by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Micah 6:6-8
I. The concept of justice is rarely applied evenly.
A. Justice is the quality of being right or proper. It carries the idea of fair and equal treatment. There is no favoritism with justice. People get what they deserve.
B. People want justice when they have been wronged. But they want mercy when they have wronged others.
C. Justice has been symbolized as a blindfolded woman while weighing evidence. There is supposed to be no respect of persons in justice. It is the facts, and not who the facts relate to, which decide the issues. No advantage is given to the rich or powerful. No disadvantage is placed on the poor and defenseless. Justice does not peep to see who is involved, she simply weighs the evidence and dispenses fair judgment to all.
II. Justice is a quality of God and a quality God requires of His people
A. We are to think on things which are just - Philippians 4:8
B. Justice is important to God - Proverbs 21:3
1. God’s ways are just - Deuteronomy 32:4
2. God displays justice daily - Zephaniah 3:5
C. God expects his people to be able to judge matters - I Corinthians 6:1-6
1. When disputes arise between brethren, we don’t need courts. Each one here is supposed to be able to judge matters and make wise decisions.
III. What justice requires
A. It requires digging for the truth
1. Justice is the state of being right. Deciding what is right.
2. The vineyard workers were paid what was right - Matthew 20:1-15
3. We cannot simply look at things as they appear - John 7:24
a. A quick glance at the parable of the vineyard workers and we can sympathize with the ones who worked all day
b. Only by realizing that they were paid as they negotiated, do we begin to realize that the master was not unjust to the first workers but generous to the later workers.
B. It requires swiftness
1. Needless delays allows evil to breed - Ecclesiastes 8:11
2. Sin spreads like leaven in dough - I Corinthians 5:6-7
C. It requires equal treatment
1. The rich and powerful must not get better treatment than the poor and defenseless - Leviticus 19:15
a. This is why bribes are forbidden - Exodus 23:8
2. Notice the point Paul made with leaders in the church who had sinned - Galatians 2:4-7, 11
a. It did not matter to Paul that an apostle of Christ sinned. Sin was sin and had to be dealt with.
b. We are careful to make accurate judgment, but even elders in the church are not above the law of Christ - I Timothy 5:19-21
3. My friends should not be treated better than my enemies - James 2:9
a. David avenged Saul’s death, even though Saul was his enemy - II Samuel 1:1-16
4. Justice also means that what is applied to you also applies to me.
a. I must deal with my problems first - Matthew 7:1-5
b. Treat others as I would be treated - Matthew 7:12
c. When judgement is made, understand that it applies to me as well - Romans 2:1-6
5. Justice also means that those with greater responsibility will bear the greater burden
a. When much is given, much is required - Luke 12:47-48
b. Teachers incur a stricter judgment - James 3:1
D. It requires independence from the opinions and pressures of others
1. Rulers believed in Jesus, but they held their tongue for fear of others - John 12:42
IV. Mercy balances justice
A. If pure justice was given to the world, none of us would survive.
1. We have all sinned - Romans 3:23
2. The just response to sin is death - Romans 6:23
B. God was merciful by taking on our sins and paying the debt for us
C. We are all relieved to receive mercy, but justice still plays a role in mercy. Mercy is not the suspension of justice.
1. Justice demands that if mercy is applied, it is applied equally and fairly. - James 2:13
2. Christ died for all sinners.
a. Romans 11: 30-32 - God showed mercy to the disobedient Gentiles because the Jews disobeyed. In fairness, he showed the same mercy to the Jews.
3. Justice requires that if I expect mercy, I must be willing to give mercy to others. - Matthew 5:7
4. This is the meaning of Jesus parable - Matthew 18:21-35
V. Why is justice important?
A. Our savior died because of injustice.
1. By the judge’s own admission he was found innocent - Luke 23:4
2. His only failing in the judge’s sight was the fact that Jesus was unpopular - John 19:4-6, 10-16
B. If we dispense injustice, we rank ourselves among the murders of Christ