The Biblical Landscape of Justice
Hello, this is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective.
There is a lot of talk these days about justice, and when we come to the subject of justice and righteousness, we are definitely in the center of biblical territory.
This means that it is critical we not assume what justice is, but think long and hard about what the Bible says about it. We must walk through the entirety of the Scripture, repeatedly, until we are deeply familiar with all the contours of God’s justice and what it requires of us.
Obviously, I cannot do that it two minutes. Nonetheless, here's a rough map of the territory in four points:
First, God is just and righteous.
Psalm 11:7 says, “For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.”
...Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name? For you alone are holy.
Second, God requires that we live just and righteous lives. As the prophet Micah says: He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
Now, sadly, because of sin, none of us live up to this. Thus, we are liable to God’s just judgment.
Third, no one can escape God’s justice by his own strength.
Exodus 34 tells us that God “will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7).
So, finally, what must we do? Look to the cross of Jesus Christ!
Why the cross? The only place where God’s justice has been fully satisfied (or ever will be) is at the cross of Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that at the cross God satisfied His demands of justice by placing all our unrighteousness on Him. Jesus took the judgment we deserved, so that God’s justice might work for us, not against us. As Paul puts it, in the cross God is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
The more deeply we live into this story, the more deeply God’s mercy flows through us and into a world desperate for God’s justice to work for them, not against them.
And that’s something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.
“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
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 3:19-26 (ESV)