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December 9, 2008 / beidson

The Voice of Blood: Injustice and the Mercy of God

Perhaps nothing in life proves that God has created us more than our outrage against injustices.justice When we see evil being committed against those who were not asking for it, we must remember that our anger was born in heaven, not on earth.  As God’s image-bearers, we are wrath-bearers as well.  The heat which runs up our spines began when we were formed by God himself.

But of course sin has ruined our sense of justice, to the point that we cannot know for certain, apart from the light of Scripture, whether we are secretly propping up injustices in our own lives.  What I mean is this: though there are apparent and obvious injustices being committed everyday all over the world, such as genocide, terrorist attacks, abortion and the likes, there are also ways we ourselves are denying justice to those whom we ought to be granting it.  We love to get angry at the terrorist, and rightly so, but how we shrink back from condemning our own hearts when we are not just with others.  In this sense, we are acting like terrorists, throwing our weight around to leverage power and pleasure for ourselves.

But we trust in God, and more specifically, we trust in God through Jesus Christ.  As the Judge himself, he has conquered the curse of death which has plagued our sense of justice for so many years on Earth.  Through Christ, we may be reconciled to God, and in consequence, gain again the divine sense of justice which fills the pages of Scripture.  Through Christ, we may even read our history books with a greater understanding of good and evil, knowing both the origin and demise of all injustice.

We read in Revelation 6:10 about the saints who have been/will be slain for their witness to the word of God.  As they wait beneath the altar, they cry out to God, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  Even as they cry out to God for justice to be done, they acknowledge that he is sovereign.  It is this solemn truth that will keep us in our place when injustice is done to us.  This is the reason God has commanded us to leave vengeance to him: he alone is sovereign and able to execute perfect wrath without mixture of error.  We may take comfort in that while we are weeping in the midst of suffering, God is filling up the cup of the wrath of his fury.  The terror in our lives gives way to the perfect holy terror of the Judge.

It was the Lord who heard the blood of Abel crying out to him from the ground, after his murderous brother Cain had taken his life.  And just as Cain had laid his brother in the ground, so the Lord made Cain a servant of the very same ground.  The blood which dripped from Cain’s hands would harden the dirt to keep him from yielding a crop.  The strength which proved so effective in taking Abel’s life would now be so futile in granting fruitful labor.  Cain was cursed, and it was the blood of Abel which spoke out against his injustice.

James warns against the injustices of the rich, who rob from their laborers to benefit themselves, sometimes even putting them to death.  It is God who hears the wages of the laboreres crying out from the coffers of the rich.  He is counting their riches against them, adding equal judgment for every unearned cent.  Though they may have fattened themselves off the fruit of others, God will demand payment for every ounce they gained by injustice (James 5:5).

Remember that we are encouraged to take refuge in the mercy of God when we endure suffering, knowing that he will soon execute justice on our behalf, if indeed we are in Christ.  Though our own homes and churches and governments must practice justice as far as they are able, there is a point at which God must finish the job.  And so we wait for our Savior from heaven, who will come with a perfect word of judgment against those who hate the gospel, and will himself restore justice to a crooked world.  His blood now cries out on our behalf, declaring that justice has been served and God’s wrath has been quenched.  It speaks for us, and God hears it.  In this blood we see both our injustices and the mercy of God.

But as we wait for him from heaven, we must be open to the honest examination of the Spirit, lest we too are found with blood dripping from our hands, crying out against us.

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