Amidst the current political climate in the United States and the world, the masses are crying out for justice.
There is a demand for justice of innocent lives taken at the hands of people filled with hatred. However, if you stand opposed, or even without an opinion, you can be labeled as racist or bigot. But what does the Bible say about justice? What does God say about the matter, and how does He bring about justice based upon His Word?
Merriam-Webster defines justice as “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments” . Justice is to be granted irrespective of the parties present, more specifically their beliefs, and it is based upon a certain standard. Mirriam-Webster also states justice is “the quality of conforming to law” . Take for example the laws mandated by the United States government, in which all citizens must abide by. If the laws are broken, even in ignorance, punishment is enforced upon those that have violated it. The Bible, and more specifically the Law, was given in order to instruct and guide God’s people. If these commands or decrees were rejected or unfulfilled, chastisement or discipline was ensued upon the guilty. There must be a clear comprehension from every self-proclaimed believer when it comes to God’s justice. To understand this concept, we must take a look into how Jesus dealt with sinners and offenders, and it may shock you. It is clear that the way God handles circumstances is not the same as the world. The book of Isaiah says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8) . The way in which God determines the verdict of sin isn’t based upon literal or physical means, but He judges the heart. Keep in mind, the intent of this article is to explain the way in which God brings about justice in His Word, not how justice is or should be brought about in society today.
The book of John gives a specific example of how Jesus opposed the entire religious system of His day, to do something unexpected, but revolutionary. In the gospel of John, the scene is set with the so-called righteous scribes and Pharisees who bring to Jesus a “woman caught in adultery” (Joh. 8:4) . The woman was not alleged to have committed this sin, but she was apprehended in the very act by the leaders of the Jewish faith. They presented her to Jesus as a test in order to reveal what He believed. The religious elders said, “Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?” (Joh. 8:5) . These men had no idea that Jesus could discern thoughts and intentions of their hearts (Ref. Heb. 4:12). Jesus’ response left the men dumbfounded as He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (Joh. 8:7) .
According to the law, the sentence for a woman or man who has committed adultery is death (Ref. Lev. 20:10). Jesus knew the law perfectly, but why was His response so confounding to the religious leaders? This is because it challenges the reader to go beyond just a story of forgiveness. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Mat. 5:17) . But Jesus did not kill the woman as the law instructs Him to do. Jesus completely collapsed the doctrine of the scribes and Pharisees. We must realize that He never wanted to inflict outward punishment on people but desired healing and transformation within the heart. Paul said, “for we know that the law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14) . It is a spiritual, supernatural, knowledge of the wrong that has been committed to bring redemption for those who are repentant. Wrath and punishment, however, are allotted to those who do not desire to change.
It is a spiritual, supernatural, knowledge of the wrong that has been committed to bring redemption for those who are repentant.
Wrath and punishment, however, are allotted to those who do not desire to change.
The final dialogue between Jesus and the woman was profound. “He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more,'” (Joh. 8:10-12) . Jesus’ love and mercy are unlike any on earth. When there is a misinterpretation of what the Word is saying, there is a tendency to immediately judge and condemn. The Bible plainly says that “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1Sa.16:7) . When a trespass or wrong is committed, God is not quick to judge and pour out a guilty verdict. He is always eager to determine if the offender is willing to change and do what is right. The Bible says, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy” (Psa. 145:8) .
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.
God is willing to pardon those who have consented to repent. However, He is just when it comes to prosecuting those who are unwilling to repent. Jesus has said, “I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Rev. 2:23) . God is not an authoritarian that demands worship or service. He is a good father who allows His people the choice to willingly surrender their lives to do His will. Paul says, “for whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6) . Those who are unwilling to change are susceptible to God’s righteous judgment. He wants to show us that His Word is not impossible to follow or to be executed via carnal actions. Preconceived ideas or religious beliefs are not enough to save us or keep us from judgment, as shown by the response Jesus had to the scribes and Pharisees. His heart is after those who realize their mistakes and begin to be transformed by His Word. This is what justice is to God. To find more examples on the way God institutes justice, visit the VOH resource page. https://voh.church/resources/
- “Justice.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/justice.
- The Holy Bible: New King James Version: NKJV. Thomas Nelson, 2010.