Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Love and Justice

I wrote this song a couple of months ago in response to a study that one of my pastors encouraged me to do on the connection between worship and justice, that is, the necessary integration of justice into the lives of those who claim to worship God. As Christians, we are called to live lives that are concerned with justice for those who are oppressed, and this should be the natural outflow and expression of our worship, especially as we consider the character of God, who's love and justice are displayed perfectly and simultaneously at the cross. In order to appreciate God's justice, however, I believe we need to first understand our own personal injustice against God and his justified indignation against our sin.

A couple of passages were in my mind as I wrote the lyrics for this song. The first was Isaiah 53, where it says that It was God's will to crush "him" (the coming messiah), and to lay upon "him" the iniquity of us all. This convinces me of how seriously God takes sin, and how justified He is in punishing it. Yet he chose to bear the punishment himself in Christ. This leads me to the second passage I had in mind... Luke 7:36-50, where Jesus is annointed by a "sinful" woman. This woman had a very real sense of her need for grace, and it is her acknowledgement of that need that leads her to worship Jesus, the source of that grace. Jesus goes on to tell a parable about two men who had different quantities of debt, both of which were forgiven by their master. When Jesus' audience is asked which one will love the master more, the obvious answer follows: "...the one who had the bigger debt cancelled." So in writing this song I wanted to own this truth and to personally ackowledge that I had a great debt cancelled at the cross. I wanted to say with Paul, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience." (1 Timothy 1:15-16) Hence the lyrics for the bridge: Mine was the greatest debt forgiven...

We must have a clear appreciation of the seriousness of our sin in order to appreciate God's forgiveness of it. But we must also take God seriously and understand that He cannot simply forget our sin...it must be punished for his holiness to hold legitimacy. But glory to God! He satisfied both his desire to love and his need to punish sin by bearing the punishment himself on the cross. So we see both God's hatred of sin (in crushing Jesus) and his extravagent forgiveness (in bearing our sin for us in Christ) displayed perfectly at the cross. I want this to always remain at the center of my worship, and to say with Paul, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Galatians 6:14)

Just One, You were crucified for us
O sinless savior You were beaten You were crushed
Unto death our God has loved us
Unto death which we deserved
Into life our God has called us
Into love forevermore

Here where love and justice meet
I will bow and kiss your feet
You who suffered violently, I love You
Here my sinless Savior dies
In three days I see Him rise
Now exalted in my eyes, I love You Lord

Mine was the greatest debt forgiven...

No comments:

Post a Comment