Faith vs. Knowledge (8)

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

The Apostle Paul (Ph. 3:8)

We’ve been discussing knowing God/Christ on an intimate level.  It’s now time to turn our attention to some practical things.  I appreciate how Willard offers, “Jesus is the human face on the kingdom of God.  He makes it concretely accessible” (142).  This is how we can say being a follower of Christ is not about religion.  It’s about relationship.  At the danger of sounding overly pious, I believe that statement to be true.  Willard argues, “His (Jesus’) crucifixion and resurrection announce the end of human systems and stand in judgment over them.  He is the man on the cross calling us to join him there” (147).

This Easter week, people will show up in churches because it happens to be Easter Sunday.  They will tolerate several things including family gatherings, a few songs, and even religious people.  It’s the last statement above that makes most people uncomfortable.  He is the man on the cross calling us to join him there.  What?  I thought it was over.  Jesus did it all.  There’s nothing I could ever do.  etc.

Although it’s true that Jesus said “It is finished”, He doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility.   After all, what does it mean to worship him “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:23-24)?  Some of us might be quick to answer with “‘The Jesus Creed’ – that’s what it means to worship in spirit and truth.”  Love God and love others.  It’s as simple as that.  Right?

Willard defines “love” as “humbly and simply devot(ing) ourselves under God to the promotion of the goods of human life that come under our influence” (155).  In other words, it goes back to taking the focus from ourselves and placing it back upon God – being willing to do what Christ did – giving completly of himself.  Are you willing?

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