When I was a child, I made use of a child’s language, I had a child’s feelings and a child’s thoughts:now that I am a man, I have put away the things of a child. 1Co 13:11
Since the fall, this planet has been in a downward spiral, heading towards destruction. The only thing holding it together is Jesus, through whom all things are created and who holds them all together.
Since the fall, humanity has run from its creator, from its call and purpose, neglecting the glorious goal it was created for: to be one with the son of God and therefore God himself. We in him, and he in us, and we all in the Father.
Since the fall, the enemy and sin have worked to blur our vision, so we see but as in a mirror, or as the message puts it, through fog.
The basic assumption
But God has a plan. He has this goal of unity, and he has all authority. Therefore, there must be a preplanned solution. There is hope.
God is love. His plan cannot be destruction of humanity. But in order for there to be love, there has to be free will. Only if we decide out of free will, we can exercise love and therefore connect with God on his ground. There is free will, there is love.
God is just. He will never override our free will, eliminating love. Therefore he will accept the probability of sin, that is a decision against the acceptance of his love. But as God is just, he has to act on sin with punishment. Death calls for death, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But as he is love, he forgives.
The only way those two don’t build a paradox—to forgive is unjust for the victim, not to forgive neglects love—is to give people a chance to accept the only way out. The only way out: a perfect substitutional sacrifice that is not part of that dilemma or paradox, as it is sinless. Thus God gave his only begotten son so that we are not lost but that our sins are forgiven. A way out, fully respecting our free will.
Jesus did it all on the cross. It is finished. He decided to empower us, the church, to deal with the rest, as Peter says: the enemy is now your problem. But he gave us the helper, the Holy Spirit, that will remind us of everything Jesus did or said. And he promised to never leave us nor forsake us. There is faithfulness, thus there is faith.
This tells me that we are in this together. We are not left alone, but we have a major part to play. As God will never overrun our free will, as he gave this earth into our hands as stewards and care takers.
Jesus gave himself when he ascended. He gave the fivefold ministry
to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body … , until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. Eph 4:12-13 Msg
To work within Christ’s body on a very basic level means to work within the church. As we have seen in some of my latter installments, it on a more mature level means to work together as a new creation, a new being, the one new man, as a collective intelligence, emotionality, mind, will, soul, spirit, body. And they will become one flesh. Or in the case of the body of Christ, as he is spirit and we are spirit: they will become one spirit. Because there is only one spirit.
We are playing our little games about how the earth was created, whether the bread and the wine really turn into flesh and blood, how the last years are going to play out, whether the gifts of the Spirit ceased or not (which would mean that God robbed us of some of the most powerful tools to further the Kingdom), and so forth. Style of prayer and music seem to be more important than getting the job done.
And the job is not to take with us as many as possible when we go to heaven. It is to bring the Kingdom of God to earth, so that his will is done on earth as it is in the heavens.
Let’s grow up. Let’s take our place in this unified, glorious, Christ-centered body without spot or wrinkle. Bring your gifts to the table, whether it is a superb mind, great empathy, deep understanding, a prophetic gift, pastoral care, apostolic authority, gifts of healings, supernatural wonders, discernment of spirits, a hand for making money and financing the Kingdom, you name it.
What have you got?