If you interact in certain Christian circles, you are aware of the movement in Christianity related to the “social justice” movement. To some, it’s a reminder of what Jesus called us to. To others, it’s a compromise of the Gospel. For both sides, it could get us all out of balance.
As we continue in Psalm 82, we read in verses 2-4:
How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
After calling the court into session in verse 1, the Lord continues in the proceedings. His accusation to the so-called “gods” of the world is they are evil and unjust. The Lord hates when justice is perverted as with all sin: it is contrary to His nature. “It is not good to be partial to the wicked,” Proverbs 18:5 reminds us, “and so deprive the innocent of justice.”
Is Psalm 82 only referring to the so-called gods of the world or the magistrates of Israel? Nope. It’s talking to us too.
The Lord expects His covenant people (of either testament) to demonstrate His qualities to the world. This is part of demonstrating the Gospel’s power in our lives. If the power of God doesn’t change the way Christians act, how can we expect it to change the world?
Dare I say: we can’t.
All of my readership is in the Western World. As such, we share very similar areas of injustice in our culture. What are some of the areas we could do better at bringing justice to our world? Who are the weak? Fatherless? Poor? Oppressed? Needy?
Ultimately, there is a need greater than physical: deliverance from the evil one. Bringing the Gospel is our first priority but please hear me well: it is not our only priority. As Tim Keller wrote, “…Religion (‘I obey; therefore I am accepted’) is so different from the gospel (‘I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore I obey’) but is such an effective counterfeit” (Center Church).
Being a brother or sister of Christ and a child of God isn’t something we do on Sunday or a status we obtain and simply sit back and think, “whew! Glad I’m saved.” Instead, it means we become ambassadors of His cause. The half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ wrote, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).
What if today you personally took up the cause of those who are less able to defend themselves in your part of the world? Maybe it’s a child, coworker, neighbor…but I’m sure there’s somebody who needs the Gospel that transformed you to be put to work in transforming them.
That’s real social justice.