Biblical Basis

The Bible talks a lot about the conflict between what people know and the leanings of their hearts. Jesus spoke strongly about this to his opponents, quoting from the words of Isaiah “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” It suggests that it is not hard for knowledge and attitude toward God to be completely out of step.

The apostle Paul also wrote eloquently about the lengths that he went to to adapt the message to his listeners, describing how he “became all things to all men…” in his efforts to make the Gospel known in a manner meaningful and significant.

Here are some of the main themes we need to explore:

  • Jesus’ Model: Full of grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). Here we see a complementary blend of the grace that Jesus expressed through his actions and behaviour and the truth that he declared. We might consider these to be closely allied to the horizontal axis that addresses the importance of relationships and attitude, and the vertical axis that depicts spiritual awareness and understanding. Jesus dispensed both in equal proportions.
  • God has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). This is all about relationships and putting them back together again…  In his little book The Nature of Things the Venerable Bede helps to interpret the even more ancient nature wisdom of Proverbs or Job, for it reminds us to see the biblical story of creation and salvation in terms of relationship. Paul summarizes our calling as ‘the ministry of reconciliation’. The horizontal axis admirably demonstrates the importance of building relationship through our communication.
  • The Kingdom of God provides the all-inclusive framework for the various dimensions of the Gospel. It was the foundation for Jesus’ manifesto which he set out when he preached the Sermon on the Mount (Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well Matt 6:33).  During the last forty days of Jesus’ ministry he ‘spoke about the kingdom of God’ (Acts 1:3)
  • Integral Mission: is the total package of faith and action. It is about being salt and light in society. Salt rubs off onto others whereas light dispels darkness and makes things visible. It is also how Jesus defined his own ministry as the fulfilment of prophesy – preaching good news, proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind, release for the oppressed – and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour. (Luke 4:18-19)
  • Key Scriptures: The Bible is full of supportive scriptures that outline the balance between faith and action in equal measure. We are saved by faith alone, but our changed actions provide the outward evidence of the spiritual change that has taken place within. In the Old Testament we find abundance references to God’s concerns for righteousness and justice and followers of Jesus today echo those concerns as demonstrations of God’s Kingdom at work in our world.

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