God’s Justice

Exodus 21:23-25
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

The justice of the law is a very exact kind of justice.  At the heart of it, what we do to someone else is what should be done to us.  How we injure someone else is how we should be injured in return.  And what a mangled mess we would be if we received equal for everything we dished out, if we were hurt in the ways we’ve hurt other people.  But would that really prevent us from doing wrong things?  Would that be enough to prevent the sin nature within us from doing what it wanted to do?

Grace offers us so much more than the law.  When grace steps in, we can be forgiven without having to pay a penalty.  With grace applied, we don’t receive those harsh consequences our actions would merit.  Because of Christ, our lives are spared, and we can be whole.  And so looking at it this way and seeing what we actually deserve in exchange for our sin, doesn’t that just demonstrate even more the greatness of God’s mercy to forgive us at all and to accept a substitute in our place?

It is difficult to imagine what Jesus endured on the cross.  Maybe we can grasp just slightly the physical pain of being beaten so severely or of nails piercing holes through His hands and feet and the agony of hanging there struggling to breathe in the heat of the day.  But what we have absolutely no inkling of is what Jesus endured when the cup of God’s wrath was poured out upon Him.  We cannot comprehend what it required for Jesus Christ to bear upon Himself the punishment for the sin of all.  If it was according to this exact justice, He bore much suffering, indeed.

Have we received forgiveness for our sins, and are we living free by the amazing grace of God?  We don’t often like to think about sin and its consequences.  We don’t like to think about what we really deserve for the things that we do.  It truly is almost unimaginable that we can be covered by the blood and spared God’s wrath.  So can’t we just simply be thankful for what Jesus did for us, what He endured on our behalf, and the grace and mercy He is willing to give to us?  Because we certainly didn’t deserve it.

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