Robert Morris - I'll Arrange It
Let me explain why when we talk about the justice of God, we have to talk about the mercy of God. We're talking about attributes of God, so these are two attributes that many people think are contrary to one another, but they're not. The reason they think they are is when we look at working definitions, or what we call summary definitions, they do look opposite. For instance, let me show you the summary definition of justice. Justice is giving someone what he deserves. That's justice. Justice - giving someone what he deserves. Mercy is not giving someone what he deserves. So, let me say it again. Justice - giving someone what he deserves. Mercy - not giving someone what he deserves.
So, would you like to explain how God can be fully just and fully merciful at the same time? In other words, how can God give the same person... how can God give a person what he deserves, and at the exact same time not give the person what he deserves? So, that's what we're going to talk about, all right? So, here's the first thing you need to understand. Point number one, God is 100%. Now, I'm gonna explain that, what I mean. God is 100%. Remember, attributes are things that God is, not just that He does, and let me put it this way, not just things He has. Because if He just has these, maybe He could run out, or maybe He could use them up.
In other words, God might run out of mercy one day. It's not true, because God is mercy. And He is 100% merciful at all times, and He's also 100% just at all times. He's 100%. Some people think that it's a good thing that God is a little more merciful than He is just. No, He's 100% justice. That's why He's just. And He's 100% mercy, and that's why He's merciful. See, God isn't 99% knowledgeable. He's all-knowing, omniscient we would say, all-knowing, omniscience. He has all knowledge. God isn't 99% powerful, He's 100%. He's omnipotent. He's all-powerful. So, God is all. Let me say it another way. God is 100% grace and 100% truth at the same time.
John 1:17 says, "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ". See, many times we think that God's attributes are actually warring against each other, and we're just hoping His mercy wins out. Sometimes we think about it like we think about a human judge that wants to be merciful, but the law demands this, so the judge wants to be merciful, but he has to do what the law demands. Sometimes we think that's the way it is with God, is God wants to be merciful to the sinner, but God's law demands that He do this.
Now, first let me explain something. No one demands God - no one and nothing. There is no outside force demanding that God do something. The law came from God. That came from God. So, God's justice is not an outside force demanding that He do something, and He wishes He could be merciful, but the law is demanding Him not to...no. I know that I'm building right now, and I know that it sounds like a theology class, but it's important. It's important that you understand that God can be 100% merciful and 100% just at the same time. Here's another thing we think. We have a tendency, and I've thought this way and I have to correct myself. Because I know correct theology, I have to correct myself.
Sometimes we think God gives us more grace. Like, we'll go through a difficult time and we'll say, "Thank You, God, for giving me more grace during that time". Listen, God is 100% grace all the time. And you need, by the way - you need as much grace today as you did when you got saved. So, God's 100% all the time, all right? So, here's point number two, God is 100% merciful. He is 100% merciful. I was thinking about this phrase. I was watching a western, and it was an old western TV show. And anyway, they were hanging this guy and the guy said, "May God have grace on your", no, "mercy on your soul". May God have mercy on you. Have you ever heard that phrase? May God have mercy on your soul. Okay. God has mercy on every soul, because God is merciful. He is mercy.
See, it's may God have mercy... He has mercy. He just is mercy. Again, these are not things God has. They're not things God does. They're who God is. God is merciful. So, let me read you Psalm 136 here, the first three verses. Many believe David wrote this psalm, but we're not for sure. Psalm 136:1, "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever".
Now, if you have a Bible there, like you decided to turn to it, just glance at the rest of the verses quickly and you'll see every verse, there are 26 of them, and they all say, "For His mercy endures forever". "For His mercy endures forever". So, just for a moment, would you just do something for me? Every campus, would you just say, "For His mercy endures forever"? Say that. Okay, you have memorized half of Psalm 136. Just like that. That's how quickly I taught you to memorize something in the Bible. A chapter, you've memorized half of a 26 verse chapter in the Bible right now. "For His mercy endures forever".
The reason I'm saying this is this has become a very famous psalm in Israel and to the Jewish people, and it should be to us as well. "For His mercy endures forever. For His mercy endures forever", and they keep saying it over, and over, and over again, and do you know why? Because "His mercy endures forever". His mercy will never end, because God will never end! His mercy had no beginning because God had no beginning. His mercy is infinite because God is infinite! Mercy is God, God is mercy. There are two famous passages in 2 Chronicles that most of you know, but you might not know where they are. But in 2 Chronicles 5, you've probably heard this story. "The glory of the Lord filled the temple", Solomon's temple, when they dedicated it. "The glory of the Lord filled the temple", and it says the priests could not even stand up to minister. They couldn't even stand anymore.
Okay, here's what you might not know. The song they were singing when the glory of God filled the temple was Psalm 136, "His mercy endures forever". Here's the other famous story in 2 Chronicles. 2 Chronicles 20, they were surrounded by armies, and they consulted God for a battle plan and they said, "God, what do we do"? And God said, "Put the singers on the front row". Now, personally I thought about, I wonder how the worship team felt about that? You know? I wonder if they went to tell, listen, God said for y'all to be on the front, front, front row. I wonder if they were like, let's put the guys with the swords on the front row. I mean, you know it takes two hands to play the guitar, you know, and I can't even carry a knife.
You know, come on. Okay, so, but you know what song the worship team chose to sing? Psalm 136, "His mercy endures forever"! It's something we need to catch. Listen, why did God ever give us a second chance, or a second millionth chance? Because "His mercy endures forever". Why can a man live an unrighteous life and get saved on his death bed? Because "His mercy endures forever". Here's one of my favorite Scriptures. The New Testament says that... I'm gonna show you the Old Testament Scripture, but let me just say the New Testament says, "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance". Let me show you. You know how much I love the Old Testament, too. "As I live", says the Lord God, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked would turn from his way and live". "Have no pleasure in the death of the wicked". Why? Because He's a merciful God! He's "not willing that any should perish". He wants everyone to be saved. He's 100% grace and 100% truth at the same time.
Here's another thing people will say. You know, God is sitting on a throne of grace right now, but He's gonna get up, and He'll sit on the throne of judgment one day. Let me just tell you, biblically, there's just one throne. There's one throne. God is always gracious. He's also always truth. He's always merciful and He's also always justice. When Josh was young... you know, I've got Josh, James, and Elaine. When Josh was young, I don't know why I did this, but he was in trouble and he was gonna get a spanking, and I thought, you know, maybe I can start teaching him something about the character of God, so I told him about mercy. And so I said, "I'm gonna be like God is. Today I'm gonna give you mercy. I'm gonna give you mercy".
Well, that backfired. Because after that, every time he'd get in trouble he said, "Daddy, be like God. Would you be like God? Please be like God. Give me mercy, be like God". So then I thought, okay, I'm gonna teach him about justice. So I said, "Okay, son, so let me explain to you another thing about God. God is just. That means He gives everyone what they deserve. And so, let me explain something to you. You've sinned, so someone has to get a spanking". And he said, "How about James"? So, I spanked him and we got that over with. All right. And now you see, he's a great, great man of God, see, 'cause he got a spanking. All right. So, God's 100% merciful. He's 100% all the time, and here's number three, God's 100% just - 100% just.
Now, let me just remind you of these definitions again. Justice, giving someone what he deserves. Mercy, not giving someone what he deserves. Okay, well, how can God be both? Again, I'll answer that in a moment. But, first of all, you need to know what justice is. Again, I love the roots of the words. The root of the word "justice" means equal. That's what just means, equal. All right. So, there's a word for sin in the Bible. There are several words for sin. "Transgression" is a word for sin. But, there's a word for sin that you've heard, but again, we don't know the meaning of it. It's the word "iniquity". So, look at the word "iniquity" for a minute, and now you say, well, where does this word come from?
All right. Well, I'm gonna change one letter from the I to an E, and "iniquity" becomes "inequity". What it means is not equal. "Inequity" would be not equal. If you have something, there's an inequity, something that is inequitable, it's not equal. Right? Okay. "Iniquity" means not equal with God. That's what it means, iniquity. Sin is not being equal with God, 'cause God doesn't sin. God is perfect. So, how do we think about this? Well, think about this. Have you ever thought about the scales of justice, or have you ever seen those? The scales of justice.
Here's the only problem. Many people don't know how the scales of justice work, or what they represent. What they think is that the prosecutor puts all of his evidence on one side, and the defense attorney puts all of his evidence on another side, and the scales tip a little bit one way or the other. That is not what the scales represent. The prosecution and the defense put all of their evidence on the same side. And if you look closely at the old scales of justice, many times they're just scales now, but you'll see on one side is actually the word "justice". So, all the good and bad is put on one side, and justice is put on the other side. And you don't weigh the evidence against each other, you weigh all the evidence against justice. Are you following me?
Now, this is important because some people think God one day is gonna weigh my good and my bad. And hopefully, my good will tip the scales just a little bit. That's not it. God puts all of your good and your bad on one side of the scales, and then He sits on the other side - because remember, God is justice, and the scale goes like this. And you can jump up and down all you want, and you can try to do another good deed, but it'll never make you equal with God. So, how in the world could you become equal with God? It's real simple. God's on the one side of the scales. I'm on the other. I can't do anything about it, except one thing. I can invite Jesus into my life, and Jesus gets on the scale with me, and the scale balances, and justice says equal! Equal!
Now, here's the second tough question. Well, how can God not give you what you deserve and give you what you deserve at the same time? Another simple, simple answer - because God gave Jesus what I deserved. Some people say it's His mercy that sends us to heaven. Yes, it is. It's also His justice. God is totally just in sending you to heaven, because He gave His Son all of your punishment. Were you sentenced to hell, to eternal death? That's what the word "condemnation" means. Remember, we talked about this a few weeks ago. "Condemned" means a death sentence. So, we were sentenced to hell, is that right?
Okay, here's the sentence that I hope blows you away. "You now have been sentenced to heaven". You've been sentenced to heaven. I'm sorry, I have to go. I have to go to heaven now, because Jesus took my punishment, and I accepted Jesus. So, God is fully merciful to me, a sinner, and He's fully justified in sending me to heaven because I accepted Jesus, and Jesus took my punishment. I'm gonna show you one of the most famous verses in the Bible, and you might see a word now that you've never really seen in this light. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful", watch, "and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". It doesn't say He's faithful and merciful to forgive us our sins, it says He's faithful and just.
Listen, He's justified to forgive you of all of your sins because His Son paid for all of your sins. His justice actually forgives you, too, not just His mercy. His justice forgives you. When Jesus, in the last year of His ministry, He started telling the disciples the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem. He always uses the word "must". I've looked at it in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of the chief priest and scribes. The Son of Man must die and be raised again the third day. He must. The Son, He must. He must.
And then one day, Peter, remember, took Him aside and rebuked Him and said, Lord, these things shouldn't be. And then after He called Peter "Satan", which that's a whole another subject, but anyway, then in essence, here's what He says. Peter, you don't understand. If I don't die, you don't live. Because otherwise, the justice of God could never be satisfied. You don't understand. You're not following this. You don't understand. Yes, God's a merciful god, but God's a just god. And so, if I don't die, you don't live. So, let me get to my title, "I'll Arrange It".
After World War I, the United States allocated funds for orphans in Europe, and there were many, many orphans at that time. One orphanage had over 1.300 in that orphanage alone, parents that had been killed in the war. And one day, the story is told, that the writer of this, the head of this orphanage, wrote this, told this story and wrote it for us to have. He said a very thin looking, frail man walked in and was holding a little girl's hand, who was also very thin. And, he said to the head of the orphanage, "This is my daughter. I need you to take her and take care of her, and give her a home and food and clothes, because I can't take care of her". And the head of the orphanage said, "Are you her father"? And he said, "Yes".
And the head of the orphanage said, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. We only have limited funds and we cannot take a child in if one of the parents is living. I'm so sorry". And the man said, "Do you mean if I were dead, you would give my daughter a home, and you would give her food and you would take care of her"? And the head of the orphanage said, "Well, yes. If you die, then we will take care of her". The head of the orphanage wrote that the man reached down and picked up the little girl and hugged her, and then he kissed her, and then he took her hand and he put it in the head of the orphanage's hand. And he looked him in the eyes and he said, "I'll arrange it", and he went out and he hung himself. What I'm telling you is that Jesus put my hand in the Father's hand, and He said, "I'll arrange it", and He went out and He hung himself on a cross on a hill called Calvary, so that God could be fully merciful and fully just at the same time.
I'm so grateful that Jesus paid for my salvation in full; that God was not just merciful with me, He was completely just in forgiving me of all my sins because Jesus paid the price for my sins in full, but He also paid the price for your sins. And I want to encourage you, maybe you made a childhood commitment to the Lord, but maybe you're watching today and you need to make an adult decision to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to give Him full control of your life. I want to encourage you do that today, give your life to Jesus. I'm so excited about this series on the attributes of God, and I want to encourage you to watch next time because I'm going to be continuing this series, "God Is..."