What Then, What Now?

Unless our modern Christianity points to Christ, it is pointless. I hope it doesn’t shock us to admit people can be moral, high minded, even selfless without Jesus. The old school scare ’em out of hellfire has managed to scare quite a few people, but I’m not convinced a brimstone fragrance is any sort of sweetness rising before God’s throne.

In the closing paragraphs of Luke’s gospel, (24;45) it says, “He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses to all these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you, but tarry in the city until you are endued with power from on high.”

Our faith in action is not a question of what we know, but Who. To begin within our individual Jerusalem, and spread out to the nations, it is necessary to accept Christ’s incalculable suffering and resurrection as a sacrifice rendered in our behalf for the purpose of creating a new family bond.

Our reasonable sacrifice is to offer ourselves to others, not in some quip lip service to love our neighbor as ourself, but to be willing to die, obedient, even to the cross for, of all people, our enemies.

In the Western world this seems as remote a possibility as winning the lottery without buying a ticket, but where the Church is spreading fastest; in Iraq, Nigeria, and China, just to highlight a few spots where the Light of the Earth shines brightly, the sudden overnight conversion after a revelatory dream of Jesus, or the careful, considerate, and deliberate decisions stemming from evangelic encounters with authentic believers, often leads to a public outcry against the new believer.

Imprisonment, beatings, the murder of family members, horrific events that we moderns thought went out of vogue with the fall of the Roman Empire are as numerous as the stars and the grains of sand in the desert. The power that the waiting, watching, even wrathful begrudging world is looking for, is in these martyr’s stories.

The supernatural power to love unconditionally, even under torment, and to rise from it in the hope of changing the hearts and perspective of the tormentors is the gospel preached to the nations, pure and simple.

How far we turn the other cheek is just a matter of degrees. How we forgive them that know not what they do is our hope of glory. It is important to know that what it means to be a Christian today is the same as what it meant for Him to be the Christ at Golgotha.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Will Schmit

Will Schmit is a volunteer outreach prison minister for Lifehouse Church in McKinleyville Ca. He is the author of Head Lines A Sixty Day Guide to Personal Psalmistry and Jesus Inside A Prison Minister's Memoir and Training Manual both available at Amazon Books and www.schmitbooks.com. The website also includes poetry, ministry updates, and music downloads from Bring To Glory a CD of spoken word with coffee house jazz.

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