Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
For true evangelical faith is of such a nature that it cannot lie dormant; but manifests itself in all righteousness and works of love; it dies unto flesh and blood; destroys all forbidden lusts and desires; cordially seeks, serves and fears God; clothes the naked; feeds the hungry; consoles the afflicted; shelters the miserable; aids and consoles all the oppressed; returns good for evil; serves those that injure it; prays for those that persecute it; teaches, admonishes and reproves with the Word of the Lord; seeks that which is lost; binds up that which is wounded; heals that which is diseased and saves that which is sound. The persecution, suffering and anxiety which befalls it for the sake of the truth of the Lord, is to it a glorious joy and consolation.
So much of what I’ve seen in evangelical Christian faith is more than less totally about one’s individual relationship with God through Christ with an emphasis on being assured of eternal life, and the best of that, an emphasis on knowing God’s love in one’s own life. Most of that I’ve found good insofar as it goes. But it simply doesn’t go far enough if we take all the pages of Scripture seriously.
If we have the faith of Jesus, we’ll be active on the ground, and that, especially together. This is not a life any of us can live on our own, by ourselves, because the life of Christ is mediated primarily through Christ’s body, the church. In and from that, we can live honoring lives in the love of God and neighbor and enemy as well.
Let’s clarify a bit where that activity nowadays should be. To be concerned about all the injustice that has been meted out and remains even to the present day. To let it be known that this is not acceptable. To do the necessary work in which we’ll mostly be unseen, with the willingness to work in changing systems, in many cases advocating for something entirely new. And all of this simply the natural outworking of our faith. An expression of who we are in Christ.
Yes, we’re totally loved, completely accepted, and helped in every way possible in our life in Christ, and that especially so together. Even as we do struggle due to our human limitations and ongoing resistance by the spiritual and physical principalities and powers. But our faith is active, in good works for the poor and mistreated, not just to bandage the wounds, but stop all that is wrong and work to bring about new beginnings, as well as reparations in the quest for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven.
Yes, we have the hope that Christ will return. But a major part of being ready if I understand all of Scripture correctly will to be about our God’s business right now, which means a passion to see that light of Day make needed differences in the here and now. That as I understand it is what the true evangelical faith looks like.