Chapter 9: Redeeming the Already There

Developing the Leader God has Already Created

Takeshi Takazawa

“No, I don’t want to become a Christian.”

I was stunned. My friend and I had just finished debating the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus. I had given sound arguments to prove the existence of God and that his Son Jesus rose from the dead. My friend even admitted to the logic of my conclusions. But he had no interest in becoming a Christ follower.

“You admit that I’m right, but you refuse to accept Christ,” I said. “Why do you say no?” “Because,” he answered, “I do not want to become like you.”

LEGACY OF THE INCOMPLETE

I SHARE THIS DISCOURAGING story from my past only to make a point. It highlights the paradigm from which, at that time, I understood God to view humanity: People are lost.

As Christians, we know this to be true. Scripture makes it clear that, without God, we are without hope:

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
Ephesians 2:12

Understanding our lost state is a foundational component to understanding our human identity in the eyes of God. But it is not the only component. Scripture also tells us that, from the very beginning, we have had within us the image and likeness of God—and that it is good:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness”…So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.…God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Genesis 1:26a, 27, 31

How we view the human condition deeply affects how we treat people. If we solely see people as lost, as missing, then we will only see them as hopeless, worthless objects that need to be found. However, if we see people as both lost and made in the image of God, then we will treat them differently. We will see them as valuable creations whom God wants to bring back to where they belong. God is not trying to add something to a person’s life that they don’t already have; rather, he seeks to buy them back to himself and bring them back to the life for which they were originally created—to live in fellowship with God himself.

But as a Japanese man who …


About the Author

TAKESHI TAKAZAWA has been involved in leader development and church multiplication with Asian Access since 1989. He and his wife Dorrie live in Tokyo, Japan.

 

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