It seems that Americans are fighting these days about everything – equal opportunity, universal health care, affordable housing, the American way of life, you name it. It’s all over the news. And the DNC isn’t the only one doing it either.
I don’t want to fight for any of these things. I don’t want to solve the problem of suffering. I don’t want to deceive myself into thinking that I can do that. I want to suffer with those who suffer, and by suffering in this way to draw the sufferers to the one way of salvation. Does that make any sense to you?
Christians can never consider health, prosperity, equality, or any such thing as the ultima ratio of living. What would be the meaning of the cross and the resurrection if Jesus-followers were to act just like the world? Christianity is profoundly revolutionary, not because it defends revolution, or because it fights for (or against) causes, or because it promotes “justice” (never defined). Christianity is revolutionary because the Christian acts out of love for the world by proclaiming to it that there is no other salvation than salvation in Christ.
Historians have called this the “radical” reformation. But “radical,” in this instance, does not refer to special social issues. It refers to the degree of thoroughness with which radicals attempt to implement their reforms. It refers to a kind of New Testament ethics that sees humble Jesus-followers as the world’s most powerful people rather than politicians and heads of state. As with the Zurich radicals, modern-day radicals take the Zwinglian reformation “all the way.” They argue that Jesus’ love cannot be interiorized and individualized to a degree where we elevate politics above the cross. The kingdom of Jesus demands nothing less than radical obedience. Being well-off financially or being poor matters not in this kingdom.
My fight – yes, I am in a fight! – is to wield the Word of God. My fight – and it is intense! – is to sacrifice my life, my money, my success, my time for Jesus. My fight is to walk in Christ’s way, so that His Reign might rule in me and in others.
How am I to overcome the evil in this world? I am to overcome evil by good, to surmount evil even, by using a weapon the enemy knows nothing about. All it requires is sacrificial love and costly obedience.
What fight are you in?
August 27, 2008
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.