Wages: When Paul says, “the wages of sin is death,” in Romans 6.23, he echoes what the psalmist speaks, on God’s behalf in Psalm 110, “He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.” Reading of God’s action against an entire nation is difficult for modern readers. We long for justice, yet watching it carried out — in full force — is terrifying.
Justice: Among the nations this passage speaks of is that of ancient Edom. The Edomites rebelled against God, savagely pursued his people, and ultimately condemned Christ to death (the line of the Harrods descended from Edom). Although God’s judgement falls on the rebellion of specific nations in this passage, it ultimately extends to the rebellion in all of our lives. All of us have inherited the brokenness of generations past, all of us have found ourselves at opposition with God, and—as passages like this show—not one of us could stand under the judgement of God. We love the justice of God when it acts on our behalf; we fear the reality that, in order to be fully just, it has to move against the sin in our lives as well.
Grace: Yet we are not without hope. Dr. Barry Davis notes, “Psalms 107—109 express anguished pleas for deliverance; Psalms 111— 113 overflow with praise for Yahweh. Psalm 110, the connecting psalm, reveals that the Messiah is both a King and a Priest.” Moreover, the Messiah was the suffering servant. That Christ would face the full judgement of God on our behalf — at such immense cost — is stunning. That he would offer it for free to all who choose him leaves us breathless. There is truly no other way. “T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved,” wrote John Newton in “Amazing Grace.” The Christian understanding of justice leaves us humbled by the grace we’ve received and empowered to join God in the restoration his justice brings.
Prayer: Dear Father, how we long for your justice in our world; for through it we are healed from our greatest affliction. We realize how costly it is — thank you for your son, who endured all things, even excruciating separation from you as he died on a cross, on our behalf. We are renewed and hope-filled by your grace.
 Barry C. Davis, “Is Psalm 110 a Messianic Psalm?” Bibliotheca Sacra 157:626 (April-June 2000):168.