Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Isaiah 45:21-22
Justice in Our Bones
A sense of justice is in our bones. The doctrine of total depravity does not mean that we believe that man is without any sort of “moral compass”; rather, we hold that by the fall man’s so-called moral compass is now incapable of pointing true north (to continue the metaphor).
Every human has a sense of repulsion at the more grotesque moments of human history: genocides, cannibalism, ISIS beheadings, chemical agents released on civilians, etc. We know, somewhere within us that there is a difference between justice and injustice, or to say it another way, we have an instinctive desire to affirm there is good and evil.
Due to the fall, however, our perception and judgement of determining good and evil is itself tainted by evil and is ever calibrated (to return to the compass metaphor) 38º off, so that even when we attempt to enforce justice, we inevitably will miscarry justice. In order to define justice and injustice, good and evil, we must ask where is the standard which will inform us with definitions, and guide our conscience.
Humans, left to themselves, will ever wander between polar extremes of morality. Either they will insist on legalistic tyranny, taking the form of government bureaucracy passing laws for what sort of toothpaste you must use. Or else it will descend into sensual anarchy, taking the form of lawless subjectivism.
Only by faith in the One True God, as revealed in the world, the Word, and most clearly, the Word made flesh, can we ever be “put right”. This is called repentance, and the first step is admitting that our polarity is willfully in rebellion to the North Pole of God Almighty. Otherwise, we will be left wandering in the desert of carnal lust, or in the padded cell of self-righteousness.