Deuteronomy 10:17 is a most interesting verse. “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” Now let’s be honest. How many times have we tried to bribe God? “Lord, if you let me win the lottery I will give 50% to your church.” “Lord, if you will get me out of this bad situation I will never do this again.” “Lord, help me pass this test and I will study the next time.” We might not be that blatant but we have all done it. Some of us are a bit more subtle and cloak it in spirituality. “Lord, if you will only give me a big church to pastor I will feed your flock.” Ah, the human heart is a deceitful thing.
The problem with all this is God is just. II Thessalonians 1. If I asked you to define justice I would most likely get a list of something like the following – fairness, equity, evenhandedness, impartiality, objectivity, neutrality, disinterestedness, righteousness, morality. I heard the following on PBS. The opposite of poverty is not wealth but justice. Justice is not giving everyone equal amounts of the same thing. Justice is giving people what they deserve. There is the problem. How do we, with our limited knowledge, know what others deserve? Some people deserve food stamps. Others don’t. But how do we decide? Justice is not easy.
Then there is the Gospel. We deserve death. We receive grace. Where is the justice in that? The Cross of Calvary is the only answer. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Written by Roger Bothwell on August 5, 2014
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574