Biblical justice seeks righteousness, often times at the expense of what we determine is fair in a democratic society governed by man. Only through God’s mercy are we justified and made righteous before Him.
Contrarily, democratic justice seeks fairness, often times at the expense of the Biblical righteousness God commands of us. Only through man-made laws are we able to live ‘justly’ with one another.
How is today’s Christian to handle this tension and be both God-honoring and perceived as people-loving?
Specifically, when it comes to such a divisive and hot-button topic as same-gender relationships (and their desire to marry), how do we advocate for Biblical justice in lieu of democratic fairness in a secular society? Should we?
Furthermore, as I have written before, to be a counter-cultural Christian one must rely on Jesus’ teaching in The Beatitudes in order to be both salt and light – both preservatives of righteousness (salt), while letting our good deeds shine (light) in order to point people towards our Savior.
Let’s review a few of The Beatitudes, Jesus’ very words recorded for us in Matthew 5.
…those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (5:6)
…the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (5:7)
…the pure in heart: for they will see God. (5:8)
…the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God. (5:9)
…those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:10)”
The tension I mentioned above is seen clearly in the alternating character qualities outlined in these verses. In one breath Jesus says we are to be merciful, and in the next pure in heart. He says we are to be peacemakers, but will also be persecuted for righteousness. Jesus, in his providence, foreknew the tension that would face today’s Christians even as he taught the listeners of his day.
I wholeheartedly believe Jesus makes clear Christians cannot compromise on Biblical righteousness as they seek communion with a holy God. To make concessions and publicly affirm today’s societal norms that go against God’s timeless holiness would put a wedge between us and Our creator.
But by the same measure, does it lack mercy to publicly advocate the unequal treatment of one group over another by using God’s righteousness as a standard for people that don’t even follow Him?
Love without truth is poisonous to our souls. But truth without love is poisonous to The Gospel.
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Today’s Christian must strike a balance. This balance can only be determined by seeking closer communion with God — the ultimate judge — through humble prayer and selfless obedience. It is only then that we will be able to remove the plank from our eye, and allow the holy spirit to clear out the blinding specks of dust from the eyes of others.