Uncomplicated Theology No. 6

Just last week, I spoke about what it means to say “God is love.” This week, I want to go in another direction, because God is also just (in other words, morally right and fair). 

In our world, you have to pick sides. Because of that reality, people are described as socially aware and loving or responsibility-driven and unloving. To some people, its contrary to rational thought that a person can be both compassionate and objective. They see a great conflict when an objective person asks everyone to be responsible, to pull their own weight, and reap the benefits while the loving person finds problems and fix them, even if that means help without conditions. What I’d like to suggest is simple, God is both loving and fair. He gives to those who don’t deserve and to those who do – sometimes He gives blessings, other times He gives judgment.

Consider Deuteronomy 31:19-21 which says:

Now, therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them.

That song is found in Deuteronomy 32. When Moses addressed the children of Israel and warned them of what will happen if their unfaithfulness won the hearts and minds of their children he made this statement in 32:5-8:

They have corrupted themselves; they are not His children, because of their blemish: a perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus deal with the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you? Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you: when the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.

The future rebellion against God mentioned in that chapter would eventually bring forth a calamity upon the children of Israel that was completely their fault. For it would only be their rebellion that would draw the ire of God, not their imperfection. Even today, it is still true that God understands our weaknesses, but not our rebellion. That’s why Jesus could say in the Garden of Gethsemane, “I don’t want to die, nevertheless, your will be done.” It should also not go unnoticed that many times in Scripture, God warned His children to recognize something simple – all choices have consequences. This passage is no different. Notice as well the prophetic stakes of their rebellion in 32:19-25:

And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them, because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters. And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell; it shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. ‘I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them. They shall be wasted with hunger, devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction; I will also send against them the teeth of beasts, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword shall destroy outside; there shall be terror within for the young man and virgin, the nursing child with the man of gray hairs.

All of this supports one idea that I want to be completely and emphatically stated – God is love, but also righteous judgment. Psalm 9:8 seems to highlight that idea better than many other passages:

God shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.

Shout from the top of your lungs that God is love, just don’t forget to also shout, God is justice – for the wicked, the unrighteous, the caring, the compassionate, and even the forgotten. While God loves everyone, Scripture teaches us He will also do what’s right to those who obey and disobey. In the end, that’s only fair. 


All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash

About The Merger

The Merger began when Neal Mathis and Matthew Higginbotham sat down to write together. Since then, it's blossomed into so much more. The Merger is meant to be a place where faith and life meet. In these stories, we hope you'll find deep theological value right alongside life-changing practical advice.

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