My Biblical Mandate

One of the requirements of my current cohort group is to prepare a personal biblical mandate.

Here is mine, which I entitled my “personal gospel mandate”.

Personal gospel mandate. Brian Karcher. November 2012. Scripture sourced from The Message.

1. Embrace humanity. (gospel of peace-Ephesians 6:15)

John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” By embracing my humanity, as weeping Jesus did, peace can be ushered into our lives.

2. Meet Jesus in a profound way by going outside the gate of Christendom. (gospel of salvation-Ephesians 1:13)

Hebrews 13: 13-15 “So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come. Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name.” By leaving the religious world and befriending sinners, I will be following Jesus’ way of salvation.

3. Proclaim the gospel Jesus proclaimed–freedom, forgiveness and fulfillment. (gospel of grace-Acts 20:24)

Galatians 2:15-16 “We Jews know that we have no advantage of birth over “non-Jewish sinners.” We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.” By proclaiming freedom, forgiveness and fulfillment with my words, thoughts, prayers and actions, the grace of God will be able to permeate my life and flow to those around me.

4. Live as a citizen of God’s kingdom showing love toward all people. (gospel of the kingdom-Matthew 24:14)

1 Corinthians 6:5-11 “I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing. Is it possible that there isn’t one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice? These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family. Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.” By welcoming sinners with love and purity instead of condemning them about right and wrong actions, the people in my life may be able to find a fresh start in Jesus.

5. Seek the all-surpassing, robust righteousness of God by knowing Jesus. (gospel of Christ’s glory-2 Corinthians 4:4)

(My life keyverse) Philippians 3:7-11 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.” By knowing Jesus Christ, my righteousness will surpass that of the Pharisees, giving me a sure hope to be clothed in Christ’s glory one day.

6 thoughts on “My Biblical Mandate

    • Hi Brian,

      This seems like such an inspiring exercise; to properly frame one’s Christian worldview in such concrete/scriptural terms is exactly something I’ve been trying to do as of late. Of course, we will never get it exactly right in this lifetime, but I think that a written record of one’s framework is absolutely essential. What cohort is this from, by the way?

      As far as the content goes, I strongly agree with points one and two; finding or connecting with one’s own humanity as well as interacting with outside world to discover more of Christ. I have found that my faith truly comes alive when I attempt to engage God outside of the confines of the church and when I am honest with him and others about my frailty as a human being.

      I agree with point three, with the added comment that D.A. Carson explains that our freedom is very specific. We are necessarily freed from sin so that now we can be willing slaves of God. Not that he is a taskmaster, but it’s the idea that submission under His lordship is both proper (because he is the focal point of the universe) and ultimately most beneficial for us.

      Point four is perhaps the hardest practical step to implement; how do we strike the balance of being completely Christ-like with non-believing people? How do we keep from falling into either syncretism or sectarianism?

      Five is the creme de la creme of Christianity. It’s perhaps the most important step that we must continue to sharpen our view of and preach to ourselves, lest we fall into either license or legalism and subsequently drift from Christ.

      Very good stuff. I also noticed that you like using The Message. I recently listened to an interview on NPR about the author and his struggles and successes as a pastor. Very fascinating listen:

    • Thanks for sharing DavidW. As I’ve said before, I don’t want people to agree with me 100%, nor do I expect people to agree on everything. I think we Christians should seek to learn from differences and embrace what is different, for surely there is much to learn!

      After UBF, the NIV version of the Bible is like a cheese-grater to my soul. I just can’t read it. But when I found The Message paraphrase, Scripture suddenly came alive for me again! I now prefer the ESV or the NASB, but I always reference The Message. I believe The Message captures a lot of what the Bible would have sounded like to native speaking ears. The Bible is far more shocking than we think. The other advantage is that The Message shatters my glass menagerie theology and causes me to think and pray, instead of seeking to justify my own concept of “truth”.

      Thanks for sharing. And for the record, you don’t have to agree with me; I enjoy discussing what is different or confusing most of all.

    • Oh and you asked about the cohort group… the material is from Vantage Point:

      And the cohort group is made up of some people at our local church and lead by our head pastor. This local church has become our “Samaritan” and a facilitator of healing to our family.