Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Thinking About Justice

 The recent brutal murder of George Floyd while onlookers cried out for him to let the man up so he could breathe and vainly entreated the other officers (who have now been charged with aiding and abetting the hideous crime) to step in and help Mr.  Floyd get up so he could breathe leads me to share some thoughts about justice.

  First of all, justice is part of God’s character. Isaiah says, “For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18) In a judgment against Jerusalem for evil within that city Zephaniah says, “The Lord within her is righteous; he does no injustice; each dawn he does not fail; but the unjust know no shame.” (Zephaniah 3:5)

   Next, since justice is part of our Lord’s character, we know He loves justice. Since He loves justice we can be certain that He hates injustice in any form. David writes, “For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psalm 37: 28) One of the joys of our Lord’s justice is to know that He preserves us forever. We are not preserved through any of our merit, because we have no merit apart from Jesus Christ dying for us on the cross and raising from the dead to be our living Savior

  Next, a pagan king saw that God is just and characterized by justice. After a sleepless night Nebuchadnezzar came to the lions’ den and cried out asking Daniel if his God had protected him. When King Nebuchadnezzar saw Daniel was not harmed by the lions he said, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Daniel 4: 37) Since our Lord is just and justice is part of His character any injustice is evil.

   Next, since God is just, loves justice and is righteous, He expects the same from His people. Amos delivered God’s warning that He was not pleased with the Israelites’ solemn assemblies and offerings while they dealt unjustly with others. He said God called for them to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24) Micah expressed that warning in these words: “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) This involves not only helping the powerless and exploited find justice, but to show them mercy and to walk humbly with God. That leaves absolutely no room for pride.

    Finally, when justice is done it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. Solomon expressed it in these words: “When justice is done it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” (Proverbs 21: 15) Justice is joy to us as His saints whom He has declared righteous because in justice we see one more wonderful aspect of His character for which we give Him praise. Justice is a terror to evildoers who receive the just punishment for their deeds.

    We must always remember that God’s justice and God’s mercy met on Calvary. Had we received justice without Jesus going to Calvary we would have no eternal hope. But since God met us mercifully that day on Calvary we have eternal life from the moment we trust Jesus as our Savior and forevermore!

David Oldfather

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