Sermon: Justice as a Theological Necessity

This is a stellar sermon on Biblical justice that I both enjoyed and was challenged by. He offers a particularly great definition of ‘social justice’ which he argues must be understood as a subcategory of justice. He also argues that we must not treat justice as a ’cause’ but as a way of life.

At 1 hour and 8 minutes, it is a bit long, but well worth your time, in my opinion.

Justice as a Theological Necessity from Antioch Church on Vimeo.

A few highlights (in case you need any more reason to watch it):

  • Justice is not a ‘single’ thing; it is a ‘paradigm-level reality’
  • Justice is not simply about the legal system
  • Justice exists whether or not we are looking for it; it is a part of the ‘fabric’ of life
  • We are always either acting justly or unjustly, whether or not we realize it
  • The golden rule says we have an obligation to do while the ‘silver rule’ says we only have an obligation not to do: our society follows the ‘silver rule’
  • We can’t know God accurately, if we do not understand paradigm-level realities like love, truth, justice
  • We know God through his Character, Creation, Revelation
  • When we don’t think justice is a universal, we tend to pick and choose the categories
  • Social justice is simply a subcategory of justice, as it relates to the social aspect of life (in contrast with other categories, such as ethics, business law, etc)
  • Social justice means justice in the social arena. Which means that we treat everyone as being created in the image of God in our social settings; including issues of race, gender, wages, and so on. Injustice is when we would use our power to abuse the powerless
  • Dismissing social justice as ‘liberal’ or unimportant is theologically lazy; it is perfectly fine to disagree with the political plans proposed to enact social justice, but social justice itself is not political [1. And he makes the important reminder that social justice is not distributive justice, or wealth redistribution]
  • We need to look at justice with fresh eyes
  • Speaking of fresh eyes, a fascinating take on the David and Bathsheba story. I’ll let you discover that one.
  • Also speaking of fresh eyes, he points out that Solomon didn’t ask for wisdom but for an understanding of justice
  • And equally new, what was the sin of Sodom? They did not aid the poor and the needy. Their licentiousness was just a symptom of an underlying problem
  • When we are so focused on self we commit an injustice against the fabric of justice
  • Righteousness is synonymous with justice
  • Justice is not a cause or a hobby, because it exists everywhere; we engage in it

Good thoughts, I’d say.

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