Social Justice — The Battle for Hearts and Minds
Anyone who has accepted Christ into their hearts is a new creation; the old ways of the world—of fear, of selfishness, of abuse, of exploitation, of domination, of perversion, of intimidation, of control, of cruelty, of every form of insult, discrimination, and unkindness—are removed and the motives, methods, and character of Christ are implanted within.
The gospel of Jesus Christ, when accepted into the heart, changes the selfish sinner into a loving, trustworthy friend. Worldly divisions of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and nationality hold no sway over the renewed heart. What matters is godliness, living out the principles of God, having the law of God written on the heart (Hebrews 8:10). The truly converted loves every human being as God loves us. They will always seek to bless, uplift, and protect.
No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so. [We don’t use human laws, human courts, or human definitions. We don’t look on the outward appearance—the color of skin, the economic class, the nationality, the gender. We don’t seek justice through imposed law, enforced rules, mandated distributions, even if we once believed that was the way to justice.] Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. [Those joined to Christ have transformed hearts, minds, and characters. New motives and principles direct the way they live. The worldly ways of force are left behind.] All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. Our message is that God was making the whole human race his friends through Christ. [As Martin Luther King Jr. said, only love can make an enemy into a friend. Only the love of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, transforms the heart. And when your enemy becomes your friend, only then do you have real justice, real righteousness—people, relationships, are made right or set right. And only through God’s methods of healing hearts and minds can this happen.] God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends. Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends! (2 Corinthians 5:16–20 GNB).
We at Come and Reason Ministries make the same plea: If you already haven’t done so, let God change you from an enemy into His friend! This change, this transformation, is an internal change of heart, motive, understanding, desire, and loyalty. It is dying to selfishness and arising to a new life of love for God and others. It is leaving behind the methods and practices of the world and living out the law of God, which is design law. We stop seeking righteousness—justice—through human laws and human courts and, instead, we live God’s law of love in how we treat others.
The converted do what is right, what is just, because it is right and just, not because there is a law that requires it. Love seeks not its own; love gives, uplifts, and heals.
At this time in human history, the eternal gospel—the everlasting good news about God, His character, methods, and law of love that transforms hearts and minds—is to go the world. It is a message of hope, a message of love, a message of truth, a message of godly justice, because when it is received into the heart, it turns enemies into friends. When love reigns in the heart, all exploitation and abuse cease. Love sacrifices for others; this is the only way for real justice to rule.
Satan’s Counterfeit Justice Expands
But as this end-time message of godly justice that heals and saves sinners and brings reconciliation so that enemies are turned into friends, Satan advances his counterfeit justice through more human law, more human government, more human force, power, intimidation, punishment—more of the kingdoms of the world and its power—more enforced equity.
This is what Satan always does—as God is advancing the gospel that liberates, heals, and restores, Satan advances a counterfeit to deceive, distract, enslave, and destroy. One historical source describes how Satan worked to disrupt God’s influence during the Reformation.
At the time when God is preparing to break the shackles of ignorance and superstition, then it is that Satan works with greatest power to enshroud men in darkness and to bind their fetters still more firmly (The Great Controversy, p. 178).
When Luther was spreading the truth about God, freeing minds from imperial church distortion and oppression, there were some unconverted individuals who did not embrace the principles of truth, love, and liberty but who nevertheless saw the rightness of Luther’s message. They recognized the injustices and abuses inflicted upon the people from a dominating and exploitive church. These unconverted, enthused by the message of Luther, considered themselves inspired to a righteous and just cause and rose up, thinking they were advancing Luther’s cause. But, not having been converted to the principles of God, they embraced Satan’s methods. They used riots, violence, and force.
But Satan was not idle. He now attempted what he has attempted in every other reformatory movement—to deceive and destroy the people by palming off upon them a counterfeit in place of the true work. As there were false Christs in the first century of the Christian church, so there arose false prophets in the sixteenth century.
A few men, deeply affected by the excitement in the religious world, imagined themselves to have received special revelations from Heaven, and claimed to have been divinely commissioned to carry forward to its completion the Reformation which, they declared, had been but feebly begun by Luther. In truth, they were undoing the very work which he had accomplished. They rejected the great principle which was the very foundation of the Reformation—that the word of God is the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice; and for that unerring guide they substituted the changeable, uncertain standard of their own feelings and impressions. By this act of setting aside the great detector of error and falsehood the way was opened for Satan to control minds as best pleased himself (The Great Controversy, p. 186).
How many social justice warriors today are just like these men, believing they are divinely commissioned to carry on the work of justice reform but who are deceived and utilizing the methods of God’s enemy?
When Luther heard what these supposed supporters were doing, the violent tactics that they were using, he was distraught and immediately set about to confront and stop them.
With great caution and humility, yet with decision and firmness, he entered upon his work. “By the word,” said he, “must we overthrow and destroy what has been set up by violence. I will not make use of force against the superstitious and unbelieving. … No one must be constrained. Liberty is the very essence of faith” (The Great Controversy, p. 189).
Do we see the same deception happening to Christians today? Do we see Satan palming off to Christians the pursuit of social justice through the employment of his methods—force, coercion, intimidation, imposed laws, and inflicted punishments? How many Christians are willing to join, march, and protest with those who use and encourage violence, intimidation, coercion, and threat, seeking the power of the government to force their way upon others—even if the Christian marching doesn’t actually use violence themselves?
Satan is constantly seeking to deceive men and lead them to call sin righteousness, and righteousness sin. How successful has been his work! How often censure and reproach are cast upon God’s faithful servants because they will stand fearlessly in defense of the truth! Men who are but agents of Satan are praised and flattered, and even looked upon as martyrs, while those who should be respected and sustained for their fidelity to God, are left to stand alone, under suspicion and distrust (The Great Controversy, p. 192).
We are standing on the brink of the second coming of Christ. We must not be deceived. We cannot obtain godly justice through human law, human governments, and human enforcement—such methods are the way of the beast. We must not embrace them. The justice of God is advanced through the gospel, through bringing people to know Jesus, through the love of God that turns enemies into friends, through living out God’s principle in how we treat others.