Justice — The Heart Of Resurrection

Do we care for justice?

Mark Raja
6 min readMar 31, 2024
© www.wearenomads.co.uk

Do we truly care for justice in our communities? By that, I mean treating others with dignity and fairness even when it costs me? It is very likely that we will not talk about injustices until we are on the receiving end of it. Or someone we identify with is affected by it.

If you get a chance to visit a prison, you may see a section for the under-trial (judicial custody) who are waiting for their trial. Many innocents are forced to spend months or years there until they are proven innocent. Their future in many ways has turned bleak even after they are released. You would have heard some accounts of those who even served life imprisonment even when they were innocent.

On the other hand, we know many offenders free in broad daylight repeating their crimes fearlessly. Their victims, mostly the powerless, are crushed with no hope for justice. Some put on a legal fight if possible, others quietly carry that pain and some unfortunately end their life. A few may even take revenge.

Why do we long for justice?

It is normal for a guppy mother fish to eat its fry, for a panda to abandon one of the twin cubs, or for a tiger to eat a spotted deer. We don’t call them unjust or evil. But when humans do this, we call it unjust. Even those who say morality is relative and that we are nothing but animals do not want to be treated unjustly. Why so?

That is because we are not merely animals. The Bible says we are made in the image of God. That means we are made to reflect God’s nature and rule this world eternally as his representatives by God’s definition of good and evil. This identity is the bedrock of the Bible’s view of justice.

All humans are equal before God and have the right to be treated with dignity and fairness, no matter who they are. So, anything we do against our fellow human beings is an offence against God.

But, why do we behave so?

Being in the image of God also means we are free to think and choose our actions. That means we are not programmed to do only good, we are made free to choose good. But from the beginning, Man chose to violate God’s image by constantly redefining good and evil to his own advantage at the expense of others.

The stronger take advantage of the weaker. This happens within families, communities and across nations.

Our selfishness, envy, hate, violence, etc., lead to suffering and death. We have lost God’s eternal life in us. Now what can restore our calling as God’s image-bearers?

Can our judicial system truly bring justice?

Our conventional justice system is retributive. When an injustice is committed, the guilty one faces just punishment and the innocent is released. This is an ideal scenario, and we know the reality. But even if that happens, will it restore peace?

When we hear of some heinous crime like rape or cold murder, we cry for justice. We demand the life of the guilty or at least life imprisonment. This may be the right thing to do, but will that fully satisfy our longing for justice?

On the contrary, the humanist view of justice is an abandonment of justice. It views crime as not an offence against a law, but an act of a misguided psyche. Its answer is not just punishment, but therapy.

What other options do we have?

If our world is a product of time plus matter plus chance, there is no room for justice and mercy. All this is part of this meaningless life that ends in death.

If we have multiple rebirths, will the human condition change? Do we see any sign of it? Unfortunately, we see injustice and violence glaring at our eyes at every turn.

Forgiving our offenders or seeking forgiveness from the victim is good but it does not justify the injustice done. Because injustice is not just committed against the person but against God whose image the victim carries.

It is only God who can forgive and restore our calling as image bearers if he wishes to. The good news is, he wishes to do so. Therefore, in the Bible, justice mostly refers to restorative justice, not just retributive

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So what is restorative justice?

God became man and walked on this earth two thousand years ago in Palestine because he was the promised Messiah of the Jewish people. He taught about the coming kingdom of heaven where he is going to restore righteousness, justice, and peace on earth. God, who wants to heal the world broken from violence and death, was killed by his own people violently even after the Roman governor declared him innocent.

They crucified him on the cross among two other thieves. All three are going to die in a few hours. Both the thieves were guilty of their crimes. But one thief shouted at Jesus saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” He did not want justice, nor forgiveness for his crime, he wanted to escape death, whereas the other thief accepted the judgement and his death because he was guilty, but he sought mercy and restoration beyond death. For mercy to have its full impact justice must come first. For justice to be complete, and the accused to be set free, a price needs to be paid.

God’s way of restoring justice is not by removing death. Then it is injustice. We all deserve death for the injustice we have committed. No man is sinless. But will the death of the accused satisfy justice and acquit him? No, retributive justice cannot set the accused free. However, letting us die for our sins without restoration is not what God desires because we are made in the image of God.

But to restore true justice, mercy and peace, God who is sinless took the form of man and chose to be violently crucified as a sacrifice to pay the penalty on our behalf to redeem/absorb/forgive all violence ever committed (our sins) so that through his death and resurrection, he can offer resurrection life for those who seek it just like the second thief.

If Jesus was not crucified there would be no redemption for sins and possibility of eternal life.

What do we mean by resurrection?

Resurrection is restorative justice because God’s image is fully restored in us and death is conquered. Christ’s resurrection is not merely a spiritual reality that one will experience after death, nor a mere coming back to life. Christ was raised as a new creation with an imperishable body.

Resurrection is the union of heaven and earth. We are united again in God even while we live in our perishible bodies. God is in us, now and forever. We become God’s temple to do righteousness and justice. When Christ appears even after our death, we rise transformed into imperishable bodies just like him in a renewed earth.

© Britannica.com

Kintsugi grace

Like a kintsugi master mends a broken bowl with gold and lacquer to make it into a new bowl, more beautiful and valuable than its former unbroken state. God of justice will restore us as his image bearers with dignity and honour through his resurrection. Justice & grace is at the heart of resurrection.

You may not believe in God, and even if you believe in God you may not believe in Jesus or his resurrection. That is OK, there is enough written to study and validate these claims. Whatever it may be, our cry for justice is a sure sign of the higher purpose we are called to live. Only in Christ’s death (forgiveness) and resurrection (new creation), our dignity and eternal life is fully restored. Isn’t that amazing?



Mark Raja

I mostly write to clarify my understanding. You will find my articles on themes like beauty, faith, hope, culture, and common good.