Our survey of the apostle’s gospel in Acts summarized the good news like this: God has installed his anointed (Christ) as our leader (Lord) by raising him from the dead (resurrection), so the earth is under his governance (the kingdom of God).
What response does God expect to this good news?
God expects our allegiance to his Christ, reorienting our lives as the community that implements his leadership. This kingdom perspective provides a rich understanding of the terms that describe our response, words like faith and repentance.
Faith is more than believing some facts about God. God is the object of our faith, so faith means placing our trust in God.
To place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is to give him your loyalty. Faith in King Jesus means giving him your allegiance.
Giving allegiance to King Jesus changes your life. We all know what we mean by “looking out for number one.” When you respond to the good news with, “Jesus is Lord,” you just redefined number one.
Repentance means turning from a self-oriented style of life (not living in recognition of God’s authority) to a lifestyle where Jesus as Lord.
Trusting Jesus as the Lord who is restoring the world reorients you towards him and his bigger purpose. Giving him your allegiance turns your life around. Instead of living for wealth, fame, and pleasure, you live for the restoration of humanity under King Jesus.
This reversal of life direction characterizes followers of Jesus. He lived his life for us. He gave himself for us. Paradoxically, you only find your meaning when you turn beyond yourself.
New life (baptism)
Baptism is a water ceremony that indicates your allegiance to King Jesus, the reorientation of your life to his leadership:
- We lay you back into the water, expressing that you’re laying your life down (just as Jesus laid his life down for us).
- We raise up out of the water, expressing that you are now living life in him (just as he rose out of the tomb to lead us).
Baptism marks your transition into life in Christ, life in the community that acknowledges and implements his kingship on earth.
The people who recognize Jesus as our God-appointed leader trust where he is taking us and do as he commands. Everything God expects can be summarized in two commands: love God; love people.
Not sure how to love God? Think of how he loved us. Even when people rejected his authority (grasping power over each other and using that power abusively against each other) God remained faithfully committed to humanity. He worked with Abraham, Moses, Israel, David, and the prophets to bring the nations back under his good governance. And, ultimately, God gave us his Son to restore us to life in his care.
We know how to love because we’ve experienced God’s love (1 John 4:9-12). What Jesus did in giving his life for us sets the standard for how we spend our lives for each other.
Can you imagine a world where people love God as God loved us? Can you imagine a world where we love each other the way God has loved us? How would it work? What do you see happening? That’s the world God expects in response to the good news that he has installed his Son as our leader.