“So both Moses and Jesus tell us that the life of the believing community must reflect the justice and peace of the final city of God. That means that Christians today, drawing from both the Old Testament and New, must pursue biblical justice as an evangelistic witness.”- Timothy Keller
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”- Matthew 5:14-15 (NIV)
As Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 10 of Hope in Times of Fear, he talks about four aspects of biblical justice. Pastor Keller covers the first two aspects today.
1. Justice = equal treatment for all. Mosaic law required equal treatment for the foreigner and native-born (Leviticus 24:22). Thus, compared with the laws of surrounding cultures, Mosaic law presented a radical and unique standard. Because Genesis 1:27 taught that God made all human beings in His image. However, other cultures viewed people of different races as almost different species.
Furthermore, the concept of the imge of God underlies Jesus’s shocking teaching in Matthew 5:22. That insulting others is virtually akin to murder. An assault on their dignity.
2. Justice = radical generosity. The Bible uses strong terms in laying down the concept of private property. But, on the other hand, God reminds us that He’s the owner of all things. And that makes us stewards of His possessions. Therefore, ultimately we have not earned our wealth. Rather, our wealth is a gift from God.
Consequently, property and wealth rights weren’t absolute. For example, the gleaning principle forbid a person from gathering in all the produce from their field. In addition, during a Sabbath year, all debts wer forgiven and cleared.
Finally, Jesus extends the biblical teaching on generosity in the Sermon on the Mount. There He addressed the heart habits that keep us from sharing our goods with others. And in speaking to our hearts, Jesus shows us the way to change.
Today’s question: How do you pursue biblical justice as an evangelistic witness? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Responsibility for injustice”