Justice is the condition where there is no evil or suffering, where wrongs are made right, and where all tears of sadness are wiped away. Justice is the act by which we purge evil from our community.
God decided to begin his kingdom in the middle of history because he wanted to invite us into helping out with his work—God asks us as citizens of his kingdom to participate in the spreading of his kingdom and all the things that are involved with living in the kingdom. Certainly, this premise raises all the inevitable political, social, and economic controversies that weary our hearts and minds. The means through which we participate in God’s work may be appropriately debated, contextualized, and worked out with fear and trembling. But underlying all notions of God’s justice is the premise that we, as citizens of God, participate in God’s work of restoring the world by rooting out evil in our midsts.
When we do justice, we are doing the very things that spread the kingdom of God and introduce true love to the world. How is this so? Well, one of the things we need to learn is that doing justice is not simply giving to the poor or feeding the hungry–those are perfectly good things themselves, but those acts are only one small part of the whole—rather, justice is the act by which we as guardians and citizens of the kingdom of God make that which was once evil sacred, just as we were made sacred by the work of the Holy Spirit to “justify” us before the Lord. Doing justice is thus the act by which we make things sacred by participating in the purifying work of the Holy Spirit.
Because many people simply aren’t able to participate in the life of the kingdom, they first must be justified, or made sacred, before they can even begin to enjoy the celebration of Christ’s lordship. Therefore, we must go about making the world around us a place where it is possible for people to become justified, so that they can enjoy the Trinitarian love of God as it is reflected in the church. This is justice. God’s call on those who enjoy the way of life in his kingdom is to introduce God’s way of life to others who are unable to even have the opportunity to experience the life of the kingdom .
Justice is the work that people in God’s kingdom do in order to create the conditions where life in the Kingdom flourishes and God’s love reigns free. That is why we feed the hungry, fight poverty, fight inequality, fight for the right to life. That is why we treat each other with dignity, with respect for each other. All the kind and loving acts we do to and for each other are performed in order to bring the glory of God’s kingdom to each other, to our neighbors, and to the world. God died for us so that his kingdom and his love could be experienced by the people in the world. We bring that kingdom to people when we act justly towards them in love. That is what it means to make something sacred—you are creating the conditions for them to experience the fullness of God’s love. So when you do justice, you are giving people the very thing that will allow for God’s kingdom to flourish.
Therefore, let us practice justice and bring into the world the glory of God’s kingdom as he intended it to be. When we give to the poor, when we feed the hungry, when we fight for life, or when we just try to fix the problems of the world, always remember that the reason you are fighting is to create the opportunity for people to experience the fullness of God’s love, to experience life in his kingdom.