Love in evangelism and social justice
In Luke 10:29, after hearing the Parable of the good Samaratin, a lawyer asks Jesus “Who is my neigbour?” Jesus makes it clear that just as the Samaritan in the parable loved “the injured man”, we as Christians are called to love all people as our neighbours. For when we love others we are moving from how the world sees people to see how God sees them.
There is no doubt that we care for people’s needs because we love them. But it is also worth sharpening this thought to evangelism – for the end is not just meeting people’s immediate physical, social, emotional need. As J.I. Packer writes, “The nature of love is to do good and to relieve need. If then, our neighbour is unconverted, we are to show love … by seeking to share with him the good news without which he will perish. So we find Paul warning and teaching ‘everyone’ (Colossians 1:28) not merely because he was an apostle, but because every man was he neighbour.” (Packer, Evangelism and the Soverienty of God, 108-9)
Or as John Piper said at Laussanne III, “For Christ’s sake, we Christians care about all suffering especially eternal suffering… Christ is calling us to pull these together.”
And “pulling these together” can often seem easier said than done but we must do it.