Whether or not Christians should be radicals depends on how the word is defined. Many people in history have used the name of Christ to inflict terror, persecution, and genocide upon those with religious differences. That form of radicalism was never condoned by Jesus—who was Himself a radical. His message of love, forgiveness, and mercy was at direct odds with the accepted views of the day. He refused to fight back when attacked (1 Peter 2:23), to allow Peter to defend Him with violence (Matthew 26:51–52), or to condemn the woman caught in adultery (John 8:4–11). Those were all radical acts for that time and culture. One reason some people turned away from Christ was that His requirement of giving up everything for His sake was simply too radical (Luke 18:22–23).
The decision to follow Christ is itself a call to radical living. Jesus said that “anyone who wants to follow Me must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). That command is at extreme odds with our flesh’s desire to please itself (Romans 7:21–23). It challenges worldly wisdom, which preaches self-fulfillment as our highest aim (1 John 2:15–17). The cross is a radical thing, and declaring Jesus as Lord of our lives involves a dethroning of Self and complete abandonment to His will. We must be willing to go where He leads, do what He says, and love Him more than life itself (Matthew 10:37–38). The lifestyle changes that follow such a commitment are
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