As should be obvious by this point in this study, God is multi-faceted by nature. When asking the question, "What is God like?," no single answer is sufficient. He exhibits many characteristics, none of which contradict any of the others. Rather, they complement one another, presenting the fuller portrayal of God. While He is a God of love, goodness, mercy and grace, He is also a Just God. The fact that God is just does not negate or conflict with any of those other characteristics. They go together perfectly.
True love does not ignore serious, potentially harmful problems in the life of one who is loved. It not only notices but, when appropriate, calls attention to the problem and to the need for correction. Imagine a parent who supposedly loves his child too much to correct him. Such would be a disservice, not an act of love, to the child. A parent disciplines his child because he loves him (Heb. 12:5-7). Appropriate discipline is an act of love, and it is also an earmark of a good parent.
In a real sense, God's goodness demands that He also be a God of justice. In God's case, His justice is rooted in goodness. To not stand for justice is to allow evil to rule. "God is a just judge" (Ps. 7:9-11). Because God is just, He holds us accountable only for our own deeds, not for the deeds of others (Ps. 62:12; 2 Cor. 5:10). He judges without partiality or prejudice (Rom. 2:6-11; 1 Pet. 1:17). Being omniscient, He knows the exact truth pertaining to the matters of our lives (Ps. 139:1-12). So strong is God's justness that the perversion of justice is "an abomination" to Him (Prov. 17:15).
God wants all mankind to be saved. That's why He sent Christ to the cross, but He will not ignore unrighteousness. He is "just to forgive" the person who repents and properly seeks His forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9), but repentance is required (Lk. 13:3). Being just, God cannot ignore the lack of a repentant heart or the unwillingness to live by the righteous teachings of God's word. Because He loves us God has laid out in scripture the best way of life, the direction with the greatest hope and promise with the most rewarding ultimate destination that we can live. Because He loves us God wants the best for us. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Prov. 14:12).
God is just. There will be a day of final reckoning on which God will hold all mankind accountable for how they have lived their lives in this world. Righteousness will prevail. We can be thankful that it will be God the Son, not some man, Who will be sitting in the judgment seat on that day. We can be thankful because God is a judge Who is just!...
Gary L. Hutchens