“Justice” A Lent Devotional

by John Dupree

Isaiah 1:17

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.


Justice was the conviction of the prophets, the organizing ethos of the Law, the source code to the beatitudes, indeed the common drumbeat throughout Christ’s teachings. Jesus called us to repent and inherit a kingdom of God whose hallmark was justice, especially among “the least of these” for whom His heart quickened.

I, however, hesitate. The thinness of the historical social gospel movement, the fear of works theology, or perhaps focus on my private spirituality hinder me. But ours was never meant to be a private faith. Where there is fear, want, hate, or oppression around us, there the Church must be or we are not living the complete Gospel. The same Spirit who calls me to holiness also calls me to pursue justice on behalf of the poor, weak, and oppressed.

That responsibility is also my delight. I am invigorated when I seek his kingdom and model His truth. That justice will never be fully realized until He returns is no more reason to shun its present pursuit than it would be to defer love, prayer, sacrifice or any other human endeavor. Nor must we choose between personal piety or social justice. It is the combination of the two that empowers our witness, like quiet chemicals that only become explosive when blended.

Find a place for justice-working! If we are to show the world that Christianity is truly revolutionary, the Church cannot languish within our personal spirituality like listless zoo animals, day after day grooming and sifting each other’s fur. Instead, the scent of injustice and oppression should compel us to become the men and women our Lord intended…broad brawny beasts of the Gospel, thundering across God’s wild kingdom here on earth.

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