Liberty – freedom to choose what you will do and who you will be.
Justice – fair and morally right reward or punishment based on your actions.
Liberty is the freedom to choose. Justice is correct payment because of your choices.
These are pared down and paraphrased definitions, but they fit the gist of what the words mean. Let’s talk about them and why they go together.
A little explanation first, so we’re on the same page. All humans were made by our Creator to be free, so we are all given a will, the ability and freedom to choose. All humans are also held to a standard of behavior by our Creator. We are all sinners, and the only thing that can save us from the doom of it is choosing to believe in and agree with our Creator. God loves us and wants to be loved in return. Free will is required for our love to be given in return for His. God loves us and does not want us to be hurt or to die in our sin. Standards for right and wrong are required for our own safety and good.
Many times we use our liberty wrongfully, and do what we want regardless of what it may do to others. I’ve heard it said, “You can swing your fist anywhere you want, but your freedom ends where someone’s nose begins.” If your liberty takes away the liberty of someone else, you are claiming that only your liberty matters and that someone else doesn’t get any. (See also Romans 6:1-4.) This is where justice comes in. If you do something wrong you are often punished for it, otherwise you’ll do it again without a considerate thought or fear. If you do something right you are often rewarded for it, so you will do it again knowing it is affirmed to be good.
So who decides what liberty is for, and what justice is for? Who decides what is right and what is wrong? Who has that kind of authority? God Himself. Since God loves us and is the most perfect good there can be, He gets to set the rules. True liberty and true justice are both found in perfect measure only in God.