So being a tzadiyk is a about how you relate to injustice in your community and it's also about how you relate to the vulnerable in your community. Tim: If you make those, what defines your value and your identity, you have no clue who God is. New Testament, Justification (Christian theology) -- Biblical teaching, God -- Righteousness -- Biblical teaching, Justification -- Enseignement biblique, Dieu -- Justice -- Enseignement biblique Publisher Philadelphia, Pa. : Fortress Press ; New York : Paulist Press Collection Jon: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Bible Project. Bethany, OK 73008 | Phone: 405-787-7110. But those also can be used on the other direction. His most famous book was called "A Theology of Liberation.". If you want a big lottery, the smartest thing to do is to not keep any of it. James warns against showing favoritism toward the rich, while mistreating the poor (1:9-10; 2:1-10; 5:1-6). James only mentions the Lord twice by name in all his five chapters. "This is what the Lord says: "Don't let the wise man boast of his wisdom, don't let the mighty man boast of his might, don't let the rich man boast of his riches, rather let the one who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises mercy, just mishpat - those two keep popping up together - mercy and mishpat and righteousness on earth. 2 Peter 3:13 we are waiting for … a new earth in which righteousness [JUSTICE] dwells. And he was a Christian who was very like, "Don't take care of the homeless. What were you about to say? In the 1960s and 70s, there was a really influential theologian from Peru. Sort of there's a special biblical meaning of the word "justify" in our Bibles, but that's not how we actually use the English word "justify." Because most people that win the lottery their lives get destroyed, either because they just start overspending and they become miserable because it's not actually making them happy. Those two words are often paired together in the Bible. That's just another whole wrinkle in the conversation. There is one last scene that merits our attention in the Apocalypse. Jon: The first three things all really help me or can very easily. Our conventional conception of righteousness is centred on an entity (a human being); Marshall's conception is centred on relationships. Finally, the Book of Revelation confirms that justice will be eternally established at the consummation of all things. Power and then wealth. His point when he talks about the Quartet of the vulnerable, he says, the reason why this is such a big deal for the Old Testament authors is something that's fairly universal to the human condition. The book of Isaiah, his poetry, especially about the future hope for the Messianic King is filled with this righteousness and justice language. But then he also mixes the courtroom because he turns righteousness into a verb, that God makes someone righteous. According to Jesus, justice is not only for the oppressed who need it and His followers who show it, it will also be meted out to those who oppose it and withhold it from others. All these things mixed together, which just led to one bad choice after another until he just felt stuck. In English the words righteousness and justice are two different words. It's about the relationships and how people make a living, how people are able to provide for themselves, and then all of the psychological barriers. What God is about specifically is judging fairly on behalf of those who usually receive injustice, that is the vulnerable. If righteousness and justice are the heart of the Old Testament Law, they are also at the heart of the dispute between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. There might be ways. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.”. He says, "Lower classes are not only disproportionately vulnerable to injustice but are disproportionately actual victims of injustice. I hear that argument too. Righteousness is defined as "the quality of being morally correct and justifiable." The New Testament makes it clear that we are not to be content with just waiting for the Lord’s return to bring justice to this earth. Tim: Because it's not just about food. September 9, 2016 • Micah 6:8 Romans 3:21-22 It seems that on earth, justice cannot keep up with evil and corruption. The idea of justice or righteousness (remembering that these are essentially the same) becomes more spiritual and ethical in the New Testament. Jon: What makes God delight is mercy, justice, and righteousness. Jesus understood himself (and was confessed thus by early Christians) to fulfill the message of Torah. 3:21-22) You may have noticed that we've been talking for two weeks about justice and we haven't even brought up Jesus. We have our video on justice coming up along with a lot of other resources. The Justice Calling. Specifically, I think Evangelicals are confused about how social justice/justice and righteousness fit into the New Testament. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God's throne. And knowing your Creator means knowing the God who exercises mishpat, mercy, and righteousness. I forget what he teaches. Tim: It is rare. He just started writing like a madman because he grew up in a poor slum in Peru, but he was able to find his way forward through education, and then ministry in the Catholic Church. All to say, I think we can agree that people who are poor and who need food, we should take care of them. It helps other people discover it and it's a big encouragement to us. Until then, every act of mercy from the Lord or His followers serves as a foretaste of His coming kingdom when it will be on earth just as it is in heaven. But the same time, it's like, "Okay, I guess I could get it. Tim: This isn't saying, therefore, don't try and become wise... Tim: ...and don't try to generate wealth. Also, all your friendships and relationships, now, people are coming to you asking you for money and then it complicates those relationships. This is episode two of our Justice series. James only mentions the Lord twice by name in all his five chapters. Justice I think there is lots of room for debate. When justice and righteousness flow down as a mighty stream, people are respected and provided for, society is healthy, and real prosperity can be known. No one's doing that near my house, and so I don't have to deal with that.". His name was Gustavo Gutiérrez. Tim: Again, the common denominator is the poor. At the same time, for Paul as for other New Testament writers there can be no doubt that human behavior has to be in correspondence to God's righteousness. I think just like with language about the spirit, for example, I think when you read in Paul's letters about God's righteousness, what we're talking about is God's character that motivates him to address the plight of the vulnerable and the afflicted or the oppressed. Jon: That's interesting because people would just say justice is the standard. To justify. So doing right by people through acts of mishpat, that's the foundation of God's ruling character. Here we read that everyone at the Great White Throne will be judged “according to the works they have done” (Revelation 20:11-12). He thinks, the best definition of that phrase is not to translate each word individually, but to use one phrase for it. Justice and righteousness are central to the heart of God. Here's just one example. That is the biblical vision of mishpat. "Those who approach the New Testament solely through English translations face a serious linguistic obstacle to apprehending what these writings say about justice. Regardless, the Bible is pretty clear. The pattern I noticed from those handfuls of people was that they also give a lot of money away. In reality, Jesus did not offer a … This verse does a pretty good job of spelling out the definition of the Greek word that is translated as “righteousness.” In the New Testament, righteousness carries an indication of being acceptable to God. That's true. Righteousness. Jon: It's interesting to live in a time where a lot of things do exist. We get a sense of this from Jeremiah 9:24: ‘I am the Lord who exercise kindness, justice and righteousness’. About the nature of people or communities that find themselves in poverty. Tim: The meaning of righteousness in Paul's letters. It's mishpat and tzedakah. The idea of justice or righteousness (remembering that these are essentially the same) becomes more spiritual and ethical in the New Testament. Christ’s indictment against the rich is not toward all who are wealthy; rather it extends to those who gained their wealth by trampling down others and who refuse to use it to help the suffering of others. That just is the case. He's often misunderstood on that point. Jon: But what's the difference between winning the lottery and doing really well in business? Here we go. Same with job. This volume publishes the symposium papers of a joint conference held in Bochum, Germay in 1990 between the University of Tel Aviv, Israel, and the University of the Ruhr, Bochum. He was writing for a nonreligious audience, making a case for a biblical vision of justice. Jon: Have I told you about my whole lottery theory? Just do it for a week and then we'll be back to normal." It means "to make an excuse for." You can also take off the "ah" and just have "tzedak." Like that's the biblical view of justice? Proverbs 18:5 It is n ot right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent. Jon: You said it could go too far. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me; I made the widows' heart sing for joy." I broke the jaws of the wicked, I snatched the prey from his teeth.". I'm just going to just tinker with the weights. There's a whole host of things. It became like a central zone because of that. That just is the case. This is from Job's final defense before God about why it's screwed up that he's suffering in Job 29. Dikaiosuné. Now we're to righteousness. He not only ministered to a thief, He redeemed a dying thief (Luke 23:32-33). This is interesting. This volume publishes the symposium papers of a joint conference held in Bochum, Germay in 1990 between the University of Tel Aviv, Israel, and the University of the Ruhr, Bochum. Over 290 verses in the Old Testament and 70 in the New Testament contain direct statements of the mercy of God toward His people. It is plain to see that there are many verses in the New Testament that admonish Christians to practice a life style of righteousness, doing right, obeying the Law of God and to pursue Justice. Tim: Alms, yeah, is tzedakah in Hebrew. And that's the definition of a just community. In Isaiah 11, he talks about "Out of the stump of Israel when it was cut down by the nation's, there'll be a shoot that springs up out of the old stump. The word "tzedakah" gets translated in English as righteousness. Restorative justice (also sometimes called "reparative justice") is an approach to justice that focuses on restoring what is good, and necessarily focuses on the needs of victims and offenders. Jon: So someone who constantly talks about leveling the playing field, they might see and think that there's a disproportionate amount of inequity towards a certain person? Anyway, that's a whole other thing. Fight for the rights of widows. But yeah, the biblical authors are completely in tune with all of this. Jon: Righteousness to me was always a very personal thing, but you're talking about it as a very interpersonal thing. Tim: Yeah. They actually invest it in mishpat kinds of things. When you do tzedakah 9 times out of 10, it's talking about doing right by the poor in your community. But hospitals are a uniquely Christian contribution to the history of the human rights. You just had to work a bit more for it than going to 7-Eleven and getting a ticket. However, there are over a dozen references to the Sermon on the Mount and the theme of justice is echoed on every page. That's what every lottery winner should ever do. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – 22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. Jon: I mean, are there? But then there's the guy who's kind of like, he just needed one day a little extra money because his mom was sick or his daughter broke her leg or whatever, and he's like, "I know how I can do it." So it's not about whether or not you have those things, it's whether you have them or whether you don't, who's going to define your identity, and what you think is really valuable. And if he gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, then he will find life. He ended up sparking a theological movement, authors... Tim: ...liberation theology. Consider these examples: Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall be filled.”, Matthew 5:10: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for justice’s sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”, Matthew 6:20: “For I say unto you, that except your justice shall exceed the justice of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”, Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.”. But the question is, what does it look like to do justice? Education, and insight, and wisdom. His Parable about the Shepherd dividing the sheep and the goats speaks vividly to His standard of justice. The same with, like, location banks, and this kind of thing. Jesus was showing us that, for multiplied millions of people, true justice will only come when we step into eternity. that he knows his creator. This sense of everyone receiving proper justice is brought out in Jesus’ story about the rich man who selfishly lived in extravagance while Lazarus dwelt in poverty and pain (see Luke 16:19-31). Many Bible readers fail to grasp the importance that the Scriptures place on justice. God’s righteousness includes His justice. Tim: Oh, correct, correct. The God of the Exodus, who notices the problems of other people and makes them his problem, that's who God is. They're not a state run. That word has a lot of baggage for me. He's a Catholic priest. The epistle of James declares that the church has a responsibility to live now as we will then in the coming kingdom of our Savior. Jon: Wouldn't it just mean what we've been talking about? Tim: Here you just have to reckon with this fact. What is Social Justice & Righteousness in the Bible? His podcast is called Exploring my Strange Bible. Righteousness is an outward-oriented standard of how I relate to other people, particularly how I relate to people in difficult situations. Tim: So righteousness is the standard of relating to everyone else in my life in a right way. It's rarely because they set out to do it. Jon: Like my wisdom can make me make good decisions, can help me create wealth, it can help me have whatever. This reading provides clarity to Matthew’s over-arching message about the kingdom that Jesus brings. You could help us by leaving a review on this podcast. This is one example. 5. The book is called "Justice: Rights and Wrongs." This sense of God’s righteousness and justice spills over into Israel’s … Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and justice will look down from the sky.”), and Psalm 89:14 (“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”). Moments later he hears them singing a triumphant song that includes lyrics praising the Lord for His works and ways. One of the questions I suppose is, is the best place for all of this justice to be acted out is in the government or is this something that should be happening through families or other institutions? In fact, this morning, I was driving with my mom here to the office and we drove through and there's a bunch of these tents over by [St Francis Parklands?]. Justice and Righteousness. Justice and righteousness ought to pervade all of society, from rulers to nobles or the élite down to the common man. Tim: Which provide the most straightness. Then my mom said that one of her friends from back where I grew up was a policeman officer, and would constantly talk about all the problems that arose from the homeless. We care about justice because of justice, because it's right. Next thing he knows it's turned into the next thing. Is it just kind of this hand in hand thing that people who are vulnerable are usually taken advantage of? Wisdom—, Tim: Yeah, right. There was no social safety web in the early Roman Empire for the poor. Tim: Righteousness. And so this is why the Jesus movement was so stinking effective in the first few centuries was, it was creating these institutions to care for the vulnerable that simply didn't exist. But it offers one of the most complete poetic definitions of righteousness in the Old Testament. (Matthew 25:31-46). He won't render justice by what his eyes see, nor make a decision by what his ears hear. It's just right through. But it was the homeless that would come. Like a Boys Ranch for kids coming out of juvenile hall. It makes your life really difficult. Jesus again emphasized this truth in His last sermon, known as the Olivet Discourse. Here's an example from Ezekiel chapter 18. And if they are left behind in my vision of the future of my community, I cannot claim to be a just community. Notice the vulnerable triad there. This is what I delight in," declares the Lord." Those who ministered to them will be granted entrance into His future kingdom while those who did not will be banished. But then for whatever reason, when you step into that world, it starts getting really complicated. He talks about tzedakah as what clothes him, and then mishpat is like his outerwear. It's the same. It's what Job did, just average day to day person, it's what Ezekiel, talks about, it's what the Messianic King will do when he comes. Jon: Because that's all it's coming down to is, should you give people who don't have the ability to buy health insurance, should you help them do it? Justice is a primary theme in the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. Hi I’m Support Bot! Justice is a biblical motif that curves its way through the entire biblical narrative and has its climax in Jesus. God is both just and righteous. What we have is an English word "justify," which is really. But it's an exercise everybody has to go through, I think if you find yourself called into these kinds of roles. He's Peruvian. Tim: Well, you're upholding mishpat but you're doing so because of some standard or value. Amos shows God demanding justice from them rather than worship: “I hate, I despise your festivals…But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:21-24). What is Righteousness in the New Testament? Or do you let the free market decide in which case then really you're just creating more choice for people? It's not simple. Jon: Well, all this gets really political. If I honor the Bible as a source of divine wisdom, I have to reckon with the fact that this extraordinary emphasis on the poor living conditions of people in poverty, where people who are vulnerable, and that their problems need to become the problems of those with influence and resources, and voice. I mean, if we want to say we're trying to be faithful to the Bible and its wisdom about justice, I don't know... Tim: You just read it. Jon: Wrapping yourself and clothing yourself in this type of way of being. So he just started writing. It was encapsulated by this phrase that he coined, called, if you look at the God of the Bible, who reveals himself as the God of the Exodus - he calls it the God has a preferential option for the poor." Actually, what could be more fun than spending the rest of your life just giving money away? When we read Psalm 99, "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne" or we read about the Messianic king that he will come and rule with righteousness and justice, what it's being talked about there is mishpat for the vulnerable and righteousness is the character trait or the standard. In later Hebrew, and even still today, the word tzedakah is now one of the basic words in modern Hebrew for a gift to the poor. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”. Tim: That might be rooted more in a maximizing welfare value in that moment of "let's create a system that will give the most opportunity to the most amount of people and if people want to change their life trajectory, then the free market is the best way to create that. Strong case may be made that “justice” is the poor learn how to practically do it.. 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