The Gospel must embrace real Human Issues

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It appears the message of grace is spreading. This is very pleasing. For many who have been involved in the Trinitarian ministry it has been a long a difficult road with many challenges along the way. Once we grasp the utterly staggering good news of what God has achieved by means of his humanity as the man Jesus Christ, it appears too good to take in. When the gospel is seen in this light, it does seem to make life more bearable and the actions of others around you more tolerable. Our destiny remains steadfast and Jesus is the anchor to our soul. However, what life deals you in the meantime can drag you through some of the most treacherous storms anyone can imagine. Life still has its unexpected turns, surprises and tragedies. Though the message of grace displayed in the loving kindness of Jesus Christ clearly shows the passion God has towards us, we do have to live in a world of suffering.

My colleagues and I have had our fair share of suffering over the years. We have had tremendous highs and tremendous lows. We have had some deep heartbreaks, loss and tragedies. Sometimes we feel that we come out of some rough periods battered, bruised and broken. We have to take great care not to fall into the trap of trying to pentecostalise our way out of it. There is no doubt the Good News gives us great hope but for many of us, life is still very tough. There are certain aspects of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement which can bring to the Trinitarian Gospel some life that it really needs.

However, we do have to be careful not to fall into the trap of the blessings/curses. We do our best to deliver good news of tremendous joy to those who appear cursed as much as we do towards those who appear to be blessed. We have to be mindful that the gospel is for those who are in real need of it just like Jesus says, “It is not the healthy who need the doctor but the sick. . .” we should heed His following advice, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’. . .” (Matt. 9:12-13). We approach others as an “agent” on behalf of God in compassion and kindness towards those who are not fairing so well. This is part and parcel of being His disciple and is wrapped up in His covenant. If people are on the brink of death, the gospel is as fully alive to them as those who appear to fully live out the gospel. Those who are in the darkest depths of fear and depression, the gospel is fully alive to them as those who are on top of the world.

I strongly believe that the heart of what God has done for humanity in Jesus Christ is to bring dignity, respect and worth to the human race as a whole. As we engage with each individual, we are reminded that each individual is a human being. As we are reminded of this we are also reminded Jesus too is a human being. Jesus who is of the same being with the Father and the Spirit is also of the same being with our humanity and really is God with us. When God is with us, He is this way to the very core of our being. It is a mysterious union where our humanity has overlapped the humanity of God in Jesus Christ and His humanity has overlapped ours and the two are one. Thus the Trinity is the pattern for all human relationships. God blesses us with Himself by giving Himself entirely to us and not holding any part of Himself back from us. As much as any human being tries to hide any part of themselves from God, God is already there healing us from whatever it is that is trying to form a wedge in this vitalising relationship.

At the heart of the Trinity is “Justice”. The three Persons of the Trinity are not some exponential multiplication of a supremely good human being. We have seen God act out His justice in the person and work of Jesus Christ. God stepped into our hostile opposition to Himself and suffered the full weight of humanity’s opposition to Him. Everyone abandoned Him to death. With the whole world and all His creatures against Him, God set things right and this we see in the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as the Person who came to us as the human Being Jesus of Nazareth interpenenetrated our humanity while still interpenetrating His relationship with the Father and the Spirit bringing all parties together. The Cross destroyed the dividing wall of hostility bringing a new age into His creation. God took all our darkness and brokenness onto Himself and put things right by placing us where we ought to be. God’s justice is putting us right where He believes we ought to be. Where we ought to be is participating in the Light life and love of the Father, Son and Spirit.

This is the reality and truth of the gospel and nothing in all creation can take this away from any human being anywhere on this earth. As we believe the Spirit is giving us a hand up, we too must also turn back and also give others a hand up. Some people are dealt some really tough cards. I have been dealt some really tough cards. Most people I know are also dealt some really tough cards. However, this does not change a thing. Yet this can make life seem unbearable at times and it is these times we should be able to count on those around us to give us the support we need and point us in the right direction. In some cases, professional advice and treatment maybe the answer. We should not shrink back from secular services that are often seen as an extension to pastoral care. There are some issues that are beyond the capabilities of those within the church community. God is doing wonderful work outside the church and we should be tuned to what is going on. There is nothing wrong with seeking secular professional help in areas that maybe outside the expertise of the church.

When someone hits a crisis point in our Christian community, the worst things we can do as Christians is to abandon them and leave them all alone in their crisis. The striking element of what it is to be a person according to the pattern of the Trinity is, ‘I need you so I can be myself’. The Father is not the Father without the Son and the Spirit are not the Son and the Spirit without the Father. The Spirit and the Father are not the Spirit and the Father without the Son. They are fully existing beings who are eternally in communion with one another. We need each other so we can be ourselves. The heart of any program within any church fellowship is the dogma of the Trinity. Yet the only way we can have social cohesion within the Christian community is for each member to make a small sacrifice so as to serve another. Is this not what God has done towards us in the Person and work of Jesus Christ?? If no one is willing to make the sacrifice and it is left up to just a few to manage the many, then the community will break down. To uphold the dignity, self worth and self respect of each person in the Christian community and to avoid all forms of exploitation in justice and discrimination is for each member of the body to play a small part in making this a reality. This should be upheld in every area of our life in our church, our workplace, our community, factory, office and nation. As we fight for human rights in all aspects of our lives, then we begin to see lives and communities transformed into icons of the Trinity. Yet this will not happen unless we are willing to make a small sacrifice for the sake of others.