The Hope of Gospel Justice

Moody officially releases the book Gospel Justice on Monday, June 3.  Advanced copies have arrived at our office and I encourage you to add the book to your summer reading list.  The book also makes a great gift.  Please visit our website, www.administerjustice.org, to donate and receive a copy.

The hope of Gospel Justice is that “This book will stir your soul and prompt you to seriously consider what Jesus’ words, “Go and do likewise,” mean for you personally and practically.  Bruce Strom intertwines moving stories of real people in crisis with scriptural truths, producing a compelling call to action that no reader will easily ignore.” Carol Thompson, Executive Vice President, Christianity Today.

Gospel Justice tells the story of my personal journey toward understanding God’s heart for justice. I learned much about His heart through the parable of the Good Samaritan and the book shares the lessons I learned.  Along the way you meet real people with real needs who are beaten down by the effects of a sinful, broken world.  These victims of injustice need good news.  They also need practical legal help so they can be restored. 

As my friend Ken Sande states: “Justice lies at the very heart of the Gospel. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus fully satisfied the conditions of God’s justice. Now he is calling us to spread the precious gift of God’s justice into every sphere of life. Gospel Justice beautifully proclaims this call to action. Read it … and then take up its challenge.”  Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries and Relational Wisdom 360, author The Peacemaker.

The hope of Gospel Justice is that people will be inspired to take action.  For many it is a reminder of why they serve.  For others it is an opportunity to get engaged and make a difference.  God’s heart for justice should be evident throughout the book.  My prayer is that the book will be an encouragement to you and that you will respond as Ron Sider,

“Wonderful.  The stories will make you cry.  The biblical material will challenge your mind.  The stories of success will thrill your heart.  And the combination of evangelism and social justice is fabulous.  An inspiring book that nurtures hope and action.”  Ronald J. Sider, Founder, Evangelicals for Social Action, Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry & Public Policy at Palmer Seminary at Eastern University.

That hope and action is the hope of gospel justice.  Read it.  Share it with others.  Then dare to go and do likewise.

Justice is ________

How would you fill in the blank?  Recently our Community Impact Director, Marty Page, had the opportunity to speak to a large group of Middle School kids.  Here are some of their responses:

Justice is….

“a word”.     There’s always at least one in a crowd.

“a clothing store for little girls.”       And sometimes there are two.

“Everyone getting what they deserve.”

“Being treated fairly.”

“Fairness for everyone, freedom, victory and a very happy feeling, hope.”

“Jesus”.

I was impressed with these and many other thoughts from the kids.  All these answers are true, though perhaps incomplete.  For many justice is getting what one deserves.  There are those who believe the poor have created their problems and are getting what they deserve.  I am certainly grateful that God does not hold such a view or the punishment for my actions would be hell.  Rather he sent Jesus to be our justice.  Jesus suffered the greatest injustice through a rigged trial, suffering and death, so that he could be our advocate before the Father.  In His grace and mercy he demonstrates his love for us and freely justifies – freely gives justice.

Part of justice does involve being treated fairly.  The challenge in this view apart from God is in defining what is fair.  When it comes to the poor God is very clear in using balanced scales, not exploiting, or taking advantage of the widow, the fatherless, the alien or the poor.  In fact more than 2,000 verses from the Bible address poverty and justice.

Ultimately justice is about freedom, victory and a very happy feeling of hope.  That freedom and victory come through Jesus.  No matter what our circumstances Christ loves us and wants a relationship with us.  That is good news.  That good news of the gospel is why we call ourselves a gospel justice ministry.  People need justice.  People need Jesus.  And yes that provides a very happy feeling of hope.  “So the poor have hope and injustice shuts its mouth.”  Job 5:16.

In the words of a sixth grader, Justice is… cool.  That God would so love us and ask us to demonstrate that love to our neighbors through acts of justice is very cool indeed.