One of the basic teachings of Christianity is that it is Jesus who saves us from the consequences of our misbehavior, from our sins. We can not, and do not save ourselves. That’s both deeply freeing and very hard to internalize. Even though I know it I still act as if I don’t really believe it – and believe that if I just work hard enough, I can manage my salvation.
There’s a similar thing that I hear lately in the Church regarding the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, the manifestation of God’s Reign on Earth. It seems that if we just educate people properly, or do the right things for the environment, or use the right theological formulas to explain doctrine, we can by our efforts make God’s Reign real.
We can’t. And we aren’t expected to either. We are charged with announcing it, and we are charged with discerning how and where it is present, but we are not expected to grow it into reality by ourselves. That’s God’s work, not ours. It’s freeing to realize that – and to recognize that the reality of the Kingdom or the future of the Church is not dependent on our efforts.