Creation Care and Justice – Gospel in Life

Creation Care and Justice

Tim Keller |  January 16, 2005

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  • Creation
  • Mercy & Justice
Proverbs 3:18-20, 27-32; 11:10-11; 19:17; 29:7
RS 178-17


We’re looking at the book of Proverbs and the subject of wisdom. At the heart of what Proverbs says it means to live a wise life is caring for justice. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” This little word for caring is way too weak an English word to get across what’s actually being said here. The Hebrew word here is yada`, which is the most deep and intimate and experiential word in the Hebrew language for knowledge. It is knowledge so passionate and so intense and so intimate that it’s a synonym for sexuality when used in the book of Genesis.

This proverb is saying, “You’re not wise unless you are living an intensely passionate life, committed to justice.” What does that mean? Let’s look at this under four headings: Why do we need justice? What is justice? Who does justice? And how can we be one of the ones who do justice?

Understanding Proverbs

In the book of Proverbs, we learn about the importance of fighting for what’s right and fair, especially for people who are often overlooked. It compares those who care deeply about fairness to those who don’t really bother about it. The aim is to show us why we need to stand up for justice, what it means, who should do it, and how to go about it.

1. Why do we need justice?

The Bible talks about “Shalom,” which is like a perfect peace and happiness – the way God meant the world to be. It’s like a tree of life that brings everything together in harmony. Without trusting in God, however, our idea of justice can get twisted by power and end up causing more problems instead of fixing them.

2. What is justice?

According to God’s plan, the world should be a place where everything and everyone thrives together. Proverbs teaches us that we have a responsibility to share what we have with others, especially those in need. This goes beyond just doing what’s legal – it’s about actively helping those who are often ignored, and making sure they have a fair shot at opportunities.

3. Who does justice?

Proverbs 11 mentions the “tsaddiqim,” or righteous people. These are folks who not only do what’s right but also give back to their community. Even though they might be quite successful, everyone appreciates them because of the good they do. This is a call for all believers to act in the same way – to be so helpful that everyone values their contribution, regardless of their faith.

4. How can we be one of the ones who do justice?

Feeling guilty doesn’t really change us on the inside, it just forces us to act differently on the outside. Real change comes from understanding that when we’re kind to those in need, it’s like giving a gift to God, who promises to enrich us in return. The good news of salvation isn’t just about personal righteousness and getting to heaven, it’s also about joining God’s mission to bring peace through acts of justice and mercy.



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