The Just Injustice of the Cross

God possesses both lavish extensions of grace and unwavering standards of holiness. These two seemingly competing principles find their peace at the cross, where Jesus takes the just punishment unjustly for our sins.

The justice of God guarantees that every wrong committed will be wholly punished. None of us can avoid this reality. God doesn’t play with sin. There are no cute or playful sins in his book.

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.

James 2:10

Even if you think your sins are not as despicable as another, the fact that you are a sinner puts you in the same category as all the rest of us. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and the destination for sinners is hell. No one can escape this verdict by his or her own power.

The LORD proclaims that he loves justice and hates injustice. He promises to give sinners their recompense (Isa. 61:8). As thoroughly encompassing are his judgments against all sinners, we can expect his unwavering consistency. He won’t let transgressions simply slide under his radar. All of his decisions are true and just (Rev. 16:7). To maintain that measure, he is unable to soften his expectations. If he lowered his standards for one, he could no longer hold any of us to those expectations.

If God is the standard, and he has communicated it to us through the Law, what will our punishment be for the great offenses we have accumulated upon our records? I have good news for you today – you don’t have to pay for your penalty because someone was willing to pay it for you! The justice of God ensures that no sinner’s punishment can be avoided, but it can be atoned. At the cross of Jesus, we see that God’s justice and God’s mercy are not two conflicting traits within God, but they are two complimenting attributes of God.  

Justice was served for the heaven-bound believer upon the wounds of the heaven-sent Savior.

How can God be both good and just? Such complexity calls for some religions to have different gods carry out the two seemingly polarized emotions and actions. Hinduism will communicate the need to thank good, benevolent gods and to appease bloodthirsty, malevolent gods. In the Christian faith, these two apparently warring enemies befriend one another at the cross.

In Jesus’ willing sacrifice, God is offering grace, and yet, through the punishment, he is maintaining justice. “It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). Not only is God the just, but he is also the justifier. For those who have faith in Jesus, God’s justice is satisfied in the substitutionary death of Jesus.

The Chutes and Ladders God

Many people follow the Chutes and Ladders God. We reckon that God depends on our ethical integrity to determine how he should best deal with us.