The Second Law of Thermodynamics is the first of four major enemies of the Christian faith and life. As we all observe and experience, everything disintegrates and eventually dies. Yet Christ followers can face decay and death with courage and dignity because of what the Holy Scriptures promise about our FUTURE: one day God will restore our bodies and our world (Revelation chapter 21—22).
Additionally, we can face decay and death with courage and dignity NOW because of what is happening NOW. When Jesus came to earth, he inaugurated a new kingdom. Urban Ministry Scholar Dr. Eldin Villafane says this: “The message of the New Testament is that God’s royal rule is already present in Jesus the Messiah, although it awaits final consummation in the not yet of the future. In Jesus Christ we have, in the words of George Eldon Ladd, the “fulfillment without consummation” of the reign of God…Jesus himself both proclaimed and embodied [this] reign.”
For example, at the start of Jesus’ ministry he announced that he had come to “Preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, heal the blind, release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18—19). Later on Jesus declared “the Kingdom of God is within (or among) you.”
So when Jesus came, through his presence, proclamation, and powerful acts, he launched God’s new kingdom on earth. He demonstrated it by casting out demons, healing people physically, emotionally and spiritually, and even raising people from the dead. After three years of ministry on Earth, Jesus died, rose from the dead three days later, and then ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of the Father.
Nevertheless, this kingdom is still operative today. How do we know that? Because of the third member of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. In John 16:5—16, Jesus said he had to leave earth and return to his Father in Heaven so he could send the “Counselor, the Spirit of truth” to us. The Holy Spirit indwells Christ followers (1 Cor. 6:19), leads us into all truth (John 16:13), gives us spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12), gives us spiritual fruit (Gal. 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), and the power to live for and proclaim the reality of Jesus (Acts 1:8; Acts 4:29; Eph. 3:20). The Holy Spirit even intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray for (Romans 8:26).
Do you know the Holy Spirit? Have you seen him work in your life?
I am convinced the Kingdom of God is going strong because I have seen the Holy Spirit work in many lives in Newport County. I have witnessed people confess and repent of all kinds of sins: greed, bitterness, adultery, drug abuse, etc. I have watched time and again as God has repaired and transformed lives, marriages, and families. I have even seen people be miraculously healed (depression, addition, cancer, brain hemorrhages, serious injuries).
It is all because Jesus started a kingdom which he rules over from his throne at the right hand of God the Father. We can face decay and death with courage and dignity because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit who lives inside the hearts of thousands of Christ followers in our community.
So even if your circumstances are bleak, know that God is alive here in Newport County. If you need help, in faith call upon his name and his power, and he could do amazing things for you and our community. Yet not in the future…but even NOW!