Monday, 13 October 2014

Dreams: A Picture of our Final Awakening

Last week, I awoke in the middle of the night and heard Elli fretting in her sleep, it sounded like she was having a nightmare so I gently called out her name. She awoke and told me that she had, indeed, been having a very distressing dream. We prayed God's redeeming love over the dream and both fell back asleep again until morning.

The Bible speaks of our transition into the next world as an "awakening." That this world, as solid as it feels, is a dreamworld compared to the reality of the world beyond the veil where God lives:
For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14
Jesus says:
Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:25-29
Whether your life feels more like a fantasy or a nightmare, a time is coming when we will all hear his voice and be awoken to the greatest reality.

Monday, 6 October 2014

It's all about Jesus Christ

In the introduction to Christ our Life, Mike Reeves writes:
Once upon a time a book like this would have been utterly run-of-the-mill. Among the old Puritans, for example, you can scarcely find a writer who did not write - or a preacher who did not preach - something called The Unsearchable Riches of Christ; Christ Set Forth; The Glory of Christ or the like. Yet today, what sells? What puts a smile on the bookseller's face? The book that is about the reader. People want to read about themselves. There's nothing necessarily wrong in that, of course; but that is not primarily what life is about. "For me to live is Christ," said the apostle Paul. "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil. 1:21, 3:8). Startling words, all too easily dismissed as religious overexcitement. But Paul was not raving; he was speaking plainly, the deepest wisdom; that life is found in Jesus Christ, the author and source of it, and if we know him rightly, we will find nothing so desirable, so delightful as him.
It's not just our self-focus though; we naturally gravitate, it seems towards anything but Jesus - and Christians as almost as much as anyone else. Whether it's the 'Christian Worldview,' 'grace,' 'the Bible,' or 'the gospel'; as if they were things in themselves that could save us. Even 'the cross' can get abstracted from Jesus, as if the wood had some power of its own. Other things, wonderful things, vital discoveries, they so easily edge Jesus aside. Precious theological concepts meant to describe him and his work get treated as things in their own right. He becomes just another brick in the wall. But the centre, the cornerstone, the jewel in the crown of Christianity is not an idea, a system or a thing; it is not even 'the gospel' as such. It is Jesus Christ.