We are called to be instruments of God's grace and bring a message of hope and forgiveness.
“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77).
In the beginning, all that God had made was very good (Gen. 1:31). However, because of sin, brokenness and death invaded God’s creation. The perfect creation became infected with evil and was now in desperate need of being rescued from self-destruction. The good news is that God did not give up on His creation. In fact, He is continually working to redeem it and is at work to make all things new again (Isa. 65:17-18)!
Salvation through the forgiveness of sins is key for the accomplishment of God’s plan to rescue the world from evil.
This message must be given to all people, with the goal that humanity will turn to God and be reconciled with Him. A holy life lived for God effects change in the world. The world needs to know that the antidote to brokenness and sin is salvation wrought by God alone. People cannot save themselves from evil, death, or sin.
It is significant that God chose to partner with people (in particular, the people of God — the Church) to accomplish His redemptive mission. It was because of human disobedience that sin entered the world. But even then, in Genesis 3, God begins to outline his plan for salvation. God’s love for people is everlasting.
Paul said, “but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8), and when we are “in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17). We are called to come out of the darkness and to proclaim and live out the salvation that we received from God (1 Pet. 2:9-10, 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
The telling of the good news includes setting an example, “…in speech, in conduct, in love, faith and purity” (1 Tim. 4:12b). While the world today has many people who are doing a lot of good, it is critical to recognize that the Church has a unique, God-given calling and role to play in addressing the ills of His people.
As a child, I thought that education was the antidote to all of life’s problems, and I still believe that it plays an essential role in addressing many difficulties. A few years ago I was ridiculed by a young man who was suspicious of education. He noticed many books in my car and thought it was strange. He asked me, “Why do you have so many books in your car?” I said, “I am a teacher and a student, and I believe that education is vital for the betterment of our continent.” He replied, “Please do me a favor: Stop wasting your time with studies. Do something better with your time!”
He began to name educated leaders in Africa whom he said were corrupt. He argued that these educated people, in positions of power, have learned well (through education), how to manipulate the system, to get what they want, and to oppress others.
It was sad to see his hopelessness. I did not succeed in convincing him otherwise, but this conversation led me to reflect on the role of the Church in bringing hope in the midst of the chaos caused by sin. It reaffirmed my conviction that all things, even good things like education, must be submitted to God in order to be effective.
Education and others gifts are not the antidote for sin. These gifts cannot deliver full salvation to our world.
It is only in Christ that we can find the fullness of redemption.
May we be a Church that participates in God’s mission to redeem the world by through both our words and through holy living.
Filimao Chambo is general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene
All Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Bible (CEB).
Holiness Today, Mar/Apr 2018
Please Note: This article was originally written in 2018. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication but may have since changed.