What Does the Bible Say about Justice?
Oct 19, 2020 · Jordan Gorveatte
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8
The theme of justice occurs frequently in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Consider, for example, the books of Judges, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus—through the stories of the Bible, God’s heart for justice and order among his people is clear. But does justice simply mean what’s fair or what’s legal? How do we pursue true justice in our Christian lives? Let’s explore five different truths found in scripture passages to help us see God’s vision for justice.
Injustice is Common
If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. - Ecclesiastes 5:8
It’s easy to identify injustice all around us. Despite judges, laws, and rulers over us, we recognize that all is not right with our world. Scripture warns us to not be surprised about these things—no matter what day and age we live in, as long as there is sin in the world, injustice will be present.
Injustice is Sinful
“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” - Deuteronomy 27:19
Scripture makes it clear: perpetuating injustice is a sin. Even if we are not the direct causes of the injustice, we will be held accountable for how we ignore or care for the vulnerable people around us.
Justice is Our Calling
This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. - Jeremiah 22:3
We are not simply called to stop injustice when it occurs, but to actively strive and work toward justice and flourishing. As followers of God, we are called to pursue justice in our personal relationships, to care for the people he has placed around us, and to advocate for those without a voice.
God Honors Justice
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. - Proverbs 21:3
As we pursue true justice, God sees and honors our efforts. More than the things we can do for him, God cares about our hearts; he desires for us to grow in our understanding and desire of justice as we become more like him. When the passions and desires of our hearts align with his, God is truly honored.
True Justice is the Lord’s
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. - Romans 12:19
Pursuing justice does not mean enacting revenge. We know that God is the only true judge of hearts and actions. In our pursuit of justice, we must acknowledge that God is ultimately in control, and trust that he will have the final say in all matters of injustice committed in our world.
Explore the topic of biblical justice further with the Groundwork series, The Justice Calling.