2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV) 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Pastor Chris brings it home in the second of this two-part mini-series on the church body’s role in bringing people together. He rounds out the message of the Third Option‡ with emphasis on how God’s justice demands our action. He has made a way for us. He has given us His Son bringing the gospel of Christ’s life, suffering, death, resurrection, and eternal life as the only way to truly bring harmony.
(adapted from the Third Option book and message series by Pastor Miles McPherson)
3 Biblical Truths about Justice
- God of Justice – He is justice, His nature is just – meaning equity and equality are essential to the character of God
“God’s compassion flows out of His goodness, and goodness without justice is not goodness.” A.W. Tozer
- God Desires Justice – He longs for justice to be carried out by His church; to be the bride of Christ is to seek justice and minister to the oppressed
“The atoning Gospel makes us right with God and prepares a church for a selfless ministry.” Ed Stetzer
- Biblical Justice is Displayed in 3 Core Ways –
- Equal Treatment for All – we are the same human race, made in God’s image, no one inferior or superior
“Good treatment and bad treatment, honor and dishonor, rejection and acceptance should not be based on riches or race.” John Piper
- Special Concern for Those Without Power – the orphans, marginalized, immigrants, elderly, and disabled, we are directed by God to defend their rights
- Radical Generosity – “If you are not radically generous with your time, goods, possessions, money, power, you are not just being stingy, you are being unjust.” Tim Keller
A Call for Justice and Mercy
8 And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”Zechariah 7:8-10
How do we carry out justice in a big world filled with injustices? We make an effort to be the church that Jesus designed. Followers of a message that He proclaimed in His Sermon on the Mount – peacemakers, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, comforters, merciful, salt, light, full of good works (Matthew 5:1-16).
“Throughout Christian history, Christ-followers understood the social implications of the gospel. Their good news clarified, and their good works verified the very faith that they professed. Like two strong wings on a passenger pigeon, good news and good works were both essential for their gospel message to take flight. And so, during seasons of pandemic like the one that we’re in, the church multiplied as the people of God gave themselves away as Kingdom-first patriots.” Ed Stetzer
- Honor – lift up those that the world diminishes; give great respect and esteem
- Intentionally Build Relationships – reach out to those different from you and build bridges
- Educate Themselves –
Chris and the City Central leadership joined a gathering in Tacoma on Sat., 8/15 of the pastors and staff of both multi-ethnic and predominantly Caucasian congregations to seek being agents of reconciliation in our city. This group is committed to making a difference by bringing the gospel. Pastor Larry Thomas of Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church in East Tacoma, who marched in the Civil Rights movement, enthusiastically said, “You know what? Jesus is the answer for it all!”
- What might be some of the differences between justice and injustice in modern America?
- Who would you say are the needy, or the powerless, in our society?
- How could the church take action to “defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31:8-9)?
- In what ways can each of us show honor to those who are different from us?
- Ask God to reveal in your heart how you view others as equal or unequal. His Spirit will show you whether you have fear, contempt, disdain, etc. for people different than you. Repent of any that He exposes. Commit to take action in prayer, word, and deed to treat others as equal in Christ.
- Consider what it will take for you to do something different to show honor, build relationships, and become more educated with those whom you differ. Whether race, worldview, politics, wealth, or status, find ways to bring harmony through the gospel. Consider sharing your new move with a trusted friend or life group.