“Justice will dwell in the desert
and righteousness live in the fertile field.”
~Isaiah 32:16 (NIV).
The peace of God’s reign is tantamount to much blessing.
We see here the reality that justice and righteousness are like brothers in arms, fighting this good fight back to back, producing a third, younger brother: peace.
The Ever-Present Nature of Justice and Righteousness
Sometimes we’re fooled into thinking there is condition to the New Covenant; that Christ didn’t utterly annihilate the curse of sin. It’s the devil’s trick.
This verse from Isaiah is heralding a day where both justice and righteousness are co-existent and ever-present. And this is our day. Even though we’re apt at seeing all the violence and examples of lack of justice and righteousness, the truth is it’s here alright. The entire world is bounded, now, by justice and righteousness whether we see it or not. And, then again, the fullness of that vision we hope for isn’t yet complete.
Our task is to see more and more the justice and righteousness that is operant in the world, besides the will of God to reconcile the presence of injustice and wickedness.
Centrality of Justice and Righteousness to Peace
Harmony cannot be known until there’s a general reliability of causation for the acts we see in life.
Peace is highly contingent upon justice and righteousness working, and trustworthily at that.
And this can occur at many different levels — let’s take three: 1) peace with God; 2) peace with others; and, 3) peace with ourselves.
Peace with God
Believing God came to save us and trusting in this fact is peace with God. It’s knowing God did this thing for us — a thing we could not do for ourselves — and it’s accepting this peace of Jesus Christ into one’s heart.
We can only realistically know this peace if we’ve first connected with the basic concepts of justice and righteousness as they pertain to life in general; to the point of having at least a basic understanding and acceptance for how the world — and God in this world — works.
Peace with Others
Not everything in relationships is equal. Some get away with more than we would and others less. But there’s a basic symphony of justice and righteousness in all our relationships — which we call “God’s wisdom” — that we trust, and therefore helps us live peacefully. Proverbs talks much about this.
Peace with Ourselves
This is a concept of grasping the magnificent truth of God’s grace that God has forgiven us, without condition, upon acceptance of same. This is the great and most perfect portion of justice and righteousness, for how could it be any more personally relevant or beneficial?
Once it was condemnation before God... but now, “It is finished,” as Jesus said in John 19:30. If God forgives us, without condition, we also can forgive ourselves, and be at peace within, to enjoy life, free.
All Three in Paralleled Unison
Peace, righteousness and justice swarm through life together, pervading everything. Some may deny their power, but there’s no disputing their presence as we welcome them at these levels above.
They’re brothers in arms as we contend willingly and gleefully in our world. As we fight our good fights for the faith, choosing to bear our individual crosses for more portions of God’s justice and righteousness to be known through us, we’re seeing peace operate.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.