Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.
And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb
For His Glory!
We all want justice - but do we understand what Justice is all about? Whose standard are we using when we feel the tinge of injustice? How is Justice used in Scripture?
TWOT: (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) This is the primary use of justice in Scripture
The primary sense of the Hebrew Justice is to exercise the processes of government.
(See section on Justice/Righteousness)
In Scripture we find two governments:
This we know
Rom 14:10 (NKJV unless indicated)… For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
This we can count on
Ps 89:14Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.
With God’s Justice there is Mercy - we are to exercise His justice
Hos 12:6So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice [H4941], And wait on your God continually.
H4941 (Strong) The primary sense of the Hebrew Justice is to exercise the processes of government.
- Transliteration:Mishpat - Phonetic: mish-pawt'
1. act of deciding a case
2. place, court, seat of judgment
3. process, procedure, litigation (before judges)
4. case, cause (presented for judgment)
5. sentence, decision (of judgment)
6. execution (of judgment)
7. time (of judgment)
b. justice, right, rectitude (attributes of God or man)
d. decision (in law)
e. right, privilege, due (legal)
f. proper, fitting, measure, fitness, custom, manner, plan
- TWOT entry:2443c (see section on Justice/Righteousness)
Total KJV Occurrences: 421 (one might think this is trivial - Note the number of times it is used)
Our Scripture verse theme
Micah 6:8He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Isa 1:17Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
In Strong’s there is a close tie between justice and righteousness; YHVH’s throne is based on righteousness and justice (Ps 97:2 …Righteousness [H6664] and justice are the foundation of His throne.):
- Transliteration:Tsedeq - Phonetic: tseh'-dek
a. what is right or just or normal, rightness, justness (of weights and measures)
b. righteousness (in government)
1. of judges, rulers, kings
2. of law
3. of Davidic king, messiah
4. of Jerusalem as seat of just government
5. of God's attribute
c. righteousness, justice (in case or cause)
d. rightness (in speech)
e. righteousness (as ethically right)
f. righteousness (as vindicated), justification (in controversy), deliverance, victory, prosperity
1. of God as covenant-keeping in redemption
2. in name of messianic king
3. of people enjoying salvation
(From ISBE: jus'-tis: The original Hebrew and Greek words are the same as those rendered "righteousness." This is the common rendering, and in about half the cases where we have "just" and "justice" in the King James Version, the American Standard Revised Version has changed to "righteous" and "righteousness." It must be constantly borne in mind that the two ideas are essentially the same.)
Righteousness (Doing what the right)
Matt 6:33"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…
Matt 13:43"Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father…
However, we have a problem yet today!
Isa 5:7For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
Isa 5:23Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man!
Matt 23:23"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Isa 59:8The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace. 9 Therefore justice is far from us, Nor does righteousness overtake us; We look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! 10 We grope for the wall like the blind, And we grope as if we had no eyes; We stumble at noonday as at twilight; We are as dead men in desolate places. 11 We all growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We look for justice, but there is none; For salvation, but it is far from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as for our iniquities, we know them: 13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, And departing from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14 Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. 15 So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice. [Thus, the wrath of YHVH]
Are we grieved because of injustice?
Acts 8:33In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth."
Fear not for there is hope! - Messiah!
Isa 9:6For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isa 28:16Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. 17 Also I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the plummet…
Isa 42:1(Old Covenant) "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. … 3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law."
Matt 12:18(New Covenant) "Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles…. 20 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory;
Hos 2:19"I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy;
Isa 16:5In mercy the throne will be established; And One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness."
Mic 3:1And I said: "Hear now… Is it not for you to know justice?
Isa 56:1Thus says the LORD: "Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed.
Lev 19:15' You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.
Deut 16:19"You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.
Amos 5:15Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate…
Zech 7:9"Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother.
Ps 82:3Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Job 34:4Let us choose justice for ourselves; Let us know among ourselves what is good.
Ps 37:28For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints…
Zeph 2:3Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD's anger.
Proverbs 21:3To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Proverbs 2:8He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.
Proverbs 16:8Better is a little with righteousness, Than vast revenues without justice.
Proverbs 29:26… But justice for man comes from the LORD.
"If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived. Tell me, where now are all the masters and teachers whom you knew so well in life and who were famous for their learning? Others have already taken their places and I know not whether they ever think of their predecessors. During life they seemed to be something; now they are seldom remembered."
Here are some comments from various resources (underlining and bolding by MEM).
TWOT (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
2443 (shāpaṭ) judge, govern.
2443a (shepeṭ) judgment.
2443b (shĕpôṭ) judgment.
2443c (mishpāṭ) justice, ordinance.
The primary sense of shāpaṭ is to exercise the processes of government. Since, however, the ancients did not always divide the functions of government, as most modern governments do, between legislative, executive, and judicial functions (and departments) the common translation, "to judge," misleads us. For, the word, judge, as shāpaṭ is usually translated, in modern English, means to exercise only the judicial function of government. Unless one wishes in a context of government-civil, religious, or otherwise-consistently to translate as "to govern or rule," the interpreter must seek more specialized words to translate a word of such broad meaning in the modern world scene.
The meaning of shāpaṭ is further complicated by the fact that although the ancients knew full well what law-whether civil, religious, domestic or otherwise-was, they did not think of themselves as ruled by laws rather than by men as modern people like to suppose themselves to be. The centering of law, rulership, government in a man was deeply ingrained. "The administration of justice in all early eastern nations, as among the Arabs of the desert to this day, rests with the patriarchal seniors … Such … would have the requisite leisure, would be able to make their decisions respected, and through the wider intercourse of superior station would decide with fuller experience and riper reflection."
Hence the following analysis of use of this basic word for exercise of government appears.
1. To act as ruler. This might be done by the congregation of Israel (Num 18:22-28), by individual judges (Deut 1:16; Jud 16:31; I Sam 7:16, 17), by a king (Jud 8:20); by Messiah (Ps 72:4) or even God himself (Ps 96:13). God alone can exercise the true ultimate rulership for, he is "the one judging all the earth" (Gen 18:25). But Moses deciding cases (whether criminal, domestic, religious or otherwise) acts for God and by divine authority (Ex 18:13, 15) and the same is true of other rulers in the ot theocracy (Deut 1:17).
2. By way of eminence, shāpaṭ means to decide cases of controversy as judge in civil, domestic, and religious cases. In such cases it was the judge’s duty specifically to judge with mishpāṭ (judgment, justice) and ṣedeq/sĕdāqā (righteousness) (see Ps 72:2-4) and in case of charges "they shall justify the righteous and condemn the wicked" (Deut 25:1).
3. Inasmuch in a situation of government by persons rather than merely of laws, the civil officer (the shōpēṭ "one judging") had the executive as well as judicial powers. He also executed or caused to be executed judicial decisions. Hence, for example, in David’s appeal to God as judge in his controversy with Saul he declares, "The Lord will be a judge and he shall judge (shāpaṭ) between me and thee and he will see and will plead my case and he will judge me (yishpĕṭēnı̂ i.e. "deliver me") out of thy hand" (I Sam 24:15). Hence such words as deliver, vindicate, condemn, punish, and related words of judicial-executive import are justly used in the translations.
4. Because all true authority is God’s and he shall ultimately act as judge of the world in the last great assize, he is shōpēṭ pre-eminent (Ps 96:13; 50:6; 75:8 and meanwhile through providence he is always supreme shōpēṭ (Ps 94:2; cf. 103:19) of the universe.
All the above uses are in the Qal.
The Niphal, in the occasional reciprocal sense of that stem, furnishes cases where the sense of governmental process is extended to carrying on a case of litigation. In such cases ’ēt "with" is furnished before the object of the verb; thus, "I will enter into judgment with thee" (Jer 2:35; cf. Ezk 17:20; 20:35, 36, 3; 38:22, in each God is actor and speaker). "Plead," in the legal sense of plead a case often occurs, viz. "that I may plead with you before the Lord" (I Sam 12:7); "have a controversy" (Isa 43:26, BDB) and "execute judgment" (Isa 66:16, RSV).
The Poel participle has the sense of denunciatory judgment, as "those who condemn" (Ps 109:31, RSV), "accuser" (Job 9:15), and "the judgments against you" (Zeph 3:15).
shāpaṭ, with its derivative noun mishpaṭ, is the commonest word to designate the function of government in any realm and in any form. It apparently differs from the rarer dı̂n (verb and noun) chiefly in being the more formal and technical term while dı̂n is more poetic.
shepheṭ. Judgment, always plural shĕpāṭı̂m. Like shĕpōṭ, this noun seems to take its meaning from shāpaṭ BDB, p. 1047, judgment in the penal sense, i.e. punishment. In several cases the punishments are divine punishments. The plagues of Egypt are divine shĕpōṭı̂m (Ex 6:6; 7:4; 12:12). God punished Jerusalem with sword, famine, evil beasts and pestilences, all called God’s "four … shĕpōṭı̂m (Ezk 14:21). shĕpōṭı̂m inflicted by men may be divine punishments (Ezk 16:41; cf. v. 38). Civil magistrates’ punishments of breakers of human laws are also called shĕpōṭı̂m (Prov 19:29).
There is a definite theology of punishment as retribution, vindicative of justice, both divine and human, expressed in shepeṭ and shĕpōṭ.
shĕpōṭ. A judgment. This word in the two cases of its appearance takes the sense of punishment (penal judgement), parallel to meaning 3c of BDB (p. 1047) "condemning and punishing." The harlot’s judgment is to be slain with the sword (Ezk 23:10). shĕpôṭ is parallel to sword, famine, and pestilence, divine punishments (II Chr 20:9).
mishpāṭ. Justice, ordinance, custom, manner. Represents what is doubtless the most important idea for correct understanding of government-whether of man by man or of the whole creation by God. Though rendered "judgment" in most of the four hundred or so appearances of mishpāṭ in the Hebrew Bible, this rendering is often defective for us moderns by reason of our novel way of distinctly separating legislative, executive, and judicial functions and functionaries in government. Hence shāpaṭ, the common verb (from which our word mishpaṭ is derived) meaning "to rule, govern," referring to all functions of government is erroneously restricted to judicial processes only, whereas both the verb and noun include all these functions.
An analysis of all uses in the Bible turns up at least thirteen related, but distinct, aspects of the central idea, which if to be rendered by a single English word with similar range of meaning, ought by all means to be the word "justice." Even the ASV, which inclines strongly toward regular rendering of Hebrew and Greek words has thus updated the rendering of mishpāṭ, though not regularly (contrast "thy judgments" [Ps 72:1] with "with justice" [72:2]). The noun mishpāṭ can be used to designate almost any aspect of civil or religious government, as follows:
1. The act of deciding a case of litigation brought before a civil magistrate. BDB finds 204 instances beginning at Ex 21:31-though RSV and NASB disallow this first, rendering otherwise. But most of the occurrences are very clear (Deut 25:1; Josh 20:6 are examples).
2. The place of deciding a case of litigation. A clear case of this rather rare (because indecisive) use is I Kgs 7:7.
3. The process of litigation is called mishpāṭ. There are many doubtful cases, it being hard to distinguish between meanings 1 and 2. An instance is Isa 3:14. "Litigation" would be an apt rendering for this class. The clearest instances employ ‘im with a following noun "a judgment with so-and-so" (Job 22:4 or ’et (Ps 143:2).
4. A case of litigation (i.e. a specific cause brought to the magistrate). Solomon, e.g., asked God for understanding that he might "hear mishpāṭ."-a case brought before him (I Kgs 3:11, ASV marg.) If this case be disallowed (RSV) then Job’s ‘āraktı̂ mishpāṭ (“I have set in order [my] case” 13:18) seems unassailable. See also I Kgs 8:59. This usage parallels the noun rı̂b.
5. A sentence or decision issuing from a magistrate’s court. This is very common. In such cases the prevalent "judgment" as rendering is entirely correct (I Kgs 20:40). In Jer 26:11, 16 "worthy of death" renders mishpaṭ mawwet, in each case clearly meaning, a sentence of death.
6. The time of judgment. A clear case is Ps 1:5; Eccl 12:14, "God will bring every work into mishpāṭ" is close to presenting the same. BDB assert that "execution of judgment" in general is the meaning in a group including the preceeding instance. The cases cited, however, seem better classified in relation to the idea or attribute of justice.
All the above are examples mainly of mishpāṭ in the judicial side of government.
There now follows a use closely parallel to what men now think of as authority.
7. Sovereignty, the legal foundation of government in the sense of ultimate authority or right. Men today are accustomed to finding this in constitutions and the nature of man ("natural rights") but in the Hebrew Scriptures (a) all authority is God’s and it is this authority which is denominated mishpāṭ. "The mishpāṭ is God’s" (Deut 1:17); "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole mishpāṭ thereof is of the LORD (Prov 16:33). Individual men, as created by God, have inalienable mishpāṭı̂m (“rights”). (See R. D. Culver, Tow ard a Biblical Vien of Civil Government, 1974). (b) The magistrate’s mishpāṭ is conferred by God as best shown by the reference to King Messiah’s magisterial authority (Ps 72:1-2). Of course the doctrine of providence is basic to this idea (Ps 103:19; cf. Rom 13:1ff.). This universal reign and rule of God seems to be the idea conveyed by mishpāṭ in Jer 8:7, "My people do not know the law (mishpāṭ) of God."
There are also uses involving the legislative side of government.
8. The attribute of justice in all correct personal civil administration is emphasized. (a) This justice is primarily an attribute of God, all true mishpāṭ finding its source in God himself and therefore carrying with it his demand. "When therefore the Scripture speaks of the mishpāṭ of God, as it frequently does, the word has a particular shade of meaning and that is not so much just statutes of God as the just claims of God. God, who is the Lord, can demand and He does demand" (Koehler, ot Theology, pp. 205-206). All the right (justice, authority, etc.) there is is his, "because Jehovah is the God of justice" (Isa 30:18; cf. Gen 18:25). God loves mishpāṭ in this sense (Ps 37:28). Psalm 36:6 ) in kĕtı̂b reads, “Thy mishpāṭ (singular) is a great abyss." (b) mishpāṭ, as justice, i.e. rightness rooted in God’s character, ought to be an attribute of man in general and of judicial process among them (Ps 106:37). Wise men speak it (Ps 37:30) and think it (Prov 12:5) and God requires it of them (Mic 6:8). The righteous enjoy it (Prov 21:15) and righteous magistrates employ it in judgment (Mic 3:1; cf. Prov 29:4).
9. mishpāṭ also designates an ordinance of law-often used co-ordinately with ḥōq "ordinance" (Ex 15:25) and tôrâ "law" (Isa 42:4). The Pentateuchal ordinances are mishpāṭ (Lev 5:10; 9:16, et al.), in fact the individual ordinances of Mosaic law are mishpāṭ (Deut 33:10, 21; 16 times in Ps 119).
10. A plan (Ex 26:30) or 11. custom (II Kgs 17:33) or even 12. a fitting measure taken (I Kgs 5:8) seem to come under the scope of this word, though they are extended meanings, hardly standard.
13. One’s right under law, human or divine, is denominated mishpāṭ (Deut 18:3; Jer 32:7).
Frequently associated with ṣedeq and ṣĕdāqā in ot descriptions of God’s reign and ways with his creatures, this idea lies at the very heart of a true understanding of the Biblical world-and-life view.
Note: The breastplate worn by the high priest is called a "breastplate of judgment" (Ex 28:15, 29-30), not from any alleged revelation given by the stones Urim and Thummim but because the breastplate covered Aaron’s heart and "they shall be upon Aaron’s heart when he goeth in before the Lord and Aaron shall bear the judgment (mishpāṭ) of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LoRD continually." What Aaron was concerned with before God was Israel’s justification, i.e. judicial sentence (see above) of guiltiness. Thus "in prophetic vision as in actual oriental life, the sentence of justification was often expressed by the nature of the robe worn. …Isaiah 61:10 is a good illustration of this." Also see Isa 62:3; Rev 3:5; 7:9; 19:14; Est 6:8-9, 12 (A. C. Hervey, Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, Hackett ed., 11, pp. 1066-67).
Bibliography:McKenzie, Donald A., "The Judge of Israel," VT 17:118-21. THAT, II, pp. 999-1009.
jus'-tis (tsedhaqah; tsedheq; dikaiosune): The original Hebrew and Greek words are the same as those rendered "righteousness." This is the common rendering, and in about half the cases where we have "just" and "justice" in the King James Version, the American Standard Revised Version has changed to "righteous" and "righteousness." It must be constantly borne in mind that the two ideas are essentially the same.
1. Human Justice:
Justice had primarily to do with conduct in relation to others, especially with regard to the rights of others. It is applied to business, where just weights and measures are demanded (Lev 19:35; Lev 19:36; Deut 25:13-16; Amos 8:5; Prov 11:1; Prov 16:11; Ezek 45:9; Ezek 45:10). It is demanded in courts, where the rights of rich and poor, Israelite and sojourner, are equally to be regarded. Neither station nor bribe nor popular clamor shall influence judge or witness. "Justice, justice shalt thou follow" (De 16:20; compare Deut 16:18-20; Exod 23:1-3; Exod 23:6-9). In general this justice is contrasted with that wickedness which "feared not God, and regarded not man" (Lu 18:2).
In a larger sense justice is not only giving to others their rights, but involves the active duty of establishing their rights. So Israel waits upon God's justice or cries out: "The justice due to me (literally, "my justice") is passed away from my God" (Isa 40:27). Yahweh is to show her to be in the right as over against the nations. Justice here becomes mercy. To "seek justice" means to "relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow" (Isa 1:17; compare Isa 11:4; Jer 22:15; Jer 22:16; Ps 82:2-4). The same idea appears in Deut 24:12; Deut 24:13; Ps 37:21; Ps 37:26; Ps 112:4-6, where the translation is "righteous" instead of "just."
In this conception of justice the full meaning of the New Testament is not yet reached. It does not mean sinlessness or moral perfection. Job knows the sin in his heart (Job 13:23; Job 13:26; Job 7:21), and yet speaks of himself as a just or righteous man (12:4; 13:18). The Psalmist confidently depends upon the righteousness of God though he knows that no man is righteous in God's sight (Ps 143:1; Ps 143:2; compare Ps 7:8; Ps 18:20-24). It is not a lack of humility or dependence upon God when the Psalmist asks to be judged according to his righteousness. In relation to God, the just, or righteous, man is the one who holds to God and trusts in Him (Ps 33:18-22). This is not the later Judaistic legalism with its merit and reward, where God's justice is simply a matter of giving each man what he has earned.
The word "justice" does not occur in the New Testament, and in most cases where we find "just" in the King James Version it is changed to "righteous" in the American Standard Revised Version. The idea of justice or righteousness (remembering that these are essentially the same) becomes more spiritual and ethical in the New Testament. It is a matter of character, and God's own spirit is the standard (1 John 3:7; Matt 5:48). The mere give-and-take justice is not enough. We are to be merciful, and that to all. The ideal is righteousness, not rights. As Holtzmann says, "The keynote of the Sermon on the Mount is justitia and not jus."
2. Justice of God:
God's justice, or righteousness, is founded in His essential nature. But, just as with man, it is not something abstract, but is seen in His relation to the world. It is His kingship establishing and maintaining the right. It appears as retributive justice, "that reaction of His holy will, as grounded in His eternal being, against evil wherever found." He cannot be indifferent to good and evil (Hab 1:13). The great prophets, Isaiah, Micah, Amos, Hosea, all insist upon Yahweh's demand for righteousness.
But this is not the main aspect of God's justice. Theology has been wont to set forth God's justice as the fundamental fact in His nature with which we must reconcile His mercy as best we may, the two being conceived as in conflict. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures most often conceive God's justice, or righteousness, as the action of His mercy. Just as with man justice means the relief of the oppressed and needy, so God's justice is His kingly power engaged on behalf of men, and justice and mercy are constantly joined together. He is "a just God and a Saviour" (Isa 45:21). "I bring near my righteousness (or "justice") .... and my salvation shall not tarry" (Isa 46:13; compare Ps 51:14; Ps 103:17; Ps 71:15; Ps 116:5; Isa 51:5; Isa 51:6). The "righteous acts of Yahweh" mean His deeds of deliverance (Jud 5:11). And so Israel sings of the justice, or judgments, or righteousness of Yahweh (they are the same), and proclaims her trust in these (Ps 7:17; Ps 35:23; Ps 35:24; Ps 35:28; Ps 36:6; Ps 140:12; Ps 140:13; Ps 50:5; Ps 50:6; Ps 94:14; Ps 94:15; Ps 103:6; Ps 143:1).
The New Testament, too, does not lack the idea of retributive justice. The Son of Man "shall render unto every man according to his deeds" (Mt 16:27; compare Matt 25:14-46; Luke 12:45-48; Rom 2:2-16; Rom 6:23; 2Cor 5:10; Col 3:24; Col 3:25; 2Thess 1:8; 2Thess 1:9; Heb 2:2; Heb 2:3; Heb 10:26-31). But God's justice is far more than this. The idea of merit and reward is really superseded by a higher viewpoint in the teaching of Jesus. He speaks, indeed, of recompense, but it is the Father and not the judge that gives this (Matt 6:1; Matt 6:4; Matt 6:6; Matt 6:18). And it is no mere justice of earth, because the reward transcends all merit (Matt 24:46; Matt 24:47; Mark 10:30; Luke 12:37). This is grace not desert (Lu 17:10). And the parable of Mt 20:1-15 gives at length the deathblow to the whole Judaistic scheme of merit and reward.
And God's justice is not merely gracious, but redemptive. It not simply apportions rights, it establishes righteousness. Thus, just as in the Old Testament, the judge is the Savior. The difference is simply here: in the Old Testament the salvation was more national and temporal, here it is personal and spiritual. But mercy is opposed to justice no more here than in the Old Testament. It is by the forgiveness of sins that God establishes righteousness, and this is the supreme task of justice. Thus it is that God is at the same time "just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus" (Ro 3:26). "He is faithful and righteous (or "just"; see the King James Version) to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Joh 1:9).
Harris Franklin Rall
Justice is rendering to everyone that which is his due. It has been distinguished from equity in this respect, that while justice means merely the doing what positive law demands, equity means the doing of what is fair and right in every separate case.
A principle of righteousness and equity, controlling our conduct, and securing a due regard to all the rights of others-their persons, property, character, and interests. It has to do, not with pecuniary transactions alone, but with all our intercourse with society. It forms a chief element of the character approved in God’s word; and a truly just man has but to "love mercy, and walk humbly with God," to fulfil all righteousness. Justice in magistrates, rulers, and judges, must be fearless and impartial, and all its decisions such as will bear revision before the court of heaven, De 1:16, 17; 2Sa 23:3; 2Ch 19:6-10. Judgement is peculiarly the prerogative of God, and every earthly tribunal lies under the shadow of the "great white throne." A just judgment is the voice of God; and hence an unjust one is doubly hateful in his sight.
THE JUSTICE OF GOD is that essential and infinite attribute which makes his nature and his ways the perfect embodiment of equity, and constitutes him the model and the guardian of equity throughout the universe, De 32:4; Ps 89:14. The justice of God could not leave the world without laws, and cannot fail to vindicate them by executing their penalties; and as all mankind perpetually break them, every human soul is under condemnation, and must perish, unless spared through the accepted ransom, the blood of Christ.
THE ADMINSITRATION OF JUSTICE among the Hebrews, was characterized by simplicity and promptitude. In early times the patriarch of each family was its judge, Ge 38:24. Afterwards, in the absence of more formal courts, the elders of a household, tribe, or city, were its judges by natural right. In the wilderness, Moses organized for the Jews a regular system of judges, some having jurisdiction over ten families, others over fifty, one hundred, or one thousand. The difficult cases were referred to Moses, and he often sought divine direction concerning them, Ex 18:21-26; Le 24:12. These judges were perhaps the "princes of the congregation," and the chiefs of the families and tribes of whom we afterwards read, Nu 27:3. In the land of Canaan, local magistrates were appointed for every city and village; and these were instructed to cooperate with the priests, as being all together under the theocracy, the actual government of Jehovah, the supreme Judge of Israel, De 16:18; 17:8-10; 19:17; 21:16. Their informal courts were held in the gate of the city, as the most public and convenient place, De 21:9; 22:15; 25:7; and in the same place contracts were ratified, Ru 4:1, 9; Jer 32:7-15. Deborah the prophetess judged Israel beneath a palm-tree, Judg 4:5. Samuel established virtually a circuit court, 1Sa 7:16; 8:1; and among the kings, Jehoshaphat made special provision for the faithful administration of justice, 2Ch 19:1-11. The kings themselves were supreme judges, with almost unlimited powers, 1Sa 22:16; 2Sa 4:9, 10; 1Ki 22:26. They were expected, however, to see that justice was everywhere done, and seem to have been accessible to all who were wronged. Frequent complaints are on record in the sacred books of the maladministration of judges, of bribery and perjury, 1Sa 8:3; 1Ki 21:8-14; Isa 1:23; 10:1; Mic 3:11; 7:3.
There was no class among the Jews exactly corresponding to our lawyers. The accuser and the accused stood side by side before the judge, with their witnesses, and pleaded their own cause. The accuser is named in several places, Satan, that is, the adversary, Ps 109:6; Zec 3:1-3. No one could be condemned without the concurring testimony of at least two witnesses, Nu 35:30; and these failing, he was obliged to make oath of his innocence, Ex 22:11; Heb 6:16. The sentence of the judge was instantly executed; and in certain cases the witnesses cast the first stone, De 17:5, 7; 25:2; Jos 7:24; 1Sa 22:18; 1Ki 2:24; Pr 16:14. The same frightful celerity still marks the administration of justice in the East. The application of torture to extract evidence is only once mentioned, and that under the authority of Rome, Ac 22:24.
Justice is about making right decisions; sometimes children can show us what that looks like.
"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore."
Cindy age 8
"You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica age 8
A four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed into his lap and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry".
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka age 6
Not all items verified by MEM
I was in theExpress Lane at the store, quietly fuming.
Completely ignoring the sign, the woman ahead of me had slipped into the check-out line pushing a cart piled high with groceries.
Imagine my delight when the cashier beckoned the woman to come forward, looked into the cart and asked sweetly, "So, which six items would you like to buy?"
Wouldn't it be great if that happened more often?!
Because they had no reservations at a busy restaurant, my elderly neighbor and his wife were told there would be a 45-minute wait for a table. "Young man, we're both 90 years old," the husband said. "We may not have 45 minutes."
They were seated immediately.
The reason congressmen try so hard to get reelected is that they would hate to have to make a living under the laws they've passed.
All eyes were on the radiant bride as her father escorted her down the aisle. They reached the altar and the waiting groom; the bride kissed her father and placed something in his hand. The guests in the front pews responded with ripples of laughter. Even the priest smiled broadly. As her father gave her away in marriage, the bride gave him back his credit card.
Three friends from the local congregation were asked, "When you're in your casket, and friends and congregation members are mourning over you, what would you like them to say?"
Artie said, "I would like them to say I was a wonderful husband, a fine spiritual leader, and a great family man."
Merle commented, "I would like them to say I was a wonderful teacher and servant of God who made a huge difference in people’s lives."
Don said, "I'd like them to say, 'Look! He's moving!'"
Smith climbs to the top of Mt. Sinai to get close enough to talk to God. Looking up, he asks the Lord, "God, what does a million years mean to you?"
The Lord replies, "A minute." Smith asks, "And what does a million dollars mean to you?" The Lord replies, "A penny."
Smith asks, "Can I have a penny?"
The Lord replies, "In a minute."
Our justice system (in the United States of America) starts with the presumption of innocence. This is appropriate for a system administered by people with limited reasoning and access to information. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor, but a case can still be made to convict and punish the guilty. There is no need for a presumption of innocence in God’s Kingdom, for all things are open before Him and He can render perfect justice. Yet He has mercy, which is better, for in Yeshua (Jesus) the guilty can find forgiveness by grace through faith if they repent and call on Him. Do the guilty want justice? Yet they can come to Christ, for in Him alone mercy and justice have come together.
(Adopted from a blog post by Dale Cresap)
Psalm 10:18To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.
Psalm 25:9The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.
Psalm 37:28For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints…
Psalm 37:30The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice.
Psalm 103:6The LORD executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.
Psalm 106:3Blessed are those who keep justice, And he who always does righteousness!
Psalm 140:12I know that the LORD will maintain The cause of the afflicted, And justice for the poor.
Blessed be YHVH (Genesis 14:20 And blessed be God Most High…)
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