Believing in God is not Enough

Belief is central to the Christian faith. Christianity teaches individuals can only be saved by repenting and believing.  The act of believing itself is a gift from God showing us no works we do can save. These are truths found in scripture and as is often the case, such truths are twisted and misunderstood. Many individuals today believe in belief they place their faith in faith.  Yet the Christian faith is directed at someone specific—the Triune God of Scripture. He saves through our faith in him. True belief must be directed at the proper object—Jesus Christ as the revelation of the Triune God. 


The importance of this distinction hit me like a three-hundred pound defensive linemen when reading a recent study which says 80 percent of Americans say they believe in God. Now we may read that and take heart. Yet this study really is a sign of the confusion of our age. If 80 percent of Americans truly believed in the God of Scripture, then would this country would look very different. Eighty percent of Americans may believe in a god, but this is not the God found in Scripture and revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. 

The question becomes, “What god do Americans believe in?” The answer is as diverse as our country, yet most people believe in a god which reflects what the person desires most. You want to be affirmed in your choices? You probably believe in an affirming god. You want a god who will help you feel better about life? Then you probably worship a god who resembles a therapist. While we may scoff at ancient peoples who chiseled their gods out of wood and stone, we do the exact same thing thing in our minds--we fashion a view of god which suits us best. No god constructed by our desires is actually god, for we are creating him.  Our modern idols look every bit as silly as the ones of ancient times.

As Christians, we must remember that belief in some god is not enough. In fact, belief in any god who is not the true God revealed to us in Scripture is damnable. The God who is there, the one who exists, has revealed himself both in his Word and through the life of Jesus Christ. He has told who he is and what his character is. He is chiefly revealed in the person of Jesus Christ—the God-man who became one of us to die for us. This is the God Christians place faith in. It is he and he alone who saves. Belief in any other god is as empty as the Vikings’ Super Bowl case. 

Losing Our Soul

Yesterday marked yet another school shooting. There are many natural questions in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, but the one that resounds in my mind is, “When did we lose our soul as a people?” This is the just the latest tragedy in a long line of mass shooting that highlights our lack of virtue as a people. We see in every area of public life, but tragedies like this amplify our condition.  And while it is true history has always been filled with violence, we cannot help but notice the ever-increasing reality in our day of mass shootings. So common in fact are these types of event that the shooting in Florida is sure to fade in our minds rather quickly—how did we get to such a place? Societal trends like this do not occur in a vacuum overnight. Ideas always have consequences, and the ideas we have built our identity on are bringing about rotten fruit. 


While pundits and politicians are quick to offer their diagnosis of our problems and their supposed solutions, they all rightly ring hollow in our ears. We know laws will not fix the problem, they may help, but no law has ever changed individual hearts. As a people we are desperately sick, so where did it all go off course?

We, mankind, are the problem. The entire identity and desires of our age are thoroughly wicked. We have replaced God with the idol of the self. You cannot idealize the self as the highest end and highest virtue of life without first severing mankind from God. When your God (the self), is threatened you can justify any and all actions. By turning to the self we have lost all standards for morality, we simply do not teach right and wrong in any meaningful way. Instead, we trumpet, “Follow your heart!” This shooter followed his heart and it lead to the death of seventeen people. How can we look such evil in the face and call it evil when everything is relative and life is all about identity politics? How can we call it evil without a God above?

We have replaced God with our own wicked selves and the results are predictable—chaos and death. As we reject God, who is light, we show that we love darkness. The more we turn inward to look for answers the darker it gets. The insanity of it all is we are convinced we can see better now than ever before! Our own foolishness is breathtaking. We are blind guides claiming sight as we repeatedly run head-first into the same wall over and over again.

There is a way out from this, but it means turning to God in repentance. It requires we teach our children they do not belong to themselves; life is not all about them. Life is found when you intentionally lose yourself in pursuit of Christ. Life is not about self-esteem and self-fulfillment, it is about picking up your instrument of death and following Him. The radical message of Christ, self-denial and faith in him, is the only hope the world has ever had—but we are convinced we know better! The more we cut ourselves off from the fountain of life, the more death we will see. This cycle will not end until many, including the church, start to believe Christ is preeminent in all things.  

I wish I could say things will get better, but that would require u-turn as a society. This is of course possible, God could send his Spirit to break our hearts of stone and bring life where death currently reigns. It is here Christians must admit our failure. We have neglected offering life to our world. All too often we underestimate and under-communicate the gospel. If we want tragedies like this to lessen, Christians should turn to God in humble prayer—repenting of our laziness and pleading with him to bring about widespread repentance. He can do it, but first we must humble ourselves and set ours about to praying and declaring the kingdom. He gives sight to the blind, he brings life from death, and it is to him we must turn. We need to hear the call not victimhood and self-pursuit, but to self-denial and humble pursuit of obedience through faith in Christ Jesus. We have lost our soul as a society, but Christ is greater and he can bring new life. 

Come Lord Jesus!

Systemic Injustice: Disagreeing With John Piper

As a pastor I am constantly telling our people the importance of thinking as a Christian. By this I mean processing everything through the worldview God has given us in his Word. This is his world, and if we want to understand it rightly, then we must understand it on his terms. Lately, I have written on justice twice (here and here). I have done this because much of what I read in Reformed Christian circles on justice ignores what God has revealed to us about this topic. This is no small thing. Justice flows from God. It is inherent to his character. If we get justice wrong, we get God wrong. Moreover, justice is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He came to satisfy the demands of God’s justice on our behalf. If we get justice wrong, we will get Jesus wrong. In other words, justice is pretty important to Christians. 

So I have spent time reading and thinking about justice as a Christian. Specifically, I have focused on how to apply the biblical truth of justice to our day. This is what has spurred my prior posts leading to this discussion on systemic injustice. It is here we find the capstone of so much of secular thinking on justice. Unfortunately, far too many evangelicals have swallowed this thinking hook, line, and sinker. 

So today I am writing on this topic to foster discussion and to call Christians to talk about this topic as Christians. We must not follow the lead of those who are far from God when discussing justice. If we continue to do this, we will reap the fruit of rebellion—spiritual death. The only remedy is a ruthless commitment to the authority of God found in his revealed Word. If we do not do this first, everything else is a waste. But it must stop there, Christians must also communicate with each other as brothers and sisters, not as political adversaries. In such heated discussions we must show each other grace and we must possess a heart which seeks to understand, not to accuse. There be a stark contrast between how Christians discuss these topics and how the political left and right discuss them. 

So building on my previous two posts on justice, I want to apply the biblical understanding of justice to the discussion of systemic injustice. How should Christians define this term? Does it even exist today? If so, how and where? 

In order to answer these questions, I will start by offering a definition of systemic injustice. Then I will discuss where the most prominent forms of systemic justice exist today. 

Systemic Injustice According to Piper

In a recent post, John Piper (who I respect greatly), offered his defense of structural racism (i.e. systemic injustice). Piper boils his understanding of this topic to fallen human and the influence Satan possesses in this age. He writes, “In this worldview, I can think of no sin that is not systemic or structural (I’m using the terms interchangeably).” According to Piper, there is no tangible difference between systemic injustice and normal, run of the mill, injustice because we live in a fallen world where Satan exerts his influence. Therefore, we have systemic gossip, systemic self-righteousness, systemic stealing to go along with systemic racism. 


While I agree with Piper mankind is fallen and under the influence of Satan, if this is all that systemic injustice is, then the term is both meaningless and redundant. If everything is a systemic injustice, then nothing is a systemic justice. If when define something your definition includes everything, then your definition lacks definition. Piper's argument renders the term so broad it is becomes meaningless.  I believe systemic injustice exists, but we must do a better job defining it. I fear Piper is so intent on proving his point about systemic racism that he broadens the definition and in the end weakens the validity of his argument. 

I will attempt to better his definition. There are two necessary parts which work together to bring about systemic (or structural) injustice. 

A Structure of Power

In order for something to be systemic, there needs to be a system of power in place. Systems use their power to promote, enforce, and enshrine values, beliefs, and behaviors. If there is no power structure, then we are not talking a system. For example, if Johnny commits murder, but the state (system) has outlawed murder, then there is nothing systemic about Johnny’s actions.  In fact, since the system is exerting its power to combat murder the system is actually being just.  If the local government instead made murder legal, or promoted it as a good, then there would be clear systemic injustice.

Moreover, even if a thousand people committed murder, it would not rise to a systemic issue unless the system is partaking in it. If the system is against the action, then it bears no moral responsibility for the rebellion of individuals. Again, if the system where to enshrine, protect, and advance murder, then we would have a systemic problem. 

To put it another way, there needs to be a structure of power which directs said power toward wickedness in order for something to be systemically unjust. Otherwise, we are just dealing with the sin of individuals. 

Now there are a variety of systems of power in our day which could be unjust: governments, schools, businesses, and even families. In any of these structures the power structure could implement injustices through laws, ordinances, policies, procedures, etc. 

This is where so many definitions of systemic injustices run afoul. Just because a lot of individuals commit a certain sin, does not mean there is a system of power in place enforcing and promoting that behavior. In fact, many of our systems use their power to combat wickedness and enforce justice. For this Christians should be grateful. One cannot rightly charge a government for being systemically unjust for having laws which outlaw and justly punish murders, even if the murder-rate was high in its jurisdiction. Why? Because the system is using its power to combat the injustice. Note also, that just because the system is behaving in a just manner does not negate the presence of individual sin. We need to careful when using the term systemic injustice to be sure we are talking about an actual system, and to be specific about which system we are talking about. 

We need to remember this, whether it is theft, racism, murder, or drug-use, sins by individuals, even lots of individuals, do not necessarily rise to the level of being systemic. Injustice is only systemic when it is being implemented through a power structure. 

An Injustice

The second necessary part for a systemic injustice is there must be an actual injustice. I know what you’re thinking, “Levi, you just are using the two words of the term for your definition.” You’re right. Words are important. If we insist on using terms like systemic injustice, then those words carry meaning with them.

This is why I spent so much time defining justice biblically in prior posts. What is justice? At its root it means individuals receive what they have earned. An injustice is receiving punishment, or ill treatment, which a person did not earn. In order to determine what an individual has earned, we need a moral standard to judge by. For the Christian, this is God’s word. For the modern secularist, this is more often than not a morality determined by Marxism. Here is the rub, the Christian and the Marxist will necessarily have vastly different moral structures by which they make this judgment. 

For the Marxist, justice is about equality of outcome.  For the Christian, justice is about rendering unto someone what he has earned. The Christian view necessarily means outcomes will differ. The Marxist view necessarily says this is unjust. This is why the disagreement between a biblical view of justice and the Marxist idea of social justice are not only incompatible, but they are necessarily in conflict with one another.  At their core, their allegiances vastly differ which makes common ground nothing more than an illusion. It’s like two fans of rival sports teams, then will never agree because of their prior commitments. 

So the definition of systemic injustice is as follows: when a system of power (government, business, etc) uses its power to promote, enshrine, or accomplish that which is morally evil, wicked, or unjust. 

Examples of Systemic Injustice

With a clear definition in place I can offer examples of systemic injustice from both the past and present. The early church had to deal with systemic oppression from the Roman Government as Christians refused to practice the state religion. The Roman Government exerted its power to promote evil and punish righteousness by sending Christians into the coliseum. This is a clear injustice empowered by a powerful system. 

More recently, the Nazi’s attempt to exterminate Jews is another clear example of systemic injustice; as is the gulags of the Soviet Union. In fact, throughout world history as governments grow in power they generally grow in wickedness. The historical examples could fill countless volumes of books. 

In America we are not innocent either. The enslavement of Africans is a clear example of systemic injustice. Jim Crow Laws are another example of state and local governments systematically enforcing wickedness. Christians are to stand against such wickedness, and many did. 

Thankfully, systems can change, they can repent.  This does not mean all the repercussions of an injustice have been dealt with, but it is a good thing when systems move from injustice to justice. The US Government has repented of its wickedness found in the form of slavery. It further repented in the Civil Rights era. Our state and federal governing bodies no longer behave in such wretched ways. In fact, this repentance was spear-headed by Christians working toward establishing justice. For this we should be grateful. This does not mean there are no lingering ramifications for those systemic sins, but repentance has occurred at a systemic level. 

Do we see systemic injustice today? Of course. The clearest examples of systemic injustice in our government are no longer tied to slavery and racism. In fact, we now have laws which outlaw and punish discrimination against minorities. The system now exerts its power in the opposite direction. So we can say to extent, our system is just in this area. 

Yet our government still promotes systemic injustice in heinous ways.  The clearest example is abortion. The power of the government enforces, promotes, and protects the slaughter of millions of defenseless children. This is the greatest systemic injustice in the West today. Other examples would include same-sex ‘marriage,’ and the attempts of many local governments to limit the free exercise of religion. These are just a few examples of grave systemic injustices which need to be repented of.  As Christians, it is our job to the salt of the world by calling our system and its people to repentance. 

If Christians desire to speak prophetically to the power structures of our day, as our forefathers did, then we need to do so with a Christian understanding and a uniquely Christian voice. This means our targets include abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and the protection of religious liberty. It is easy to rebuke the sins of prior generations, it takes far more courage to look the current power structure directly in the eyes and say, “Repent or face the judgment of God.”


Often our discussions are being shaped by secular thinking and some desire to signal our virtue to the virtueless, instead of by the careful study and application of God’s word. If the American church continues to flirt with such morbidly anti-Christian thinking it will reap its due fruit—death. Those who profess Sola Scriptura need to act like they actually believe it. 

There is more we could discuss, and I will perhaps write on in the future, but the call here is for Christians to think, communicate, and act as Christian’s first and foremost. This is our charge as who call Christ our Lord. 

Under the Sun: The Myth of Progress


One mark of our day is the belief in progress. This myth is so strong it often blinds us from the lessons of history and the eternal truths of God’s Word. It is so prevalent many identify themselves as progressives. This is a loaded term. It casts one side as being on the right side of history while their opponents are backward and stuck in the past. Such thinking is popular because we are enamored with the latest and greatest in music, entertainment, technology, and even morality. We are always seeking something new. 

It is safe to say many of us really do believe we have accomplished something great, but we remain unsure exactly what that may be. Perhaps it’s the internet, the smartphone, or our medical treatments? Yet into all this, any objective look at our day concludes the main issues mankind faces are the same they have faced throughout history. Nonetheless, in our snobbery we look down on those who have come before us. 

If 2017 taught us anything, it is we are not as advanced and progressive as we have been led to believe. Those who march on the frontlines of progressive ideology have been found to be morally bankrupt hypocrites. Sex scandal after sex scandal has rock the progressive strongholds on both the east and west coasts. As it turns out, the progressive sexual ethic actually leads to the abuse of women. As I said in an earlier message, when progressives decry sexual immorality, it is nothing short of the blind leading the blind. This is the opposite of progress, but the blind are easily deceived by those who claim sight. 

Yet the myth of progress remains. The elite have doubled-down, “We just need to work harder in 2018 to cast off our shackles and strive after a better, more progressive world!" What exactly are we to leave behind? The shackles progressives rage against is the embedded Christian morality found in the history of the West. We have been told time and again, such a morality is oppressive to women. Why? Because Christians dare treat women with chivalry, respect, and honor through our sexual ethic—sex only in marriage. How backward can we be? Treating women with honor, respect, and as more than a sexual object? Clearly this is regressive behavior. .

Who cares about morals from a bygone era anyways? Many dismiss Christianity because it is seen as irrelevant to our modern day.  What could the life of a first century Jew have to say to us today? Even some Christians fall into this trap; they believe our age is so utterly different than biblical times that Scripture couldn’t possibly impact their daily life. The biblical times were superstitious, backward, and so decidedly unprogressive there is not much our modern minds can glean from the Bible.  

This is where the myth of progress is dangerous, it dismisses those who have come before us. It furthers our blindness. It is here Ecclesiastes reminds us of a crucial truth, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done,  and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has been already in the ages before us.”

This verse assaults our snobbery head-on. In a society which prides itself on being new, progressive, and unique Solomon says, “Stop kidding yourself! None of this is new!” He wants us to know we possess nothing in all our progress that is truly new. None of it changes our fundamental state and our fundamental needs. Even our technology is not new, it’s just an adaptation of something which already existed. 

The internet? Just another form of communication like newspapers, the printing press, and language in general. Nothing is really new. The human condition remains unchanged. We are still sinful. We still struggle with anger, lust, slander, power struggles, etc.  We still need salvation. Here is the truth we desperately need to deep in our minds—Scripture is relevant precisely because mankind is not progressing. We remain unchanged with the same problems we have always had—our sinful hearts. 

The good news is change entered the world through the work of Christ. Change, progress, growth are only available through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of history hinges upon his work. History is his, he is the ruler, and his kingdom ushers in the utopia which has escaped mankind throughout history. The only truly progressive people are those who are seeking Christ’s kingdom through repentance and faith. Everyone else is stuck in the same backward cycle of sin, vanity, and death. If we wish to seek progress, we must turn and look in faith upon the God-man who entered this world generations ago. 

Seven Biblical Principles for Justice

Earlier this month I wrote on the importance of understanding the different ways the Bible uses the term justice. The main uses for justice in Scripture are universal and particular justice. Universal justice refers to personal righteousness and moral uprightness. Particular justice refers to implementing justice in specific situations. Particular justice is what most people today mean when they speak of justice, but we must remember the Bible uses both definitions of justice.


It is only by understanding these two different uses of justice that we can understand justice from God’s point view. This is why on the one-hand God calls us to defend the poor (Isa. 1.17) in a display of universal justice, and on the other hand, he commands us to not favor the poor in particular justice (Lev. 19.15). The Bible is not being contradictory; rather it is talking about two different types of justice. 

We must remember this distinction in justice as our society debates how to understand justice, specifically social justice. This discussion has naturally bled over into the church, where much of the reasoning has been sub-biblical precisely because we refuse to read the biblical terms on its own terms. This is chiefly displayed by people misunderstanding texts which speak about universal justice by forcing them in particular justice categories of laws, cases, and court decisions. When Christians do this our vision of justice looks more secular than biblical. 
As stated above, when most people talk about justice today they are referring to particular justice that is justice in individual scenarios.

Particular justice deals with implementing justice when an injustice has occurred (or at when an accusation has been made). The Bible gives us clear instruction on how to practice justice in individual cases and by doing so we can avoid perpetuating injustice. Only by seeing justice rooted in God and his word, will we be able to pursue actual justice as defined by God. 

Here are seven biblical principles for justice we desperately need to hear today:

Innocent Until Proven Otherwise

The American judicial system holds to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty’ which is borrowed from the biblical system of justice. In Deuteronomy 19.15 we are told, “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.” This command is not isolated as it is repeated as a core aspect of human justice throughout the Bible (Duet 17.6-7; Num. 35.30; Matt. 18.16; 1 Tim. 5.19; John 8.17; 2 Cor. 13.1).

The requirement for multiple witnesses entails a presumption of innocence. If one person accuses you, then you are still to be considered innocent. The fact there are protections for the accused ensures that proceedings will be just, and it also means you must prove that someone is guilty. You do not need to prove your innocence because that is already presumed. This does not mean the person is, in fact, innocent, but that we all start as innocent until we are proven to be guilty. Far too often when a person is accused of wrong-doing today there is a stampede to pass judgment on the spot with no thought to the case actually being proved. Such behavior does not further justice but undermines it. 

People Sometimes Lie

People lie, and we must remember that when making a judgment. This principle is tied to the need for multiple witnesses. It is far too easy for someone to lie either intentionally or unintentionally. Our world is broken into many warring factions, and sometimes a person will make an accusation against an innocent individual in order to advance his cause or to exact revenge. We need to look no further than the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife to realize that false accusations, when there are no proper protections in legal proceedings, can be used as a weapon against innocent parties (Genesis 39). This is only intensified when the liar feels justified to deceive because of personal injury or for the perceived good of a greater cause. We are reminded in the Ten Commandments that people will feel tempted to lie about their neighbors to get what they want, “Do not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20.16). If we want to pursue justice in a fallen world, then we cannot lose sight of the fallen nature of humanity when it comes to telling the truth. This is one of the hardest things when seeking the truth, trying to determine who is telling the truth and who is lying. 

Justice Requires Blindness to Who the Individual Is

The legal process is to be blind to the status of individuals. In both Exodus 23.3 and Leviticus 19.15 God tells us it is unjust to take into account who someone is when deciding what is true, right, and just. Exodus 23.3 says, “Do not show favoritism to a poor person in his lawsuit” and Leviticus 19.15 says, “You must not act unjustly when deciding a case. Do not be partial to the poor or give preference to the rich; judge your neighbor fairly.” It is a perversion of justice to pronounce judgments based someone being rich or poor; lowly or exalted; weak or powerful. Justice is about truth and righting wrongs, not about identity politics. Why? Because this is central to the very character of God—he shows no partiality (Rom. 2.11). 

We need to hear this clearly today—you cannot favor the rich or the poor, whites or minorities, the political left or the political right when it comes to issues of justice. The problem is social justice asserts exactly the opposite! As it is conceived of today, social justice argues justice can only be achieved by being partial to those who are “oppressed”. Social justice advocates already know how they are going to feel about the next scandal before it happens because they judge not on the specifics of the case but by an agenda driven by the identities who are involved. This is not justice; it is a perversion of justice. It is wicked. It is evil. It is opposed to the very character of God.  Social justice says we must show partiality in order to achieve justice, but God says you must never show partiality when seeking justice. There is a stark contrast between these two competing views of justice. Christians cannot pursue both. It is God’s definition of justice or the modern concept of social justice. 

Before Passing Judgement We Must Hear Both Sides

Proverbs 18.17 reminds us of another crucial principle of justice, “The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.” Ours is an age which thrives off of hot-takes, hashtag activism, and instant judgment. It is as if individuals can only be righteous if they pronounce judgment immediately online. If you fail to do so, then clearly you endorse evil and wickedness. In the wake of every tragedy our society openly displays its own foolishness by being slow to listen and quick to pass judgment. As Christians, we really need to check our hearts as to why we post what we do online. 

The Bible reminds us that the pursuit of justice means hearing both sides of the story. If we pass judgment after only hearing one side of the story, we are acting like fools who make a mockery of justice. This is not a sign of people who are interested in justice. How many times in the wake of a tragedy do we jump to conclusions and spout supposed “facts” to only find out later those facts were inaccurate or incomplete? We are far too quick to judge, and in the process, we mock the process of justice. 

Too many evangelical leaders have become the equivalent of online ambulance-chasers as every time a tragedy happens they rush to pronounce judgment before gathering all the facts. This is not the behavior of people who want justice. I cannot help but wonder if what they are actually pursuing are more likes and followers. Christians, if we want to be about justice, we need to be more patient before we pass judgment, especially online.

Don’t Join the Mob

Angry mobs often get justice wrong, particularly online. The pressure for our online denouncing of events is often done with an eye toward the online mob. Exodus 23.2 warns us, “You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing. Do not testify in a lawsuit and go along with a crowd to pervert justice.” When everyone on Facebook has reached a verdict on the latest controversy, shouldn’t the church automatically join in to denounce it and thus maintain its influence and reputation? No. The importance of getting justice right far outweighs appeasing an angry mob which actually needs to be called to repentance.  

Part of the issue here is that we feel this need to distance ourselves from certain thoughts, actions, or groups associated with a certain evil. How better to do that than with 140 characters or less on social media? What we are actually doing is trying to prove our own righteousness by aligning our works to the standards of a worldly mob. 

Online self-righteousness is a pandemic in our age. Christians must display a better ethic by rejecting the mobs, and by pursuing truth and actual justice. Our righteousness will never be established by our online outrage, as it can only come from the blood of Christ. 

Now sometimes we know an evil has happened as soon as we hear about it. For example, when a man goes into a church and just starts shooting, the burden of evidence has been met. We know what he has done is evil, but we should display patience in judging what his motive was and how we should react. Justice demands we avoid the mentality of the mob as much as we can. 

An Eye for an Eye is Actually a Good Thing

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” is an example of how easy it for people to completely miss the point of what the Bible teaches. This command by God is actually a good thing to practice when pursuing justice. This principle is not about personal revenge as it is sometimes thought; rather it is about punishments in the court of law. This principle does not endorse over-the-top punishments; rather, it outlaws them. In the ancient world punishments for crimes often far outweighed the crime itself. It was not uncommon for theft to be punished with death, but God’s law says the punishment must fit the crime. What God is describing is for punishment to be just it had to fit the severity of the crime. Here God forbids cruel and unusual punishment as unjust. Such a command surely would not leave the whole world blind but provides guidance on how to practice justice in the correct manner. 

Human Justice Will Only Ever be Human

Our society’s obsession with social justice points to its belief that justice instituted by governments, courts, and men can somehow right every wrong. A worldview which has no God searches for ultimate justice in the systems of men and thus it always comes back dissatisfied. When their search for ultimate justice inevitably fails, it brings greater frustration to those promoting social justice. Their frustration leads them to lobby for more power to enact what they think will be ultimate justice through the systems of men. Such a search for ultimate justice is not only doomed to fail but it will inevitably lead to an increase in wickedness because it relies on sinful men and not God. 

The reason God laid out checks and balances in human justice is precisely because man apart from God can never practice justice fully or perfectly. As Christians, we understand that no sin, no evil, will go unpunished in the end. While we want the courts and governments to get it right, we know that sometimes they won’t. This reminds us of our need for a perfect judge who executes perfect justice. This is only found in God who is perfectly holy and just. It is before this God that all the world stands condemned. It is only in the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus that we can be found just by the one who is the justifier (Rom. 3.26). Christians know that ultimate justice will come at the appointed time through God alone. So as we rightly seek some level of justice in this world, we always keep an eye on the final coming judgment of the whole world. 

Conclusion: Equality in Process, Not Outcome

A summary of the biblical idea of particular justice demonstrates that it revolves around equality in process, not in outcome. Justice demands outcomes will be different depending on the circumstances, but every person should be treated equally with fair processes. Christians must never make justice about age, race, income, or influence. When we do, we pervert justice and rebel against the very character of God. This is yet another reason why Christians must leave behind the common understanding and practice of social justice and return to what God has revealed to us about justice in his word. Justice is impartial and it is primarily concerned with righteousness and truth, not power and politics. 

Such justice can only be found fully in its source—the Lord God. If we want to be people who promote and pursue justice, then we need to open our Bibles more and tweet a little less. 

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