Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are His work. (Proverbs 16:11—NKJV)

“Justice is blind.” This is a fair statement meant to express the impartiality of justice. The saying is worthy of a fresh visit for we live in a strange day of “fairness” where the goal of equal outcome qualifies justice. A “level playing field” is set as the end point rather than a standardized arena of contest within which unequals contend to different outcomes. Justice must not be defined and perverted as an idealized outcome for it is then neither just nor justice.

If outcome is the key to justice, then we are forever doomed to “fiddling, tweaking, and hoping” and never able to come to a sure conclusion of seeing justice done with any sense of finality. A modern day sense of “fairness,” in fact, assures that impartial justice is never achieved. Perhaps the reason our society cannot stomach pure justice is because justice brazenly and unapologetically pronounces judgment upon actions. It smacks of morality. It is impersonal and impassive. Justice is not an equalizer of condition; it is an evaluator of actions.

According to “humanistic fairness,” God is only just if all men are in a final state of salvation regardless of belief or action. John 5:29 states, “for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Surely this is just, but this is certainly not sameness in outcome.

Proverbs 16:11 is not the lone text teaching that God determines values in both weight and measure and in faith and works. He is the Great Standard by which all actions are judged.

Our text plainly states that God values impartial justice in human dealings. Honesty is given a high premium and just dealings are His concern (work). Proverbs 11:1 says, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.” Likewise 20:10 and 23 reads, “Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the Lord” and “diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord, and dishonest scales are not good.” (Ezekial 45:10ff, Amos 8:15, and especially Micah 6:8–10)

The “level playing field” is assured by God’s setting of the “weights and measures,” not in finessing of results (Leviticus 19:36, Deuteronomy 25:12–16). Human interaction and organization can facilitate the just purposes of God by honoring this biblical way of thinking. The ideal marketplace self-regulates by agreed, good business practices, and ideal government regulation is with a view to establishing a level playing field upon which businesses are protected to pursue their differing outcomes in liberty, freedom and grace.

This is the point of our Lord in His “Parable of the Laborers” found in Matthew 20:1–16. In Jesus’ story a businessman/landowner has a crop ready to harvest and he sets about hiring day-laborers to gather in his crop. At four successive times in a single day he hires four distinct groups of employees. He negotiates with the first group to pay them a day’s pay for a day’s labor. They agree. With each succeeding group he promises to pay them what is fair for their labor on that day.

When the last group of hirees is paid first they all receive one day’s wages, though they were hired for the last hour of work. As each shift received a full day’s wage the ones first hired thought they would receive more. They were mistaken, for they justly received what they were promised and what they deserved by custom and by business practice. They were not wronged or cheated but the landowner was within his rights to pay them fairly and be gracious to whomever he pleased. The Lord ends with the statement, “for many are called, but few are chosen.”

It was not fair that the Son of God should die for the sins of other men so that they may be declared righteous (the Just for the unjust)—it was grace (Ephesians 2:1–10). But it is fair, and justice does dictate, that the recipients of such grace deal justly and equitably with all men and seek to assure biblical “justice for all.” Trust and obey.