Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Everyone Belongs to God: Discovering the Hidden Christ
by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
It is a strange matter, all this talk about everlasting life. To be honest, I don't trust those who always console people by pointing them to eternity. If we can't see any of God's help in this world, who can guarantee that there will be help in the next? Or did the Savior concern himself only with some heavenly realm? No! He came to us and dwelt among us. He showed us that the misery on earth will be eliminated once the barriers between time and eternity, between here and beyond, have been broken down. Through Christ a hole has been broken through from above down to us, not the other way around. So be on your guard. Today's Christianity has made all kinds of holes out of this world, falsely teaching that we can simply fly out of it, like pigeons, and be saved.
I know this will sound strange to many Christian ears, and even to those with whom you work. But what is the truth according to the Bible: our death and some afterlife, or the future of God's kingdom on the earth? The Bible, from its first to its last chapter, deals with the coming of God into this world. There is virtually nothing about dying and the next world. The Bible guarantees to us the deeds of God, here and now, where you and I live (Matt. 4:23–25).
There's a lot of talk about the world's dire social conditions and the needs that are all around us. It's amazing to think how many people still dream of a world in which there is true peace. Of course they are right to do so. But if the One who made the world and has our lives in his hand is not acknowledged, if we refuse to turn to him as the power and Lord we need for this, this dream is but a fantasy. Nothing will come of it. Set up governments based on the various opinions of outstanding leaders who believe they have the answer. Let one be based on a communistic ideal; let one operate according to some benevolent, supreme authority, perhaps with a religious framework; or have one in which only the poor, the underclass, have anything to say, and nobody else. Pass as many laws as you like; you will still see the same awful mess we are in today. Apart from God's rulership we remain inwardly and outwardly unclear and cannot form a society of truth and justice.
The greatest obstacle to the kingdom of God, therefore, is not our social conditions but is in us and in our clever solutions. It is self-will that leads people to destruction (Rom. 1:18–32). In this regard, our Christian organizations are not very helpful. Much too much pride has crept into them. Unless we arrive at the point where we dispel the foggy atmosphere of human effort and humanly devised ideals, unless we confront our ego-driven lives and look clearly at ourselves and say, "Without Jesus, we are nothing," we are lost (John 15:5).
Remember, there is no other purpose in your mission work than to proclaim God's kingdom and bring it to the people (Matt. 10:5–42). Take your stand, therefore, with faith, courage, and perseverance. God's kingdom will come. Rather lose your life than give up this goal! Boldly persist and keep this divine end uppermost in your mind, so that those you work with may experience how God makes things right. Live in God's splendor. Of course, this won't happen unless you want it.
Will we preach a "heavenly" Christ for another two thousand years? What's the use? Preach a "church" Christ? A "community" Christ? A "consoling" Christ? No good either. The renewal of this world will not happen. You must represent the living Christ who brings forth God's justice on the earth. Keep seeking God's kingdom in the love of Christ, and you will witness redemption in even the smallest matters. If you strive for God's justice in the name of all who suffer, not just for a few, redemption will come.