What is the church's role in extending God's peace to the world? Mark Buchanan gives perspective in this excerpt from Your Church Is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down.
The primary gift God gives to those who trust in him is reconciliation with him. But the primary gift the people of God give to those who are reconciled to God is a community of reconciled people. We give them the gift of our own wholeness and oneness. We give the gift of community. We invite them to be part of a people where everyone makes "every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" [Ephesians 4:3].
God calls us out of darkness and into marvelous light [1 Peter 2:9]. But his intent is that "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another" [1 John 1:7]. So God prepares us to be a people who draw and who welcome every tribe and tongue and nation into the light by first making us light. And he does that, in part, by bringing those who are far away near. He does that by making the community of the converted also the community of the reconciled...
One sign that God has returned to dwell in the center of our lives and of our churches is that we become a living testimony of what we promise. We promise that in Christ all become new creations, no longer seeing others according to the flesh. We promise that in Christ we have the peace of God and the God of peace. We promise that we through Christ receive God's love and forgiveness, and then extend it — with authority — to the whole world. We promise all this, but then claim exemption for ourselves in some petty matter or another.
When God steps into the center, those who once were part of us, and now are not, come home. They come back. God's personal faithfulness to them and righteousness for them become their daily portion.
What before was rumor becomes reality.
We become living testimony of the new life we promise to others. May our churches be the gathering places for this reconciled community.
- Mark Buchanan
The Weight of Your Past via Mark Buchanan
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