The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ renews our thinking and re-directs our ways in the knowledge that there is nothing we can ever do in our own strength that will be sufficient to earn us peace. Jacob tried various ways and means to reconcile himself back to his uncle and his brother Esau, he tried every form of bribery which proved unsuccessful.
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Esau brushed away all the offered luxuries and accepted Jacob unconditionally with lots of favour. This act brought new dawn into Jacob’s life which made him recognize the likeness of God the father (Highton 2004, 15). The consequent results of deceitfulness often make us think that we can always negotiate ourselves back to freedom and acceptance. The divine scope of God’s love is revealed through the lifestyle of Jesus Christ (Highton 2004, 28-30).
It is difficult for transformation to take place when life’s foundation is built on the principles of defensiveness. Gospel is all about unconditional love that accepts us irrespective of our background. The love of God spells out freedom that disorganizes our self defensive mechanisms and presents us with the reality of life.
“It saps the deep belief that our place in the world is something to be ‘laboriously perfected, precariously possessed and violently defended” (Highton 2004, 17).
Despite all forms of competition that we face in every dimension of our lives, we need not operate on assumptions but know that on our own we’ve got limited control; there is freedom in the gospel. William says;
“The Gospel frees us from fear and fantasy… it is the great enemy of self-indulgent fantasy” (Highton 2004, 25).
The love from the gospel upholds us with such concern that enables us recognize our true selves in the hands of God. We have to pass through discipline processes to be able to accept all these and be justified (Highton 2004, 18). Gospel is not a private matter since it teaches us on how to relate with others, it breaks all boundaries and make one to realise how important his/her life is to others, just as Jesus said;
“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Highton 2004, 21-31).
God is the supreme authority and does not take pleasure in the death of his people. People have taken God’s absolute love for mankind for granted and sometimes tried to manipulate things to suite their own desires other than God’s. The use of theology in understanding the love of God can sometimes be insufficient. God’s love is well defined through the life of Jesus of Nazareth; it triumphs over power and judgement (Highton 2004, 39). This is reflected by the answer to the question of objector
“In what court could we possibly bring God’s arbitrary power to trial?” (Highton 2004, 39)
The answer is only in the Gospel. The central theme of Christian life should revolve around the revelation brought by the life of Jesus of Nazareth. All the power and authority that controls mankind should be drawn from life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Highton 2004, 40).
It is in the power of the Gospel to shape the behaviour and thinking of Christians. Theology needs to be restructured to reveal more about the true love of God that triumph over power (Highton 2004, 41-42). Christian theology should portray God as one who is not limited by space and time
“There is nowhere we can go in God, no extra we can think about or point to, no reservation, no sanctuary in which God is not engaged, involved, loving and relational” (Highton 2004, 42).
Man should not direct God instead it should be vice-versa. All creation should depend on their creator’s principles for survival. Man must realise that God is all we need to discover ourselves and to shape up our destinies. God is omnipresent and hence cannot be confined as an idol; His presence through Jesus Christ is beyond comprehension (Highton 2004, 49).
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Lack of knowledge about who God is in our lives prevents us from enjoying and accessing the divine glory. The way of the cross though seem unpleasant, is the only avenue in which our hearts can grow to accommodate the fullness of God. We should live a life of total radical surrender to God.
The Gospel is first heard before it can be proclaimed; one must first be taught the basics underlying the Gospel. It is through teaching that one can understand God’s love through Jesus and the Christian faith that proclaims it. God’s love is clearly revealed through biblical history which contains reality about God.
This implies that the scriptures should be studied with deep understanding since true witness about God is shown through the scripture texts. People have devised several ways on how to avoid scripture truths. They are used to ways that they can easily twist to satisfy their insatiable desires. The roughness of the scripture requires sober study and understanding while acknowledging the fact that it takes time to unfold the meaning of the whole text (Highton 2004, 64).
Studying the scriptures should not in any way involve ignoring some parts that seem bitter. It should be studied in its entirety since there are lessons that should be learnt even in the scriptures that look uncomfortable.
“The bible is not a human record from the distant past, full of a mixture of inspiring and not-so-inspiring stories or thoughts; nor is it a sort of magical oracle, dictated by God. It is rather the utterances and records of human beings who have been employed by God to witness to his action in the world, now given to us by God so that we may learn who he is and what he does; and the ‘giving’ by God is by means of the resurrection of Jesus.
The risen Jesus takes hold of the history of God’s people from its remotest beginnings, lifts it out of death by bringing it to completeness, and presents it to us as his word, his communication to us here and now” (Highton 2004, 67).
God uses different kinds of people to teach us lessons through the bible. The church is used as an instrument in teaching the Gospel and pointing the right way to the society (Highton 2004, 68 -69). The church is however not the bearer of complete righteousness that it spread to others, only Jesus Christ presents the complete righteousness.
The revelation on this Gospel comes through continual learning process (Highton 2004, 75). The language of the Gospel should be learnt by every Christian to permit faithful operations and to avoid church doctrines that may bring unnecessary confusion (Highton 2004, 87).
The Gospel is a source of nourishment that makes Christians to grow spiritually from immaturity to maturity. Adulthood maturity enables one to be receptive to the word and at the same time able to teach it out. Mature Christian living encompasses a life of giving and receiving brought about as a result of spiritual nourishment.
Everybody grows by the grace that God has abundantly given us. Maturity comes with the realization that we are in control of our environments, have choices to make and must exercise self-control. The level of what we have received determines the extent to which we can perform. This is mostly influenced by the kind of teachings we receive and the environment where we have been brought up (Highton 2004, 89-93).
“My actions have had effects and meanings I never foresaw or intended; even the meanings I did intend have become involved with the speech and the story of other lives” (Highton 2004, 94).
However, there is need we realise that all we have is as a result of acceptance by a Supreme Being. There is a call for complete trust and dependence upon God who enables us to live in this material world with absolute control and without any form of resentment. The Christian life can only find peace after being inhabited by the word of God.
The scripture do not in anyway grants us away of escape from the world but shows us how to relate with it. There is hope for redemption from the Scriptures hence Christians should strive to live meaningful lives in the world. The journey towards perfection is long and tedious but rewarding in the long run (Highton 2004, 98). The journey leads towards godliness and requires great patience and attentiveness.
There is need for harmony amongst every group of individuals within the society. God is the creator of diversity and also peace and justice. Human beings are all headed towards a common destination; this should grant us the visibility to see the need of living together in peace.
This can only be achieved when Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, forms the central theme of our lives. This is what will make us loose our differences and earthly desires. Jesus showed us through his own lifestyle how we can live our lives for God. He deals with individual lives and transforms them into his likeness through the work of the Holy Spirit (Highton 2004, 116).
Different religions have different teachings administered to their followers which in-turn influences the way they behave privately and publicly. Christians should bear Christ-like nature everywhere they go so as to give an example to other religions on what it means to have the peace and the love Jesus within the heart (Highton 2004, 121).
The vision of achieving peace within the world only comes when we undergo difficult situations that enable us not only to give but to receive much. Christ through the Gospel has the ability to transform any life. For people to co-exist and relate in harmony they must first understand the fact that they belong to each other as William says
“Christians will believe that we are all held in God’s loving regard, and called to a common future, and that means that whether our disagreements are resolved or prove intractable, we simply can’t dispense with one another; we can’t avoid one another” (Highton 2004, 124).
This means that individuals within a society must dialogue to cooperate and learn from one another’s inefficiencies .This is what is referred to as politics; it helps in discovering unity within the diversity. Despite all these, revealing the character of God should be the ultimate goal for all Christians (Highton 2004, 134).
Making moral decisions seem demanding but is necessary for the fulfilment of a life committed to God. Atkins diet morality states that
“we see ourselves as consumers faced with a supermarket shelf of possibilities; we check our rule book to see which ones we are not allowed, and then happily and without deliberation are able to do whatever we like with the items that remain” (Highton 2004, 135).
This suggests that life is full of several choices upon which we have the authority to decide on which principle or choice to follow (Highton 2004, 136). Making the right choices with ultimate goal of revealing God’s character is far much demanding. All our actions should focus on the mutual edification of the body of Christ. Before making any decision in life Christians should seek help from God through prayer.
Answer to moral dilemmas lies in careful study of the scriptures and putting into practice what the Gospel teaches. Sexual desire is one of the strongest emotions, it leads to exposing ourselves to others in order to be desired, loved and held (Highton 2004, 143).
This means that sexual relationship can be used in such a way as to edify the body of Christ. Sexual relationships should not be used as a means of reducing others as mere objects of perversion. The kind of sexual practices that are in line with the Scriptures are those that are led and insired by the spirit.
God’s true love to mankind is revealed throughout the scriptures. God so loved the world through the experiences of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The spirit of the Lord is responsible for the work of shaping the lives believers into godly lives. Christians should allow the fullness of God to control their day to day living. Christian faith is born out of belief and full trust in the word of God, out of this there is assurance of eternal joy and peace in the Holy Ghost.
Highton, Mike. 2004. Difficult Gospel: The Theology of Rowan Williams, 14-152. New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.