In light of recent events, it is appropriate to devote our attention to the theme of justice. What is said herein is applicable during most cases of civil unrest. We will not dwell on the particulars of who perpetrated what against whom, or why; we’ll simply address the theme.
I. CIVIL RIGHTS SHOULD BE ADVOCATED
A. Acts 22:22-29
Paul once invoked his rights as a Roman citizen to spare himself from unnecessary harm.
B. Acts 16:16-24, 35-39
On another occasion, the apostle had already suffered illegitimate oppression when he mentioned his civil rights, demanding a personal appearance from the magistrates before cooperating with them.
C. Proverbs 29:2
It is appropriate to express disapproval with government corruption.
II. AUTHORITIES SHOULD BE RESPECTED
A. Romans 13:1-7
Despite the fact that Paul had suffered the violation of his rights on multiple occasions, he still insisted that governing authorities be submitted to because God has ordained them.
B. 1st Peter 2:13-17
Peter echoed his fellow apostle, teaching that honor is owed to those in power. Accordingly, breaking the law must not be tolerated.
III. RIOTS ARE INEXCUSABLE
A. Ephesians 4:26-27, 31
Anger should be controlled.
B. Genesis 6:11-13; Romans 1:30
Violence is unconscionable. It is the very reason God once destroyed the world.
C. Exodus 23:2
It is stupid and dangerous to follow the crowd.
D. Acts 19:23-31
Scripture does record a riot occurring once in Ephesus. It was quelled through calm reasoning. The city clerk reminded the rioters that if their case was so obviously true, then nothing could successfully oppose it. He told the mob that if their case was valid, then the courts were the appropriate recourse. He further informed them that their gathering in such a fashion was, itself, illegal. Leaders like this man should apply the same rationale in modern circumstances.
E. Matthew 27:22-26; Mark 15:15
Unfortunately, few civic leaders are as wise as was the clerk in Ephesus. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, was a coward, willing to capitulate to the bloodthirsty crowd. Fearing the tumult that was rising, he gave up Jesus Christ to crucifixion. This is the danger of a riot – that innocents will suffer, and not just directly at the hands of the rebels, but by the acquiescence of those charged with leading.
IV. CRIMINALS DESERVE PUNISHMENT
A. 1st Peter 2:20
Those who have committed crimes have no reason to complain when they are punished.
B. Acts 25:11
Those who haven’t perpetrated evil do not deserve punishment, but that possibility doesn’t make criminal prosecution invalid.
C. Ecclesiastes 8:11
In fact, punishment against wickedness must be swift to serve as a deterrent for others.
V. AUTHORITIES ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW
A. Luke 3:7-14
When John preached repentance, sinners wanted to hear applications. Specifically, civil servants inquired about their own circumstances. Tax collectors were told to be honest, and soldiers were told not to intimidate. This very teaching implies there is a tendency on the part of those in power to abuse such power.
B. Leviticus 19:15; Proverbs 24:23-24
Partiality must not enter into the administration of justice. Facts should prevail, not sentiment.
C. Deuteronomy 19:15-21
1. A guilty verdict requires the testimony of no less than two witnesses. It is a shame that crimes are prosecuted in modern times on circumstantial evidence, single witness testimony, or the testimony of so-called “expert witnesses” who are not “witnesses” in the strict definition of being “eyewitnesses”. Recently, the FBI admitted that an entire field of forensic science, namely hair strand matching, was conflated, and that two decades of expert testimony is invalid!
2. In the event of false testimony, the perjurer must be sentenced to the punishment that would have befallen the accused.
VI. RACISM IS INEXCUSABLE
A. Genesis 1:26-27; Acts 17:26-28
Because God made all men and women in His own image and likeness, it necessarily follows that every man and woman is deserving of the respect afforded their origin. God made us all of one blood, and simply expects us all to seek Him out. This is what matters – that we all search God out.
B. Acts 10:34-35; Galatians 3:28
In Christ it matters not that we are of different races, cultures, genders, or socio-economic status. Having Christ in common is all we should care about.
C. Acts 8:26-40
Notice that one early convert to the gospel was an Ethiopian. His skin had no bearing on his obedience to the gospel.
D. Numbers 12:1; Jeremiah 13:23
Moses was in an interracial marriage. It upset his family, but they were wrong.
VII. JUSTICE WILL TRIUMPH IN THE END
A. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Regardless of what justice or injustice occurs under the sun, God will ultimately judge every secret.
B. Romans 2:16
No one will get away with their crimes or any sins when Christ has the final say.
C. 1st Corinthians 4:5
May we all rely on God’s justice to prevail.
by: Bryan Matthew Dockens
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