Thursday, 22 April 2010

Global South to South encounter: Thematic Address 3: “Light for the Nations” - Rev Dr Paul Swarup

We started by looking at the covenant with Abraham where Yahweh had promised Abraham that he would be a blessing to the nations. We noticed in Gen 18:19 that God had called Abraham in order that he would direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord, by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord would bring about for Abraham what he has promised him. Election, Ethics and Mission are directly related to each other. If we have been called as the Covenant Community then we are called to lead ethical lives so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ would reach the ends of the earth. Even though God’s call was to a particular person in a particular period in a particular location, the purpose was for the universal blessing of humanity. Through Abraham the nation of Israel was to fulfill the role of a Servant and be a blessing to the nations, but Israel miserably failed in her mission. It is Jesus the suffering Servant who eventually fulfilled the role of a Servant and brought blessing to the nations by his life, death and resurrection. After the resurrection of Jesus, the early Christians carried on this work of being a light to the nations as they shared the good news of Jesus from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Now, the Global South believing community has the same ethical challenge before it. We are the descendents of Abraham by faith in Jesus. We too are called to keep the way of the Lord. If we walk in the way of the Lord – by following the instruction of the Lord – in other words God’s word is to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths. Scripture has to be our guiding factor in our decision making.

If we pursue justice – that is if we seek course correction – if we act as a plumb line showing where the wall has gone off plumb then we would be acting as the light to the nations. We can only be a light to the nations by doing justice – by this we are calling people to be accountable. Peter proclaims to the Jews in his encounter with Cornelius that he was proclaiming Jesus whom God appointed judge of the living and the dead. The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of the final putting-to-rights of all human injustice. In the light of the Resurrection, the Covenant Community must never stop reminding the world's rulers and authorities as well as its own rulers and authorities that they themselves will be held to account, and that they must do justice and bring wise, healing order to God's world ahead of the day of the Lord’s coming. Read more
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