“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!” Amos 5:24.
This is a study of how justice for the oppressed and righteousness are linked together in the Bible. Justice in the Bible is about putting right the ways in which men oppress the disadvantaged, the poor and the stranger. Righteousness is about right living and is applied to men, kings and to God. There are 35 instances in the Old Testament where the words justice and righteousness appear together, linked in the same verse.
Attributes of God
Job says,”The Almighty… In his justice and great righteousness he does not oppress”. Job 37:23.
Jeremiah says, “I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight”. Jeremiah 9:24.
The Psalmist says, “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep”. Psalms 36:6
Attributes of Kings
When the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon she said, “Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.” 1 Kings 10:9 and 2 Chronicles 9:8.
Attributes of men
“He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” Psalm 37:6
Attributes of Jesus Christ
Isaiah, referring in prophecy to the coming of the Messiah said, “But with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the Earth”. Isaiah 11:4
Attributes of the church
Hosea prophesied these words, which can only really refer to the church, the bride of Christ, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion“. Hosea 2:19
The New Testament
There are 93 references in the New Testament that refer to justice or righteousness though none that link the words directly together. However, bearing in mind that in the Old Testament, prophecies that refer to Jesus and the church to link these 2 words together: the principles remain true. Paul says of the Corinthian church, “See what this godly sorrow has produced in you… What longing, what concern, what a readiness to see justice done.” 2Corinthians 7:11.
God obviously cares a great deal about justice for the oppressed and wants his people, his kings and his church to apply justice in their everyday lives. Let us like the church in Corinth have a readiness to see justice done, for the poor, the oppressed, the disadvantaged and powerless of this world.
You can comment on this article. How do you think these things should apply in our everyday lives?