Shane Willard spoke at my church recently. One thing he said sticks out to me
“It is possible to be on the mark for God’s moral will for your life, and totally miss his redemptive will for the world”
James said faith without works is dead, and “pure religion” is not just about personal morality, but meeting the needs of the disenfranchised (the “orphan and widow” James 1:26-27)
So if you’re not actively caring for the people around you - the people Jesus loves - you’re missing the whole point.
The gospel of Jesus isn’t *only* that he died for sinners - although it includes that. It is also that he came to set the broken world right.
“The dark power that stood in the way of this kingdom vision has been defeated, overthrown, rendered null and void. Its legions will still make a lot of noise and cause a lot of grief, but the ultimate victory is now assured.” (NT Wright, How God Became King)
This is good news for *everyone.* Jesus said citizens of this new kingdom will are to be known by our love (John 13:35)
You can be generous and self-sacrificing without love (1 Corinthians 13) - but ultimately, love leads to self-sacrifice. Those who have experienced love like this are compelled to share.
If you focus only on your own morality, you’re missing out on the bigger picture, because this isn’t just about you. Look around. Who is your community? How can you share Jesus with your family, your friends, the wide world of people in need?
Start small. Stay practical. Jesus said giving a cup of cold water to a child counts (Matthew 10:42) You don’t have to start your own thing, become a big name preacher, have a giant following. Join what someone else is doing. It’s the quiet, invisible acts of kindness, the slow weave of community knitted together over time. This is life in the kingdom of heaven.
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