Justice in an Unjust World

The Cry for Justice
Ecclesiastes 3:16-22
“I said to myself, “’God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,’ for a time for every matter and for every deed is there.”

People cry for justice today. Yet the more people seek justice, the more injustice seems to reign.  However, this is nothing new.  The fall of humanity resulted in the corruptive presence of sin at all levels of humanity, even in the one or two places where righteousness should still be found:  the halls of government (“place of justice”)  and the house of God (“place of righteousness”).  God has ordained the government to be the guardians of justice in the world (Romans 13:1-5) and his house to promote righteousness.  Yet today, we see the opposite.  Instead of establishing laws to restrain and punish evil, the government is endorsing evil.  Righteousness is attacked while wickedness is promoted.  Instead of the church preaching God's righteousness and moral law, many are rejecting the truth of God and promoting the very things God condemns. We live in an Alice in Wonderland world where wrong has become right, and right has become wrong.  However, even as Solomon laments this reality in his time, he reminds us that it will not always remain this way.  While sinful man corrupts the institutions established to promote justice, God will bring final judgment upon the earth, and his judgment will be just (vs. 17).
This future justice is foreshadowed by the reality of death (vs. 19).  We are reminded that, ultimately, all humanity will face the same fate (vs. 20).  The just and the wicked are both under its power.  In terms of our life, we are no different than the beasts of the field for we all face the reality of death.  Death becomes the great leveler of humanity.  But in this reality, we are reminded that there is still a difference between humanity and the beasts of the field (vs. 21).  The fundamental difference, and the difference that should cause us to stop and evaluate our life, is what happens after death.  Death brings the end of existence for the animals.  They return to the earth to be remembered no more.  But this is not true of humanity.  Man, created in God’s image, ascends upward to heaven, where he will face the perfect justice of God.  We are to recognize that we are immortal and will give an account to God on the day of judgment.  It is at this final judgment that justice is fully realized.
Recognizing that God will bring justice by judging sin and rewarding the righteous, we can enjoy life in the present instead of living in despair and frustration. Despite the injustices we see in the present, life is still a gift from God (vs 22).  Instead of getting frustrated and angry over the injustice we see in the world, we can look beyond the present and rest in the fact that, in the end, God will establish righteousness and will bring judgment upon those who have corrupted judgment.  As long as sin is still present, we will see the distortion of righteousness.  Sin will still be celebrated while righteousness is condemned.  But this is not the end of the story, for Christ will return and rectify all things.  In light of this, we can still enjoy our life, for it is still a gift from God.  We do not know what will happen tomorrow (vs 22), but we know God does.  Do you become angry and discouraged because of the injustice we see in the world?  Solomon reminds us to have hope, for God will restore all things.  Therefore, we are to live in the present, living righteously before God and promoting His kingdom and righteousness. In the end, God will reward the righteous and judge the wicked.  

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