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  • Writer's pictureDr. Nathan T. Morton

Justice Not Justice

Next week my second book for the year will become available in paperback and ebook on Amazon. To introduce it I thought I would show you a picture of the cover as well as an excerpt from the second chapter. I hope it will provoke thought and prayer. In all of our well meaning efforts for justice we have enthroned ourselves and lived in violation to the teachings of Christ. - Nathan

The Gospel of the cross bearer, for cross bearers.

It is inconsistent to demand justice for yourself while also saying you are a follower of Jesus Christ.  Both cannot be true.

Jesus came to bring justice in the sense that we should love our neighbor as ourselves and do good to our enemies. But Jesus never taught us to seek justice on earth for ourselves through earthly power or laws.  He never sought it for Himself.

Should we be just?  Yes.  Should we seek justice for others?  Yes.  Should we demand or expect it for ourselves?  No.  Cross-bearers understand this.

We have been called to leave the hope for ultimate justice in God’s sovereign hands.  In Luke 18, Jesus told his disciples a parable of a widowed woman pleading for justice from an unjust judge.  She appealed repeatedly, but the judge refused.  Finally, her relentless cries wore down the judge’s reluctance, and he agreed to hear her case.

Jesus says, “Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?   I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.” (Lk. 18:7-8)

The judge in the parable is not God, and the lesson we are to learn isn’t that we need to beg until God reluctantly hears our prayers.  This judge in the parable is unjust, and our God is neither unwilling nor reluctant to hear our prayers.

We live in a broken world filled with innumerable injustices on every level.  The lesson Jesus teaches in this parable is that our appeal for justice is not to be made to political powers or governments, but to our God, who will “bring about justice for His elect ... quickly.” This was what Amos 5:24 is speaking of.  The Messiah will cause “justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is teaching us how to contribute towards justice in the world.  There are two ways.  First, by not seeking justice for ourselves.  Second, by giving justice to those around us, even our enemies.

Humanity is too wicked to provide perfect justice.  The anger of man cannot force justice (James 1:20). This is why God alone, who knows and judges the secrets of our hearts, must bring justice.  But we don’t believe that; this is the drama being played on the Mount of Beatitudes..  Jesus says, “You have heard it said, but I say to you.”

This seems reasonable, logical, right ... but I say to you.  So much of what we hear Jesus teach goes against our human logic and selfish desires. So much so, that it almost seems wrong in our modern context.

Let me be plain.  The Sermon on the Mount is a quiet condemnation of social justice.

If the hegemonic powers demand we carry their bags for one mile, Jesus says take them two.  If the offender sues us for our shirt, we give him our coat also.  If our enemy slaps us, we turn the other cheek and don’t hate them.  We love them.  We consider persecution and suffering a good thing. We do not resist evildoers.  We take injustices, misrepresentations, and prejudices against us on the chin, and with joy.  This is what it means to be salt and light.

Our first response to these things is that they can’t possibly be true, and the Pharisees would agree.  False prophets will come to convince you that the way of the Pharisee is correct, proper, sound, and just.  But Jesus says, “Be on guard against these wolves.”  He reminds us that His way is a narrow one.  Many religious people will disagree, but not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom.

Jesus’ way goes against every natural impulse. People hate it.  It got Him crucified.

Despite riots, marches, voter drives, media propaganda, and the like being endorsed and encouraged by religious groups, Jesus challenges us to be different. He calls us to take up our cross and walk with Him under the punishing burden of injustices.

 This teaching astonished the people in Jesus’ day and still astonishes people today.

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