Read Psalm 99
1 The Lord reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
2 Great is the Lord in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
5 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
8 Lord our God,
you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
though you punished their misdeeds.
9 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the Lord our God is holy.
This psalm reminds us that our God is just, right, and holy. These words are found all throughout Scripture to describe God. Righteousness describes God’s objective morality. Everything He does and everything He is can be described as moral and right. God is our standard for morality. From His righteousness comes His justice. These two go hand in hand. The word justice here can also be interchanged with judgment. This is God’s declaration of what is righteous and unrighteous and the consequences that follow. God’s justice demands that a price be paid for unrighteousness. This truth is ingrained in each of us. When someone wrongs us, there is something in us that desires a consequence. When we have been hurt by someone, we have a deep desire for payment, for that wrong to be made right somehow. God’s holiness describes His otherness. He is separate from the brokenness and sinfulness that infects each of us, perfect in justice and righteousness.
Still, God bends low to speak to us. When we choose pride, lust, greed, dishonesty, selfishness, or anything other than God, He is faithful to forgive us and call us back to Himself. How can God be holy, set apart, and still near to us in all of our brokenness? How can God call Himself just while extending such radical forgiveness?
Our God, perfect in justice, righteousness and holiness, desires our nearness to Him so much that He put on flesh and wore our sins as scars. He bore the consequences of our sinfulness and took them to the grave, paying the price that we could not pay. Jesus died the death that we deserve because of our unrighteousness. Then, once the price for our sins had been paid in full, He rose to life so that we can have the hope of new life. Ephesians 1 tells us, “He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Those who repent and accept the forgiveness we have been offered through Jesus are seen as holy in God’s sight. Jesus’ payment made a way for us to be near to God for eternity. Our holy God made us holy in His sight to draw us into a relationship with Him. The forgiveness we are offered through Jesus is not despite God’s holiness and justice, but because of His holiness and justice.
- Have you accepted Jesus’ forgiveness and payment for your sin? How did the truth of the gospel impact your life?
- How does knowing the price Jesus paid for your sins affect the way you approach Him? How does it affect the way you live your life?
- Is there sin in your life that you need to confess and turn from today?
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