It is our utmost responsibility to be justified in the eyes of our God. There are two things we must focus on to be justified. Faith and works. Let us dive a little deeper into both of these principles, beginning with works.
But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right; If he has not eaten on the mountains, Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, Nor approached a woman during her impurity; If he has not oppressed anyone, But has restored to the debtor his pledge; Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing; If he has not exacted usury Nor taken any increase, But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true judgment between man and man; If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully— He is just; He shall surely live!” Says the Lord God.Ezek. 18:5-9
To be just, you must refrain from eating in the mountains. However, it would be unwise to take this at face value without first understanding the context. When Ezekiel walked on the earth, a great deal of idol worship was done in high places (Lev. 26:30; Num. 33:52; Deut. 12:2; 1 Kin. 12:25-32; 14:23; 22:43; 2 Kin 12:3; 14:4; 15:4); in other words, on mountains. God is telling us not to eat sacrificial meals prepared for heathen gods.
God himself takes a stand against those who commit such sins (Ezek. 22:9, 14). You are a soldier for Christ (Rom. 13:11-14; Eph. 6:10-20; 1 Thess. 5:6-10; Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 2:3-4) and as such must not allow idols to take the place of God. By committing idolatry, you are putting yourself in direct opposition to God. You become His enemy.
All false worship is spiritual adultery. The second precept, which forbids false worship, is also a command to worship God, and Him only serve. The Lord is a jealous God. He will not Be trifled with. He has spoken concerning the manner in which He should be worshiped. He has a hatred of idolatry; for its influence is corrupting. It debases the mind, and leads to sensuality and all kinds of sin.1BC 1106.3
There are several verses instructing men to keep away from women during their menstrual cycle with punishments as severe as death (Lev. 20:18). Before Jesus died on the cross, the Jewish people were required to keep the ceremonial laws. While they were in effect, blood was sacred. Men had to keep away from women during their impurity because of the symbolic value placed on blood. However, Jesus Christ was the final sacrifice. With His death, the sacrificial system is no longer in effect (Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:24-26).
In as much as the Lord commands you to give Him all the respect He is due as your maker and your God, you are also commanded to show kindness to your fellow man, especially the poor in Christ.
He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.Prov. 14:31
Did you catch that? You honor God by having mercy on the needy. You are also instructed not to oppress the fatherless, widows, or foreigners (Ex. 22:22; Zech. 7:10). It is our charge to rebuke the oppressor and defend the oppressed (Is. 1:17). You must protect those in need of protection. Our God will break the oppressor in twain (Ps. 72:4).
To be just, you must also show kindness; be righteous toward your fellow man. If a sister in the church bumps into your car and she gives you a down payment for the damages enquire where that money is coming from. If the money she gave you was necessary for her to get to work or put food on the table, you will surely give it back. You ought to be patient with her until she can return what she owes (Ex. 22:26; Deut. 6, 10-14).
Ezekiel writes from the Lord saying you must not rob anyone by violence (Ezek. 18:7). This does not need to be elaborated upon because it is written, Thou shalt not steal (Ex. 20:15).
To be just, you must be charitable and kind. Do not withdraw your hand from doing good when see the poor. Share your food with the hungry and cover the naked. When possible, bring home those who have been cast aside (Is. 58:7). God, Himself commands us to open our hands wide to our brothers in Christ, to our poor and needy (Deut. 15:7. 11). When showing kindness your heart must not be grievous. God will bless you in all your works for your acts of charity (Deut. 15:10-11).
We are God’s servants, doing His service. Into the great web of life we are to draw no thread of selfishness; for this would spoil the pattern.1BC 1118.7
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?1 John 4:20
God expects us to be more charitable the more he blesses us with the treasures of this world. Do not be haughty. Do good and trust in God. Be rich in good works (1 Tim. 6:17-18; 1 John 3:17). Give to those who ask of you, do not turn them away. No, do not ask them to return it (Matt. 5:42; Luke 6:30). Know that the rich and poor has this in common, that the Lord is the maker of us all (Prov. 22:2).
To be just, you must love even your enemies – those who plot to cause you harm. Give to them that they have what they need. God will reward you. Be merciful like our Father above (Luke 6:35-36).
I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’Matt. 25:35-40
When you take in a brother or a sister, you should not charge them usury. Charge them an appropriate rate with no interest. Do not charge interest on the money you lend them or food at a profit. By showing compassion, God will bless you (Ex. 22:25; Lev. 25:35-37; Deut. 23:19-20).
Do not be someone who put their money out at usury or take bribes against the innocent. If you refrain from evil, you shall never be moved. However, you will be rebuked should you fall into greed and corruption (Neh. 5:7; Ps. 15:5). Those who take a bribe against the innocent will be cursed, meaning God will punish them either in this life or the hell to come (Deut.10:17; 27:25).
To be just, you must withdraw your hands from iniquity; a want for sin (Ezekiel 18:30-31). To withdraw your hand from iniquity, you need to repent and turn away from your transgressions. From iniquity, you gain vanity; a sense of pride and emptiness. If you allow it, iniquity will be your destruction (Proverbs 22:8). You must lay aside all transgressions so God can give you a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26).
It is not everyone’s duty to be a judge but we all must pass judgment. If someone comes to you for judgment, you should hear them out (Deut. 1:16; Zech. 8:16). Show mercy and compassion in judgment. Do not oppress anyone nor let wickedness cloud your judgment (Zech. 7:9-10).
“Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.”2 Chr. 19:6
Do not judge anyone based on appearances and refrain from showing partiality (Deut. 10:17; Proverbs 24:23-26; John 7:24). By showing partiality, you become a transgressor of the law (James 2:1, 9). As stated earlier, God will be with you in judgment. But he will be a swift sword against those who pervert His righteousness (Mal. 3:5).
To be just do not be a hypocrite. Practice what you preach. Remember to walk in God’s statutes. Keep all of His laws and ordinances that are in effect. Live by them (Ezek. 20:21). You will be held accountable for your sins and will suffer the penalty of everlasting death if you continue in transgression (Ezek. 18:20). You are liable for keeping all of God’s Holy law, not a few. He who falls on one point is guilty of all (James 2:10-11). Nevertheless, God desires to give you eternal life (Romans 6:23).
Be just in your actions and in your judgments. Also, remember to love your neighbor. If someone you know is in transgression, warn them. Do not let them die in their sins. For if they die and you do not warn them then you will be held accountable for their death (Ezek. 3:18; Ezek. 33:6).
There are two sides to the coin. Being just does not only mean having just actions, it also means living by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17).
The righteousness of Christ is revealed from faith to faith; that is, from your present faith to an increased understanding of that faith which works by love and purifies the soul.6BC 1067.5
You must have faith in the promises God has made. Faith and works act in harmony with each other. If you practice one without also practicing the other, then your faith is dead (James 2:15-16). Think back to Nehemiah 5:7. Nehemiah put a great deal of thought into the actions of the Israelites and how he would instruct them. He had faith that God would convict their hearts of their sins. Because of Nehemiah’s works and faith that day, God was able to reach the Israelites (Neh. 5:12).
Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”Heb. 10:38
Have confidence in the promises of God and build endurance doing His will. Your journey will not be an easy one but exceedingly rewarding (Heb. 10:35-36).
Another form of drawing back is having too much confidence in your abilities. The things that we are unable to do God will do for us. Have faith and allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within you (Gal. 3:11).
When in doubt, remember this verse:
For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.Prov. 24:16