Proverbs in 365 Devotions

Proverbs 18:5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice.


Justice and Impartiality

R Aylor

This is a great verse. It is straightforward. There is no apparent puzzle to what Solomon says. It probably needs no exposition… But let’s pause briefly on its simplicity… To the best of my knowledge, some sense of justice… some system of justice is built into every Nation… every peoples in the world. But… at the same time… in this broken world, no process for justice is 100% effective. Evil slips through the cracks even in the best judicious structure. I think it’s clear to all that there are times when evil gets rewarded and righteousness is punished,… I suspect much more often than we know. I mean, just think about it when you watch forensic files or cold case documentaries.

We live in a culture where many think the definition of justice is to weigh the balance of the wrong committed with the good things that person has done. When Martha Stewart was found guilty in things related to insider trading she seemed to want the Judge to consider all the good she has done for others before sentencing her.

Look, God wants us to do good deeds sure... good deeds of righteousness… but good works do not make us innocent on judgment day.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Did you notice in that passage that our rescue from sin does not come from our works… but rather we… ourselves, have become Gods work in Christ Jesus… and notice it is for good works.

So yes again God wants us to do good works but they must be motivated or quickened by God who is the one working in our heart.

This is His grace at work… so we cannot boast or brag.

So back to our text: Proverbs 18:5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice.

I think Solomon is simply saying we should not favor the wicked in order to benefit ourselves… we should be just… that kind of partiality is commonplace in politics… we should not favor the rich over the poor because they are rich… we should not favor one race over another… all these things and more… God wants us to be just.

Though this text is uncomplicated… I think it points us to something greater.

God wants us to take on his attributes… not all the attributes that belong to him as God alone like being sovereign and omnipotent but rather attributes of his character… things like Agape love and patience, mercy, kindness, compassion and many more including to be just and impartial as our text says.

Now… herein lies the problem: Our hearts are bent on sinning and the standard God will use on Judgment Day will be today's text: “It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice”… and we are all wicked in ourselves.

Though we are all unrighteous sinners there is good news. It is that for all who look to him in faith as the Ephesians passage indicates… We will be declared innocent on Judgment Day.  He died for us and then defeated death that we might walk in newness of life with victory over sin…

But Jesus who died and rose for us imputes his righteousness to all who delight in him and we are made just before God… And he begins a work in us for his glory.