The Bible makes reference to two kinds of justice: one in the Old Testament, and another in the New Testament: the righteousness of the law of Jehovah, and the righteousness of faith in Jesus Christ. These two justices are incompatible. There is no relationship between the two of them. The justice of the law consists in the accomplishment of the commandments of Jehovah, which were given on Mount Sinai. Jehovah said: “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my ordinances; which if a man does, he shall live in them: I am Jehovah” (Lev. 18:5). On these subject, the prophet Ezekiel says: “The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him” (Ezek. 18:20). This proves that the justice of the law was dependent on the accomplishment and obedience to the law of Jehovah.
The justice of the faith does not include the obedience to the law and to the statutes of Jehovah, but asks for faith in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the love of the sinners. This is the righteousness of the faith, which excludes the works of the law. In the law, man receives the credit granted for his good works; in the faith, Christ Jesus receives the merits.
Jehovah says: “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth, who does good and doesn’t sin” (Eccl. 7:20). And Paul confirms: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins, he shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). Therefore, it was impossible for the Israelite to be justified by the law of Jehovah.
Paul, comparing the two justices, said: “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who didn’t follow after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, didn’t arrive at the law of righteousness. Why? Because they didn’t seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Rom. 9:30-32).
Let us analyze a few points of the law of Jehovah:
1. It is written in the law: “I, Jehovah your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me” (Ex. 20:5). As a result of this determination of the law, Isaiah says: “Prepare for slaughter of his children because of the iniquity of their fathers, that they not rise up and possess the earth, and fill the surface of the world with cities” (Is. 14:21). But in the book of Deuteronomy we read something different: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deut. 24:16). Where is the truth? Is it in Ex. 20:5 or Deut. 24:16? Where is justice found?
2. It is written in the law: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant” (Ex. 20:17). In the book of Deuteronomy we read something else: “When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and Jehovah your God delivers them into your hands, and you carry them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you have a desire to her, and would take her to you as wife; then you shall bring her home to your house” (Deut. 21:10-12). Either Jehovah has two measures, or he is a respecter of persons.
3. Jehovah says in his law: “You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife: it is your brother’s nakedness” (Lev. 18:16). In the books of the law Jehovah commands something different: “If brothers dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside to a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in to her, and take her to him as wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her” (Deut. 25:5). In the book of Leviticus he forbids men to uncover the nakedness of his fellowmen, and does he, in the book of Deuteronomy, command to uncover the nakedness of the dead brother so that the son that is born can be a child to the deceased? (Deut. 25:5-6). If a son was so important, why did Jehovah the Almighty El Shaddai let the man die without children, thus creating a situation that forced his brother to break the law? Where is the justice of the law?
4. In the Decalogue, the sixth commandment says: “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13; 31:18; Deut. 9:10). And, as the mentioned texts say, the commandments were written by the finger of the god Jehovah. However, in the book of Deuteronomy, in the second law of Jehovah, we read: “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend, who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, you, nor your fathers; of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near to you, or far off from you, from the one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth; you shall not consent to him, nor listen to him; neither shall your eye pity him, neither shall you spare, neither shall you conceal him: but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he has sought to draw you away from Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Deut. 13:6-10). Shall you kill, or shall you not? What is the criterion of justice? Could not the faithful brother have tried to gain his stray brother as Jesus commands in the gospel of Mathew? “If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector. Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will have been released in heaven” (Matt. 18:15-18).
Jehovah, besides giving two contrary commandments, which jeopardizes the most elementary principles of justice, forces a brother to coldly kill his brother, or his son, or his daughter, without a chance of repentance. This is why the law was canceled, because of its weakness and inutility (for the law has never perfected anything) Heb. 7:18-19.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira