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The Justice of God - Holy One of Israel Part 7

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 27, 2022 7:00 am

The Justice of God - Holy One of Israel Part 7

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Well, good morning. I came down with this thing in my throat and my chest last night, so you pray for me if you would, and I'll do my very best to get through. How's that sound?

Is that a deal? All right, good. Hey, you know, we're involved in a series of messages entitled The Holy One of Israel, and it's a series of messages all about the attributes of God, and so far we've covered six of the wonderful attributes of God. We've talked about the fact that God is eternal, that God is holy, that God is omnipotent, that God is faithful, that God is omniscient, and that God is our Heavenly Father.

And I hope if you missed any of these messages, you'll pick up the tape or the CD in the bookstore, or you'll go on our website and download the message, and you'll catch up with us. But today we're going to go on in part seven, and we're going to talk about the fact that God is just. Now, it's imperative for us to understand as followers of Christ that the justice of God is linked up as a blood brother with one other attribute of God, and that is the righteousness of God. When we say that God is righteous, what we are saying is that God always does what is ethically right, what is morally pure, and what is utterly virtuous.

I mean, Psalm 92 verse 15 says the Lord is upright and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Daniel chapter 9 says the Lord is righteous in everything He does. But the fact that God is righteous also means that God cares about His creation operating righteously, and this forms the foundation of another attribute of God, namely that God is just. What exactly does it mean when we say that God is just? Well, it means that God is committed to repaying every act of unrighteousness, of wickedness and corruption and injustice, every one of those kind of actions, God is committed to repaying them that were done here on earth with appropriate payback. And you know, the verse that I want to share with you that talks about this in the New Testament is found in Galatians chapter 6. Here's God's promise in this regard. He says in Galatians 6 verse 7, do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked.

You say, yeah He is. People mock God at my office or at my school every single day. No, that's not what the verse is saying. Literally in the Greek it means nobody makes a fool out of God. And the reason the Bible says that is because this verse is going to go on and tell us about a law of human behavior, a law of human conduct that God has set up that nobody escapes. If someone could escape this law, they'd make a fool out of God, but the Bible says that's not going to happen.

And what is that law? Well, the verse continues and says, for whatever a person sows, that is precisely what they will reap. You know, years ago my wife Brenda talked me into planting a garden. Now, when I was growing up, I was trying to talk me into planting a garden. Now, I don't know anything about planting a garden. She said it would be really good if the boys could see something grow out of the ground and they could see us like harvest something and put it on the table and feed them and I was like, alright, alright, whatever. And so, I mean, Jewish people don't garden.

You understand what I'm trying to say? I don't know anything about gardening. So she said it's not that hard. You go up there, you till up the soil, you put a little fertilizer down, you pour the seeds in, you cover them up, you water them.

It's not that hard. Alright, so I went to the store and I bought some bell pepper seeds. I love bell peppers on my salad and I thought, wow, how cool would this be to grow my own bell peppers in my garden and cut them up and put them on my salad. So I put them in the ground, fertilized them, put the water on them, the whole nine yards, and I couldn't wait for them to come up. And when they came up, they didn't exactly look like bell peppers. They were kind of long and skinny and I kept figuring, well, maybe they start like that and then they just balloon out and become bell peppers.

I don't know. Well, they never ballooned out. What I discovered was I had actually bought jalapeno pepper seeds and I had planted jalapenos. Well, now, jalapenos I don't like on my salad.

So the whole thing was kind of a waste of time. But I learned a very important lesson. I learned that whatever you sow, that's what you reap. If you sow jalapenos, you're not getting bell peppers. You're not getting rutabagas and you're not getting asparagus.

You're getting jalapenos. Well, friends, this is not only a law for gardens, this is a law for human behavior, God says. And God assures us in this first, Galatians chapter 6, whatever a person sows, even though it may take a long time, even though it may look like that it's not going to happen, God says you can be eternally sure, I am going to see to it that whatever they sow, that's exactly what they reap. Now we have some sayings in our world. We say what? Whatever goes around, right. We say the chickens always come home to what?

To roost. What are we saying? Well, we're saying the very same thing that God's saying here, except we're leaving out in these human statements the fact that God himself has committed himself to see to it that this happens. Now you might say, well, you know, Lon, all of this that you're saying here kind of scares me a little bit because the Bible says, Ecclesiastes 7, that there is not a righteous person on earth who continually does right and never sins. I'm certainly not one of them standing up here in front of you.

I doubt if you're one of those people. And so, you know, you might say, well, Lon, if I'm going to have to reap in eternity everything I've sowed here on this earth, that could be a really ugly situation. And you're right, it could be. So friends, what are we going to do to remedy that? I mean, we're going to face a just God in eternity who is going to see to it that everything we've sowed, if we haven't reaped it already, we're going to reap it there. So how are we going to deal with that since we don't all sow the best stuff in our life?

Well, you say, Lon, I've got a remedy for that. That's why I come to church. That's why I sing in the choir. That's why I put money in the offering plate and take communion and do all the other religious stuff I do. So maybe all of that will offset just a little bit the justice of God.

Well, folks, it's good you do all this stuff, but that's not going to help. See, Romans chapter 3 says, verse 20, therefore, by human effort, even religious human effort, no one will ever become righteous in God's sight. No one will ever escape the justice of God by human religious effort. You say, well then, Lon, we're all in really big trouble, aren't we? Well, not exactly, because that's why Jesus came.

Look at this. But now, the next verse says, Romans 3.21, now that Jesus has died on the cross, now that he's paid for our sin with his blood, watch, a way to be righteous in God's sight, a way to satisfy the justice of God apart from human effort has been made available to us. This righteous standing, Paul continues, in God's sight, watch, comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. You see, my friends, the death of Jesus on the cross satisfies the justice of God for every single person who avails themselves of that death, who appropriates that death and makes it theirs, who makes that their trust and their confidence as they face the justice of God. And once the death of Christ has satisfied the justice of God, then God becomes free to shower us with the mercy of God.

It's a beautiful system. Romans 3.26 says the cross enables God to be just. Why is he just? Because our sin's been paid for by the blood of Christ. It's done to remain just and at the same time to equip, to show mercy to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. And this amazing transaction that allows God's justice to be satisfied fully and at the same time allows God to shower mercy on us as the people who committed those sins that Jesus paid for, this tremendous transaction is available to every human being on the face of this earth.

But what did Paul say? Only, he says, through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Hey, if you're here today and you never trusted Christ in a real impersonal way, then at this point in time you're facing the justice of God all by yourself, my friends.

That's a scary thought. And I want to urge you, if you've never embraced what Christ did for you on the cross, I want to urge you not to walk to the cross. I want to urge you to run to the cross and avail yourself of the blood of Christ which will then satisfy the justice of God and allow you to remain in the mercy of God because the justice of God has been satisfied for you.

I hope you'll think about that. And you say, well, Lon, this is great. I'm a follower of Christ. The justice of God has been satisfied to me when I go into eternity. All of these things I've sown down here Christ paid for.

That's wonderful. So does that mean that I can do anything I feel like doing down here with complete impunity? I can just live any way I want to live?

Sow anything I want to sow? No, it doesn't. Folks, listen. This promise of God, Galatians 6, 7, whatever a person sows, that's what they'll reap. You know, that applies to believers on this earth as well as non-believers. If you don't believe it, ask David, the man after God's own heart. He sowed some pretty ugly things and you know what?

He reaped some really bad things here on this earth for doing that. Ask Samson. Ask some of these other people you read about in the Bible. Just because we're followers of Christ and just because the justice of God eternally is satisfied by the death of Christ, that does not in any way free us from this law of reaping and sowing here on this earth that God tells us about. We're as subject to that as non-believers are, so be careful. This is why God calls us over and over in the Bible to obedience and to obey Him because when we disobey, we're as subject to this law of human behavior as anybody else is.

Be careful. All right, let's summarize. What have we learned? We've learned that because God is righteous, He cares about His creation operating righteously.

We've learned that because God is just, He has promised to see to it that justice will be done for every unrighteous act ever committed on this earth and because God is God, nobody, He says, is going to escape His justice and make a fool out of God. Now, that's as far as we want to go in our passage because we want to stop now and we want to ask our most important question. So are you ready? You sure? All right, here we go.

One, two, three. Yeah, you say, Lon, so what? Say, this is great. I appreciate what you're saying, but how does any of this really affect me Monday to Saturday?

How does this change my life or how I live my life? Well, that's what I want to talk about in the time we've got left. I don't know if you remember the incident a few years ago over in suburban Maryland, but if you don't, let me tell you about it. One night, a man and his wife had a big fight and he hit her and he hurt her and she decided she was going to get even and so she waited until he went outside later that evening and while he had his back turned to his wife, she got in her car and ran him down from behind at full speed and then she dragged her critically wounded husband into the house and let him lie there on the floor for two days without calling for any medical help whatsoever until finally he died. Now what lesson do we learn from this incident? You say, well, Lon, the lesson I learned is never turn your back on your wife.

That's what I learned out of this. No, well, that may be a lesson, but that's not the lesson we're trying to learn from this. The lesson that we learn from this is that the desire for justice, the desire for revenge, the desire for payback runs really deep in the human spirit and when we feel like justice is not being done at the pace we want to see it done, it's really a very human thing to take matters in our own hands and help justice along like this woman did.

Well, you know, folks, let's be really honest. Every one of us here knows what it's like to be hurt like this woman was hurt. Every one of us here knows what it's like to be betrayed or mistreated or abused or taken advantage of or victimized. Maybe it was our parents or maybe that was done to us by an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend or an ex-spouse.

Maybe it was a friend at work or a friend at school or whatever. But how should we as followers of Christ live differently because we've learned today that God is just? God's promise that He will repay everything that is done on this earth that is unrighteous, unfair, and hurtful, how should that change our response to how people treat us? Well, Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 12.

Here's what he says. He says, verse 17, do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not take revenge, he goes on to say, my friends, but leave room, get out of the way, and leave room for God's justice. For it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Vengeance is not yours, my friend, nor is it mine, it's God's. Now, Paul goes on to say, therefore, if your enemy's hungry, feed him. If your enemy's thirsty, give him something to drink, for in doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.

Why? Because you're handing him over to God for justice. Therefore, he says, do not allow other people's evil to overcome you. Don't go down and lower yourself to their level to get revenge. Don't go down and cheapen yourself and employ their tactics to get revenge, but instead, you overcome their evil, Paul says, with good. Now friends, in short, what God is telling us here is that when people mistreat us and people hurt us and people do things to us that damage us, God tells us to take the high road. God tells us not to lower ourselves and cheapen ourselves and go down and mud wrestle with these people on their level. God says, you don't have to, because I have seen everything that's happened, I understand everything they did, and vengeance is mine, I will repay them. So you leave room for my justice, God says. You don't have to go down and deal with them, you can count on me, I'll avenge the wrong done to you by them, and listen, I'll do a much better job of that than you'll ever do.

So just leave them with me. Now you say, all right, Lon, so when somebody hurts me, so when somebody wounds me, what exactly is God asking me to do? Well, he's asking us to do two things, friends.

Number one, to believe him when he tells us that he'll take care of it. And number two, he's asking us to leave room for God's justice, to give up our own vigilante justice and just to let it go, just to turn it over to him. You know, the Lord Jesus lived this way.

Peter talks about it, 1 Peter chapter 2. He says that the Lord Jesus left us an example that we should follow in his steps, and what is that example? When they hurl their insults at him, Peter says, he did not retaliate, instead he kept entrusting himself to God who judges justly, and God is asking you and me as followers of Christ to walk in the very same footsteps the Lord Jesus walked rather than becoming consumed with bitterness and revenge and payback. Instead, God says you do what Christ did.

You keep entrusting yourself to God because God has promised that he will see to it justice is done, you don't need to. Now let me stop for a moment and say that there is a caveat here I want to mention, and that is that in all of this we are not talking about people committing crimes against us, we are not talking about criminal actions or illegal actions taken against us. You know, the Bible tells us that the Apostle Paul exercised his legal rights in Philippi as a Roman citizen to get out of jail, and again in Acts chapter 26, he exercised his legal rights in appealing his case to Caesar because there were a Jewish mob that wanted to kill him and that was the only way out. And friends, when someone commits something against you and me as followers of Christ that is criminal, that is illegal, the Bible is not asking us to forego our legal rights to prosecution against those people. That's not what we're talking about here. We are talking about in Romans chapter 12, God's focus there is on non-criminal acts of unrighteousness and mistreatment that people do to you and me.

Those things are still rotten and they're still nasty and they're still shameful, but they're not illegal, they're not criminal. And God says when it comes to these kinds of personal hits that we all take in life as followers of Christ, God says what God says what I want you to do is take the high road. Now the way I always remember this and what really helps me is a little device that a man told me about years ago that I never forgot. He said, you know Lon, the way to really put this into practical terms is that God wants us to be tunnels and not walls. Let me explain what that means. If you're a wall and somebody does something mean and nasty to you, boom, it hits you and it just drops right there at the base of the wall. And it sits down there at the base of the wall and it decays and it putrefies and it stinks and it pollutes and corrupts you and everybody else around you.

You become bitter and angry and cynical and spiteful. But you see a tunnel is different. When things hit a tunnel, what do they do? They go right on through. And you know what God is saying is don't be a wall.

Don't let all this mistreatment of other people stop with you and drop down and pollute your life and the life of everybody around you by turning into anger and bitterness and hatred. You just let it go right on through and God says I'm right on the other side with my catcher's mitt and I'm there to get it. You just let it come right on through. I got it. I got it. Now let me tell you as a pastor of a church, I get a lot of opportunity to practice this little device I've just told you about. And you know what?

As a person living in our world, you get a lot of opportunity to practice this. And God is saying look, be a tunnel. Don't be a wall. Let it come on through. I'm here.

I got it. Nobody's getting away with anything but don't let their evil overcome you. Don't let their evil drag you down. Don't let their evil pollute your life. You be a tunnel. Let me have it and you overcome their evil with good. And you know what? It'll mean that you live a healthy life and I'll take care of it. And I'll do a better job than you.

You understand what I'm saying? Now I'll tell you a fellow who lived this way was David. I just got back from Israel this week and we were down in the area south of Jerusalem out in the Judean wilderness where David hid in the caves from Saul for seven years. For seven years Saul chased David around, branded him as an outlaw, tried to kill him multiple times.

I mean it was horrible. David didn't even do anything wrong. David wasn't trying to take Saul's kingship away.

He wasn't doing anything. And you know there was one time where Saul came into this cave and David was hiding in the back of the cave and David could have easily killed Saul and his men were all saying to him, come on David. Come on David. Kill him. Kill him. Kill him. He'd kill you.

If the things were reversed he'd run you through. Go out there and kill him. You know you're the next king of Israel. Samuel's already proclaimed you the next king. Kill him. Kill him. And I love what David said.

Listen to what he said. 1 Samuel 26. He said, as surely as the Lord lives the Lord himself will deal with Saul. What's David saying there?

He's saying, hey fellas, I'm a tunnel. I'm not a wall. You know I've let everything Saul's done to me go right through me and right on to the Lord Jesus himself. And you know what? None of that stuff.

I'm not carrying any of that stuff that you seem to be carrying. David goes on to say either God will strike him dead or Saul's time will come and he will die naturally or he will go into battle and perish. And it was the last of these three that actually happened but God forbid, David says, that I should lay a hand on him. Now there's a tunnel friends.

There's a man who lived not like a wall but like a tunnel. And you know what happened when Saul finally died? David took over as the king and there wasn't a single person anywhere in Israel who could point a finger at David and say, oh look what David did. Look what a bad thing David did. He schemed against Saul. He murdered Saul. He took revenge on... David didn't do a thing.

David didn't do a thing. Friends, this is the beauty of living like this. There are two great advantages of living like this. Number one, God does a far greater job of accomplishing payback for the things people have done to us than you and I will ever do. And number two, living like this enables you and me to keep clean hands friends.

To keep clean hands. What a wonderful thing it is when God moves against some of these folks that have done awful things to us and when God moves, now the problem is we all want God to move faster than he does. You know, we all say, Lord I'm a tunnel, I'm a tunnel, I'm letting it go on through to you. Lord, you handle them today. Today. Get them Lord, today.

Well, you know, doesn't always work that way friends. It took seven years in David's case. It took thirteen years in Joseph's case in jail in Egypt. But you know what? When God does move, he moves swiftly, he moves decisively. It is scary to watch God move in justice.

And when he does, if you and I have lived like tunnels, you know what? Our hands are as clean as a newborn baby. We didn't do a thing. We didn't do a thing. Nobody can impugn our character or point to us and say, yeah well, you, you.

We didn't do anything. God did it. And that's where God wants you to be. That's why he says in Romans 12, as much as it lies with you, be at peace with all men. Be at peace with all men.

Because there's great liberty in that my friends. Jesus said, if you remember John chapter 8, if the Son of Man shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. Now does that mean when the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus makes us free, that we become free from alcohol abuse and substance abuse and all kinds of other stuff? Yes, it does mean that. But it also means that when Jesus sets us free friends, he sets us free and liberates us from bitterness and anger and hatred and malice and revenge that we're carrying because we've been walls.

Because when Christ comes into our life and we really begin to understand that the just God of the universe has promised us, he will pay back. You know what? We can turn it loose and we can be at peace with all men.

And there's great liberty in being able to say, you know what? To the best of my knowledge, I'm at peace with all men. I don't hold any grudges. I don't have any desire for revenge. I'm not plotting against anybody. I'm not scheming against anybody. It's all with God. What great liberty is in that?

And so, I want to challenge you today. I know in a crowd like this, there has got to be in almost every one of our lives people who have hurt us and who have damaged us that honestly we are far more prone in our human nature to hate than we are to forgive. People that we are far more prone to carry malice towards than we are to return good to evil for them. And I'm here to tell you friends that the person that will be damaged the most by that malice and that hatred and that revenge is us, not the person that did it.

It damages us. And Jesus wants to set you and me free. He wants to liberate us from that cancer that will eat up our lives. And the beauty of it is if we understand that God is just and we understand His promise, we can turn it loose.

We can turn it loose. And so I want to challenge you to do that today. I want to challenge you today to stop being a wall when it comes to these people and take all that putrefying decaying junk and today pass it right on through the tunnel and give it to Jesus. Let's pray together.

With our heads bowed and our eyes closed, I'd like to give us just a moment to do exactly what we just talked about. If you've got some folks in your life that you've been a wall to the hurt they've caused you, I want to challenge you today to become a tunnel and to take all that rotten stuff that's really been polluting your life and today just let it go right on through the tunnel. Turn it loose. Give it up and let Jesus have it. And the beauty is my friends, these people aren't escaping justice. You're delivering them into the hands of the one who has promised to accomplish perfect justice better than you'll ever do. So if you need to do that for some folks today, why don't we take a moment and you ask the Lord's help to do that right now so you can get free. Lord Jesus, some of us have just prayed about what moms and dads did to us growing up, what brothers and sisters did to us growing up. Some of us have just prayed about what's been done to us by friends at work, people at school, other relatives, neighbors, things that hurt, things that have wounded us deeply, and things that we have allowed to sit in our life and decay and rot and stink and pollute our lives and our spirits. Thank you Lord Jesus for your promise that you are a just God and you will repay. Thank you for your promise that if the Lord Jesus sets us free, we can be free indeed, free to be able to say as for me, I am at peace with all men.

I'm a tunnel. It's all gone to Jesus. And so Lord help us today by the power of your spirit to turn loose of this stuff and give it to the one who can really deal with it most effectively.

Give it to the one whose shoulders can really carry it without damage. And that's not us, but it's you. Thank you that you are a just God. Thank you Lord Jesus that vengeance is yours.

You will repay. And may that form the confidence that we need so Lord we can allow whatever people do to us not to drop at our feet, but to go right on through to Christ. Change the way we live.

Change the way we react to how people treat us because we were here today and we studied the word of God. And we pray these things in Jesus name and God's people said, Amen. Hey, together we made it. Yeah? Good. God bless you. Have a good week.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-02 20:50:34 / 2023-01-02 21:02:24 / 12

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