Years ago I remember having a conversation with Tyler Johnson about God’s justice, what we’ve come to believe it is and how we could be wrong. It was stretching and thought provoking and changed my way of thinking.
Most of us grow up having our sense of justice influence by the world, the emotions and convictions of society along with the authorities over us. In general, the world cries out for vengeance to be applied for crimes committed. The more the offense makes our skin crawl, the harsher the punishment required. It just feels right somehow. Even to the point of putting them to death.
But I’ve learned that I need to question the convictions I hold based on my interaction with the world’s system, to really discern if my views are based on values and ideals Jesus came to establish. If we are supposed to seek the kingdom of God first, then all of our convictions should be filtered through the lens of Jesus rather than through the reactions of wounded people.
1 John 1:9 is a passage we all know and have repeated many times. It’s a powerful passage but there’s a part of it that I feel gets overshadowed by the focus on forgiveness. It’s the part that holds the word, ‘just.’ If we confess our sins, he is faithful AND JUST to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
What if God’s understanding of justice is different than ours? What if instead of vengeance or retribution, God’s justice is that ALL parties involved experience his forgiveness, healing, cleansing, purification, and freedom?
That probably makes some of us uncomfortable, even angry. But perfect love has always been scandalous and offensive, foolishness to those who still need deeper revelation of it.
I’ll finish with this – I’m not a fan of taking an isolated passage and building theology from it. I don’t believe that’s what I’ve done here. I believe the justice I’ve described fits with the entire biblical narrative, that it reflects the true character and nature of God displayed in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Jesse and Kara Birkey
The best-selling authors of, How To See In The Spirit, Angelic Visitations And Supernatural Encounters, and Life Resurrected
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