The “COEXIST” Bumper Sticker

Christians are supposed to, as much as possible, live peaceably with everyone (Rom 12:18). In that respect, we are to “coexist.” At the same time, Christians are to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world. Coexisting with the world is not the same thing as adopting the world’s philosophies and behaviors. We are called to be different than the world; peculiar even.

We are called to be a “city on a hill” and not “hide our light under a bushel.” We are here for the same reason as Jesus: to call sinners to repentance and to a relationship with God the Father. This will not happen without us swimming against the current.

It’s not possible to be a genuine Christian without rocking the boat. The Gospel is a radical, subversive, counter-cultural message. It is a message of love to be sure, but not the same kind of love that the world generally espouses. Just looking at a crucifix drives this point home.

Christianity is not simply one of many fingers pointing to the moon. It is not simply one path among many for seeking God. Christianity is about God seeking us. Jesus claimed to be God, and proved it. Other religious leaders may claim to direct us to God, but only Jesus claimed to BE God. He came to find us and set us free from sin. God is not distant. The world needs this message, like it or not.

So, while we are to coexist in one sense, Christians cannot genuinely follow the Gospel without making any waves. We can’t be content to quietly take our “place” as the “T” on the end of a “COEXIST” bumper sticker and leave it at that. Jesus didn’t command his followers to blend in. He didn’t call us to huddle in our church buildings and leave the world alone. He called us to stand out and be different. He called us to be holy. He called us to change the world (all that “salt of the earth” stuff). That’s going to run up against no small amount of resistance. People might talk. They might say we’re not coexisting and “fitting in” very well.

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