Recently I was asked to convey five great theological themes presented squarely in the Scriptures and to explain and display them in such a way that an ordinary person might exclaim, "hey, I understand that"! This daily column is the vehicle to detail these internationally. In these past first days I've conveyed 'Grace', 'Faith' and 'Relationship'.
The fourth of these great theological themes is 'Justice' as it conveys a most alarming idea. This is an idea that is contrary to everything that we would normally consider as fair. This next sentence might shock many tried and true Christians, as Justice is not something one can touch or feel, rather it's a personal attitude.
The world's greatest of all theologians down through the centuries have grappled with the essence of 'Justice' and have recognised it as a personal attitude. Martin Luther realised it's full 'moment' when on one occasion he re-read Romans 1: 16-17 – "The Just shall live by faith". A light went on!
The word 'justice' conveys an innate truth that every child comprehends from its earliest understanding, and this reality is never lost upon the human soul. Every person recognises an unjust act (said, inferred, implied or done) and their heart cries "foul" although they may not be able to do anything themselves to right the injustice.
Injustice plays out its hand in many different forms, from a selection in a child's sporting team; to one daughter getting new clothes and the second getting hand-me-downs; or in business, with corruption associated with a deal, to a large corporation unfairly paying farmers for their produce; to the lack of benevolent assistance to those in genuine need. The list is endless.
There is nothing outside of God's oversight in that everything and everyone falls within God's eternal vigilance of justice. "Justice" is central to Christian theology in taking God at His Word as revealed to us in the Scriptures and why I say it is best described as a personal attitude.
Getting a grip on Justice
In theological terms, the separation of man from God came about due to man's willingness to disbelieve God's best intentions for a lie from the great deceiver. There are two great issues of justice in this. The first is that of Satan's activities, and the second is that of man's broken relationship with his Creator.
Yesterday we looked at how God seeks to restore this personal relationship to mankind. Central to this relationship is the Cross of Calvary, for it is here that God presents His ultimate integrity to those who He loves through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We discovered this is a love story. It is all about an intimate ongoing relationship. The relationship that Jesus Christ offers is intimate and personal, it centres on a relationship between two living persons, one is the Lord through the Holy Spirit, and the other, real live persons, that is, ordinary people, like you and me.
The other issue highlighted above, is with Satan the author of evil. Isaiah Chapter 14 fills in some of the detail as to how Satan, the most wonderful of all created beings, fell through his desire to be equal with God. A great cosmic battle has ensued for the hearts and souls of man kind ever since.
Herein is the root of all injustice, that with the fall of man came wickedness into the world and this includes us today. Injustice is a deep root and from that root grows every evil known to man, some of it within families; some within social groups, some within nations - which has brought death to millions.
The grand story of the Bible is 'reconciliation' whereby injustice is rooted out and righteousness and eternal life are given in its place. What more of a happy ending could one want. This is the dream story.
Little wonder then that the pages of the Scriptures speak of justice as the essence of Christian doctrine, practise and belief. Justice takes up so much of our every day lives. For example, democracy with all its flaws is based on justice, that covers government (all the way across the spectrum, even the functioning of local sporting cubs), where rules are set for elections and procedural governance for the operation of that organisation.
In many parts of the world even the court system itself is based on injustice where a poor man is unable to receive true justice. The Bible weighs these injustices and there will be a reckoning, but it is God who will be the righteous judge, it is not for vigilante activities.
Frank Perriti's book "In this Present Darkness" illustrates how the Lord arranges the circumstances of life to bring out even small results of justice in one's daily lives. Laura Hillenbrand's book "Unbroken" illustrates how a WWII POW in Japan (Louis Zamperini) is treated with physical and physiological horrific wrath by a Japanese corporal who even forty years later saw he did no wrong, could be forgiven by Louis yet with sadness that there is also an eternal justice.
Christians understand that God is more powerful than all the evil hordes and that many righteous results have been wrought through the prayers of the followers of Jesus. This is why I say that Justice becomes a personal attitude.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html