Evil people do not understand justice (Prov 28:5). They have made their paths crooked (Is 59:8). Too often, in the place of justice there is wickedness (Eccl 3:16). Corruption and injustice rule the day, seemingly every day (Is 59:9, 11, 14, 15). The human heart aches for justice, but there is no justice (Job 19:7). Or is there?
Because Christians have been given the promise that justice is coming (Is 42:1; Lk 18:7–8), we endure injustice of the evil masses (Ex 23:2) in a number of ways. We need ideas on why and how to be just in an unjust world. Here are a few.
First, Abraham’s children were chosen to be different with regard to righteousness and justice (Gen 18:19). One way that Christians shine in the world is when we do right and practice justice. So in a world of injustice, we must remember these practices that enhance the light of Christ manifesting through us. We know right from wrong because we have the Bible as God’s manual for us to know righteousness and justice. Oppression and injustice rule wherever the Bible has been banned.
Second, we support the orphan and widow against injustice (Dt 10:18). In other words, we take up the case of the weak and defenseless. It is the rich and powerful fugleman, who operates above the law (Is 10:2). True religion, according to James, is to care for the orphan and widow (Jam 1:27), over and against the oppressions of the rich (Jam 5:4–6).
If we gain power, influence, and wealth in the process of defending the widow and the orphan, we are imposters. Our lives should be poured out for the weak, so that in becoming weak with them, we might be strong for them. This is a cultural and societal incarnation and emptying of ourselves (Phil 2:5–11) for the benefit of the helpless. This is a struggle for sinful people.
King David administered justice in Israel (2 Sam 8:15), but his son, Absalom, lusted after the power of being a judge in Israel (2 Sam 15:4). David’s other son, Solomon, made just judgment his one desire and request before Almighty God (1 Kgs 3:11). The people feared God when they saw justice in Solomon’s judgments (1 Kgs 3:28). We should make a similar request if we find ourselves in positions of power.
Injustice begins with ignoring the Law (Hab 1:4). Another foil in Israel’s story, the sons of Eli, did not walk in their father’s way, but took bribes and perverted justice, as judges in Israel (1 Sam 8:3). Men create hierarchical layers of judges to try and maintain justice (Eccl 5:8).
God told Israel that justice is what He expected (Mic 6:8). Israel was to be an example to the nations, but the Babylonian exile was evidence that Israel did not practice justice (Jer 7:1–7; Ezek 22:29). Injustice was the poisonous practice of God’s chosen people for a long time (Amos 5:7; 6:12). It was a leadership problem (Mic 3:1–9), as injustice is self-conceived by the perverted (Hab 1:7) who refuse to obey God’s Law.
Third, we are following God’s character and example when we practice justice (Is 30:18). Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right (Job 8:3)? God is clothed with righteousness and justice (Job 29:14), and it cannot be assumed that although an old man with white hair and beard (our favorite depiction of what God looks like) is an elder that he understands justice (Job 32:9).
God’s providence has made provision for justice for the wicked in judgment (Prov 21:7) and justice for the afflicted in their deliverance (Job 36:6). Justice for a man comes from the Lord (Prov 29:26; Is 51:4). Woe to him who does not practice justice (Jer 22:13). God loves righteousness and justice (Ps 33:5). Yahweh reigns, and His throne’s foundation is righteousness and justice (Ps 97:2). This is God’s cause, and He will maintain it (Ps 140:12). He is practicing justice in all the earth.
Fourth, we follow the example of Jesus Christ, the righteous. His government is established with justice (Is 9:7; 16:5). He faithfully brings forth justice into all the earth and through His own sufferings (Is 42:3–4; Jer 33:15). He commands us, to establish justice for ourselves (Amos 5:15). He is coming again with perfect justice, bringing an end to all injustice. While we wait for Him, we must practice justice in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Fifth, we are blessed when we practice justice (Ps 106:3; Jer 4:2). It produces joy in the righteous, and it is a terror to the wicked (Prov 21:15). Therefore, we should seek justice (Is 1:17), and we should dispense justice along with kindness and compassion (Zech 7:9). Salvation from this wicked world is coming (Is 56:1). The practice of justice is a matter of life and death for us (Ezek 18:21, 27). When Christ calls a sinner to betrothal, He promises a covenant of righteousness and justice and love (Hos 2:19). It is our continual call to repent from injustice (Hos 12:6).
Finally, we will live within the tension described by the prophet Zephaniah, “The Lord is righteous within her; He will do no injustice. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He does not fail. But the unjust knows no shame (Zeph 3:5).” The wicked ask, “Where is the God of justice (Mal 2:17)?” They inquire, as they declare “good” evil and “evil” good. But Christ has proclaimed justice to all nations (Mt 12:18). He is leading justice to victory over injustice (Mt 12:20). Will God not bring justice to His lamenting elect (Lk 18:7)? Yes, justice is coming quickly (Lk 18:8). May we have faith in our just Judge now and on the day of His appearing (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21), and may we practice justice, even as our Master in heaven (Col 4:1).
In summary, we have seen the predominance of injustice in the world, today. Injustice is an historical problem. Israel was set as an example to practice justice, but Israel failed. Jesus Christ brought justice and righteousness to the earth, but the world still does not heed Him, who is righteous and true. Thus, Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). The cry of the afflicted has been heard, and we know our Deliverer is coming. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Come with justice, to judge in righteousness that we might rejoice, forever, in the blessing of perfect justice.
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 21, 2020