The New Community

The gospel calls us to repentance and invites us to the new community of those who seek to bear witness to the new order of the kingdom of God in the midst of the old order of the world.

The biblical word for repentance is metanoia, which literally means “turning the mind around,” “to change your form.” It means a transformation of one’s life that is more basic, far deeper, and more far reaching, than our common understanding of the word repentance. Why is this call to metanoia so strong and demanding? Because the coming of Jesus Christ heralds a new age, the inbreaking of a new order. “… the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death, a light has dawned. From that lime Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Or in contemporary language, “Change your way of thinking, for the New Order of the Spirit is impinging upon you.” Matthew 4:16, 17

Clearly, a new order is upon us and for this reason we are called to change our ways of thinking and living, to turn to Jesus for a whole new way of life. John Howard Yoder describes the meaning of the gospel for our times:

The priority agenda for Jesus, and for many of us, is not mortality or anxiety, but unrighteousness, injustice. The need is not for consolation or acceptance but for a new order in which [people] may live together in love. In His time, therefore, as in ours, the question of revolution, the judgment of God upon the present order and imminent promise of another one, is the language in which the gospel must speak.

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