As we continue in this discussion of building bridges, I must admit my way of visual thinking is kicking in again. Though, what I see and what I believe seem to be at odds, but there is a further truth still. I still don’t believe that using “us and them” language is helpful in reaching people for Jesus, but the fact of the matter is that there are those who are in God’s kingdom and those that are not. In my mind’s eye I see believers and unbelievers mingling in the borderlands of the kingdom. As I wrote two weeks ago, the church is the bridge to the kingdom. The church with its daily interactions with the world can only bring people to the edges of the kingdom. The cross of Jesus is the only bridge into the kingdom of God.
You may have seen a picture something like this one when you heard a presentation of the plan of salvation.
The only way for a person to enter into the kingdom of God is to receive the saving work of Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection. As the Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, “Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:2) Paul also wrote to the Ephesians that because of our sin we were rendered as dead to God, but “God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4) This new life in God’s kingdom is a gift of his grace and received only by faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
This is only the beginning. This first step enters a person into the greater story of the gospel and also into the people of God who continue the ministry of Jesus, which is to bring salvation in all its forms to anyone in need. (Luke 4:18-19) May our life in Jesus be a bridge to new life in him through his cross.
Grace and peace,