Understanding Justice

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Scripture declares that “evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely” (Prob. 28:5, ESV).

But even though they do not understand justice, evil men talk about it incessantly. Even though they do not comprehend what they are talking about, they appeal to it constantly. Because we are lost in our sins, we think that justice is our friend, when justice, biblically conceived, is our mortal enemy. Justice will deliver a poor man from his oppressor, but justice will deliver no man from his own wretched sinfulness.

This proverb says that those who seek the Lord understand it completely. This is the case because those who seek the Lord are only able to do so through the blood of Christ, which was shed under the justice of God. God was executing justice when Christ died, but He was doing so in a way that made it possible for justice and mercy to meet, and to kiss.

Those who seek the Lord, those who have justified, can look at justice without flinching. We can look at the law of God concerning what is just and what is not without distorting everything for the sake of our own peace of mind. And because we are freed from all condemnation, justice becomes a subject we can give ourselves to without fear of twisting it.

And this is why, when the people of God look at what the world is doing when it talks about justice—particularly social justice—we can see what is really in play. We see envy, settling scores, resentments, ambition, hatreds, and more. If we have been instructed rightly, we will come to understand  that real knowledge of culture and politics is not possible without a clear understanding of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. It is there, and only there, that sinners can comprehend justice without being destroyed. And when we understand it, we may minister it.

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Matthew N. Petersen
Matthew N. Petersen
8 years ago

On the contrary. It’s God’s mercy that is our mortal enemy (Psalm 62:12).<br><br>
 
God’s justice restores what had unjustly been stolen, namely, our communion with God. That is, justice is the cure for sin–for Original Sin first, then for actual sin–since it is Adam’s sin that stole communion from his children, and by our sins, we join him in that theft. Thus justice restores what had been originally given to man, till Adam, and in imitation of him, the rest of us, stole it, and destroyed it.

Matthew N. Petersen
Matthew N. Petersen
8 years ago

On the contrary. It’s God’s mercy that is our mortal enemy (Psalm 62:12).[br][br]   God’s justice restores what had unjustly been stolen, namely, our communion with God. That is, justice is the cure for sin–for Original Sin first, then for actual sin–since it is Adam’s sin that stole communion from his children, and by our sins, we join him in that theft. Thus justice restores what had been originally given to man, till Adam, and in imitation of him, the rest of us, stole it, and destroyed it.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

Matthew, I disagree.  Doug is correct.  God’s mercy is not the enemy.  A biblical theology of redemption teaches that mercy does not become effective toward a sinner until justice has done its work (i.e. until God’s justice has been satisfied).  This is the heart of the atoning work of Christ (Rom. 3:25-26).  The basic idea of justice is “getting what we deserve”, which we all know what we deserve without the grace and mercy of Christ.  Without Christ, all us stand condemned, and this is precisely because of God’s justice.  It’s only His mercy which can counter that.  Therefore, how could… Read more »

Matthew Petersen
Matthew Petersen
8 years ago

Dan, I was being a little facetious with that first statement. Of course God’s mercy is good news. God is good news. But Psalm 62.12 does say “Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work” (KJV). If rendering to every man according to his work is bad news, mercy and kindness is bad news. My point is that justice is also our friend. Along those lines, there’s no support for “biblically” in either Pr. Wilson’s post, or in yours. And I offered a rendering of “Justice” that makes just as much sense of… Read more »