Justice & Mercy

I knew I was treading into unfamiliar territory when we (the teaching team) determined to do a series of messages on Justice and Mercy.

I call it unfamiliar because my personal involvement in Justice and Mercy has been more about something I was supposed to do than something I did.

Church history makes it clear that Jesus’ followers have always been engaged in justice and mercy. Justin Martyr, who wrote in the middle of the second century, said this about Christians:

“Those who once delighted in fornication now embrace chastity alone;… we who once took most pleasure in accumulating wealth and property now… share with everyone in need; we who hated and killed one another and would not associate with men of different tribes because of their different customs now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them and pray for our enemies.”[1]

And Aristides, an apologist for Christianity writing around AD 125, described Christians as follows:

“They walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them, and they love one another. They despise not the widow, and grieve not the orphan. He that hath, distributeth liberally to him that hath not. If they see a stranger, they bring him under their roof, and rejoice over him, as it were their own brother: for they call themselves brethren, not after the flesh, but after the spirit and God; but when one of their poor passes away from the world, and any of them see him, then he provides for his burial according to his ability; and if they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs; and if it is possible that he may be delivered, they deliver him. And if there is among them a man that is poor and needy, and they have not an abundance of necessaries, they fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with their necessary food.”[2]

I have seen Justice and Mercy with “skin on it” around CCCC.

My wife is fully engaged in Justice and Mercy regularly with the PIN (People In Need) team. The PIN team walks with people through financial challenges and responsibly distributes resources given by the people of CCCC. I have seen Justice and Mercy in groups who engage with Christ centered non-profits like Lighthouse Christian Ministries to feed the hungry, care for the homeless, and help with medical care and job readiness programs. I see Justice and Mercy in the families who are committed to orphan care through fostering and adopting children. Recently, more than a hundred people who are committed to orphan care gathered for a picnic in the park to get to know one another better so they can support one another in the challenges of fostering and adopting children.

The Justice and Mercy series lays a biblical foundation for how the church can be responsibly engaged in Justice and Mercy to demonstrate the gospel of the Kingdom of God that we believe and proclaim to the world. But don’t think for a moment that the people of CCCC are not engaged in Justice and Mercy already. Many people are. And many more might be on the cusp of a new level of engagement in Justice and Mercy.



To hear the Justice & Mercy message series, click here.

[1] Justin Martyr, First Apology, quoted in Peter C. Phan, Social Thought, vol. 20 of Message of the Fathers of the Church, ed. Thomas Halton (Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1984), 56.

[2] Aristides, quoted in Martin Hengel, Property and Riches in the Early Church (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974), 42-43.

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