Over the past few years there has most definitely been an upswing of the concept of “social justice.” The idea of social justice is that mankind can undo the ills of society, be it poverty, hunger, climate change, or whatever the pet problem of the day may be. Is it even possible for man to correct these issues? We’ll look at how the Christian Church should respond to these things all of us are faced with.
We will look at one area of Scripture, which is often used as a proof text by the proponents of social justice. Our text is Leviticus 19:9-18:
And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
God’s Judgment for Disobedience
The first thing one needs to do is examine the context of the particular passage of Scripture in view. Why? Because we tend to apply much, if not all, of the Bible to ourselves. Remember, the Bible is for our edification, but not all of it applies to us, as Christians. Doing so can bring upon oneself grave consequences.
The ultimate command, found in Leviticus 19:8, “...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD” is also echoed in several places in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12 and 30:6). Jesus also used it in Mark 12:29-31
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Through the prophets God tried to bring His wayward people back to trusting Him, but they continually rejected Him..
Israel, through her idolatry provoked the Lord to jealousy, and ultimately they faced His judgment. This judgment was the captivities by the Assyrians, Babylonians, followed by Nero’s destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. God has, and will, preserve an “elect remnant” of Israel that is still scattered throughout the entire earth.
But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
Enter the Church
Israel provoked God to jealousy due to their idolatry and stubbornness. Unlike the Gentiles, whom God would cause to come to Him, solely through the “once for all” propitiation (complete satisfaction) of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. This was, and is, in order to provoke Israel to jealousy that they will turn to Him:
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
What pertained to Israel is not directly applicable to the Church. We, nonetheless can learn by their experiences. We mostly learn “what NOT to do!”
As Bible Believers we also have the historical accounts regarding the Nation of Israel to show us the greatness of God, and the salvific work of her Messiah - Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1 Corinthians 10:11
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
A Pastoral Response
In light of the rise of the “social justice gospel” I think we can all see that it is no gospel at all. The reality of bringing justice into the world through any good works is a sheer impossibility, and a slap in the face of a Holy God.
I know others have covered this in much more detail, but the “Social Justice Movement” is the offspring of Marxism. And, for Marxism to come into the “church” there needed to be a way to get the Cross, and the Bible, out of the way.
This has been done by craftily bringing in the emphasis on the “here and now,” rather than the eternal glory of Christ!
Society in general, as well as much of the church, has turned their backs on the Word of God, as well as the work of God. The solution, however, remains the same. He has provided the greatest solution in His Only Begotten Son - Jesus Christ.
Preach Him - His Merits, His Glory, His Persona, His Word. Give your people the Good News of the Gospel. The professing “church’ needs to be reminded of it everyday, lest they fall back to their own understanding, and good works.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Good works are not the root of salvation. They are the fruit of it. A proper understanding about who Jesus is, and what He did, is the only solution to the social justice “crisis” we face. When we understand properly we are then able to properly apply that understanding to our lives. By default, when we change, through the process of sanctification, we will then demonstrate good works to our world around us.
Unfortunately, many have this completely backwards.
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2 Timothy 4:1-4
Pastors and teachers - Love your congregations. Be patient with them (because they want to see instant change). Feed your congregations the meat of the Word. A steady diet of God’s Holy Word will do much more than the junk food of pragmatic religiosity!
By doing so, you will be found a faithful steward of the Word of God. You may not bring in the numbers, but you will build strong Christians.
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
This article was written by Pastor Bob Picard, who is the pastor at God’s Grace Bible Church in Millbury, Massachusetts. For more information please visit: www.godsgracebc.org. You can also contact Pastor Bob directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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