Whenever there is an atrocity committed by those associated with certain Islamic groups, one issue that is often mentioned is that of the radicalization of the perpetrator(s). How is it that they have come to be radicalized? The normal explanation of what has happened, is that the “radicalized” person has come under the influence of a certain group or preacher and their mindset and heartset has been transformed thereby. Through such a process, these people have been set on a track which has led to them committing certain terrible acts. They have, as it were, been radicalized unto evil.
The Christian faith, in total contradistinction to this, should lead to a radicalization unto good. The Christian message, when it is truthfully and fully imbibed into our beings, by faith in Jesus Christ, transforms us so that we are driven by love to help all people around us.
After exploring the great gospel themes in Romans 1-11 Paul tells the Roman Christians: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:1-2). Christianity is the most radical message in the world. It transforms dead sinners to those who have a desire to be for God.
Every Christian has been radicalized. This is what the gospel does. Romans 6 tells us how the believer has been re-wired by the power of God. We are dead to sin and alive to righteousness. How about reading Romans 6 now conscious that it is about how we have been reconstructed by God. The Christian has been radicalized so that our lives might be unto righteousness. As we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “we are now new creatures in Christ.”
Such people that have been radicalized by the gospel should be radical in their lives. We should be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. Paul sums up what our attitude should be when he says “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).” And many true Christian martyrs down the ages have shown the proof of this radicalization in their beings.
May we know what it is to be truly and fully radicalized ourselves. And that our lives might truly be to the praise of our God.