Thursday, June 3, 2010

He will bring forth justice...

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one {in whom}
My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1, NASB).

I hear a lot of talk these days about “social justice” and whether or not the Church should be involved in it. The answer, of course, is yes and no, and Isaiah 42 is the key to understanding the balance.
When Jesus came the first time He was here to “[reconcile] the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19, NKJ). When He fulfilled that purpose by dying on the Cross for our sins and rising from the dead, He returned to the Father, bequeathing to us, His followers, “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18, NKJ). Verse 20 explains that we are “ambassadors for Christ” who implore others on Christ’s behalf to “be reconciled to God.” In other words, while Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the command to return for His people and to “bring forth justice to the nations,” we are His representatives here on earth.
Without question, that means we are to be about the “Father’s business” (see Luke 2:49, NKJ) as Jesus was when He was here, reconciling the world to Himself. That includes correctly teaching and explaining the Scriptures as Jesus did, and “imploring” people to repent of going their own way and to return to God by way of the sacrifice of the Cross. That, without question, is our first responsibility as Christians. But does that primary responsibility preclude secondary activities?
I believe that as those who represent Christ, our responsibilities extend to exhibiting social justice as well—so long as we do so in a way that recognizes that such justice can only flow out of relationship with Him. First and foremost, people must be reconciled to God; from reconciled hearts will flow a desire for true social justice. And though that justice won’t be fully revealed or implemented until Jesus returns, we can certainly model it in our daily lives and actions.
How can hearts that have been forgiven and changed by receiving Jesus do anything else? How can we as Christ’s ambassadors desire anything but justice for others? How can we be moved with anything but compassion? Once we have given our hearts to Christ, we no longer have any claim to our own lives. We live for Him—and for those He loves. Since John 3:16 clearly tells us that He loved the entire world so much that He gave His very life to offer them the opportunity to be reconciled to God, then we clearly are called to do the same—for everyone. Our lives should reflect the unconditional love that hung on a Cross—and that will one day return to establish true justice.
And so the answer to the question of the Church being involved in social justice is yes and no. Only Christ can establish such justice, but those of us who follow in His footsteps must do so in a way that exhibits it. That can only be accomplished as we depend on Him and allow His love to flow through us to others. May we walk in that unconditional love and justice today, dear friends!

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