Yesterday I’m driving along the road, minding my own business, when another driver races up behind me, tailgates me for a block or two before he shoots out around me and passes me at about 65mph in a 40mph area. “Oh, how I hope there’s a cop sitting right at that intersection he’s about to drive through,” I think to myself.
Isn’t it interesting how we always hope for justice for others, but never wish it for ourselves? This should tell us something about human nature. If you’re not willing to receive justice for everything you do, if the thought of retribution seems “harsh” to you – your nature is probably depraved. I hope the driver who sped past me receives justice not only because I feel he has injured me personally by disturbing my peaceful drive, but because I know it’s inherently wrong for him to be going 65 in a 45. What he deserves is a ticket and a fine. And what I deserve for my sin is death and eternal punishment according to God’s law.
God is not harsh, He is just. He will exact retribution on the day of judgement (\re-trə-byü-shən\ noun, something given or exacted in recompense – an equivalent or a return for something done, suffered, or given, compensation). Paul says in his address on Mars Hill, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed.” (Acts 17:30-31a) This man is Jesus. Jesus says in John 5:22 “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,” and in verse 27, “he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.”
Jesus is both our judge and our savior. God’s perfect justice has been satisfied by the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. His perfect life, his righteousness, is imputed to me (\im-ˈpyüt\ verb, to credit to a person or a cause, represent something, esp. something undesirable as being done, caused, or possessed by someone, attribute). Justice is served. What I get is called grace. So I should wish grace upon the speeding driver, over his life anyway, because that’s what I’ve been given.