The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Face to 'Face'- 'I can see clearly now.........'

Thinking of the phrase 'through a glass darkly' this morning, and I realize that this is 'old hat' for many of us, the thought came to me, 'we no longer see 'through a glass darkly'. Although it is true that some or most, for whatever reason ( mostly their own choice ), still have not been able to see clearly that God has made His eternal dwelling-'place' with us ( John 14:23 ), or in us ( I Corinthians 6:19 ), and that we no longer need hope for that Day, when all things are made 'new', for Paul tells us that 'all things have been made new'( II Corinthians 5:17 ), and several years later, through John; Jesus assured the first-century Christians, and assures us that He had, and has made 'all things new'!

Especially in today's 'day and age', as things ( physically speaking, anyway ) 'seem' to have gotten, and continue to get, worse and worse; it's very easy to see why many Christians have failed to see that Christ did 'return' when He said He would ( Matthew 16:26, 24:34, etc ), and that God once again, as in the 'Garden' dwells with us ( Exodus 15:17, 25:8 ( Ephesians 2:22 ) Exodus 29:45 ( Jeremiah 31:33 ) II Corinthians 6:16 ), and 'walks' with us ( Genesis 3:8, Matthew 1:23 ). Above, when Paul said, 'if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation'; what did he mean by that? Obviously, since he said it in the present tense; he did not mean that physically we had been made new, because one would think it would follow that we would be walking around with a brand new body ( hmmm.............that has interesting implications for the traditional creation account, don't you think? ), with a new 'heart' ( mind ) that wouldn't even think of anything impure, much less do anything untoward; the fact is, though, that we still walk this earth with the same old aching body, the same propensity for impure thoughts ( though if we are a 'new creation'-'born of God', we will have less and less of those because our conscience has been made 'captive' ( Psalm 68:18, Ephesians 4:8 ), and even the best of us ( Christians ) doesn't do everything right all the time, every time ( not that we don't and shouldn't try )!

Most Christians understand, and are comfortable with the fact that Paul was speaking spiritually, as Jesus and the apostles were used to doing. Most of these, however, look forward to a day when 'our faith will be made sight', believing ( to varying degrees ) that we will, at some future 'day', whether after we physically expire or before, be clothed in a new, perfect ( as Jesus' was ) human body, to physically walk this earth, although that will be new and perfect too, with the wolf laying down with the lamb, lion with the calf ( Isaiah 11:6 ), etc, for a millennial reign ( this can vary as well ), after which we will all be taken to our actual home, 'Heaven'!

If my readers, especially of several years ago, have learned one thing about me from my articles; it is that I believe that 'Heaven' is not a place, per se, but humanly speaking, is more of a condition, a state of being. Take for instance, when we proudly ( and humbly) say that we are 'in' Christ ( as opposed to being 'in' the flesh ); are we actually, physically in Him? Okay; those who know me, or my writings can probably see where I'm going with this; we are physically in Him because we are in 'His body, the Church'. Traditionally though; when a Christian claims to be 'in' Christ, he means that positionally ( spiritually ) they have been identified with Christ, and as a follower of Him, have begun to lead a different life: 'old things have passed away, behold all things have become new', in essence, that they have died to self, and begun a new life.

As Paul also wrote, in I Corinthians 15:46, 'However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual', and as I reasoned in a previous article, several years ago,

'Jesus also speaks to this effect, in the third chapter of John, when He told Nicodemus, who thought that Jesus was saying that, to enter the Kingdom, you had to be physically reborn; that 'unless one is born of water ( the natural birth ) and the Spirit ( Matt. 3:11 ), he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' Jesus had to further clarify, with this statement, to make clear in Nicodemus' mind that He was NOT talking here about a physical, but rather, a spiritual 'change'!'    From 'A Spiritual Body'.

I talked above, about the phrase 'our faith will be made sight': many Christians, I believe, will agree that, spiritually speaking, our faith has become sight, but most look forward to the day when our faith ( spiritual ) will become sight ( physical ). I believe that this has happened already, and continues to happen, as people's eyes are opened to the truths of fulfilled & covenant eschatology. In the greatest ( well, maybe not the greatest! ) sense, our physical eyes have been opened, and our faith ( hope ) has become sight ( assurance, seeing not only the truth of fulfilled redemption, but the fact that 'The kingdoms[f] of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!', that even though it doesn't seem to our finite minds, that God is reigning ('Why do 'bad' thing happen to good people?' ); He is in total control, and is ruling ( physically through us ) on this earth! We can see the Presence of God in the beauty, not only natural, but human, that surrounds us, we can see the effects of 'Christ in you, the hope of Glory' ( Colossians 1:27 ), and we have the assurance that He did what He said He would, when He said He would!

The reality is that we have ( and do, everyday ) come 'face to face' with Christ, in the form of His Body, the Church! I realize that for too long ( one can think of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and many other atrocities that have been committed in the name of Christ ), God's people, whether real or imagined, have not shown the 'face' of Christ to the world; but it is obvious to me, through the many natural and man-made disasters which have happened throughout the world, in the past millenia, that God is bringing His Church, His people together, and so, while many do not realize that they are, in actuality, 'face to face' with Christ, we have, as even the first-century Church, come to 'Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel'!

May God continue to bless His people with this realization, as we struggle, through our weaknesses, to serve Him in His Kingdom.

                                                                  In all humility and thankfulness,
                                                                                            Charles Shank

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