Holiness and Justice (Dr. Sproul)
The Holiness of God: Holiness and Justice
- Let’s begin with Hymn 224, “How Firm a Foundation,” then a word of prayer.
- This evening we will watch Dr. R.C. Sproul’s second lecture, “Holiness and Justice.” I’d like to begin by reading Deuteronomy 32, the Song of Moses.
- The theme running through the Song of Moses is the absolute justice of God. The justice of God levels all nations, the chosen people as well as enemies. That fact is both a warning, and a comfort. So it’s important that we start with a baseline understanding of justice.
- Before we get into Dr. Sproul’s lecture, let me ask you a couple of questions:
Question: Can anyone give me a simple definition of the word justice? What is justice?
Basically, justice is getting the reward or the punishment that is rightly due. Listen to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary: Justice is,
(1) the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness;
(2) rightfulness or lawfulness;
(3) the moral principle determining just conduct;
(4) conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct;
(5) the administering of deserved punishment or reward;
Again, justice means we get what we deserve, whether reward or punishment.
Question: So, what is required for the proper estimation, evaluation, and execution of justice? How do we know what we deserve?
Question: What characterizes our own sense of justice?
Too often our sense of justice is characterized by our internal, subjective sense of preference, which favors our own interests. Essentially, we are subject to favoritism, and not just with regard to other people, but most fundamentally we are biased toward our own concerns. We are quick to condemn in others what we ignore in ourselves.
Question: What standard informs our sense of justice? What standard should inform our sense of justice?
Our sense of justice is informed by external, objective standards of right and wrong. So the question is, what standard governs your internal sense of justice? It ought to be the Word of God, and the just character of a holy God.
- With those thoughts prompting your thinking, let’s watch the next lecture, “Holiness and Justice.”
- Read Lev. 9:22–10:3, 2 Sam. 6:1-9.
a. What are your initial thoughts about these judgments of God that broke forth, first on Nadab and Abihu, and then on Uzzah?
b. What differences do you see between these instances of judgment, particularly with the nature of the offenses?
c. Can you think of a NT example of the outbreak of God’s immediate justice?
- Jam. 4:12 says, “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.” What gives God the right to give the laws and judge others? (He is the Creator. Experience with Mark and Lisa at the park.)
- If we don’t have a proper understanding of justice, in view of God’s absolute holiness and right to execute justice, how does that affect all our theology (i.e., understanding of God, man, sin, gospel)?
- Suppose your college student comes home after class one day—Sociology 101, or Philosophy 101—and your student tells you the professor spent the hour ridiculing the God of the Bible, particular using examples in the OT, even calling God a “genocidal maniac.” How will you equip your student to handle that intellectual challenge to his or her faith?
- Why do our sins demand eternal death? What do you think of Dr. Sproul’s explanation of sin as “cosmic treason”? Have you ever thought of your own sin in those terms? Why not?
- Read Rom. 1:21-26. What does that last verse mean? (cf. Ps. 85:10)
- What new things did you learn about the holiness of God? What practical impact do those truths make on your life?
- What do you plan to do differently as a result of studying this lesson? What changes do you need to make (i.e., in your life, in your schedule) to succeed in those plans?
- Close with Is. 66:1-2, Hymn #248, “And Can It Be,” and prayer.