WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF MAN (AND WOMAN)

(You can listen to the podcast audio while you read along, then, pause the audio while you follow the page links.  When you are ready, resume the audio. Please note: I use page links in lieu of footnotes and references for detail, credits and expanded teaching on a subject)

WHAT GOD REQUIRES

Micah 6:6-8.

With what shall I come to the LORD
            And bow myself before the God on high?
            Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
            With yearling calves?

     Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams,
            In ten thousand rivers of oil?
            Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,
            The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

      He has told you, O man, what is good;
            And what does the LORD require of you
            But to do justice, to love kindness,
            And to walk humbly with your God?

“For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness, I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.Isaiah 61:8

JUSTICE: noun:

  1. The quality of being just; fairness.
  2. The principle of moral rightness; decency.
  3. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.)

Justice is behavior or treatment that is based on what is right and fair. Just behavior acts according to what is right. Just treatment of another person means to treat them in a manner that is fair. 

How do we determine what is right and fair? Secular scholars have debated this for thousands of years. Does a society or culture decide their own standard? When groups or individuals with different standards are in conflict, how do we know what is just?

The Bible measures right and wrong by God’s standard. God created the world and owns and rules it, (Psalm 89:11), so what He calls just is the definition of justice. He never changes, (Hebrews. 13:8), so the standard He set at the foundation of the world is unchanged and will remain unchangeable.

Scripture is clear that a person’s dignity and worth is not based on their ethnicity or nationality or gender or background or wealth or position or abilities or contribution, (Acts 10:34-35, Leviticus 19:33-34, Galatians 3:28, Romans 3:10-24, James 2:5-9, Ephesians 6:9, Leviticus 19:14, 1 Corinthians 12:4-26). Every person has equal inherent value because we were all created by God and bear His image (Genesis 1:27). People should therefore receive equal treatment, unless they are different in a way that matters in the question at hand. (Crosswalk.org 3/1/2021)

A close ‘first cousin’ of Justice has to be Ethics.

  1. The science of right conduct and character; the science which treats of the nature and grounds of moral obligation and of the rules which ought to determine conduct in accordance with this obligation; the doctrine of man’s duty in respect to himself and the rights of others.
  2. The whole of the moral sciences; natural jurisprudence.
  3. A particular system of principles and rules concerning moral obligations and regard for the rights of others, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions and duties: as, social ethics; medical ethics.(The Century Dictionary.)

Then came “Situational Ethics”.  I can remember when I first heard the term “Situational Ethics”, a system of ethics by which acts are judged within their contexts instead of by categorical principles. Situational ethics holds that right and wrong are determined by context and by a desired outcome in any unique situation.

Situational ethics is different from moral relativism in that moral relativism holds that there is no right and wrong whereas situational ethics holds the situation determines right and wrong, i.e., the person decides what is right or wrong, depending on their own situation or circumstance.  Therefore, the standard for ‘right or wrong’ varies from person to person. This is undependable and inevitably creates chaos and conflict.

What ‘situational ethic’ and personal justice boils down to, throughout history, is perspective. In order to keep this simple, let me say that in the context of situational ethics and personal justice, each individual can choose how they view and apply Justice and Ethics. This is how we get so many differing worldviews and conflicting types of government. This is why we have had ‘wars and rumors of wars’ since man has roamed the earth.

Three of the most influential types of worldviews have been the Judeo-Christian ethos, Greek Reason and Logic, and Marxism and the ensuing variants of each.

The Judeo-Christian ethics, emanates from a Divine Source with a system of justice of fixed standards of right and wrong which employ reason and logic, reward and punishment. This view holds that God is supreme and mankind is made in that image; life is precious and must be cultivated for good.

The Greeks embraced reason and logic, but, with a permanent fixed standard of right and wrong base on their system of justice which they believed emanated from a deity, but, justice comes from a person’s ability to use reason and logic.  The Greek held that the individual as important, but served the importance of the state.

Marxism and it’s variants of Leninism, Communism and Socialism, reject any notion of Divinity.  It’s reason and logic has only one conclusion which is the abolition of God or anything that is not according to the philosophy that “the state is supreme”.  Their standards of justice change with situations and circumstances, but always hold that the state and the few elite leaders of the state are supreme.  Violence, deceit, terror, deprivation and death all are legitimate means to maintain control in governing.

The most successful and, arguably, the most enduring are the principles which come from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

Micah 6:8 tells us to, “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God”.  This is The Trinity of Justice. Seeing these three attributes, these qualities, lived out, uniformly, is rare and awe-inspiring. This is perfect justice, and, it is the justice we, as Christians, are called to live and exercise in our lives. It is the proper balance of judgement and mercy, for correction and training in righteousness.

We are now living in the Last Days, as foretold and described in Scriptures. We are told to engage the enemy and stand firm in our faith and practice. “Doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God” is foundational in our warfare and in our walk with God.

Next, is this video link by:  The Bible Project on the subject of Justice:

I will use this video by Ben Shapiro on Western Civilization and justice, to make this point. Please watch it and think.

Whether considering justice in legal terms, institutional justice, social justice, personal justice or Devine justice, the only system of justice which has brought equity, fairness, balance, dependability, trust and peaceful order, has come from the God of the Bible. It is only when mankind perverts and misuses God’s perfect system of justice, do things go bad for everyone – very bad, indeed.

Let’s draw near to “the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob“, and He will draw near to us.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

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