The Lord’s “Unjust” Justice

After attending the monthly breakfast for Timberline seniors, I made a trip to Denver. It was good to have lunch with my friends Larry and Jay Belvill and Ron Watt and visit my dear friend Vila Mae. Jay’s sister Linda had also come from the western slope to visit mom.

I then picked up our three grand kids in Lakewood to come to Fort Collins for an overnight stay while their parents attended a staff retreat. We stopped by my mother’s house and she enjoyed seeing the great-grand kids. Our return trip started out later than we expected, but made it back to Fort Collins in reasonable time with sleeping kids and a tired grandpa.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… If an evil person stops doing evil, he won’t be punished, and if a good man starts sinning, his life will not be spared.your people say that what I do isn’t right! No, it’s their way that isn’t right….I am going to judge you by what you do.” Ezekiel 33:12,17,20

Twice in the Book of Ezekiel we find the Lord calling Ezekiel as a “lookout” (watchman) to warn people of coming judgment. He uses the analogy of a sentry  who stands guard on the city walls and look for invading forces and then sounds the alarm so people can take action and save themselves. In like fashion, Ezekiel was called to be a spiritual sentry to warn people of the Lord’s coming judgment.

In the context of the warning and individual responsibility for action, the Lord says, those who turn from evil will be saved and those who turn from good to evil will be lost. The past bad will not be counted against them, and the good will not be “credited” to their “account” if they turn to a life of evil.

What we see at the basis of these responses is, “…I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die?”  Ezekiel 33:11

The issue is, “where will you be when the time of judgment comes?” Jesus put forth this question, “…when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (Luke 18:8) This becomes the critical question because on “this side of the cross” scripture declares, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8)

Two parables of Jesus give some perspective to God’s heart and His “unfair” justice.  One is the “Parable of the Two Sons.”

There was once a man who had two sons. He went to the older one and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ ‘I don’t want to,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.  Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. ‘Yes, sir,’ he answered, but he did not go.  Which one of the two did what his father wanted?” (Matthew 21:28-31) We see that it is our actions, not our words that reveal our heart.

The other parable is the Parable of the “Workers in the Vineyard.”

Once there was a man who went out early in the morning to hire some men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them the regular wage, a silver coin a day, and sent them to work in his vineyard.  He went out again to the marketplace at nine o’clock…Then at twelve o’clock and again at three o’clock he did the same thing…. “When evening came, the owner told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with those who were hired last and ending with those who were hired first.’  (Matthew 20:1-10)

Each were given the promised silver coin. Those who had worked the entire day complained about those who had only worked a few hours receiving the same wage. The owner of the vineyard asked, “…are you jealous because I am generous?’”

The Lord who is “rich in mercy” freely bestows His grace and mercy on those who respond to Him. We don’t always understand the ways of the Lord, but we can always to thankful for the ways of the Lord. That applies to our own lives and those to whom the Lord calls us to serve as a “watchman” sounding a warning and encouraging them to find life.