[Jesus continued:] "A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, 'My master won't be back for a while,' and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
— Matthew 24:45-51 NLT
There is tremendous pressure to make God a nice, benevolent, senile man who smiles for everyone and judges no one. In a society and culture of quick fixes, people sometimes think that God is easily manipulated and that all people deserve to go to heaven and be with him forever, no matter how they have lived. The shortsightedness of such a view is apparent to anyone who has been in the presence of evil. It doesn't matter if that evil is disguised and clothed in social respectability or if it is unvarnished and terrifying. Evil and God, evil and goodness, evil and heaven don't fit together!
No matter how much we may want to blur the distinction, God does care about the difference between righteousness and wickedness. It matters deeply to him; it is his holy character to treat people justly and as their actions deserve. Without the transformational power of Jesus' death and resurrection — and our participation in them through grace, faith, baptism and the Holy Spirit — we all would fall outside the boundaries of righteousness, and justice would demand a rigorous verdict for us all. But Jesus is the great righteousness-maker. His sacrificial death that we share in through grace and his abiding power to transform us daily through the Holy Spirit make us righteous and holy in the sight of God.
But those who do not know Jesus as Lord, who have not honored him by their lives, words, and heart, will find that while God's justice is fair and true, justice without Jesus' grace is a bitter outcome to receive!
O great Judge and Father of the Ages, thank you for the sacrificial death and transforming life of Jesus Christ, my Lord. I thank you that I stand in your presence without fault, free from any accusation, and holy in your sight. But Father, I know that these attributes are mine by your grace and not by my actions, so I pray that each day my life bears witness to the righteousness you have given me in Jesus. To your glory and in the name of Jesus, I ask it. Amen.