Someone in authority who oppresses poor people is like a driving rain that destroys the crops.
The Bible teaches three basic causes of poverty. (1) the foolish behavior of the poor, which calls for reform; (2) the oppressive behavior of the rich, which calls for repentance; and (3) forces outside the power of the poor and the rich, which call for generosity.
If you have no regard for the law, you are on the side of those who have rejected God; but if you obey it, you are against them.
This is precisely the problem! For God’s justice exposes our inadequacy. The Bible says that every person has failed to live up to God’s moral law and so finds himself guilty before God. The Biblical word for this moral failure is sin. The Bible says that “All persons are under the power of sin. None is righteous; no, not one; all have turned aside, together they have gone wrong. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3.10,12,23).
Evil people do not know what justice is, but those who worship the Lord understand it well.
Now, surely, those who live in gross wickedness and take no care to correct their lives and habits, who yet, amid their crimes and misdeeds, continue to multiply their alms, flatter themselves in vain with the Lord’s words, “Give alms; and, behold, all things are clean to you.” They do not understand how far this saying reaches. In order for them to understand, let them notice to whom it was that he said it. For this is the context of it in the Gospel: “As he was speaking, a certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. And he went in and reclined at the table. And the Pharisee began to wonder and ask himself why He had not washed himself before dinner. But the Lord said to him: ‘Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are still full of extortion and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside too? Nevertheless, give for alms what remains within; and, behold, all things are clean to you.'”162 Should we interpret this to mean that to the Pharisees, who had not the faith of Christ, all things are clean if only they give alms, as they deem it right to give them, even if they have not believed in him, nor been reborn of water and the Spirit? But all are unclean who are not made clean by the faith of Christ, of whom it is written, “Cleansing their hearts by faith.”163 And as the apostle said, “But to them that are unclean and unbelieving nothing is clean; both their minds and consciences are unclean.”164 How, then, should all things be clean to the Pharisees, even if they gave alms, but were not believers? Or, how could they be believers, if they were unwilling to believe in Christ and to be born again in his grace? And yet, what they heard is true: “Give alms; and behold, all things are clean to you.” St. Augustine