Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Effect of Justice and Righteousness

Dear Father,
      You are a sure Foundation for our times, a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of You is the key to this Treasure. Please forgive me for planting my roots in the wrong soil. Thank You that You are faithful to cut off all of our misplanted roots that we may be fully established in You. The effect of Your Justice and Righteousness is that Your people are filled with the full knowledge of Christ. Though it is impossible for us, please open our eyes to see the true Justice that You have purchased for us by Your blood. May we see that this Justice is exalted and supersedes the darkness that we are surrounded by. May Your Spirit reveal to us the heart-conquering effect of Christ's righteousness as we watch in hope for the movement of Your Arm.
In Jesus Christ's Name,

15 till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, 
   and the desert becomes a fertile field, 
   and the fertile field seems like a forest. 
16 Justice will dwell in the desert 
   and righteousness live in the fertile field. 
17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; 
   the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Is 32  

     God's message to us is that there is an effect of righteousness brought about by the fulfillment of His justice for His people that results in the unshakable satisfaction of our soul. He tells us that many of us have misunderstood the meaning of justice though we had called out to Him for it.

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”Luke 18:8 

     His purpose is that we may understand the meaning and result of true justice and righteousness. As we understand these effects, we are building our house on the Rock, Jesus Christ, and we will find that we are always secure in His righteous boundaries. For it pleases the LORD "for the sake of His righteousness to make His law great and glorious." (Is 42:21")

Misunderstood Justice

      As nations, kings, administrators, fathers, and individual human hearts have sought to establish principles by which they govern, respond towards, and treat others, justice is idealized in the hearts of many. We have often been led with the remnants of God's Law which is written in the hearts of all men. The remnant of the justice of the Creator is on our hearts; this remnant is that longing for all to receive their due payment for their deeds. Our notion of justice is that we ought to be treated fairly, that no one should wrong us, that we should live in tranquility free from the oppression of an agency or man. As we dwell among evil and Godlessness, we have found that there was no perfect justice anywhere. Each person has records of injustices committed against themselves and those dear to them. 

14 So justice is driven back,
   and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
   honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
   and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

   The LORD looked and was displeased
   that there was no justice. Is 59

     Even as we pursue justice, we fail to acknowledge that we did not consider what was the effect of justice that we had hoped for. Did we pursue justice so that we may have peace? Did we pursue justice so that we may know unfailing love? Did we pursue justice so that we may be filled with gladness of heart? Or did we pursue justice so that we all may be physically provided for? Did we pursue justice so that we may make earthly plans or advancements with regard to our financial estate or family status? Did we pursue justice to temporarily satisfy our ever-guilty a form of self-righteousness? Did mankind know the purpose, the effect, of justice? Have we sought the heart and mind of the Sovereign God with regard to His design for justice? What was the effect of justice that the Author of Justice had in mind?

     Even our attempts to carry out justice were entirely futile. For if justice refers to each man receiving the due payment for his deeds, we know that we all would only receive the wrath of the Father. How then could we seek to administer justice to one another? We were collectively a mass of people held directly under the cup of the full wrath of God. Even if we lived among a perfect world, a perfect Garden of Eden, our hearts were not righteous. The intended effect of His justice could never be brought forth from our efforts. And yet blindness of heart causes mankind to move on in their striving for justice. In the process they heap up words of conceit, aimless argument, malice, slander, deceit, and division. In the very pursuit of justice, mankind has committed atrocious injustices. Justice could not be born from unrighteousness. A condemned vine could not bring about the wonderful effect of God's justice: peace, quietness, and confidence forever. For we had failed to heed His teaching and direction. We paid no attention to His commands. 

 17 This is what the LORD says— 
   your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 
“I am the LORD your God, 
   who teaches you what is best for you, 
   who directs you in the way you should go. 
18 If only you had paid attention to My commands, 
   your peace would have been like a river, 
   your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Is 48

5 In love a throne will be established;
   in faithfulness a Man will sit on it—
   One from the house of David—
One who in judging seeks justice
   and speeds the cause of righteousness.Is 16

     The effect of justice that we sought, apart from the filling of His Spirit that came from the salvation of our God, was sinful indulgence, the satisfaction of the flesh, the feeding of the pride of the heart, the fulfillment of selfish ambition. Can we see, dear family, that everything we had hoped for in our pursuit of justice independent from His glorious Law and salvation was amiss? Not one one us had the clean and holy heart that would know and understand the effect of His justice. We were altogether useless in our pursuit of justice. For our heart's were misaligned with the purpose of the heavenly Father. No one could bring about justice. No one desired the true effect of justice; for we wanted the glorification of what is perishable rather than the glorification of the imperishable eternal God. And where man is glorified apart from God, there is only condemnation, guilt, shame, and futility. There is no peace, quietness, or confidence.   

True Justice

     Because of our unrighteousness there was no one who could intervene on behalf of justice. Therefore His own arm worked salvation for His people. Jesus put on righteousness as His breastplate, salvation as His helmet, vengeance as His garment, and He wrapped Himself in zeal as a cloak. In the act of His death and resurrection, His own blood removed the cup of wrath hanging over our heads. His Father's justice was fulfilled. His wrath was poured out on His firstborn son and we were justly spared. Furthermore, we are covered in the righteousness in Christ as our offenses are swept away like a cloud and like the morning mist. 

16 He saw that there was no one,
   He was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so His own arm worked salvation for Him,
   and His own righteousness sustained Him.
17 He put on righteousness as His breastplate,
   and the helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance
   and wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak. Is 59

 21 “Remember these things, O Jacob,
   for you are My servant, O Israel.
I have made you, you are my servant;
   O Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
   your sins like the morning mist. Is 44

     Now He calls His chosen ones to hear the Words of His salvation by which they are given justice. 

Return to Me,
   for I have redeemed you.”

 23 Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this;
   shout aloud, O earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
   you forests and all your trees,
for the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
   He displays his glory in Israel.Is 44

     Even to us who have received by faith the gift of salvation, He calls us to watch His Arm bring justice to the nations. What is justice? What is our reward and recompense due us for our new standing as children of God, forgiven and clothed with righteous garments? The fulfillment of our justice is that we have be granted our inheritance: eternal Life. And what is Eternal Life? Jesus prayed, "Now this is eternal Life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (John 17: 3)". 


     Dear saint, this statement has profound implications that only the Spirit surely will reveal to you. We will come to know Him as our Good Shepherd who tenderly gathers the lambs in His arms, carries them close to His heart, and gently leads those who have young. There is nothing else that we are granted, dear saints, and nothing else which can bring about the effect of justice and righteousness (peace, quietness, and confidence) than the knowledge of Jesus Christ: the perfect union with the Father in Him by the Spirit. For as we know Him we become righteous and pure as He is righteous and pure and we receive the effects of righteousness.

10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, 
   and His arm rules for Him. 
See, His reward is with Him, 
   and His recompense accompanies Him. 
11 He tends His flock like a shepherd: 
   He gathers the lambs in His arms 
and carries them close to His heart; 
   He gently leads those that have young.Is 40

     Our Lord has promised to us in His Word that the earth and the heavens will vanish like smoke, wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants die like flies, but His salvation and righteousness will never fail. 

4 “Listen to Me, My people;
   hear Me, My nation:
The law will go out from Me;
   My justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My righteousness draws near speedily,
   my salvation is on the way,
   and My arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to Me
   and wait in hope for My Arm.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
   look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
   the earth will wear out like a garment
   and its inhabitants die like flies.
But My salvation will last forever,
   my righteousness will never fail.Is 51

     As we contemplate the final destiny of the world and its worshipers, we begin to see the distinction between our notions of earthly justice and the true justice that brings about the effects of righteousness in us. For if the world is condemned, then any lasting justice must be derived from a source that transcends and supersedes all earthly things. 

5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; 
   He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. 
6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, 
   a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; 
   the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.Is 33

     As the Law of our God goes out, the people of the world are convicted of guilt with regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment. The children of God from every nation, and from the islands, are brought to repentance, covered in Christ, know Christ, and are destined to know peace, quietness, and confidence. Attacks against God's just payment towards His children come from the accuser who stands day and night to condemn the hearts of the beloved. Attacks come from lies from the enemy as to his standing before God. The demonic forces labor to fill the hearts of the beloved with dread, guilt, fear, and greed for earthly "justice". He tries to cause them to place their hope in created things that they lose sight of the Father and bring their fear of God to a halt. He tries to cause them to feel wronged and mistreated by the people and agencies of the world so that they will lose their justice of knowing Christ in His fullness. So dear family, when we cry out for justice for one another, we are crying out for God to remove blinders from the beloved that they may exult in their continuous acknowledgement that they are found in Christ's righteousness and receive its effect of peace, quietness, and confidence.

22 “Turn to Me and be saved,
   all you ends of the earth;
   for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By Myself I have sworn,
   My mouth has uttered in all integrity
   a Word that will not be revoked:
Before Me every knee will bow;
   by Me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of Me, ‘In the LORD alone
   are righteousness and strength.’”
All who have raged against Him
   will come to Him and be put to shame.
25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel
   will be found righteous and will exult.Is 45

The Effect of Righteousness

     Justice delivered to us results in our being granted the effect of righteousness: peace, quietness, and confidence. Any one of us who has walked with the Lord in the Spirit for any amount of time can attest to these effects of righteousness. As we walk in His righteousness we find that there is a tremendous peace that comes in knowing that our unrighteousness and weakness is forever blotted out. As we love unconditionally with the love we have known from the Father, we find that there is a fearlessness, a confidence, that comes to us. As we put all of our hope in Him our hearts experience a quietness and a rest from above. As we walk humbly before our God, expecting no earthly gain or pleasure, we are filled with rest. For we have made Him our abode and our dwelling place. As we seek to please no man and to receive nothing from him but rather to unconditionally love others, and seek only to please our heavenly Father we plant our roots in the Author of Justice. He will never fail us. When the Spirit breaks off our every root that is planted in the soil of the earthly glories, our joy increases. 

His Way of Revealing His Justice

     If the true and complete fulfillment of God's justice for us is that we may know Christ as we are covered in His righteousness, God certainly has a plan for revealing this justice to His people and to the world. What if God chose to remove from His people earthly facets of justice and prosperity to show them that His justice of knowing Christ was truly great and glorious? For even the Savior did not come to establish earthly justice or to become an earthly king but rather to pour out His Life unto death so that He could purchase the gift of righteousness for His chosen people.  

   My chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put My Spirit on Him
   and He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
   or raise His voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
   and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.
In faithfulness He will bring forth justice;
 4 He will not falter or be discouraged
till He establishes justice on earth.
   In His law the islands will put their hope.”Is 42

     What if He chose to remove from His people every secure foresight of the future in terms of earthly events only to show them that His righteousness would lead them down unfamiliar, dark, and rough places? What if He did this to show them that He would truly never leave or forsake them?

16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
   along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
   and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
   I will not forsake them. Is 42

      God's people are often surrounded by the Godless who appear to have the earthly future of their lives secured and planned. The Godless live by the false light of the world and their reason and judgment is tainted by the false light: the false sense of hope, perceived security, granted prosperity. But the children of God do not have this earthly light, and the Light of their Savior is the only Light that guides them. The only sure and granted destiny of these children is the righteousness and union with their God.

10 Who among you fears the LORD 
   and obeys the word of his servant? 
Let him who walks in the dark, 
   who has no light, 
trust in the name of the LORD 
   and rely on his God. 
11 But now, all you who light fires 
   and provide yourselves with flaming torches, 
go, walk in the light of your fires 
   and of the torches you have set ablaze. 
This is what you shall receive from My hand: 
   You will lie down in torment. Is 50

     Jesus told us before of the persecutions from the world that were destined for the people of God. In this sense are we promised justice that our lives may be spared from pain, suffering, and physical death? No, but His justice allows for His people to know His great love and joy in the midst of these fires and waters. 

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
   He who created you, O Jacob,
   He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Is 43

     What if He chose to place us in deserts where we had no hope of survival and where every earthly resource was exhausted only to show us that the Spirit's Water and Christ's Living Word would sustain us in His all-glorious way? Yes, His gift of eternal Life is far exalted above all all other things. His love and righteousness are promised to overwhelmingly conquer all other perceived deficits. Horrendous earthly atrocities may come upon the people of God, but their God is enough for them. This is justice! For the knowledge of Christ is so great in them that any disaster, desert, and storm can come their way and they are secure and hidden in the peace, quietness, and confidence of Christ! 

 17 “The poor and needy search for water,
   but there is none;
   their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the LORD will answer them;
   I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
   and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
   and the parched ground into springs. Is 41

     He will increase our knowledge in the days to come so that we may know Him in such a sustaining way. He truly is able to sustain us through the worst earthly trials. If He is not, then we have not received the reward of Christ that His blood has purchased for us even as the Father's justice is satisfied. Do we cry out for true justice? Then we do not cry out for the prevention or removal of earthly trials. We cry out for the increased knowledge of the Savior that is able to overwhelmingly satisfy us through the dry and barren dark world. He uses this revelation of the knowledge of Christ to show the people of the world that His Law and Salvation are glorious and exalted among the hearts of His people. 

19 I will put in the desert
   the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in the wasteland,
   the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
   may consider and understand,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
   that the Holy One of Israel has created it.Is 41

     His promise of righteousness and justice are promised to His people and by them, His people are betrothed to Him forever in faithfulness. Even as He continues to reveal this to His people, we are able to acknowledge the Lord. Imagine the people of the world who are trusting in earthly prosperity and glory to behold the people of God rejoicing in peace, quietness, and confidence amidst a "hell-on-earth" because nothing can separate them from their Father's love! This brings Him glory as the infinite worth of knowing Him and His righteousness is revealed!

19 I will betroth you to Me forever;
   I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
   in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
   and you will acknowledge the LORD.Hos 2

Waiting in Hope for Justice

     God asks us, "My child, do you know Me enough to never feel at loss regardless of what else is taken away from you or what earthly trial comes upon you?" And many of us could think of a list of certain trials or losses that we feel incapable of standing up under. But in the same manner that we trust Him for our continued sanctification and purification unto the Day of Redemption, we trust that at the time when these trials and losses come to us, He will reveal Himself enough to sustain us. Indeed we know in our hearts and minds that the full revelation of Christ who is the glory of the Father would render us resoundingly victorious and firm in Him. But because our faith is weak, and we do not feel that we know Him as we ought to, He calls us to put our hope in His Spirit's power to reveal the righteousness of the Father to us. 

     Often we are tempted to complain and feel that our way and cause is hidden or disregarded by our God. But we are called to put our hope in Him so that our strength is renewed and we are able to soar on the wings of eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. 

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
   and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
   my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and His understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.Is 40

     As we are filled with increasing measures of the Father's righteousness, we walk in His power filled with His Spirit, and He enables us to act in righteousness and experience the effects of righteousness. He tells us that when we break every yoke of sinful oppression of others by delivering the love of the Father in us revealed in His Gospel, when we give the Bread of Life to the Hungry, share the Refuge of our God with the homeless, and to clothe by preaching the righteousness of Christ to those naked and guilty, to endear our Spiritual family to ourselves, spend ourselves on behalf of needy souls, satisfy the needs of the oppressed...then we experience the effects of righteousness: our light breaks forth like the dawn, our Spiritual healing comes quickly, the righteousness of Christ given to us goes before us, the glory of the Lord goes behind us as our rear guard, the Lord will answer and speak to us, our light will shine in the darkness, our night will become like the noonday, we will be like well-watered gardens whose springs never fail, and we will be called a repairer of Broken Walls and a Restorer of Streets with Dwelling: The Kingdom of God through the Spirit's indwelling of all His people!

 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
   and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
   and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
   and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
   you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.

   “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
   with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
   and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
   He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
   like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
   and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
   Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.Is 58

     Could we ever do these acts of righteousness on our own? We know and have experienced that we cannot. But as we believe and receive His gift of the reward of justice, eternal Life and Christ's righteousness, we are granted the power to do these good works which God prepared beforehand for us. 

All the Afflictions of God's People (8 minute Puritan devotional by John Fawcett)

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