Archive for the tag “kainos”

That first Easter, God did justice for you

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

All God’s creation was singing, shouting, and celebrating shalom — the perfect well-being and harmony that warms the soul like a sunbeam on a cool spring morning. And God said, “This is very good.”

But it didn’t last long. One bad choice — a decision to disrespect the Creator and selfishly indulge an appetite — and God’s good creation began spiraling down into brokenness and captivity. Shalom was destroyed. One generation after another multiplied the injustice. No one sought God. People cared only for themselves. The weak and helpless were bled dry by those strong enough to take what they wanted. The Father’s children were lost to him.

Almighty God would not tolerate the injustice. The Father’s heart was continually broken by the brokenness of his children, his anger mounted toward the one whispering rebellion to them. God warned he would not overlook the willfulness and oppression. He promised to send Someone who would break the chains and set the captives free. He would do justice — restore the shalom.

And when Messiah came, we enjoyed his stories about the Kingdom — then hated him for telling us the truth about our brokenness, selfishness, and captivity. We killed him for being the Truth.

The Almighty, however, is not one to relent or break a promise. In a dark grave, Light exploded. From death’s grip, Life broke free. The shroud fell away, and the world’s first truly free person stepped out of his tomb.

Resurrection Sunday was a divine act of Kingdom justice, and it did far more than revive Jesus’ soul. His physical being was healed. His circumstances were revolutionized. His relationships were filled with a power capable of infinitely more than any of us can ask or even imagine. True, complete reconciliation with God and with man was, by the Father’s grace, finally possible. As Jesus became, now we are becoming, day by day, and will — One Day — be!

The Almighty did justice for you in that moment. Cosmic justice. Ultimate justice. Jesus paid an awful price so you could be set free. You have been given new life and the Spirit continues to lift you toward salvation. You have at hand a holy book filled with the wisdom you need to walk in God’s ways and experience a life that is full, free, and forever. The Lord has provided you with brothers and sisters who can show you the better way to live, who can strengthen and encourage you as you walk together up the narrow road.

The grief of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday call out to us. They beckon us to join Jesus in his mission of liberating the captives. They compel us to share abundant new life with souls trapped in living death, to bring light to slaves laboring in darkness. You can fight whatever injustice keeps them enslaved. You can show them the Lord’s way to make a place for themselves in this world, and the next.

You don’t have to look far to find someone whose heart is captivated with darkness. You are surrounded by broken souls who have no clue about walking in God’s ways. Everywhere you turn, the weak and helpless stumble under a heavy burden. The poor are sliding down toward destruction because they have no one to show them the better way. They are your brothers and sisters, desperate for family who will step up and show them how to live free.

The Lord, who did justice for you, requires you to do justice for them. When the Judge delivers his verdict on your life, he will weigh the evidence that you personally helped “the least of these.” A grateful heart would be headed there anyway.

This Easter — as you reflect on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday — will you give yourself wholeheartedly to multiplying Kingdom justice? Will you obey the one who said, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you”?

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Have you read God’s Revolution?

A better path to justice than liberalism and conservatism

mk_fbMark Kelly writes at kainos:

There is a better path to justice than relativistic liberalism and subjective conservatism can offer. Jesus’ values are not mere opinion, nor are they only revelation. Most liberal Christians wink knowingly and fall in behind the unbelieving culture. Most conservative evangelicals cry “Outrage!” at the compromises, but can’t prove how they know their own values are true. Conservative Christians keep looking to a Republican party whose elites are as liberal in their morals as the Democratic leadership. Followers of either party who claim Christ are being led down the primrose path toward a social collapse that will inevitably require the State to enforce order. In this world, anarchy is answered only by tyranny. …

Jesus calls on us to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. He requires us to help “the least of these.” He gives no impression that Caesar offers any hope for creating justice. Jesus speaks with the authority of the God of Abraham who requires his people to do justice, with the power of one raised by God from the dead to prove he told the Truth.

In the United States, we are witnessing the rapid degeneration of a society that will become increasingly hostile to the truth and values Jesus requires his disciples to declare. Many who claim Christ will slide off into the abyss with everyone else — both those who are trying to channel the culture and those who don’t understand Jesus well enough to know they should be loving their neighbors more than fighting a culture war.

Yes, the political issues are critical — government spending, abortion as birth control, same-sex marriage, religious liberty — and Christians on each “side” understand a crucial part of the truth. But no victory in the political arena will resolve any of those issues. The only path to justice — pressing toward God’s will on earth as it is in heaven — requires us to unapologetically declare Jesus’ message: that we all are broken, that God loves each of us, that only God’s grace can bring us healing, that the Kingdom is right under our noses — trust Jesus and he will give you new life!

We don’t need to become relevant; the Gospel is already relevant. We don’t need to condemn a sinful society; it is already condemned. What we need to be doing is proclaiming — and living out — the full, free, and forever life only Jesus can give.

It’s no mystery, folks: Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. Help the least of these. Seek the Kingdom first and foremost. Make disciples.  When the branches bear much fruit, the Vine receives the glory he deserves.

Read the full post by clicking here.

When they behead your brother … love your neighbor

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

Pray that Yusuf Ibrahim will find forgiveness and new life in Christ. (CC nj.com NC)

Pray that Yusuf Ibrahim will find forgiveness and new life in Christ. (CC nj.com NC)

We have grown tragically accustomed to hearing of Islamist atrocities overseas, such as the Feb. 11 beheading of a Christian pastor during an attack on his church in Tanzania. We are aware the deplorable tradition of “honor killing” murder has made its way to North American shores.

Truly shocking to many Westerners, however, will be the news that Sharia-style beheading also has arrived in America. A 27-year-old man, Yusuf Ibrahim, was arrested Feb. 10 in New Jersey for shooting and decapitating two Egyptian Christian men and burying the body parts in separate graves.

Self-righteous, self-serving Islamists are an insult to earnest Muslims everywhere. There is no justice in hateful atrocities — regardless of who perpetrates them — and the God of Abraham will judge those who commit evil in his name. The Scripture wisely reminds us: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

In the face of persecution and oppression, we admire the heart of Barnabas Mtokambali, the Tanzania general superintendent for the Assemblies of God, who encouraged Christians in Tanzania to remain Christlike in their faith, in spite of the murder of their pastor.

“Our response as a church is not one of violence and hatred, reflecting the attitude of those committing such crimes,” Mtokambali said, “but that of Christ and reflecting his image by loving and praying for those who humiliate and persecute us, and not holding such sins against them.”

Islamist rage is spreading like a deadly plague, under cover provided by naive souls who insist all Islam is the “religion of peace” and that Islamists can be placated by redressing their grievances. The only satisfaction Muslim extremists will acknowledge is total surrender or death.

Civilized souls, men and women who love freedom and justice must respond to this monster wherever it raises one of its heads. While governments must use force to combat militant evil, Christians must set an entirely different example. We must multiply justice, rather than hatred, with an intentional mission of building relationships in all segments of our communities and loving our neighbors the way we love ourselves.

When broken men, blinded by rage and hatred, dishonor the name of the One who is Holy, Just, and True, followers of Jesus must respond in the spirit of Christ. We must not only love our neighbors, we also must love those who make themselves our enemies and those who persecute us.

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