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Gospel Motivated Justice

Social justice is one of the buzzwords that has been embraced into the vocabulary of our church circles over the past decade. With the popularity of authors like Francis Chan, David Platt and Tim Keller, the concept of social justice has catapulted into the minds of the younger generation. The goal of bringing clean water, a hot meal or a home to the worlds neglected, shunned and orphaned has enraptured their lives and have them rejecting the American Dream.

At the root of this energized focus on social justice is something quite biblical. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah preached to the Israelites as they were returning from exile a message that is repeated throughout the Old and New Testament. It is summarized best in Isaiah 56:1, Thus says the Lord, “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this.

The people of God were to act on or bring about what is just in this world. This is not an eye for eye or tooth for tooth type justice. A man that had seen the undeserved salvation of God was to extend the grace and mercy of God to those who had not experienced His salvation. A man who had known the provision and protection of God in his own life should extend provision and protection to those who were hungry, naked and in need of protection.

The people of God were also to do what was right in the sight of God, no matter the cost or risk. They were to seek what was good, holy and pure in their own life and in their community. Doing what is right and what is just centered on Gods grace and mercy in our own lives is the core of social justice.

In attempting to do what is right and what is just no matter the personal cost, Isaiah says we do it in response to the gospel. The gospel, Gods delivering us from death & into his family, is what motivates us to live just and righteous. Thus, missions and our efforts towards social justice must be motivated by the gospel, or it does not carry the blessing of God.

This does not mean we have to turn the God-given enthusiasm our students have about social justice into a program or even bring it under our leadership. Rather we must think how to keep the gospel at the center of our lives and our social efforts.

  1. Challenge your students to engage social injustices in response to Gods salvation in their own lives.
  2. Do missions both locally & globally; all men are in need of the gospel.
  3. Have your students give to gospel focused social justice efforts. (Compassion International)
  4. Empower your students to do missions & keep them accountable to sharing the gospel through their service.

The logic is clear. If a person has grasped the meaning of Gods grace in his heart, he will do justice. -Tim Keller in Generous Justice

By Brad Hobbs

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