We all want “justice to roll down like water” Am. 5:24, but how does that happen? For many, the Amos analogy feels more like Niagra Falls, than a rolling river. Some think of justice as the combatting of injustice and injustice is overwhelming. Others think of justice as an abstract philosophical principal that is difficult to make practical. Some see justice as judgment – a punishment for wrong, a receiving of what is due. But how does God see justice?
Actually, He doesn’t. He doesn’t see justice because He IS justice. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.” Deut. 32:4. If we understand justice to be rooted in the character of God, we can better understand how to do justice by reflecting that character.
While God is judge and there is a final judgment (Rom. 14:10), God’s character is fundamentally rooted in a restorative love. From the moment we broke our relationship with our Creator by sinning, God set in motion His redemptive plan. Why? Not out of condemnation, but out of profound love for all people (Jn. 3:16-17). That love sent God’s only son to the cross to redeem us from our sins. Jesus suffered the greatest injustice man could perpetrate so that He could offer the perfect justice found in a restored relationship with our Father. That is the hope of the gospel. It is also the hope of justice.
We know the gospel is the good news of restoration by grace through faith with our Creator. The gospel enables us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, but it also compels us to love our neighbor as our self (Lk. 10:27). That is because both the gospel and justice are rooted in the heart of God. A heart that seeks to lovingly restore all that is broken. In Hebrew we would call that Tzedek. That is one of the Hebrew words for justice which means restoring what is broken and righting what is wrong. It is equally translated as righteousness a word we too often think of as personal holiness when it is better understood to mean being right with God and right with our neighbor.
Understanding justice in this way makes it easier to see how justice can roll down like water in our community. Are there broken people in your church and community? Why not meet them where they are, discover their strengths, and help see them restored. That is doing justice. There are many ways that could be implemented practically within a community, but one of those ways is by addressing the root issues of injustice that frequently involve the law or government. This next month new Gospel Justice Centers will begin operating out of churches in Chicago and in Kentucky. Earlier this month a church center in Arizona opened serving 14 neighbors in need. Two women accepted Christ. Praise God.
God is justice, and He is looking for others to reflect His character as we go into our neighborhoods, restore people in community and with their Creator, listen to His voice and
Go and Do Likewise!