Shouldn’t be surprising that within the heart of man, and woman, there is, most often, an innate desire for justice. What defines “just” may vary, and it may be skewed and distorted in our fallen and sinful world, but whatever “just standard” one has, we want to see it played out. We have a sense that things should be “fair.” We get frustrated when someone seemingly gets away with something that we think is wrong. So, for many, especially in today’s online culture, they are ready to not only jump in and call out an injustice, but are ready also to play the role of accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.
Generally, I don’t think it’s working out that well. Perhaps that’s why the Spirit exhorts:
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
(Romans 12:17-19 ESV)
Ultimately, for the believer, justice comes down to a faith thing. Not that we don’t seek to live justly. Not that we don’t engage to bring about justice. But ultimately, our confidence that justice will eventually reign, that it will “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24), lies not in our efforts but in the promises and person of our Sovereign God. For our God is exalted in justice.
But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows Himself holy in righteousness.
(Isaiah 5:16 ESV)
That’ the verse I’m chewing on this morning. Jehovah of Hosts is high in judgment (YLT).
A world out of whack when it comes to what is just and how to seek justice, is not evidence of a God who is not in control. It’s more an indicator that our God is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6). Patient concerning sin-skewed views and approaches to justice, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2Pet. 3:9). For, make no mistake, our God is exalted in justice. That is our great hope.
And it’s a hope not founded just in theory or sustained only by wishful thinking, but a living hope firmly established by the cross.
. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
(Romans 3:23-26 ESV)
The cross makes no sense to the world, but for those of us graced with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to receive, it makes all the sense in the world. All the saving, sanctifying, hope-sustaining sense in the world. Demonstrating, and exalting, the just-ness of God and the extent of His love towards an unjust world by Himself becoming the justifier.
We can be confident that justice will one day roll down as river, for our God is exalted in justice. We can rest in the assurance that righteousness will come to pass like an ever-flowing stream, for our God shows Himself holy in righteousness. The cross our great proof that God’s promises and power will prevail.
Lift high the LORD of hosts with me. For He is exalted in justice. Praise God without reservation. For He is holy in righteousness. The cross our great proof. His coming our great hope.
As evidenced by His grace. To Him be glory forever.