This is the choice facing every student of Jesus: we all must decide whether we will read the New Testament as a history book or a description normative of life in Christ. The events reported in the New Testament, the coming of Jesus, his death and resurrection, and the life of the newly-formed church happened a long time ago. The record of those events has been preserved for us today–some people might add, “miraculously preserved.” Many Christians are willing to argue (even die) over whether the we can trust the accounts we have received from those early days, preserved for us in the Bible.
After we settle the question of whether this book is trustworthy, we must also settle the question of the kind of life we will live today. Our answer determines the possibilities of our walk with Jesus. If the book is merely history then the sacrificial love birthed — and lived out — in his followers is not required of us today. If the book only reports the facts of healings, exorcisms, and resurrections accomplished by Jesus and his followers, then we need not measure our life by their example. If the book is rooted in the past, our only responsibility is to believe, and perhaps to applaud.
But if the New Testament is our “What to Expect . . .” then we have a long way to go toward expectant Christianity.
This article on expectant Christianity originally appeared here, and is used by permission.