I am wired to be a justifier. Not necessarily a justifier of all things to all people, just a justifier of myself.
I don’t think I have to be right all the time–I think I know enough about people in general, and me in particular, that nobody is right all the time. But if I’m honest with myself, when I am right I’m inclined to want others to know I’m right. I don’t know that I’m argumentative, but I am up for a good argument. Don’t like to think I’m defensive, but more than able to defend myself. This isn’t sounding good is it?
This look in the mirror this morning comes courtesy of Peter’s exhortation to turn my eyes toward the example of Jesus.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.
(2Peter 2:21-23 ESV)
Context? Peter has just commanded Christian servants to be subject to their masters “with all respect.” Not just those masters who were “good and gentle” but also to those who weren’t. Do it, says Peter, not because they deserve it but because you are “mindful of God.” These brothers, free before a holy God but in servitude to unjust mere men, were to believe that when they endured sorrow while “suffering unjustly” that it would be seen as a “grace thing” in the sight of God (2:18-20).
Their precedent for believing such a thing? Their example for how to live out such a thing? Cue Sunday School Answer 101: Jesus!
If ever there was one who was right, it was Jesus. If ever there was one who others should know He was right, it was Jesus. If ever there was one who could justly make His case at the highest court over creation . . . well, you know who that was. But “mindful of God”, submitted to the Father’s purposes, He remained silent entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.
He “kept on delivering all into the keeping of the One who judges righteously” (Wuest). “He simply committed His cause to the One who judges fairly” (Philips). He was “content to let God set things right” (Peterson). The example of Jesus is to let the God who alone is just be the justifier. The way of Him who is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29) is to believe that the Father will bring to light what is right — for He in His essence is righteousness.
I don’t need to justify myself; I only need to entrust myself to Him who is the Justifier. I don’t need to be right and win the argument, I need to rest in the One who is righteous and who will ultimately win the day.
I’m wired to be a justifier, but I have been rewired to rely on the One who is just. By the power of the Spirit in me, I need to wage war with the old man who wants to live according to the old wiring — entrusting myself to Him who judges justly.
Only by His grace. Always for His glory.