Going Public

For Christians, the “good life” is not something reserved for an exclusive few. It is not hidden, or kept for those who have an ecstatic vision or some kind of secret experience. It is not monopolized by a particular class of people. Christianity is unique in that life is accessible to everyone, regardless of who you are.

In 1 John, we are told that this life was “made manifest.” In other words, God fully disclosed His plan, so that all could see. It was a revelation that could be “heard,” “seen,” and “touched.” It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like to see Jesus, but the mere thought that God was visible is incredible. In terms that humans could understand, God’s love was fully disclosed.

Unfortunately, there are many religions and sects that keep secrets. Because deception needs to be hidden, they need to keep certain aspects of their religion from being known. But shouldn’t it seem suspicious if some things are reserved for a small few?

As a follower of Christ, there is always a deeper life (when a person can know God better), but this is not a hidden experience. Rather, all of the details are visible in Christ. No other revelation is needed. Jesus Christ, who performed miracles and rose from the dead, was seen by hundreds of people — not just one or two. The totality of the gospel is accessible to all.

Interestingly, the realization that “Christianity is public” leads us to evangelism. Because God made His incredible life manifest to all, we should echo that by sharing life with others. As John writes in his first letter, “that which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you.” (1:3) If the nature of the message is public, we distort it if we keep it to ourselves. We should be drawn towards fellowship with one another.