a real and costly love
Open Your Bible
Matthew 12:18-21, James 2:15-16
Text: Matthew 12:18-21, James 2:15-16
“Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”
– James 2:16, MSG
“The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken… Our charity must be a real and costly love…”
– CS Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
When was the last time you thought of your neighbor as having glory? When was the last time you thought of yourself as having glory? I tend to think of myself as, well, just me. And I’m ashamed to say I often think nothing of others at all. But if we believe what the Bible says is true—that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27)—then shouldn’t we live like it?
The awareness of God’s image in us should change the way we view the world. It should change the way we view our brothers and sisters, neighbors and strangers, even our enemies.It should be our “first great motivation for living lives of generous justice, serving the needs and guarding the rights of those around us” (Tim Keller, emphasis mine).
When we serve others, we are serving Jesus. Isn’t that what He taught us? (See Matthew 25:31-46.)
Jesus also said that love is laying down your life for a friend (John 15:13). Then He proved it by giving His life for us. We didn’t deserve it. We deserved justice. Yet He took what we deserved upon himself and mercifully gave the impossible gift.
His was the ultimate “real and costly love.”
Here we are, sinners in a sinful world, longing for the world to be brought to right. (Because even in a world of blurred lines, there is still a right.) We’ve tasted something deeper, sweeter than mere fairness — We’ve experienced the kiss of justice and mercy that can only come from the one true God, and we long for the world to experience it, too. We long to see the broken restored, the sick healed, the enslaved set free, and the oppressed liberated.
This longing for justice is God-given and right. But if the longing for justice in our hearts does not translate to our hands, we do not fully grasp the passion of our God.
God is passionate about justice.
He is passionate about mercy.
He is passionate about people.
We will be, too, if we are passionate about Him.
Justice is gathering up the love and hope we’ve been given in Jesus and giving it to those who need it most— in the form of our resources and time, our talents and strength, our words and the work of our hands.
Justice is carrying the Gospel in our literal hands to a world of people just as messed up and undeserving as us, who are made in the very image of the God to whom we pray.
Justice is a lifetime of linking arms with our Justifier, in pursuit of bringing the world to right, the way He made it to be — Whole. Full. Beautiful. Peaceful. Good.
“Justice is doing for others what we would want done for ourselves.” – Gary A. Haugen
And it starts right where you are, right now, today.