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 Practicing Justice: Equivalent of Knowing God?
E. René Padilla

"The practice of justice is at the center of God's purpose  for human life. It is so closely related to the worship of the living God as the only true God that no act of worship is acceptable to him unless it is accompanied by concrete acts of justice on the human level. Micah 6:8, which may be regarded as a synthesis of Old Testament ethics, points in this direction: 'He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly before your God.' ...

Because God is a God of justice, in any situation in which power is misused and the powerful take advantage of the weak, god takes the side of the weak. In concrete terms, that means God is for the oppressed and against the oppressor, for the exploited and against the exploiter, for the victim and against the victimizer. ... In summary, God's justice is a corrective, remedial, restorative justice (Ps.9:9, 18; 103:6; 11:5-6). ...

Among the many that could be quoted from Scripture, the passages from Jeremiah (21:12; 22:13-17) should be sufficient to lead us to the following conclusions:

First, God demands that the power-holders practice justice in their personal lives as well as in their exercise of government. In no way is power given to them for their own benefit.

Second, the practice of justice is closely related to God's special concern for the poor, represented in the Jeremiah passages , as in may other Old Testament passages, by the alien, the orphan, and the widow - in one word, the powerless.

Third, the knowledge of God is so closely related to the practice of justice that the following question can be legitimately raised: could practicing justice be equivalent to knowing God?"

Padilla is long term Evangelical writer and leader for social justice from Argentina. "God's Call to do Justice" in The Justice Project edited by Brian McLaren, Elisa Padilla and Ashley Seeber, Baker Books, 2009, 23-4,28.

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