How involved are you in pursuing justice in your community, your country, and around the world? In his compelling and thought-provoking book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just Tim Keller unpacks the substantial amount of Scripture dedicated to God’s heart for justice and the oppressed, and suggests ways that Christians can apply biblical exhortations to pursue justice and care for the poor in our own realms of influence.
Keller argues that the gospel, rightly understood, will lead to a life of doing justice in the world. He writes, “When you see that you have been saved in spite of your poverty and wretchedness, you will be compelled to see others as being in the situation you were in before God and will offer help.”
I always appreciate Keller’s careful exposition of scripture and I learned so much from reading so many passages about God’s concern for the vulnerable in the Old Testament, and Jesus’ caring for the poor and downtrodden. Keller notes that Christians ought to seek to grow in Christlikeness in this area, which is often overlooked because people just don’t know what to do about it or feel like maybe the government is handling it.
Keller includes helpful explanations of word meanings and cultural context to illustrate how the biblical concepts of poverty and social justice are far more nuanced than what modern political systems and parties advocate. He describes the different ways that justice and evangelism should work in tandem, rather than being seen as competing notions, and about the different ways Christians should care for individuals and families, communities, and seek social reform as they pursue justice. Keller also breaks down the differences between relief (meeting immediate physical/economic needs), development (helping communities move beyond dependency on relief), and social reform (changing laws and customs to prevent injustice).
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I found Generous Justice convicting. I’m definitely one of those Christians who has a concern for justice and poverty, but never knows what to do about it practically. I had a great conversation with my husband about what our family can do about poverty and injustice, and we’re working on some family goals, including involving the kids.
I would highly recommend this book, both as a reference for what the Bible says about justice and care for the poor and as a helpful guide to get you thinking about ways to practically pursue those ideas.
How do you and your family pursue justice and care for the poor? We’re still thinking of ideas and would love to hear your experience!
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