In the Old Testament, the Israelites were under the law of Jehovah. The other peoples were not. Whoever obeyed the law was considered righteous (Ps. 5:12; 34:17; 37:17, 21, 25; Ps. 55:22; 112:2-4). These texts are only a few of those that speak about the righteous man. Ezekiel, the prophet, draws a profile of the righteous man: “‘But if a man is righteous, and practices justice and righteousness, and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife, or approach a woman during her menstrual period — if a man does not oppress any one, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry, and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity, and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully — he is righteous and will surely live,’ declares Jehovah God” (Ezek. 18:5-9). The law that Jehovah gave on the Mount Sinai dictates all this behavior and these works. These good works and this good behavior are called, in the New Testament, as WORKS OF THE LAW. Paul says, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 2:16). Well, if the law were really given by God the Father, the works of the law would justify men, for God cannot contradict himself. “…because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20). The lust of the sins, which comes by the law, produces death (Rom. 7:5). The law produces wrath, and not love (Rom. 4:15). Law is cold and merciless, and Paul calls it the ministry of death, that is, by the law all have died, because one day every man will inevitably sin (2 Cor. 3:6-7; Eccles. 7:20).
The justice of Jehovah was based on the law and not on love — “The soul who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:4). But the justice of the Father is based on love and not on the law — “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
In the justice of love, Jesus dies in the place of the sinner. The sinner has only to believe, and has no need of the law. Well, if the gentiles are saved without the law of Jehovah, and the Jews that were under the law were lost, we conclude that the law was useless and detrimental. In the letter to the Hebrews we read: “For the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and USELESSNESS” (Heb. 7:18). Well, the God of Glory and of supreme wisdom could not ordain a useless law, neither could he have two kinds of justice, of the law and of love, for in this case he would have had different weights and different measures, that even Jehovah condemns (Deut. 25:13-15). The conclusion is crystal clear: The justice of the law came from one source, and the justice of love came from another.
The law justifies the one who does not practice evil, and the love of God justifies the one who practices evil, but believes though faith in Jesus Christ. “Now the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor but as what is due. But the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered’” (Rom. 4:4-7).
The justice of the law is completely incompatible with the justice of faith, and the very Jesus rejects the justice of the law.
If Jehovah were the Father, he would not allow Moses to say: “So Jehovah commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear Jehovah our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before Jehovah our God, just as He commanded us” (Deut. 6:24,25). “But the lovingkindness of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant, and who remember His precepts to do them” (Ps. 103:17,18). “‘Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.’ And the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge” (Ps. 50:5-6). “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is truth” (Ps. 119:142). “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Is. 48:18). “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am Jehovah” (Lev. 18:5).
It is strange and paradoxical that the justice of Jehovah would be upon those who kept his law and his statutes and that Paul would say the following: “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works” (Rom. 9:30-32). In this way Paul taught that the justice of God is not upon those who keep and practice the law, contradicting the word of Jehovah, for he says, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28).
The justice of God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is grace for all men. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men…” (Titus 2:11).
This is the justice of love, and not of the law. The justice of the law kills the transgressors, but the justice of love saves all who believe, good and bad “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
They are, therefore, two different justices, from two different authors: Jehovah the author and finisher of the law of condemnation, and Jesus, the author and finisher of faith and salvation (2 Cor. 3:6-9; Heb. 12:2).
Well, the same Bible says that sweet water and bitter water cannot spring forth from the same fountain, therefore Jehovah is a foreign god to the New Testament (James 3:11). Blessing and curse cannot come from the same mouth (James 3:10; Deut. 28:1-68).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira