THE REPENTANCE PROJECT / AN AMERICAN LENT
Blessing to the Nations
WEEK II / DAY I
Monday, February 19, 2018
Scripture / Read Genesis 11:27-32; 12:1-9; Galatians 3:15-18
Abram is called to leave his pagan religion, father’s house, and country to follow the true and living God. His calling was accompanied by covenantal promises and commissioning to be a blessing to the nations. They find their ultimate fulfilment in Jesus Christ, Abraham’s offspring who opens the way of salvation to the nations, thereby increasing the number of Abraham’s promised descendants and granting entrance into the Heavenly Promised land to which he, Abram, looked (Hebrews 11:8).
Our History and Its Legacy
A Christian nation or nation with many Christian people is and will probably always be a subject of discussion regarding America’s religious texture. Whatever your position, it’s hard to deny that God has blessed America in myriad ways despite its controversial beginning and development. Notwithstanding, the promise made to Abraham was for the ethnic Israelites until the True Israel, Jesus Christ, arrived and now God’s promises of and commissioning to be a blessing is directed to his church, the new Israel anywhere in the world.
America, with all its faults, has had a strong Christian presence in its confines. Important parts of the church spoke out against the ills of slavery, though many were involved in its proliferation. Christians championed the cause of wellness for the whole person through some of the most notable non-profit organizations, like Good Will, Salvation Army, and the YMCA to name a few.
The Christian ethic resounded through the Civil Rights movement under the leadership of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, during a time when many Christians brought reproach on the name of Jesus, refusing to be a blessing and instead being silent about injustices against blacks or proactively denying justice (see King’s Stride Toward Freedom, 1958). King challenged America to live out the true meaning of its creed, “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
The Christian world-view, which holds that every human was created in the Imago Dei — the “Image of God” — cascades through such a creed and the courageous call to observe it. Under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians are blessed to be a blessing (See Howard Thurmond’s Jesus and the Disinherited, 1946 — particularly the chapter on love). Commands like love your neighbor, do good to all especially those in the household of God, and even to seek the welfare of our enemy reinforce this high calling (See, for example, the 3 overtures the PCA passed in connection with racism and solutions moving forward).
Reflection and Response / Application and Prayer
As Christians, our life starts with the True and living God who called us into covenant relationship with himself. We must recognize that God lovingly gave the greatest blessing of salvation in his son Jesus Christ and generously lavishes us with any other material or talent we possess. With this in mind, Christians see their life not as instruments that are directed downward and inward but upward and outward following the pattern of our Savior. This means then, that we who have been blessed by God seek to mediate His blessing to others in any righteous way possible, that others might come to know the greatest blessing of salvation in Jesus Christ and in turn be a blessing to others. “Oh Lord, help us to realize that all we own is on lease from you.”
Written by Mike Aitcheson