I just finished a book that blows the doors off and points with laser sharp focus to the only true source of hope. The book is “The Explicit Gospel” by Matt Chandler. It is worth a read in its entirety. For now, here is an excerpt to chew on.
“Once we give into the idea that the gospel is only about a personal relationship with God and not about God’s redemptive plan to renew all things, we give ourselves permission to stop engaging the world around us. Once we are no longer engaging the world around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ, once we’re no longer caring for the widow and the orphan in their distress but allowing someone else to do it, then we’ve removed one of the major components of true biblical discipleship.
One of the ways the mission of God to reconcile all things to himself chisels away at us in the work of sanctification is when we engage with the hurt, the pain and the sorrow of the world around us. When we do that, God shows us our inadequacies, shortcomings and fears. We are shown the places where we don’t trust God with our money or our talents. Engaging the city around us and ministering to its needs reveal to us the remaining bastions of sin in our lives, the areas we refuse to surrender to God. In the end, if we stay too long with the gospel on the ground*, discipleship can become about a mere transfer of information that doesn’t produce maturity or foster internal growth in the fruit of the Spirit. When discipleship is no longer about a way of living but about information to be learned, a compartmentalization takes place in our spiritual thinking that results in hypocrisy.” Page 181
Today, may we embrace the hope that Jesus has brought on all levels. May we avoid compartmentalization and easy-believeism. May we yield to the chisel of God as he reveals to us “the remaining bastions of sin in our lives” through engaging the hurting world around us. He will meet us in it and have His way.
*The gospel on the ground is a designation that Chandler makes to refer to the personal side of redemption in how we respond as individuals to the work of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection. He discusses at length the short-sightedness of the gospel on the ground since it does not take into account the redemption and the submission of all creation and the cosmos to the supremacy of Christ.