What we are really all about: the death and resurrection of Christ
Christians live in this world, and love for our neighbors demands that we engage in the affairs and arguments of this world. We have been doing much of that this past week. But on Sundays I try to step back and remember what we are really all about. After all, we confess that our ultimate identity and destiny – like that of the world – is in Jesus Christ. In that sense what we are arguing about in politics is really of only temporary significance. When we argue about same-sex marriage we are not arguing about the kingdom of God or about someone’s salvation. We have to keep that in mind.
The core assumption of Christianity is that human beings are guilty of ingratitude toward God and injustice towards their neighbors. No doubt all of us did things this past week that we regret, and that hurt others whom we love (or should love). But built on that assumption is that God will vindicate the victims of our injustice – that his wrath burns when he sees us act unjustly. One day Jesus will return and judge every word we have spoken. He will defend the “least of these” his brothers. And the outcome may often surprise us. Those who talk orthodoxy and love are not necessarily those who walk in love.
In fact, if this was all there is to say, we should all be quite nervous. But the Gospel is that through Christ there is a means of escaping God’s wrath, of satisfying his justice. It is not mere escapism, as if we can continue to act in the same old unjust ways, while God looks the other way. No, it is a means of both being forgiven and being made just. And it begins with what Jesus did when he died on the cross, bearing the full wrath of God for the sins of the world. His death is not a panacea for those stubbornly opposed to reconciliation with God. But for those who place their faith in him, it does bring salvation.
This is true whether you are Christian or Muslim, conservative or liberal, gay or straight. It is true whether you defend same-sex marriage or oppose it. What you do with it – and what it does to your life – is really the most important thing. Remember, in the week to come, when you are talking or interacting with those who disagree with you on marriage, or those who suffer from the pain of having a homosexual identity at the very moment when that is the flashpoint of cultural and political controversy, that those who have been reconciled with God walk in love, compassion, and peace towards all their neighbors.
This is what I will be preaching this Lord’s Day. You should reflect on it too.