The Bible says that man fell, at a specific point in history, and as man fell, both man and the world over which he had dominion became abnormal. It would seem, looking at subsequent history, that God’s creation of rational, moral creatures was a failure.
But then Christ came, died, and rose—also in history—and the necessary victory was won. When Christ returns, the evidence of His victory will be completely obvious. Yet on the earth today there is neither universal peace for the individual nor for mankind. Indeed, the twentieth-century world is not basically very different from the Assyrian, the Babylonian, or the Roman world.
Does that mean that between the victory on the cross and the present day, and on to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, God did not intend that there should be any evidence of the reality of the victory of the cross?
As we examine Scripture, we surely find that this is exactly what he did not mean. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people [that is, a people set apart for a purpose], in order that ye should show forth the praises [or the virtues] of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; which in time past were not a people but are now the people of God” (1 Peter 2:9–10).
This passage says that in this present life Christians are called for a purpose, called to show forth the praises of God. In other words, God did not mean that there should be no evidence of the reality of the victory of the cross between Jesus’s ascension and His second coming. God has always intended that Christians should be the evidence, the demonstration of Christ’s victory on the cross.
Preaching the Gospel with the Spirit
The Christian’s call is to believe right doctrine, true doctrine, the doctrine of the Scripture. But it is not just a matter of stating right doctrine, though that is so important. Neither is it merely to be an activity which can be explained by natural talent, or character, or energy. The Christian is not called to present merely another message in the same way as all the other messages are presented. We must understand that it is not only important what we do, but how we do it. In Acts 1, between Christ’s resurrection and ascension He gives a command not just to preach the gospel, but to wait for the Holy Spirit and then to preach the gospel. Preaching the gospel without the Holy Spirit is to miss the entire point of the command of Jesus Christ for our era. In the area of Christian activities or Christian service, how we are doing it is at least as important as what we are doing. Whatever is not an exhibition that God exists, misses the whole purpose of the Christian’s life now on this earth. According to the Bible, we are to be living a supernatural life now, in this present existence, in a way we shall never be able to do again through all eternity. We are called upon to live a supernatural life now, by faith. Eternity will be wonderful, but there is one thing Heaven will not contain, and that is the call, the possibility, and the privilege of living a supernatural life here and now by faith, before we see Jesus face-to-face.
God has always intended that Christians should be the evidence, the demonstration of Christ’s victory on the cross.
Being the Demonstration
This is the demonstration that God intends in the world until Christ returns, and it is the Christian who is to be the demonstration. Christians are called upon to be a demonstration at our point of history that the supernatural, the normally unseen world, does exist, and, beyond that, that God exists. They are to do this individually and corporately, each generation of Christians to their own generation. So we are to be the demonstration to the second half of the twentieth century. Obviously we cannot be a demonstration to the past; and it can only be partially through our writings and our works that we leave a demonstration to the future, though there should be a cumulative demonstration, rolling up like a snowball through the centuries. But primarily every Christian is to be a demonstration at his own point of history and to his own generation.
Christians are to demonstrate God’s character, which is a moral demonstration, but it is not only to be a demonstration of moral principles; it is a demonstration of His being, His existence. What a calling, and how overwhelming! Surely anyone who has been at all honest, and not just romantic or idealistic in a bad sense, must understand that any such demonstrations would be totally meaningless by his own effort, in his own strength. So again the biblical teaching of Christ as Bridegroom, bringing forth His fruit through us—the power of the crucified and risen Christ and the agency of the Holy Spirit by faith—is seen to be no isolated teaching. It should not take us by surprise. It fits into the unity of the Bible’s teaching about the calling of the Christian in this present world.
This article is adapted from True Spirituality by Francis A. Schaeffer.
When we look at Jesus’s life and ministry we also see that he was the greatest evangelist. In his earthly ministry he was the light of the world, the one who always lived in a way that was pleasing to his Father.
Jesus claims rule over all of heaven and earth. He presents himself not as one possible path to God, but as God himself.
Often without warning or intention, the drive to know ourselves becomes all-consuming. It’s impossible to not be affected by the age of self in which we currently live.
The Bible is God’s story, recounting the Creator’s involvement with his creation.