Justice Themed Song List

Social Justice Songs

Below are some great songs to consider if you are organising a justice-themed worship service. We are constantly updating this list  so if you know of a great one we’ve missed, let us know at socialjustice@aue.salvationarmy.org or comment below!

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) – Chris Tomlin

As it is in Heaven – Matt Maher

Ascribe Greatness to our God – Kirkbride-Barthow & King (Lyrics)

Beauty for Brokenness (God of the Poor) – Graham Kendrick (The Source volume 1)

Candle of the Lord – Joy Webb (Music)

Christ Be All Around Me – David Leonard & others

Compassion Hymn – Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townsend

Cornerstone – Reuben Morgan & others

Do Something – Matthew West

Embrace the World – Kim Garreffa (Music)

Everlasting God – Brenton Brown & Ken Riley

Follow You – Ed Cash, Jack & Leeland Mooring (Optional clip for use in service)

Go Light Your World – Chris Rice

God of Justice – Tim Hughes

God of This City – Boyd, Bleakley, Comfort, Kernaghan, McCann, Jordan

Hear Our Praises – ReubenMorgan

Here I Am Lord – Daniel Schutte

Hosanna – Brooke Fraser

I Will Go – Neufeld & Salmon

I’ll Fight – Nathan Rowe

Let Justice Roll – Nathan Rowe (Guitar chart here)

Let Me Be Filled/Help Me to Love – Brian & Jenn Johnson

Let my People Go – Beth Redman, Gary Baker, Jonas Myrin, & Matt Redman

Let Your Kingdom Come – Sovereign Grace

Lord You Hear the Cry (Lord have mercy) – Geraldine Latty

Love is War – Joel Houston

Micah Song – Trevor Hodge

More than Gold – Keiran Metcalfe

No Outsiders – Rend Collective

Power of Your Name – Lincoln Brewster & Mia Fieldes

Reach Out in Love – Kim Garreffa (Music)

Shout – Chris Tomlin & Matt Redman

Soldier’s Hymn  – Phil Laeger & Marty Mikles (Songs of Salvation: 156; Lyrics)

The Basin and The Towel – Michael Card

The Lion and The Lamb – Brenton Brown, Brian Johnson & Leeland Mooring

The Same Love – Paul Baloche

The World for God – Phil Laeger, Marty Mikles & Evangeline Booth

This Is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham

You have Shown Us – Chris Tomlin, Smith et.al.

You Redeem – Aaron Shust, Matt Hammitt & Seth Mosley

Songs from the new Salvation Army Songbook (2015)

SASB 37: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (Lyrics)

SASB 148: Make Way, Make Way (Lyrics)

SASB 217: Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing (Lyrics)

SASB 241: And Can it Be (Lyrics); Lou Fellingham modern version here

SASB 419: Father Of Love, Of Justice And Of Mercy (Lyrics)

SASB 529: Abide with me (Lyrics)

SASB 626: The Saviour Of Men Came To Seek And To Save (Lyrics)

SASB 628: Thou Art the Way (Lyrics)

SASB 935: They Need Christ  (Lyrics)

SASB 938: We Have Caught The Vision Splendid (Lyrics)

SASB 944: What Can I Say To Cheer A World Of Sorrow (Just where He needs me) (Lyrics)

SASB 980: Storm the Forts of Darkness (Lyrics)

SASB 1003: O Lord, Whose Human Hands Were Quick (Lyrics)

The Salvation Army Hallelujah Choruses Book

39: Raise Up An Army (Lyrics)

43: Just One (Lyrics)

Jesus & Justice


Jesus and Justice is fantastic book-length study that has been developed by The International Social Justice Commission.

When we look at the life of Jesus, we find a person whose sole purpose was to bring those around Him closer to His heavenly Father. In looking to His example, we see a life which was wholly committed to bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. In reflecting on His example as portrayed through the Gospels, we can find practical examples how we should treat others. This resource presents four principles which can be seen through the way Jesus lived. It observes that in His dealings with others, Jesus consistently included the excluded, challenged cultural practices, confronted the powerful and advocated for the oppressed.

This resource can be used as a personal bible study, a group bible study, sermon leads or as a book. It is suitable for all ages.

It is available in four languages and can be downloaded here: http://www1.salvationarmy.org/IHQ/www_ihq_isjc.nsf/vw-dynamic-index/3CE12CB83836AA6D802578B9006F91B2?openDocument



Principles of Justice

Jesus and Justice

When we look at the life of Jesus, we find a person whose sole purpose was to bring those around Him closer to His heavenly Father. In looking to His example, we see a life which was wholly committed to bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. In reflecting on His example as portrayed through the Gospels, we can find practical examples how we should treat others. The International Social Justice Commission’s Resource, Jesus and Justice, (available for download on the ISJC’s website) presents four principles which can be seen through the way Jesus lived. It observes that in His dealings with others, Jesus consistently included the excluded, challenged harmful cultural practices, confronted the powerful and advocated for the oppressed[1].

Including the Excluded

The experience of being excluded is one which is not easily forgotten. In a society where the goal of many is to be well-liked (as is often seen in the quest for ‘friends’ on social media), being forgotten or left behind are some of the most powerful and hurtful feelings that can be experienced.

In Jesus’ day, there was no question as to who the social outsiders were. Lepers were not only excluded from society, but were forced to yell ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ on the rare occasions that someone approached them (Leviticus 13:45-46). The extent to which a person suffering from leprosy was excluded was great, and the humiliation associated with contracting the disease must have been traumatic. Yet when Jesus came across a leper, he did not turn his back and choose to associate with the ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ members of the crowd. Instead, as recorded in Matthew 8:1-4, Jesus touched the leper, skin-to-skin, in front of the entire crowd. Not only did Jesus recognise the man as a person, he did so in front of a large group of people. Similarly, Jesus’ conversation with another leper saw him filled with compassion (Mark 1:40-42), not with the disgust and discomfort which the man would have experienced from other members of society.

Today, those who are excluded are not always as visible. There are groups of people within society who are systemically excluded and, at times, this exclusion hides itself so well that we don’t even notice it. Yet day after day, individuals ­– and sometimes groups – are excluded for a variety of reasons, such as financial status, race, religion, sexual orientation, even citizenship status. At times, the Church itself falls into the trap of failing to recognise people as people and, worse still, perpetuates such exclusion. Yet Jesus’ example shows us a different model. The blatantly excluded were not only shown pity but were recognised by Jesus as people equal to all others.

Challenging Harmful Cultural Practices

As much as we may hate to admit it, we all adhere to an often-unarticulated set of social norms and rules. In order to take part in society, each person allows themself to be guided by those around them in the way they live their day-to-day life. Those who choose to ignore these social norms and cultural practices often become the socially excluded, mentioned in the previous paragraph. While some cultural norms are harmless, others have the capacity to cause damage to other people or to God’s creation.

In Jesus’ day, one such cultural norm was that of the Samaritans, an ethno-religious group, not associating with Jews, and vice versa.

While, at times, it can be believed that racism is a thing of the past, the truth is that it is a problem still experienced by many around the world on a day-to-day basis. Be it through explosive, public protests or subtle, insinuated jokes between friends, racism is a negative, shameful part of the lives of many. Racism is but one example of a cultural practice which has become widely accepted over time.

Jesus was not oblivious to the socially-ordered racial and religious caste system. He came into contact with it every day and, rather than ignoring it, used it to model and explain how his followers should treat others. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) shows him challenging harmful cultural practices. Jesus clearly indicated that the most important factor was the man’s unfortunate situation, not the religion or the race of those passing by. Similarly, through his interaction with the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42), he was not afraid to challenge social norms and accepted cultural practices, and to demonstrate a new way of thinking and behaving.

Confronting the Powerful

Consistently throughout history, the concept of holding power over another has corrupted human behaviour. Power can manifest itself in various ways, and who ‘the powerful’ is in a given situation is often difficult to identify. In some cases, the government is the powerful, in others, the media. On a more personal scale, an oppressive boss or a difficult friend can be the powerful.

Jesus’ life presents to us a model through which the powerful is boldly confronted. Jesus’ behaviour disturbed and infuriated the religious elite, the Pharisees and the scribes. They were a well-educated, respected, confident and authoritative group – they were the powerful of the day who not only held religious authority but also operated the Jewish court system [2]. Jesus consistently and openly criticised this group and their social structure. He questioned society’s blind acceptance of their teaching and encouraged a new way of thinking and behaving – much to the religious elite’s anger and dismay. Despite the risks to his own reputation and personal safety, Jesus challenged their authority through the way he chose to live, through his acts and words.

Advocating for the Oppressed

Oppression, like power, comes in many forms. Those with whom we come into contact can find themselves oppressed by financial burdens, sickness, social expectation, love of money, mental illness, relationship problems… just to name a few. As believers, we are not immune to being oppressed ourselves. While in Jesus’ day oppression was most blatantly seen in the demon-possessed, today’s burdens can have an equally oppressive nature. Jesus identified the problems which were oppressing those in his time and freed them from such oppression, including both spiritual oppression and the physical causes of oppression such as blindness, leprosy, paralysis etc (Mark 1:22-34). While we may not always be able to free those around us from the things oppressing them, we can do what we can and, at the same time, point them towards the One who can – Jesus himself.


Jesus’ lifestyle – his choices every day – modelled a life of social justice. Today, as his disciples we must follow his example in our own context. By understanding the principles by which Jesus lived, we can begin to understand what God’s Kingdom on earth may look like. By living according to these crucial Kingdom principles and through the power of the Holy Spirit, our community can be changed into one that honours God and sees his justice proclaimed.


[1] Jesus and Justice p. 4

[2] Jesus and Justice p. 39

What is Social Justice?

We are regularly asked the question – “what exactly is social justice?” This is a difficult question to answer, as the term “social justice” evokes a variety of responses which differ from person to person.

We believe that it is impossible and somewhat unwise to pin down a single definition, as to do so would inevitably exclude many of its elements. However, it is our belief that working for Social Justice is working to see the Kingdom of God on earth. When we pray The Lord’s Prayer, we ask “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”. We are calling for God’s Kingdom on earth to look like God’s Kingdom in Heaven. God’s Kingdom is God’s ideal plan for the world. Therefore, those elements on earth which would not be present in his ideal plan – those social ills and problems which make us uncomfortable when viewed in the light of holiness – are not part of a world based on God’s justice. While this is not a clear-cut definition, it is a concept through which we view the world, and one which encourages us to continue seeking God’s face.

Social Justice is an extension of our holiness – not an added-on, optional extra. An exploration of Jesus’ life shows that He was a person who lived a life that brought Justice – God’s kind of justice. Our desire to live lives modeled on His (that is, a desire to be holy) includes a desire to live a life that brings God’s justice.

Social Justice is not simply a list of issues – it is a lifestyle made up of a series of choices, every day, to live a life which treats others as Jesus would. Social Justice is not something we ‘do’ – it is the aim. We want to see God’s Kingdom on earth – we want to see Social Justice – so we live lifestyles that will see that world exist in the present. Our aim is not to do Social Justice; our aim is to live lives that bring Social Justice

One helpful way to explore the concept of justice and how it can be lived out in today’s context, is by using the four principles of justice (as developed in The International Social Justice Commission’s Resource, Jesus and Justice, available for download on the ISJC’s website). These four principles can be seen through the way Jesus lived, and are:

  • Including the excluded
  • Challenging cultural practices
  • Confronting the powerful
  • Advocating for the oppressed.

These principles can be used to examine situations in which we find ourselves in today’s context, and allow us to get a better idea of how justice looks today.

The Kingdom of God on Earth

The Kingdom of God on Earth

by Casey O’Brien Machado

The beautiful thing about being an advocate for Social Justice is that while our focus is on this world, our hope is in another. The bringing about of Social Justice is “The Kingdom of God on earth”. When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we ask “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Yet we rarely take the time to think about this Kingdom for which we are praying, and what that actually would look like on earth.

In Isaiah 65, we read of “a new heaven and a new earth” (v. 17) – that is, God’s Kingdom. We read: “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:… I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labour in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

This is the Kingdom which we are waiting, working and hoping for. This is the Kingdom which we are trying to bring to earth – the Kingdom of God. A kingdom where babies will not die (v. 20), where cancer does not take those we love (v. 20), where houses are not destroyed by fire or flood (v. 21), where drought does not destroy the crops of hard-working farmers (v. 21), where workers are treated fairly (v. 22) and where generational poverty is non-existent (v. 23). The scriptures are full of descriptions of this incredible Kingdom which we are going to experience, if we will only keep our eyes on Him.

While we as humans do not have the power to eliminate pain, hurt and death, we as God’s people on earth have been given the mandate to show the people of this world a snapshot of the Kingdom to come. As Michael Frost puts it, “The purpose of our lives is to be like a trailer of an upcoming feature”. In the same way that a movie trailer gives a glimpse of what the film in its entirety will be like, we are to give a glimpse of what the world to come will be like. Our lives are to show a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. In doing so, we are to ease the pain and hurt and to comfort in death in preparation for the coming of that Kingdom.

The problem is that in a world that is so often dark and damaging, it is so easy to become discouraged. When working for Social Justice and in serving others, the problems of those we serve can become so all-encompassing and heavy that we struggle to carry them. In addition, we are not immune to the problems of this world ourselves. Sometimes, Christians cause more damage to people’s perception of God than they do good. Sometimes, the Church is not what it should be. Sometimes, those we love hurt us, and things and people are not what we thought they were. Sometimes, for a whole array of reasons, the very fabric of what we believed is ripped out from under us. Sometimes, the world simply seems too dark to handle. How then do we respond?

Our only answer is to keep our eyes on the Kingdom to come and on the Ruler of that Kingdom. In God alone do we find the hope of a world that is so different to the one in which we live. It is this hope to which we must hold when our efforts seem useless and our hearts are hurting. It is Christ’s love which compels us – not the love of recognition from others, or even a love of The Salvation Army. We do not serve others to look good or to further the brand of an organization– we serve others because that is what God called us to do, and it is the only reasonable response to the grace which we as individuals have been shown! Let us live like it!

Song 42 in the Salvation Army Songbook reads:

This is my father’s world,
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet.


Reference: Purpose of the Church, by Michael Frost, accessed 3rd May 2014.

Social Justice – Not an optional extra

Social Justice: Not an optional extra
by Casey O’Brien Machado

Recently, at a multi-denominational meeting, I introduced myself to a fellow attendee. Upon explaining my role to him, he responded “Oh, you’re a Social Justice person. I suppose that’s a given – you do belong to The Salvation Army. I am more of a Bible-type person. Our church really focuses on having strong biblical teaching and understanding”.

Perhaps this sentiment is not always articulated as blatantly as it was here, but it is certainly the case that within our churches there are people who we identify as “social justice” or “social issues” type people.

Holiness and Social Justice are inextricably linked

An engagement with social justice is not an optional add-on to our holiness. Rather, it is an essential element of our holiness. True holiness does not exist without engaging with issues of injustice. Therefore, it is problematic to separate those who focus solely on social justice from those who focus solely on biblical understanding. Both are essential elements of our holiness, and as followers of God, we are called to take on “holiness” and all that it encompasses.

As followers of God, our ultimate aim is to emulate Him. He instructs us to “be holy as He is holy”. We see through the Scriptures, time and time again, that when God instructs us to “be holy as He is holy”, the command is followed by a list of ways in which to care for and advocate on behalf of others (for example, in Leviticus 19). The Scriptures also show us that not only is justice something that God appreciates, it is the very “foundation” of who He is (Psalm 89:14). Justice is the physical and visible embodiment of God’s holiness[1]. Therefore, the physical embodiment of our holiness must be justice also.

Engagement with Social Justice is not optional

Social Justice is the outworking of our faith in the most practical of ways. It is the natural expression of our holiness. Engagement with others in a way that brings about Social Justice – that is, in a way that brings about the Kingdom of God – is not an optional extra to being a Christian.

In Isaiah 6, we read the story of Isaiah’s sanctification and anointing. In verse 7, Isaiah is sanctified – made holy – when an angel touches his lips with live coal. Immediately following, in verse 8, Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord saying “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”. Isaiah responds: “Here am I. Send me!”. As soon as Isaiah has been sanctified, God sends him out to mission. Isaiah is not made holy in order to sit around and simply be holy. He is made holy and as a result, is sent out into the world. In the same way, when we are sanctified and our lives are transformed by Christ, this transformation naturally brings about a desire to see others’ lives transformed and sanctified. We are sent out to mission.

A right relationship with God and with one’s neighbour

Today, we speak often of holiness and righteousness as being in a right relationship with God. In Ancient Greek, the use of “righteousness” included an element of Justice. It was “a right relationship with God and with one’s neighbour”. Paul stands in the Old Testament tradition in which ‘justice’ (mishpat) referred not only to addressing social order in a legal sense, but also to God’s right ordering of the cosmos. This ‘right ordering’, as shown in the microcosm of Israel, includes a profound concern for the poor.

This is similar to the Wisdom tradition in which we are called to dynamically align our lives with God’s ordering – which we call ‘holiness’. Therefore, when God calls his people to holiness, as He did throughout Scripture and continues to do today, He calls them to a right relationship with Himself AND a right relationship with their neighbour.

The Salvation Army and Social Holiness

The Salvation Army’s founders, being heavily influenced by John Wesley’s doctrine of Social Holiness, recognised early on that holiness without a concern and action for others was not holiness at all.

The issues begin when the concept of holiness is confused with the concept of personal piety. The Salvation Army’s Handbook of Doctrine states that “A Salvationist understanding of holiness expresses itself as practical and social holiness as well as personal spiritual experience and development”. That is, social holiness (often called social justice) is not an added-on extra. It is an essential element and expression of our holiness.

This concept of social holiness – that is, the “doing” of holiness – does not mean that we claim to gain Salvation by works. Isaiah was not sent out and required to fulfil his mission prior to being sanctified. Rather the “sending out” is a natural flow-on from the sanctification.

A Call to holiness is a call to Social Justice.

As we pursue holiness, not only as individuals but as a unified Army, let us never forget that Social Justice is not simply a “good idea” or a “fad”, nor is it appended to the Christian faith, or an optional extra. It is the very embodiment of God’s holiness, and of His kingdom on earth. It should permeate every interaction, every conversation, every prayer. It is at the very heart of being a follower of God.

(I would like to acknowledge the work of Major Dr. Alan Harley, Major Dr. Terry Grey, and the advice of Major Cec Woodward in the writing of this piece).

[1] Major Dr. Alan Harley