Sacrifice Breaks Violence and Death


Graduation is a celebration of your accomplishments. This time of year I am reminded of Paul’s letters to Timothy, his true son in the faith (Timothy 1:2). Timothy was a young man who had spent time with Paul, a young minister beginning his ministry. Similar to today’s graduates beginning their lives as adults. Paul’s first letter speaks directly to the heart of his teaching, the heart of the Gospel, faith.

I have written on faith and its meaning in Hebrew. Faith is to be trustworthy, it’s not belief alone, but the consistent fulfillment of Christ’s teaching. Paul says, “. . . Advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and good conscience and a sincere faith (Timothy 1:4).” Paul warns in verse four of the distractions around Scripture. “. . . Or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work . . . (Timothy 1:4).”

What is God’s work? Jesus commanded his disciples, just before he ascended, to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). As he began his ministry, he said the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matt. 4:17). This Kingdom of God restores what was broken in the garden of Eden. It is mercy and justice. It is a Kingdom built on and maintained through sacrificial love. It does not endorse violence. It teaches to love our enemies. It breaks the power of violence and death. It promotes the heart of God.

It is done through trustworthy living, faithful living. We have been entrusted to live out these creeds. When we live them out, we are being faithful. These are the teachings of faith Jesus commanded when making disciples. The rest is simply a distraction and promote controversies. To be faithful, avoid controversies, live Sacrificially, and trust God. Above all, trust God, that’s where faithfulness is grounded.

So, graduates as you embark on life as adults, trust God above all else. Living sacrificially is only possible when we trust God. Be faithful to the teachings of Jesus and watch what God will do with you life. The Kingdom of God is advancing.

It advances in sacrifice, not violence.

Go and make disciples.

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