Romans 3:21-26 (VOICE) 21 But now for the good news: God’s restorative justice has entered the world, independent of the law. Both the law and the prophets told us this day would come. 22 This redeeming justice comes through the faithfulness of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King, who makes salvation a reality for all who believe—without the slightest partiality. 23 You see, all have sinned, and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. 24 Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. 25 When God set Him up to be the sacrifice—the seat of mercy where sins are atoned through faith—His blood became the demonstration of God’s own restorative justice. All of this confirms His faithfulness to the promise, for over the course of human history God patiently held back as He dealt with the sins being committed. 26 This expression of God’s restorative justice displays in the present that He is just and righteous and that He makes right those who trust and commit themselves to Jesus.
Justice is certainly a word that has been in the air quite a bit lately. In the abstract it is hard to imagine anyone that wouldn’t be supportive of ‘justice’, but we also live in a world where the same word can have a variety of meanings, depending on who is using it and for what purpose.
With that in mind, it is critically important to understand what Paul is talking about when he claims that ‘God’s restorative justice has entered the world’. First, the rest of that sentence reads, ‘independent of the law’, and what that means is that God’s justice isn’t dependent on us or our ability to adhere to the law and call of God. God’s restorative justice is not a response to our love and obedience, but a precursor to it.
Second, the fact that Paul calls it ‘God’s’ restorative justice is not inconsequential. This justice is something that doesn’t just come from God, but it emanates out of his character. God is righteous and good, fair and just. These characteristics of God are not subjective, God is these things and so this means that God’s restorative justice isn’t subjective either. Because it comes from God it is justice and it carries with it the ability to restore and reconcile.
Finally, ‘restorative’ isn’t just an adjective attached to the word justice for effect or for a flourish. Restoration is a central element and function of what God’s justice does and why God pours it out on us and the world. We live in a fallen and broken world, a world that is not the way God intended or desires.
God’s restorative justice, shown to us in it’s fullness in and through the person of Jesus Christ is, in fact, the remedy to the ills of this world, and the cure to what poisons our hearts and lives. Jesus brings restoration and justice to the world and to us, because he is justice and restoration. We participate in this ministry of restoration and reconciliation by sharing Jesus, his love, and his justice by what we say, what we do, and who we are.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer : Lord, make us instruments of your justice and our peace. Amen.