This Sunday morning we talked about true justice. Justice is giving others their due in regards to punishment, protection and care. True justice does not treat individuals or groups of people with preconceived judgment or hostility based on externals, but applies law equally without partiality. In a fallen world where people are often mistreated for various reasons, we long for true and biblical justice to be carried out consistently and promptly. Like Martin Luther King Jr., we look....
“to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin,
Justice is one of those words those that must be carefully defined because it can be politically charged to mean anything but true, biblical justice. It’s also a relevant word because we’ve seen a “social justice” movement sweep our country the past couple of years. I have no doubt that some good came out of this recent movement as a result of well-intentioned people, but what’s important to understand is that the Marxist radicals in this movement do not have the same definitions we do for good and evil. This should be of great concern because when a group doesn’t have the proper definitions of good and evil, it can end up punishing the righteous in its form of “justice” while protecting and providing for the unrighteous.
Many radical influencers in our society are doing just that. For example, there is legislation being passed in our country and even in our own state capital of Lincoln, NE that threatens to fine any resident up to $50,000 for counseling teens in biblical terms. What is the name of this bill? It’s called the Fairness Ordinance. Does it sound fair to you? One group’s views of unbiblical sexuality are applauded while anyone with biblical views are being banned and punished into silence. So much for freedom of speech and of religion. Anyone who would pervert justice like this are in my opinion, and in the words of Acts 11:17, standing in the Lord’s way. They are standing for social injustice. That’s a dangerous place to be when the Lord, who is perfectly just, judges based on His standards of morality.
I have no doubt that the original civil rights movement wanted equal rights for all men, but today’s social justice movement has taken it so far that men are not equal anymore. We would never deny that systemic racism is a real problem that exists in places today or that there isn’t work to be done, but the reality is that minorities have long been stigmatized as inherently oppressed victims and given special privileges that others don’t have through social programs. Take this example: Two high school kids, one white and one a minority, grow up in similar neighborhoods with similar conditions and apply to the same university. The lazy and irresponsible minority student is accepted into that university while a white student who has worked very hard to pay for college and get good grades doesn’t get accepted simply because of his ethnicity (the color of his skin). This is not just, is it?
Rather than treating people according to character, we’ve treated people according to the color of their skin, thus showing partiality. The trouble is that the special privileges have sometimes only brought enablement and slavery to an irresponsible lifestyle. Socialist programs tend to create more problems than they solve, creating dependency while failing to remove class distinctions and instead, enhance them. But these systems are allowed to go on and on because we’ve labeled “colored” people as inherently oppressed, while at the same time labeled whites (especially cisgender males) as inherently “oppressive” and stigmatized them with white guilt and white privilege. What could be more racist than judging an entire group of people based on the color of their skin? Isn’t heaping shame and disgrace and reparations on top of people for something they didn’t do, injustice? It’s incredibly unjust. In the social justice movement, reparations (demanding some form of compensation for past wrongs like slavery) are greed in disguise. The victimizing and the shaming becomes a tool to use for power and an excuse that keeps many from being responsible, productive citizens. What could solve the cycle of oppression and reparation? We’ll answer that shortly. (For more on this topic, Lutzer suggests reading Shelby Steele’s book White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era)
What man-centered, radical social justice does is make government the god and savior that is somehow going to usher in a utopian existence where everyone has equal opportunity and outcome. This Marxist idea gives the state the control to distribute equally to everyone (for example, doctors make the same as janitors, regardless). However, we would do well to remember that God loves equality but not at the expense of diversity. He does not want a cookie-cutter world where everyone is equal in every way. He designed us with incredible diversity of looks, desires, talents, gifts, resources, roles, and more. He did not intend to create some wretched, disillusioned, predictable, dystopia world where everyone has equal outcomes or opportunities in every area of life through state control. Who would want that anyway? It sounds good on the surface but when you stop to consider it, it’s impossible, tasteless, and morally offensive. Life is too complex for that. We should seek to foster equal opportunity but as Erwin Lutzer says, anyone who thinks that the state (government) can accomplish such equality doesn’t understand humanity or history. Diversity is a beautiful thing when it operates within a moral and just society. The Church itself is a diverse body with stronger and weaker members and more presentable and less presentable members so that the body can learn to care for each other (1 Cor. 12:12-26). It’s the same in the world. Also, the ultimate hope of the gospel on the new heaven and earth is not a place where all genders, ethnicities, and cultural differences cease or where we all have the same personalities. It is a place known for its diversity and unity that beautifully pictures God’s ability to restore humanity in all walks of life. Distinctions do not have to result in division, but are designed to bring unity (1 Cor. 12:24-26). Revelation 21 describes nations and kings bringing their glory into the New Jerusalem (v. 24).
Contrary to true justice, the social justice movement is actually teaching and reinforcing people to judge others based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. We need to understand that legislation like the Equality Act and philosophies like Critical Race Theory (CRT) are antithetical to Christianity. The Equality Act would force employers to hire people based on their external or preferred identity. Is this not what President Joe Biden just did when he nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States this week? He claimed that he chose the candidate with “the strongest credentials, record, character, and dedication to the rule of law.” But how will any of us, including Jackson, ever know if this is true or not when he limited his search to a specific race and sex? Specifically, a black woman. Jordan B. Peterson commented, “You eliminated the vast majority of qualified candidates from consideration. And it is thereby virtually certain, technically, that you failed to pick the strongest candidate.” This is where CRT leads people – to pick and choose people not because they are qualified, but because they represent a certain people group or identity.
Put yourself in the shoes of an employer under the Inequality Act (as I like to call it) who is looking to hire someone to work for the company you love. If you’re like the majority of people – being Christian or not – you could care less what the color of their skin is. You are going to hire people based on their integrity, their character, their desire to work for your company, and their ability to do the job well. You want employees who do well and love your company so that you can bless them when it does well. You also want your company to do well, not just for you, but so that you can be generous and improve your community through voluntary philanthropy.
CRT is a deceptive tool designed to overthrow existing structures through never-ending cycles of oppression. They use guilt and shame for power to bring about change.[i] The diehard progressives out there crying for justice really don’t want solutions. They want to stir up hate and discontentment to use it to their advantage. Saul Alinksy, a famous radical community organizer in Chicago who dedicated his book Rules for Radials to Lucifer, said, “Don’t solve problems; use them!” With an agenda like that, no wonder racism never ends. They don’t want to end it, but want to transform America fundamentally. Erwin Lutzer writes,
The label on the box does not match the contents inside. The label might say social justice, but when you open the box you find something different. You discover that it is about deconstructing everything in society and seeking to overthrow the existing order. It is about a grab for power.”[ii]
Inside the box is social injustice.
The social justice world that we have come to know enslaves people in these cycles of oppression for a reason. They never bring up mercy and forgiveness – only bowing the knee, confessing, and making reparations. Their tyrannical symbol is a fist, after all. The cycle never stops because there is always an oppressed group. I asked the question earlier: What could end this cycle? Forgiveness and moving on while treating others without partiality. While imperfect, deceitful radicals demand justice and refuse to offer mercy or forgiveness– think about this – the God of perfect holiness and justice impartially offers every human being forgiveness through His own sacrifice on the cross. He took the justice that we deserved upon Himself and paid our endless reparations. Only the self-sacrificial love, forgiveness, and mercy of the cross can satisfy God’s perfect justice, allowing sinners to be reconciled to Him. We must learn from the cross if we really want the peaceful social conditions: Less fists, more forgiveness. Oh, the difference between the fist and the cross!
As Christians, we should be more concerned about ideas and character than identity representation. Ideas have consequences. God gave to His Church the ideas (rather, the realities) to best solve this world’s cries for social justice. I list three of those key ideas next.
1. Every person is made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
Contrary to Darwin’s theory of evolution (which true Marxists must hold too) where certain ethnicities are more “evolved” or “advanced” than others, the Bible teaches we’re all inherently valuable because we’re all created equal in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). On top of that, Genesis adds that we all have the same parents, Adam and Eve, regardless of our skin color. This is why I think ethnicism is a better term than racism. There is only one human race, but many ethnicities.
Hitler used evolution to convince an entire generation that Jews were nothing more than mere animals and the consequences of this idea? 6 million Jews lost their lives. It’s not considered murder that is punishable by law if they’re not a human, right? The story has it that when Allies troops were closing in on Hitler’s bunker in Berlin, he took a cyanide pill to avoid justice being served. However, in so doing, he only entered into the presence of the Just Judge who will not see things the way he did.[i]
As long as we teach evolution in our schools, I’m convinced there is no hope of successfully curbing systemic racism or suicide or abortion. It’s such a confused generation we live in, that tries to uphold the dignity of man by saying things like “Black Lives Matter” when at the same time ingrains in the minds of our young people that they are a purposeless accident, the result of random chance processes on natural matter only. The truth is that all people of every age, gender, and ethnicity have inherent value and worth because they’re made in God’s image. Before the Flood in Noah’s day, society wasmurderous. This evil was curbed when God instituted capital punishment, which is justifiable due to the nobility of human life in His image. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” The main purpose of government is to punish evil and condone good and it bears the sword with authority to do so (Rom. 13:3-5). While force is necessary to carry out justice, it is important to remind ourselves of what Paul said, that ultimately,
“our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
Ideas have consequences. Let us war against the harmful ideas with the truth of God’s Word.
2. Every person is someone for whom Christ died. (John 3:16)
John 3:16, the Christian’s anthem, says that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. He didn’t just die for one group or another. He died for the world and offers forgiveness to all. If they will hear and believe, they will have new and eternal life.
Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world compels us to care for people and show them the same undeserved treatment we have been shown (2 Cor. 5:14-21). If by “social justice” we’re talking about a moral obligation to care for less fortunate individuals, we as Christians should be all for it! God commands us through our own voluntarism to care for the truly needy. Sometimes caring for the needy means giving them the strong medicine of tough love if they are lazy and negligent (2 Thess. 3:6-12). However, when they are truly disadvantaged, we should be anxious to help (Titus 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 5, 8, 14). Christ gave Himself to redeem for Himself a people zealous for good deeds that are good and profitable for their fellow man (Titus 2:14; 3:8). To my Chadron Berean church family, this is part of the way we “bear fruit” (3:14). Countlessly, God emphasizes throughout His Word how we should take special note to care for impoverished, widows, orphans, and foreigners. The 2nd greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
3. Every person needs a new heart.
What man needs most is a new heart that is born again by the Holy Spirit. We don’t have a skin problem, but a sin problem. Ethnicism is the result of pride in the sinful human heart and nothing has the power to uproot it like the gospel. This means we need to share the gospel with folks who do not know Christ. Those who know infinite and undeserved mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness are more likely to extend that do others.
Until Christ returns to execute perfect justice, may God give us wisdom and grace to stand for true justice in an unjust world.
Pastor Justin 2/27/2022
[i] Redeemer Bible Church sermon series, STAND: Christianity vs. Social Justice, https://redeemeraz.libsyn.com/stand-christianity-vs-social-justice-pt-1
[i] Erwin Lutzer, We Will Not Be Silenced (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2020), Chapter 3: Use Diversity to Divide.
[ii] Ibid., Chapter 4: Sell It as a Noble Cause.
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