Scripture Reading: Daniel 5:17-6:28 / 1 John 1:1-2:11 / Psalm 136:1-12
Justice is a good word. It is based upon truth, what is right and what is deserved. Justice brings with it reward or punishment. It evaluates everything on the basis of black or white, good or evil. Justice delivers appropriate judgment and everyone who has been wrong or victimized longs for justice.
Forgiveness is another good word. It is based upon mercy and grace. Forgiveness mercifully does not give us the punishment that we deserve but graciously gives us pardon that we do not deserve. Justice and forgiveness seem to be diametrically opposed yet God is a just God AND God is a forgiving God. He is both just and forgiving…how can this be?
John pens a truth that gives us great hope and understanding to God’s justice and forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Confessing our sins opens the door of God’s grace to be activated in our lives.
Both justice and forgiveness require a price and payment to be made. Justice acts like a prosecutor - demanding rightness, payment and retribution. God responded justly by sending a flood to a wicked world. Fire and brimstone fell upon reprobate Sodom and Gomorrah. God is just as the sins of man must be paid for and punished.
Yet God is also forgiving and is an advocate for mankind. Sin does require payment but Christ came to be the sacrifice for our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins as the Just died for the Unjust. God’s justice was satisfied and Christ became our advocate with The Heavenly Father. Forgiveness paid the price required by justice.
Also, justice and forgiveness have tremendous power. In a court of law, justice is served when truth is determined and pronounced. The judge’s verdict of justice is backed by an enforcing and authoritative power. The verdict of the judge is final unless it is determined that justice was denied. Forgiveness carries an even greater power as it has the power to cleanse the unjust. Confession activates the power of forgiveness and cleanses the guilty…completely and totally.
Interestingly, both justice and forgiveness make faithful promises. Justice promises to condemn man’s sin and unrighteousness. No one can escape God’s promised judgment and condemnation of sin. Because of this, God counters by a faithful promise to forgive those who confess their sin. God promises pardon and deliverance from sin.
We all live in the shadow of Gods justice and forgiveness. God’s justice will be satisfied by either our condemnation or Christ’s sacrifice. His forgiveness can only be activated by our confession. So what are you waiting for? Confess your sins…
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!