If the social justice statement is a measuring line in which to engage with culture and social issues, which I could see, for it is a very sound and biblical statement, and have heard many people say that this is one of its purposes than it’s a good thing.. If it’s a way to try to avoid engaging with social issues and culture by saying our only job and and mission in this world is to preach the gospel and not be involved or care about anything else, than it’s a very bad thing.
Because, bottom line friends, the gospel of Jesus Christ touches and has implications for absolute every area of thought and of deed, private and not so private, in this world and the next.
“for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Some statements on justice in the Bible. Obviously, there are many more. Justice is a huge thing when it comes to God and his word. Justice is part of God’s charachter. In fact you could even say justice is one of the main reasons Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life, and died as a substitute for sinners on the cross. So that God would have a righteous way of saving sinners. God’s love was set forth and God’s justice was set forth at the very same time. God’s character was not compromised. The cross of Christ was a vindication of all that God is. So again, here are few statements on justice in the Bible (in the social sphere, the public kind) “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:16-18) “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9) “is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am’ (Isaiah 58:6-9) Notice the above is where Jesus quoted from as he began his spirit empowered public ministry with preaching soon after being baptized. “And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor’.” (Luke 4:18-19) And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:18-22) Note: Obviously giving to the poor doesn’t earn you heaven, but one thing it does show is ones heart. Do you love God above all things, even your things. And second, do you love your neighbor enough to sacrifice stuff in order to give them stuff they need. You should, if you love God and also your neighbor. These show heart attitudes, but real heart attitudes are also show by our actions. Just as we obviously can’t preach the gospel with our actions. We can show we believe the gospel, we can commend the gospel, adorn it with our works, and we can live our lives as ones who have been affected by it, affecting the world with it’s implications of redemption. Therefore we need words to preach the gospel, and we need actions to stand in the gap and care for the poor and the oppressed. “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17) Not only is mere faith that only consist of words, not of any eternal value. What is needed is a whole souled faith, a transformational faith, a spirit wrought faith that causes people to be born again, and makes them into new creations in Christ. But mere faith that only consist of words is not what God wants either. Not just for the person who has the faith, but also for others. God actually real does want people who at one time didn’t have food to now have food, who at one time were oppressed to not be oppressed, and so on and so forth. And he means it to be that those who have heard and received the gospel to be the ones who are leading the labor in this endeavor. Why? Because by it many will be affected by the truth of the gospel, and many will come to see the truth of the gospel. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) The gospel is not just any old truth. God desires to be glorified. And the truth that glorifies God the most, the truth by which all other truths arise and flow out of, is the gospel. So God wants this to be the centerpoint and reason for all things. Because it is. It’s not enough to just do good things for good things sake. It needs to be based on truth. And it’s not enough to just have truth and it not cause us to do things. The gospel is meant to reconcile all things. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20) Where are we in this part of God’s mission? When we think about desiring to know nothing but Christ and Christ crucified do we think about this. Because we need to be. The Bible is pretty clear that what Jesus set out to do when set his face like a flint towards the cross was to reconcile all things to himself, not just punch a few peoples tickets to heaven and save a few people from hell. No, the Bible says that God so loved the world. The whole world, and even the world. And so it includes redeeming all of everyone’s little to big actions that affect the world he loves. Why do you think Romans 8:19-22 says, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” Because it is anticipating? It’s anticipating the completion of the mission of God. And lest we forget, and think, yeah, but that was Jesus’ mission not ours, Jesus will accomplish those things when he comes back so we don’t need to worry. He says no, Jesus says, “Even as the father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 17:18, 20:21) Let’s not be escapist to either side. Whether how much we affect in this world is not up to us. It is only our duty and blessing to be obedient, and leave the results up to God. So let’s be whole souled gospel people, for all of life, for all of society, in the whole world. For that’s what God would have us to do and be. Because that’s what he has commanded us to do and be. Over and over those are his imperatives. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Now only may we but pray. “Lord, command what you will, but oh Lord, grant what you command” In other words, Lord gives us the desire, the power and energy and strength and wisdom to do what you have commanded us to do, so that we might put feet to our prayers.