This past week, America witnessed the wonderful deliverance of three women who had been kidnapped and imprisoned in the home of their captor in Ohio for ten years. These women were re-united with their families and friends who had prayed and hoped — and even some who had given up hope — that they were still alive somewhere and that they would one day return home.
Those families and that entire community are relieved that an evil situation that lurked right underneath their noses for so long is finally gone. And the kidnappers who perpetrated this evil will finally face justice. “Justice” is an act of reparation where someone is fairly punished for what he has done wrong.
Throughout our lives, each of us has faced acts of justice because of our wrongdoings: a parent chastising us for disobedience, a teacher sending us to detention for not being cooperative in the classroom, and as we got older, law enforcement having to give us a ticket for driving faster than what the law says we are supposed to drive on the highway. This administration of justice is what keeps our society running in a harmonious manner.
There is one other very important matter where justice must be administered as well. And that is in the area of our personal relationship with God. The Bible tells us that God is a just God. Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Because of our sins, we each must face justice from God.
From the beginning of the Bible to the end, the penalty (or judgment) for sin is physical death and eternal punishment in a place of fire and torment called Hell. God warned the first man, Adam, of the consequences of breaking his laws. He said, “for in the day that thou eatest [the forbidden fruit] thou shalt surely die.” During the thousands of years that followed, God repeatedly made the consequences of sin and disobedience clear. In Romans 1:32, he said, “they which commit such [sins] are worthy of death.” Death is the judgment for sin. It is the way justice is administered.
Because God is perfect and holy, his justice must be served, and sinners have to pay the consequences for their sins. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” And Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
However, because God loves us, he did not want to leave us in our sinfulness, waiting our entire lives to be punished by death and then to go to suffer in Hell. So, he decided to do something about it.