Sermon quotes on justice

Wendell Berry

Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.


Martin Luther King Jr.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice

C.S. Lewis

Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful.


J.C. Ryle

Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just. Such a God is an idol of your own.


John Selden

Equity in law is the same that the spirit is in religion, what everyone pleases to make it: sometimes they go according to conscience, sometimes according to law, sometimes according to the rule of court.


J.R.R. Tolkien

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” 

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

William Wilberforce

Never, never will we desist till we extinguish every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonor to this country.

Philip Yancey

Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to – because of us. At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice.

 John Rawls

The fairest rules are those to which everyone would agree if they did not know how much power they would have.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Equality is not only a matter of mathematics and geometry, but it’s a matter of psychology…It is possible to have a quantitative equality and qualitative inequality.

Quoted in Jeff Chang, Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America



Nicholas Wolterstorff

The lower classes  of society are “not only disproportionately vulnerable to injustice, but usually disproportionately actual victims of injustice. Injustice is not equally distributed. One has to decide where lie the greatest injustices and where lies the greatest vulnerability. Other things being equal, one focuses one’s attention on those.”

Justice: Rights and Wrongs, Princeton University Press.

American Christopher Society Motto

Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

Gary Haugen

The sin of injustice is defined in the Bible as the abuse of power—abusing power by taking from others the good things that God intended for them, namely, their life, liberty, dignity, or the fruits of their love or their labor.

Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian, InterVarsity Press.

John Stott

Social responsibility becomes an aspect not of Christian mission only, but also of Christian conversion. It is impossible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor.

Jen Wilkin

The Scriptures find the justice of God a virtue to be extolled, not a blemish to be concealed.

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character, Crossway.

Jen Wilkin

Though in human terms, justice is portrayed as blind, the justice of God is wide-eyed and clear-sighted. . . . Not only is he the Judge, he is also the eyewitness who testifies to the facts—perfectly clear-sighted in his recollections. . . . There is no such thing as a secret sin.

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character, Crossway.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Only he who cries out for the persecuted Jews can sing Gregorian chants.

Martin Luther King. Jr.

You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression … If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) Mass Meeting, at Holt Street Baptist Church, 1955

Albert Lutuli

To remain neutral in a situation where the laws of the land virtually criticized God for having created men of color was the sort of thing I could not, as a Christian, tolerate.

N.T. Wright

When God wants to sort out the world, as the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount make clear, he doesn’t send in the tanks. He sends in the meek, the broken, the justice hungry, the peacemakers, the pure-hearted and so on.

Taken from The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is by N.T. Wright Copyright (c) 2015 by N. T. Wright. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Karen Swallow Prior

Justice is less like finite land and more like the wildflowers that grow there, continually spreading as they bloom and re-seed themselves. Justice—like beauty—is rooted in infinity.

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2018), 85.

A Franciscan Blessing

God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.   God bless us with righteous anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people and the planet, so that we might work for justice, freedom, and peace.   God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war, so that we might turn their pain into joy.   And God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world, so that we might do what others claim cannot be done. To bring justice, kindness and the gospel to all people, especially the poor.

Elizabeth Perkins

We the people of this new generation highly resolve that those who sacrificed before us shall not have sacrificed in vain. Let justice roll on.

Let Justice Roll Down

Clayborne Carson, Kris Shepard

Martin’s [Luther King] voice was more than the communication of intellectual ideals and spiritual vision. It was a call for action, action which he personally led. . . . [Martin] saw leadership as a process of relating the daily plight of humankind to the eternal truths of creation.

A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


From the very first the Creator was both good and also just. And both His attributes advanced together. His goodness created; His justice arranged, the world; and in this process it even then decreed that the world should be formed of good materials, because it took counsel with goodness. The work of justice is apparent, in the separation which was pronounced between light and darkness, between day and night, between heaven and earth, between the water above and the water beneath.

Taken from Peter Holmes and Sidney Thelwall, The Sacred Writings of Tertullian, Vol. 1 (Germany: Jazzybee Verlag, 2017), 360.

Lois Barrett

Shalom envisions the full prosperity of a people of God living under the covenant of God’s demanding care and compassionate rule. In the prophetic vision, peace such as this comes hand in hand with justice. Without justice, there can be no real peace, and without peace, no real justice. Indeed, only in a social world full of a peace grounded in justice can there come the full expression of joy and celebration.

Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, The Gospel and Our Culture Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998), loc. 92–93, Kindle.

Cornel West

If your success is defined as being well adjusted to injustice and well adapted to indifference, then we don’t want successful leaders. We want great leaders who love the people enough and respect the people enough to be unbought, unbound, unafraid, and unintimidated to tell the truth.

Quoted in Crystal Blanton, “Inspiration, Reflection and Justice: Spirituality through the Voices of Our Leaders,” Feb. 5, 2013, Daughters of Eve (blog), Patheos.

Jonathan Walton

Martin Luther King was shot because he preached and practiced allegiance to a different kingdom and rigorously opposed our present system.

Taken from Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free by Jonathan Walton Copyright (c) 2019 by Jonathan Walton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Jonathan Walton

When we don’t meet Christ in Scripture and are not regularly being discipled by or discipling others, it is impossible to discern what being a Christian means or to cultivate a relationship with God. This lack of intimacy with Jesus and his people doesn’t take into account those who claim to be Christians but see justice, reconciliation, and compassion as optional Christian activities.

Taken from Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free by Jonathan Walton Copyright (c) 2019 by Jonathan Walton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Michelle Ferrigno Warren

Prophets were known for both their foretelling and forthtelling. Foretelling speaks to revealing future events and forthtelling speaks to the truth that God has already revealed. Much of what we think of regarding modern-day prophets is truth-telling what God has already revealed and reminding his people of the truth.

Join the Resistance: Step Into The Good Work of Kingdom Justice (Downers Grove: IVP, 2022)


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