We're not simply here to "get saved" then wait for Jesus to come and make everything right and new. That's not enough. We're here to bring something of this rightness and newness in Christ from the incoming kingdom of God, here and now. Do we really believe this? And if not, why not?
A couple of key passages in the prophets giving us a vision of God's future can help us understand both what we need to be living out as God's people in community, and what we need to be speaking prophetically to the world.
The first one is from Isaiah 11:
They will neither harm nor destroyThe second is from Micah 4:
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
They will beat their swords into plowsharesI believe this is fulfilled completely in the age to come. But in the present there must be some fulfillment as well. Christ didn't come only to redeem individual "souls" and then burn up the earth afterwards, in judgment. But in his death, God has reconciled all things to himself in heaven and on earth. This means an ongoing stewardship that by creation, in spite of the fall and by redemption, has meaning that begins now and will never end. Think of one recent example. The work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was a work that was grounded in the gospel of the kingdom of God in Christ. And it impacted not only a generation, but it impacts us today, as we see the truth better lived out, that we are all God's children by creation and potentially his born from above ones by the new creation in Jesus.
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
Now to war. We must live out the vision of the future we find in Scripture. This looks like living in peace in our families and faith communities, as well as in our workplaces and neighborhoods. It may involve turning the other cheek, going the second mile, blessing those who curse us, praying for those who persecute us, showing them the love of God in Christ Jesus.
If we believe that we're not just of the present age, but also of the age to come, then we need to seek to live this out: like those who are part of the ushering in of the new era. Yes, that era like a wedding and the marriage afterwards will take over completely when Christ returns. But we as Christ's Body are those who not only announce this new age, but are part of it, already, here and now. And we're to be seeking to bring others in and influence this world towards that vision from God.
This will involve speaking prophetically as we can, to the powers, in light of God's kingdom come in Jesus. But above all, always, really living differently as those whose Lord is Jesus, and no other.
What thoughts do you have on this you would like to share or challenge us with?
Christians and war (part one)
Christians and war (part two)
Christians and war (part three)
Christians and war (part four)
Christians and war (part five)
Christians and war (part six)
Christians and war (part seven)