Seek Justice in Christ and Live Justly in Christ.

Seek Justice in Christ and Live Justly in Christ.

These were my words to you as an application to Revelation chapter 6 where God lets us in on the high cost of justice in a world made up of sinners. The passage shocks us and causes us to cry out to God for mercy – both for us and for the sins of the whole world. But what are we asking for when we pray for mercy to triumph over judgement?

We are praying for these two things. First, we are praying that God will accept the sacrifice of Jesus (His propitiation as in Romans 3:25) as a substitute for our own sin and guilt. That is, we are asking God to give us mercy because Jesus has justly carried aware our true moral guilt. This first prayer humbles us to pray the second prayer for the sins of the world because we understand that we are one with them, not “us versus them,”

Second, we are praying that God will bring the justice of heaven to earth even now through His church preaching the gospel and walking in justice daily.

How do we at SMCC live as a justice oriented people? Let me say three things to you pastorally.

  1. We must define “justice” biblically in regards to every issue at hand. In other words, who gets to say what is just and what is not? This is always a religious question and it always starts with what it means to be human. We are taught by revelation that every human person has value because they are created in the image of God. This is true regardless of race or social or economic status. It is true regardless of age or location in relation womb. It is true regardless of chosen sin or present consequences. It is true for the president (whether or not he/she is the one you voted for) and it is true for the prisoner. Each culture develops its own idea of justice and it is for us to say, but most importantly to do, that which is revealed in Scripture, consistent with it and corresponds to reality as we find it.
  2. We must act consistently with that biblical justice. We hold to the value of all people and then seek to live consistently with that, both treating and defending the treatment of all people as valuable. This will always bring about the best because it always corresponds to reality as we actually find it and the world is as God said we would find it. People are actually valuable and this is the reason why. We also act consistently the gospel of free grace in Jesus for those who repent and believe. The first justice, as we have said, is the grace that comes when the sacrifice of Jesus is applied to their true guilt. Do our justice actions require the gospel or are they just like everyone else’s? We are enculturated (to make up a word). We will begin to assume that our culture is right and judge the church or the bible by an ungodly standard. The trouble? It is not true and it will lead to destruction. People will not flourish because it is not reality.
  3. We must be careful when becoming involved in justice “issues.” It is the rich have the privilege of seeing poverty as an “issue to be solved.” We are a local church filled with broken people (rich and poor), redeemed by Jesus and we live where we are in the world so that the justice of God can literally be acted out by you in your house, in your school, in your work and in your town. Start there. “Issues” are transformed when another real person is involved, not just an idea. Yes, walk to raise awareness and money. Yes, share the campaign on Facebook. But, most of all love, right now, today. Love enough to seek the justice God desires for the real people in your lives through the Gospel and through stepping in between them and injustice wherever it is found.

As a church, we will continue to preach the gospel, every Sunday and every chance we get. The good news of Jesus is the only way that real justice will happen in this world because it is the only honest grounds for forgiveness. And we will help prepare you to live in the real world.

Some of you are called by God to love individuals who are suffering, like Mother Theresa who became a poor woman in Calcutta to care for the poor men and women in Calcutta. Many of you are already doing this our neighbors who are poor, in prison or are discriminated against because they live in a womb. Go. Serve. Love. And we will support you in any way we can.

Others of you are called to address where are current systems are unjust and foster injustice. God bless you, you are joining a long line of Christians who have created systems for economic opportunity, environmental health, education for all, healthcare and the end of slavery. Many of these systems are still there under the surface, but just like Genesis 3, they will fail and cause destruction when we try to exercise our dominion as if it is outside of God’s dominion. Justice actions without justice Gospel will soon lead to another kind of tyranny. Take the time to think biblically and act consistently in the real world…and may justice roll down like waters (Amos 5:24).

Your Pastor,