“But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
The challenge we face in our culture is how to get the gospel heard. People are so cynical and unbelieving it is very difficult to get a hearing for God. How does this translate into our mission?
It sounds so simple. It begins with the stubborn belief that God is always present. He is working to get Himself heard. He is always calling people. He is nibbling at the edges of their minds and hearts. We would prefer it if he were shouting at the top of His lungs. That has never been His method.
In the passage above us everything is so clear. God is nearer than we can imagine. He is calling us to believe…calling us to trust Him. How can we trust someone we cannot see or hear? That is the first challenge. We are so used to trusting ONLY who we can see and hear. Have the ones demanding this kind of trust really done the first thing to earn it?
The Gospel is the story of a God who will never stop seeking us. Even if we dismiss Him He is still pursuing us. His voice and presence is persistent.
The next thing we discover is the Gospel as a “living” word. It has its own voice and power. It rolls through the barriers we put up to contain it. When we think we have God in a box He breaks out and confronts us again. He is relentless.
What is the “living” word of the “active” God calling us to do?
Declare Jesus is Lord. Recognize his utter demand upon our allegiance. He does not play well with those who want to share. He has paid the entire price for our deliverance.
Believe the Resurrection. This is the one fact of the story which is undeniable. It is also the fact which justified his claim to Lordship. He has decisively acted to deliver us from all the powers which enslave us. His resurrection is the stubborn fact that the power of death is utterly broken. And if the power of death is broken then all of the other powers of this world are helpless to stop His victory.
You will be saved. Salvation is the big word. It means that God in Christ has totally removed every single obstacle to our deliverance. We are utterly saved. The Love of God reached down into the totality of the broken human condition and graciously provided for us.
When we try to provide our own salvation we become exhausted. When choosing to rest in Him we find the rest He promised. The Message of the Mission is that God in Christ has completely provided for our Salvation.