Enacting Justice Today
Today’s Christian Church has nothing to offer individual or societal woes if the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not first changed them from self-love and self-worship to the just love and worship of the God of the Bible seen in Jesus Christ. This change affects individuals both in private and in public.
In the Prayer Closet
In the book, The Enemy Within, Kris Lundgaard reminds us that our self-appraisal needs to be tempered with the following reminder:
What you are
when you are alone with God,
that you are—
and nothing more. (p. 119)
It is alone with God and His Word that we enter the crucible of the Holy Spirit’s work. He shows us what God says about Himself; He uses those truths to form Christ in us: He causes us to have affection for those truths, and He produces affectionate worship of God.
Here in the prayer closet, God’s Word breaks up our hard hearts, our sluggish half-hearted obedience, our passive disobedience, our compromised and conflicted lives and unifies our hearts, heads, and hands. His Word teaches our head the truth, moves our hearts to love that truth and motives our hands to true obedience of that truth.
For a practical example, take the right to life issues. As believers study the character of God in the Word of God, the Holy Spirit gives them a fresh appreciation of Him and His Image in them. As this appreciation grows, their worship grows, their love of other humans grows, their renewal in God’s image becomes more and more a wonder, and their worship enlarges into a multi-faceted admiration, read worship. In the same way, anything that desecrates that image becomes increasingly repulsive.
In the Pew
“If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both;” warns J. I. Packer. He continues, “if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride.” This subtle encouragement reminds Christians to take the warm worship produced in the closet and to join it to the worship of other believers. When believers share their study of God in His Word, they grow closer to God and each other simultaneously such that their joined worship of God encourages greater and greater public admiration and bolder and bolder civic action.
Take again the life issues. As Christians pool their admiration for God’s image in them and His just nature, they also grow increasing disdainful of societal disregard for God’s character. Society’s cavalier attitude about sexual fidelity degrades the image of God in them and its determination to avoid any unwanted consequences of their behavior kills the life in them. In the context of corporate worship, it seems truly natural for Christians to plan just opposition to these mounting injustices.
In the Public Arena
What has developed in the prayer closet and has blossomed in the pew must witness to the public arena. True and spirited worship aroused by the Holy Spirit in the heart and head of individual believers flows naturally into public worship. As worshipers come together, their adoration of God’s great and just character arouses a need to share this worship with non-believers. On a one to one basis, Christians share God’s love and justice within their sphere of influence. However, another responsibility compels the Christian.
As a citizen in a participatory government, the Christian’s worship of a just and loving God motives civil action toward the protection of all life as made in His image. Even though modern society attacks life on many levels, Christians armed with God’s truth in their heads and hearts, need to give bold actions to their God’s integrity. Surely Christians agree with J. I Packer when he prays, “May God give us light to see His truth, consciences to apply it and live by it, and conscientiousness to hold it fast, in these Laodicean days.”