Justice and Righteousness

Thinking Out Loud with Dave Nienhuis

Professor of New Testament Studies at Seattle Pacific University


When I think about justice, I think about God making things right, right? This is why we call it righteousness, right? It’s about God making things right. So I can’t help but think of those things together, right? We, again because we’ve been trained to be individualized, right, we tend to think, well we’ve got this relationship with God, and that’s individual. And then I’ve got this relationship with others, and that’s somehow social. And so when I think about justice, I think about the social part not about the relationship with God part. And then when I think about righteous, I think about the God part, I don’t necessarily think about the social part, right? But in the scripture, those are completely overlapping realities. Justification is the verbal form in Greek of the word righteous. So to be righteous, to participate in righteousness is to participate in God’s justice, in a more just world. It’s about making things right.

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