The Church and the Justice of God
by David Sliker
Artists and Authors
Adapted from chapter 2 of The Nations Rage by David Sliker
The Father has chosen to bring forth and establish justice on the earth through Jesus’ leadership. The way that Jesus leads is the manner in which the Father wants justice to be executed. This is what is meant later on (see Revelation 5) when all of heaven declares Jesus to be worthy. Jesus, in His magnificent humility, kindness, and tenderness, is the only one able to orchestrate and lead such a dramatic transition in human history. Jesus is the only one who can perfectly navigate the tensions of the nations’ rage and rebellion against His leadership and their pride, sin, and wickedness, while still maintaining His love, mercy, and kindness.
The only one who can be trusted to be generous yet unyielding and uncompromising in acting with righteousness is the Man who is slow to anger, rich in love, and aching to see all nations come to the knowledge of His Father. He is infinitely kind. He is completely trustworthy because He is never tempted to please others or to merely make people happy. He can be trusted to do what is necessary to establish all that is right so that love and glory can fill the earth. He is the only one who can execute justice righteously, the only one who can manage the great trials and terrible shakings that will terrify the citizens of the earth.
Jesus is justice (see John 8:1–11). Therefore, He is the only one whom the Father endorses, upholds, and delights in related to the otherwise impossible task of executing justice righteously and perfectly.
In verses 2–4 of chapter 42, Isaiah described Jesus’ approach to justice at His first coming. He wants us to take careful note of His approach. It is significantly different from the manner in which human beings who seek power or acquire it express their power and execute justice. Unlike the social justice movements of our day, Jesus did not lift His voice in the street seeking a political or military uprising (verse 2). Again, what is astonishing is the manner in which He moves in meekness and humility, in restraint and in lowliness of heart, offering mercy to all who seek Him, all the while able to cause justice to prevail (verse 3).
As long as there is the possibility of a broken reed being restored or there is a spark of life in smoking flax that has not yet been extinguished, Jesus will restrain Himself. He will restrain the hurricane force of His judgments on the earth as long as there is a way for mercy to be received unto repentance. He is so committed to mercy for the weak and the brokenhearted that He will bear with great resistance to His will; He will press forward with great steadfastness and commitment to His desired end (verse 4). In other words, when we see His mercy, we should not for a minute let that cause us to imagine that Jesus has wavered in any way from His ultimate goal of righteousness and justice.
What is astonishing about verse 4 is the proclamation of Jesus’ commitment to see the Father’s plan through to the end, despite the great delay of human resistance and national rejection. Isaiah emphasizes that He will not fail nor grow discouraged in any way. He wanted us to know about the steadfastness and patience of Christ, which will bolster us in the long delay between the anguish of injustice and liberation from oppression at the hands of the righteous King who has been appointed by the Father to liberate His people.
Continuing through Isaiah 42, we see more of Jesus’ stunning perfection as He walks out the tension between justice and mercy. Moreover, we witness something astonishing: The Father speaks to the Son, giving Him great assurance regarding intimate partnership unto victory: “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles” (verse 6). Righteousness is seen in each stage of the Father’s work, in His methods, His motives, and His fruit. Jesus embodies all that pertains to the covenant we have with God.
What does this mean for the Church? How are we to move forward in light of the great injustice and oppression that afflicts the weak?
As social justice movements develop—and now many are emerging from within the Church—we must take careful note here of the prophet’s exhortations and encouragements. As voices begin to cry out for justice, what should our response be? “Wait on the Lord,” Isaiah counsels (Isaiah 40:31). When more injustices occur, what should we do? “Behold” is all the prophet urges.
We watch and listen to the voice of the Lord and only the Lord. That is how we see the glorious beauty of Jesus and how our ears are opened to hear the wisdom of the Spirit for this hour of history. Jesus declares to us, “Walk in meekness and restraint. I have restrained Myself for a long time. Wait, be patient, and listen to Me.”Isaiah puts words to His whispers. In an age when a few wrong words can end careers and real sin derails men and women, the mercy and restraint of Jesus in the face of human brokenness speaks clearly to our souls.
His restraint and mercy toward us create space for intimacy with Him; we can come near without shame as we are strengthened by His love. He brings us into partnership with Him, and along the way He makes us right in our thoughts, emotions, and desires. This makes it possible for the Church to come alongside Him and execute justice. We are to execute justice through restraint, quietness, and intimacy with Jesus. We are to make disciples and turn hearts to His way of transformation instead of shouting people down for their errors and shaming them in their brokenness.
In this beautiful way, justice advances—until the time comes when Jesus will no longer restrain Himself.
How can you honor Jesus as the one who will bring justice?
The time is short, and the end of the age is upon us. If you want to go deeper in this subject, I encourage you to pick up my latest book, The Nations Rage: Prayer, Promise, and Power in an Anti-Christian Age. You can order it today at Forerunner Bookstore.
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David Sliker has been a senior leader at the International House of Prayer Missions Base in Kansas City, Missouri, for the past 20 years. Ministering and serving with his wife, Tracey, and their four children, Riley, Lauren, Daniel, and Finney, David’s primary ministry calling is as an intercessor. Additionally, he ministers internationally, equipping saints in prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, passion for the Word of God, and the proclamation of Jesus’ return. He is the president of International House of Prayer University, where he teaches about prayer and intimacy with Jesus, missions, biblical studies, and the return of Jesus. He is the author of End-Times Simplified: Preparing Your Heart for the Coming Storm, The Nations Rage: Prayer, Promise, and Power in an Anti-Christian Age, and The Triumph of Beauty: God’s Radiant Answer to the World’s Growing Darkness.