“Advent Journey Day IX).”
“Obedience To The Gospel Of Christ…!”(Rom.2:11-16).
One of the charges which modern African advocates of “back to African religions” levy against Christian presence in Africa is that Christianity has brainwashed Africans into worshipping a foreign ancestor at the expense of their own ancestors. If the charge is against Christianity, we can at least let it pass. But if by Christianity the charge includes the Gospel of Christ, then the charge becomes paperweight.
“Africans are notoriously religious.” When the Gospel first entered the continent the people embraced it not as if it was a new thing, but because the people seem to say, “This is what we have been waiting for.” This only confirms that the gospel finds relevance where there is a deep practice of primal religion.
Prof. Mbiti put it right that the missionaries did not bring God to Africa. God brought them to Africa. God was already in Africa. The missionaries only brought the Gospel of Christ which helped the Africans to name Christ – the only component that was lacking in African traditional religions.
Mbiti spoke the minds of many of us that the gospel was in Africa before the Gospel came to the continent. If the Gospel is about kindness, love, hospitality, etc. The gospel is in favour of virtues and against vices. Africans knew these and practiced them. The Scriptures attest to this when it says “God did not leave himself without a witness,” and that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them”(II Cor 5:19).
Writing about God’s righteous judgment the author of the letter to the Romans states: “…God does not show partiality. All who sin from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
He goes further to show this all-inclusiveness of God – which we fight to exclude – by adding in parentheses, “(Indeed, when Gentiles (Africans), who do not have the law, do by nature things that are required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing them, now even defending them).”
Christ Jesus is born for all humanity, and since God has not left himself without testimony (Acts 14:17), he is in Christ reconciling the world to himself. He has made the plan on how to do it through the “final Revelation in Jesus the Christ who will come again as Judge of all humanity. “This will place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ…”
But to you and I we have known Christ even as Scriptures attest, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them”(Jn.13:17).
Let us wait for Christ in this full knowledge that, “it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
The world and the Church are like two circles with an intersection. Those who obey Christ and will be declared righteous are those within the intersection. Some will come from the world and some from the Church.
Dear friend, as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ ask yourself, “Am I within the intersection? If not work more to improve your obedience to God and not your commitment to hearing.
Prayer: Holy Spirit help me to improve in my obedience to the Gospel of Christ than to the teachings of men. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.