Is Justice Even Possible in this World?
Tim Moore: In recent months, Russian tank commander Vadim Shashimaran was convicted of a war crime. This 21-year-old soldier was accused of killing a 62-year-old man, Oleksandr Shelipov, in cold-blooded murder. He claimed he was just following orders.
Obviously, out of all the thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of atrocities being committed by Russian forces against the people of Ukraine, one young man being convicted is not going to make all things right. And yet, people have a strong desire for justice to be served, even in this life. Can we ever achieve such a thing?
Nathan Jones: As long as humanity remains fallen and acting in our sinful natures, there will never be true justice, because justice is always perverted by our ambitions, desires, lusts, and greed. I’ve been told that bribery is big in Eastern Europe, so there’s a lot of bribery going on around these court proceedings. So, no, I don’t think we’ll find true justice in this lifetime. We’ve come close, I believe, with the initial intent of our American justice system which utilizes juries and lawyers. We are not suffering as some societies do under kangaroo courts. Tragically, we live in a world that witnesses frequent and unjust actions, such as Russia invading Ukraine and killing its people.
As for this poor kid, I do feel for him, because he was a tank driver and his commander ordered him to go and shoot a guy off of his bicycle. He testified that he initially told his commanding officer that he could not do such a thing, but he was again ordered to with the threat of repercussions if he disobeyed an order. So, that begs the question, is it justice to give somebody a life sentence for obeying a direct military order?
Tim Moore: In the American military system, Shashimaran was rightly punished because we do not expect a soldier to obey an unlawful order. We require a lot of training, not just for officers, but for young enlisted soldiers as well, teaching them that there are lawful orders that must be obeyed, but then there are unlawful orders that must be disobeyed.
American soldiers who have been in war will remember when their forces were not allowed to kill civilians, even when it would be to their military advantage to do so. There was such a dramatic case of a young man from Kentucky who was part of a special forces unit sent to Afghanistan. His unit was discovered, even though they were trying to be very discreet, by a young sheepherder and his father who was a goat herder. Instead of killing the two, the unit let them go because they knew they could not kill civilians, even though they also knew the shepherds would report their presence to the Taliban and it would result in a great firefight. So, there are lawful orders to be followed and there are unlawful orders which can be challenged.
Interestingly enough, this young Russian man, being only 21 years old, although he looks so much younger, was initially told that he was merely on an exercise within Russia. He testified that he didn’t even know he was in Ukraine and had found himself in the middle of a war, and as the aggressor, no less.
Nathan Jones: I’ve heard similar stories like that as well coming out of Russia. A young Russian soldier revealed how Putin’s government has been conscripting their soldiers right out of high school. As soon as the young man graduated from high school, three men showed up and whisked him away to boot camp. He was later sent to a training exercise along the border of Ukraine. His unit was told that they were simply holding military exercises, but that “Nazis” have taken over Ukraine, and so their unit needed to be sent in. He says he was initially happy they were going in to free the Ukrainians from these Nazis.
It wasn’t long, though, before it became plain to see that the people they were fighting were not Nazis, but merely civilians. The young Russian conscripts actually began to sabotage their own tanks and not fuel them, all in an attempt to slow down the Russian military’s progression. That was months ago since the war started, but now all of the bloodshed has proven that these soldiers have actually gotten into the action.
So much injustice is tied to what the Russians are doing to the Ukrainians. The whole world is feeling it. Look at the ultra-high gas prices. Also, 20% of the world’s supply of grain that comes out of Russia and Ukraine will not be feeding the people of the world. It’s expected that people in other nations will die by the millions due to the starvation that will inevitably result from such a massive reduction of the grain supply.
Tim Moore: Innocent people are suffering due to the actions of one dictator and a few of his cronies who are not willing to tell Putin “No!” No matter where war happens, it affects us all. I can testify having fought in the war in Afghanistan.
Tim Moore: Justice seems so elusive in our day-to-day lives. And so, the question that springs from every human heart is, “Will there ever be true justice?”
Nathan Jones: The Bible tells us that, yes, there is coming a time where peace, righteousness, and justice will blanket this world. It’s called the Millennial Kingdom. The Bible promises that once Jesus Christ returns, He will defeat evil and set up His Kingdom on this earth for a thousand years.
There are two judgments coming to this world. The first is called the Judgment of the Just. That’s when the Church, meaning all of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, will be raptured up to Heaven. We will then stand before our Lord Jesus Christ at His bema seat and He will judge us based on our works. But, since we’ve already been saved by grace through faith due to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, this judgment stands as a judgment for rewards only.
Revelation 20 reveals that at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, after a thousand years of banishment into the Bottomless Pit, Satan will be released. He will then lead a rebellion of those born during that era who wish to rebel against Jesus. They’re summarily defeated by fire raining down out of the heavens. God then holds what’s called the Great White Throne Judgment. This Great White Throne Judgment resurrects all who rebelled against God throughout history. They’re also judged by their works, but since they’re missing the only work that truly counts, and that’s the work that Jesus Christ did by sacrificing Himself on the cross, they are found guilty. They never reached out to God in faith, and they never accepted during the Church Age Jesus Christ as their Savior. And so, as Revelation 20:15 explains, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Today, we are living through all of this corruption and evil being inflicted on the world, so we’re crying out, “Where is justice?” We want justice right now! Unfortunately, we often don’t get justice right now. But, the Bible assures us that, yes, one day justice will come — true justice.
Tim Moore: It sure will. We think about punishment for evil people such as Vladimir Putin, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and all of the other murderers who have committed heinous crimes on such a grand scale. Even just on an individual scale, we long to see them finally receiving justice. But, the Bible is very clear — all of us are deserving of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). We are all deserving of eternal punishment because of our sinfulness and rebellion against a holy God (John 3:36). And yet, if anyone puts their faith in Jesus Christ, He has already born the wrath of God on the cross of Calvary on our behalf, and so there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Every man and every woman will one day indeed be finally judged for their deeds, but our relationship with Jesus Christ will determine which judgment we face — the Judgment of the Just or the Great White Throne Judgment.
Nathan Jones: What a beautiful thing that Jesus Christ, the righteous Son who is without sin nor fault, died on the cross for our sins. And when we put our faith and trust in Him, our sins are forgiven. The wrath of God that was meant for us was placed on Christ. So, when we reach out in faith and accept Jesus as our Savior, then that wrath is removed from us. The righteous and just Judge of the Universe has provided the one and only way for us to be forgiven. What an incredible gift!
For those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, now is the time to reach out to Him in faith. Pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, I know I am a sinner. Please forgive me for my sins and be the Lord and Savior of my life.” Jesus will then forgive you of your sins, your guilt will be washed away, and you will inherit eternal life with Him.
Tim Moore: The military armors tanks to protect its occupants and to serve as a heavily defended weapon of war. And yet, today we have weapons that can defeat even the most modern-day tanks. There is no way to become immune to war, and likewise, there’s no way to become immune from the wrath of God, except by putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Do you want to have a protection around you that lasts, not just for this life, but for all of eternity? Then be secure in the loving hands of Jesus Christ.