How do we know what is just and right in any particular situation? What is justice after all?
We usually think of justice as a certain standard of fairness, of right and wrong. We say that God is just because He consistently adheres to that standard.
But God is the creator and source of all. There is no separate standard of justice to which we compare Him. There is no outside set of rules by which He must abide in order to be “just”. He Himself is the standard of justice. Justice flows from His character and is seen in all His actions. We say that He is just because we see that He is always consistent with Himself. His actions are always consistent with His perfect wisdom and perfect love.
So how can know and live just lives?
We are just when we are like Him. Our actions are just when we act like Him.
We often think of justice and mercy as opposites…or at least as two competing values that must be balanced. We see justice as absolute rightness, and mercy as a kindly compromise with justice. But when we realize that justice and mercy are both descriptions of God’s nature, we see them not as opposites to be balanced. They are two facets of the same jewel. God is always merciful and always just.
Thus when we are called to seek justice in this unjust world, we are not called to a specific social agenda. We are called to think and live and be like God. We are called to be holy as He is holy, to live and speak the truth as He is the truth, to love as He loves. We are called to be His children, His ambassadors, His servants, His hands.
The Old Testament beautifully pictures our just and loving God, reporting His words and actions over many centuries. But He is most completely revealed in Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3). What is more, Christ enables us not only to see and know God, but to live in Him, and He in us. He gives us the Spirit of God so that by simple faith, we can live just and loving lives in this present world. Through His people, and above His people, God is creating the just world that He has promised.