Did O.J.Simpson escape justice?

On April 10th, 2024, at the age of 76 years old O.J.Simpson died from cancer. Although he was known as an actor and an American football player, regarded as one of the greatest running backs of all time, the vast majority people will remember him for the highly publicised murder trial in 1995, in which he was accused of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994.

Did O.J.Simpson escape justice?

Due to his vast wealth Simpson was able to hire a team of expert lawyers for the eleven-month long trial. To the amazement and incredulity of many people he was acquitted of the crimes. However, three years later, he was found responsible for both murders in a civil suit but paid little of the $33.5 million judgment.

Was this a prime example of the wealthy evading justice? Possibly.

Would a person of meagre means, unable to hire a ‘dream team’ of highly qualified lawyers, have obtained the same verdict? Probably not.

Although we cannot state with absolute certainty that O.J.Simpson was guilty of two horrific murders we do know some unchangeable truths, concerning the Lord God’s view of justice. A writer from long ago stated, “God cannot but be just, it is part of His very essence. God wills nothing but what is just; and therefore, it is just because he wills it.”

“For the LORD loves justice” (Psalm 37:28)

“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15)

When we see injustice, we scream “that’s not fair” and the reason that we long for justice and are outraged when we see injustice, is because we are made in God’s image. We still reflect, to some degree, the attributes of God.

The title of this post is “Did O.J.Simpson escape justice?” The answer to that is ‘maybe’ but also ‘No’. In the human courts he may have escaped the  punishment that he should have received. If he did commit the crimes of murder, then he evaded justice and now that he has died it might seem as though justice will never be served.

Maybe you can think of other historical figures that seemed to have avoided due punishment for their wrongdoings. But none of these will evade ultimate justice. From the Bible, we know that no-one, no matter how rich or poor, young or old will escape. Justice will be done.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, -Hebrews 9:27

This truth can bring comfort for many who have suffered terrible injustice. They have the assurance that there will, in God’s time, be a day of reckoning. Thomas Watson wrote, “Justice may be as a lion asleep, but at last the lion will awake, and roar upon the sinner.”

However, there is a major issue that needs to be addressed. The justice of God will be applied to all, without exception. No partiality will be shown to the rich. Indeed, all will be judged by His holy standard. Whilst this is fair, the bad news for mankind is that all have sinned and will receive the punishment due to them. The law of God, written in our hearts and in His word, stands as a witness against us.

“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

God’s justice requires Him to deal not just with O.J. Simpson’s sin but with our sin. God could not just ignore sin; justice requires a penalty. The Bible says the penalty for sin is death. That’s God’s justice.

If this was the end of the matter, we would be without hope. We would face the eternal penalty which is due to each of us. Thankfully, the just God is also merciful.

God is merciful to sinners, but that mercy is not exercised at the expense of justice. He cannot and does not set aside the requirements of moral law to be merciful.

The marvellous truth of the gospel message is that God’s mercy is magnified by His justice.

The text of scripture we consider earlier, “and as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” is followed by the words, “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.”

Out of great love for sinners God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world so that He would bear the “sins of many”. When Jesus Christ was upon the cross He bore the punishment for sin, so that whoever trusts Him as their Saviour can be assured they will never bear the just penalty for their sin and can enjoy a relationship with God, now and forever.

It is only because the penalty of sin was satisfied through Christ’s sacrifice that God extends His mercy to undeserving sinners who look to Him for salvation.

Because of Christ’s work of bearing the penalty of sin upon the cross God can show mercy to the believing sinner. He sent Christ to take the punishment for sin so that “He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26).

Although, on earth, many evade the just penalty for their misdemeanours there is only one way to escape God’s justice and come into a right relationship with Him – and that is through trusting in Him who took the full force of God’s wrath.