Justice And Righteousness
I'm enjoying the conversation between the three of you.
As for word origins, "justice" is of Latin origin, and means
in Old English, "righteous." The Greek, "dekaio" in reasonable
English/Latin characters, with its various parts of speech, also
The problem is that in English we need a verb "to rightify" which
itself would mean to "make right," "set right," or "put right." I have
a friend who hales from the Yorkshire area of England, and he
frequently uses these last terms when something has not gone
right or needs to be corrected and brought to a right condition.
So those terms can be legitimately used whenever you see
in N.T. scripture the use of the word "justify " or "justice."
But who knows, with the English language growing at the rate, I
am told by lexicographers, of 60,000 words a year, how long it will
be before "rightify"does become a legitimate word in our dictionary?
My conviction grows that the legal mindset has abused and held hostage
(is that imagery too disturbing?) the word “justice” to serve it’s purposes.
I’d love to hear feedback from Donna, and Gerald, and Dave and Beryl - and
all those interested in this topic. It hit me yesterday, that the legalist
one who believes Justice is something God does TO the sinner. They are the
bad guy - the sinner - the one under scrutiny and, is presumed guilty. After
all, we ARE guilty aren’t we?
The Trust Healing view however takes the word justice in the true
of it’s actual use in scripture and sees Justice as something a Righteous
does FOR the individual - who also happens to be a sinner but a sinner under
oppression. That word Justice is so often used to describe God’s making
“right” of that which has been so very “wrong”. And the sinner is the
BENEFICIARY of what GOD means by Justice. So it is something God does FOR us
-- not TO us.
If I’m right, that is an enormous change from the legal paradigm. The
focus, emphasis, and nature of the solutions God has ordained are vastly
different. Yes, we are guilty, but God’s soultion has to do with helping and
leading and teaching and healing us. NOT punishing us! What kind of solution
Help me out here....
Justice, the law, righteousness, the character of God, sanctification and
justification are all synoymous terms. None of them are legal terms as much
as relational terms. They are not rules on the wall for us to read. They are
experiential concepts. God requires us to care for, love, and serve others
like He does for us. I agree with your idea that justice is something God
DOES FOR US, not something He DOES TO US. This is what the cure is all
about. The Spirit cures us of self-centered efforts to sercure safety and
pleasure, etc., for our selves. Instead, we now thank God for His continual
blessings and for what He constantly does for us. When converted, we make
efforts to secure for others just and fair treatment. We love them because
they exist. We want to make them happy and well.
Justice is something we DO.
"Defend the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy." Ps
"Righteousness and justice (judgment and justice in the KJV) are the
foundation of your throne; steadfast love (mercy - KJV) and faithfulness
(truth - KJV) go before you." Ps 89:14 NRSV
"To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than
sacrifice." Prov 21:3
"Maintain (do-KJV) justice, and DO what is right." ISa 56:1
All these texts (others could be added) revolve around HOW WE TREAT OTHERS.
If people are being mistreated, God wants us to DO SOMETHING to releive
them. If people are hungry, God wants us to feed them. If they need
clothing, we are to supply it. ETC. Yesterday, a friend told me: "God sets
the value on you; what you think about yourself is only an opinion. The
value God places on you never changes, no matter what you do." God's eternal
love and faithfulness is the way He will always treat us. He will always
treat us like a priceless pearl. When His Spirit takes control of us, He
will inbue us with this same attitude toward others. We will relate to them
with unchanging, limitless fairness, love, and offering of whatever
assistance we can offer. Not because we are earning points with God; but
because we see them as people of high worth that we cannot help but love.
Love, justice, righteousness, the law, sanctification are all action words.
They lose their meaning when only held as head knowledge.
Ellen White also noted the problems of language: "The Bible is not given
us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he
took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men.
that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the
word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given
for practical purposes." [1SM 20]
So with the word "forgiveness." In the following quotations, EGW
to equate "forgiveness" with "pardon."
"The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness [pardon?] of
it means taking away our sins, and filling the vacuum with the graces of
the Holy Spirit. It means divine illumination, rejoicing in God. It
a heart emptied of self, and blessed with the abiding presence of
Christ. When Christ reigns in the soul, there is purity, freedom from
sin. The glory, the fullness, the completeness of the gospel plan is
fulfilled in the life. The acceptance of the Saviour brings a glow of
perfect peace, perfect love, perfect assurance. The beauty and
of the character of Christ revealed in the life testifies that God has
indeed sent His Son into the world to be its Saviour." [COL 419-20]
"After completing the Lord's Prayer, Jesus added: 'If ye forgive men
trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye
not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses.' He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through
alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless
who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding
them our FORGIVENESS. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their
by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion
toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess
their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to
cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries;
as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to PARDON
who have done evil to us." [MB 113-14, emphasis supplied]
But notice the contrasting definition of GOD'S forgiveness she provides
the very next paragraph of Mount of Blessings:
"But forgiveness has a broader meaning than many suppose. When God
the promise that He 'will abundantly pardon,' He adds, as if the meaning
that promise exceeded all that we could comprehend: 'My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as
heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.' Isaiah 55:7-9. God's forgiveness
not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation.
is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the
outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart. David had the true
conception of forgiveness when he prayed, 'Create in me a clean heart, O
God; and renew a right spirit within me.' Psalm 51:10. And again he
'As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our
transgressions from us.' Psalm 103:12. [MB 114.1]
The most we can do, it seems to me, is pardon one another. God, on the
other hand, can both forgive in the sense of mere pardon, and
pardon" or forgive according to the broader definition above. Which we
receive apparently depends on our responways of saying things that make it seem as if we are passive conduits
“do” nothing. God does it all. But that causes problems. If God “does”
all, why doesn’t He “do” it to everyone?
So many of the results - or consequences - of becoming God’s friends
described in terms of “action.” Even “giving up” and “confessing” and
“coming to Christ” and “following Christ” and “opening our hearts” and
“choosing God” and “take up your cross and follow me” (TWO action
seem to require a conscious choice, an active participation on our part.
we “THINK on these things” and “DO unto others” and “BEAR one another’s
burdens” and a whole host of activities AND behaviors which both REFLECT
healing (our belief that God has “saved” us) and contribute to the
CONTINUING salvation (healing) which we experience as we become changed
that which we love and admire. And sometimes these choices and decisions
like a battle - a battle which the bible seems to encourage us to engage
All for the goal of participating in and choosing our OWN healing.
It becomes rather abstract for many to insist that it is Christ’s
which does it - though in some important way, it really IS Christ IN us.
guess my concern is that we not portray our part as totally “passive.”
Freedom of choice plays a huge role.
I’m not saying I disagree with you David, and I’ll guess that you
really disagree with the above. But I’m wondering how you might restate
exact roles each of us plays: God - the initiator and agent of our
and us - the object of His great love and work of healing. Much of what
Christians offer as advice in this regard seems highly unrealistic,
impractical, and difficult to put into action. But I did hear in both
and Loren’s post that the glory is God’s - any results (in us) make God
good and are testament to HIS healing power, not to be confused in any
us affecting our own salvation.
Help me out.se to his "mere" pardon of us
(2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 2:4).