29 Nov What The Bible Says About Justice
In today’s society, justice seems to be a topic of ever-growing importance. As failures in the justice system come to light, believers and non-believers alike are striving towards ensuring that justice is upheld in our communities. But is this really something that Christians should work towards? How should Christians uphold justice in their daily lives? As with all other topics, it is essential to view the topic of justice through the lens of the Scripture.
So, what does the Bible say about justice? The Bible actually has a lot to say on the topic of justice! Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, we find a clear calling to seek justice and do good to fellow mankind. We know that justice is a foundational aspect of God’s character. Because of this, justice should be championed by believers around the world.
Throughout the Bible, we find many great examples of justice. From these records, we can receive inspiration and encouragement as we seek to promote justice in our world today. In this post, we will look at the several different types of justice and look more closely at what the Bible has to say on this important matter. We hope that this equips you with practical steps for promoting justice in your homes, communities, and the world as a whole. In this way, we can continue to share God’s love with the people around us.
Understanding What the Bible Says About Justice
At Liberty Justice HQ, we are passionate about educating and informing believers on important topics such as justice, liberty, and equality. In doing so, we hope to inspire believers to uphold the foundational truths on which our country was built. However, to do so, we need to understand why these topics are of such great importance to the heart of God.
Definition of Justice
Before we look at what the Bible says about justice, let’s establish what this word really means. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary we find that justice is “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments; the administration of law; the quality of being just, impartial, or fair; conformity to truth, fact, or reason”.
Justice is doing what is right, making things right after wrongdoing, and treating people fairly. Justice requires one to understand that all humans are created equal and have equal value regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, religion, social status, or other defining characteristics.
As Americans, many of us are taught these important concepts from an early age. However, this can sometimes cause us to be complacent in promoting justice in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, many Christians disassociate with the fight for justice, believing that it is a strictly social matter. However, we know that justice is an important attribute of God’s character. Because of this, we must educate ourselves on how we can more effectively promote and pursue justice in our own lives.
Types of Justice
Justice is a complex topic. There are many types of justice, which can often cause confusion when discussing the subject. Here is a quick overview of the many different types of justice:
- Primary Justice refers to the right or just thing to do in the situation. If everyone abided by primary justice, always reacting and interacting in the right way, other types of justice would not be necessary.
- Secondary Justice, sometimes called corrective justice, is doing what is right when justice is not upheld in the first place. This type of justice includes caring for victims of unfair treatment and disciplining those who failed to act justly.
- Distributive Justice, or economic justice, is about ensuring that everyone receives their fair share, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or religion. Distributive justice can apply to anything, from attention to good.
- Procedural Justice involves the fair and equal treatment of all people, regardless of their ethnicity or social status. It is founded on the idea of “fair play” and involves both receiving both the same benefits as well as the same penalty for wrongdoing.
- Restorative Justice is a type of justice that provides the victim with some form of restitution for the wrongdoing they experienced. This restitution can be something as simple as a verbal apology but may also include financial restitution or other forms of punishment.
- Retributive Justice involves fair and proportional punishment for all people following wrongdoing, regardless of their background, economic, or social status.
As Christians, it is important to strive for primary justice in our everyday lives, doing the right thing in every situation. Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. Injustice continues to happen around us in almost every area of our lives. It is important to understand the various types of justice so that we can work to promote and uphold a Biblical view of justice in our communities.
A Biblical Understanding of Justice
It is important to understand the Biblical view of justice. Why should this topic be important to Christians in the first place? What does the Bible actually say about justice in our world today?
While there are many verses in both the Old and New Testament about justice, one of the most popular is found in the book of Micah. Micah 6:8 reads, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Many Christians wonder what it really means to “do justice”. As a highly-regarded pastor and author Timothy Keller writes in his book Generous Justice, “God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to ‘do justice’.”
We can find another great verse on the topic of justice in Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31:8-9 reads as follows, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
This is just a quick overview of a Biblical understanding of justice. The Bible teaches us many practical lessons of why justice should be so important to Christians and how they are to promote justice in their daily lives. Let’s take a closer look at this topic.
Christians Are Called to Extend Justice to Our World
Christians are called to be an example, living out Biblical qualities and spreading God’s light to the world in which we live. We are called to lead by example in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Unfortunately, many Christian communities unknowingly shun the vulnerable through their actions or lack of actions. We should be doing the opposite, extending justice to the world around us and welcoming the vulnerable in with open arms.
We can extend justice to our world by treating all humans fairly, regardless of their religious beliefs, gender, age, ethnicity, race, or social status. In doing so, we share the love of Christ with the people who are hurting the most.
Promoting Justice Reflects God’s Character
God is described in Psalm 68:5 as the “[f]ather of the fatherless and protector of widows…”. As we read the Scriptures, we see numerous examples of Jesus going out of His way to connect with those who were vulnerable. He was constantly helping those who were helpless, providing us with an example of how Christians should continue to live our lives.
Justice is at the center of the heart of God. By promoting justice in the world in which we live, we are reflecting the character of God in a practical way to the people around us who need Him the most.
Christians Should Root Themselves in Justice
Throughout the pages of the Bible, we find clear teaching that justice should be a key aspect of a Christians’ life. Unfortunately, many individuals in the Christian community are passive bystanders in the quest for justice. They may promote justice in their own social circles. However, they fail to reach outside these circles to promote and encourage justice in the world.
I strongly believe that Christians should be leading the way in promoting justice and fair treatment of all people, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, social status, sexual orientation, or other defining characteristics.
Professor Paul Louis Metzger wrote, in an article on justice featured on christianitytoday.com, “In our post-Christian setting, many skeptics view religion as corrosive, divisive, and a source of injustice. But the kind of religion the Bible advocates is rooted in justice that flows from the heart of God. It seeks to bring all things into the wholeness of God. As those justified by faith in the God of all justice, we are to experience the wholeness that he brings and extend it as citizens of his kingdom.”
What a great rallying cry for Christians! We should seek to root ourselves and fellow believers in justice, allowing us to extend justice to the world around us.
Justice is Important to The Heart of God
Justice is a key attribute of God’s character. Throughout both the Old and New Testament, we find numerous callings to care for the vulnerable among us. We know that this is a topic that is close to the heart of God. Because of this, it should be of the greatest importance to us as believers!
Seeking justice is not enough. Throughout the Bible, we learn that God warns Christians against participating in the oppression of any kind. This is not only in what we do, but also in what we fail to do. We should be actively seeking to care for orphans, widows, vulnerable, helpless, and foreigners.
Justice flows from the heart of God. He will always be perfect just in all of His ways. As the very definition of justice, God sets the standard for how Christians are to portray justice in their daily lives.
Verses in The Bible That Talk About Justice
The best way to learn more about what the Bible says about justice is to conduct your own study. Here are several verses throughout the Old and New Testaments that discuss this important topic:
- Acts 3-4
- Acts 5:12-16
- Deuteronomy 10:17-19
- Deuteronomy 27:19
- Exodus 23:6
- Genesis 18:19
- Isaiah 1:17
- James 1:27
- Job 37:23
- Leviticus 19:15
- Luke 11:42
- Matthew 6:1-2
- Matthew 9:35-38
- Micah 6:8
- Proverbs 21:15
- Proverbs 29:7
- Psalm 68:4-5
- Psalm 82:3
- Zechariah 7:10
By spending time in the Scriptures, reading these important Bible verses on justice, we can deepen our Biblical understanding of the matter. This is the best way to be able to accurately uphold a Biblical perspective of equality, liberty, and justice within our homes, communities, and world.
How Do Christians Emulate Justice in Everyday Life?
I have yet to meet a Christian who did not think that justice was an important attribute to display in their daily lives. However, most Christians are confused about how to practically promote and encourage justice in their own communities. While there are certainly many ways to achieve this goal, here are a few practical steps for getting started:
Care for Those Who Are Vulnerable
There are, unfortunately, countless vulnerable people groups within your own neighborhood. From the widow next door to the homeless population in your city, opportunities to care for the vulnerable abound. Justice is using your gifts, resources, and voice to meet the needs of those who are less fortunate than yourself.
If you need assistance in starting on this mission, contact your local church or research to find various ministries you can partner with as they seek to care for the vulnerable in your community.
Work to Restore Relationships
In both believing and unbelieving communities, rifts have formed between groups of people. From social divides to racial divides, there is a great need for the restoration of relationships in our world today. As Christians, we can practically exemplify justice by taking action to restore these broken relationships.
This may seem like an overwhelming feat. However, by taking one step at a time, we can begin to right the wrongs that have occurred in our communities.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone Regularly
More often than not, promoting and encouraging justice requires us to step outside of our comfort zones. Whether you are caring for the vulnerable, acting in generosity, or seeking to restore relationships, justice is uncomfortable. We must be willing to put ourselves out there, understanding the potential for rejection and hurt. In doing so, we will begin to right the many wrongs that exist in our world today.
Live With Reckless Generosity
When Christians read the term “reckless generosity”, they often think it applies only to financial resources. This could not be further from the truth! While we are not all blessed with financial resources, we all have the ability to be generous with our time, talents, and emotions.
To practically portray justice in your life, you will be required to live with reckless generosity. Most times this takes place in quiet, everyday opportunities. It is important to be sensitive to the world around us, seeking opportunities to exemplify justice through our generosity.
Work to Promote Justice Within Your Social Circles
Whether you find yourself in a workplace, school, church, or community, there are always opportunities to promote justice. It is important to carefully look at every area of your life and identify injustices, both intentional and unintentional. We must strive to promote justice and right the wrongs that have been done within our social circles. In doing so, we will influence change in our world as a whole.
Our Inescapable Call to Justice
As Christians, we have an inescapable call to justice. We must seek to promote and encourage justice, looking for injustices within our world. In another portion of his book Generous Justice, Timothy Keller writes, “[I]f you are trying to live a life in accordance with the Bible, the concept and call to justice are inescapable. We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God.”
He continues, “Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable. This kind of life reflects the character of God. It consists of a broad range of activities, from simple fair and honest dealings with people in daily life, to regular, radically generous giving of your time and resources, to activism that seeks to end particular forms of injustice, violence, and oppression.”
Let this be a rallying cry as we seek to promote justice in our world today. As Christians, it is not only our calling but our privilege to lead the way in this important mission. By promoting justice and exemplifying justice in our daily lives, we can seek to point others towards Him.
At Liberty Justice HQ, we believe that promoting a Biblical view of justice will enable us to continue to uphold justice in our world as a whole. Only in doing so will we be able to continue to build our country upon the firm foundation laid for us by our forefathers. Our goal is based on Biblical principles of equality, liberty, and justice for all. We encourage you to implement these important principles in your daily life.