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Vigilante Justice?

Briefing: Is vigilante justice ok? Do you like watching Batman movies? Don’t get me wrong, I think Batman is cool but the cartoon character is a vigilante. It may look good and sell tickets at the movie theater but vigilante justice is wrong.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Romans 9:30-33.

On the Street: You cannot rush justice; there is a system in place that gives citizens due process. In the Old West, people would be hung on the spot for crimes that they were accused of. In the old western movie, Hang ‘Em High, Clint Eastwood’s character was suspected of killing a rancher and stealing his cattle. He was stopped by a vigilante group of cowboys who hung him and left him for dead. Clint survived, was vindicated, and tracked down the real murderers. It showed the fallacy of vigilante justice.

What does this have to do with faith and works? Just like vigilante justice is not a means to an end, works by themselves are not a means to an end either (the end being heaven). We cannot leave the court system out of the justice system. This country was founded on a system of justice that gives all people due process. Due Process is the official and proper way of doing things in a legal case; the rule that a legal case must be done in a way that protects the rights of all the people involved.

As Christians we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ. Once we have been saved there is a requirement to do good works. Prior to the faith, our works are worthless. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

In Romans Paul says, if you are a Christ follower, you have a righteousness that is by faith. This righteousness by faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior is your hope and salvation. Back in chapter four, verse 6, Paul wrote, “David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works”. Jumping ahead to Romans 10:3, “Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

We are sinful, unrighteous human beings. No amount of works can make us righteous enough to get into heaven. We cannot work our way into heaven as it is a free gift from God. We accept His gift by putting our faith in His only son, Jesus Christ. When we do this, we are declared righteous by faith.

Investigational Resources: Galatians 3:10, Titus 3:5 and Acts 4:12.

Officer Safety Principle: Do not discount your good works. They are required. The difference in your works is dependent on what side of the line you are standing. Are you with Christ or against Him?

from The Book of Romans Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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