Just some thoughts

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The more I get into scripture and the more time I spend on this walk, I have come to realize that our salvation, Christianity as a whole, is so much more about this life here than it is about the life to come. Yes we have the promise of something more, but that should not be our main focus…ever. If our main focus is the thing to come (heaven), then we will start to lose sight of what has been placed in front of us.

The problem of evil is a tough one. There is no sure answer to why there is genuine evil in this world. Many trace it back to Adam and Eve, but I do not subscribe to a literal reading of Genesis 1-11, and the facts and evidence found in nature, archeology, biology, geology, and evidence within scripture seems to state other wise. So why is there evil in this world? Why do bad things happen? Who is to blame? These are questions I often ponder. This summer I have spent time reading, writing, and meditating on who God is to me and who Christ was and is today. I have come to one conclusion that will stick with me until the end of my days; God is a mystery.

There is genuine evil in this world, but there is also genuine good. I do not believe God is the causation for what is evil, but God is the only causation for the good that can come out of it. I believe the way of Christ, non-violence, love of neighbor, love for the other, living against the grain, is the way this world will be turned right side up. The way of Christ, as well of coming to a place where we can call Him our Lord is how evil can be pushed back. The way of Christ seeks out those in poverty, and helps raise them up. The way of Christ goes across the street to bring friendship to someone who has never known a friend. The way of Christ goes beyond our borders to bring justice and love to those who have never known either. The way of Christ is about bring hope, peace, love, and joy to everyone we meet. The way of Christ, is God’s people partnering with God to bring about the kingdom in the here and now.

Heaven is a good thought, it is a hope, and a promise; but building God’s kingdom now is our work. Spreading the love of Christ and the Way of Christ is our commission. Jesus was all about relationships with everyone he met; I think it is a safe model to adopt. Communion, grace, forgiveness and seeing people for the Image bearers of the most high is how this world will come to understand who God is.

This has been my hope. Evil is out there, but God has created a creation that can respond to Him and push back against the darkness that is out there. We are a creation filled with the Holy Spirit that can make a difference. God’s purposes will win out, and we are an avenue for God’s grace in a world that so desperately needs it. These were just a few of my thoughts this evening. My heart is overwhelmed at the brokenness throughout the world. But I know that a life sold out to Jesus Christ can make a difference and broken situations and lives can be transformed into something beautiful. My hope is built on nothing less.

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One thought on “Just some thoughts

  1. Greg Crofford

    Thanks, Jake, for a thought-provoking post. You said: “There is genuine evil in this world, but there is also genuine good. I do not believe God is the causation for what is evil, but God is the only causation for the good that can come out of it.”

    You’re onto something here. Since “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all “(1 John 1:5), it mystifies me when Christians attribute evil to God, even indirectly by saying that God allowed certain heinous things to happen, such as the downing last week of Malaysia Flight 17 in Ukraine. I am much more comfortable with the thought (from Gregory Boyd) that Earth is a battlefield between Kingdom of God forces and Kingdom of Satan forces. So, why would I blame my Captain (Jesus) for something that the enemy perpetrated? Yes, this “spiritual warfare” view comes with its own set of challenges, including the temptation to demonize people we should be loving or enlarging Satan’s power to be equal with Gods’ – the ancient trap of ontological dualism. In the end, Christus Victor theology does not answer all questions, but if should be part of the conversation more than it is. Instead, we tend to dismiss it as being too “Pentecostal.” We do so to our own loss.

    Regarding the “genuine good” in the world, I’m disturbed by the words of Jesus: “Why do you call me ‘good’?…No one is good, except God alone”(Luke 18:19, NIV). If Jesus was hesitant to even attribute good to himself, as the Son of God, then one should be slow to slap the label “good” on others, at least not without the caveat of prevenient grace. It’s prevenient grace that allows me to congratulate even the non-believer, at least by affirming that they are not resisting the gracious, drawing impulses of God the Holy Spirit as provided by the atonement (John 6:44, 12:32). And for that matter, even with believers, who gets the credit for being “good”? Is not goodness but a reflection of the unresisted activity of the Holy Spirit, even in believers? So, for example, instead of us saying to someone else, “You’re incredible,” perhaps the more Christian thing to say to another believer would be: “It’s incredible how you’re letting God do some amazing things in your life.” All the credit, then, ends up going to God. For me, that’s the preferred outcome.

    But what do you think?

    Reply

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