The Righteousness of God

God Is: The Attributes of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:30
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The Righteousness of God

I’ve told you before that I love true crime.
Whether it’s TV Shows, podcasts, books, or whatever I love true crime.
And in recent years it has become a phenomenon in many circles.
I know that some of the top podcasts in the world are true crime podcasts.
And as I was thinking about it this week, I started to wonder why this would be the case.
Why would this particular genre of story telling be so popular?
I believe that there are a few reasons, but the one I primarily want to focus on this morning is the fact that as humanity we have an innate sense of justice.
We have a desire that when something goes wrong someone pays the price.
In general, we want to see the bad guy lose.
We want him to get what he deserves for causing pain, heartache, and terror to others.
And this isn’t just true in the True Crime genre, this is true in every story where there is a bad guy.
We want justice.
We want there to be a fair and just outcome.
Injustice grates against our consciences.
When we witness or know about injustice it makes our blood boil.
And this injustice isn’t just found in the fact that criminals get away with crimes.
Injustice also happens with people that have power and influence.
Unjust leaders tip the scales in their favor which sometimes means that those who do evil are rewarded while those who do right are punished.
And that can be some of the worst injustice.
When people in leadership and power promote evil and wickedness rather than what is right it develops mistrust and a sense of injustice.
But here’s the question that we should ask.
Where does this sense of injustice come from?
How can we know that there is a right and a wrong?
A good and a bad?
Whether we want to admit it or not our sense of justice, of rightness, comes from God, the creator of all.
When God made humanity in his image he imparted on us some of his characteristics.
And one of those characteristics or attributes is justice.
Now here’s the thing, as broken and sinful creatures we often times get justice wrong.
We can be selfish and have the desire to chase after what benefits us rather than what is fair and just.
We can be manipulated and coerced by others to promote unjust dealings.
We can participate in sinful and wicked behavior and pass the blame on to others.
Though we don’t like it when injustice is done toward us, others, or even those we love.
We at times enjoy being unjust if it is beneficial to us.
That’s a classic argument that CS Lewis uses in his book Mere Christianity:
You’re okay with cutting in line to move a couple of spots ahead, but the moment someone cuts in line in front of you it’s unfair, unjust, and just ain’t right.
Here’s what we can’t do, we can’t project our propensity for injustice on God.
It’ is important for us to recognize that God’s justice and righteousness are perfect.
He is perfectly just.
Perfectly righteous.
Perfectly perfect.
Now you may be confused a little bit.
The title of the Sermon is the Righteousness of God.
But I keep talking about the justice of God in this introduction.
What’s going on here?
In English, justice and righteousness are different words.
But in the Hebrew and Greek, they have the same root word.
Meaning that justice and righteousness in the languages of the bible are tied together.
They are the same idea, concept, and attribute of God.
To help us in our understanding of the Righteousness/Justice of God we need a good definition.
God’s Righteousness: God always does what is right and He is the final standard for what is right.
And why does he get to set the final standard for what is right?
He gets to do that b/c he is the creator of the universe.
He is holy.
He is perfect.
He is unchanging.
He is Infinite.
And simply b/c he is the ruling force over all creation.
So he gets to set and at the same time be the example for all that is good, right, and just in the world and in the universe around us.
So God is the one who sets the standards of what is right and wrong, what is good and what is evil.
And unlike humanity God cannot be corrupted or enticed to abandon what is good and right.
Which is good b/c when all is Said and done, God is going to Judge everyone according to his standard of right.
The first thing I want us to look at when it comes to the Righteousness of God is his status as Judge.

The Perfect Judge

I want to establish this at the beginning of our journey b/c it’s important to know that God alone sits at the moral judge over all creation.
1 Samuel 2:10 CSB
10 Those who oppose the Lord will be shattered; he will thunder in the heavens against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give power to his king; he will lift up the horn of his anointed.
And as the one who judges we also need to know that he judges perfectly.
Psalm 96:12–13 CSB
12 Let the fields and everything in them celebrate. Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy 13 before the Lord, for he is coming— for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his faithfulness.
Notice this here that creation is celebrating the judgement of the Lord.
Why would creation celebrate?
B/c God is good.
His judgement is pure.
God is consistent in his judgement of the world and of people.
He doesn’t twist his judgement to meet his needs
Or render verdicts that are unfair.
Rather God fairly judges the world and everything and everyone in it.
Unfortunately this is an aspect of God’s personhood that many don’t like to acknowledge.
But God is going to judge everyone.
And he isn’t going to judge us how we want to be judged, rather he is going to judge us based on his perfect standard.
And the reality is we have all fallen short of that divine, perfect, and holy standard.
And so people abandon God the Father and only look toward Jesus.
You know b/c Jesus is love.
He is compassionate.
He forgives sin.
But here’s what we have to realize.
God the Father has given the responsibility of judgement to Jesus.
Notice what Jesus says in John 5.22
John 5:22 CSB
22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son,
or in John 5.27
John 5:27 CSB
27 And he has granted him the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
And Jesus isn’t going to give anyone a free pass b/c people believe that he appears kinder and more compassionate than God does in the OT.
This is a false understanding of who God is.
God the Father and God the son have the same set of attributes and same expectations.
B/c they have the same essence, mission, and will.
So running to Jesus isn’t the same as pitting mom against dad in hopes of a better outcome.
Rather, Jesus is going to be the one judging based on the standards God set out from the beginning of time.
Jesus is the appointed judge who will hold court over all humanity
And here’s the thing about God as judge, he is always perfectly just in how he judges.
He always judges fairly and equitably.
And the standard that he uses to judge is his perfect holiness.
His perfect holiness is the measuring rod that determines how one will be judged.
Psalm 89:14 CSB
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; faithful love and truth go before you.
Deuteronomy 32:3–4 CSB
3 For I will proclaim the Lord’s name. Declare the greatness of our God! 4 The Rock—his work is perfect; all his ways are just. A faithful God, without bias, he is righteous and true.
In God’s perfect justice, the punishment will always fit the crime.
Now there are a lot who will push back against this.
They will say that it’s unfair for God’s judgement of hell to be given to sinners.
They will say that Hell is much to severe a punishment for some sin.
But what this shows us is that we have too small a view on both the holiness of God and on the magnitude of Sin.
Think about it this way.
In our limited and imperfect justice system who you commit a crime against will either increase or decrease the level of severity of the punishment.
This is what I mean. It’s a ridiculous example, but I want to convey what I mean.
Imagine I’m a serial slapper.
I just walk around slapping people.
If I walked to just a normal member of society I might get a fine and be put in jail for a night or two.
If I slap a police officer, I have now crossed over to assaulting an officer and that carries with it more of a fine and more jail time. In fact it’s a third degree felony in Texas
If I then, while in the courtroom, slap the Judge then the severity of the crime has just increased all the more. This is a second degree felony.
Then lets just say I happen to be in Washington DC and I am able to meet a president.
Then I slap the president.
How much more severe is my punishment going to be.
Up to 10 years in federal prison. and up to $100,000 dollar fine.
Now imagine I slap the perfect, holy, infinite, creator of the universe who holds all the power and authority over all the universe.
An infinite sin against an infinite God.
Now understand that day in and day out as a rebel against his will I slap him every day of my life.
Now the punishment for the crime doesn’t seem so bad.
In fact, it is just for God to punish me based on my sin and rebellion against him, however he sees fit.
And he judges justly.
He judges perfectly.
He judges rightly.
He never rewards sinful behavior and he never punishes obedience.
God is always perfect in the justice he deals out.
And here’s the thing, God doesn’t enjoy punishing his creation for their rebellion.
But b/c of his character, b/c he is just he must punish sin.
And if we really think about it.
If we are honest with ourselves.
We get what we deserve.
Romans 3:23 CSB
23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:23 (CSB)
23 For the wages of sin is death...
We deserve death.
We deserve hell.
It would be unjust for God not to give us what we have earned.
What we deserve.
So it would go against God’s character to let sin and rebellion go unpunished.
His very name is at stake when it comes to sin and its punishment.
His holiness is demonstrated in his punishment of sin.
Psalm 89:14 CSB
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; faithful love and truth go before you.
His kingdom is built on his justice and righteousness.
His kingdom is built on his standard of perfection.
There is no room in his kingdom for rebels.
For those who would commit cosmic treason against a holy God.
And here’s another thing we must not overlook.
God’s standard is the same for all people.
He shows no favorability or partiality for any people group or personalities.
He doesn’t have a standard for these people and a different standard for other people.
That wouldn’t be just or right.
Instead he holds all humanity to the same standard of perfection.
He doesn’t discriminate when it comes to his law.
It doesn’t matter how much money, influence, or power you have.
It doesn’t matter how much of a good person you are.
God is still going to judge you based on his law and we all know that we have fallen short of it’s standard.
This is the just and right thing for God to do.
If he was partial to some and not to others he wouldn’t be just.
But b/c he is perfectly just and righteous all people are held to his standard.
God is going to punish people according to their transgressions against him.
He cannot make a law or set some laws and allow their violation to go unpunished.
All sin, all rebellion, all transgressions must be punished.
And God has justly said that the penalty for all sin is death.
All sin against God deserves the death penalty.
And here’s the thing, we are all standing here deserving of that penalty of death.
But God is not only perfectly just, he is perfectly merciful and perfectly gracious.
Now he won’t allow sin to go unpunished.
But he did provide a way where we wouldn’t have to endure that punishment.
Instead Jesus took that punishment upon himself on the cross.
Here’s the beauty of the gospel message.
Jesus died the death that we deserve.
He bore the punishment that we all had earned.
Isaiah 53:3–6 CSB
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. 4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. 6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
Remember God’s standard for his law is perfection.
And none of us are able to do that.
We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glory.
We have violated his law.
And therefore we deserve death.
But Jesus steps on the scene and he lives in perfect obedience to the father.
He never sins.
He never disobeys.
He never lives in rebellion against God.
Perfect submission.
Perfect obedience.
Perfect law keeping.
In his perfection he is chastised by the world.
The world hated him b/c he lived in perfect submission to God.
The world hated him b/c his life was marked by obedience.
So he was sentenced by the religious rulers to die.
But not just die to be crucified on a cross.
This was a horrendous death.
One of public torture and humiliation.
But here’s the thing, when Jesus was sent to the world by the father.
He knew that he was coming here to die this type of death.
This was the pinnacle of obedience.
Traveling down the road of torture and death to meet his end.
He died upon that cross.
He took the sins of the world and bore them alone.
And the father was pleased with his sacrifice.
The obedient life that Jesus lived.
The perfect death that Jesus died.
Was accepted by the father.
Now what happened on that cross when Jesus died.
2 Corinthians 5:21 CSB
21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So Jesus, perfect in nature and obedience took upon himself our sin.
Essentially becoming sin.
And in becoming sin the fullness of God’s wrath was poured out on him.
Jesus took upon himself not just our sin, but also the wrath of God.
The punishment meant for you and me was placed upon Jesus.
And the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after his death verifies that God was pleased with his sacrifice.
And that’s all well and good, but here’s what’s even better.
Jesus did that so that anyone who believes in his sacrifice will receive his life.
That means that by trusting and believing in Jesus sacrifice and resurrection you are given his life.
You are clothed with his perfection.
You are covered with his righteousness.
Imagine it this way, you were born.
and when you were born you were wrapped in a tattered torn, stained and filthy robe.
This dirty robe you carry with you every where you go.
It grows with you.
And every time you sin, every time you disobey God, Every time you are selfish, you lie, you lust after someone the robe gets dirtier.
The filth just piles on and on.
And you hope that good deeds will help it get clean, but no matter what you try, the robe stays dirty.
Now when God looks down on you he sees this filthy robe.
And Maybe you get used to the robe.
The robe just becomes a part of who you are.
And you are okay with the Robe.
But then one day someone comes to you and says.
HEY You are wearing a dirty robe.
And b/c of that dirty robe you are dishonoring God and sinning against him.
But I have some good news.
Jesus wants to change robes with you.
Jesus came and lived a perfect life.
He died the death that you deserve.
He rose again on the third day and if you believe in that, then you can wear his robe.
It’s white, pure, perfect.
And when God looks at that new robe you are made right with him.
Now I know that this is a little bit of a silly analogy but I hope it illustrates what happens when someone believes in the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
If you believe then you are granted the righteousness of Jesus.
Jesus takes your sin, he takes your shame, he takes your filth and exchanges it for his beautiful and perfect life.
That’s what Paul means when he writes
2 Corinthians 5:21 CSB
21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The exchange of the robe was given to you by Jesus, b/c of what Jesus did.
There is nothing that you could have done to earn it or deserve it.
Rather it was imputed on to you.
You get to wear Jesus’ perfect robe b/c you trust that he was the perfect, righteous and just sacrifice for your sins.
You are made righteous through belief in Jesus.
So now when you walk away you know that you are going to be judged not on your own life, but on the life of Jesus.
That b/c of Jesus’ sacrifice and obedient life you are now made right with God.
There was a debt that was owed and Jesus paid it for those who would believe and trust in him.
So here’s the deal.
Your sin needed to be judged b/c of the righteousness of God.
Your sin needs to be paid for.
So either you will pay for it for all eternity.
You will be held accountable for your sin and God will punish you will the full extent of the law.
Or you can be a beneficiary of Jesus’ payment.
Meaning that you can trust and believe that no matter how much you try.
No matter how much energy and effort you put for you can never pay the debt owed to God.
And you can recognize that Jesus paid it all.
That on that cross he took all your sin.
All your shame.
All your rebellion upon his own shoulders.
And b/c of the love he has for you he wore the full wrath of God on your behalf.
Satisfying the justice of God.
Satisfying the wrath of God
Satisfying the righteousness of God.
And by grace alone, through faith alone, God’s enemies, are now called God’s friends.
If you haven’t given your life to Jesus.
If you haven’t bowed the knee to him and recognized him for who he is and what he has done.
Today is the day.
This is the day that he is calling out to you.
Answer him.
Now we are about to partake in the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is for those who have received the grace of God and believe through faith that Jesus is the one who died to set us free.
If you haven’t made that profession of Faith in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, then let the cup pass by you.
We want to offer something greater than just this cracker and some juice.
We want you to know the giver of life.
We want you to believe in the gospel of Jesus.
Matthew 26:26–30 CSB
26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Lord’s Supper

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