Jesus said justice is one of “the more important matters of the law” (from Matthew 23:23). How important? Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne (Psalm 89:14). God loves justice (Psalm 11:7, Isaiah 61:8), and is known by His justice (Psalm 9:16). Jesus upheld this teaching from the Old Testament, confirming that justice is not just important to God, but is part of who God is.
“Elementary, My Dear Watson!”
Jesus only mentions justice a couple of times, almost as if He assumes people already understand this important elementary teaching. The way He taught it confirmed that justice is part of the foundation of God’s kingdom (Psalm 89:14), just as important as the command to love God: “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone” (Luke 11:42). People normally read this scripture and take away the importance of tithing. That is accurate, but also notice that Jesus said neglecting justice is as bad as neglecting to love God, and loving God is the first and greatest commandment (read Jesus Said Love God –1st Commandment).
Justice: A Firm Foundation
We put our hope in God. We trust that He is a god of justice, that all inequities will eventually be equaled out, and all wrongs made right; if not now, then on the last day (Revelation 19:1-2). When we are treated unjustly in the present day, we do not seek revenge, but leave that to God, for it is His right, not ours (Romans 12:19). Until God chooses to avenge, we are to be a just people (Micah 6:8), grounding ourselves in justice, conducting ourselves in a way that reflects God’s justice, His truth and fairness (even when other people do not). We are to make this the foundation of our life, right up there with the command to love God, so that people know us, not only by our love, but by our just behavior.
Jesus’ disciples must be fair, truthful and just in all dealings with all people in all situations. One specific example is found in James 5:4: We must never underpay or fail to pay anyone who does work for us. The call to be just extends further than this, into social causes that impact our world today. When we strive for justice here on earth, we are partnering with our just God, praying to Him “…your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Call to Action
The call to be just includes standing up for justice in your community, for those too weak to stand up for themselves, and for just causes that God’s Holy Spirit leads you to support. If you are not involved in a cause that is larger and higher than your corner of the world, now may be a good time to consider partnering with others in just such a cause. It could be supporting Right to Life (to stand up for the unborn), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (to work for persecuted Christians around the world), or your local legal aid chapter (to provide legal services to the indigent). Go to God in prayer today and ask where He wants you to pursue justice here on earth, as it is in heaven.
As you work for justice here on earth, keep in mind that God’s justice is always administered at God’s timing, not ours (2 Peter 3:9). Godly thirst for justice must never turn into ungodly self-righteousness indignation, which leads to social behavior that is not glorifying to God. We saw that type of behavior in the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri riots and marches across the United States. In their thirst to force their will now, people forget that the prayer is “…your will be done” , meaning God’s will and God’s timing. God will not bless unjust acts performed in the name of seeking justice. He is too true to Himself to do so.