“In Jesus’s day the message of the kingdom contradicted all the world’s categories. In our time the Christian faith is seen as something traditional rather than radical or disruptive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Properly understood, the message of God’s kingdom will subvert the dominant beliefs of our own culture.”- Timothy Keller
“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters; Has God not chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?”- James 2:5 (NIV)
In Chapter 4 (“Subversive Hope”) of Hope in Times of Fear, Timothy Keller posits why people in our time view the Christian faith as traditional. Because people view the Bible as a series of stories that tell us how to save ourselves with moral living. Rather, we must see the Bible as a single, coherent story telling us how Jesus Christ saves the world through the Great Reversal.
Prior to Jesus, the world expected the Messiah to come once. Instead, Jesus announced something completely unlooked for — a Messiah who comes twice. Most significantly, the Messiah comes the first time in weakness, not strength. Thus, the King’s coming reverses the values of the world. Jesus came in weakness, to die as a ransom for us.
Hence, Pastor Keller asserts, this carries three massive implications.
1. We enter the kingdom through the same upside-down pattern. In other religions, you achieve salvation as you summon your strength to live a virtuous life. However, Christians receive salvation through the weakness of repentance.
2. We live, grow, and serve in God’s kingdom through giving up power. Instead of grabbing power to live, grow, and serve, we cede power in order to forgive, sacrifice, and serve.
3. We see the whole world differently. Therefore, we don’t place extra value on the confident, competent, and successful. Instead, we lift up those on the margins.
Today’s question: How do you see the Christian faith as radical and disruptive? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The Great Reversal – life out of death”