• If our eschatology not only looks to the establishment of God's kingdom in some distant future but as an ongoing and unfolding reality,
• The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus calls the new creation into existence here and now, in the midst of the old.
Recently, I've been reflecting on the subject of Jesus and Justice. I am still walking along this exciting journey, but I have reached a few tentative conclusions that I'd like to share with you:
1. Our God is a God of justice. As the Old Testament reminds us, justice and righteousness are the foundation of his throne.
2. Many people, and even whole societies that claim to be Christian deny, in their actions if not by their words, this foundational attribute of God They preach and practice an incomplete gospel of individual salvation without any reference to the social implications of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Whether you embrace the purely individual gospel or the holistic gospel referred to in 2. above depends in part on your Christology and your eschatology.
4. If your Christology emphasises only the deity of Jesus Christ and his triumphant resurrection, you are likely to miss out on what God has to say about the pursuit of justice in the here and now and instead merely focus on defending Christ's deity while ignoring or excusing injustice in this world and encouraging yourself and victims of injustice to await the second coming of Christ when all wrongs shall be made right.
5. Your eschatology is also likely to point only to a future end-time when all things will be made right with the return of Christ, instead of getting actively involved in the pursuit of a more just world in the here and now.
6. But if, in addition to acknowledging the deity, resurrection and return of Christ, we also recognise him as a very human servant of God who spoke prophetically to the unjust religious and political authorities of his time,
7. And if we can be inspired by his bodily suffering due to the injustice he encountered and endured, yet overcame,
8. And if our eschatology not only looks to the establishment of God's kingdom in some distant future, but as an ongoing and unfolding reality,
9. Then we begin to see ourselves not just as lucky members of a privileged club of the 'saved' whose tickets to heaven have been booked and who can therefore sit back and relax while we await the trip aboard 'Rapture Airlines'; we instead come to understand our mandate to work for the creation of a new cosmic and social order in the here and now that is radically different from the one over which the powers and principalities of this world preside.
10. As the author Jerry Folk writes in his book, 'Doing Theology, Doing Justice', "Those who live in and preside over this world are perhaps willing to accept the idea of God's reign coming sometime - but not here, and not now.
Yet it is precisely this here-and-nowness that Jesus announces.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus calls the new creation into existence here and now, in the midst of the old.
The old is already beginning to pass away. It is the presence of this end-time reality here and now that the principalities and powers object to, not the abstract idea of an end time."
Have a justice - filled Sunday, won't you?