I have given much thought (as if to argue that I’ve given ample time of pouring into books and studies, but this is just a way of expressing that I’ve given enough thought) about what it means in a sense to be Christian and the thing about the gospel and what we are supposed to do with this belief in Jesus.
I used to think that Jesus was only deeply infatuated with my soul and the direction my soul will be when I died. Jesus’ death meant that I was not to be punished for my sin but when I believe in him, my sins are thus exhausted in his death being nailed together with him on the cross. His death is thus for my benefit so that I can live, and come back to God and when I die its no more hell for me but heaven.
And so if that is the sole reason for Jesus’ coming, the mission for believers in to tell about this great message of how sin separates us from God and will eventually send us to hell. But the great message is that God had made a way for humanity to be saved, he sent Jesus to die for our sins and when we believe in him we get a passage way to heaven and escape the damnation of hell. And with the new life we are encouraged to read the bible which is a book about how we are supposed to live, attend church and get ourselves involved in the ministry of the Church.
Well at lest this is the message I constantly heard for about as long as I was a Christian. If you would sum the message it directly encourages an escapist direction towards how to live life. Some might argue that going for outreach would combat the escapist attitude but after doing that we retreat people from the world into the safe walls of the building we call the church and everything Christian.
Sometimes we have to ponder deeper and ask the reason why God would save us anyway. Is it solely for the escape hatchet of shooting off planet earth and finding our way to heaven? Or is it for something greater?
Take Noah the story that entails his life. God used Noah for the salvation of the human kind and other life forms as well. Well this is just a short explanation of it. God used Noah as an agent, so that the progress of life on earth could be continued. God used Abraham, a man called to embody in him the future, a nation to be called Israel, whom God called to be the light of the nations, a priest for the nations. Calling and salvation entails responsibility, not just of escape. Take the salvation of Israel out of Egypt. God saved them to become what I wrote earlier.
And that is also an implication we have to think about our call and salvation as well. Is Jesus’ ‘interest’ in regenerating us by his Spirit for the sole conclusion of living in piety and escaping the world? God’s plan to save humanity through Jesus was not for escape but that of restoration, reconciliation and witness (there may be other ideas like justice that mix well with these words). The church is called to be a community that is called out of the influences of the world but into the influence and pattern of God in Jesus. Not for the reason of escape but for being a community called for the world.
It is a sad state of our biblical understanding and theology. And it is something i’m struggling to come out of as well. Christianity has become so much of an individual affair that any form of understanding ministry has to be connected inside the confines of the church alone. Any form of ministry that goes out is one that entails evangelism and winning souls for Christ. And this is done by giving tracts and the combination of an evangelistic rally. I used to rave at all this and now they feel like an excuse for just doing something Christian.
But the tide is changing I hope, and ministries are focusing on larger issues such as being a help to society as a whole. The thought of Christians being good witnesses (not just in the sense that they just share about their conviction) in their various fields of work. An element that always seems to be in an area of low interest mainly in churches are areas that deal with being a community that care about their local society. I know I’m tackling this issue in a general way at the moment but hopefully soon enough information and experience would beckon a better explanation and argument for this.
I know some are really getting themselves involved as being salt and light to the world and their local societies and that is what I applaud. As of now, I guess I’m trading an old understanding of being Christian which is only focused with their state of being and just the church to being a Christian that is holistic in a sense that the ministry to the church is neither neglected but the scope of being an influence to society would be incorporated to what is important to the church.
There is a bigger scope than just being saved and going to heaven. If that is all there is to it, screw this faith then. But thankfully that is not the case. And the heart of God, restoration and justice is incorporated in his plan of salvation.