A Christian sense of justice

By Dave Henning / February 25, 2023

“A Christian sense of justice is one shaped by the Christian story.  And that means a Christian sense of justice is shaped by love of God and love of others instead of a Western, individualized, and modernist concept of freedom and rights.”- Scot McKnight, A Community Called Atonement

“Praise the LORD. . . who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”- Psalm 103:2,4 (NIV)

Rich Villodas moves on in Chapter 9 of Good and Beautiful and Kind as he synthesizes two ideas to help us make better sense of justice as seen in Scripture.

 1.  Justice is primarily about the righteousness of God.  In other words, justice belongs to the Lord.  Most significantly, justice involves more than something God does.  Because God is just – it’s who He is.  Justice characterizes His very essence.

In addition, God’s justice never, ever conflicts with His love.  Also, God’s love is always just, His justice always loving.  Therefore, we need not choose between the two.  Furthermore, as priest and theologian Fleming Rutledge once noted:

“[Justice] doesn’t refer to a threatening abstract quality that God has over against us.  It is much more like a verb than an noun, because it refers to the power of God to make right what has been wrong.”

2.  Biblical justice is relational but is to be carried out systematically.  Throughout Holy Scripture, Pastor Villodas observes, we find justice not simply demonstrated through individual acts of mercy.  Instead, Scripture also addresses the way power is misused.

Hence, this leads to one overarching truth.  That we must aim justice at restoration and not only at retribution.

In conclusion, in recent years we’ve witnessed greater calls for restorative justice.  A way of thinking that calls for accountability, compassion, and self-examination.  As well as a clear process toward personal and interpersonal healing.  Pastor Villodas likens this to the justice of God.

Today’s question: How do you view a Christian sense of justice?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The call to justice = faithfulness”

About the author

Dave Henning

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