grace brings a society

On Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog there is a series of posts going through the book of another blogging friend who like Scot is a professor and New Testament scholar, Daniel Kirk. This book looks like an excellent read.

Today there is a post on the gospel being inherently social. Yes, amen to that! We need to hear this message in the highly individualistic and privatistic culture in which we live.

There is no doubt that individuals have a relationship with God through Jesus which is personal. God loves each of his children in a special way. We all have a personal identity. This is important and we can’t lose sight of it.

And yet over and over again we find scripture concerned about one’s group identity, or community. The culture of scripture is closer to much more of the world today, than to the United States where I live. It was family oriented not only by design, but by necessity. And it wasn’t much about individual freedom or rights, but responsibility within the family, and from that, living well according to the norms of one’s people. Which in those days meant a union with others which if broken, was gravely serious.

Not so in our day. We break and divide over any number of things. We Protestants are known for our divisions. The political divide in the United States today seems as deep and wide as ever in U.S. history.

But the gospel brings with it a new society oriented in grace, which at its heart is inclusive of all. This becomes the priority, not only this gospel of Jesus, but also the results of it, a kingdom community consisting of all who would follow Jesus from across deep divides. Bringing together people who before were not only at odds, but out and out enemies. And introducing a new dynamic by the Spirit of a body which in love works together from its head, Christ, to care for each other, and be a witness of him to and for the world. Showing a new society in the way of Jesus, indeed a new humanity, bent in love on God and others. Being about “us” in God’s kingdom in Jesus, not about “me.” In the good will of God in Jesus.

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