29th August 2021

The Divine irony

No other writer in the New Testament uses metaphors of combat and conquering more than the gentle Apostle John. Notice this passage:

…for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5: 4-5, NRSV).

After reading about the conquests you can almost hear a chorus from the rock band Queen singing – ‘We are the champions, no time for losers, because we are the champions of the world.’

These kinds of words—conquer, overcome—hit our modern ears in a strange way when applied to Jesus. Normally, the words love, forgiveness, and gentleness come to mind when we think of him. We think of Jesus as the great comforter and healer, and redeemer, before we think of him as a conquering King.

Add to that, in the modern dialogue, the trend toward celebrating all worldviews and faiths as if they are all equally valid and equally coherent. But the Christian calling is different – Jesus isn’t one savior among many, he isn’t just another dish at the smorgasbord of philosophy and religion. He is king! He is conqueror! And he is the supreme revelation of God.

And while he is the supreme example of love, he is also the source and end of logic, wisdom, and philosophy. The universe without him doesn’t exist, Paul said, when he reminded us that Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together, in Colossians 1:17.

As Christians, we hold that there is one answer for the human condition and one response to the ultimate question: Jesus. The same Jesus who conquered the world by love. In a world where strength and ruthlessness seemed to be what got you ahead, Jesus came to change the equation. The great irony of Christ was that he conquered by surrendering; he was declared king through forgiveness.

And he has conquered all – and that’s why we are committed to the exclusive truth of the gospel and we accept the challenge of how to convey this truth with grace and love to those outside of conscious faith.

The fact is that all roads don’t lead to Rome and all worldviews are not different ways up the same mountain. The center of reality is not a round table, it’s a heavenly throne room where Father, Son and Spirit eternally dwell, and one day all crowns will be laid at the feet of Jesus.

Queen almost had it right – ‘We are the champions, but only because Jesus is the Real Champion!’

Presented by Greg Williams

 

About the presenter:
Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA.

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