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Allegiance, Truth and Power: Three crucial dimensions for Christian living


Allegiance Commitment Leading to Relationship

The first and most important of the three dimensions is what I call the relationship dimension. This is the dimension the other two dimensions are intended to support. We may picture this fact as follows:

This dimension begins with an initial allegiance/commitment to Christ that we often refer to as conversion and is expected to issue in a continual growth in commitment and intimacy with Christ. The dynamic of this dimension is growth, a process that involves change in the direction of Christlikeness on the part of the convert and movement into closer and closer relationships with Christ, His people and one’s self. As we grow, we are to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ, becoming more and more like Him to whom we have committed ourselves.

There is no salvation without a relationship with Jesus, whether or not we have a lot of knowledge to go with it.

Our allegiance to Christ and the ensuing relationship is to replace any other allegiance/relationship that is primary in one’s life. All other allegiances are to be secondary to this one. In His own family-oriented society, Jesus spoke in no uncertain terms of the need to put Him first saying, “Whoever comes to me cannot be my disciple unless he loves me more than he loves his father and his mother, his wife and his children, his brothers and his sisters, and himself as well” (Lk 14:26). In this way, Jesus commanded those for whom allegiance to family was supreme to put family second and Himself first.

The allegiance-relationship dimension is quite distinct from the other two dimensions. For example, no one becomes a Christian simply through knowledge or power. As James says, even demons have enough understanding to cause them to tremble in fear (Jas 2:19). They have all the knowledge they need but none of the relationship required for salvation. Yet we are often taught to witness primarily by increasing the person’s knowledge, as if that knowledge is going to bring him/her into the Kingdom. This is a radically different dimension from the knowledge dimension, though related to it. And, we can’t simply click into a relationship on the basis of what we know.

The problem we face, though, is how to cultivate and pass on this relationship. As Christians, we need to be constantly attentive to growing “in the grace and [experiential] knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). For me, since I have learned well to read the Bible mainly for information, this has involved changing certain habits in order to learn to read the Scriptures relationally. I have been teaching myself to experience the events of Scripture as I read them.

The thing that propelled me in that direction, however, is something we will discuss below under the power-freedom dimension. I began to experience the presence of Jesus in ministry. I began doing some of the works Jesus promised in John 14:12 that we would do, His works of power and of love. Participating with Jesus in doing the kinds of things He did while on earth, then, has driven me ever closer to Him in the abiding in Him relationship He spoke about in John 15.


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Category: Fall 2010, Living the Faith

About the Author: Charles H. Kraft, Ph.D. (Hartford Seminary Foundation), is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Intercultural Communication, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, California). He has served as a missionary in Nigeria, and professor of African languages at Michigan State University and UCLA. He has published widely both in missiology and in African linguistics, and his books include Christianity in Culture (1979 and revised 2005), Worldview for Christian Witness (2008), and The Evangelical's Guide to Spiritual Warfare: Scriptural Insights and Practical Instruction on Facing the Enemy (Chosen, Feb 2015). His ministry website is

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