Thoughts On Religion At The Front - Ch. 10
( Originally Published 1917 )
" BUT the third day He rose again."
Peter was not left in the porch, nor are we. His broken hope was remade by the One fully trusted in by Jesus only by the "God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ."
The Christian thing which we look for is the Good News of God in Christ. It is not only the religion of Jesus our Brother, but religion in Jesus, in Him revealing God to men. It is not only His human richness towards God, but in Him the richness of God towards men. It is the Cross not only as the climax of free loving self-offering to the Father, but as itself the laying bare of the Father's heart—it is God reconciling the world unto Himself.
It is this — the revelation of God in Christ—of which the experience of the war shows we are above all else in the world in need. God, not merely assented to as a mysterious "One above," at the back of things, but God, known and delighted in, in terms of Jesus Christ. It is one great light which we need to walk in the light of the knowledge of what God is, as it shines upon the face of Jesus Christ. The specific Christian thing that makes Christianity salvation is not—as so many men in the army think—just goodness nor negative and kill-joy propriety, but the fact that in Me ardent, venturesome, and self-regardless sacrifice of Jesus, we see the Love of God Himself coming out to win the souls of men.
Everything else follows from that, and comes second to it as first—all that follows from God's love being holy, and from men being unholy, all that is meant by Christian experience, all that is involved in the activities of prayer and service. Men have to begin from, and ever keep rallying round, the truth of what God is as made known in Christ—treating the truth as no matter of course, but as the disclosure which in this strange world seems nearly too good to be true.
For there is no reconciliation between the facts of the world and the Absolute of philosophy or the highly attributed Supreme Being of natural religion. One thing alone can meet the passion of men—whether imposed upon them or self-inflicted—it is the passion of God in Christ whereby His Love works out its victory. That alone can harness to itself the vitality and heroism of men, which else will riot away in waste or flag in disillusion. That alone can be the constraining object of their joy and praise, and the satisfaction of their adventurous devotion.