Editor’s note: Once a month, we share a short reflection from a Chinese pastor on the nature of the gospel. Though we often post longer articles, there is a richness to short and concise thoughts.
Wang Jianguo is the collective pseudonym for a group of Chinese house church pastors thinking and writing about issues related to the spread of Christianity in their nation. They are committed to preaching a grace-centered gospel, developing resources for the church, and loving China’s urban centers.
God has proclaimed a glorious kingdom, a new heaven and a new earth that will renew all creation. God has commanded all nations and people to proclaim his glory, to proclaim the beauty of his kingdom. Millions of God’s children form this kingdom of the gospel, and a multitude of nations are called to enter into worship in the kingdom – a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, children of God – so that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. This reign of the kingdom of the gospel will renew the whole earth, and it will renew cities. God himself is in the kingdom, and when we think of this vision our hearts are stirred and moved.
When this kingdom comes into contact with lost souls, the dying world and the dying city will be renewed and there is the possibility of resurrection. Thus, this vision has moved me the most. When a person is called by God into this vision of the gospel of the kingdom, he will offer himself up for God on the altar. May God become our vision.
This renewal happened to me when I encountered the gospel, and I think the changes which happened to me through the gospel can be replicated.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
The core of our concern should be God’s glory. The more we come to know God’s glory, the more we will come to see our filthiness and sinfulness. Therefore, we need to have sufficient devotional and prayer time each day. If we are not fed enough, then we may not be keeping in step with the spirit throughout the day.
Our fellow church leaders and our target audience for the gospel are also humans like us. We are no better than them, and we fall in the same way they do. Thus, when we worship God in his glory, we will be more compassionate towards them. Because our transformation starts from God, and it is God’s grace which finds us, it is not that we are better than them or that our actions merit boasting, but all is by God’s grace. We place our hope in God. Our hope for those around us is not based on their actions or on our work and diligence, but solely based on the accomplished work of Christ. Because God loved us so, he also loved those around us. He is a God who wants all to be saved, and not one to be lost, so we live in hope – since God himself gives us hope and grace.
We move forward on our knees, traveling upstream; otherwise, we will follow the stream downward, because it is only natural.
This vision of the kingdom of the gospel is not something we can accomplish by ourselves. But God has placed this impossible mission into the hands of his redeemed people. How can we depend on our abilities, our education, and our own power? It is not through these, but through the grace of God. We need to move forward in prayer to travel upstream, because it is natural to flow downstream, caving to our passions and desires and causing our faith to “rush down a thousand miles.” We must pray daily and engage in inner training. When we have this inner training, then we can serve outwardly.
How does the inner training of “upstream prayer” produce outward service?