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This episode on Justice concludes the series on the 4 cardinal virtues. In this episode we talk about what is justice, it is much more than a judge in a court room. Justice is being fair, giving what is 'due' to others and this includes love and mercy to be completely just. Below is a close transcription of what is said during the podcast. Welcome back to “Theology that Matters.” We are continuing our series on the Virtues and focusing on what has traditionally been called the “Cardinal Virtues.” They are called cardinal, for it is from a Latin word that means the hinge… like on a door, so these virtues are a hinge on which all the other Christian virtues come out of and are necessary to truly follow Jesus has he asks us to. These Cardinal virtues allow us to really live out the three greatest virtues (which we will discuss after the Cardinal virtues) of faith, hope and love. In the last three episodes we have covered the virtues of prudence, temperance, and fortitude. I encourage you to listen to those if you have not already. These virtues all tie together, but prudence is the foundation, for it helps us know what is right and wrong and why. The virtues of temperance, fortitude and justice (which we will talk about today) is all living out prudence correctly. After we have these cardinal virtues we can strive for the three commonly called theological virtues, faith, hope and love. Justice is a very misunderstood term, for we take it mostly in the courtroom setting. We see justice tied to laws and then the punishment when those laws are broken. Justice is more than a matter of rules and laws. It seems to only have a negative context, but justice is much more than this, it is actual a very positive term and encourages us to act positively toward others and God. Let’s look quickly at how God is just and then see what that means for us. God is just toward his creation, but that does not mean that He gives us everything we deserve, if he did then our sins would be punished and there would be no hope of eternal life. See Justice or being just is tied into all of God’s attributes. If we just take justice by itself it would be only for punishment. But we don’t we take justice alongside of God’s mercy and love. Ps. 103:8 says this, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” The Psalm goes on to say, “He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever, he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Look we all deserve separation from God for our sins, but God treats us fairly, according to his character of love and mercy. They are tied together. We see these two terms tied together in Micah 6:8, God has shown what is good, to act justly and to love mercy. We also see that God does not desire the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23), instead he is pleased when they turn from their evil ways. Because of that he loves us in a way that is meant to draw all to him and for their salvation. This does not mean that God does not punish temporarily or eternally. It means that his justice is not about getting back at us or to punish us every time we do a wrong or sin. His justice is given to us in the punishment way to draw our hearts to Him, to desire to drive us away from sin and rebellion and to a right relationship with Him. God disciples, punishes all out of a heart of mercy and love. He wants to heal us and gives us what he thinks is fair. His justice is driven by his compassion to bring healing for he knows that is what we need. His justice toward humans on earth is solely for our good. His eternal punishment for those who reject God until death is giving them what they deserve and what they desire, separation from Him forever. Now if we understand this we will see how we are to be just toward others and God. Justice is the moral virtue that gives one the proper due to God and to others. The Just man in Scripture has the traits of right thinking and upright in his conduct toward God and others. So Justice is giving, that is key, it is not punishment but it is giving one their proper due. Most importantly we are to give, render, to God what is his, our love, service, and gratitude. To live justly toward God is to give him all these things in the right way perfectly. We can ask what does God deserve? Our best, our love, our devotion, our heart, our minds and then acting upon that truth. What do we think about, what do we fill our minds with? Do we give God praise and honor for his miracles and awesome work in our lives? When we give God is proper due and honor that then translates into how we treat others. It thus giving others their proper due, in regard to how God does. God acts to bring us closer to him to get healing in our lives from him. This is to be our motive toward others. Do our actions toward others bring them into contact with our creator, our Savior? Others are made in the image of God and we are to see them this way. This carries with it the idea of not showing favoritism toward others. If someone is well off we don’t give them more preference than the poor. Justice means that we treat our spouse fairly, loving them for their sake our of self-sacrifice. Loving our children well, not exasperating them, but encouraging them in the instruction of the Lord. Treating our bosses well, even when they are not the best, treating our employees fairly. These concepts are all taken from Eph. 5 and 6. We look out for the widow, the poor, the needy, orphan, for that is what God says he does. In general then it desires the good for others that God wants them to have. To be just is love as God loves. To honor God with our all. In loving as God loves it means calling sin, sin for we know that is what is good for others. It is not a false way of making people feel God with God, but showing them who God is, what he requires, why he requires that all to be saved must believe in Jesus. It is loving others, and not desiring the death of the wicked for that would mean a soul that is eternally separated from God. Justice calls us to love others and pray for all, even those who we think treat us unfairly, it means praying for the worst of the worst and not desiring them to die apart from Christ. Justice is giving others the love that God gives us. God’s love, includes, discipline, but only with the motive of healing and drawing people to salvation in Jesus. What does the Lord require of you, to act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God, Micah 6:8.

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