My goal in this article is to make clear the difference between grace, which is God’s undeserved gracious actions and gifts towards us related to our salvation in Christ, and the consequences of sin that come from numerous sources and places.
The word of God is very clear regarding the call of believers to empower the disempowered and the disenfranchised of society.
Jesus opened up His ministry by reading from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, which is quoted in Luke 4:18, when He says the Spirit of the Lord has anointed Him to bring good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, and set at liberty those who are oppressed. Many evangelicals with an individualistic mindset have interpreted this merely as an individual salvific passage related to healing and deliverance. But when we read the context in Isaiah 61:1-4 we see that Jesus was also referring to systemic sin and God’s desire to bring cities to wholeness.
Those who believe in the God of the Christian Scriptures believe that world history is purposeful — not just church history — because it is based on God’s design for the nations of the world. (Read Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 1:15-20; Daniel 4:34-35; Acts 17:24-31.)
This is in opposition to those with a classical, cyclical view of history who believe that all societies and cultures continually repeat history, and also those with a naturalistic view of history based on evolution in which everything that happens is based on chance.
The Bible teaches us that God has a multi-generational plan. This is true in spite of most Christians and churches barely surviving one generation of faith and practice, usually without emphasizing marriage, family, or multi-generational influence.
The following is a general biblical survey showing how the plan of God unfolds in history through generations of faith.
As a new Christian in the late 1970’s I was naïve and thought all Christians followed the teachings of the Bible and formulated doctrine and church polity objectively from the sacred Scriptures.
I have heard it said “balance is the key to life”. I agree with that statement, as I have found that any truth taken to the extreme (that ignores others aspects related to its subject) is unbalanced and can be harmful. This is also why Paul the Apostle said that he teaches “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), which involves a full-orbed presentation of truth.
For many years there has been a movement among Evangelicals in which the gospel has been reduced to just a simple individual salvation message. Those that preach evangelistic messages on Sundays with an altar call are the only true ones preaching the gospel according to these Evangelicals. However, is that all there is to the gospel of Christ? While I believe it is important we point to the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ as much as possible, is this done only through overt evangelistic messages?
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