Living life together in a Christ-centered community

Evan Tan expresses his desire for Christ-centered community.


John Buchanan

Junior Evan Tan. | John Buchanan/THE CHIMES [file photo]

Evan Tan , Writer

In one of his Psalms, David said, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” We cannot simply take for granted this privilege of living life together among other Christians. It is only by God’s grace that we are able to do so. As we come together, we are graciously given a glimpse of eternity where all will be united under the lordship of the triune God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to believers, for in the nearness of a fellow Christian, we also experience the gracious presence of the Almighty God.”


As Christians, not only are we united in the realization of our depravity, but also in our God-given righteousness that Christ imputed to us on the cross. In understanding a Christ-centered community, we need to first recognize that our communion is not grounded on what we do as a community, but in who we are through him. A Christ-centered community is not an ideal that we strive to achieve, but a divine reality that we must acknowledge. Just like the basis of our salvation, our community as Christians is based not upon our desire or merit, but his truth.


With a flawed understanding of what a Christian community is, we often desire extraordinary divine experiences, which causes us to lose sight of what Christ has already established in all of us as his elect. By no means am I discrediting the uplifting and blissful experiences that God grants us as we enjoy him together. But because we are bound together by faith alone, we should be ready to forgo all such experiences when at times God does not grant them.


Having served in Biola’s Associated Students for the past two years, I have learned to understand the mission of AS — that is, to equip student leaders and to ultimately foster a Christ-centered community. At the same time, I also noticed that regardless of how good or terrible AS is at what they do, Biola continues to be a Christ-centered community. From this, I realized that our essence is not defined by our doing, but instead, our actions are defined by who we are; the things that we do are constantly being formed by the identity that God has bestowed upon us.


Just by looking at the recent AS elections, we can truly see that regardless of how flawed the system may have been, how incredibly emotional every single process was for everyone, and how controversial the final result turned out to be, we still are a Christ-centered community. We are still serving alongside our brothers and sisters to make God known and glorified on this campus. Our identity as a Christ-centered community is imperishable even in the harshest conditions.


With that realization, as the student body president for this upcoming year, I see the need to stress that it is not our job to create a Christ-centered community — for that has already been established. However, it is our responsibility to provide Biola students with the various venues and resources necessary for them to express their identity as a Christ-centered community.


As we are all coming towards the end of this semester, let us be grateful for the people that we have the privilege to live life with, for the people that we have grown to love and care for, and for the people whom God has fearfully and wonderfully placed in our lives. Because these people, through Christ, are who ultimately constitute our Christ-centered community.


Soli Deo Gloria,

Evan Tan
AS President 2013-2014

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