It’s a common oversight that many make: they push a mold over Christian faith so that they can categorize it as just one of many world religions. They like to be able to say that Christianity is just a different framework over the same basic transaction that we see in all world religions: Be good, get reward.
But anyone who takes the time to listen to Jesus learns quite quickly that there’s nothing transactional about Christianity. Christianity isn’t a system wherein our strength merits reward, our power to advance good against enemies wins victories, or our ability to minimize sin ascend us to glory. Rather, Jesus shows us quite explicitly that a Christian is strongest when they embrace their weakness. That they win victories when they turn a cheek to their enemies. That they find glory when they admit their inability to stop sin.
Alone, these paradoxes of faith would be absurd. But when we understand the cross, they fall into place. We’ll finish out the season of Epiphany and watch God reveal himself as we see how his ultimate revelation in Jesus makes the paradox of faith make perfect sense.