Romans 2:5-6- “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”
Americans wait with abated breath as the jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial go into deliberation. The prosecutors have rested, the defense have rested, and now the jurors go to work. Cities around the country increase security in preparation for crowds of protests or crowds of victory; either way they suspect there will be crowds. Prosecutors are hoping that the justice served is where the jurors pronounce Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd; while the defense is hoping for a not guilty verdict. No matter the decision, the whole nation, maybe even many around the world are waiting for the jurors decision: guilty or not guilty!
I want to address the image I chose for just a moment. When thinking of an image for this post on justice, I immediately thought of the balance scales. It is said that the balance scales are representative of the impartiality and the obligation of the law to weigh the evidence presented in the courtroom. Each side is given an opportunity to “present its case” and the law is to look objectively at that evidence, weighing the evidence presented, and come to a conclusion that makes sure that justice is served!
Justice in our world can often times seem to fail us. We see guilty people go free, and innocent people get locked up; causing us to lose faith in our justice system. The poor, the underserved, the people of color. often believe that the scales have been tipped in favor against them before they even enter the courtroom. But there is a justice system that is fail proof, and that is the justice of God. His judgment is righteous, meaning He makes no mistakes in meting out justice. Sometimes, because of His mercy, we may think His judgments are unfair, but when His mercy is directed at us or our loved ones, we have a different attitude about it. Paul introduces to us, with our key text, how we will all find ourselves before God for judgment and what the criteria for our victory will look like.
Paul begins this verse by addressing our unrepentant and hard hearts. Few people can truly see themselves as unrepentant or hard hearted, yet Paul starts here. Basically, he is still addressing the Jewish people living in Rome, but his message was applicable to all to whom it applied to in that day and it still applies today! Divorces happen because of hard hearts or unrepentant hearts, Jesus said so! Families are torn apart, lives are damaged, countries go to war, business ventures dissolve because of hard and unrepentant hearts. You know that person who can never say they are sorry? Unrepentant! Or that individual that always has to have their own way no matter the cost? Hard hearted! Self-righteous, arrogant, judgmental, critical, greedy individuals who think they are alright when they are wrong, yet they think they are right? Yep! Definitely hard and unrepentant hearts! People who constantly make excuses for their actions, constantly blaming others for why they do what they do, never able to own up to their wrongs. I believe you get the point! These people, even if it includes us, are the people who are being addressed at this time as storing up wrath for themselves in the day of wrath! Let’s not forget that these words are aimed at those whose moral life places them in a position to think that they are better than others, namely the Jews towards the Gentiles.
On the day of wrath, there will basically be two groups of people standing before the judgment seat of God: those who obeyed Him, and those who rejected Him. Each group will be judged according to what they did. Some become a little confused at this point thinking that we can work our way to a favorable decision before God to obtain salvation, but I believe that it’s more about what we did as far as obedience to His word. Paul mentions both of these groups:
Those who obeyed Him or are born again will:
*receive eternal life
*glory, honor, immortality, peace
Those who do not obey Him, but obey unrighteousness, or are not born again will receive:
*indignation and wrath
*tribulation and anguish
This judgment, Paul states, will be rendered to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile. There will be no partiality based on favoritism or nationalism, judgment will be administered according to the judgment of the Righteous Judge, based on our actions before we got there!
David had this to say about God’s judgment:
But the Lord shall endure forever;Psalm 9:7-8 NKJV
He has prepared His throne for judgment.
He shall judge the world in righteousness,
And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness
David just reiterates that God’s judgment will be righteous because He is righteous! Have you ever said or heard someone proclaim that something wasn’t fair? I hear it a lot as a teacher, and sometimes I heard it as a parent. Being fair means to stick to the rules that have already been established; but sometimes you can’t stick to the rules to do what is right; or you have to use a higher authority or rulebook. For example: In my classroom, as a special education teacher, what is good for Arthur is not good for Alice. It may appear that I am being unfair in a situation, but in all honest, I am doing what is right for them; and sometimes I don’t get to explain! But God has a rulebook, called the Bible. Every judgment He makes is right and necessary. He may not always give us all the information we desire in a given situation, but we are to simply trust Him.
However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t get to know how we are being judged, His word is still the criteria. His word is perfect for converting us, making us wise, and enlightening our eyes. But His word is also right, and His judgments are true and righteous:
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;Psalm 19:7-9
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
He is God! The Righteous Judge, and He always judges rightly:
Let the peoples praise You, O God;Psalm 67:3-4 NKJV
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth.
And again the psalmist wrote:
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.Psalm 96:13 NKJV
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.
I like justice just as much as the next person; especially not seeing it always served in the natural as it should be. But I always comfort myself with the truth that God is the Righteous Judge. He can’t be bought, bribed, threatened, or swayed to a man’s whims. He serves justice as rightly as it could ever be served. As we go further in the book, we will see more about this subject, and even His vengeance, but for now, I rest my case! Wonderful Jesus!