What is Biblical Justice: Justice and the Gospel
When speaking about justice, some people will claim it’s of secondary importance. Some feel there is a split between sharing the gospel and engaging in the work of biblical justice. Concern for the eternal destination of a person only matters, and problems such as racism, poverty or crime that impact the lives of people are irrelevant. The only way somebody can believe that is when they don’t understand the two-fold nature of the gospel.
The content of the gospel points to the subjects contained within it. It is limited, meaning that Scripture has given us all the elements of the gospel—Jesus’ death for our sins, His burial, resurrection and appearance to witnesses. Scripture is clear that the gospel brings salvation. Personal faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross brings people forgiveness of sins, a reconciled relationship with God, and eternal life.
But the scope of the gospel is further reaching and includes the area of sanctification, or growing in holiness. The content points to salvation, and the scope points to sanctification, but both are tied to the gospel. We must learn to address a person’s eternal destination (content), as well as their physical problems (scope). We must deliver the content of the gospel so that people can be reconciled back to God, but we must also live out the scope of the gospel so people can witness our walk and growth with the Lord. We must imitate Jesus who gives us the perfect example of how to navigate both the content and the scope of the gospel.
How did Jesus demonstrate a balanced approach between sharing the content of the gospel while being concerned with the scope of the gospel?
Scriptures to read:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said,“Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
(Scriptures are from the New Living Translation)