2 Cor. 5:16-19 (NIV) 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
“In the light of God, the incarnated God…we’re at a moment in history, we’re at a moment of discipleship in the gospel. We got to go back to the basics of the gospel and tell this story about God’s justice – the Jubilee is here! We can have the forgiveness of sin, we can have salvation!” [John Perkins, message video]
In what two directions do we see God’s reconciling work in v.18 and v.19?
What do those two directions imply for this ministry of reconciliation in/through our lives?
As part of new creation reality, we’re called to do justice far beyond ourselves – to get involved in God’s rescue and reconciling work in the lives of others!
Let’s worship to the song, “How Great Is Your Love” (click here) by Passion.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus, for your reconciling work that brought us close to you! Help us carry this message of reconciliation to others you lead us to. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
1 John 4:10-12 (NIV) 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
“Thus the kind of justice that accords with God’s character is, accordingly, dynamic rather than static, creative rather than codified, realistic rather than idealistic. It is neither merely forensic, nor merely religious, for it is covenantal justice. It rightly orders the relation of people to God, and thereby to one another.” [Justice, ISBE, p.1167]
What would you say is the link between this dynamic justice and loving one another?
1 John 4 also addresses the lack of love for one another, which could be viewed through the lens of injustice in our hearts towards others. Let’s pray for ourselves and those in our ministries/small groups that the internal barriers, hardness of heart, thinking others cannot change, would be broken through and overcome because of our Lord who so loves us!
Let’s worship to the song “Even Louder” (click here) by People of the Earth.
Prayer: Father, thank you that we’ve gotten to experience your agape love for us, and for others! Rightly order our relationships and help us to biblically love others around us. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Psalm 146:7-9 (NIV) 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, 8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Ethics are the values of God’s kingdom/God’s justice in action to set things right, to turn this world right side up through his faithful and righteous people.
Dignity is bestowed upon us by our Creator, as each one is created in the image of God. We are to care about others, not because of what they deserve or simply because of their needs, but the imago Dei represented in each human being.
In this passage, how do you see both the upholding of Biblical ethics as well as the divine care related to the dignity of every person made in God’s image?
How does this encourage you to live today pursuing justice?
Let’s surrender our lives once again to the Lord as we sing “Hymn of Surrender” (click here) by Matt Redman.
Prayer: Lord, we’ve been made new with kingdom values produced in our hearts and lives. Help us today to notice what you want us to notice, to act and respond to you and to others as you would have us do! In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
By human standards of equity and fairness, would this passage qualify as justice?
How would you see God’s justice at work here?
“Jesus embodied justice throughout his life. And yet Jesus would ultimately display justice in the most shocking way. He brought about justice not by punishing the wicked but by taking their place. On the cross he who was righteous and just died in the place of the wicked and cruel. The judge took the place of the judged. The just died for the unjust. Why? To make us righteous. To make us just.” [Jeremy Treat, Seek First, Kindle location 1951]
The true injustice is created humanity’s unreasonable rejection of loving Creator God – pervasive and systemic since Genesis 3. Here we see justice as the great reversal, God demonstrating his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
In thanksgiving, let’s worship to the song “This Is Amazing Grace” (click here) by Phil Wickham.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for what you’ve done for us, we thank you that your justice completely turned the tables, our lives belong to you now! In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Micah 6:8 (NRSV) 8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
In the Old Testament not only do we see the revelation of who God is, we also see the fundamental nature of how human beings are to relate to Him. There are several key passages that summarize and capture the latter: the Ten Commandments, the Shema in Deuteronomy 6, and this passage in Micah 6:8.
What is the difference of these three requirements vs. premeditated, periodic external actions that some at the time (and now) consider as what faith/relationship with God consists of?
Do you see doing justice with the same necessity and fundamental importance as the other two when it comes to following the Lord?
“Most people know that Jesus came to bring love and mercy, but few recognize that he also came to bring justice. In the book of Isaiah, the Lord expresses the Messiah’s mission in this way: ‘I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations’ (Isa. 42:1). The hope of Israel was that a messiah would come and restore the beautiful order of God’s creation.” [Jeremy Treat, Seek First, Kindle location 1940]
Let’s worship to the song, “God of Revival” (click here) by Bethel Music.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for fulfilling and living out doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God. Fill me with your power to do the same! In Jesus’s name, Amen.