The Law of God, expressed in His Covenants, is the measure of justice.
The fundamental question is: Who has been offended? When one has answered this question, all other issues have already been decided. Once we as children of His covenant household recognize God as the One to whom all are indebted as Creator of all things, the path to restoring justice has already been settled.
Western Civilization on this point is particularly pernicious and false. The ancient Germanic tribal mythology says that justice is a matter of either offense to the individual, or offense against the State. The State is now the stand-in for the Western feudal lord who owned everyone within the boundaries of his physical domain. The State is absolutist in this. But the sense of personal offense remains a critical part of the Anglo-American sense of justice, and figures into the punitive nature of State-approved justice.
Thus, the Western habit of making punitive justice a torment and overwhelming sense of doom on the guilty party serves only to create yet another victim demanding redress. This is how criminals are hardened, since the State clearly rejects them forever and permits no path for return to society. One who has sinned against the State, even when it is merely a proxy for personal offense, is doomed forever. The penalties follow them to the grave.
This sets up the false dichotomy of allowing some to get off Scott free because the State needs them for some reason. The other half of that mythology is demanding that “Christians” forgive the most heinous crimes, as if this is actually what God demands. That brand of “heroic forgiveness” is a blasphemous lie, because it rests on pagan mythology.
This is not the biblical approach. The issue in the Bible is that all offense is against God. There is no crime against persons, and the State is not permitted as a proxy in any way. The mere existence of the State is an offense against God, because the fundamental nature of divine justice is that everything is personal. Pretending to make things impersonal (under the guise of objectivity) and enthroning human reason as the demigod of justice is blasphemous. All justice is personal. Justice is a personal attribute of God as Creator, the ultimate Person of persons. Everything rests on His divine moral character, woven into the fabric of reality.
Furthermore, all property is personal in God’s eyes. Everything on this earth is either granted by God or it is stolen. Everything is held in feudal service to the Lord. Thus, justice of material things is restoring God’s dominion; it means restoring things to whom He granted them for the sake of His rule.
We then take all cases to Him for justice. Even in the heat of physical battle, we trust in Him to deliver our opponents in our hands, or accept defeat for His glory, or simply maintain a balance or standoff. Resolution is whatever God says it is. The Covenant of Noah flatly states that blood demands a price; there must be a restoration of divine justice. That price may vary with the context, but no one gets off without making amends or seeking to restore what they took. But it is handled as a divine debt, not as some personal retribution. God is the one who determines justice. He is unfailing in His promise to speak to our hearts about what divine justice means.
Furthermore, divine justice itself is reflected in the tribal feudal structure of government. This is the fundamental requirement of Noah’s Covenant, which now applies to all humanity for so long as there are rainbows in the sky. In Genesis, rainbows and rain came after the Fall, so the Covenant of the Rainbow (Noah) stands until the redemption of all things at Christ’s Return. No government has any business poking into your daily life unless that government is your family by blood or covenant. There can be no justice in God’s eyes under any other system of government.
Our duty under the Covenant of Christ (Biblical Law), which includes Noah, is to strive to the extent He makes possible the standard of justice in the Bible. We tolerate human governments as the result of God’s inscrutable cattle herding, but we never forget that they are not blessed by God under any covenant. There can be no detailed guidelines on how this is supposed to work out. Your calling and mission, and your heart-led guidance from the Lord, is what determines how you will try to execute His justice.
However, what we must understand is that there is no artificial limits on Noahic justice. The elder of the household of faith has full divine authority up to, and including, execution of someone who commits a crime that genuinely threatens shalom. Anyone with eldership who refuses to make room in their hearts for such an extremity is rejecting God’s standard of justice. That this will inevitably bring us into conflict with the modern secular State means we all must remain careful to keep our hearts open to God and dominant over our thinking. God does tell His servants what He requires. That includes His servants accepting whatever human consequences proceed from it, and trusting by faith that God will handle it.
Under the Covenants, forgiveness requires the guilty party make amends. There can be no genuine forgiveness from one party only. All forgiveness is three-way, in that it always includes God as the Guarantor, and He says quite flatly that He requires certain things of those who sin. Whether we as a party of forgiveness ever see the sinner repent is not the issue; but we should expect to see it often enough when we place forgiveness on the altar before the Lord. Eventually the guilty party must also come to that altar to claim it, or they die under wrath.
But the choice to how we respond to offense is a matter of referring all things to the Holy Spirit within. We are obliged to our feudal Sovereign as His vassals to handle His business according to His revealed standards, but revelation does not stop with Scripture. If He requires action to defend His feudal grant to us, we will know in our hearts, and we will know what that response should be — but only if we are soaked in an awareness of His Covenant Law and His revelation of justice. We do not take offense for our own sake, but for the sake of His glory, His reputation.
Justice is whatever God says it is, and His Law says He speaks through hearts committed to His glory.