What is Justice?
Justice is My Truth made manifest. It is My Kingship made manifest.
All around us, we see things of injustice. We see people who have their lives stolen, we see people who have their belongings, their dignity, their hope, stolen. Our reaction to injustice is often: how unfair! How unfair that a life was stolen, how our friends were deported.
And indeed, the enemy is unfair, and it is right that we be angry. But in the midst of this, the Lord keeps reminding me that our ideas of justice in these situations always come down to how to right the wrongs. In human definitions, justice is: paying reparations (paying back), balancing the scales, bring the wrongdoer to account and punishing him. In its worst cases justice is vengeance. And most of all, justice is being fair.
But while God’s justice can encompasses all these things, justice is much bigger and far more loving than simply “bringing fairness”. His justice may not even appear fair, at first. He is not merely trying to right the wrongs and drop the gavel on the oppressor. He wants to manifest His Kingship. His true justice brings glory to His Name, so that all bow and see the King.
The Lord took me to Isaiah 59, which is a massive confession of our own sins. As I read this I was overwhelmed by my own sinfulness, by the areas where I have judged others. How deeply I do not deserve justice.
For our offenses are many in your sight,
and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
and we acknowledge our iniquities:
Lord, I acknowledge the sinfulness in my own heart. I know that my sins grieve you.
So justice is driven back—
and righteousness stands at a distance.
As I continued to read the passage, I saw how justice–true justice–is not something we know about. When justice reveals itself, it reveals one of the foundations of His throne! It reveals the nature of who God is, His Lordship, His authority over all creation and men. True justice reveals that men are not in charge. It reveals far more than rightness, but truth, love, compassion for all involved, dignity, power, transformation and wisdom. It reveals that Christ alone is the one who works justice, that He is king.
The Lord looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene
so his OWN ARM worked salvation for him.
He put righteousness on as a breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Jesus, we know that you are working tirelessly on our behalf; we know that we have tried and failed and bringing about justice. You saw and see that no one can intervene, so you alone are bringing salvation. You yourself will get the credit, will get the glory. Our own fairness, rightness, stance before you, our cleanliness are totally dependent on your blood, that you have done this for us, that you are the worker of justice. We are nothing without it.
From the west, men will fear the name of the Lord,
and from the rising of the sun, they will revere His glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
that the breath of the Lord drives along.
Justice is the revealing of the Lord’s own name, Savior, Redeemer. Today He kept asking me to expand my definition of justice. Justice is how He wants to reveal His name and His lordship through every situation. We have to learn this, that it may not look fair on the surface, but that justice itself is an act of revealing. It will always reveal Him, and Him alone as the true redeemer. And it will certainly come. He will ALWAYS bring justice for his chosen ones (Luke 18:7).
When Solomon was forced to judge between the two women and the baby, he asked for his assistants to “bring me a sword”. He was not going to use it to divide babies or kill people. He was going to reveal the nature of God’s truth and justice. With one simple act, the woman confessed. No one had to guess who was wrong. No one had to be manipulated or threatened. And in the end, there was fairness but most of all there was an awe that fell over the entire kingdom over this simple judgment–an awe of the Lordship and wisdom and love that Solomon had.
Jesus, we pray for your complete and total revelation of yourself in areas where we have been mistreated or have been stolen from. We confess that we have nothing to offer to justice; our hearts are only clean through you. We cannot demand reparations or vengeance or even fairness. Have mercy on us. We pray that in these situations, you would manifest your kingship, the greatest revelation of yourself that we may worship and marvel at your majesty. Even now, as we have friends who have been rejected, persecuted and even recently, killed, we want your truth revealed in the greatest possible way so that people are saved, people are thrown aback by who you are, people are drawn into your kingdom in greater ways… that we will experience you coming like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along!