As I was preparing a sermon on the martyrdom of Stephen recently, I was struck by the recurring theme of injustice. Of course, the ultimate injustice was the murder of God incarnate at Calvary.
Movies often show great injustices in order to prime the audience to empathize with the victim and identify with the hero who avenges the wrong. In a movie, we can see that resolution within an hour or two, but we know that is not how things often work. Even Scripture notes the recurring cry for justice, even from the martyrs in Paradise: “How long, Oh Lord…” (Ps. 89:46, Rev. 6:10).
The portrayals of injustice in Scripture are not intended as motivational in nature but rather theological. They teach us the nature of man in rebellion against God. They demonstrate the nature and direction of sin and contrast man’s sinful nature with the righteousness of God.
Without a belief in the certainty of God’s will being done in earth as it is in heaven, we could become very discouraged. Some year ago, the Back to the Future movie series made an important point. If you could change one thing in history (i.e. play god), you would change many other things. A partial, occasional god is an impossibility. Sovereign total predestination and total Providence is necessary, and only the God of Scripture can be that ruler of all men and all things.
The world seems like it is out of control at times. It is not; God just allows elements of it to self-destruct at times (Rom. 1). The injustices of men will all be resolved in the total justice of our righteous God. We don’t know what is best. God does, and His Providential government is moving to a time when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.
How long? Be patient.