Bloody Justice and Bloody Grace (Exodus 21:12–32)

Give God’s law a fair shake and I believe you’ll be struck with the fairness of it. A cursory glance looking for barbarisms and inconsistencies won’t suffice. That’s not fair. Study it. Generally our society agrees that law takes some of that. I don’t want to argue for this here, rather, I want you to be struck with where you see this in the Bible.

After God’s mighty redemption of His people He gives them these laws of justice. After grace, justice. After mercy, righteous judgment. Grace isn’t allergic to justice. Mercy isn’t polarized against righteousness. Remember that the salvation of God’s people came by judgment. Justice fell on Egypt that Israel might go free. But this wasn’t justice enough. The death penalty hung over Israel’s head as well. If they were to go free, redemption must be paid. A lamb must bleed. There will be blood: bloody justice and bloody grace. The only reason any get grace, is because God upheld justice.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:21–26).”

God compromises no justice in His grace, and His grace instills justice into His people. We who are saved by grace should seek justice. When one son harms another, a good parent punishes the guilty not only because they love the innocent, but because they love the offender. We should lovingly seek for justice to be done in society by the proper authorities, all while declaring the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel of Christ who shed his blood in payment for the eternal death penalty that stood over our heads. May God’s redemption make us people of righteousness.

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