Shalom

Eph 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment —to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Colossians 1:19-20 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

God is reconciling all things affected by the fall.   In the Fall our relationship with God, each other, work, & the Earth were cursed….the law told us what to do with all areas of life, and now the Gospel is reconciling all things in all areas.  The Church is the community of people partaking in this reconciliation, but reconciliation is not limited to our vertical relationship with God, or even to one another.

Genesis 3 describes the Fall of humanity.  Humanity was cursed in their relationship with God, each other, the Earth, and our work.  In the law, we received instructions on what to do with all these areas.  The law describes how to farm land, prepare food, how to handle finances, how to treat the poor, how to address sickness, how to prosper, and how to be just.  Yet being told what to do was not enough.

So God sent His Son to reconcile all things to Himself.  To stop reconciliation with just our relationship to God and other believers is to miss that God created humanity and the Earth to all live in harmony with Him.  The Hebrews called this shalom.

The Church is important.  It is His bride and chosen instrument in the world.  But when we do not seek God for our health, our communities, our environment, and our work to be all He intends, we stop this work of reconciling all things to Himself.

A Christian leader recently blogged that Christians are not to impact their culture or try to change the structures of society, citing a lack of New Testament references to do so.  I am sure he was only thinking of particular contexts when he said this.  However, I believe the above verses are all one needs in light of the entire Old Testament that showed God is clearly concerned with all areas of life.  If the Law was holistic, surely redemption in Christ offers us a greater hope.  Shall we shrink back from so great a hope?

Some will say that such hope is to be tabled until the apocalypse, that caring about anything aside from souls and the Church is like polishing deck chairs on the Titanic.  While nothing will quite approach the fulfillment of the times, Jesus taught us to pray “On Earth as it is in heaven.”  The Kingdom of God is wherever His reign and rule are.  Shall we cower and cede away whole areas of life to the Kingdom of the Prince of the Air?  It all depends on what the Father is doing in us and in our communities.

Its one thing to say God’s plan is not concerned with such things in middle class America where many systems in society work.  But I encounter this in Africa where people live on $1 a day and babies routinely die of preventable disease.   When a child dies of malaria, his mom and the community will list dozens of reasons of why this happens.  Lack of money, lack of clean water, no knowledge to self-purify water, too busy to purify water, too far from a clinic, evil spirits, witchcraft, failed remedies, dehydration, political corruption, indifference from neighbors, lack of jobs of the parents, lack of knowledge of treatments, as well as a lack of walking with God on these issues were all mentioned by African leaders in workshops I facilitated.  Many of these are systemic causes, that if not addressed, will continue to yield the same results.  Which of these are affected by the Fall?  Which of these is God concerned with?  Which of these were addressed by the cross?  And which of these is God calling believers to impact?

I hear from some that Christians are always supposed to take one course of action, and never another, based on principles.   I believe God wants each of us, and our churches, to dialogue with Him on how He is leading us.  I believe that we each in our context are to ask God what He is doing and how we can join Him in His work of reconciling all things to Himself.

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