The word “justice” has been intriguing me for some time now. It is often misunderstood, and it is a word that can bring both fear and hope. I think many people are confused about what justice means. Some think of it simply in legal terms as someone getting what they deserve, justice being served in a courtroom.
In fact, one of my favorite shows right now is a real-life documentary about a particular murder case. Maybe you are familiar with the current Netflix hit, “Making a Murderer”. There are two sides to this real life story about a man supposedly convicted of not one, but two murders. Some people claim he is innocent and the whole thing has been a conspiracy. Others, mainly those in the governmental legal system, clearly have decided he is guilty of the crimes. They believe that justice has been served. Whether he is in fact innocent or guilty, I’m not sure. But justice -true, pure, non-corrupt- like we see in the Bible is meant to bring hope and restoration.
As Christians we should desire to see justice carried out all over the world. This isn’t a desire for violence or retaliation, it’s a desire to put things back in order, to restore what has gone wrong.
In fact, the abandonment of justice produces insecurity and violence, deterioration in the quality of life, corrupt governments, and suffering of those who have the least.
Imagine with me, if you will, a river. Not just any river, but a powerful river. This river is charging down from the top of a huge mountain. Imagine the force of the water breaking through boulders, trees, and debris at an unstoppable pace. Nothing can hold it back. Nothing can keep it from continuing its endless journey. This is what justice looks like in the Bible.
it’s a desire to put things back in order, to restore what has gone wrong
The book of Amos says that justice should “roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (5:24 NIV). So justice should continue always and never disappoint, grow tired, or weaken. Justice should roll. The rest of this passage tells us something else equally important:
I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions, I want nothing to do with your religion projects, Your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fundraising schemes, Your public relations and image making, I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music, When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
(Amos 5:23-24, The Message)
We go to church every week, we attend Christian conferences and events, and we sing our songs of praise. And all the while we forget to be a mighty flood of justice to those in need.
Justice is important to God and reflects his character. As Timothy Keller says, “God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to ‘do justice.’” In fact, it has been said that when we deny justice, we are actually hiding God’s beauty from the world.”
If justice is really all about making things right again, then justice is all about restoration. You don’t have to look far for a place to let justice roll: a hurting neighbor, a homeless man outside the grocery store, a couple going through a divorce, a friend mourning the loss of a loved one, a hungry child halfway around the world, or an entire country nearly destroyed by genocide. Opportunities for restoring hope through justice are all around us.
In order for justice to be served, we have to be willing to move from guilt to action. Jim Palmer says,
You’d have to be comatose not to feel God’s hurt and anger ooze from the pages of Scripture over the oppression of the weak and vulnerable…I can’t seem to get away from the fact that the main message of God to his people about injustice is to get off our rear ends and do something! This goes way deeper than feeling guilty about doing more; I’m trying to figure out how I got to the place where the things that break the heart of God are so marginal to mine. 
It is time once again for justice to roll like a mighty river. It is time for us to slow down long enough to see the world around us…to wake up to the real world.
Justice may not always come in the legal sense, but things can be made right again. Restoration can begin. Wrongs can be made right and hope can be restored. True justice can be served.
I heard it said recently that we are not saved from good works but we are saved for good works. And as God is sorting out all the brokenness in the world, He is calling us to help Him put things right- restore hope.
As Christ followers, isn’t that what our lives are really about? Jesus heals, rescues, restores, and redeems- that’s our one hope and the only story we have to share.
And isn’t that what justice is all about- a biblical form of justice? A justice that doesn’t just give people what they deserve but a justice that rights wrongs and restores hope.
You see if we are not living our lives Awake, restoring hope and pursuing justice… then I don’t think God cares that much about all this other stuff we are doing to make ourselves look good- our singing, our meetings, our conferences…no none of those things are bad in and of themselves, but without justice….they mean nothing.
That’s why pursuing justice is so important. We are offering people a glimpse of an eternal hope. Where justice thrives, so does hope.
 Isaiah 1:21-23: God’s Justice, NIV Bible
 Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, 4.
 Palmer, Divine Nobodies, 146.