Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, Part 2 (Deuteronomy 32:35)

Deuteronomy 32:35

Last week we looked at how God’s justice and love exist in perfect harmony within him. We then looked at some of the examples of God’s just judgements in both the Old and New Testaments. Here we turn to the question of what gives God the right to judge.

God has the right to judge, because of who he is.

First, he is the only judge who has perfect authority to judge. Human judges have limitations. They do not have perfect knowledge. They err and sin and can be biased and unfair, despite attempts to remain objective. The Almighty Judge of the Universe is not like that. There are no limits to his knowledge. There is no iniquity in him nor bias. He needs no system of checks and balances to keep him fair. God is the only judge who has perfect authority to judge. 

Second, God is never a cold judge. He never judges dispassionately. I have in my mind two judges. One judge is warm, sympathetic – the type of judge who will come down from the bench after giving an unwelcomed verdict and hug the man just sentenced. The other judge is cold, crotchety, a Scrouge-like character. The Almighty Judge of the Universe is more like the first than the second. He takes no pleasure in handing down an unfavorable verdict. Yet, the Almighty Judge of the Universe is warmer still. His love never separates from his justice.

Third, God, Our Judge, always gets it right. Earthly judges do not aways get it right. That is why the most severe punishments require the highest level of evidence, are open to the highest level of scrutiny, and can be appealed many times. God needs no evidence presented to him; everything lays bare before him. He knows all mitigating circumstances. He always passes down the perfect verdict.

The moral order of all creation would fall apart without a Judge like God. Theologian J.I. Packer said: “Would a God who did not care about the difference between right and wrong be a good and admirable Being? Would a God who put no distinction between the beasts of history, the Hitlers and Stalins (if we dare use names), and his own saints, be morally praiseworthy and perfect? Moral indifference would be an imperfection in God, not a perfection. […] The final proof that God is a perfect moral Being, not indifferent to questions of right and wrong, is the fact that he has committed himself to judge the world.”

God has every right to judge, but to make it personal, we need him to.

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