Monday, 24 May 2010

The Glory of Christ in this Present Age

What would you say to people who tell you something like: I would believe in God if only he would rock up in person and show himself?  The problem is, I can't see him and therefore I don't believe he exists.

At this point, if you're a bible-wearing evangelical, you'd probably get out your big apologetics guns and say; well he has rocked up in the person of Jesus and done that very thing, then fire (BOOM) a gospel in their general direction and hope for the best.

Make no mistake, that's a great answer and probably where I'd start, but is it the whole answer?

The Father doesn't interact directly with creation, he sends a mediator, Jesus the Son, but that then begs the question, how is Jesus mediating his conferred authority from the Father over creation right now? Because one thing is for sure, he isn't doing it directly. When he does return to rule directly, we'll know about it.

But he is ruling and extending that rule through another mediator: the Church. He continues to do on the earth all he sees the Father doing, through the Church. As always, the key to understanding this is not logic, but symmetry:

Just as the Father has been clearly revealed by the Son, so too the Son is clearly revealed by the Church.
Just as the Father has lavished his love on the Son, so the Son lavishes his love on the Church.
Just as the Father has lavished his glory on the Son, so the Son has lavished his glory on the Church.
Just as the Father has conferred his authority onto the Son, so to the Son has conferred his authority onto the Church.

If you're a good self-respecting evangelical, you're probably feeling quite uncomfortable now, because you have a good theology about how the visible church falls far short of the previous four hyperlinks, but don't let that reality rob you of the commissioning you know you have received by the Holy Spirit. Rather, stop making excuses and ask your loving heavenly Father to help you enter the reality into which he has called you.

Remember too, that this love, glory, wisdom and authority has not been given to you, the church, so that you can make much of yourself/ves.  Instead, like John the Baptist, follow in the same self-effacing vein that we see displayed in the Father and the Son and live to catch all people up by the Spirit into the worship of Jesus for the glory of God the Father.

In this, the true, eternal lemniscate of love, is complete.

6 comments:

jonathanrose said...

Great post and major props for using the word 'lemniscate'!

Richard Walker said...

Thanks Jonathan.

Am I old if I had to look up your use of the word props, at urban dictionary.com? I was trying to work out how polystyrene tubing might fit into this somewhere! ;-)

Dave K said...

Like it. Thanks.

Difficult to point to the risen life of Christ in the church without being triumphalistic, unrealistic about sin and selling churchianity... but that is no worse than denying the reality of Christ's life here and now. The church can be made independent of Christ and his Spirit at both extremes I think.

Richard Walker said...

Thanks Dave.

The sad thing is, I feel quite cold as I write this. Pleased that I have seen it, but not hit by the weight of it. That's a dangerous place to be. I need God's help a LOT!

Dave K said...

Sorry to hear that Richard. I think we all need to feel the weight more. I certainly do, and you helped me to.

jonathanrose said...

Not at all Richard!

Rarely do you find someone who is well-versed in theology and proficient in urban vernacular at the same time. Definitely better to be the former :)

Keep up the good work!