Wise Words for Today

English: Peresopnytsia Gospels. 1556-1561. Min...
English: Peresopnytsia Gospels. 1556-1561. Miniature of Saint Matthew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream…(Amos 5:24)

“The justice Amos pleaded for was not a reform of the police and the courts that meted out retribution to criminals…….it was what we would call distributive justice – compassion for and care given to the weakest and most helpless in the land. The righteousness he longed to see was not faithfulness to a list of moral demands but the covenantal uprightness one lives before God; it is honoring God by living into his purpose for you as his image-bearer. ……………..At James 1:27, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, ‘Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.’”

“Whether spoken of by Amos or James, or described in the Old or New Testament, the essential elements of pure and undefiled religion remain the same: holiness and compassion. One must live with God-first focus that reveals itself in grace and compassion towards others. Isaiah agreed with Amos (see Isaiah 1:10 ff); Jesus affirmed them both (see Matt. 22:37-40); and John repeated it for good measure (see 1 John 4:20-21). And while Isaiah predicted it, Jesus established it, and John was part of it, their message was not ‘church.’ It was love for God that plays out as love for people. That is what people saw about Jesus that they miss seeing in so much of the church’s activity.”

Rubel Shelly

(from I Knew Jesus Before He Was a Christian and I Liked Him Better)

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