Justice seems to be the buzz word of the year. Social justice, humanitarian causes, and mercy ministries are now in vogue. I just returned from an interesting conference that rallied for the cause of justice. The folks that this event attracted were rather diverse. Some solid on the Bible and others hanging by a thread over the flames of hell.
I am just a traveler on the journey of loving people rightly. I have a long way to go. But I know where the train begins and the tracks it should run on. The gateway for fighting injustice is the good news of God. The tracks on which the train of justice roll are the tracks of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Very important to the cause of fighting injustice are the words “No greater love has one for another than to lay his life down for his friends.” (John 15:13) This strips social justice of any political overtones. Few liberals can run with this banner for very long and few conservatives can become calloused against it. When Jesus says he is going to love his friends to the death, it means love them to the eternal death.
Jesus left his glorious home in heaven to minister to the poor. And we can follow his example by giving our lives to the poor. But Jesus did not just come to live among the broken and abused. Jesus did not just leave us a good example when he died on the cross. There was something much bigger going on. He was absorbing the infinite wrath of an almighty God on behalf of wicked sinners.
So yes, I come from a church that emphasizes the substitutionary work of Jesus’ death on the cross. And no, Jesus was not merely killed because he threatened the position of his oppressors. The gospel is bigger than that. Justice is bigger than that. Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities and by his stripes we are healed.
Unfortunately, there is this false dichotomy that says that theology and loving neighbor are mutually exclusive. There are many theology loving people who neglect loving their neighbors. And there are many justice-loving people who neglect loving their Savior. A division like this is not needed. One should flow out of the other.
Only those who are gripped by the Jesus who lays his life down for sinners make good “social activists”. Idolatry is the worst injustice ever committed. The death of Jesus puts right the worst wrong. Sin against God is paid in full for those who call upon His name.
God hated injustice so much that he slaughtered his only Son. From the cross did his love and blood roll.
I can’t think of a better place for justice to flow from.