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An Applicable Biblical Perspective on Social Justice

One of the hot topics of society today in light of riots and the Coronavirus and some Supreme Court decisions is social justice and what the Bible teaches regarding the topic. Among this hot topic are several others including abortion, human rights, protection of property, self-defense, criminal offenses, and several more. All of these concerns remain in the culture as much as they have since the beginning. This article will focus on a biblical person on social justice with keynotes from scripture.

Biblical Perspective on Social Justice Defined

A key part of understanding the approach to social justice lies in the definition of the matter. Social justice is "The objective of creating a fair and equal society in which each individual matters, their rights are recognized and protected, and decisions are made in ways that are fair and honest," according to Oxford Reference. The Bible's definition of social justice correlates societal justice by doing justly with a neighbor, with no regard for selfish gain. This is quite contrary to what is being portrayed by activist groups across the country currently (Black Lives Matter or the KKK for that matter) and selfish gain is very rampant. The Bible is clear that selfish gain is sin.

The idea of "social justice" has been turned into a corrupt ideology when it was actually meant to be sustained to protect the rights of ALL INDIVIDUALS, not just a select group or groups (the claim to be a "minority" or a "majority" loses its value here). Below are a few key references from Scripture regarding the Biblical foundation of social justice.

"Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place" (Jeremiah 22:3, NASB).

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:16-17, NASB).

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19, NASB). It's important to note that this particular scripture is referencing Jesus' ministry while on Earth. Luke's account details the quoting of the prophet Isaiah by Jesus in reference to a need for social justice that was founded on the inseparable belief in God so justice would not be perverted.

Societal Justice Was Not Intended As An Option. It Was and Is a Commandment

The difference of opinions does not equate justice in God's court of law. God made sure that this was understood when He instructed Moses to write the Torah (the first five books of the Bible, also understood in the Hebrew Bible as being the Law) so common issues would have a foundation for justice. The Hebrew word for justice is "mishpat."It is used in the referenced scripture above. It is used to reference righteousness (or tsedaqah in Hebrew). In other words, righteous justice or judgment is the only way God rules and so calls those that follow Him to rule.

When the Torah is examined, key phrases are illuminated that speak volumes on how societal justice is to be carried out.

"‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 19:35-36, NASB).

"‘When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:33-34, NASB).

Those two pieces of scripture reference the protection of immigrants, regardless of ethnicity. Note how I said ethnicity and not race. There is only one race of humans and that is humanity. Justice is not limited to believers.

The Book of Exodus also details key issues that are still laws today. Beginning in Exodus 20, God outlines the Ten Commandments as well as ordinances that should be established to maintain righteous justice. There are so many examples in this book so I will list the chapters below for reference.

  • Exodus 20

  • Exodus 21

  • Exodus 22

  • Exodus 23

  • Exodus 24

The Perversion of Social Justice Today

It goes without saying that as sin has perverted mankind, justice in the hands of humanity has also been perverted. We see this evidenced in social practices, laws and regulations, policies, the swearing-in of certain officials in government, government regulations, and double standard agendas such as feminism, "the race wars," and even in church discipline. Social justice was never intended to be one-sided, perpetrated against one group of people. It was intended by God to be a decree upon ALL OF MANKIND. There is no special treatment in God's court. He sees sin equally, not on levels as humans sometimes see sin. Below are examples of the perversion of social justice in today's society.