By Sanal Thomas
We have tremendous HOPE –
because the message of the gospel is so powerful and it shall remain powerful, it is the very thing for salvation for all mankind.
because the Light is more powerful than the darkness, and the righteousness of God is more powerful than evil.
because we worship the Creator, not created things!
because He makes everything new.
The world is becoming more and more divided, and the body of Christ has been split in many ways, possibly more than ever, especially in North America. We find more criticism and judgement against one another than love and encouragement for one another. It’s crazy to see how even a virus such as COVID-19 has divided the church, and we still operate from a place of racism and with a caste system which the enemy still prevalently uses in the body of Christ. It’s okay to have strong opinions, but I’m afraid we have lost the ability to love, and because of that, the ability to communicate.
What I personally see right now is such a fatherlessness amongst God’s people: sheep without a Shepherd; a crowd completely lost; crises of identity. We rampage the streets for what we want, not knowing who we are. So finally when we are exhausted in our schemes, have those schemes set us free? Freedom is not what we experience, it’s who we are. Paul called Christ being in me “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). So is not Christ-lessness the biggest crisis?
For me, through all these years the message of the gospel is simple and practical.
Jesus said: I’m sending you, just like my Father sent me!
Jesus has been sent by the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for everyone – regardless of skin colour, culture, gender, young or old. The death and resurrection were everything mankind needed; without that, we were already breathless and without hope.
Jesus ultimately came to reveal the Father. I was personally a spiritual orphan, and felt a classic sense of fatherlessness in my being… and the cry of my soul was for a loving Father.
The gospel revealed the Father to me on a very personal level. The greatest mission of Jesus was to reveal the Father to us; by doing so, He immediately dealt with our identity, our basic ignorance of who we are. I’m no longer a spiritual orphan or a spiritual slave anymore but a son: I certainly belong, I have a Father. A lot of times we treat the question of “who we are” as the most critical question we could ask. But seeking who we are in ourselves leaves our identity in shambles. Maybe the right question is, Whose we are…?
It was so crucial for Jesus to reveal His Father to us even before He could reconcile us back to Him, or even the death on the cross. Jesus immediately established the relationship. Whose we are precedes who we are because our intrinsic worth doesn’t come from us, but from the One that has begotten us.
Jesus knew exactly what His Father was like. And now His desire is that we get a revelation of this beloved Father through the Holy Spirit. Relationship preceded sacrifice! As we read in Matthew, Jesus said: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” The truth is deep within me: I was sick and sinful and separated and headed for ultimate death, and I was shown the greatest mercy ever because I always belong to Him.
The other side of the gospel is that this Jesus, the perfect Son of the Father, said: “I’m sending you.” The only reason He is sending us today is to reveal the Father. So in many ways, sharing the gospel or good news is telling someone, “Hey, you are not an orphan! You have a Father. And this is what He is like.” You are basically revealing the greatest love of the Father when bringing the good news. People have the right to know that truth about themselves. People have the right to know whose they are. And there is nothing like it when the Father Himself says to the sons and daughters he has begotten: “You are my beloved, you are mine.”
One of the most incredible things about the God of the Bible is that He speaks – just like a father speaks to a son face-to-face. I think He likes to speak to us more than we could think or imagine! Often we would like to have a face-to-face talk with God about big things, like world evangelization, and we miss the opportunity for personal revival through God talking to us over our morning coffee. Our identity comes from the truth of who God is and what He has to say about us. Unless we hear from Him about whose we are, we will be louder, violent and more demanding from others who have been equally choked. There is a huge difference when you hear from Him for yourself – not from any other voices!
We live in the foothills of the Rockies, within view of the snow-capped peaks, and when I gaze at the majestic, spectacular mountain range I usually say “ WOW.” Once I was admiring the Rockies and thanking God for His wonderful handwork, and I felt the Lord say to me – Sanal, they are not created in my image, but you are.
The gospel you represent is only as powerful as the encounters you have with Jesus.
Know whose you are, and spend time with the Father who calls you by name. The more you know Him, the more you will understand who you are and the hope found in the gospel we are called to live out in this world.
Sanal is co-leader of the Harvest Discipleship Training School with his wife, Minal. He has a passion for serving others and spreading the Gospel message to our neighbours across the world and down the street.