The Limits of Our Justice

"Because of Jesus’ death, justice is upheld, and grace is offered. God is both just and the justifier."    

God is a god of justice.

The psalmist in Psalm 99 states: "The King in his might loves justice."

Throughout the Torah God commands his people to "not pervert justice".

Proverbs affirms that the righteous man seeks justice.

Isaiah's vision commands the people to: "learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." (Isaiah 1:17)

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on earth brought and proclaimed justice, acknowledging its role as a "weightier matter of the law".

If we are to be people who follow God, who are formed into His image more and more, we are going to be people who love, seek, proclaim, and fight for justice in our lives and our spheres of influence.

This is the subject of our Sunday Night class "Loving the City." And one of the topics we discussed on our first night of class was our limitations.

Because really, what is justice for the evil in this world? What is justice for a man who enslaves hundreds of women through sex trafficking? What is justice for people who abuse children? What is justice for those who oppress and take advantage of the poor? What is justice for the systemic destruction of human life through the promotion of abortion? What is justice for hundreds of years of African slavery in America, and the systematic oppression of African-Americans through Reconstruction and into the Modern Era? What is justice for racism, sexism, rape, torture, genocide, unjust incarceration, xenophobia, and hate that exists in every corner of every city, town, and village in this world?

If God is a god of justice, then these evils must be paid for. They must be addressed. They must be undone.

The full force of the fury of God the Almighty is the only thing that can truly bring justice to the evils in this world. And this must lead us to the cross. At the cross, in horrific, excruciating pain, the Son of God took upon Himself God's wrath. God's justice isn't simply fixing what's wrong, it is giving what is due to those who deserve to pay. There is no true justice without God pouring out His wrath.

But instead of those who deserve it, the only one who never committed, participated in, or perpetuated these evils placed Himself where He didn't deserve. He placed Himself under the wrath of God, so that those who have been unjust, those who have done evil in this world, could be forgiven. Because of Jesus' death, justice is upheld, and grace is offered. God is both just and the justifier.

When we fight sex trafficking, racism, or other evils, personal or social in this world, we are not bringing justice—we are fighting injustice. May we fight injustice with the full conviction of God's goodness and ultimate victory. There is going to be a day when the God of justice undoes all of the evil in this world. There is going to be a day when the entangled mess of injustice that consumes our world is untangled and destroyed. There is going to be a day when justice is served, evil is fully paid, everything is redeemed and made new, and His saints will proclaim: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!"