Friday, October 28, 2011

Full of Glory

Below is an excerpt from a booklet about Ezekiel that I'm almost done with.
The popular view of heaven as part utopia, part family reunion, is not entirely unbiblical.  But it tends to make personal wish fulfillment the focus of salvation instead of Christ.  In fact, we could go so far as to say that for some, Christ is little more than the means by which their wishes will be fulfilled in the afterlife.  Heaven is also presented as a reward for good behavior, a place where we are finally free from suffering.  In the world to come, we will be freed from all forms of suffering caused by the effects of sin in this fallen world (Rev. 21:4).  But we will not be freed from glory, from the self-sacrificing, other-centered fellowship that is the divine nature.  Participating in the divine nature IS salvation (2 Peter 1:4).  If we haven’t had self-motivation eradicated but have only behaved until our desires are finally gratified in heaven, from what have we been saved?  By contrast, God has much more in mind than simply rewarding us.  He wants all things to be full of glory, to be permeated by that selfless inter-relating—“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). 
            What do we mean when we talk of all things being full of glory?  Let’s put it this way: imagine a world where every last thing is Christ: every river, every stone, every blade of grass.  This is something like what Ezekiel’s third vision shows us.  Christ is the temple, the altar, and the offering. He is the priest presenting the offering, He is the sacrificial flesh eaten by those who minister.  He is the land and each inheritance marked out.  He is the 12 tribes and the nation of Israel.  His Spirit is the river that makes everything live as it flows past trees of all kinds, which trees He is.  “Christ is all, and is in all” (Col. 3:11).  There is nothing in what Ezekiel sees that is not Christ.  And this is where God has placed us.  This is the One into whom we have been baptized (1 Cor. 1:30, 12:13).  Despite the conditions through which we sojourn, despite the lack of Christ we see around us and in us every day, God would have us know that our reality, the place where we live and move and have our being, is precisely this place where there is nothing but Christ, where Christ is the elemental composition of everything, where He is the length, the height, the breadth, and the depth (Eph. 3:18).

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Excerpt from "Micah: Who Is Like Yah?"

I just finished a booklet about Micah & posted the link on the right.  Below is an excerpt.


           The name Micah means, “Who is like Yah?”  Micah’s prophecy shows how God’s grace abounds in Christ and utterly swallows up sin, death, and Satan.  Yah is short for Yahweh, the name of God meaning, “I Am” (Exodus 3:14).  Jesus is the living image and fulfillment of this name of God, in all its significance—“I am [the Messiah],” “I am the bread of life,” “I am the light of the world,” “I am the good shepherd,” “I am the resurrection and the life,” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” “I am the true vine,” “I am a king,” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”[1]  In these and similar statements, Jesus shows that He brings this name of God to completion in endless ways.  In view of God’s great salvation through Christ, we can only answer that there is no one like Yah—no one as majestic in holiness, as awesome in glory, or working such wonders as the death and resurrection of Jesus (Ex. 15:11).

[1] John 4:25-26, 6:35, 8:12, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1, 18:37; Rev. 22:13.