RPM, Volume 19, Number 34 August 20 to August 26, 2017

The Night Watches: The Justice of God

Psa 63:6; 130:6; 42:8

By John MacDuff

"Justice and judgment are the habitation of Your throne."
Psalm 89:14

The Justice of God is "His Holiness in exercise." Let us repair to the spot marked out as the scene of its most awful manifestation. In the depths of eternity past, the summons was heard, "Awake, O Sword, against my Shepherd, and against the Man who is my Fellow!" That mysterious commission has been fulfilled. The Shepherd has been smitten. Myriads of condemned spirits could not have borne to God's inexorable rectitude so awful a testimony, as when, on the cross of Calvary, One lone voice sent up the wailing cry, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"

Believer, rejoice! Justice, which before had demanded the execution of a righteous doom upon millions lost, can now unite with Mercy in sheathing the avenging sword and exulting over myriads redeemed. The Law which brought in a whole world "guilty before God," can exult with Mercy in seeing its every requirement obeyed, its every demand fulfilled; the Lawgiver Himself become "the Just and yet the Justifier;" unloosing every chain of condemnation, and pronouncing "Not guilty!" "O Law!" says Luther, "I drown my conscience in the wounds, blood, death, resurrection, and victory of Christ."

Wondrous thought!- Justice, the very attribute which excluded the sinner, has become the first to throw open a door of welcome; proclaiming that infinite merit has cancelled infinite demerit— infinite holiness has covered infinite sin! While "justice and judgment" are the habitation of God's throne, provision has been made whereby, in perfect consistency with every principle of His moral government, "mercy and truth" may go continually before His face!

Reader, it is well for you often and devoutly thus to dwell on the inflexible Justice of your God. It will magnify and enhance to you, the riches of His grace, the glories of redemption, the preciousness of Jesus. If the sinner is to be saved, "judgment must be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet!" "The Sinless One must be condemned," says Lefevre, "if he that is guilty is to go free. The Blessed One must bear the curse, if the cursed ones are to be brought into blessing. The Life must die, if the dead are to live!" "In prayer one evening," says Henry Martyn, "I had such near and terrific views of God's judgment upon sinners in hell, that my flesh trembled for fear of them. I flew trembling to Jesus Christ, as if the flames were taking hold of me. Oh! Christ will indeed save me, or else I perish!"

My soul! take hold of that touchingly simple assurance to which Justice has appended its seal, "Whoever believes in Him shall not perish!" "Not perish!" and Justice, and a God of justice, proclaiming so great salvation— safety from the terrors of a violated law- rest from the accusations of a guilty conscience- calmness in the prospect of death- Grace here! Glory hereafter! Oh, what more can the sinner need, or the sinner's God bestow! "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

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