We are doing a series on the The Cape Town Commitment: A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action. This is a breath-taking sweep through the mission of God, guided by one of the world’s finest mission theologians (Chris Wright), and it can provide a basis for evangelical unity. It is not so much a confession or a creed but a theological statement of the mission of God. My comments will be brief as I will be posting one segment of the CTC post by post.
The next section is called “We love God the Son,” and you can read it after the jump. Again, the entire statement is framed in terms of love — and in this section we commit ourselves to loving the Son.
As God commanded Israel to a loyal love so we are to love the Lord Jesus Messiah. And we love Jesus Christ in three ways:
1. We trust him. Here we are trust the Christ who is presented in the pages of the Bible, not one of our own making, and the CTC has an excellent summary: incarnation, obedient faithfulness, kingdom, miracles and victory, death as atonement, resurrection as vindication and new creation, and rule and reign. Those seven points below are worth reproducing in your church!
2. We obey him. One word: discipleship.
3. We make him known; we proclaim him.
4. We love God the Son
God commanded Israel to love the LORD God with exclusive loyalty. Likewise for us, loving the Lord Jesus Christ means that we steadfastly affirm that he alone is Saviour, Lord and God. The Bible teaches that Jesus performs the same sovereign actions as God alone. Christ is Creator of the universe, Ruler of history, Judge of all nations and Saviour of all who turn to God. He shares the identity of God in the divine equality and unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just as God called Israel to love him in covenantal faith, obedience and servant-witness, we affirm our love for Jesus Christ by trusting in him, obeying him, and making him known.
A) We trust in Christ. We believe the testimony of the Gospels that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the one appointed and sent by God to fulfil the unique mission of Old Testament Israel, that is to bring the blessing of God’s salvation to all nations, as God promised to Abraham.
- In Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, God took our human flesh and lived among us, fully God and fully human.
- In his life Jesus walked in perfect faithfulness and obedience to God. He announced and taught the kingdom of God, and modelled the way his disciples must live under God’s reign.
- In his ministry and miracles, Jesus announced and demonstrated the victory of the kingdom of God over evil and evil powers.
- In his death on the cross, Jesus took our sin upon himself in our place, bearing its full cost, penalty and shame, defeated death and the powers of evil, and accomplished the reconciliation and redemption of all creation.
- In his bodily resurrection, Jesus was vindicated and exalted by God, completed and demonstrated the full victory of the cross, and became the forerunner of redeemed humanity and restored creation.
- Since his ascension, Jesus is reigning as Lord over all history and creation.
- At his return, Jesus will execute God’s judgment, destroy Satan, evil and death, and establish the universal reign of God.
B) We obey Christ. Jesus calls us to discipleship, to take up our cross and follow him in the path of self-denial, servanthood and obedience. ‘If you love me, keep my commandments,’ he said. ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things I say?’ We are called to live as Christ lived and to love as Christ loved. To profess Christ while ignoring his commands is dangerous folly. Jesus warns us that many who claim his name with spectacular and miraculous ministries will find themselves disowned by him as evildoers. We take heed to Christ’s warning, for none of us is immune to such fearful danger.
C) We proclaim Christ. In Christ alone God has fully and finally revealed himself, and through Christ alone God has achieved salvation for the world. We therefore kneel as disciples at the feet of Jesus of Nazareth and say to him with Peter, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,’ and with Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Though we have not seen him, we love him. And we rejoice with hope as we long for the day of his return when we shall see him as he is. Until that day we join Peter and John in proclaiming that ‘there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.’
We commit ourselves afresh to bear witness to Jesus Christ and all his teaching, in all the world, knowing that we can bear such witness only if we are living in obedience to his teaching ourselves.