Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Justice is an important term and topic for our society. It is a generic theme which has high importance for all communities and states on this planet. Justice and righteousness is important between humans. It is a topic in economy as well as in law. It is a topic in the political discussion. And it is important for each and everyone of us since our income, granted holidays, taxes, child benefit, household and much more depends on the idea of justice and righteousness which we have in our legal and fiscal environment.
Righteousness is also a topic for our personal motivation. It is a topic for our phychological state and development, for us as a human. Am I right? Am I what I should be? How to look at my own talents, my character, my preferences, my choices, my behaviour? Can I say that I am right? It is an important topic on many levels of social interaction. Our choice how to organize the school system is strongly influenced by ideas of justice, support of young poeple, development and education rights.
A wider view …
The biblical idea of righteousness is aware of all the above aspects of the topic. But it also looks one layer deeper. It looks into the framework of reference which we carry with us when we look at this topic, we have discussed that in the last days. It looks at rigtheousness in the framework of the righteousness of God, his goodness, his mercy, his love. We do right, when our behaviour reflects his love, truth and mercy. We do wrong, when our behaviour does not reflect him. Let us recall the biblical words:
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6, 1-4)
What is our righteousness? There is the aspect of compliance with the character of God. The mosaic law reflects his character and existence. There is God first, then there is truth and mercy and love. The law is nothing else than a concrete version of this.
Righteous in Jesus …
But the law is not everything we have. How do we gain righteousness before God? How to hear that God tells us: you are exactly right the way you are and act? No human has ever been able to fully comply with the law, except for Jesus himself, the son of God. Violating the truthfullness, fidelity, love, mercy and dedication of God brings death. The New Testament message states that we can only gain full justice and righteousness in Jesus, in his death at the cross and in his resurrection.
At the cross, the death which is the consequence of the separation from God's way of life was put onto the son of God. Who ever believes in him, has died with him, and is given the perspective of his resurrection and eternal life in community with the Lord. Our righteousness is given to us by God himself through Jesus. The New Testament asks us to start a new life in Jesus. Faith is this process, to accept him as the door to the community with God - and to experience the holy spirit.
The bible provides a truly universial framework for life. It describes the real framework of reference, which is not there by choice, but as a matter of fact. God IS the creator and maintainer of the universe. The bible describes full righteousness - in terms of the law, in terms of the love and in terms of the life of Jesus. Faith is a fantastic adventure. And his righteousness is the best ever seen. It is there for me to enter, in Jesus. (Roland Potthast)