How God Became King, Part 3

We’re considering How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N. T. Wright. It’s another marvelous book by a man who just keeps turning out marvelous books.

Near the end, Wright explains the meaning of God becoming king through the cross.

First, the way we have normally listed options in atonement theology simply won’t do.  … [O]ur questions have been about a “salvation” that rescues people from the world, instead of for the world. … In all four gospels … the cross is the victory that overcomes the world. … [T]he idea of messianic victory as a fresh interpretation of an ancient Jewish theme is precisely what the four gospels have in mind.

Second … Jesus, for them, is dying a penal death in place of the guilty, of guilty Israel, of guilty humankind. …

Third, if the cross is to be interpreted as the coming of the kingdom on earth as in heaven, … then the four gospels leave us with the primary application of the cross not in abstract preaching about “how to have your sins forgiven” or “how to go to heaven,” but in an agenda in which the forgiven people are put to work, addressing the evils of the world in light of the victory of Calvary.

And this brings us to —

The one who sits in heaven is the one who rules on earth. He therefore sends out his followers, equipped by his own Spirit (if the ascension located a part of “earth” in “heaven,” Pentecost send the breath of heaven to earth), to celebrate his sovereignty over the world and make it a reality through the founding of communities rescued by his love, renewed by his power, and loyal to his name. Jesus’s followers, equipped with his Spirit, are to become in themselves, individually and together, little walking temples, rescued themselves from sin through Jesus death, and with the living presence of God going with them and in them.

40 million babies lost to Gods great orphanage,
It’s a modern day genocide and a modern day disgrace
If this is a human right then why aren’t we free?
The only freedom we have is in a man nailed to a tree.

100 million faces, staring at the sky,
Wondering if this HIV will ever pass us by.
The devil stole the rain and hope trickles down the plug,
But still my Chinese take away could pay for someone’s drugs.

Our God reigns,
Our God reigns,
Forever your kingdom reigns.

The west has found a gun and it’s loaded with ‘unsure’
Nip and tuck if you have the bucks in a race to find a cure.
Psalm one hundred and thirty nine is the conscience to our selfish crime,
God didn’t screw up when he made you,
He’s a father who loves to parade you.

Yes he reigns, yes you reign, yes you reign,
For there is only one true God,
But we’ve lost the reins on this world,
Forgive us all, forgive us please,
As we fight for this broken world on our knees.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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2 Responses to How God Became King, Part 3

  1. Mike says:

    In regard to the third point, “an agenda in which the forgiven people are put to work addressing the evils of the world in light of the victory at Calvary,” I’m reminded of the story Jesus tells about the man whose house was swept clean of an evil spirit, and instead of filling it with “an agenda” of God’s purposes, he is overcome with seven more spirits more wicked than the first spirit, (Matt. 12:43-45). In my personal live as well as watching fellow Christians being destroyed because their house remained “empty,” fall into the hands and become susceptible to other “spirits.” Like in the Exodus story, they left behind Egypt, but Egypt was still in them. N.T. Wright does a great job in discussing Paul’s teaching in Romans as a form of the Exodus story.

  2. Jerry says:

    In reading the book, I was impressed with how political Jesus and His followers were. Of course, all of the talk about “kingdom” and “king of the Jews” has serious political overtones in a subject state of a world empire such as Rome had.

    Yet, Jesus’ politics were not focused on power in the conventional way. He was not a revolutionary who would attack Rome by force of arms (though His disciples wanted Him to do this in the aftermath of feeding the 5,000 – see John’s account in chapter 6). His revolution was in “kind” of power. He would win, “not by the love of power, but by the power of love” to use Wright’s memorable expression.

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