Justice for Dummies 3 Possession

While all true justice is based on God’s holiness it is also deeply linked to possession of property, or ownership.  The two concepts of perfection and possession undergird most of what we think of as justice, and the two go hand in hand because one springs from the other.

Possession

True justice is based on the concepts of perfection and possession (property) and these two are interlinked.  So let us now take a look at how property fits into the understanding of justice.

In the Bible example used in Justice for Dummies 1, two women came to King Solomon with a live baby and a dead baby.  The two women both claimed the live baby as theirs.  Right there we have the matter of possession of “property”.

The dispute that had to be settled was “whose PROPERTY was the live baby”.

So, you see, property is a key issue in justice.

Stealing Houses

Jesus Christ challenged the unjust legal activity of the religious leaders in His day, by pointing out that they would steal homes from powerless people.  He referred to them stealing houses from widows.

“Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows’ houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.” Luke 20:46,47

It is not uncommon for people to use the courts in order to get possession of things they want.  In fact, so much of the modern court system is devoted to claiming property (or money) that the courts are identified by the amount of money they are allowed to judge over.  If your claim is for a certain amount of money then it will be pursued in a different court to someone claiming a much smaller or larger amount of money.

Getting possession of things is a major component of court activity.

God Owns the Earth

Before trying to navigate through the temporary issues of who gets what you need to consider the deeper, underlying “property” issue that impacts all justice.  Someone will win or lose a case for some amount of money, but that is a transient transaction.  In time both winner and loser in court will be dead, and so will the judge.  But true justice has been here from the beginning and will outlast any amount of money won in court.

The underlying “Property” issue is that God owns everything!

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1

So, before we consider the individual property claims, take note that God has the ultimate property claim in the highest courts in the universe.

Stealing From God

Believe it or not, one of the greatest deceptions of today’s courts is based on property, and it is the matter of people stealing things from God.

I will get to that in a later lesson, but take note that the matter possession of property is a profound one that does have incredible significance to the way you respond to courts and claims you make or that are made against you.

For now, let me point out that if the “earth is the Lord’s” and all the people “that dwell therein”, then God has a claim over you and all you own.  God holds that claim from the original creation.  Because God made the world, God owns the world.  Because God made mankind, God owns mankind.  Because God made you, God owns you.  It’s as simple as that.

Ownership and Justice

Judicial process takes place when a court is empowered by a claim.  The most powerful claim is related to the claim of ownership.

To come to a court you must “own” something.  You may own a tangible object, such as a car or amount of gold, or you may own an intangible thing, like a right or a position.

If you go to court claiming you saw someone steal goods from another person that claim is ignored.  The one who suffered theft, being the owner of the thing stolen, must go to the court and press charges.  If the person who owned the goods refuses to press charges then there is no power in the court to do anything.  Thus ownership is a key component of justice.

When what you “own” has been stolen from you or damaged by another you are able to go to the court and make claim against the one who has wronged you.  The court cannot take action against an evil-doer until and unless someone who has the right to claim (the owner) makes a claim against that evil one.

Your property gives you the power to make claims in court.

God’s Power in Justice

Since God owns everything, how much right does God have to bring judgement?

God owns everything, because He made it.  God owns the earth and everyone living on it.

So God’s right to judge and declare just decisions is absolute.  There is no claim anyone can make against God’s judgement.  Not only is God perfect, God has absolute property rights when it comes to judgement and justice.

That’s why we see in the Bible that God brings judgement upon the world and in the end of the world everyone will have to stand before God and give account of their life.

God has the right to sentence us to hell or to grant us complete forgiveness because of our faith in Jesus Christ.  You may not like His judgement or His right to make that judgement, but you are powerless to resist.

You may even choose to delude yourself that believing in something other than God will make God disappear.  But God has every right to set the holy standard by which you will be judged and to bring everything you do and say into judgement.

We saw in the last lesson that everyone has failed to meet God’s high standard of personal holiness.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

You will one day have to account even for the things you mutter under your breath.

“But I say to you, That every idle word that men speak, they will give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

Perfection in Judgement

What is wonderful about God is that He is perfect.  He must judge us according to His holy standards, but He also must apply His personal character quality of “love” into our lives.

Rather than just obliterate us all because we do not rise to God’s holy standards, God sent Jesus to pay the penalty for us in advance.  Jesus took on Himself all the sins of all people on planet earth through all of human history.

Thus God can uphold His just and holy character, without wavering, but also acquit us on completely just grounds.  If the penalty has been paid then we can be released from obligation.

All we have to do to receive what is there in a credit account for us is put our faith in Jesus Christ, making Him both our saviour and lord.

When we do that justice is completely satisfied.  Holiness is maintained.  And Love is fully released into our lives.  God’s character is engaged with our existence in profound ways, making the sacrifice of Jesus worthwhile and productive.

When we reject God we simply remain in the condemned state we were in before we knew about Him.  Justice is satisfied.  Love has been rejected and so it does not reach us.

Perfection and Possession

I said earlier that perfection and possession go hand in hand.  They are intertwined.  Let me explain what I mean.

God has ownership over us because He created us.

God is perfect and holy in His own character.

The one who “owns” us has the right to demand the standards He will expect of us.  The only standard God can impose is that of His own holiness.

So, by being God’s possession we are accountable to God’s perfection.  There is no wriggling room.  God is holy and He owns us.  So perfection is the only quality He can bring upon us and the only standard He can measure us by.

If we were made by some inferior being, or made by ourselves, then God’s holy standards could be ignored.  But, sadly for our selfish and sinful nature, that is not how it is.

Justice For Dummies 2 Perfection

We saw in the first lesson on Justice for Dummies that justice has to do with finding what is right (or “just), not what is fair or what seems best at the time.

To help you better understand justice and what you should expect from an effective justice system, this lesson explores a foundational anchor for justice, being “perfection”.

True justice is measured against an unchanging benchmark, which is perfection.

In the Beginning God…

The first statement of law in our world is found in the first sentence of a holy book written by an eighty year old prophet who had met face to face with God.  His five books, known as the Pentateuch (Five Volumes) and as the Torah (Teaching/Law), present the basis of all English Law.  After meeting with God on Mount Sinai in Arabia almost three thousand five hundred years ago, Moses wrote the law of God in five books which form the basis of Jewish scriptures and which are the first five books of the Old Testament section of the Holy Bible which Christians rely on.

So Moses’ first sentence is the foundational truth upon which Jewish religion and Christianity stand.  The Moslem world reveres Moses (whom they call Musa) and venerates the Bible while also challenging its accuracy when the Koran differs from it.  But the Moslem world has no challenge to Moses’ first sentence.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1

Perfection

The Holy Bible repeatedly describes the character of God as perfect.  Terms used to convey this truth include holy, holiness, righteousness, perfect, upright and just.

“For I am the LORD that brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: you will therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45

“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You will be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2

“Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

“Judge me, O LORD my God, according to your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.” Psalm 35:24

Your righteousness also, O God, is very high, who has done great things: O God, who is like you!” Psalm 71:19

“God reigns over the heathen: God sits on the throne of his holiness.” Psalm 47:8

Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.” Psalm 25:8

Defining Perfection

Perfection is a moral description of personal character.  I like the way Pastor Jack Hayford, of Church on the Way, California explained it to me back in the early 1970’s.  He said that God is “perfect” and “holy” because there is no imbalance in Him.

Pastor Jack pointed out that if an arrow or frisbee, rocket or other projectile was out of balance in the slightest degree then it would veer off course.  Only a “perfect” arrow could fly for thousands or millions of miles and not creep a degree to the left of right.

The more imperfect an arrow, frisbee or projectile is the more quickly it flies off course and crashes into something.  A wobbly arrow will not hit the mark.

So, imagine God’s perfection that He can start on a course of action and stick with it, despite all that might distract Him, for millennia after millennia.

Imperfect Man

Contrast the perfect holiness of God with how people behave.  How often do people get distracted, drop their New Year resolutions, break their vows, or get drawn away by their laziness, lust, ego, inquisitiveness or the like?

Man is challenged to rise in character above the foibles of “self” focus, to live by higher and holier standards.  God is the ultimate example of the perfection we are called to, because God is absolutely perfect and will never veer off course.

Man can be intimidated, dissuaded, distracted, overwhelmed, burned out or defeated, but God is perfect.  You can’t intimidate God, discourage Him, distract Him, overwhelm Him or defeat Him.  And God calls all men and women to be holy, just as He is holy.

No Turning

To amplify Pastor Jack Hayford’s description of holiness as the kind of perfection that does not take something off course, consider these other Bible verses that describe God.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

And the ultimate indictment or charge against man is that everyone has gone off course, missed the mark and not reached the standard of God’s glory.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

Perfect Justice

To bring this discussion back to “justice” let me point out that justice is measured by God.  Justice can be perfect when it comes from a perfect being.

Justice is not fairness, or the best compromise under the circumstances.  True justice is anchored in the character of God, Himself.  True Justice is based on perfection of motive, perfection of character and perfection of judgement that does not change over time or from one case to another.

Human justice systems are a poor reflection of God’s justice and judgement.  But their inability to be as high and holy as God is, does not excuse them from being unjust, abusive, deceptive, prejudicial, or any such thing.

Injustice

When a judge is biased, or has been paid a bribe, or uses different standards under different circumstances there is injustice.

God rebuked the Israelites for having a bag full of different weights.  If they were selling to one customer they might use a lighter weight on the scale than when selling to another customer.  The customer would assume they had the correct weight, but the actual metal weight put on the scale was unjust.

“You are not to have in your house diverse measures, a great and a small.” Deuteronomy 25:14

“Diverse weights, and diverse measures, both of them are equally an abomination to the LORD.” Proverbs 20:10

A Heart Matter

True holiness is seen in our actions but it starts in our heart.  So to be truly just and holy we must have pure motives.  When we have ulterior motives we are not perfect and holy and our judgement will be distorted by that.

Just this morning a friend brought to me the transcript of a court case in which a judge clearly stated that he was glad he had past a sentence against people who drive in a particular fashion because he personally can’t stand such drivers.

The judge betrayed clear personal bias, and that affected his judgement.  The matter was not as the judge assumed it, but the judge was blinded by his own “unjust” prejudices.

God is pure in His heart.  God has no impure motives.  Men who engage in delivering justice must maintain the highest standards of holiness internally.  If they don’t, they will err in judgment because they will give in to the imperfect attitudes in their heart.

These impure attitudes are based on “self”.  Our preferences, prejudices, likes and dislikes are “ours”!  They spring from “self”.  When we are completely impartial we are not given to personal bias.

This is what is supposed to be symbolised by the image of justice as a blindfolded person holding scales.  They are meant to be impartial toward the people being judged, rather than allowing personal bias to interfere with the judgment.

Holy Judgement

Let me summarise by reminding you that the ultimate foundation of justice is perfection.  It is not man’s perfection, but God’s perfection that undergirds all justice.

God is holy and just.  God demands that mankind be holy and just.

Man’s justice must be based on God’s holiness, or it will not be justice at all.

Justice for Dummies 1

What is Justice? When people say they want “justice”, what do they mean?

Can you give a good definition for justice?

I have been urged by friends to get right back to the basics of “justice” so people recognise what it is that I am fighting for. To do that I will probably have to write several articles that open the subject bit by bit.

Simple Definitions

Ignoring the dictionaries, we can say that “justice” is when things are done right for all.

Another way of putting it is that justice is when you do what your conscience tells you is right.

And yet another way to put it is that the higher moral values are upheld in a situation, no matter who it upsets or disadvantages.

But I think the best way to discover justice is not in definitions but in practical examples.

English ideas of “justice” came from the Holy Bible, because England has had a thousand years of Christianity. English common law was developed from putting the Bible into practice. The kings and queens made promises (Imperial Acts) based on their responsibility before God.

So, let’s have a look at a well known Biblical example of justice at work.

One Dead Baby

King Solomon was faced with a thorny question from two prostitutes. They were both single mothers and overnight one of the babies died. The woman who woke up with a dead baby accused the other woman of stealing her baby, swapping them in the night. Both women claimed the living baby was theirs. (See 1Kings 3:16-28)

Note a couple of things about this case right up front. These women had no-one to protect them. They did not have husbands. They were immoral women and in some cultures they could have no rights whatsoever.

But here they are speaking directly to the King of the whole land. That’s justice! True justice gives the same rights to ALL, because all men are created equal.

In some cultures there is an elite group which seeks to rule others as if those others are lesser people. That is happening in Australia and other advanced nations today.

Way back in 1215 the English monarchy recognised and declared that everyone, even the King, is under the law. There is justice for all.

Competing Claims

Both of these women made the same claim, “It’s MY baby!” So, one of them was lying. But, being women who lived by immorality, they would have no qualms about lying.

Yet they were not rejected. While the situation was challenging, King Solomon did not send them away empty. He determined to get to the bottom of the matter.

That’s justice!

In some places it’s just “too hard” to sort things out and so the courts resort to sharing out the blame or the costs or the loss. The idea is that some kind of equity or fairness is achieved. But that is not Justice. Justice gets right to the bottom of the matter and makes sure that the decision is as accurate as can be.

No Red Tape

Australian courts have tripped me up and denied me justice by imposing their various rules and protocol. But notice that King Solomon did not send these women away to fill out a form in triplicate, or to get representation from a duly qualified lawyer, or to present their case in a particular fashion. They had complete and ready access to the source of justice. The “Substance” of justice was not destroyed by the “form” of the “legal process” or the rules and regulations.

In Australia today I find that courts use the legal process and their rules and regulations to take justice from ordinary Aussies.

The Heart of the Matter

Justice is not a matter of text book exactness, but a matter of the heart. It is a ‘moral’ issue. God, who created us, is a moral Being and He looks at our hearts.

King Solomon, wisely, exposed the heart of the women.

He told the women he would cut the baby in half and give half to each one. He had no intention of doing so, but he used that suggestion to get the “hearts” of the women speaking.

One woman said, “Good. Then neither of us will have the baby.” But the other woman said, “Please don’t kill the child. Let the other woman have the child.”

The two responses revealed which of the women had a mother’s heart for the child. The woman who believed she had been cheated proved to be the one who was the mother of the child.

True Justice

When the two women left Solomon one of them was exposed as a thief and a liar. I don’t think she was happy about that.

True justice is not about making everyone happy, but doing what is RIGHT. The woman who stole and lied had no right to anything except shame, and that is what she received.

The woman whose child was stolen received what was rightfully hers. He child was given back to her. She received justice and could raise her child in all the joy of her motherhood.

Summary

Justice, then, is doing what is right, morally. It is not about everyone getting an equal share, but it is about everyone having the same rights before the courts.

Everyone is entitled to an outcome that is morally right. It will be an outcome that sits right in your conscience and that pleases God, because evil people will not be rewarded.

Today in Australia and other advanced nations we are not given that form of justice. People who do not use lawyers are disadvantaged. People who challenge the elite, ruling class which thinks it is superior to others, are blocked in the courts.

The courts have become a place where people use power to take advantage of others. They entangle people with rules, fairness, pre-set judgments and other tricks to deny them justice.

What makes this so criminal, in perverting the course of justice and committing Treason against the Crown, is that the monarchs of England promised us all over 700 years ago that, “We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man justice or right.”

To catch the next articles in this series click on the following links:

Justice For Dummies 2 – Perfection
http://chrisfieldblog.com/2011/02/09/justice-2

Justice for Dummies 3 – Possession
http://chrisfieldblog.com/2011/02/09/justice-3