What is Biblical Justice? How do we achieve it? Find out more on this important topic.
Justice is a felt need in our world today and a controversial topic. But what is justice exactly, and who gets to define it? In this video, we'll explore the biblical theme of justice and discover how it's deeply rooted in the storyline of the Bible that leads to Jesus.Video Details
One of the fundamental characteristics that set human beings apart from other creatures that God created is their need for justice. Why is it, though, that animals are able to kill their own kind or abandon their children and it be considered natural while humans are held to a much higher moral standard? It turns out that the Bible has an interesting take on this question.
In Genesis, we see that human beings were made "in the image of God".
This means to say that humans were created to be God's representatives on earth and carry out His plan, abiding by the morals and concepts of justice that God himself abides by. According to the Biblical justice that God sets forth, all humans are equal, all humans are created in His image, and all humans deserve to be treated with fairness and justice.
Of course, as we all know, human beings do not always behave this way. Instead, even in the earliest parts of the Bible, we see humans rejecting God's principles of Biblical justice and instead begin defining good and evil for themselves in a way that gives them advantages over others. The strong take advantage of the vulnerable, both at an individual level and at a societal level. Throughout all of this, the justice that God intended for people to exhibit is nowhere to be found.
Out of this mess, though, God raises up a man named Abraham and positions him to start a new line of people with his family - one that is ruled by both righteousness and justice. So what does God mean when he tells Abraham and his people to live their lives with righteousness and justice? In the Bible, righteousness refers to a state of moral good in which you treat those around you with decency and fairness, recognizing that all of them are made in the image of God just like you.
While justice can be used to talk about retributive justice in which a person is punished for their wrongdoings, most of the time the Bible uses the word justice to refer to restorative justice, in which those who are unrightfully hurt or wronged are restored and given back what was taken from them. Taken this way, the combination of righteousness and justice that God dictates means a selfless way of life in which people do everything they can to ensure that others are treated well and injustices are fixed.
This is a theme that continues throughout the Bible.
When God's people were shown injustice, such as when the Israelites were under Egyptian oppression, God stepped in and showed them restorative justice just like He commanded them to show to others. Of course, the sad irony is that the Israelites would later go on to oppress others even after being oppressed themselves, ignoring these very important concepts of righteousness and justice that God decreed that they should live by. Today, we as human beings continue to demonstrate injustice, benefiting from the oppression of those around us and making ourselves guilty in the eyes of God.
Thankfully, God had a solution to the injustice of humanity. By sending Christ, who was deemed to be fully righteous and just, to take the punishment for the sins of the guilty, God has made it so that all people can stand righteous before Him. Having been given this gift, it is now our commission to go out into the world and give this same gift to others by showing them the righteousness and justice that God has shown us all.
Continue Your Learning Journey
What is the Jewish law, and how does it relate to us today? Read on to learn about the Old Testament law and see how Christ fulfilled it.
The Bible Project
Creating our theme video on justice challenged our team in many ways including multiple rewrites, new 3D animation technology, long nights and early mornings, and seeking perspectives outside our own stories to give a critical look at this complex and topical subject. This b...
Related Podcast Series
4 Episodes •
Follow discussions between Tim & Jon as they prepare to write the theme video on "Justice." Biblical justice is a lot different than our modern day concept.
Justice Episode 1
What's the Biblical Vision of Justice?
What did the Hebrews believe justice looked like? And what was the biblical vision for a “just society?”
Justice Episode 2
What is Social Justice & Righteousness in the Bible?
This is episode two of our Justice series. Tim and Jon discuss the twin ideas of Justice and Righteousness in the Bible.
Justice Episode 3
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This is part 3 in our Justice series where we discuss Jesus and his mission for justice.