How many times have you heard someone say “God is love but he is also just!”. It’s as if some believe they are somehow mutually exclusive. I hear it A LOT, especially after expressing my belief that God is love. It seems some feel they have to balance out love with justice. I don’t see justice and love working against each other though. In fact I would say since God’s very essence is love (1 John 4:8), whatever justice is, it is a product of that. Also, using scripture to back this up, there is no verse that says “God is Just”; however there are many verses that describe what the justice of God actually looks like in practice. So what is the justice of God?
First what it is not, is the legal western term most think of when they think of justice. Divine Justice is not justice in a judicial sense. God is not an angry judge looking to convict someone for a crime.
Divine Justice does mean to make things right through healing and restoration. God is better likened to a doctor that heals a disease and His justice is always restorative, never punitive. In Mark 2:17, Matthew 9:12 and Luke 5:31 Jesus even likens himself to a doctor. And not like Kevorkian!
So how, then, does the bible define justice?
“Learn to do good. SEEK JUSTICE BY HELPING the OPPRESSED, DEFENDING the cause of ORPHANS, and FIGHTING FOR the RIGHTS of widows”
“ADMINISTER JUSTICE every morning BY RESCUE THE VICTIM of robbery from the hand of his oppressor”
“ADMINISTER REAL JUSTICE, AND BE COMPASSIONATE and KIND to each other”
“the Lord is waiting to SHOW you MERCY, and is rising up to SHOW you COMPASSION, because the LORD is a just God”
“HE WILL NOT CRUSH THE WEAKEST reed OR PUT OUT A flickering CANDLE. By doing this he will cause justice to be victorious.”
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to PREACH GOOD NEWS TO the POOR. He has sent Me to PROCLAIM DELIVERANCE TO the CAPTIVES and RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO the BLIND, to RELEASE THE the OPPRESSED,”
What we see in scripture is justice isn’t what God uses to punish and certainly doesn’t act contrary to his love but is used to restore that which needs restoration. To heal that which is sick. Divine justice is about rescue. It’s about compassion. It’s about defending the defenseless. It’s about giving sight to the blind. It restores. If it doesn’t restore it isn’t God’s justice.