Monday, June 30, 2008

Use the Force

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. 

Luke 16.16

A New Order 

Jesus’s ministry officially started when His cousin, John, baptized Him. Coming out of the water, a voice from heaven declared, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3.17) Before this, the Old Testament was in effect. Christ's baptism, however, ushered in new rules and regulations. God Himself identified Jesus as His Son, the physical embodiment of the Law and the Prophets. Divine favor no longer depended on birthright and tradition. It was available to all, there for the taking.

In John 3.16, Jesus explained this New Order to Nicodemus, a religious leader:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That "whoever” revoked all prior and future qualifications aside from faith in Christ.  “Whoever” means you.  “Whoever” means me.  Our place in the kingdom of God is assured, plain and simple.

Old Habits Die Hard…

Yet two thousand years later, we still find Christians clinging to the Law and the Prophets. As self-appointed Bouncers for God, they work hard to bar anyone not on their list from God’s grace and acceptance. Jesus knew this would be a problem.  This is why He told His followers that the New Order required believers to force their way into the kingdom of God. 

Don’t Wait

For those of us outside Christianity’s cultural norms, there’s no sense in hanging around like Cinderella, waiting for a miracle to sweep us through the kingdom’s gates. It’s not going to happen. We don’t need a miracle, a fairy godmother, an engraved invitation, or a sea change to access God’s acceptance. All we need are the desire and will to force our way into His kingdom.  As the old spiritual says, “There’s plenty good room in my Father’s kingdom. Choose your seat and sit down.” Use the force.


If all "Bouncers for God" looked like this, maybe more of us would be eager to force our way into the kingdom!

1 comment:

Annette said...

Great blog, and a great reminder. It's interesting how so many of us who are bright, loving and successful in our daily lives let man/woman tell us who we should be, and what our relationship with God should look like. In every other aspect of our lives, we live with passion and without fear (well, mostly), but when it comes to showing our faith in Jesus Christ, we allow others to define us, and keep us from that which is most meaningful to us as human beings. That is the biggest irony of all - the fact that this is the single, most important choice - to ignore man (in this respect) and turn to God. Thank you for a thoughtful piece. I look forward to more!