Jerry S. Maneker

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the
house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that
I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them
out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was an
husband to them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in
their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and
they shall be my people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour,
and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me,
from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will
forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah

After the death of the King of Judah, Josiah, it got very rough for Jeremiah,
who faced constant opposition from the prevailing political and religious
leaders of his day.   He preached repentance, and capitulation to the hoards of
Babylonian soldiers invading Judah, and the leaders didn’t want to hear such
talk.  He was proven correct, nevertheless, and Judah was taken captive.

Amidst all the tumult, Jeremiah represented a resurrected life, in that He heard
and obeyed the voice of God, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges from
others who were given far more credibility than was given to him.  People don’t
like to hear things that fly in the face of their feelings of self-importance;
don’t want their worlds rocked or their comfort zones threatened; don’t like to
see a life lived that largely transcends the values and norms of the day.

As Christians, we, as was Jeremiah and all of God’s people in the Bible, are
called upon to be a resurrection people!  We are to live our lives in such a way
that those lives wouldn’t make any sense if God didn’t exist!  The wonderful
preacher, Peter J. Gomes, the minister at Harvard University, in his book,
Strength For The Journey, that I strongly recommend you read, wrote the
following: “Indeed, the greatest argument for the validity of the Christian life
is the life of a Christian: we are the arguments for the resurrection; we are
the living roots for the existence of God.” (p. 281)

Now, it must be understood up front that Christians harbor the same “old man”
that non-Christians possess!  We are no different in that way, and to assume and
preach that we are does violence both to the truth and to people’s perceptions
of Christianity.  We are no better, not necessarily more “moral,” and no more
worthy than anyone else in the eyes of God!  It must always be remembered that
God imputes “worthiness” to us!  That fact is what is meant by the term “grace!”  
The fact that He has imputed that “worthiness” to us from the foundation of the
world is called “prevenient grace!”   

“Grace” means God’s unmerited favor to those whom He has chosen before the
worlds were formed to be sanctified, to be set apart to do a work for Him.  In
that sense, all Christians are called upon to be Apostles, “sent out ones,” to
spread the good news of the Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation,
inclusiveness, and liberation to all those who have the ears to hear and the
“antenna” to receive that good news. In order to succeed in fulfilling our
ministries, we must not only reckon ourselves to be, but actually realize that
we are, a “resurrection people.”

By “resurrection” I mean transcendence from worshipping the many idols that this
world offers us and that separate us from the knowledge that God has given each
of His children a work to do.  These idols take many forms: drugs, sex, alcohol,
work, etc.  It’s certainly ok to indulge in many of the delights that this world
offers, but it’s not ok to worship or idolize them or have them in any way usurp
the role of God in our lives.

When we listen to God and obey His call on our lives, despite what others,
including other professing Christians, say about our obedience to God’s call on
our lives, we show ourselves to be a resurrection people!  When we love amidst
hate; stand up for justice amidst cruelty and violence; when we speak truth to
power amidst cowardice that frequently masks itself as “Christian”; when we care
for “the least among us” amidst the world’s glorification of “success”; when we
give of ourselves to others amidst an era of unbridled greed; when we remain
faithful amidst people many of whom “sell out” in order to be liked and
accepted; when we remain peaceful (to the degree possible) amidst uncertainty
and tumult, we show ourselves to be a “resurrection people!”

We are a resurrection people when we have and show an implacable faith, an
abiding trust, in a God Who doesn’t make any mistakes and, taking that
knowledge, translating it into doing good, fighting for justice, seeking peace,
and also translating our own life-experiences, and especially our sufferings,
into ministries that comfort the afflicted!  

Resurrection people make manifest to others the reality and meaning of the
Christian life!

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