This post comes from material from the Austin Stone Worship Leader Development Program. Click here to learn more about developing as a worship leader.
We cannot escape the fact that this world is tragically more broken than we as American Christians want to admit. I want us to reflect on how the Gospel impacts us and how this must shape the way we respond to injustice around us.
Cities & neighborhoods are full of despair, injustice, trafficking, and all types of modern slavery. Racial injustice, hate crimes, orphaned and abused children, and stories of extreme poverty litter the streets of our shiny cities and it is the role of the local Church to seek the justice and redemption of the city, in Jesus name. Isaiah 58 tells us that we are to be the restorer of streets.
Tweet This: It is the role of the local Church to seek the justice and redemption of the city, in Jesus name. @aaronivey
Sadly, sometimes it seems the world is more broken over the world’s brokenness than we are. Our culture has embraced one of the crucial pieces of the gospel more than we have – an aim for justice.
But social justice without the Gospel is a counterfeit of the real thing — merely a band-aid to a gaping wound. The idea of social justice can be seen as trendy or maybe even a bit glamorous, but being involved in seeking the redemption of the broken is messy.. it takes a lot of time.. and usually brings with it no applause or attention.
Tweet This: Social justice without the Gospel is a counterfeit of the real thing-merely a band-aid to a gaping wound. @aaronivey
Gospel justice is much different than social justice, because gospel justice is responding out of what’s been done to each one of us who have the hope of Jesus Christ.
Tweet This: Gospel justice is responding out of what’s been done to each one of us who have the hope of Jesus Christ. @aaronivey
Here’s what justice through the lens of the gospel means:
Since we have been loved and cared for by God, we must then love and care for others.
Since we have been adopted and brought into the Family of God we did not earn or deserve, we must care deeply for the orphan doing whatever it takes to bring them into families.
Since we have been spared from spiritual poverty and given the riches of the Kingdom of God, we must seek the rescue and welfare of those in physical and spiritual poverty.
This is our role as Christian leaders. This is our role as artists, songwriters, pastors — to lead the charge for seeking justice, renewal and redemption.
We demonstrate gospel justice primarily in three steps. I am going to discuss the first of the ways in this post, and I’ll get to the last two in part 3.
STEP 1: REALIZE THE REDEMPTION AND JUSTICE WE’VE BEEN GIVEN
This might seem elementary, but I wonder how many of us actually have felt the weight and gravity of the cross of Jesus, and what his death and burial and resurrection implies for us personally? We know the story, and we can teach it well, but do we realize the implications of the Gospel on our lives?
Let me just briefly remind you of a few Gospel implications on your life:
You were once an enemy of God. You had no home… no royal lineage in your blood… nothing to bring to a Holy King. But, by lavish grace and radical kindness, God fully adopted you as a son or daughter. This is the gospel.
You do not deserve happiness or success. The cost of the plague of sin is death, it’s always been that way. But the gospel traded what you deserved, and instead gave you something you did not deserve: abundant life in Christ.
Your ministry and talent is not the result of hard work and strategic networks. The Gospel reminds you that you were once dead and Jesus alone breathed life into your lungs. Your “best things” are like trash in His sight, but by grace you have been raised to life, and blessed with a measure of taken and influence.
Tweet This: Your ministry isn’t the result of hard work or strategic networks but by lavish grace + radical kindness. @aaronivey
Your merit and worth is not found in the things your create. The Gospel implies that your merit and worth is completely and fully found in being known by and knowing God, through Jesus.
Tweet This: Your merit and worth isn’t found in things your create, but in being known and knowing God, through Jesus. @aaronivey
Your holiness and right standing is not based on fleeing sin and being clean. No, the Gospel tells you that your holiness is based on Jesus, alone… his righteousness.
Tweet This: Your holiness isn’t based on fleeing sin or being clean, it’s based on Jesus’s righteousness alone. @aaronivey
You are no longer guilty and unclean. The Gospel says you are completely clean and redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
Tweet This: The Gospel says you are completely clean and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. @aaronivey @asworship
You were once in the darkness, a slave, bound by chains of sin and death. But, the Gospel demanded the chains of sin destroyed, and now you are in a beautiful bondage to Christ.. a slave to righteousness.
These truths need to hit us with a weight and a heaviness. We have to come to a place where we REALIZE (make real) the redemption and justice that we’ve been given through Jesus. This gospel is not something we preach or teach, but it’s the good news that has chased us down, pursued us, and changed us!