9 March 2021

I find the conclusions written by Michael F. Bird in “A Bird’s Eye view of Paul” very relevant and very timely for believers today:

“In a world that is often cold, cruel, brutal and dark, Christians have a responsibility to shine like stars in setting up communities that radiate love and compassion. In a day when all claims to truth are suspected as being little more than veiled claims to power, Christians must set forth God’s grace in all its truth. In an age when each man and woman does what seems right in his or her own eyes, where accountability is a byword, Christians must declare that every knee will bow to the Lord Jesus Chrisst, who is the appointed Judge of all angelic and human beings.

At a time when metanarratives, or claiming to possess an all-encompassing story of the universe, are denigrated as intolerant, Christians have to set forth the story of the gospel as the answer to the story of why the world has gone so horribly wrong. In a place of consumer spirituality and pocket guidebook to heaven, Christians have to confront the world with the exclusive claims of the all-inclusive Saviour. In a culture where the greatest good is the gratification of the individual’s hedonistic desires, C’hristians can set forth an alternative experience, where God offers an unspeakable joy that far outweighs the trappings and excesses of the world, which is fading away”.

We need to ponder over these conclusions; they speak of the testimony of communities of love and compassion – are our churches truly reflecting this in our community life? They point to the significance of truth in all its wholesomeness as revealed in Scripture; they point to the reality of judgement and accountability before the Judge of the world; they declare the supreme authority of the Lord Jesus; they help us to understand what has gone terribly wrong in this world; they emphasise the great need to present the life and joy which the gospel proclaims and the emptiness of a life lived for gratification of selfish pleasures and lust.

Indirectly, they tell us that what the world offers is temporary and will not last; they point to the hope offered to those who are followers of Christ – the world of true happiness and joy in the coming new heaven and new earth.