Thankfully, the comprehensive nature of the gospel is more than salvation—as if salvation were not sufficient. Yet, the wholeness of the gospel encompasses redemption, restoration, and freedom from injustice. Recently, it has been identified that Gen Z views ending racism (83%), climate change (79%), social equality (78%), and alleviating poverty (78%) as more important than evangelistic mission.
While many evangelicals may have their feathers ruffled with such a thought, I think it’s important to understand that the passions of Gen Z are biblically aligned. I believe they provide a powerful connection to the mission of God and the inherent principles of the gospel (dignity, love, and value).
In the Bible, Moses describes mankind as being created in “the image and likeness of God” (Gen. 1:26). While Genesis 1:26 is one of the first theological confessions, it is also a profound statement that highlights the inherent value and dignity of all people. Genesis 1:26 establishes the essence and substance for understanding human identity, purpose, and even potential.
The Divine Image and Likeness
Being created in “the image and likeness of God” (Gen. 1:26) means that every human being possesses intrinsic worth and deserves respect, love, and dignity. The divine imprint that we possess transcends race, gender, age, or any other characteristic that may divide us. It seems that Gen Z is merely implementing “word and deed” measures (1 Jn. 3:18). They recognize this truth challenges us to see the immeasurable worth within every person and people group. It compels us to work towards justice and equality for all. Consequently, they do not view a distinction or divorce between gospel-living and justice—it’s unified.
The Comprehensive Nature of the Gospel
The gospel message goes far beyond personal and corporate salvation. Yes, salvation encompasses redemption, but also restoration, and freedom from injustice. When Jesus begins his earthly ministry, he cites Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
However, according to Matthew (an eyewitness), when John the Baptist was cast into prison, he sent his messengers to specifically ask Jesus if he was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61. Jesus responded, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matt. 11:4-5). The incarnate Word brought restoration and freedom to those he encountered (including the condemned adulterous woman).
Absolutely, not, downplaying any aspect of salvation, through Christ’s sacrificial act on the cross, humanity is offered the opportunity to be redeemed from sin and reconciled with God. However, the gospel does not end there. It also calls us to participate in the restoration of all things, working towards the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.
Succeeding the Millennial generation, Gen Z is the first to be raised in an entirely digital age, generally—they were born between the mid 1990’s to the 2010’s. For the most part, even though cultural background, socioeconomic status, and individual experiences can vary, Gen Z is a cohort of youth that are passionate about authenticity and having unique political and social perspectives.
In observing their list of concerns, it illustrates their value of people. They desire to see an ending to racism, be good stewards of the planet, promote equality, and alleviate poverty. These priorities are deeply rooted in the gospel’s call for justice, compassion, and love for our neighbors. As Gen Z recognizes God’s divine imprint upon every person, they are driven to confront the systems and structures that perpetuate suffering. Their desire is an all-encompassing faith of “word and deed.”
Word and Deed
Thus, living out a “word and deed” life incorporates elements of gospel-evangelism, social justice, and compassion. It involves sharing the good news of Christ’s redemptive work through our words and proclaiming the message of salvation. Additionally, it entails actively engaging in alleviating poverty, addressing the needs of the marginalized, and advocating for justice. It means extending love and hospitality to strangers, embodying Christ’s teachings of inclusivity and value. Above all, “word and deed” living recognizes the inherent dignity of every person, reflecting God’s image in our interactions, actions, and efforts to uplift and empower others.
The comprehensive nature of the gospel goes beyond personal salvation, encompassing redemption, restoration, and freedom from injustice. Gen Z’s prioritization of ending racism, reducing climate change, social equality, and alleviating poverty aligns with the biblical principles of dignity, love, and value.
Genesis 1:26 establishes the inherent worth and dignity of all people as being created in the image and likeness of God, transcending divisions such as race or gender. Gen Z’s pursuit of justice and equality reflects the recognition of immeasurable worth within every individual and compels us to work towards a more just society.
Living out a “word and deed” life involves gospel-evangelism, social justice, and compassion. It means sharing the message of salvation while actively engaging in addressing poverty, advocating for the marginalized, and promoting inclusivity. Such an approach recognizes the inherent dignity of every person, reflecting God’s image through our actions and efforts to uplift others.
 “Gen Z and Gen Alpha Infographic Update,”https://mccrindle.com.au/article/topic/generation-z/gen-z-and-gen-alpha-infographic-update/