God loves righteousness and justice
For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is
done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is
full of the goodness of the LORD (Psalm 33:4, 5).
Righteousness is the trait of being upright and consistently
doing what is good. Job, for example, was blameless and
upright, one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1).
Justice is the enforcement of moral and legal standards
and the administration of appropriate discipline or retribution
for violations. Discipline strives to improve behavior.
Retribution satisfies the just requirement for a fair and
The LORD loves justice (Psalm 37:28).
Love has attendant hate.
Hate evil, love good (Amos 5:15). You who love the
LORD, hate evil! (Psalm 97:10).
Of the Messiah it is said: Your throne, O God, is forever
and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your
kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of
gladness more than Your companions (Psalm 45:6, 7).
[Compare with Hebrews 1:9.]
God hates all workers of iniquity.
For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in
Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy
those who speak falsehood; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty
and deceitful man (Psalm 5:4-6).
Evil must be punished.
The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the
one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will
rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the
portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves
righteousness (Psalm 11:5-7).
Because God loves righteousness, His soul hates the
wicked. Because He loves justice, He will rain fire on evildoers.
Of course the wicked think this punishment is excessive.
In their wickedness, they think evil is not that bad. But evil
causes immeasurable harm. Because of this harm, a loving God
is obligated to punish evil.
Vengeance and recompense belong to God.
God says, Vengeance is Mine, and recompense
Because God created man with the ability to choose evil or
good, evil must be tolerated temporarily. But God will set all
things right on judgment day, and there is partial punishment
of evil now, both by direct intervention and by governmental
At Christ's return, the wicked will be punished, Since it is
a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who
trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us
when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty
angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not
know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting
destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of
His power (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).
Governments administer God's wrath, For he is God's
minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he
does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an
avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil (Romans
Christians leave vengeance to God: Beloved, do not
avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is
written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.
Therefore 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty,
give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on
his head' (Romans 12:19, 20).
Because Christians are citizens of a heavenly kingdom
(John 18:36; Philippians 3:20) they do not fight or avenge
themselves, but defer to the wrath of God. They are ministers,
not of wrath, but of reconciliation, Now then, we are
ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through
us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God (2
The wrath of God arises from His love.
God's wrath results from His love for righteousness, for
justice and for His children.
Parents understand this. What would your reaction be to
someone who molested your child? Absolute indignation, and
God's wrath is always earned.
God has destroyed exceedingly wicked people.
Because of His love for righteousness, God limits evil on
God has used catastrophes, such as the flood and the
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, to administer justice.
First, however, we must discuss a question that applies to
all catastrophes. What about the innocent children who died in
the flood? God loved them and they will be with Him in heaven,
just like the innocent children who died in the tsunami of 2004.
Of little children Jesus said, In heaven their angels always see
the face of My Father (Matthew 18:10) and Of such is the
kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14). Also safe in the arms of
God will be the millions of babies murdered by their mothers
The history of the world shows that God is extremely
patient with sinners, but the antediluvians were intolerably
wicked! Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was
great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his
heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).
There were exceptions. Enoch walked with God (Genesis
5:22) and warned of God's judgment: Behold, the Lord comes
with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to
convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly
deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all
the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against
Him (Jude 14, 15).
In Noah's time he and his family were the only ones on
earth who served the Lord! God did not spare the ancient
world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of
righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the
ungodly (2 Peter 2:5).
Those who perished were evildoers by choice. God also
gave them a final chance to repent. By the Spirit, Christ
preached to those who were disobedient when once the Divine
longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was
being prepared (1 Peter 3:18-20).
During the 100 years it took to build the ark, the wicked
had a chance to repent. When a man spent 100 years building
a huge boat on dry land people certainly heard about it and
also about his reason for doing so. But they refused to repent.
When God warned the Ninevites that their city would be
destroyed, they repented and He did not do it (Jonah 3:10).
God uses governments to keep evil in check.
If you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword
in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath
on him who practices evil (Romans 13:4).
Under the Old Testament, God's people had a government
that was ordained and led by God (a theocracy). God was the
King of Israel (Isaiah 44:6).
God's use of the armies of Israel to wipe out evil nations
involved direct commands that were to be obeyed precisely.
They were simply instruments of God's wrath. This provides
no precedent, because no nations are now directly led
Through the ages, God has used rulers and armies
providentially to accomplish His purposes. He used
Nebuchadnezzar to punish Israel calling him 'My servant'
(Jeremiah 25:8, 9).
God is patient, wanting the wicked to repent: 'As I live,'
says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the
wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live'
(Ezekiel 33:11). The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,
as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not
willing that any should perish but that all should come to
repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
God would not have destroyed Sodom if there were ten
righteous people in the city (Genesis 18:32).
But evil can become so extreme that God's love for
righteousness and justice mandates immediate intervention.
God promised Abraham that He would give the land of
Canaan to his descendents but only after the wickedness of
those who lived there was complete. But in the fourth
generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the
Amorites is not yet complete (Genesis 15:16).
Moses explained to the people, It is not because of your
righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to
possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these
nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before
you (Deuteronomy 9:5).
Sins of these nations included adultery, homosexual
practices, sexual intercourse with animals and the sacrifice of
infants to Molech (Leviticus 18:20-30; 2 Kings 16:3).
Sacrifices to Molech varied from place to place and over
time but descriptions by ancient historians [Cleitarchus (300
BC), Diodorus Siculus (90-30 BC) and Plutarch (100 AD)] can
be summarized as follows: the hollow image had a human-like
torso with a bull's head. A fire was built in a cavity at the belly.
Outstretched arms which became red hot were flat and sloped
back so a baby thrown into the arms would roll into the fiery
stomach. Sometimes the baby was killed first, sometimes
thrown alive into the arms of Molech. In that case drums were
beaten and flutes played to cover the screams of the infant.
Mothers were not allowed to show any sign of grief.
Such extremely evil practices have at times been punished
by God with retribution on earth, but what about eternal
Justice will be done on judgment day.
God tolerates evil temporarily so man has an opportunity
to repent, but because of His love for justice, judgment day will
set all things right.
In the letter to the Romans, Paul says that the wrath of
God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18). Since all have
sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) all
stand condemned before God.
Through Christ, God provides an opportunity for salvation.
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God
has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might
live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but
that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our
sins (1 John 4:9, 10). By dying on the cross Jesus paid the
penalty for our sins.
Thus, even though God's love for righteousness and
justice mandates retribution, His love for humanity (Titus 3:4)
moved Him to provide a way of escape that would not violate
the just requirement for punishment. For what the law could
not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by
sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account
of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous
requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk
according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:3,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish
but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he
who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath
of God abides on him (John 3:36).
The LORD tests the righteous (Psalm 11:5). How people
react to Jesus shows their attitude to God. People who love God
will love Jesus. If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ,
let him be accursed (1 Corinthians 16:22). The wrath of God
abides on him who does not believe the Son (John 3:36).
Many claim to be saved although they do not believe
Jesus when He says, He who believes and is baptized will be
saved (Mark 16:16) or Unless one is born of water and the
Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). The
wrath of God remains on those who claim that baptism is not
necessary for salvation because they do not believe Jesus and
they do not obey Jesus.
To be saved we must obey the gospel (Romans 10:16;
2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17). The gospel designates
faith, repentance, confession and baptism as prerequisites for
salvation (Romans 10:10; Acts 2:38).
What have we learned?
God loves righteousness and justice. God hates all
workers of iniquity. Because God loves justice, evil must be
punished. Vengeance and retribution belong to God. He will
rain fire on the wicked.
God is patient and gives people time to repent, but when
they become too wicked, His love for righteousness and justice
requires immediate intervention. God uses catastrophes and
governments to visit wrath on evildoers. Innocent children who
die, go to heaven.
The wicked will be punished when Christ returns. Because
of sin, we are all under the wrath of God. Only by faith in
Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins, can we be saved.
God's wrath remains on anyone who does not believe Jesus and
obey the gospel. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive