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A Violent Gospel

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matthew 11:12 ESV

We are living in a culture that is becoming more and more violent, but it is important to note that this reality isn't anything new to our world. Violence began back when Cain killed Abel and we’ve lived in a violent world ever since. But is violence always a negative thing? Jesus uses the word, violence, concerning the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 11:15. He stated that the Kingdom has suffered violence since John’s ministry and the violent take it by force.

Jesus taught in Luke 16:16 that men press their way into the Kingdom of God. “Press” means to forcibly enter by an act of the will. Well, I thought it was easy. I thought you just believed. To reject human effort and simply believe in Jesus isthe violent act of faith.

That's the violence of the Gospel. It is a violent thing to reject any hope of establishing my own righteousness and simply trust Jesus for my deliverance. It is violent to believe that, on my own, I can produce nothing good. This truth is found in Romans 7:18. The gospel also experiences violence wherever it is proclaimed. When you introduce a new kingdom into a present kingdom, there is always conflict. We are Americans. We live in the United States. We take the freedom and sovereignty of our nation very seriously. Any suggestion that any other country would metal in our country or metal in our election is offensive to us. We would hate that, would we not? We should fight that with all that we have. It is like an invasion upon our shores. When you have a sovereign kingdom and there's another kingdom knocking at the door, there must be war. The Kingdom of Heaven is in conflict with the Kingdom of men. That's why they hated Him. That's why they hate us. That's why there's violence.

The Kingdom of Heaven; one man wrote years ago, is not for the interested; it's for the desperate. It is for those who have seen the end of themselves and cry out to Christ to save them. It is believers in Jesus Christ who want nothing from this world because it is empty and dead. We are those who aggressively seize the gospel and with an act of our will, choose to believe deeper and deeper into Jesus Christ. Faith in the gospel is a rejection of man’s right to rule himself and the end result will be two-fold. First, others will never understand. Many will believe we have violently lost our minds. Secondly, this world will always violently oppose His kingdom. The gospel is, as Oswald Chambers once said, "naturally resented, and yet, desperately needed.”

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