The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10
The saying, a favorite, captures two truths. One – Jesus is the only way to the fullest life we are made by God to have. Two – evil will do all it can to stop this life from occuring. Notice how in the saying about the thief Jesus does not say ‘take‘. This thief has murder in mind – evil intends for us not to know the life God has in mind for us and will not hesitate to kill if needed to stop God and believer from coming together.
Welcome to the fight.
From the earliest moments of the gospels, Jesus is engaged in two struggles. On one front he is in the fight for us. Out of a love beyond understanding Jesus hopes for us to know the love God has for us all. Simultaneously, there is an ongoing fight between Jesus and evil. There is a mutual recognition – in the Bible the demons recognize Jesus for exactly who he is as Jesus does the same – and both know only one will prevail.
This is the Jesus fight – a fight against evil and for us, and if we are to be followers of Jesus our invitation is the same. Disciples of Jesus invite others to know him AND join the fight against evil. Were I to surmise a guess, I would say most churches invite people to know Jesus, but the invitation to enter the fight against evil is postponed until another day.
All this to say, Christians have a fight on their hands.
For Christians to know the life God intended for us, we must know the forgiveness Jesus offers and join the fight against evil he represents. Our relationship with Jesus, if you will, is twofold. We embrace both the new life he offers and join the struggle against what he opposes.
Churches, I find, speak of one but not the other. Jesus is offered as a personal means of salvation or a way of bringing God’s kingdom upon the earth, but rarely both.
Jesus, as is evidenced by John 10, knew both to be true. He came for us to have life to the full while also destroying the thief. His question for us is – are we open to the same challenge?
We are forgiven and fight at the same time.
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