April 03, 2020
These past few days, I’ve been able to reflect on three things about injustice and Christianity.
1. The gospel of Jesus exposes evil and wickedness.
The gospel is not apathetic on these matters nor does it sugarcoat reality. I pray that as Christians, we will stop calling what is evil as good (Isaiah 5:20).
2. This means that the gospel is also not silent on issues of our personal wickedness.
This is the tougher pill to swallow. Only God knows the intentions of the human heart. It tells us that all of us are unjust. All of us are wicked. We can’t say that we are better than this person, because we didn’t order the killing of innocents.
We must search our hearts. Have you lied? Cheated? Become greedy? Committed sexual immorality? Devalued another human being? Turned to idols instead of Jesus? Turned away when someone asked for your help because of selfishness?
3. All of us are unjust, but all of us are also invited to receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
This is probably the toughest pill to swallow. Jesus died on the cross in our place and was buried—the just for the unjust—once for all to satisfy the high standard of God’s justice. He resurrected from the dead to overcome sin and death and to prove that He is truly God.
The response to this gift is believing with all our hearts and confessing with our mouth that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. For those who refuse this gift, punishment will be given. Justice will be served in eternity. For those who receive it, justice has been served through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. We have a right standing before God, because Jesus took our punishment for us. The good news is not exclusively for you. It is good news for all.
My heart rebels within me, because I want to see those who are unjust punished for eternity right now without giving them a chance to repent. I have a very strong sense of justice when it comes to others’ wrongs, yet an equally strong sense of compassion for my own faults.
But the gospel tells me that during the time I myself was unjust, God was patient with me and offered me true life. And He does the same for everyone. Everyone. His justice is not delayed, because as the Bible says, at the right time, Jesus died for the ungodly. Instead, He is patient and wants us to repent.
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)
Don’t get me wrong. We should never use God’s grace as an excuse to condone sin (Romans 6:1,2). We pray for justice to reign on earth and work toward building and praying for just systems, governments, and leaders. We rightly rejoice when justice reigns on earth, but we should also remember that it is only the gospel that can turn people to true repentance, not systems, governments, or personalities.
So let’s do both: Ensure that God’s justice reigns and continue to preach the good news to sinners.
Let’s remember that the gospel was given to the worst of sinners (case in point, Paul who was a murderer). Even at this very frustrating time, God wants to give hope for the wicked to turn away from injustice as long as they are alive.
And yes, God also wants us to extend tangible help to those who suffer, and are neglected, afflicted, and needy because of the injustice done to them. This is what gave birth to Christian organizations such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the International Justice Mission, World Vision, the Real LIFE Foundation, and many others. What the world needs is a revolution of hearts and a renewal of minds.
So what should we do? Ask for the grace to fight injustice by doing what Jesus and the early disciples did:
And let me add, this also means supporting just laws and electing godly leaders who will uphold God’s righteousness. The reason we obey authority is because they are servants of righteousness, not evil. Our ultimate authority is God, not men.
Let’s follow the examples of Christians like Corrie Ten Boom, who used her home to house Jewish and Gentile refugees who were part of the resistance movement during the Holocaust, even if it was illegal to do so. During her trial, she boldly talked to the Nazis about her work with the mentally disabled, who she described as valuable in the eyes of God. It can be remembered that the Nazis were of the opinion that the mentally disabled should be killed.
Let us also remember Richard Wurmbrand who continued to preach God’s Word even while he was imprisoned and tortured by the communist regime during the Soviet occupation in Romania.
This is how we fight injustice. We fight it with good. We fight it with the gospel. This is admittedly hard, impossible even. But it can be done, because God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity or cowardice. God has given us a spirit of power, love, sound mind, and self-control.
We ourselves are an unjust but forgiven people. We can rise above and resist evil by being changed by the Holy Spirit from within and following the ways of Jesus. We continue to preach and do good and lead people to repentance so that God’s justice will shine. In the end, our confidence is that God’s justice will prevail, there will be no more tears or pain, and that every knee will bow down, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.