The Substance of Faith

The Substance of Faith

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Quotes on God and Justice

Here is a sampling of quotations on God and Justice from my old sermon research notes.

For many people, justice is whatever they personally consider fair. It can be as arbitrary and changeable as stock market value, at the whim of circumstances and history, worth one thing one day and altogether another the next day. For others, it can be explained by such catch phrases as “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” And it all too easily can slide into vengeance, self-righteous demands, racism, or revenge and retaliation on an emotional level. But religiously in the Judeo-Christian tradition, justice always looks more like mercy than anything we would label justice.  — Megan McKenna in Send My Roots Rain, p. 8

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.  — Augustine

Scripture and Christ’s explicit teaching make the call to justice just as non-negotiable as the call to prayer and private morality.   — Ronald  Rolheiser, in Against an Infinite Horizon, p. 124

If Jesus had only been a mystic, healer, and wisdom teacher, he almost certainly would not have been executed. Rather, he was killed because of his politics—because of his passion for God’s justice.  — Marcus Borg, in The Heart of Christianity, p. 92

Another reason is the common misunderstanding of “God’s justice.” Theologically, we have often seen its opposite as “God’s mercy.” “God’s justice” is understood as God’s deserved punishment of us for our sins, “God’s mercy” as God’s loving forgiveness of us in spite of our guilt. Given this choice, we would all prefer God’s mercy and hope to escape God’s justice. But seeing the opposite of justice as mercy distorts what the Bible means by justice. Most often in the Bible, the opposite of God’s justice is not God’s mercy, but human injustice.  —  Marcus Borg, in The Heart of Christianit, p. 127

Do I want social justice for the oppressed, or do I just want to be known as a socially active person?   —  Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz, p. 20

Consider a harder, but more excellent, way. A group of lively Christians gets together to pray, eat breakfast, and discuss strategy for demonstrating the lordship of Christ in their business practices that day. They ask: “How, today, can we write a policy, sell a house, lobby for a law, advertise a product, in a way that honors Christ and makes God’s name more respected? How can we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as members of our profession? How can we keep our jobs and still do what is right? How can we avoid being conformed to this world and yet work effectively in it as transformers of culture for Christ’s sake?”   —  Cornelius Plantinga in Beyond Doubt, p. 71

One might go as far to say that perhaps justice fails to be done only if the concept we entertain of justice is retributive justice, whose chief goal is to be punitive so that the wronged party is really the state, something impersonal, which has little consideration for the real victims and almost none for the perpetrator. We contend that there is another kind of justice, restorative justice, which was characteristic of traditional African jurisprudence.   —  Desmond Tutu, in No Future Without Forgiveness p. 54

Christ died to save us, not from suffering, but from ourselves; not from injustice, far less from justice, but from being unjust. He died that we might live—but live as He lives, by dying as He died who died to Himself.  —  George MacDonald: An Anthology – 365 Readings (Edited by C. S. Lewis), p. 103


 

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