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Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

As Christians, it is profitable to meditate on the truth about who and what God is. This has many effects. It keeps us from being flippant or shallow concerning God. It causes us to have the proper respect-fear of the Almighty Creator. It causes us to be secure that He is the great Protector and Defender. It causes us to love Him even more knowing that Someone so infinite and holy could love us who are so weak and sinful. It causes us to have hope in a world where unfairness and wickedness reign supreme.

Knowing God’s character gives us hope in a hopeless world.

Of course there are many attributes, characteristics and truths to contemplate about our Great God. Let’s take a quick look at righteousness & justice. You could write a library of books about anyone of these four, but hopefully I can jumpstart your interest in them.

Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. (NKJV)

First notice that righteousness and justice are the FOUNDATION of God’s Throne. A foundation is a prepared surface on which a structure is built. Everything else about God is perfect because the foundation is perfect. We can trust God about everything, everything, everything, because God IS perfect righteousness and justice.

Righteousness

In its simplest form, righteousness is exactly what it sounds like: that which is right. The word is derived from a root that means “straight”. Something that is perfectly straight never strays from its path, it is predictable, and is always headed in the right direction. God is perfectly “straight” all the time. He needs no correction; He does not drift or change course; His righteousness is unwavering.

Sometimes it is hard for us to grasp that God is righteous because righteousness is whatever God is. Huh? How can someone be righteous because what they determine is right becomes the standard of righteousness? If that is true, can’t we each just determine what is right in our own eyes, and make up our own “righteousness”? Of course, the answer is no. What makes God different?

God is righteous because He IS Perfection.
God is perfect because He IS Righteousness.

God can determine righteousness, and then claim righteousness because He is Perfection to start with. Notice I didn’t say simply that “God is perfect” which would imply that God is complying with a standard that is set outside of Himself. God isn’t merely perfect in His actions, He IS PERFECTION in the original form. He is perfect love. Love is not a characteristic of God; God IS love. It’s where love originates. God is not holy; Holiness IS God. It’s where holiness originates. God is not perfect; God IS perfection. It’s where perfection originates.

I know that’s pretty deep stuff to consider but its important for us to wrestle with. You see, we tend to think about God as a SUPERHUMAN being who is perfect in behavior, holy in action and loving in all ways. But God not just someone living up to a perfect standard. God IS love; God IS holiness; God IS perfection. God IS the Standard.

It’s hard to think of an analogy that comes close but maybe this will help. A piece of orange candy may taste and even smell exactly like an orange. But only a real orange IS orange. Everything thing else that takes on “orange” characteristics is not the source of “orange”, nor can it be perfect “orange”. Only an orange is perfect orange. And all “orange” originates from the actual orange.

God is the “orange” of righteousness. He IS what is right. Right originates from God. Everything else is only as right as the degree to which is conforms with the original “right”. Orange candy is only as orange as the degree to which it mimicks the flavor of a real orange.

Whatever, however and whenever God does something
makes it perfect by default because God is the orginal “right”.

My point? That the foundation of God is righteousness; orginal and complete. Therefore, everything else about God is righteous. When we consider “WHY?” concerning God, we can start with the predetermination that no matter what the answer is, we can be sure that God has done everything the right way, the perfect way. The simple fact that God does something, does it a certain way, in a certain time and to a certain degree makes it holy, righteous and perfect by default because the foundation of God is original righteousness.

Justice

God is righteousness, which makes Him perfectly just as well. This is a great comfort in a world full of injustice. We serve a God who will right all wrongs; who will repay all evil; who will balance the scales of justice perfectly in His own time. Justice can be defined as the means by which wrongs are punished, and rights are rewarded.

We experience a great deal of this justice even now in this life because God instilled into our existence the inescapable law of “sowing and reaping”.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (NKJV)

Paul in essence is saying “don’t fool yourself. Whatever you do now, you’re going to pay the consequence for later. God has made this rule, and He will not be laughed at”. This is a temporal form of justice that applies equally to all mankind, saved or lost. Sometimes this “reaping” is immediate, sometimes it may come decades down the road, but it will always happen.

It might be immediate, or it may take decades,
but make no mistake, you will reap a harvest in the future
from whatever seed you are sowing today.

But there is of course a greater form of justice as well, an eternal justice to consider. God is perfectly holy and righteous. So He is perfectly just in requiring a penalty for any violation of His holiness. The only proper penalty is death because the creature (us) violating the standard imposed by the Creator (God) represents the highest form of rebellion and transgression. Let me explain.

God made this universe. He made this earth. He made your food, your clothes, your shelter. He made the air you breathe and the body you inhabit. You don’t exist without God. You don’t have any hope without God. And yet you sin against the very same God who has done all this for you. The only just penalty is for you to give back the life God has given.

For Christians, God has satisfied His need for justice concerning our sin because He gave the life of His own Son in our place. God’s perfect justice was satisfied when Jesus freely gave His own life to pay the penalty that we deserve. Because Jesus was perfect, He could take our place and satisfy God’s justice on our behalf.

Which brings us full circle back to God’s righteousness. You may ask: Why did God offer and kill His own Son? Because God IS love, and He loves us. God IS righteousness and so our sinfulness separated us from Him. God IS justice, so God paid the penalty that satisfied His need for justice based on His righteousness. When you begin to understand the character of God, then you can begin to understand the great “why?” questions of life.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s Throne. Aren’t you glad?

Father, Help us to understand that You don’t just love, You are Love; that You aren’t just righteous, You are Righteousness; that You aren’t only just, You are Justice! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Contemplation: In light of learning about God’s righteousness and justice, consider these “why?” questions: Why is sin so terrible? Why would God send someone to eternal hell? Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? Why does God gives us rules and standards to live by?

Application: It is important to contemplate and try to understand what God IS. God is the original love, righteousness and justice. This is far greater than simply considering that God loves, or that God is righteous. Ask God to begin to reveal to you the essence of His character to you so that you may come to know Him and worship Him in greater fullness.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?

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