Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Reality of Redemption

No one who believes in the innate goodness of people lasts very long in ministry. The reason for this is not that ministry is hard (even though it is). No one can be at the work of redemption long who does not come face to face with the reality that for human beings it is impossible.
I have been working for almost six years now trying to cross boundaries amongst those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord, who say we worship the same Savior, yet have different colors of skin and different cultures. If I was doing this because I thought it was a good idea, I would have quit a long time ago.
Doors slam more than they open; time is wasted on dead ends and frustrated hopes. But every now and then, a door opens and small expenditures of time and love and energy come back 30 fold, 60-fold, 100-fold. Every time I come to the end of my rope, I find Jesus Christ there waiting for me.
My mentor and teacher Oswald Chambers spent a great deal of time teaching on this one central truth-- the reality of Christ's redemption, the reality of our redemption, the reality of this world's redemption. To trust in one is to trust in the others; to trust in one, our living must prove that we know that all three redemptions have already been accomplished.
I do not know whether I will ever see the congregations of Oak Cliff come together in witness and ministry. I don't know whether I will ever see the blood of Christ cleanse Dallas and this nation from its original sin of slavery. That is not what is asked of me.
"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

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