I can remember sitting in the deliberation room with my fellow jurors wrestling with the evidence. We were trying to decide whether a man should be found guilty of child molestation. It was an emotionally taxing case. How could it not be? A man’s daughter had accused him of terrible wrongs. And while I think it’s safe to say that each of us had a strong suspicion that the individual being tried was guilty, the evidence simply wasn’t decisive, not beyond a reasonable doubt, anyway. In the end, it was basically his word against hers. So we felt it was our duty to acquit him. And acquit him we did.
At one point after we had reached our decision, I remember voicing some of the emotions that were stirring within me. I cannot remember what I said exactly, but it was something like this: “It is reassuring to know that if we have gotten this wrong- if this man did, as many of us suspect, do something inappropriate- God will not get it wrong. The Judge of all men will render a perfect verdict.”
Isn’t that what all Christians believe? That God is Judge? And that He will perfectly judge all men? It is.
But why is that? What is it about God that differentiates Him from us? Why will the final judgment be perfect and infinitely superior to the courtrooms of men? The crucial difference rests on God’s attributes.
1) Consider first God’s omniscience. Since God knows all things perfectly, there will not be one shred of evidence that will escape His notice. No blood stain will be hidden from His sight. No conjecture will muddy the waters. Even the very thoughts and motives of men will be laid bare, weighed and calculated. So if God were not perfectly knowledgeable of all the facts, then perfect justice could not be rendered.
2) But consider further God’s eternality. Since God is eternal, never having a beginning or an end, there will never be a time when God’s just verdict will cease. It will stretch across the endless waves of time forever, never fading, never dissipating, held firm for the longest conceivable period of time. If God were not eternal, then perfect justice could not be upheld.
3) Now consider God’s holiness. Since God is perfectly holy- the very sum of all righteousness, perfect light in Whom there is not even a shadow of darkness- the standard by which men will be judged will be perfectly just, for His standard is a perfect standard of righteousness. This is important. For if God were eternal and omniscient, but not holy, His verdicts may or may not be good. But when holiness is combined with both omniscience and eternality, there is not only sound judgment, but a recompense that is perfectly equitable; He knows what the due penalty for a crime should be; He knows how long the sentence should be; He knows how severe the punishment should be. He cannot be bribed and He is not the respecter of persons. And so there is true justice.
4) And since God is immutable, His eternal and holy verdict will never change. Indeed, it cannot change, since it is perfect as He is perfect.
5) But what about the execution of justice? Some men who have broken a law nevertheless evade justice, finding respite in other countries or by dodging the authorities. Here consider God’s omnipotence. There is not a sentence which God will issue that will not also be perfectly meted out. No sinner can escape God’s judgments. And no sinner will be able to overpower or outmaneuver God and escape their due penalty. God’s unassailable power ensures this. Therefore, since God is omnipotent, there can be perfect justice.
So while I think that the man who was tried for child molestation probably committed some kind of indecency, but nevertheless could not be found guilty of that indecency, due largely to our human limitations (and the sin which led one of them to boldly lie), I rest assured that there is a Day coming when the earth and sky will flee from His presence and the books will be opened. Then perfect justice will be executed.