Matthew 25:36 “Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me;” James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless, and widows in their affliction, and to keep self unspotted from the world”. Zechariah 7:9 “This what the Lord Almighty says, “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.”

The work of Christ is a work inside the heart and soul of an individual but it is not to remain there. An old portion of the wedding liturgy calls the ring the ‘outward sign of the inward emotion’ and that is exactly how the life of the Christian should function. 

From the motives and desires of the Christ-like heart there should be a need to share God’s love and forgiveness with the world and those who have need to hear it. From the changed heart comes the desire to be the hands of Christ helping others. “Social Justice” is not merely a 20th century political action statement or buzz phrase. It is centuries old with the words of Zachariah that true justice in society was grounded in showing mercy and compassion. 

Thus the Church – those who claim Jesus as their Lord – should be leaders in society and demonstrating the power of the people of God to positively impact their world in the name of Jesus. Instead, we too often allow government groups and social agencies to do the work of the church. Government should be able to assist citizens in time of need and emergencies/disasters but if each community saw people of faith doing “pure religion” - society would be better.


Titus 3:1  / “ Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey them and to be ready to participate in every good activity, to insult no one, not to be quarrelsome, to be gentle, demonstrating full consideration for every person.”

In ancient Rome, Christians were walking a tightrope of being accepted or persecuted depending on who was in charge. Some were rounded up and went to their deaths, some escaped, and some fled to other areas where they tried to live by Titus 3:1.

In Antebellum America, people rose up to say the long tradition of black human slavery was wrong. They wrote books, preached sermons, and lobbied government for change in the name of abolition.  Meanwhile, on the side of the slave holders books were written, sermons preached and government lobbied to keep the practice in place. Each side thought they were right, used the Bible to prove the point, and actively engaged in accomplishing what they thought was best for the nation.

In WW2 German pastor Dietrich Bonheoffer saw the abuses of the Nazi Party, the blind obedience and godlike adoration for Adolf Hitler, and witnessed the slow squeezing of opposing voices.  He rebelled for what he saw happening to his Church, to what was happening to the Germany in had grown up in and for the abuses to humans made in God’s image.  He wrestled with the dilemma of standing by and doing nothing to change the horrors he saw or doing something to stop the madness. He chose to act helping Jews escape to freedom and supported an attempt to assassinate Hitler.  As a result, he died in prison.

One of the challenges for Christians is this issue.  The chief goal of the verse is the concept of order, support, and being Christ like within society – as Christ said to go the extra mile and turn the cheek in encounters within abusive social contests. Situations can and will be imperfect but the Christian must always follow the higher road being light and salt in the world.

In the case of the U.S. Government, where citizens are permitted the ability to encourage their government to exhibit “every good activity” ,  as they seek to fulfill the full vision of the Constitution for its entire people. It is very important to recognize the need for civic action which is Biblically influenced.


Exodus 18:21 “but select capable ones from all the people – ones who fear God, trustworthy ones who hate dishonest gain.”

Leadership is important at every level of life and every field.  We see on the news stories of leaders caught in flagrant affairs, disregarding federal or state laws, flaunting immoral or unethical business practices, or violating the trust placed in them by employees, share holders, church members, or citizens.  They are, in a very true manner, given a sacred duty to ‘do no harm’ to those under them. As the Israelites pulled together a corps of men to assist their leader the advice was clear: capable, God-fearing, trust-worthy.

This same challenge faced the early founders.  They wanted George Washington remain President. He, however, knew that it would be too easy for the new nation to fall back into the rule of monarchy or worse tyranny without controls and limitations in the workings of government.  As popular and good as one leader might be the next might be susceptible to temptations, bribes, and given to ‘dishonest gain.’

Keeping God in the process – through prayers, participation in the process by Christians, and supporting ‘capable ones’ – is an important way to see a strong and healthy nation emerge in each generation.


Proverbs 16:8 “Better a little righteousness than much gain with injustice.”

With power often comes the temptation to abuse such powers, to become filled with pride - and be responsible for creating and perpetuating injustices.

The Proverbs verse cautions against this type action. The framers of the new government also sought to minimize, as much as possible, the ability of anyone abusing their position in government as they had witnessed in Europe and under the current British government. They had to face the real concept of suffering – perhaps even dying - themselves for a small measure of right living in order to achieve the satisfaction of achieving in a small start liberty and freedom. The British government, in contrast, was an example of much gain through injustice. While not all involved in the formation of the U.S. government were thinking of the Bible as they debated, the culture from which they emerged had ingrained those values and examples into them. They were deeply influenced by many people and ideas also influenced by these Biblical concepts.

In a post-modern society distancing itself from those Biblical foundations it is good to be reminded of the truth better a little righteousness than to gain through injustice.

Ethics (righteousness) are those decisions made when no one sees or no one will know.


In honor of the political cycle this series will explore the way a Christian should act within modern American society.

2 Corinthians 8:21 –“ For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”

In the hot and airless chambers of Philadelphia a group of men wrestled with “doing right” to the satisfaction of both their God and their fellow and future citizens.  As they all arrived with their own vision of what a new nation should be they argued, they got mad, they schemed, and they stalked out seeking to abandon the entire process!  Yet, the larger than they were issues kept drawing them back, urged compromise and the fashioning a single vision all could come to an agreement over.

Building consensus in church, home or society is never easy as the Apostle Paul notes in this text.  It takes effort, willingness to accept we might not always be right in every issue, and the willingness to become humble so the individual – with all their rights and privileges – is consumed in something larger which, in this case of the founding of a new nation, sought  the balance between the demanding of rights and the accepting of responsibilities equally.