October 24, 1993
Many times in Scripture, the Spirit may make only one obvious reference to a point, even though the law
established in the one mention of that point is in continual operation throughout history. If that one mention is
quickly read, the implication of the point may be missed. But when the implications of that point are
developed, the root cause of many serious problems can be revealed and dealt with.
There are many such short statements scattered throughout the Word of God. The Books of Psalms and Proverbs have an abundance of these short, concise statements that many times are quickly glanced over, e.g. Pro 8:36. There is such a statement in the Book of Proverbs that, when its implications are understood, will help us understand what we see around us in the current perversion of justice: Pro 17:15, He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord. [Justifieth, declare righteous BDB, p 842. Wicked, one guilty of crime, deserving punishment BDB, 957 Condemneth, condemns as guilty, in civil relations, BDB, 957.Just, just in one's cause, right, BDB, 843.]
Even a superficial reading of this verse tells us that, basically, justice is reversed, the judicial system is dissolved. The wicked person deserving punishment is justified, avoiding punishment. Conversely, the just, who is Biblically correct in his actions, is found guilty in civil relations. Thus he is punished as though he were wicked. The wise man could not have better described the total reverse of justice now evident in our judicial system.
No doubt all who read this will agree that justice is now, more often than not, reversed so that the just person is condemned and the wickedperson justified.
But we should not read this passage superficially any more than we should read any other passage superficially. Notice two points about the Spirit's words:
First, the order of the wording. The Spirit does not make mistakes as He orders His words, so notice who is mentioned first: those who justify the wicked (deserving punishment). Then the Spirit mentions those who find the just guilty.
Second, the common judgment. God holds both classes of persons equally guilty before Himself with the word and. Both people are an abomination to the Lord.
The logical conclusion, then, is that justifying the wicked, not only is equal to, but, by being listed first, actually leads to the condemnation of the just.
Let me illustrate:
It is surprising how much evil can be justified and how much the Word of God can be quietly compromised (unknown to the average listener) to "protect the guilty," if the guilty party is a good giver!
Furthermore, I know of pastors who have gone to great length to justify evil in their own children, especially if they have church schools. I have been told of pastors who, when confronted with their children's evil activities deserving punishment, refused to believe and/or act upon the reported evil activity. (Of course, this lack of action against evil includes lack of action against the evil deeds of "important people's" children in the school.)
Church schools offer ideal situations for justifying the wicked, e.g.,school standards are established, yet they are not enforced consistently. I found this to be a problem here years ago: kids in the school carried on like the heathens they were, but I was prohibited by the "board" from enforcing the school's standard against the boys' wickedness. We no longer have the school or the "board."
Thus the pastor (& church "leaders") justifieth the wicked, especially if it is his own children.
How many church members have had the Spirit point out wickedness (defined as violation of God's word, Pro 28:13, 14; 1 Jn 3:4 & Ja 4:17) in their lives as they heard the preaching of the law-word of God? Upon hearing, they might even admit to the Spirit's revelation, but they cling to any hope to justify their evil; they refuse to face facts which require responsible action.
How many justify in their own hearts their cold indifference to the command-word of God: they cannot pray, read their Bible; tithe; be faithful to a local, Bible-believing and teaching assembly; recognize and live by the Sovereignty of God in every area, &c.? The church member justifieth the wickedness lurking in his own heart while he says "Amen" in the pew.
The average person:
Anyone who has talked to or been around other parents has found a common trait of refusing to condemn the wicked and demanding just punishment for evil deeds in them.
We all know of parents who, out of misunderstood love, justify evil actions of their children. (Do we justify evil?) According to Scripture, un-Biblical deeds of children deserve retribution, but the parents will use almost anything to justify their children's immorality, anger, rebellion, disobedience, &c. The parents may even continue to support their children in their on-going practice of immorality and wickedness of all kinds. (I know of one set of parents who provided a house for their daughter and her boyfriend in which to practice their fornication ["live together"].)
Parents justifieth the wicked deeds of their children.
Though the above illustrations centered around children (kids will be kids, or even, I don't what my child to miss out on "fun" while they are young), the practice of justifying wickedness on a personal level permeates every area of thought and action.
Observe the second part of this passage:
Pro 17:15, He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.
Condemneth the just... The judge or magistrate is to be a minister of God to thee for good, Rom 13:4. Obviously, justice at the end of the 20th Century is seriously transposed, viz., the magistrate is now, by and large, a minister of evil to the just and a minister of good to the wicked. According to the Word of God, the judge or magistrate is always to render just, righteous judgment according to God's law.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that modern "justice" has no consistency whatsoever. The wickedness of one person may be justified, while, on the other hand, the same type of wickedness of another is sorely punished. There is now no justice for anyone, whether they are guilty or not.
The law of God exposes the problem, Ex 23:1-8:
First, vv. 1-3, proper justice is commanded; second, vv. 4, 5, proper actions toward thine enemy is commanded third vv. 6-8, proper justice is reiterated.
Thus located between two passages commanding and explaining proper judgment (proper justice condemns the wicked, justifies the just), is a passage concerning godly action toward an enemy.
The connection is obvious, viz., can we expect proper actions toward us as individuals from the judge or magistrate if we fail to exhibit proper actions toward an enemy? (Careful, do not read more into vv. 4 & 5 than is present, but that is not our study at this time.)
Are there people, even within the community of faith, that we are at odds with and we would avoid obeying vv. 4 & 5 toward? Does not the Lord promise that we will reap what we sow, Gal 6:7?
Ex 23 implies that we will reap from the judge what we sow toward our enemy. Therefore, if we harbor anger, bitterness and hatred toward someone (especially a brother in the faith), we can fully expect the same anger, bitterness and hatred toward us from a civil magistrate.
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 9) Do we rail against our fellow man when Michael refused to rail even against the devil? When we rail against others, no matter who they are or what they have done, we can expect to receive railing back from others, e.g., the magistrate.
The Word of God
The immediate cause for abolishing Israel's Theocracy was Samuel's justification of the wickedness of his own house, 1 Sam 8:1-5. (Certainly, the Lord told Samuel that the actual reason for the people's desire for a king was their rejection of the Lord as their King. But how much of the people's rebellion against the rule of God was brought about by Samuel's rebellion against the rule of God in his own family?)
Ahab's house was destroyed because the just man, Naboth, was condemned, 1 Kg 21:19. But when we read closely the passage, we must not overlook the fact that the men of the city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, v. 11. Jezebel found a ready and willing populace to do her evil bidding to condemn the just.
John 7:24, the Lord clearly told us to judge righteous judgment. Righteous judgment involves proper action toward our enemy, toward thewicked and toward the just.
Furthermore, it is very important to note that when the Word of God is rejected by men (both inside and outside the "church"), the natural result is justification of the wicked, John 18:40.
Society's perversion of justice is so obvious and prevalent that it hardly needs illustration. What we must do, though, is see that what persists among the body of Christ, the church, will eventually find its way to the civil magistrate. If there is no justice for our enemy according to the Word of God, if there is no justice for the wickedness in our lives and homes according to the Word of God, then we are assured by the Word of God that the righteous will be condemned by the civil magistrate.
If justice according to God's law-word is lacking among professed Christians, what can we expect from the pagan judges?
But on the other hand, when the church again seeks after justice, starting in its own house, the civil judicial system will return to justice. The return of civil justice will be a long, slow, arduous process because its corruption did not develop overnight. But every one can work toward its correction by starting at the personal level.
1 Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin] at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?