Summary: Faith is for today; we are called to reflect the war with injustice which Jesus waged and wages.
At War With Injustice, Luke 4:14-21
The story is told of the famed evangelist and preacher, John Wesley, who, one winter day, met a poor girl in one of the schools under his care. She seemed almost frozen. He asked her if she had no clothing but the thin garments she was wearing. She said she had not. His hand was in his pocket in an instant, but there was no money there. He went to his room, but the pictures on it seemed to upbraid him. He took them down, saying to himself: “How can the Master say to thee, 'Well done, good and faithful servant'? Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money which might have screened this poor creature from the bitter cold! O justice! O mercy! Are not these pictures the blood of the poor maid?” So he sold the pictures to get money to relieve the girl's distress.
The central thesis for this message is simply this: “The right response of Christian believers everywhere to the injustice of this life is to war against it.”
God is completely sovereign in what he allows and decrees in the universe, this world, the affairs of men, and the individual circumstances of our lives. This is true. The Scriptures attest to this reality and the circumstances of our lives and what we observe in the world around us reflects it a true.
When we perceive injustice though, the right response is not to be casually resigned to it. So often when believers see the rampant injustice of this world we are tempted into one of three basic categories:
(1) We say that “this will all be fixed when Jesus returns.” This is the “rapture ready” response; I’m just waiting for my ticket out of this place!
(2) We resign ourselves to the notion that “since God is sovereign, all of this must be a part of His plan.” This is what I would call the “spectator mentality.” This may be the worst way to respond to injustice because it makes God the author of evil. God is not the author of evil. He is the author of human freedom and humanity, through the misuse of this freedom, welcomed evil into this world, by abandoning God’s justice.
(3) We say simply, often in honest exasperation, “what can I do? I can’t do anything about it. My favorite: I’ve got my own problems.”
When we examine the life of Christ we find one common theme: God is at war with the vile things of this world; this life. God is at war with sin. In the Old Testament the primary way this is displayed is as He declared His righteousness in judging sin in the lives of men. God’s wrath is a reality in the Scriptures.
In the New Testament we see God likewise judging sin according to the immensity of His love for His creation as He poured out His wrath in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; as He purchased for us a violent grace; according to the fire of His unquenchable burning white hot love, which consumes all that is at war with it and purifies all that responds to it by welcoming love.
Recently my family and I were traveling north on 251 to visit a local retail store. While we drove we noticed a huge plume of smoke in the air. As it turns out, we were not the only people in town who had gathered to witness the blaze at Crafter’s Village. Upon pulling into a nearby parking lot I pointed out that the flame coming from the peak of the roof was dazzling white; it was plainly incredibly hot. After Sebastian and Ephram watched the firemen for a few moments and they had offered a prayer for their friends Mr. Dean & Mr. Dale, who are both local firemen, we went into the nearby store, which was our original destination. After only 30 minutes in the store, the roof had collapsed and the building was little more than a pile of rubble; barely recognizable.
Fire is a mixed tool of mankind. On the one hand it can purify beautiful things like silver and gold. It can head our homes and light an outdoor gathering with warmth. On the other hand it destroys that which it meets which flammable.
The temperature of flames with carbon particles emitting light can be assessed by their color. Red is just visible at (977 °F); Dull red: (1290 °F); Cherry red, dull: (1470 °F); Cherry full: (1650 °F); Cherry clear: (1830 °F); Deep Orange: (2010 °F); Clear: (2190 °F); Dazzling white fire can burn as hot as: (2730 °F).
God’s love is like a white hot dazzling fire which purifies finer things like gold and silver and burns away impurities. God’s love burns for His creation and it is so intense that anything which is at war with this love becomes mere vapor and smoke; while the purity of likewise acceptance of this love is purified.