9:18 Paul writes, “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” Some will look at these passages negatively, but if we have an understanding of Holy Justice, we will see this in a positive light. Pure Grace.
The very nature of the word “grace” shows that it is something undeserved, otherwise it wouldn’t be grace. So many people will say that if God doesn’t save everyone, well, He is unjust! Let’s draw this out to its logical, and more importantly, scriptural conclusion. If God decides to save some and not others, that is not injustice. God is just and cannot go against His own nature.God is not required to show grace to anyone, so injustice is impossible. If you’re wondering where in scripture you can find such evidence about grace, look no further than Ephesians 2:8-9 where it says grace is “the gift of God, not a result of works.” Does anyone work to attain gifts? No, a gift is something undeserved, given freely. Injustice would not be giving what is deserved. Those that Paul said are “hardened” are held responsible for their sin and those who are shown grace and compassion, their sins are not forgotten. For those that believe, justice was served on the Cross. Jesus lived a perfect life under the Law we could never fulfill, died in our place on the Cross, and rose again for our justification. Sin is always dealt with, but for those shown grace, we have been given something we could never earn ourselves, salvation in Jesus Christ.
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”