Life with a Capital L: Embracing Your God-Given Humanity
JUNE 11, 2022
“The Gospel is good news.” Is that a Life-giving conviction or religious cliché? Is it a statement that accompanies me in my Monday morning realities – whether broken or beautiful or boring – or does it stay in my Sunday school classroom?
Many of us in churches are tragically less fluent than we could be regarding the grand “why” of the Gospel. Other than the forgiveness of sins and admission into heaven (both of which are marvelous), we often seem to be a bit muddled about what else the Gospel is actually for. Moral guidelines? Church involvement? Acts of compassion?
John tells us that he wrote his gospel for two reasons: (A) “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God”, but also (B) “that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31). Sadly, many of us within the church seem to be a bit inarticulate when it comes to “Part B.”
Christians have rightly focused on Part A – urging people to believe in Jesus as the Christ. But, tragically, we’ve too often stopped there and neglected Part B, which dilutes our experience as well as proclamation of Part A. We’ve focused on redemption from our sins but neglected the reason for our redemption: the restoration of our humanity in all of life to the glory of God. It’s not a matter of choosing one over the other but engaging with both.
Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life – however we more often than not tend to focus on Way and Truth but not Life. Yet He didn’t suggest that we pick two out of three. Yes, we’re to relate with Him as “Way” (e.g., obedience) and “Truth” (e.g., doctrine), but both of those should lead to Life. If not, there’s something about our obedience that’s legalistically out of sync with Scripture and something hollow about our doctrinal instruction. Younger generations, via their exodus from many churches, are honestly revealing that they aren’t really interested in Truth and Way unless they lead to Life. They’re not drawn to Part A unless Part B is made clear and modeled.
How many people would say churches are Life-giving? I wrote Life with a Capital L: Embracing Your God-Given Humanity out of a yearning to see the multiplication of substantive and vibrant communities of Christ-followers who, under God’s leadership, together embrace their longings to be fully human and engage in Life-giving discipleship and Kingdom impact. The potential result?
* Lives lived with a cadence of freedom to experience fulfilled humanity that is birthed by God’s acceptance and our embrace of radical grace and truth through Christ.
* Hearts that are engaged with the significance of what it means to be fully human.
* A renewed intentionality to taste beauty on a daily basis, leading to deeper intimacy with God as the Author of that beauty.
* Embracing Scripture, not just as a corrective or informative religious manual, but as a restorative source of illumination for being fully human under Christ’s authority and leadership.
* A purposeful participation in the great Story of God’s restoration of His glory on this planet.
* Worship of God that is vibrant, daily, and “all-of-life.”
* Authentic love that is soundly biblical, grace-based, and therefore Life-giving.
* An embrace of the privileged gift of time allotted to each of us and the daily calling we each have to truly Live and pursue His Kingdom as imago Dei.
* An honest acknowledgement of the world’s fallenness companioned with a hopeful posture of brokenness that seeks to steward our broken experiences under Christ’s leadership.
* A hope of heaven that, instead of merely offering an escape from our days, profoundly alters how we actually experience them.
Listen to Matt’s series on Engaging Your Story on Key Life.