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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9Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (KJV)