God’s Holiness and Justice (Our Need for God’s Grace in Christ Jesus)

25 09 2007

Unger’s Bible Dictionary (1982, Moody Press) explains the holiness and justice of God in the following way (emphasis added mine):

Regarding God’s Holiness….

“Holiness is one of the essential attributes of the divine nature. It is, on the one hand, entire freedom from moral evil, and upon the other, absolute moral perfection. …. By the holiness of God, it is not implied that He is subject to some law or standard of moral excellence external to Himself, but that all moral law and perfection have their eternal and unchangeable basis in His own nature. He is the One in whom these eternal sanctities reside, Who is Himself the root and ground of them all. In this sense it is said without qualification, “There is no one holy like the LORD,..” 1 Samuel 2:2a; (and) “…For You alone are holy;…” Revelation 15:4

Regarding God’s Justice….

“It (justice) is a necessary outflow from the holiness of God. It is that in a positive form which is negatively described as holiness, or separateness from evil. And further, it is the holiness of God as manifested and applied to moral government. ….. The righteousness or justice of God, also like His holiness, is communicable to men. It is the work of divine grace to impart to men rightness by renewal “in righteousness and true holiness.”

Regarding the “communicableness” of Gods righteousness to mankind mentioned here, note the following Scripture passage:

  • Ephesians 4:20-24But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

J. I. Packer in Concise Theology (1993, Tyndale House Publishers) says this of God’s holiness and justice:

Regarding God’s Holiness….

“When Scripture calls God, or individual persons of the Godhead, “holy” … the word signifies everything about God that sets Him apart from us and makes Him an object of awe, adoration, and dread to us. It covers all aspects of His transcendent greatness and moral perfection and thus is an attribute of all His attributes, pointing to the “Godness” of God at every point. Every facet of God’s nature and every aspect of His character may properly be spoken of as holy, just because it is His. The core of the concept, however, is God’s purity, which cannot tolerate any form of sin (Habakkak 1:13 “”Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor….”) and thus calls sinners to constant self-abasement in His presence (Isaiah 6:5 “Then I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”)

Regarding God’s Justice….

“Justice, which means doing in all circumstances things that are right, is one expression of God’s holiness. God displays His justice as legislator and judge, and also as promise-keeper and pardoner of sin. His moral law, requiring behavior that matches His own, is “holy, righteous and good” (Romans 7:12). He judges justly, according to actual desert (Genesis 18:25; Psalms 7:11; 96:13; Acts 17:31). His “wrath,” that is, His active judicial hostility to sin, is wholly just in its manifestations (Romans 2:5-16), and His particular ‘judgements’ (retributive punishments) are glorious and praiseworthy (Revelations 16:5, 7; 19:1-4). …. When God justifies sinners through faith in Christ, He does so on the basis of justice done, that is, the punishment of our sins in the person of Christ our substitute; thus the form taken by His justifying mercy shows Him to be utterly and totally just (Romans 3:25-26), and our justification itself is shown to be judicially justified.”

Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ….

  • Romans 3:21-26But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

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How can such serious truths as the holiness and justice of God be so lightly taken by we people, whether we live in Colby in western Kansas or elsewhere? We obviously are largely blinded to our sinfulness and accountability before the Holy God Who will judge this sinful world and with it all mankind in justice and righteousness. We do not realize the extent of the awful heinousness and total repulsiveness of our sin before God Almighty, and the penalty of judgement it will cost us (if we are not born again) or that it cost Jesus Christ on the Cross (if we are born again believers in Jesus Christ).

God, please open our eyes to understand our need for the blood atonement of Jesus Christ to pay the penalty (the propitiation) for our sins. For both born again Christians and unbelievers alike, may God open our eyes to understand our need for the grace of God. We need faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Eternity as well as the here and now regarding our lives are at stake! (Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ.”)

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