How long, O Lord? We live in a world of injustice. It seems almost daily that I hear of heartbreaking news come through the various media outlets. From murder, abuse, oppression, and racism, injustice abounds. Sadly, this is the world we live in. I have contemplated whether or not I should speak out on the issue of George Floyd for the past couple of days. I haven’t had all the facts and I wanted to make sure I understood what had taken place before I began to speak. As the Bible says, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame (Prov. 18:13).”
I cannot remain silent any longer. My heart is anxious. My heart grieves. My heart is full of righteous anger against sin. The following words are mine. I can’t speak for anyone else, but myself. Our blog is titled The Reformed Life and we believe that, as Christians, every avenue of our lives must be reformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes our views of justice. We must learn to think biblically in this area as well as countless others. Therefore, I desire to offer a biblical perspective regarding the issue of injustice.
First, I have to establish that the Scriptures are my sole authority regarding matters of faith and life. For me, the Bible contains the necessary answers for all matters of faith and godliness. Therefore, I believe that the Bible speaks to the issue of justice. According to the Scriptures, man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). It doesn’t matter what color a person’s skin is, where they grew up, in which country they were born, their heritage, occupation, gender, or ethnicity, every single person on this planet is created in the image of God and thus has value and dignity. We must start here and understand this principle.
Second, I know that humanity is sinful. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Sin is that which rejects and breaks God’s moral law. God is righteous and just. We know that He calls us to live in righteousness; in accordance to His moral law. However, we also see from Scripture that no one is righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10). All of humanity is sinful. None of us are created upright with a natural inclination to honor God. From the moment of birth, we despise Him and reject Him. Therefore, we can trace the root cause of injustice in the world to sin.
It is heartbreaking to watch videos of image bearers of God beaten, abused, oppressed, and murdered, no matter the reason. It should make our hearts grieve when we see the life exit a person’s body, especially in matters of injustice.
Sin abounds in the world today. It’s sickening. It’s heartbreaking. Daily my family and I watch people on the streets harm their bodies through needles and substance abuse. Daily we find needle caps in our yards and have to remove them, so the kids don’t pick them up. Daily we see women giving up their bodies and being exploited by others for satisfaction. Almost weekly we hear of stabbings and murder in our city. This is the world we live in. What’s the answer?
I know I may get labeled as simple-minded, perhaps even ignorant & naïve, but as a Christian I believe that the best answer for sin in the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). The Gospel is what can take a blasphemer and make Him a worshiper of God. The Gospel is what can take a persecutor of the church and turn Him into the greatest church planter in history. The Gospel is what can take a murderer and make him an advocate for life. But the Gospel is more than behavior modification. The Gospel redeems. The Gospel regenerates. The Gospel takes dead people and makes them alive. The Gospel reconciles filthy, wretched sinners, and unites them with a Holy God. The Gospel doesn’t just make people “nice”; it makes them new. As Paul said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).”
The question we need to ask ourselves is this, “As Christians, do we believe that the gospel is the power to save and redeem?” You see, often we look at the power of the gospel in our own lives, but when confronted with others sin, we look for other remedies. We appeal to lawmakers, police, legislation, etc. Yet no piece of legislation has ever changed someone’s heart. I’m not saying we don’t appeal to our elected officials, in fact, I’ll argue for that in a moment, but we must realize that the only hope for hatred, injustice, and murder is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you’d like a case study, look at the Apostle Paul.
What can we do? I think first and foremost we need to pray. Again, perhaps you’re thinking I’m overly simplistic. That’s okay. We need to pray. We need to pray and ask God that our hearts would reflect His heart. He is righteous and just. Often, we look at injustice as “white noise”. If it doesn’t affect me personally, we think, then it’s not that big of a deal. But God hates injustice. Our church is currently going through the book of Amos and the theme we see throughout the book is the justice of God. He hates, let me repeat that for those in the back, God hates injustice.
Since God is a God of righteousness and justice, we need to be a people of the same mind. Let us pray and ask God to give us a righteous anger towards sin. Not only should we pray for our hearts to reflect God’s heart, but I believe we should pray for boldness to stand up for righteousness. We may be afraid to hold others accountable because of potential outcomes, but we need to stand for righteousness. That doesn’t mean we riot in the streets and loot businesses, but we must take a stand. We’re going to need boldness & courage.
Second, as I mentioned earlier, I do believe we need to hold our elected officials accountable. Their authority is a delegated authority. They have been instituted by God to uphold righteousness. They are to act justly and be a terror for bad conduct (Rom. 13). This is their God-given role in society. We need to hold them accountable to uphold righteousness. We need to call them to act justly and punish injustice. This is what they are called to do. We have a responsibility to make sure they act according to their calling and remove them if they fail to do so.
Third, we must remember that every single person is an image bearer of God. Everyone is created with equal value and dignity. We need to look at others in this light. We need to see others as God sees them.
Fourth, we need to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. God still saves. God still regenerates. His church growth strategy hasn’t changed, it is still through the proclamation of the Word of God. If we wish to see people changed and made new, we need to proclaim the gospel. But not only do we need to proclaim it to non-believers, but also to believers. We need to hear the gospel. We need to be encouraged by its message. We need to be reminded of its power. We need to be reminded of its hope. The gospel keeps us humble. When we understand how patient, loving, gracious, merciful, and good God was/is to us through the gospel, we should be patient, gracious, merciful, loving, and good to others. The Gospel should wipe away any sort of pride left in our hearts. We were wretched, defiled, unworthy sinners, yet God, by His grace, redeemed us. Praise Him for that truth. Would that shape the way you view and love others?
Fifth, look ahead. John says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:4).”there is coming a day when all things will be made new. There is coming a day when the unrighteous will be judged and condemned for their sins. There is coming a day when God’s justice will be poured out. There is coming a day when we will enter into eternal glory with our God and commune with Him. There is coming a day when we will no longer battle sin. There is coming a day when we will no longer hear of wars. There is coming a day when all oppression will cease. There is coming a day when famine will be eradicated. There is coming a day when sin will be gone. There is coming a day. Oh, what a glorious day that will be! Let’s look ahead to that day and remember that the Lord will repay (Rom. 12:19) and make an end to all unrighteousness.
Lastly, let us weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). Let us mourn with our brothers and sisters. Let us be there for them in moments of difficulty. As we weep and mourn with them, may we continuously remind them of the beauty and hope of the gospel. May we listen, learn, and grow with one another. May we encourage one another. May we stand with one another.
I know that I could have covered more. I know that I could’ve said more. I know that sin is frustrating, harmful, and saddening. I pray that the gospel would go forth and that we would see dead people brought to life. I wish more than anything that we would see an end to sin on this earth, but I know that won’t happen here. Yet, through the battle for holiness, may our hearts long for the new heavens and new earth. May we long for the day when God says, “behold, I am making all things, new (Rev. 21:5).”
Soli Deo Gloria
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