Why Justice and Mercy Flow from the Gospel

The theme for Summit VIII (May 3-4 at Saddleback Church) is Justice and Mercy Flow from the Gospel.  But why is Gospel the fountainhead of justice and mercy?  Why not just “goodwill” or “duty” or “idealism”?

On one level, because we’re all made in God’s image, every person holds a certain sense of justice and an impulse toward mercy.  Despite our brokenness, we yet retain the Imago Dei deep within, reminding of what we were made for.  This is something to celebrate, and Christians can make common cause with expressions of what theologians call “common grace” wherever it appears.

Yet our world is profoundly marred by sin.  Each of us are, too.  And when those two realities rub up against each other, even the most idealistic intentions break down.  Enthusiasm ends up on the side of the road, smoking and twisted like a burned out wreck.

When a young man we’ve mentored turns to gang life.  When we discover that a partner in orphan care has been siphoning off money for himself.  When an adopted daughter rejects our love.  When the need statistics are larger than our mind’s ability to grasp them.  When a foster child steals from us. 

In times like these, we find out what has been motivating us and whether it is enough to go the distance.  If we’ve just been driven by guilt…or duty…or idealism, our good intentions will begin to implode.  We’ll often walk away, disillusioned and bitter.

But no matter how great the world’s hurt, there is yet something bigger.  If nourished by the Good News that pulses at the center of the universe, there will be more to the story.

For we serve the God who pursued us when we were destitute and alone.  The God who rescues and adopts.  The God who invites us to live as His sons and daughters.  And no matter how great our sacrifice to love the destitute child, it is small compared to His sacrifice to love us in our destitution.

Indeed, we love … seek justice … show mercy… because He first did so for us.

[This blog post was first shared on the new Summit Website blog, designed to provide updates on the latest with plans, speakers and more for Summit VIII.  Visit it HERE.]