In the last post I quoted Luke 4:18-21 which gives us the definition of the gospel that was prophesied in Isaiah 61. In the last post I covered on how the gospel was to be advanced using private property rights. I noted that there was only one provision that instructed the police power.
The command to “set at liberty them that are bruised” directly addresses slavery, tyranny, and oppression. Addressing these issues involves addressing the police power.
Psalm 89:14 instructs us that “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” Justice is the very foundation of God’s kingdom. All of God’s ways are necessarily right and true.
Scripture commands authorities to do justice. The purpose of government is the general welfare and deterrence of evil. We are commanded to subject ourselves to government out of the law of love. The obligation to love is the only thing we owe anybody. The government does not own us and deserves allegiance only as that allegiance fulfills the law of love in seeking justice for our neighbors
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
This is echoed in Psalm 82 with a specific emphasis on the state doing justice. It should be noted here that ‘Elohiym’ comes from Hebrew root meaning mighty one(compare Strong H433 and H410). God is using wordplay to condemn both statoltry (worship of the state) and the failure of the state to do justice and execute judgment for those who are oppressed. Verse 6 is a reference to Exodus 22:28 where ‘elohiym’ is used to refer to local magistrates rather as a genetic term for God.
1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. 2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. 3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. 6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. 7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
In Genesis 18:19, we are instructed that teaching and advocating Justice is an essential part of God Covenantal program. Here, God says of Abraham, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” This goes way beyond Moses. The Abrahamic Covenant is also the basis of the New Covenant (Romans 4). The commands to seek Justice are for today.
Many of the passages on justice in Scripture imply the end of the rule of sinful corrupt humanity. In Psalm 10 we read that God will “judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.” In Psalm 82: 8 we read “Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.” Scripture anticipates the ultimate failure of human justice. Isaiah 59:15-16 tells us “Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. ” In the next installment I will give instruction on how spiritual warfare will bring justice to the earth.
Addendum: Verses addressing Justice, injustice, and oppression
Here are some passages that address Justice, injustice, and oppression and God’;s concern for getting justice for those who are oppressed