Pursuing Righteousness and Justice

By Ryan Dawson 

God is a God of righteousness and justice.  Psalm 89:14 tells us that God’s very throne, representing his ruling authority and flowing from His character, rests on the two pillars of righteousness and justice.  

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.”  Psalm 89:14

Theologian D.A. Carson comments on this verse in the New Bible Commentary by saying: “God’s royal dignity rests on his holiness expressed in principle (righteousness) and practice (justice); and everything he does is heralded by love and faithfulness.”  

Another way to look at this is to suggest that righteousness involves our “vertical” relationship with God while justice represents our “horizontal” relationship with people.  The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, is the profound truth that in Christ, God, is reconciling all things to Himself…by making peace through [Jesus’] blood, shed on the cross.”  (Colossians 1:20).  Through the finished work of the cross, Christ has made it possible for us to be reconciled “vertically” with God, in that we are now righteous in Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:21 reveals that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  But this “vertical” reconciliation is only part of the Gospel.  The Good News of Jesus must embody justice as well – which is the “horizontal” aspect of the Gospel where things are set right because of the work of Christ.  

Jesus alludes to this work of justice when He announced his purpose in Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isaiah 61:1-2:  

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,
      for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
      that the blind will see,
   that the oppressed will be set free,
      and that the time of the LORD’s favour has come.  

Jesus infers that His Good News will have an impact on society in tangible ways, because the favour of God is poured out upon all people through the person and work of Christ.   The Church, as the people of God sent into the world to represent Jesus Christ, is established to herald and embody this Good News.  All this to say that as followers of Christ we must embrace a Gospel that embodies the message of righteousness AND justice.  Our restored relationship with God, made possible by Jesus, therefore inspires, and empowers us to work for justice and restoration in our broken world.  

This Sunday we will start our Courageous Justice sermon series, and over the next 4 weeks we will explore how we as the Church can an seek justice in our city, by coming alongside Kingdom partners committed to restoration.  I believe we will be challenged and inspired in significant ways through this series, as we seek to proclaim and demonstrate the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

For Christ and His Kingdom,  

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