- Social justice is a must for every member of the kingdom of God.
- Social justice is a biblical issue – always has been.
- Social justice is an action that elevates others; it is not a protest march. It does not tear down, it builds up.
- Social justice is an expected concomitant of the Gospel.
The fact is, as servants of God whose redemption, s servants of God whose redemption, born of love, has elevated us – to the status of “sons”, we have the duty to pass that “grace’ along. It is God’s grace, alone, that elevates (John 8:31-32; Galatians 5:1). How do we serve? With and within the grace God has given us – that is our unique station in life, which includes our education and training, contacts and relationships, materials and money, as well as other resources God has entrusted us to steward. It is these “resources” that we are to share, to invest in others in order to serve others as Kingdom construction representatives. We don’t ask government to do it, nor our neighbors. We do it and ask our neighbors to join us.
Again, the “action” is simple – it’s not words, its work. And we do the work of God when we use the resources God has entrusted to us – to serve those who need and desire help, as they too seek the abundant life that God offers us through Christ (John 10:10).
The only discriminating aspect of this is simple, will those who need a “lift” take the chance, by faith, to take responsibility and work with us worker? If not, then our work, won’t work a redemptive affect.
John Perkins, father of the “Evangelical civil rights movement” has written that we evangelicals have missed opportunities, in the past, to be Jesus’ Kingdom representatives during past civil rights movements. Note…
The evangelical church – whose basic theology is the same as mine – had not gone on to preach the whole gospel… so I decided to act…I knew that the bible commands us to seek justice… but there were, and always will be, human emotions. Such as sadness at seeing those that I knew as brothers in Christ insist on a Sunday religion that didn’t sharpen their sense of justice during those years of turmoil (1965-67). It wasn’t a question of what “team” to join. In terms of social justice, evangelicals just didn’t have a team on the field”
Sadly, Reverend Perkins, who penned those words in 1976, is still right! It’s been 2000 years past the Great Redemptive Emancipation of humanity, by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we’ve not succeeded in establishing a kingdom values system in society. Nor have we been able to agree on “The Law”, that is to set the foundation of what constitutes proper personal and social behavior. And we “evangelicals” remain impotent!
It’s time to change that. But, what shall we do?
I am an advocate for less talk and more action (as Toby Keith would say) but I am looking for biblical action, not more riots, lootings, shootings, statue destruction or paid reparations; (Psalms 69:3-4).
So what does biblical action look like? Well, check out my notes below and see if you can’t see just exactly what you must do and how to do it.
A few, specific, bible passages that refer to “social justice”
Leviticus – 19: 9-10 & 13-18
Deuteronomy – 15:11
Psalms – 72: 12-14; 82: all, esp v3-4; 103:6
Proverbs – 14:31; 20:10; 21:2-3, v13; 22:2, v22-23, v28; 23:10-11; 24:23-26; 28:1-14; 29:13, v18; 31:8-9 & v20
Isaiah – 1:16-20; 58: all, esp, v6-7
Amos – 2:6; 4:1 2; 5:7 & 10-13; 15-20 & 21- 24; 6:12; 8:4-6
Jonah – all – a man who cares more about a shade bush than the people of another nation
1 Timothy – 6: 17-19
1 John – 3:17
To deal, biblically, with injustice, we must be born again. To be born again we must simply, by faith, follow these biblically provided steps…
- Remember we are sinners and commit sins of both commission and omission. Romans 3:10, 23
- Sin produces death – literally; spiritually and naturally – impacting all other areas of life – health, relations, economies and governing policies – all things are influenced by our choices and actions and if these are animated by our sin nature, then we being destruction upon ourselves and others. Romans 6:23
- The solution for sin is “salvation”. Salvation is possible through Jesus Christ, who alone paid for our salvation. Romans 10:9-10
- He was perfect and was not subject to sin, therefore, neither death. 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:5-8;
- He choose to give himself a substitute, to be punished by the justice of God, for mankind’s aggregate sins. Because he was both eternal and perfect, he could die in our stead and it would be propitious, universally (appropriable for all sinners) and efficacious for eternity. Romans 3:23-26; Colossians 1:12-23; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18.
- This way of substitutionary “atonement” was God’s choice, His loving way of “saving”, i. e. redeeming the world. John 3:16; 1 John 4:10
- Accept God’s forgiveness for our sin, our salvation, by faith in Jesus who died for our sins and was resurrected for our justification. Romans 4:25
- Faith is the means of receiving this unmerited gift of forgiveness of sins. Our salvation is by faith. Ephesians 2: 8-10 This avenue of faith includes these elements…
- Recognition and acceptance that God is True and He is Right, Just and Holy; therefore He really must judge sin.
- Recognition and acceptance that you are a sinner in violation of God’s holy perfection and justly due His punishment for sin, which is death.
- Confess this fact to God – sincerely, openly, in your heart; declare this transactual truth – see Romans 10:9-10
- Accept God’s forgiveness as true, valid and finished – see 1 John 5:11-13
- Those steps above are a ‘bundle” of truth which we must receive/believe, that is, we fully accept it as God’s truth, though we don’t understand it all the first day of our act of faith. That is the definition of “faith” that I am talking about. John 1:12; 3: 36; Acts 16:31; Romans 10: 9-10; Hebrews 11: 1 & 6
- The acceptance of His truth, initiates the proof of our faith. We are able to “prove” our faith by our actions. James 2:17
- Another glorious result of our salvation is that God gives us a new nature, the “born again” nature that includes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. John 14:16-17; 15:6-7; 2 Timothy 1:14.
- God gives us His Spirit because of our salvific faith. The reception of the Holy Spirit, which indwells every believer the moment he receives Jesus as his redemptive savior, inaugurates a whole new life and lifestyle. This new lifestyle of beliefs and behavior is animated by the power of the Holy Spirit, giving us access to God’s power, enabling us to conform our behavior to His. Romans 6
- As a result of our submission to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we are animated and enabled to obey God, through our faith; to live as His word dictates. 2 Corinthians 5:17; James 1:22; 1 John 3:16-18 (read all of 1 John 3)
Once born again, we have a service to render our Master and Savior – to pass the grace along to others who have need of help; our help!
- At this juncture, our salvation moves from reception to outreach. Spiritually equipped and empowered by God, we use our lives and resources redemptively to help the “afflicted” move beyond their state of bondage and despair to emancipation and personal development.
- This is more than mowing lawns, bringing food, fixing plumbing or giving rides to work or Doctors’ appointments – through love, helping others simply includes personal involvement (Galatians 5:13).
- Ultimately, we ALL have resources, positions of power and authority, connections and options. Those are God’s gifts to us and are to be shared with others.
- Don’t worry about who to serve, God will sovereignly put those whom He wants us to serve, before us. It is those we should help elevate, as they accept and cooperate with our help. Social Justice is ultimately removing the human constructs, the unjust roadblocks, from the path of downtrodden so they can move forward to achieve their best, while seeking the same Abundant Life, of Christ, that we enjoy – spiritually, emotionally, physically, educationally, professionally, economically and relationally.
- One does not need to be a politician nor potentate to serve others with strength. God has given all of us some sort or kinds of “strength”. Some know how to cook, or fix automobiles, plumbing or roofs. Some are lawyers, doctors, professors or other professionals. We can all help others with what we have. Therefore, we need not worry about helping those when we haven’t the necessary resources, knowledge, relationships or other “strengths” that God has pre-placed in our lives. God has others to serve His purposes, who do have the resources you don’t enjoy. Don’t worry about that, “worry” about the ones you know, today, that you can help today. Do that and you will be part of the heavenly solution, you will be supporting the agenda of the kingdom of God. And the results of that will be eternal. The key is to recognize that God himself has both called you and gifted you for His service. As a result you have His guarantee that He will work through you to achieve the ends He has designed for you, as his “faithful” servant. This is what is called “incarnational” ministry.
- Incarnational ministry (God working through you – Philippians 4:13) is not easy for it all involves a redemptive commitment.
- This commitment is costly for redemption means someone else pays the price to free the redeemed. And in the individual sense, it means you! You pay to help others find what God has shown you. Furthermore, this type of selfless sacrifice involves one primary virtue; love. Only love can make a person serve those he isn’t beholding to. If we are ignorant of the needs of others, or prejudice, or simply lazy and self-indulgent, we won’t “lend a finger’ to ease their plight, much less improve their overall living circumstances. Loving our neighbor is the key to this exchange of serving self to serving others, step we must take/ And that first step, begins with loving. It is the experience of obeying the “first two commandments” – to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to our neighbor is to (Matthew 22:36-40).
- For a picturesque and poetic example of the tension involved in following God’s command to love Him and others, look at the story of Jonah, found in the Old Testament of the Bible. This unique short story exemplifies the choice of dedication. To self (choosing personal satisfaction and comfort as we deny the neediness of others and our unique opportunity to help correct their circumstances) versus others (this begins with loving God first – which includes His purposes as our primary faith responsibility – and naturally leads to serving our neighbors). When we serve our neighbors (at their critical point of need), we serve God by helping those with whom we have no natural connection but the commonality of needing divine help. This “divine” help, which is carried by human hands (ours), is redemptive. This is the divine influence in the human experience, which is called ‘incarnational ministry”. We serve incarnationally when we represent God’s presence, power and grace which enables a neighbor to commit, change, then pursue God’s “abundant life”, as promised (John 10:10). I recommend you read the book of Jonah. Its four short chapters will take less than 15 minutes to read – then a life time to apply!
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves”. Romans 15:1