Why Is Justice Is So Important?
Many have the idea that the moral standard contained in the Bible is limited to a certain group of people. Making this mistake, they believe Biblical ethics have no place in the public square and argue that Christians should keep their code of ethics (i.e., the standard of Righteousness taught in the Bible) under wraps, confining these within the walls of their homes and church buildings. These advocates of the naked public square (i.e., a completely secularized society) view Christians with a jaundiced eye. Anyone, they think, who advocates imposing a code of ethics across an entire society—and the right-thinking Christian is certainly guilty of this—is not just intolerant and bigoted, but dangerous as well. When this sentiment finally becomes enacted into law, Christians will be persecuted, imprisoned, and eventually executed. I do not think this is about to happen, but the stew of sentiment is already being stirred in our culture. Without national repentance, I am convinced that this can, and will, happen. Therefore, the interaction of "church and state," or the sacred and secular, is extremely important to individual Christians, as well as the whole nation.
Unfortunately, our post-modern culture has clearly lost its way. Nevertheless, this same culture can frequently be heard clamoring for Justice. But, post-modernism has summarily rejected that absolute standard of Righteousness taught in the Bible—a standard that is necessary if acts of Justice are to be consistently carried out. Consequently, as our nation continues down paganism's slippery slope, everything that was once thought to be morally right will be questioned and ultimately rejected. Without national repentance, Divine judgment will eventually result (Isaiah 13-23; Jeremiah 46-51; Ezekiel 25-32; Amos 1-2, et cetera). Make no mistake about it, the Bible makes it clear that God's adversaries, when the time is right (cf. Genesis 15:16), will meet the fire of His wrath. Why? Because they have seen fit to neglect His absolute standard of Righteousness (Psalm 97:1-9). In other words, "Righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
I am not a prophet. Therefore, it is not possible for me to know just where our nation is on that path between a Romans 13 government (i.e. a government ordained by God) and a Revelation 13 government (i.e., a government ordained by Satan). Even though we have been cut off from our Biblical roots, there is still much that is good about America. Consequently, our nation continues to be blessed by God. Why? Because He said He would (Proverbs 14:34). So, even though we are a cut-flower generation, there remains enough residual Justice and Righteousness in our nation to motivate God's continued blessings upon it. But be sure of this: When there is no longer enough righteous influence left in this nation, God's judgment will fall (Genesis 18:26). Presently, there are more New Testament Christians in America than any place else in the world, and these, I am convinced, function as the salt that continues to preserve this nation (Matthew 5:13). Therefore, the righteous acts (viz., Justice) of Christians are not only important to the eventual salvation of individual Christians, but they are essential to the preservation of our nation, as well. Conversely, if our government ever becomes a full-fledged Revelation 13 government, openly and deliberately persecuting God's people, it will go down to the pit, as did the Roman Empire. Any nation that messes with God's people, makes itself an enemy of God. Nevertheless, in the meantime, the godly salt of faithful Christians continue to preserve our great nation. But, and here is a sobering thought, what happens when the salt loses its savor? In answering this question, it is important to note that the Lord said that the salt that loses its savoring influence is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot (Matthew 5:13). When a Christian, who the Bible tells us has been created in Christ Jesus for good works (cf. Ephesians 2:10), is not living a godly life (i.e., is not doing Justice), he can no longer save himself from this perverse generation (Acts 2:40), nor can he act so as to preserve this nation from God's righteous judgment. Such Christians, then, are total failures.
It must be remembered that the gospel of Jesus Christ is such a dynamic force in the lives and hearts of the true believer, and the transformation it makes so revolutionary, and its effect so totally radical, that the Bible calls the Christian a “new creature,” a creature who has been “born again” (1 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23). It is this totally new creature who provides the life-giving remedy for that which ails our society. And although it is contrary to the thinking of uncommitted, part-time Christians, it is the true disciple of Christ, the one who has been truly converted to the Lord and, as a result, has been renewed and transformed in his mind (Romans 12:1-2), who is the one making the difference the Lord created him to make. Such a disciple has no trouble understanding just how important his spiritual/intellectual quest really is. As a result, he is willing to “gird up the loins of [his] mind” (1 Peter 1:13). In doing so, he is both “salt” and “light” to a lost and dying world (Matthew 5:13-16). Apart from this, nothing else matters, for there is no greater cause or calling. This is "the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13), and it requires nothing else of us than "to do justly" (i.e. to engage in acts of Justice), "to love mercy" (i.e, to temper these acts of Justice with mercy), and "to walk humbly with [our] God" (i.e., manifesting the mind of the Lord who said, "Not My will, but Thine be done")[Micah 6:8].
The New Testament depicts the church and the state as separate entities (Matthew 22:17-21)—both of which are accountable to the One who has been given "all authority...in heaven and on earth" by His Father (Matthew 28:18). Not only is Jesus the "head of the church" (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18), but as the book of Revelation points out, He is also the "ruler of the kings of the earth" (Revelation 1:5). Therefore, both church and state must respect God's authority, upholding Righteousness and Justice in the process. Failure to do so results in the removal of the candlestick for the church (Revelation 2:5) and the rod of iron for the nation (Revelation 12:5). Although it is true that under the Old Testament the kingdom of Israel was a theocracy (i.e., a combination of church and state), under the New Testament there is to be a separation of these two entities.
The role of the church under Christ is presented as one of spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). On the other hand, Caesar (i.e., civil government) is given a physical sword (i.e., the penalty of death) to aid in its warfare against evildoers (Romans 13:4). Unlike Israel of old, the church today is not in the business of taking human life. This is, however, the prerogative of the state (Romans 13:1-7). But in doing so, the state is not free to arbitrarily and capriciously exercise itself, but must do so consistent with the principle of Righteousness and Justice taught in the Bible. The government is, therefore, duty bound to protect the law-abiding and punish the evildoers. If a government consistently fails to meet its obligation "under God," and this would be evidence of a Revelation 13 government, then there can be no real Justice. Under such a government, the law-abiding become the prey of not just evildoers, but the government itself. When this happens, the society eventually experiences the fiery wrath of the Lord's righteous indignation (i.e., His judgment).
The Christian is to be praying for the government so that it will meet its obligation to maintain order in the society (1 Timothy 2:1-2). In addition, he will dutifully pay his taxes to support the government, and he will always be found obeying the laws of the land as long as these laws do not constitute a contravening of God's Word. But, and this is most important, the government has no right to tell the church what to do in spiritual matters. It cannot (i.e., "under God") tell the church when, or when not, to pray; when to preach or not to preach; when to worship or not to worship. In these matters, the church takes its orders only from Christ, not Caesar. In purely secular matters, the church of Christ is obligated to respect and obey the laws of the land. This is, however, as far as it goes, and if, and when, the state seeks to regulate the church spiritually, the church is obligated to engage in holy disobedience (cf. Acts 5:29).
On the other hand, the church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15) and must preach the truth whenever, wherever, and to whomever it applies. It must do this without respect of persons. This may involve telling Caesar he is wrong on some moral or spiritual issue. The Truth must always be preached without fear or favor (i.e., not "having men's persons in admiration because of advantage") [Jude 16]. Yes, the state is separate from the church. These two God-ordained entities have two very separate roles—one spiritual and the other physical. However, the state is not unaccountable to the Lord's principle of Righteousness and Justice. The state is subject to Christ and will answer to His "rod of iron" if the policies of government are contrary to His principles, and this is true whether the state likes it or not. Furthermore, the degree to which a government finds such things offensive is probably a good indicator of just how far down the path toward a Revelation 13 government it has traveled.
Now, I said all that to say this: If New Testament Christians are not being salt and light, they are sinning, and these sins, if unrepented of, will not only damn their souls, but serve to place yet another nail in the nation's coffin. Remember, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17).