STARTING from SCRATCH
BY: JOHN R. GAVAZZONI
The destiny of mankind is "life, and that more abundantly." It is that for which we were generated, created, and regenerated, and thus it is what we need, and thus, it is why God sent His Son for us. Need is rooted in destiny. That need gnaws away at us, and will not quit until our destiny is fulfilled. No one can escape that God-ordained destiny, so that, as in the case of Saul of Tarsus, to attempt such an escape is to "kick against the pricks." Presently, we are lagging behind the glory-destiny which is set before us. Our lack, as we try to catch up to the glory that keeps staying beyond our reach, has an adversarial element within it. We are crippled by the enemy of life: death. So we need resurrection, plain and simple. Apart from Christ, we are dead. We need to be made alive, so not surprisingly, we find in the record of the Book of Acts, that believers went everywhere declaring the resurrection from the dead, in and by Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, our Lord.
Adam sinned, therefore men have, since then, died. But being presently dead, therefore we keep on sinning. "For as by one man sin entered the world, so death passed upon all men, UPON WHICH (best translation of the Greek), all have sinned. Sin's not our primary problem now, death is. Resurrection's twin truth is lordship. The One who rose from the dead is Lord of all. That is, His experience of life out of death is what controls all of human experience. The early apostles, leading the whole company of witnesses to the lordship of Christ and His resurrection from the dead, may not have, at that point, gotten their minds theologically around what they intuitively heralded, but the anointing they received taught them, as it were, that Jesus as Lord - risen from the dead - IS WHERE IT'S AT! It's still where it's at, brethren.
The preaching of Jesus as Lord, risen from the dead, is the message that connects with "the Word in our hearts and in our mouth," as Paul explained in Romans the tenth chapter. We need the release of that subjective, salvific word through the objective word of preaching, whether it be a verbal word or a word spoken by our behavior. The objective Word connects with and releases the subjective Word. Without saying anything, others may sense life in us, and that something greater than us is in control of us, and respond to that sense, which really amounts to a generic response to the gospel. In time they will come to know that it is not "what" they sense, but "Who" they sense, and will come to connect their generic response to salvation's history in Jesus Christ.
Now let me get to what's on my heart in this writing. How correctly centered are we who preach, prophecy, and testify today? How rightly aligned are we to the above normative standard. To be sure, Paul, the apostle, explained more fully the implications of the message of lordship and resurrection. The seminal preaching that preceded his came to full flower in his teaching, but he never departed from THAT gospel. Mankind needs to hear and to know that death is not the end, not a terrifying end. Life, and that more abundantly, is the end---the "telos" (Greek), the goal, the eternally-unfolding consummation. They need to know that death is not the universe's loose cannon. It's under control. Death doesn't terminate life. Life (the life of Christ) terminates death. The curtain opens, death comes on the stage thinking it's the star of the show, only to find out it's just the opening act for life. Let's preach Christ as Lord, risen from the dead, brethren. To borrow from a pop song: What the world needs now is life, sweet life (La Dolce Vita).