Christian

A young servant

How can a young Christian serve their church?

I get the impression that young people in churches are sometimes keen to help, but don’t know how. They get put on teams to serve tea, or do other fairly small tasks, and this is great. I think it’s really valuable to be involved in practical service, but I want to suggest there is a real spiritual service open to even the youngest Christians.

In order to serve the church, it is necessary to serve the people within the church. There is no abstract ‘church’ which is somehow distinct from the Christians who meet together. The church is the body of Christ, a united nation. Time and time again, the New Testament speaks of the church in language which is both corporate and personal.

So how can a young person serve their church? They may not be able to preach, or help with regular meetings, but they can serve the people of the church. Serving tea is a great example, but it needn’t stop there. Befriending people is a valuable service to the church. Talking about God’s work in your life is bound to encourage other believers. Asking people for help to understand the Bible will bring the church together. Offering to pray for people will not go unappreciated. The list is almost endless.

A good church should be a loving community of Christians, mirroring the loving community of God. Let us show love to those Christians around us, seeking to build them up and helping them fix their eyes upon Jesus.

If you want to serve your church, serve the people.

Justice and grace

Last week a trailer was released for the upcoming film ‘The Grace Card’. It seems to be a ‘Christian’ film, but many things about it leave me far from convinced that it will accurately portray the Christian gospel. The worst of all was a line in the trailer which sounded like a pivotal moment in the film.

It’s not justice we need. It’s grace!It's not justice we need. It's grace!

What a horrible false dichotomy is introduced here! Are justice and grace mutually exclusive? This seems to be the suggestion of the film. I don’t want to be too harsh, given I’ve merely seen a trailer rather than the full film, but it strikes me that this quote undermines all that is good about the God of the Bible.

God doesn’t abandon justice in favour of grace. This would be a cheap form of grace, which would reveal an arbitrary and unjust god. This is not the God of the Bible. This is not the Christian God. Quite the opposite.

God does extend grace through Jesus’ death, but not at the expense of justice. If there was no need for justice, why would Jesus have died? Why not simply forgive everyone all their sins? That would show grace; but what a terrible, grotesque, unjust grace it would be! This is not the grace referred to in Ephesians 2:8, quoted in the NIV at the end of the film trailer.

For it is by grace you have been saved.

The grace by which Christians have been saved is a grace which includes justice. Romans 3:26 speaks of God not only as the justifier (by grace) of the one with faith in Jesus, but also the one who is just. The reason for Jesus’ death was to provide a means of grace which did not contravene God’s perfect justice.

It is indeed grace we need, but we also receive justice from God. Praise the Lord!