On Justice

“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

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Our God is a God of justice. He holds every man and woman perfectly accountable for their sins. He discerns thoughts, motives, and knows every hidden action. All things are laid bare before Him. Even our actions that appear righteous are corrupt in various ways. They are compared to filthy garments (Isaiah 64:6). Yet in all this, God the Father is merciful and has sent His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world. In Christ, by faith alone, we can be forgiven. By the grace of God in Jesus Christ we do not receive what we justly deserve: death (Genesis 2:16-17, Romans 6:23), but instead receive life and peace and adoption into God’s kingdom as sons and daughters.

Apart from the salvation of God, we cannot know justice (Proverbs 28:5). Apart from the salvation of God, our efforts at justice are always shaded by favoritism, corrupted by wealth and bribery, and turned away from those that have nothing to give us in return for our help. 

Even though we begin in corruption, as we believe in and follow Christ, He begins to conform us into His image. He begins to teach us to care about justice and carry it out in the world. The prophet Micah writes in the Old Testament that “doing justice” is both good and required of us. Jesus clearly rebukes those who care very much about less important issues, but neglect “weightier” issues of justice and the love of God (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42). Finally, Isaiah is very clear that justice will be a foundational virtue of the coming kingdom of God (Isaiah 9:6-7). 

In courthouses across our land, justice is often portrayed as a woman, blindfolded, holding out a scale. This symbol represents the correct notion that justice is supposed to weigh the facts relevant to the law and make a decision apart from personal favoritism, political activism, or predetermined prejudice. If the facts of the matter point to guilt, then there is guilt. If the facts of the case point to innocence, then there is innocence. Justice does not ask whether the defendant is male or female, white or black, rich or poor, young or old.

The Bible teaches unqualified justice. God does not have various versions of justice. Biblical justice, as defined above, is not the same thing as “social justice.” Social justice is a political movement clothed in biblical language. Social justice involves picking certain favored groups – certain races, certain subcultures, certain slivers of society – and singling them out for favoritism and special treatment. True justice is equal justice for ALL under the law. After the pattern of the Lord, no group is protected from penalty and no group is rewarded without true merit. 

Social justice has Lady Justice take off her blindfold to see if the person before her is from a favored group. If so, then the facts at hand become less relevant – or irrelevant – because the driving force is supporting or undermining the favored, or unfavored, person. In this way, social justice is the opposite of biblical justice. 

Christians should reject this choosing of favorites – which changes constantly. We must instead continue to seek after biblical justice, true justice, that works to make sure the privileged and powerful do not abuse the poor and needy (Nehemiah 5:1-13). We must look to represent the interests of the widow, the elderly, the poor, the orphan, the ignorant, the disabled, and the unborn – regardless of their race or national origin. 

This is the good justice of God. Justice which brings peace and accountability. Justice motivated by love, not hate. 

Grace and peace to you,

Pastor Vic