Dutch Theologian Herman Bavinck explained that “all good, enduring reformation begins with ourselves and takes its starting point in one’s own heart and life."
Though we may be distraught or frustrated at what we’re witnessing in our culture today, we must develop our response according to the provisions of God’s grace and truth, and the mission he’s given us.
Rather than join the ranks of those are wringing their hands in fearful anticipation of what may lie ahead politically, socially and spiritually, the people of God are called to be Kingdom ambassadors in an age of outrage.
But what does that mean for us personally? Jeremiah has an answer.
In his letter to the exiles in Babylon, Jeremiah established a foundational idea – a message of hope built upon the plan of God (Jeremiah 29:11). But the fulfillment of God’s plan hinged upon the exiles’ willingness to engage, and even transform, the culture in which they lived. They were to build, plant, marry, and multiply in a culture that embraced dramatically different values from their own (Jer. 29:5-6). But to what end? The answer was clear: to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (vs. 7). The welfare of God’s people is intricately connected to missional engagement with the surrounding culture and people.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples of all the nations, not just in all the nations. This means that Gospel opportunities exist structurally and socially within the communities and neighborhoods in which we live, as well as the individual hearts and minds of our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and classmates. Therefore, the message of hope in Jesus must always transcend the invasive clangor of politics, as well as the rancorous social discord that divides our world today. With every conversation or social media post, ask yourself, “Will I have earned the right to share my faith tomorrow with someone I’ve shared my opinion with today?” Never take your cue from someone with whom you disagree, but always walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel. As Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The stamp of the saint is that he can waive his own rights in order to obey the Lord Jesus.”
Every person we encounter is innately drawn to the idea of being loved. This is true of you as well. So remember, as you received the love of Christ through faith, you became united with other believers in a community of grace, even in the midst of what may feel like social and spiritual exile. But even in this season and in this context, we are called to live out the Gospel confidently and faithfully, demonstrating what it means to follow Jesus in our post-everything world. One of the beauties of the Gospel is that it is inherently transferable. Just as it was true of the exiles in Babylon, the people of God are always sent, embedded in the communities and neighborhoods where God has placed them. There is no mission without incarnation. As we represent, embody and declare the riches of the Gospel together, hope flourishes in our hearts, in our homes, and in our cities.
Make a personal declaration in your heart today. Give up your faith in donkeys or elephants and renew your faith in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Then, ask God to make you a missionary of grace in a graceless world.