A Glorious Juxtaposition

The LORD is righteous in all his ways,
and kind in all his works.
Psalm 145:17

I mainly wrote this post just so I could use the word juxtaposition. The word is glorious in its own right and in my not-so-humble opinion, deserves much more airtime than our everyday English gives it.

But that’s just the word nerd in me.

For those who need a definition, a juxtaposition is the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

The Psalms are filled with juxtapositions that put two seemingly different ideas about God together and force us to dig deeper to see how they relate.  Such is the case with Psalm 145:17 where we read that the Lord is both righteous and kind. 

The Lord is righteous. Morally perfect. Unwavering in justice. Infinitely holy and incomparably pure. He cannot look upon sin without an intense and righteous hatred.

And yet we read on the very next line, the Lord is kind. Compassionate. Gracious. Slow to anger. Abounding in mercy and steadfast love.

How can such a perfectly righteous God also be a God who is kind and tender-hearted towards sinners like us? Or an even better question, how can his kindness actually now be an expression of his righteousness? So that when the Psalmist calls the Lord righteous, he can call him kind in the same breath.

You might guess where I’m going. Yes, the cross. At the cross, the righteous justice of God was completely satisfied. All the requirements his righteousness demanded against sin were met when Jesus became our substitute and took God’s righteous wrath in our place.

And now, for those who look to that cross, God is faithful and just to forgive us in grace and kindness. Because of the cross, his forgiveness is not only an act of his mercy, but an act of his righteousness.

God cannot require two payments for sin. And since Christ has paid for our sins once and for all, God’s justice now demands that we -guilty though we be- go free. The Lord shows himself righteous now by showing himself infinitely kind towards undeserving sinners like us.

What a glorious thought our forgiveness is grounded not just in his mercy, but because of Christ, in his unchanging righteousness.

No foundation for God’s kindness in forgiveness could be more solid, more permanent, or more unshakeable than that.


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