This blog post by Michael Giere — Can the Gospel Survive the “Social Justice” Fad? — caught my eye. In his critique of Tim Keller’s recent book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, Giere refers to Galatians and points to a major theme of James: whether your lifestyle reflects what you claim to believe. He writes:
Generous Justice, some have noted, may be a reflection of the Reformed idea of a “cultural mandate” percolating to the forefront with Dr. Keller, who taught in a Reformed seminary. Indeed, he has said that, “the primary purpose of salvation is cultural renewal, to make the world a better place.” In Generous Justice, Rev. Keller goes further, co-mingling the concept of unmerited salvation by grace, with the idea that “[i]f you are not just, you’ve not truly been justified by faith.” Identifying a single trait that confirms our faith is risky business, of course, as the Book of Galatians informs us .
Dr. Keller also asserts in Generous Justice that self-indulgent materialism must be replaced by a sacrificial lifestyle of giving to those in need; in “doing justice,” and in “permanent fasting,” which he explains is to “work against injustice, to share food, clothing, and home with the hungry and the homeless.” This, he says flatly, is the real proof that you are a Christian. To others it might suggest that the assurance of our salvation is an open question. [emphasis mine]
As we study chapters 1 & 2 of James, consider the question what would James say is “real proof that you are a Christian.”
03 James 1:9-18 - Who is better off: the rich or the poor? (James 1:9-18)Krisan Marotta, January 25, 2012
Part of the James series, taught at a Wednesday in the Word Bible study
The poor believer will be exalted. The rich unbeliever will be humiliated. It may seem the other way around right now, but if you understand the gospel, it should change your perspective.
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9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (ESV)