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The Justice of God

What is the ultimate standard of justice? A whole new light is shed on the subject of justice when we see the world from God’s perspective. From man’s perspective everybody starts out in life with a clean slate, but there is a threshold where a certain amount of bad things in life tip the scale and make some people “bad people” and other people “good people.” Where is the line drawn? How many bad things do we have to do before we are considered a bad person? Some say if you’re 50% or more good then you are a good person. Others say you have to be at least 70% good. People’s opinions may affect what happens to us in this life, but when we die there is only one standard that will matter. When we die we stand before God alone, and only His standard will matter. The startling truth is that in His book you have to be 100% good in order to be a “good person” and merit eternal life in heaven, and not a single human is 100% good – everybody is in the same category! The Bible states, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) But this doesn’t mean that nobody will make it to heaven. The very next verse states that we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” What does this mean?

Just like gravity causes water to flow downhill, sin causes death. (Romans 6:23) Not just a large amount of sin, but one single, tiny sin causes death. It is a law of the universe. Everybody dies because everybody sins. God is the Judge of the universe, and He is perfectly “just.” (Romans 3:26) In His justice He had to give us the sentence of death for our sin, but God is also perfect love (1 John 4:16). After giving us the sentence of death, He then stepped down from His judgement seat and personally served the full sentence of death in our place! When Jesus Christ died on the cross He died in your place so that you might be “justified freely by His grace” (Romans 3:24) and "that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). Justified! In His justice He not only gave us the sentence of death for our sins, but He also accepted His own death as full payment for that sentence. Then why do we still die? The death of Jesus Christ doesn't save us from physical death; it saves us from the “second death” (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8). After our body dies our spirit lives on. If our sins are paid by the death of Jesus Christ then our spirit is clothed with a new body and goes to heaven. If our sins are not paid for by the death of Jesus Christ then we enter the “second death." How does our debt of sin become paid for by the death of Christ? Through faith. Romans 3:26 states that God is “the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” The book of Ephesians uses the word “trust” to help clarify what faith means – “In Him you trusted after you heard the word of truth...” (Ephesians 1:12, nkjv)

Since we don’t go to heaven based on our own merit, does this mean that God doesn’t care about what we do here on earth? The Bible clearly gives the answer – “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:1-2) The Bible goes on to explain that when we trust in Christ’s payment for our sins there is a supernatural change that happens inside us. The payment for our sins is rooted in the death of Jesus Christ and what happens after we trust in His payment is rooted in the resurrection of Christ. Romans 6:4 – “Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (see also Ephesians 1:19-20, Colossians 2:12-13) In other words, Christ died to pay for our sins and rose from the grave to be our Lord, our Shepherd, the one that we follow. Following Christ is evidence that we trust in His payment for our sins (James 2:18). When our sins are forgiven Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us as a “seal” that we are on our way to heaven (Ephesians 1:13). It is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to turn from our sins and follow Christ (Romans 8:13). This supernatural work of the Holy Spirit transforms our lives and makes us a “new creation in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Being a "new creation in Christ" doesn't mean the struggle with sin is over. In fact, it often makes the struggle seem more intense. As long as we live in our mortal bodies there will be a struggle. Click the following link to view an in-depth, animated presentation about this subject:>>