Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
We’re pretty accustomed to thinking about life in terms of defaults. We assume a particular condition which is normally true. This can be applied to most of the situations of our world, even to people and their personalities. And, just as all the people we deal with, God has a personality, a very complex one.
In our Psalm this week, we ask ourselves whether God’s default is favor of justice, since the two seem to be in conflict with one another. In his justice, God cannot abide our sin and iniquity. He is right to be angry at us. God’s justice is central to his nature. However, so is his mercy and favor, by which he forgives and restores his people. What has happened to God’s people? In this Psalm they have been forgiven in the past. Yet they find themselves separated from God. That’s what happens when God is just and we are sinful. Again and again we face his fanger.
If we pause to consider it, God’s forgiveness is not in conflict with his justice. He can’t legitimately bypass our sin. That violates his justice. What option is left for him? He could destroy us to satisfy his justice. Then again, he could show mercy, not by overlooking offenses, but by taking care of them. Forgiveness doesn’t just ignore or minimize sin. It acknowledges it as what it is - an affront to the perfect holiness of God. Then forgiveness takes care of the consequences. God’s holy justice and his perfect restorative love meet in God the Son, Jesus, who gave his life as a ransome for all of our sin. In Christ, both justice and favor are satisfied. This is the hope of the Christian, and the joy of our Psalm.
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