Basic Tools 33: Theological Principles: overcoming evil, sin and death

Theological principles

  • God is on mission to overcome evil, sin, and death. 

God is on mission everywhere all the time.  God is always working with us and through us to make the world all that it can be.  Right now, teachers are helping children learn to read; aid workers are distributing food to the hungry; and people are reaching out to friends and neighbors in time of need.  This is all God’s work.  Wherever there is love and justice, God is at work.  The Lord’s mission is to bring love and justice wherever they are blocked and to maintain or increase them where they are already present.

  • God has overcome evil, sin, and death in Jesus Christ.

Jesus overcame evil, sin, and death in his lifetime and through his death and resurrection.  Confronted with the world’s evil and sin and his own imminent death, he did not run away but endured to the end through God’s power at work in him.  His resurrection by God affirms that God was at work in him, not in those opposing him; and proclaims his ongoing presence and power at work among us.

  • Jesus Christ’s mission in today’s world is to overcome evil, sin, and death with love and justice. 

Jesus continues to work here and now to overcome evil, sin, and death with the power of love and justice–“be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (KJV John 16:33b); and “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

  • Jesus calls to us to join his mission and he shares his power, the Holy Spirit, with us for our life and work with him.

Jesus calls us to join him in his mission–“As the Father has sent me, so I send you . . . Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).  He shares his power with us, the power of the Holy Spirit, to cope with evil, sin, and death in our own daily missions.

We join his mission through baptism and become part of the church where we find the guidance and the power to carry on our daily missions.

In baptism, we’ve been adopted as God’s children and have been made members of Christ’s body, the church, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.  Even more, by our promises at our baptism and at any later reaffirmation of them, we have joined Jesus’ mission and become part of the church where we find the help we need for our daily missions.

  • God’s mission has a church.

The church does not have a mission.  Rather, God’s mission has a church.  The church is the visible instrument of God’s mission and, so, Christians collaborate with any person or group working for greater love and justice.  We seek to discern where God’s love and justice are at work; then, we join what God is already doing.