that’s basically the thrust of Tim Keller’s new book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace makes us Just (Pinguin Group, 2010). More and more I am liking and appreciating the work of Tim Keller – he doesn’t want to settle for average Christianity – he wants to make a difference and one area he has a heart to make a difference in is the cities. In this book he writes in part:
There are many great differences between the small southern town of Hopewell, Virginia, and the giant metropolis of New York. But there was one thing that was exactly the same. To my surprise, there is a direct relationship between a person’s grasp and experience of God’s grace, and his or her heart for justice and the poor. In both settings, as I preached the classic message that God does not give us justice but saves us by free grace, I discovered that those most affected by the message became the most sensitive to the social inequities around them.
Elaine Scarry of Harvard has written a fascinating little book called On Beauty and Being Just. Her thesis is that the experience of beauty makes us less self-centered and more open to justice. I have observed
over the decades that when people see the beauty of God’s grace in Christ, it leads them powerfully toward justice.
I was just reading about this the other day in a book on cross cultural missions, a similar thought anyways, in that part of the pursuit of God’s mission in this world, the pursuit of his salvation to the ends of the earth, is the pursuit of justice for the poor and oppressed of the world.
What Keller is suggesting here as well is how can it be possible that we, as Christians who have experienced, even in minute ways, the grace and mercy of God, go on in life in any other fashion than to pursue justice and freedom for the poor and oppressed of our societies or the world? How can we just sit by and live in the grace of God and not be moved to help others also experience that grace?
I ask, because, sadly this is what happens to many Christians – they get saved out of their own difficult situations and lives, be it literal poverty or injustice or our spiritual states of total depravity and then just go on with life not turning back to help relieve others in similar plights. It happens all the time. I actually think this is a “catch-22” kind of problem within Pentecostalism.
Maybe that is the question for the day: has God’s grace made you just? if so, how so?
Feel free to let me know what you think.
See Roger Olson’s thoughts about how God will judge us for not taking care of children trapped in deep poverty – he has some good thoughts.