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A Longing For More

Updated: Dec 11, 2020


The Designer:


In the wake of the pandemic and the injustices that face our country, what has surfaced undeniably is the inherent value and objective standard that governs the core basis of human life (cf. Rom. 2:14-16). Meaning, the value of personhood and the sanction for moral integrity points toward a transcendent Being that has designed and construed creation for the function of good. Goodness, though, is not attributive in that society formulates its qualitative character. Rather its premise is rooted in the Creator who seeks to reveal Himself through the created order (cf. Ps. 19; Rom. 1:20); primarily through His image bearers, humanity (cf. Gen. 1:27-28).


Sensus Divinitatis:


Thus, the innate longings that is demonstratively prevalent speaks to what the church has called sensus divinitatis. The magisterial Reformer himself, John Calvin, asserts that “[there] is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity.”[1] This inner yearning aspires for greater fulfillment, thirst for an unquenchable satisfaction, and craves for compassionate delight. What humanity covets amid these dark and unscrupulous times—though they may not necessarily grasp its motivation entirely—is a gaze into the heavenly. Fundamentally, the embodied inclinations that we are seeing is indicative of the spiritual telos grounded amid the human constitution. As Augustine contends, “our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.”[2]


A Longing for The Kingdom. The perversion of systems and the infringement of dignity catapults our sensations in realizing that the brokenness of the world will never completely gratify the innate vision for communal living. To this end, the Apostle Peter addresses the saints as “sojourners and exiles” (1 Pet. 2:11). We, regenerate believers, are not citizens of this world and should never exhaust our hope in her current state. Rather, our assurance terminates upon the King who has inaugurated His kingdom through the cross and resurrection, and is coming to consummate those ends for the fame of His glory (cf. Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 6:33; 7:21).


Yet this should not cause the church to live passively, but rather through the foundation of the Gospel actively pursue the good of the world in discipling the nations to Himself (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). “Goodness” cannot be sustained by mere social reform, though we diligently pursue human flourishing (cf. Matt. 5:16). The biblical kingdom is not a utopian formation conjured through naturalistic means. Rather, the kingdom of God is the awakening of dead hearts to the truths of God by the power of the Spirit (cf. Jn. 3:1-8; 1 Cor. 2:6-16; 2 Cor. 4:4-6). He will return and justice will drip from His lips!


Reformation or Transformation. Though governmental reform is a noble task with respect to the notion that it “is God’s servant for your good” (Rom. 13:4), the fundamental dilemma within the created order is not sheer rehabilitation. Rather, the central aim for creation itself is a total transformation that flows from the work and Person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul contends that “creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Rom. 8:22). Furthermore, the tenants of the Christian faith seek rebirth, the new self, and regeneration (cf. Jn. 3:16; Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 3:5-17; Titus 3:5). Again, this does not discredit efforts in clarifying policies for human flourishing. Yet my point is to remind us that the ultimate remedy, our greatest hope, is grounded beyond ourselves—the Gospel of Christ!


The New Race. As the world orients societies through ethnic/racial lines, the Gospel construes the new humanity through covenantal means. Meaning, God has created in Christ “one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:15-16, italics mine). In the Gospel, race is not the sole identity marker, but rather is an expression of His creative decree within the created order. Therefore, the church stands against the sinfulness of racism by evoking their blood bought familial ties in Christ Jesus. Without a clear covenantal gaze, the community of saints will unintentionally strike their own. As the covenantal community, we represent the new humanity and its metrics.


The Good News:


The intention of this blog is not to deter us from pursuing justice. Rather my hope is to anchor our perspective amid the reality that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Thus, our response—as the church—cannot merely be forged and truncated upon naturalistic means. The burning of our hearts for justice, harmony, and righteousness is the inner longings for a greater Kingdom; a Kingdom—the New Jerusalem—that is inaugurated only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Rev. 21:2).


As believers, if we are going to strive for justice, we must not abandon the Gospel message, but rather anchor our pursuits in its proclamation. It is only through the reign of His throne that righteousness will flow like living water. It is only in His redemptive work that dead men will rise to new life. It is only in His adoptive agency where many sons and daughters will enter into glory. If justice is going to be properly pursued on this side of eternity, it must be fueled by Gospel life which transpires itself through the discipling of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons/daughters, and generations for the glory of God and the good of His people. As the dust settles, how will we, the church, continue to answer the many longings irrupting from this world? Whatever hope we distill, it can never be void of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Soli Deo Gloria!

 

***footnotes***

[1] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1960), 1.3.1. [2] Augustine, Confessions, ed. Michael P. Foley, trans. F. J. Sheed, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Compnay, 2006), 1.1.1.

 

McYoung Y. Yang (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; ThM, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)


He is the husband to Debbie Yang and the father to McCayden (11), McCoy (10), McColsen (8), and DeYoung (4).  He is one of the Teaching Pastors at Covenant City Church in St. Paul, MN which was planted in early 2020. McYoung is continuing his doctoral studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO where he hopes to obtain his PhD in Systematic Theology. His ambition is to use his training and platform as a means to serve the local church in living life through the Gospel lens. McYoung enjoys reading/writing, sports, and playing with his children.

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