If We Lose the Meaning of ‘Justice,’ We Lose the Gospel

By Amy K. Hall Published on September 22, 2018

Our ability to explain the gospel to people in our culture depends on our culture’s ability to understand the concept of justice. Because of this, over the years I’ve become concerned about a drift in the meaning of the word “justice” — even in Christian circles (see here for a recent example), among respected friends I usually agree with — as the term “social justice” is increasingly embraced and used.

I appreciated Kevin DeYoung’s words on this topic last week:

I have my concerns with the term “social justice” and with all that it connotes. But what if we press for a less culturally controlled and more biblically defined understanding? Several years ago, I worked my way through the major justice passages in the Bible: Leviticus 19, Leviticus 25, Isaiah 1, Isaiah 58, Jeremiah 22, Amos 5, Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:31-46, and Luke 4. My less-than-exciting conclusion was that we should not oversell or undersell what the Bible says about justice.

On the one hand, there is a lot in the Bible about God’s care for the poor, the oppressed, and the vulnerable. There are also plenty of warnings against treating the helpless with cruelty and disrespect. On the other hand, justice, as a biblical category, is not synonymous with anything and everything we feel would be good for the world. Doing justice means following the rule of law, showing impartiality, paying what you promised, not stealing, not swindling, not taking bribes, and not taking advantage of the weak because they are too uninformed or unconnected to stop you.

I agree with DeYoung’s description of justice in the Bible. The word “justice” is the language of rights. As DeYoung explained, “Justice, as a biblical category, is not synonymous with anything and everything we feel would be good for the world,” though our culture is beginning to use it that way. Rather, it refers to receiving what you’re owed by right and not taking from others what is theirs by right.

My concern with the term “social justice” is this: It muddies the true meaning of justice by smuggling in the concept of rights where that concept shouldn’t apply, turning charity into what is owed, and this has implications for the gospel (more on this in a moment).

Giving is Not a Matter of Justice

Giving your money to the poor is not justice; it’s mercy. Taking other people’s money by force (whether through the government or any other means) and giving it to the poor is neither justice nor mercy; it’s injustice — it’s taking what someone else has earned, against his will, for either yourself or others. Does this mean giving to the poor is wrong? Of course not! Should the rich man give to the poor? Absolutely! A good man does what is good. A good man shows compassion. A good man sacrifices his comfort willingly for the sake of others. (Just look at Jesus, who is our ultimate model of this kind of love and grace.) A bad man hoards his wealth and has no compassion on the needy.

Not giving to others is wrong. But the fact that it’s wrong doesn’t make giving a matter of justice. This is because “justice” refers to a particular good thing, not every good thing, and giving is simply in a separate category from justice.

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Justice is receiving what you have earned or what you are owed by right — whether good or bad. Receiving the money you have earned is justice. Taking money that someone else has earned is injustice. Giving is something different altogether. When you give, you are not giving a person what he has earned; you are graciously showing mercy out of love.

To say that giving is a matter of justice is to create a false sense in our culture that one is entitled to another person’s grace — that rich people who earned their money lawfully owe money to the poor, i.e., that it’s a matter of justice. There are some categories of political ideas that do argue that wealth equality is a matter of justice (i.e., that the poor are owed the money of the rich for various reasons), but I don’t think there’s any biblical basis for this.

Why Does This Matter?

Why should this matter to us as Christians? It matters because one can only understand the gospel if one understands the true meaning of justice — i.e., receiving, without bias or partiality, what one has rightfully earned, whether good or bad. We dare not confuse the categories of justice and grace because understanding the gospel depends on understanding the distinction between justice (receiving what one has earned) and grace (receiving good things one has not earned). Consider Romans 4:1–16:

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works….

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

As soon as one starts to believe that “justice” entails everyone receiving the same benefits regardless of what is earned (or, to put it another way, people who have more giving what they have lawfully earned to those who have less), one starts to presume on grace, and not just human grace. As the meaning of “justice” has changed in our culture (due to the popularizing of the particular political beliefs referred to above), I’ve seen this presumption on God’s grace increase: “It’s not fair that God saves some by grace and not others! Justice demands that He save everyone equally!”

The more the line between justice and grace is blurred, the more difficulty people will have understanding both what they deserve according to their sin and the incredible undeserved beauty of the grace of God. We can’t explain either of these concepts if our culture has lost the true meaning of “justice,” for we will have no distinct word to describe receiving what we have earned. And, by extension, we will also lose the meaning of “grace” since one can’t comprehend God’s amazing grace if receiving from God what is not earned is considered to be a matter of justice (i.e., something God owes to everyone).

The Gospel Requires a Clear Distinction Between Justice and Grace

Can you see the problem? The gospel requires a clear distinction between these two concepts. Both justice and grace are good, and they each play a distinct and necessary part in the gospel. Justice — i.e., people receiving what is owed to them according to their works — is a good thing in itself, but there is no hope for us there.

God’s justice, on its own, can only be a cause of despair, for it demands that the punishment we’ve earned for every sin be meted out fully and perfectly. By contrast, it’s because of God’s gracious giving that we receive the free gift of salvation that we didn’t earn and don’t deserve, at the cost of Jesus’ fulfillment of that perfect justice on our behalf. This is the message of the gospel.

But now apart from the Law [grace] the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation [justice] in His blood through faith … so that He would be just and the justifier [justice and grace, separate and distinct concepts] of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:21–26)

In the same way, though justice in the economic realm — i.e., people receiving what is owed to them according to their work — is good in itself, if there were only justice, the poor would despair because they would receive only what they earned.

Thankfully, in economic matters as well as the gospel, there is not only justice; there is also grace. And because of grace, we each willingly give to the poor what they have not earned, at our own cost, and this is also good. But it is not justice; it’s grace.

Confusing the two terms in economic situations leads to a confusion between the concepts — a confusion that affects not only economics, but also Christian theology, preventing comprehension of the gospel.

Make no mistake, the two categories are separate. Grace is not justice. The gospel depends on it.

 

Originally appeared at Stand to Reason. Republished with permission.

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  • tz1

    I think the problem is ordinarily understood in the negative – where the only factory in town suppresses wages, has unsafe conditions or hires illegals or refugees in preference to Citizens who know their rights. As opposed to the positive – there is no obligation to give.

    It is unjust to use power to distort the economic landscape in your favor, or to force someone starving to sign a slave contract “voluntarily” before feeding them.

    Worse is the confusion between “fair” and “Just”. Life isn’t fair. And it cannot be made fair. But we can do a very good approximation of perfect justice. But see CS Lewis “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” for “christian” distortions (since the Stream bans posts with links – would they ban books with footnotes? – I can’t post the link to the text).

    The vice here is impatience. It is difficult to create justice. To refine due process, rules of evidence, even things like bail, statutes of limitations, and what is a “speedy” trial (The Bundy’s prosecutor said 5 years). But all virtue is hard, and liberty where proper virtue can be exercised may be even harder.

    Instead there is some horror story in the press there is always a reaction by the mob (why the USA was a republic and not a democracy – we need to repeal the 17th amendment!) to want to do whatever is immediately obvious to fix some hard case. But that is the evil. We respond to a failure of justice by breaking justice, not refining it carefully. Or by using the existing exception handlers like pardons. So we want tyrannical laws against guns or drugs (depending on whether you are blue or red), but then want unjust exceptions, and both the tyranny and the unjust exceptions grow.

    • Is everything with you about asserting liberal dogma, blaming Christians for your own problems, and referring to yourself as “we?”

      Justice is to give the innocent what they do deserve, and this requires Mercy which involves giving the guilty what they do not deserve.

      This is Venerable Fulton Sheen about you:

      “The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His Cross; the Bridegroom and Bride have been pulled apart. What God hath joined together, men have torn asunder. As a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is Christ. Each has awaited new partners who will pick them up in a kind of second and adulterous union. Communism comes along and picks up the meaningless Cross; Western post-Christian civilization chooses the unscarred Christ.

      Communism has chosen the Cross in the sense that it has brought back to an egotistic world a sense of discipline, self-abnegation, surrender, hard work, study, and dedication to supra-individual goals. But the Cross without Christ is sacrifice without love. Hence, Communism has produced a society that is authoritarian, cruel, oppressive of human freedom, filled with concentration camps, firing squads, and brain-washings.

      The Western post-Christian civilization has picked up the Christ without His Cross. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colourless, itinerant preacher who deserves to be popular for His great Sermon on the Mount, but also merits unpopularity for what He said about His Divinity on the one hand, and divorce, judgment, and hell on the other. This sentimental Christ is patched together with a thousand commonplaces, sustained sometimes by academic etymologists who cannot see the Word for the letters, or distorted beyond personal recognition by a dogmatic principle that anything which is Divine must necessarily be a myth. Without His Cross, He becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears.”

  • Up_Words

    So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
    (James 2:12-13)

    Intentional use of the KJV is utilized, within this context, because it mentions mercy REJOICING over judgment/justice—thus going to the heart of the matter, it would seem. For in economics, where one’s heart and treasure are brought into play, the lines between justice and mercy (as noted in this article) can easily become blurred, even among the faithful (look at the believers just after Pentecost, for example). Our main challenge is to remain connected to the Lord, Himself. Then the primary engines of radical socialism (or avarice) will not win the day. We are family; wherein both mercy and justice must be administered in love (see Heb. 12:6-8).

  • Trilemma

    If losing the meaning of ‘justice’ means losing the gospel, then the gospel was lost centuries ago. Justice demands that the punishment fits the crime. Eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell is not a just punishment for any finite crime or sin a human could possibly commit. When Christianity adopted the doctrine of eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell as justice it lost the gospel.

    • Kevin Carr

      No, because of God’s grace we can have the salvation offered by Christ’s sacrifice, because of God’s mercy we don’t get what we deserve, if you are his child. The Bible speaks of eternal punishment in Hell for those that decided they don’t want the salvation offered, they have asked to be judged by their works, and get the justice they asked for. The Gospel is the only means to communicate the way of salvation.

      • Trilemma

        Billions and billions of people never decided they didn’t want salvation; they never said no to God; yet somehow they deserve eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell. How is that justice?

        • Kevin Carr

          God said he has written knowledge of him on our hearts. If a person is honestly seeking him, he will answer. Jesus said he stands at the door and knocks, he won’t barge in, we have to open it.

          • Trilemma

            Billions and billions of people were never offered salvation. They never had the chance to either accept or reject it. They never heard the name of Jesus. How is it justice for them to endure eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell?

          • Ken Abbott

            Have you considered that a righteous and just Judge would condemn or acquit on the basis of the knowledge they did have and how they handled that? The Scriptures are clear that men and women are not held accountable solely for rejection of Christ as savior but for their more basic rebellion against God and his truth.

          • Trilemma

            What do you believe God did with the Incas of South America who lived and died before missionaries from Europe brought the gospel?

          • Ken Abbott

            They were accountable to God for the light and truth that they had. The Judge of all the earth will do right. It wickedly impugns the character of God to believe otherwise.

          • Trilemma

            Then you believe there will be people who died as adults who will come unto the Father without having to go through Jesus? That’s a better gospel than many Christians preach.

          • Ken Abbott

            Sure–if they died perfect in righteousness. That’s the standard of holiness.

          • Trilemma

            Then you believe God is going to throw into a fiery hell of eternal conscious torment all the Incas who lived and died before missionaries from Europe brought the gospel? The word gospel means good news but that is not good news for the Incas. There is no gospel for the Incas. The gospel has been lost. What the Incas will get is not justice.

          • Bryan

            You’ve assumed that the only way God can work is through missionaries. Why? Man has been rejecting God since the Fall, yet God called some specific people righteous even before the death and resurrection of the Christ. So God can work in the lives of people without missionaries.
            The Bible also says (I believe it’s Paul in Romans) that God has written the Law on Man’s heart and shown him the glory of creation so that Man is without excuse to know God. This applies to the Incas, Mayans, etc. as well.
            Many peoples in many far separated places and times have stories of a savior. These don’t all exist because of missionaries. Some come from Man’s God-shaped hole in their lives and the knowledge that a true Savior is needed to fill it. So while no one comes to the Father except by His Son, the Son is known by other names than just the English “Jesus”. That’s not to say that all messiah-like stories are the true story. But rather to borrow from Paul’s teaching that referenced the alter to the unknown God. He said, in effect, you worship that which you do not know. Let me show you who He is.
            So as Mr. Abbott above says “They were accountable to God for the light and truth that they had. The Judge of all the earth will do right.” God, who created each heart, knows their circumstances, their limits, their hearts, more intimately than anyone else. He knows who rejects Him and who surrenders to Him in this life, even if they don’t know His name.

          • Ken Abbott

            1) You complain that the Incas will not receive justice at the hands of God because they had no opportunity to respond to an offer of the Christian gospel. What is justice for sinners? If you believe that the Incas were blameless before God, then you must also believe that he will be just to welcome them into eternal life. If you believe instead that the Incas were guilty before God, having sinned against him, you must also believe they will receive the justice due them.

            2) The gospel of Christ is a gospel of grace. Is grace obligatory?

          • Trilemma

            1) Here’s an analogy. Suppose you’re driving on a highway and pass a sigh that says the speed limit is 70MPH. You drive at 70 but after awhile you’re pulled over for doing 70 in a 45. You’re told the sign for the 45 speed limit was behind a billboard. You’re arrested for reckless driving. You’re convicted and sentenced to 100 years in prison. Do you think you received justice?

            2) The gospel appears to be an announcement that over 95% of humanity will end up in hell. Something nobody knew about prior to Jesus.

          • Ken Abbott

            1) Is it not a principle of modern law that ignorance of the law is no defense?

            2) What if the penalty prescribed by statute for reckless driving is 100 years in prison? You may complain that you believe the penalty is excessive, but it is established law and you broke the law. Justice is giving a person what he deserves.

            3) We are on perilous ground determining the statistics of salvation. Scripture says that there are myriads of saved persons in heaven. We are assured that the elect come from every nation, tongue, and tribe–if not meant to be taken literally, at a minimum the reach of God is expansive.

            4) You are ignoring my question: Is grace obligatory?

          • Trilemma

            1) Ignorance of the law is not a defense in the case of serious crimes such as murder. In many other cases, ignorance is a viable defense. In the case of my analogy, the 45MPH sign was placed where it could not be seen. That means you could use ignorance as a defense. Furthermore, the municipality broke the law by placing the sign where it couldn’t be seen. You could sue the municipality for entrapment.

            2) It is unconstitutional to sentence people to cruel and unusual punishment. One hundred years for speeding certainly qualifies. You would certainly win an appeal. Apparently, the American justice system is more just than God’s justice system. Apparently, God has not problem convicting people of sin they didn’t know was sin and sentencing them to cruel punishment.

            3) What percentage of all humanity past, present and future do you think will make it into heaven?

            4) Grace is not obligatory.

          • Ken Abbott

            Taking these in reverse order:

            4) Good. We have that established. Now think through the implications.

            3) Scripture does not answer that question. What’s your definition of “myriads” or a number beyond counting?

            2) You make a lot of assumptions here that are contrary to the testimony of Scripture. Read Romans 1 and 2 regarding the culpability of sinners, both Jew and Gentile, before a holy God. And there is a marked difference between human systems of justice in which we are dealing with fellow sinners and the perfect justice of a holy and righteous God. Once again, T, it boils down to a mistaken idea of who God is and a mistaken idea of who we are. Your God is too small, your people too good.

            1) Actually, I’ve seen plenty of notices in American law that state ignorance of the law is no defense no matter the offense. And by trying to qualify your analogy, it breaks down even further. Remember that Scripture says that all men and women know the truth about God but suppress it in unrighteousness.

          • Trilemma

            3) In the Bible, Jesus says only a few will be saved. Five percent of humanity is still a large number.

            2) I agree that it boils down to a mistaken idea of who God is and a mistaken idea of who we are. I believe the doctrine of eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell is based on a mistaken idea of who God is and makes God out to be a narcissistic sadistic monster.

          • Ken Abbott

            Is it a relative few or an absolute few? Because Scripture does not give specific numbers, we must live with the ambiguity. Suffice to say there will be exactly as many persons saved as God purposes to save. And that will be the perfect number, because God’s purposes are altogether right. And all of his grace–God would have been well within his rights not to save anyone.

            How holy is the God you believe in, T? How culpable is a sinful man who has committed cosmic treason against an infinite God?

          • Trilemma

            I believe in the same god you believe in.

          • Ken Abbott

            I wish I could affirm that, T. From all that you’ve posted, it seems your god is too small; he fits rather well under your microscope.

          • Trilemma

            The Bible says God will reconcile all people to himself. You believe that makes God small. You believe God will never reconcile most of humanity to himself and that makes God big. Personally, I think cruelty befits a small god and reconciliation befits a big god.

          • Ken Abbott

            It says no such thing. Universalism is a lie. There is no cruelty in the God of the Bible. But your version of God sacrifices his holiness and justice out of a misplaced sense of “fairness.”

          • cruelty befits a small demoniac who erroneously believes God to be his competitor, yes.

            Everyone is given their life on earth to find our way home to Heaven. That you refused God’s opportunity is on you and not God.

          • Athena771

            I agree with you, i do have a hope that God will reconcile all people to himself.

            I obviously do not know that for sure, but i agree with you, the gospel the way it is presented is not good news.

            I don’t believe God will send most of humanity to eternal conscious torment either. I do believe God will punish people maybe after this life, but not forever.

            I do believe and hope in God’s Restorative Justice, not punitive justice.

            to me the gospel as it is presented of most of humanity going to hell is making God out to be too small.

            I don’t understand how people fervently defend the doctrine of eternal conscious torment.

            It is like they cannot consider a different view, that is because they are scared to question it, it has been pounded into their head by church to believe this and they are afraid of being wrong.

            I used to believe that way too, i finally broke through from that belief, it took leaving church to do so.

          • No, you project your own ego onto God. you can’t even capitalize God.

            Never once have I seen you miss an opportunity to capitalize the name of the devil.

          • I would say 2% or less. There will only be enough humans in Heaven to make up for the demons.

            There are billions of demons.

            damnation is the greatest Mercy of God as it permanently removes evil.

            One thing you do not understand: God is God; the uncreated, uncontingent Prime Mover. you are a human; a created, contingent thing.

            sadistic means you love to see pain, that is a good example of you, not of God.

            narcissism is pride that seeks to make up for self-hatred; also something you show daily.

            Really, what you are doing is projecting into God out of despair in the hopes it will make your shame over sin go away. No.

          • No, mortal sins are so vile and unnatural they require evil intent. It doesn’t matter if you knew it was wrong previously, as the shame of doing the unnatural follows.

            you do not know the weight of sin. The Passion of Christ is what was owed by everyone due to merely being born of Adam and therefore as a fallen human.

            Now imagine what your others sins deserve in comparison to that. This is impossible to be self-aware of because all humans are fallen, and therefore unable to truly understand the severity of evil.

            Now realize what a mortal sin is: it is a willful division from God so severe that it outright kills your soul.

            The Graces of God are the Sacraments, of which you commit the sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance of blasphemy on the regular (as evidenced by your comments).

          • Bryan

            “2) The gospel appears to be an announcement that over 95% of humanity will end up in hell. Something nobody knew about prior to Jesus.”
            Really? Before Jesus, the Jews proclaimed that God was righteous and the only True God. Before the Jews, Noah, and Adam and Eve would have taught their sons and daughters about the True God. Not to mentioned the fact that God has never needed man to tell Man about Himself.

          • Trilemma

            Please quote an Old Testament Bible verse where God told somebody about eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell.

          • Bryan

            Daniel 12:2 speaks of everlasting contempt. Psalm 110:5 speaks of the day of wrath. In other places it’s called the Day of the Lord. You have God condemning wickedness and those who perpetrate it all the way back to Genesis.
            Jesus doesn’t change what is taught about Hell when he comes on the scene. His teaching are consistent with the Old Testament.

          • Trilemma

            I agree the Old Testament talks about wrath and judgment. But I don’t see that everlasting contempt can be equated with everlasting conscious torment in a fiery hell.

          • Bryan

            Wouldn’t everlasting wrath and judgement fit the bill for hell?
            But, I know that’s not going to convince you. On this issue, I believe what I believe because of the teachings of scripture and the doctrines that have held through out the church. As Mr. Abbott has said, your god is too small, and so you will believe that for their to be a eternal hell, God must be sadistic and cruel. My God is big enough to know exactly how to judge every single created person perfectly in accordance with perfect holiness. He will not make a mistake.
            As to the numbers and alluding to part of my earlier comments, we don’t know who is saved or not. We do know that God has commanded that we make disciples as we go. So God does use missionaries, but that’s not the only way God draws his elect to himself.

          • Trilemma

            Could you please quote an Old Testament Bible verse that says God’s wrath or judgment is eternal? Psalm 30:5 says God’s anger or wrath lasts a moment. The Bible frequently refers to God’s wrath fitting in a cup.

            I think it takes a big god to reconcile all people to himself.

          • Bryan

            I thought I did.
            It does take a big God but which is easier: to save someone you love without considering justice or to condemn someone you love because justice demands it? Romans 5:7-8 says that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.
            If God is limited by the way you define justice, he is too small, no matter how big you make him. If God defines Justice and Mercy, Grace, and Love, then He is big enough to perfectly love and perfectly judge.

          • Trilemma

            Daniel 12:2 mentions everlasting contempt or disgrace, depending on translation. I don’t see wrath or judgment in that.

            To condemn someone you love because justice demands it is easier.

            I never said reconciliation didn’t involve justice. Which is easier: to reconcile with someone who hates you or to reconcile with someone who lovers you?

            How have I limited God by my definition of justice?

          • Bryan

            “To condemn someone you love because justice demands it is easier.” Really? Have you ever called a police officer because you’re friend was speeding while you were in the car? Have you ever flagged an officer down because you knew you were driving with a headlight that was out or a tire that needed to be replaced? We don’t do a good job of calling ourselves or our friends out when we do not follow our simple driving laws.
            How often (at least in movies and television) does the person who knows their son is out of control, allow them to avoid the consequences of their actions by direct intervention or non-intervention because they refuse to believe their son is capable of horrible crimes or because they want to “love” their son and protect him? While I’m speaking of fictional situations, many times art imitates reality.

            “I never said reconciliation didn’t involve justice. Which is easier: to reconcile with someone who hates you or to reconcile with someone who lovers you?”
            I know. You didn’t say reconciliation didn’t involve justice. But you are defining Justice as you see it, not how God see’s it. That’s how you are limiting God. You’re essentially saying, “God, your definition of Justice is too cruel so I’m going to define it my way which is better.” But God is the definition of Justice. He is the definition of Love. He not only knows your actions and words, but your thoughts and intentions as well. He knows your past, present, and future because He is outside time. He can perfectly judge every action, thought, word, and intention you will ever make and He is the only one who can do so.

            How do you reconcile with someone who hates you? Also, should God reconcile with Satan?

          • Trilemma

            I guess you haven’t had an adult child threaten to kill you, rape someone and end up in jail. Believe me, it’s a lot easier to simply disown him and not go through the time, effort and emotional pain of seeking reconciliation. Other parents have disowned their children over drug use or coming out gay or transgender. For them, it was easier to disown their children than to work toward reconciliation.

            I define justice the way I believe God defines it. I disagree with the definition of justice most Christians attribute to God.

            The Bible says God will reconcile all things to himself. That would include Satan.

          • Bryan

            I have not been in the situation you described. And if you have, I can only imagine the pain you’ve gone through.
            I think you’re right that disowning a child is easier than working through reconciliation. But to disown a child is to give up and say you’re not worth it. That’s different from Justice. In your examples, you are in the position of God (don’t let it go to your head :-P). If the child has no desire to reconcile, it may not matter what you do, they will refuse to work through the reconciliation. As any counselor will say, you can only control your actions and responses, no one else’s. So if I were in counseling about a wayward, adult child, my counselor would tell me that I cannot control how my child responds. They may never reconcile. Or they may. But you or I cannot force it.
            You know, I think we tend to frame this the wrong way. I’m guilty of this as well. In my last comment, I said, “…should God reconcile with Satan?” That frames the situation as God is the one who needs to reconcile, as if God did something wrong. Intellectually, you know what I mean as well as I do. But if I believe that words are important and have meaning (which I do), then shouldn’t I switch it? Wouldn’t Satan have to reconcile with God? Or in our case, the human is the one to turn away from God, not God from the human. Or the wayward child has turned away from the parent. So it’s the child that has to want reconciliation for the situation to work out. Assuming, for our analogy’s sake, that the parent has always wanted to be reconciled with the child.

          • Trilemma

            ”But to disown a child is to give up and say you’re not worth it. That’s different from Justice.”

            I agree. I think God throwing people in hell is to give up and say you’re not worth it. That’s different from justice. I agree that the wayward person has to want to be reconciled for reconciliation to happen. This is well illustrated by the parable of the Prodigal Son. Can this reconciliation happen after death? I believe the Bible teaches it can.

          • Bryan

            I believe the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus disagrees with that position.
            I also disagree that hell is analogous to disowning or giving up. But I’ll agree to disagree on these points.
            Until next time, Tri.

          • hell is freely chosen. God does not damn people, people explicitly ask for it as evidenced by their evil and their perverse actions.

            Once people die, their wills are permanent. One cannot change their ways after the fact.

            you will not get your worldly reward by being demonic and then expect to be saved.

          • Trilemma

            In other words, blame the victim. This is the typical narcissist excuse. Apparently, you believe God is a narcissist.

          • No, but since you are a textbook narcissist this is clearly projection onto God. you then project your projection onto me.

            That is a lot of mental gymnastics you are doing.

          • you define justice in a way that you think both you and your dark master can “have your cake and eat it too.” your dark master will be “reconciled,” and it will involve him being locked in the furnace so none will ever have to deal with him again. If you persist in your devilry, it will be you as well that humanity is freed from.

            Humanity can be saved because humanity was tricked and therefore has no idea what sin really is and where is goes.

            demons cannot because they knew exactly what they were doing and what would happen.

          • By claiming that God is just a slave of you, where he lets you do anything you want because you can’t handle consequences for your evil.

            People choose damnation, and God will not force people to be with Him or force evil people onto others for eternity.

          • Trilemma

            Nobody knowingly chooses damnation.

          • It is the only way to be damned: to explicitly request it by thoughts or actions.

            God is the victim of every one of your blasphemies and other evils. Trying to claim to be the victim just because you are being Judged and your ultimate wishes heeded is absurd.

          • God is eternal, meaning beyond time.

            Are you trying to call God a “chicken” if he does not accept your unrepentant satanic self into Heaven?

          • This is a sore spot for you as evidenced by your repeated bargaining to try to get out of it. Just repent.

          • Before then, people were sent to the land of the dead, basically limbo.

            They knew intrinsically that the truly evil would join the devil in somewhere really bad.

          • Trilemma

            Please quote an Old Testament Bible verse where God told somebody about limbo.

          • The land of the dead is limbo

          • Ignorance is hardly an excuse for a severe crime that puts everyone and yourself in mortal danger.

            I would say more people than are damned going by the evil of fallen man everyone sees daily. Just look at the satanic stuff you advocate for.

          • If they mortally sinned, then they chose it willingly.

            Going by how demonic the natives of South America were, you bet quite a lot of them chose it.

          • Only way to get into Heaven is through the Church God established for that purpose.

          • Trilemma

            Please quote the Bible verse that says the only way to get to Heaven is through the Church.

          • It is the purpose of the Church besides reuniting humanity.

          • Trilemma

            Please quote the Bible verse that says the only way to get to Heaven is through the Church.

          • It is the dogma of the Church. The Church was created by God and is run by God. The Church is the Body of Christ after all. It is the only way to get to God.

            No one can receive the Beatific Vision outside of the Church. Certainly not you, considering there is not a post I see of yours that does not outright support some satanic ritual, communist/gnostic evil, or blasphemy.

            you put yourself in grave danger, and willingly with malicious intent of dragging others with you and subverting God’s order. This is not some tiny thing to be overlooked. Insulting God, bargaining with your own ego, and other absurdity won’t help you.

          • If they mortally sinned, they are damned. If they didn’t mortally sin, they are in Limbo.

          • If they committed mortal sin, they did choose it loud and clear by basically committing spiritual suicide.

          • Trilemma

            How could the Incas possibly know about all the different mortal sins?

          • For example: murder, sodomy, etc are evil no matter what. It doesn’t matter what they know or claim to know.

            This goes against every satanic thing you believe, but reality does not depend on your ego.

          • Trilemma

            How could the Incas know that it is a mortal sin not to attend mass?

          • They aren’t in the Church. Attending Mass on Holy Days is to renew Baptismal Vows and be present for Consecration.

            There are hundreds if not thousands of mortal sins, that you try to bargain and subvert your way out of the very simple/obvious examples I gave by deflecting to something that doesn’t even apply to non-Catholics is absurd.

          • Trilemma

            Again, how could the Incas possibly know about all the thousands of different mortal sins to be able to avoid hell?

          • They are self evident, and ignorance is no excuse.

        • Andy6M

          Trilemma, justice is a part of God’s character, yet you speak of it as if you know it better then he does.

          • Trilemma

            I agree justice is part of God’s character. I believe eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell is not God’s justice but a human invention that has been wrongly ascribed to God.

          • Andy6M

            We’ll have to agree to disagree.

          • hell is the greatest Mercy given by God as it permanently frees us from those who are evil like the devil and his minions.

          • Trilemma

            Sounds like something Hitler would say about gas chambers.

          • So now you are comparing God to a pathetic satanist who exemplified your repeatedly stated views.

            What is the stage after bargaining? It seems you’ve gone to it.

          • Trilemma

            No. I’m comparing you to Hitler. You saying hell is the greatest mercy given by God is like Hitler saying gas chambers are the greatest mercy given by God.

          • gas chambers are not of God, hell is of God and is the greatest mercy of God as it permanently removes evil.

          • Trilemma

            There is nothing merciful about hell.

          • Absolutely.

            God gives you exactly what you desire: to be separated from Him.

            God then gives everyone else what they want of being free of evil finally.

            And out of Love this is a permanent, eternal solution. Repent while you can, please.

        • They decided when they mortally sinned.

          If they never mortally sinned, and they are not in the Church, they are in Limbo.

          • Trilemma

            What is Limbo and how long does a person stay there?

          • limbo is an indeterminate place near hell but not on fire.

            It is for anyone outside of the Church but without mortal sin. That is such a minuscule number of people, it is negligible.

            It is for eternity, similar to the eternity that awaits you should you not repent.

          • Trilemma

            Please quote the Bible verse that says this about Limbo.

          • It is dogma of the Church that men who are not in a state of mortal sin at death are not damned. It is also dogma that no one can get into Heaven outside of the Church.

            It necessitates some intermediary place totally separated from God, that is near hell (most likely in hell) but without suffering as there is no fire or shame over mortal sin as they never did any.

            It is such a rarity that anyone outside of the Church would have no mortal sins, that it is irrelevant to discuss. It also doesn’t apply to Catholics whatsoever, so giving it much thought is of little use.

    • Ray

      It is entirely just for God to commit souls to hell for eternal damnation. It all depends on the condition of the soul. Justice demanded the penalty fit the crime, and Jesus paid for all the crime. There was no greater injustice that man could have done on this earth than crucify Jesus. What grace we have received, but also consider the just consequence for rejecting such grace.

      • Trilemma

        Only a few people crucified Christ and apparently it was God’s will for their lives that they do it. What about all the people who never rejected such grace but end up in hell anyway?

        • No, it was by their own misused free will and capital sin of pride that they attempted to kill God.

          As René Girard said, they were not confused about Christ’s Godhood or innocence, they Crucified Him precisely because He is God and He is Innocent.

          God challenges and refutes their pride and they hated God for that.

          It seems you are desperate and trying to bargain away your evil because your despair won’t let you admit your evil is what it is. Are you sick by any chance?

          • Trilemma

            Did Jesus die on the cross?

          • Christ descended into the land of the dead to free Adam and select others. This took three days.

          • Trilemma

            If Jesus didn’t die on the cross then there was no sacrifice for sins.

          • The Crucifixion paid the debt of Adam and therefore the debt everyone owed because of being born of Adam. That is all.

            All of your other evils must be paid or forgiven by you.

          • Trilemma

            1John 2:2 says Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for everyone’s sins.

          • Not at all. Actually, assuming automatic forgiveness is one of the worst blasphemies right outside of suicide and claiming the work of God is the work of the devil.

            you have 2/3 for that just going by your replies ou have made specifically to me.

          • Trilemma

            He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. – 1John 2:2

            It says for the sins of the whole world.

          • you are judged by what you have done past your birth. The Passion of Christ made you not have to deal with the debt of Adam also.

    • Bryan

      Just reread your comment. The following stuck out to me: “Eternal conscious torment in a fiery hell is not a just punishment for any finite crime or sin a human could possibly commit.”
      What if the crime was not limited to mortal life, but rather continued after death. The crime that Man is punished in hell for is rejecting God. If Man rejects God during life and continues to reject God after death, would the punishment of “eternal conscious torment” then be more fitting?
      Satan was cast out of heaven for basically trying to overthrow God. He continues to reject God and will for all eternity. Should God pull a being that has no desire to submit to Him into heaven?

      • Trilemma

        If someone who rejected God in life changes their mind after death and submits to God, will God pull that person into heaven?

        • Bryan

          I don’t know if we get that opportunity or not. In part it seems something similar to the belief of Purgatory. Being a Protestant, I’m unfamiliar with that teaching.

        • One cannot change their will after death.

          you spent all of your time here proving what you are and what you want.

          • Trilemma

            Please quote the Bible verse that says a person can’t repent and be saved after death.

          • It is common sense. One’s will is set in stone after death.

            Lazarus and the rich man is a good example.

          • Trilemma

            Please quote the Bible verse that says a person can’t repent and be saved after death. Please quote the Bible verse that says one’s will is set in stone after death.

          • It is simple reason. When one dies they have no way of changing their will.

            This life you were given here is the chance you have to make things right. If God did not allow you this final chance, you would have been born in damnation and that would be the end of it.

    • To quote the Church Fathers, you do not know the weight of sin.

      To quote CS Lewis, those who are sleeping know nothing of sleep or what sleeping is like. Therefore evil men know nothing about evil or what evil is like. you are too close and too numb about it to know.

      This is clearly an issue bothering you deeply, as it should. If only you could have some self-awareness and see the evil you spout on here on a daily basis. Each message of yours containing multiple mortal sins and even sins that Cory to Heaven for vengeance.

  • Ray

    Maybe it’s in a Socialist’s mind that the poor, if not taken care of by the government, that is unjust, but do they care for the poor? This is where justice should begin. Since God takes care of us, would we be fair if we had no concern for others?

  • Ray

    I was interested in the word “sworn”, wanting to see where did God swear

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