As Christians, we ought to pursue justice because we serve the God of justice.Leigh Kohler
In light of the grievous killing of George Floyd and the discussions on racism and injustice happening in our culture, I wanted to share a piece I wrote a little over a year ago on the justice of God. My hope is that you will be encouraged and inspired by how great and holy our God is and how important it is that we continue to align with His heart of righteousness and justice. We are His image bearers and what a tremendous opportunity we have to model our heavenly Father’s character to the world right now.
As the President of the Freedom Church Alliance, I want you to know that my desire is to be teachable and always eager to learn and grow. Thank you for your partnership in the work of the Freedom Church Alliance. I believe there is still much ahead that God is preparing us for. By His grace I’m all in and I hope you will be too.
THE GOD OF JUSTICE
As Christians, we ought to pursue justice because we serve the God of justice. Years ago, I was attending the IJM Global Prayer Gathering in Washington D.C. I was shocked and saddened to hear the story of a widow from Africa talk about relatives coming in after her husband’s funeral and encroaching upon the boundary lines of her property to steal it away. Day after day they threatened her. One day they cornered her children with machetes in hand and threatened their lives if they would not leave. She said this was common. People would take advantage of widows’ vulnerability and steal their homes and land, leaving them destitute and without the means to provide for their families. Her situation grew increasingly hopeless as she spoke of local authorities looking the other way and doing nothing to bring justice to her situation. It’s bad enough to have a crime committed against you, but when the rulers and authorities put in place to enforce laws refuse to lift a finger, what is one in a powerless position to do?
Sometime later, I came across Proverbs 23:10-11, which says,
“Don’t move an ancient boundary marker, and don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong, and He will take up their case against you.”
Before knowing this woman’s story, boundary markers and encroaching on fields didn’t have much meaning in my world. Suddenly, this verse had new meaning to me – it took my breath away. Never had I appreciated or loved the justice of God more.
One of the most devastating effects of sin is the horrible injustices that take place under the sun. We look back in history at events like the holocaust and the slave trade and we wonder how human beings could treat other human beings with such cruelty. Children are born into abusive homes where they are traumatized before they can even speak. There are leaders in places in the world today who look away, and often even participate in, the selling of women and children for sex. There are millions of women all over the world today who are still victims of forced marriage, honor killings, and female mutilation. There are people falsely accused of crimes they didn’t commit. The earth groans beneath the weight of sin and injustice.
Our hope as Christians comes from the confident assurance we have that we serve a just God who is going to set all things right. A.W. Tozer once said, “Justice is not something God has, justice is something God is”. God’s justice flows from His holy nature. Man’s justice can become skewed and perverted because of sin, but God is not capable of any wrongdoing. The Bible says He weighs all things in the balance, and He always judges correctly. He rewards uprightness and He punishes sin. The world often scorns the notion of God being a judge. They want to picture him as a cuddly grandpa or nice guy who tolerates sin and looks the other way when we do something wrong. But if God did not punish sin, He would not be good. For example, if we saw on the news tonight that a child molester went before a judge and the judge gave him an innocent verdict and let him walk out the door with no punishment, we would be out of our minds with anger. We definitely would not say he was a good judge! Why? Because we are made in the image of God, and we have an innate sense of justice. We want life to be fair. We want evil to be punished and good to be rewarded.
I see this God-given sense of justice in my kids. When someone takes something out of one of their rooms without asking, or says something really hurtful, they run to me to tell me how they’ve been wronged. If I look at them, shrug my shoulders and say, “so what?” they would be outraged. They would question my love and concern for their well-being. Their understanding of my love for them is wrapped up in the knowledge that I am looking out for them and that I am here to protect them. I’m going to try to judge fairly between them and set things right the best I know how. Of course, I don’t always get it right. I don’t always see everything. I might even make the wrong judgment or be too strict or too lax in my punishment because of my own blind spots, sin or weakness. Solomon sought God’s wisdom so that He could rule and judge fairly among His people. We too need God’s wisdom to understand justice and get it right, because our Heavenly Father always gets it right. He sees every injustice. He sees when we’ve been wronged and when we’ve wronged someone else.
The ultimate demonstration of God’s justice is displayed at the cross. Because God is a righteous and just God, the penalty for our sins had to be paid. There was no way around it. So, God in His mercy, sent His own sin to pay for our sin. He willingly and lovingly humbled Himself, came to this earth and suffered our punishment so that justice could be met. And all of those who put their faith in Jesus for salvation are no longer subject to the punishment of sin and death. Justice was met by our Savior.
The enemy is always at work trying to cast a shadow over the goodness of God. He points to the evil and injustice in the world and the pain in our own stories and says, “It’s not fair. God’s not fair.” He calls into question the character of God, and says a good God would not allow the world to be so complex, so difficult, so deplete of equity and justice. Let’s not agree with our enemy or call into question God’s character. Instead, let’s declare like the Psalmist, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him” (Ps. 92:15). There is justice that comes now, and for reasons only God understands, there are some things that will not be set right until He returns. Scripture says God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, but He promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Nothing is escaping His notice. He is coming back, and the just Judge who reigns over all the earth will put an end to every injustice and make all things right.
As image-bearers of Christ, as long as we live in this world, we are called to always be on the side of what is good, right and just according to God’s holy Word. The Bible is our guide as we navigate through the complexities of this life. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding us and empowering us to carry out God’s justice in the world. The widow’s story that I spoke of earlier ended wonderfully! She rejoiced as she spoke of God raising up workers from IJM who came to her aid to fight for justice for her and her children. The Church has always been God’s plan A for bringing His redemption to the world, and we must never lose sight of that. Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.” May God empower us in these days to love Him, one another and those around us in a way that brings Him much glory!