A manly, near-reckless radical faith. Where does one get that? Does one want it? Great questions. The answer WILL surprise you.
Back in the early 19th century British Protestant missionary to China C. T. Studd said:
Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past!…
Should such men as we fear?
Before the whole world, aye, before the sleepy, luke-warm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God,..and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts.
We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only in our God than live trusting in man.
And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight.
We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works of Jesus Christ.
A manly, near-reckless faith.
Where does one get that? Great question. First, let me explain what I’m doing this week.
Here’s the deal: I want to devote the entire week to what I started yesterday as a review of David Platt’s book Radical.
That book is simply too rich to compress into one 1,000 word post. And simply too valuable to drop after just one day.
We need to expand. So let’s go.
Resisting Typical Expectations
Arguably the best chapter in Radical is the second to the last: “Living When Dying Is Gain.” That chapter can be summed up like this:
The stories we hear about believers who are hated, beat and killed in distant countries are stories about people who’ve found a desire deeper than the basic human will for self-preservation: the desire to serve Christ and be his witness.
This desire even trumps the fear of death.
In fact, death isn’t viewed as an enemy and a coffin as a rot box. They’re viewed as a reward and a launching pad. This is the essence of what Jesus taught in Matthew 10:38-39:
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Thus, when talented young men and women dismiss the expectations and promises of the world to live in filthy Palestinian refugee camps on the outskirts of Egypt…
Or in dilapidated section 8 housing in dangerous urban neighborhoods to share the gospel with the people who live there…
Only to die in obscurity a few months or years later…
Their lives are not a waste and neither are their deaths a tragedy. Rather, those lives are treasures and those deaths rewards.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
Death Is Dead to Me
The Bible teaches us that the instant we die we are ushered into the presence of Christ.
In that instant we glimpse God’s glory and unimaginable majesty. Remember, this is the great reward of the gospel: God himself.
But WAY too many Christian’s have lost that vision. A vision confiscated by the American Dream.
See, when we accept the reality that death is nothing more than a line we cross between life and God’s presence, something happens to us: We embrace a near-reckless devotion to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the way Paul puts it:
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
Death has been conquered. And victory secured. What do we have to fear?
Don’t Make This Mistake
Some people bristle at the notion of setting our minds on death and the afterlife because they believe it makes us worthless here on the earth.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The person who sets his mind on heaven knows that his destiny is secure and glorious. He’s free to live the most radical life of love and sacrifice here on earth.
It was a radical faith.
Listen. The hope of safety in the afterlife cures us of timidity, fear and hopelessness. It releases a radical, risk-taking love that baffles skeptics and forces them to ask for the reason for the hope that is in us.
When you invest emotional and mental equity into the hope that death is reward and the doorway to our savior, you’ll be set free to live a fearless, near-reckless life of love and sacrifice.
That’s the kind of believer the modern church should be training and churning out. What can we do to make that happen in our own churches? I’d love to hear your thoughts.