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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The ( fulfilled ) Hope of Glory

Do not let your heart be troubled. You trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places; if that were not the case, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14:1-3 ( MR-INT


If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.
John 14:23 ( MR-INT ) 

μονή ( monē ), unlike in many more traditional versions, is translated more correctly above as 'dwelling places', in fact, my favored translation ( NKJV ) has a note to this effect, although the translators still ( stubbornly ) rendered it 'mansions'!  Most interpretations of Jesus' words in the beginning of this passage ( ' I go and prepare a place for you' ) that I have heard are to the effect that Jesus has prepared a place for us in some remote 'place' ( 'Heaven' ), from which He will ( futurist ) come and take us to Himself. As we have 'already' seen, though, in several different articles, not only is the same Greek word translated differently by these translators in these two passages, but the dwelling that He went to prepare was us! The New Jerusalem Bible more correctly translates the first part of verse 3 as 'after I have gone and prepared you a place'. This does not necessarily mean, linguistically, that the place He went to prepare was us ( His People ) but, reading the rest of the chapter, especially, and leading up to verse 23, it is not a stretch to ascertain and affirm that that is what He referred to! The fact that there are many 'dwellings' in our Father's house speaks of the Body of Christ, of which there are many members!

The argument has been made before, based on the latter passage and like references, that God once again dwells with His people, indeed that they ( we ) are His New Temple. Here again, we run into the tendency toward individualism. Is it true that the Spirit of God dwells ( individually ) within each and every one of His people? I dare say that this is an accurate statement, but, when taking into account that many Christians say that God cannot dwell with sin; we run into a bit of a problem! We know that even the best of us 'lapses' every once in a while, so questions like 'does the Presence of God leave a Christian when/if he sins?' What a thought! Thinking like this might lead one to wonder if he is a Christian at all, or even if he must be 'born again' every time he makes a bad decision! You might also wonder if this is not much of the philosophical impetus behind the futurist paradigm.

If God dwells in us, why does it seem like He is so far away sometimes? I know that many Christians out there probably ask themselves ( and God ) this question at certain times during their lives! 'Individualism' has long fingers! Because God dwells in His people, when we distance ourselves, for whatever reason, from His people, in that sense then, we have distanced ourselves from God! This is not to say that this person has, in reality, been separated from the Presence of God, but in actuality, it is in the fellowship and communion of the family of God that we sensibly experience His Presence!



Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27c

Reading our English Bible, it is easy to where this idea ( individualism ) might come from. Unless one reads Scriptures like this in the context of the covenantal nature of The Story, as well as keeping in mind the plural tense of the language used, the tendency ( not necessarily wrong ) is to apply these words to individual Christians. When we do this, we often gloss over the fact that Jesus said, for instance, in Luke's Gospel ( 17:21 ),  'The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[d] For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you'. These words were spoken to the Pharisees, so from an individualistic point of view, it almost sounds as if Jesus was telling those unbelieving Pharisees that they were vessels of His glorious Kingdom!

Christ is undoubtedly in Spirit, dwelling within His people, although His love is not always readily evident from their attitude and conversation! Paul wrote, in his letter to the Romans ( 8:30 ), 'Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified'. As we have discussed before, we sure don't 'feel', all the time, like we are 'Glorified Beings', but we must remember in this context also, that it is not individuals, though that may be discussed, so much as it is the people of God, as a whole, a corporate Body ( 'Corpus Christi' )that has been made glorious!

With the realization of 'Christ in you'; let us never forget that the apostle ( Paul ) also wrote, 'For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also [ is ] Christ' ( I Corinthians 12:12 ). Though we are 'members individually'; we must remember that we are not alone! James wrote, 'as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also'. With that necessary communion between the members of the Body of Christ, in covenant union, we will not thrive, and will not long survive!

We, as God's people, are glorious, and while we should show that glorification in our lives, we must keep in mind that is His Body, not individuals, that He has glorified! If/when we forget this, we'll go 'bonkers' trying to BE glorious!

Glorying in His Presence,
Charles Haddon Shank









 

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