Generous Justice: how God’s Grace Makes Us Just by (saint) Timothy Keller .. here doing his Spock mind-meld thing.
I read this book last week. It is a beautiful read on a beautiful theme – how the more Christians experience God’s grace, the more generous they will become in ‘doing justice’.
It was really helpful in preparing for a couple of talks last week related to money and justice and will be of plenty of use in the future as well I’m sure.
Vintage Keller – deceptively simple; lucidly written; gospel centered, and grace-filled. Here’s an outline of the first chapter:
What is doing Justice?
– Justice is care for the vulnerable. It is giving people what they are due, whether punishment, protection or care. Most often it is taking care of the vulnerable – the widows and the poor. Neglect of the poor and needly is injustice.
– Justice reflects the character of God: God is the defender of the poor and the fatherless and the widow. Have a read at Deut 10:17-18 and many other texts in the OT
– Is God on the side of the poor? Yes. God consistently shows special care for the powerless and those in need of protection. See Proverbs 31:8 and many other texts.
– Justice is right relationships. Justice is a committment to living in right relationships with others. Job the righteous man was so named because of his life of justice. See Job 29:12-17 for a description of a just life – a life lived for the good of others.
– Justice includes generosity. Justice is more than putting wrongs to right. In the Bible giving to the poor is an act of righteousness (Mt 6:1-2). Failure to help the poor is unrighteousness. Have a read at Isaiah 58:6-7 for how just living leads to loosing the chains of oppression and feeding the hungry. It’s worth quoting here:
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God … this kind of life reflects the character of God.
My comment: the question ‘What is doing Justice?’ really then becomes a question of ‘What sort of God do you believe in?’
A Question: how much does such justice figure within the church circles you are in? Central? Marginal? Somewhere inbetween?