A Message Preached by GRTL President Ricardo Davis
at Sovereign Grace Church of Woodstock
Sunday, January 17, 2021 A.D.
Good morning! I thank Pastor Aaron and the leadership team here at Sovereign Grace Church for the opportunity to speak, and for Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life, who has called each of us to be His ambassadors to a culture that desperately needs the message of the Gospel. Let us pray.
The Approach of This Message
Over the past year the Father has been encouraging us through the writings of the apostles Peter and James. In doing so I trust that God is building in our lives the resilience necessary for this hour.
Now more than ever we must ask of God to “open the eyes of our understanding” so we can see and hear the messages in our culture through the lens of the Word of God so that we can discern good and evil, then exercise justice.
“For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” – Hebrews 5:13-14
The Subject of This Message
Today I will address the subject of Biblical Justice and the Sanctity of Life. My key text is familiar I’m sure to some of you, and it taken from the book of the prophet Micah. Stand with me as we read God’s Word together from Micah 6:8.
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
It is not enough to respond to our culture’s cries of injustice by following their prescription for remedying justice. I contend that what you hear and see in the news, on media – social and otherwise, from academia, from the corporate office of diversity, etc. is a perversion of true justice. And this particular form of worldliness is gaining advocates in many Christian ministries, educational institutions, and denominations.
My goal this day is to help hone your “powers of discernment” so you can rightly distinguish what is justice and how to act justly. Today let us consider the following.
Because the Lord God is sovereign over all mankind and establishes perfect justice, we are to look to His law and commandments to understand the danger of elective abortion and our response in a culture that protects abortion as public policy.
Let us begin with considering the source and origin of justice.
1. God is the judge and lawgiver of all persons because they are of His creation.
God exercises His absolute sovereignty over all mankind through justice.
But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness. – Psalm 9:7-8
He exercises authority over all creation without limit
He defines what is good and evil
He judges every human, every nation by His law.
Let’s take one example from the ancient world recorded in the book of Genesis, chapter 18.
So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” – Genesis 18:22-25
Abraham recognizes the scope and breadth of the Lord God’s sovereignty: all the earth – including Sodom.
Abraham acknowledges that the Lord God defines what is good and evil: will He not do is right?
Abraham affirms the judicial supremacy of the Lord God: authority to condemn the city for its transgressions (cf. 2 Peter 2:6 “he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly”).
Abraham appeals to the moral law of God for the deliverance of the city: the innocent must not die as the guilty in the execution of justice.
Let’s compare this with the appeals of social justice.
Reproductive justice emerged as a movement as critical theory and intersectionality arose as the framework of social justice.
Advocates of reproductive justice claim that women with low incomes, women of color, women with disabilities and LGBTQ+ people felt marginalized in the reproductive rights movement, which focused primarily on pro-choice versus pro-life debates.
Reproductive justice goes beyond the pro-choice narrative by acknowledging the fact that there are intersecting factors such as race and class that impact marginalized groups of women differently, and that this means not every woman has the freedom to choose what she wants to do with her pregnancy when her options are limited by oppressive circumstances or lack of access to services. – Andrea Smith, “Beyond Pro-Choice versus Pro-Life: Women of Color and Reproductive Justice”
So who is the one declaring sovereignty in reproductive justice? The individual woman declares sovereignty over her body.
Are there limits to the woman’s sovereignty in reproductive justice? The woman exercises that sovereignty without limit
Who or what defines the standard of good and evil in reproductive justice? The woman defines what is right in her own eyes
How is oppression defined in reproductive justice? When the woman’s will to power over her body is constrained by intersecting factors
The organization URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity “envisions a world where all people have agency over their own bodies and relationships, and the power, knowledge, and tools to exercise that agency.”
Man-made “social justice” is a subversive attack upon the sovereignty of God over all things and His immutable moral law as the standard of righteousness and justice. Its undergirding worldview substitutes justice with selfishness and vengeance, replaces repentance with inescapable guilt, and displaces true charity. It cloaks itself with the verbiage of righteousness, while undermining the foundations of the Gospel and God’s moral law.
Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun… and in Biblical history the same rejection of God’s law and justice resulted in the same bloodshed – as the nation of Israel sacrificed her children to demon idols.
Judgment must begin in the household of God (1 Peter 4:17), and protecting the sanctity of life must begin with a recognition that the preborn child is my neighbor (Luke 10:29-37). Now let’s look into how true justice is subverted.
2. Partiality overthrows justice for our neighbor, whereas upholding God’s law in righteousness sustains justice for our neighbor.
So how do you and I actually do justice with regard to our preborn neighbors? First we have to deal how agreeing with the world’s understanding of justice actually numbs us to the injustice going on around us.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work? – Proverbs 24:11-12
One of effects of a Christian’s uncritical empathy towards the victims of social injustice is that we take on the social justice advocate’s worldview… including their understanding of law and rights.
The vacuum of justice created by a lack of explicit teaching on God’s law and justice in society is easily filled by the triumphal vision of social justice when packaged in Christian lingo.
Let us hear from the Word of the Lord to fill the vacuum and give us wisdom.
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” – Leviticus 19:15
What happens in our culture when we reject this commandment?
When I was a young man there was a fundamental shift in the second generation of the civil rights movement from equal justice under God’s moral law to partiality to the poor and oppressed. Laws and judicial rulings began to use the power of government to promote some over others and this was seen as justice.
With regards to protecting the life of your preborn neighbor, we get to the place where we say “we did not know this” by putting other claims for justice over that of the child’s.
While feminist narratives emphasize women’s stories and experiences, reproductive justice narratives focus on the stories specifically of women of color, situating those with lived experience of each issue as the real experts on that issue. Such empathetic rhetoric allows no criticism of its feminist presuppositions, and many well-meaning Christians who are drawn in are shamed (“white privilege”, etc.) into not questioning the oppressed.
What should be our response to our preborn neighbor whose life is threatened with murder?
(1) Do all you can to move your neighbor to safety: works of mercy and gospel witness toward those who intend to murder the child. This includes tough love: exposing the utterly sinful act as it is in the eyes of a holy God.
This can be as simple as supporting those that do the works of mercy. (Examples such as pregnancy resource centers, prenatal clinics, etc. – even license plates!)
Don’t limit yourself, the Lord may want to use you in a greater way in the works of mercy! (Note how God works – faithfulness over time.)
Ask me or Phil Friesen if you would like ideas of you can help protect your preborn neighbor.
(2) Exercise judicial sanctions toward those who reject mercy: work to build a culture that rejects abortion and establishes a legal framework to apply strong sanctions to deter the practice.Since the unjust, unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, American citizens in all 50 states have been forced to allow the killing of pre-born children. This injustice directly defies the Declaration of Independence, the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, most state constitutions, and more importantly, the law of God: You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).
The correction of this injustice must include the work of Gospel transformation in our communities, working together to protect life, supporting leaders who will protect your preborn neighbor from lethal threats.
You may think this is impossible today. I believe in a God who specializes in the impossible. For example, in a city about the size of Woodstock over in Mississippi the people of God have labored and God has honored their efforts as they have established the foundations of a legal framework to protect their preborn neighbors. If you go to safecitypearl.com then you’ll see God at work. (Show SCP Homepage.) The “Who We Are” page is a testimony of the labors of Christian leaders who have built a foundation of support in the city for this effort and have partnered with their local civil magistrates.
We are citizens of Pearl, Mississippi who believe that children in the womb should be protected from the violence of abortion.
The governing authorities of our city have set forth a resolution declaring our city to be a “Safe City for Pre-born Children”. This resolution recognizes and declares “the humanity of the preborn child”. This resolution also “urges the citizens of Pearl to encourage the humane treatment of all human beings, including the preborn child, as well as to promote and defend the dignity of all human life.”
As citizens of Pearl, Mississippi we accept this exhortation from our governing authorities with gladness and gravity. We accept this exhortation gladly because it is fully aligned with the Word of God, The Bible.
I highly recommend you peruse this website to get a grasp of what it means to do justice and protect the preborn neighbors in your community.
In addition, if we are to do justice in protecting the sanctity of life then it necessarily means not supporting or giving your influence to those individuals and organizations who through injustice target your preborn neighbor.
It also means not supporting those politicians and political organizations whose work directly or indirectly endangers the life of your preborn neighbor. If in their pursuit of law and justice the life your preborn neighbor is threatened, then you need to reject it. And when appropriate rebuke such evildoers and call them to repentance.
Let us end by taking a few minutes to pray together as His people. Petition our Lord who is the Judge of all the earth to execute justice in our land. Where we have said with our words and actions to the Lord “we did not know this” then let us confess our sins to the Lord who gracious to forgive the contrite in heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead and empower each of us to do what we can to move our preborn neighbor to safety and support those civil magistrates who will honor God’s law and protect them.