In the beginning was the Word

“Left to myself, doing what comes naturally, I would fail. But the point of love is that it doesn’t. That is why love is a virtue. It is a language to be learned, a musical instrument to be practiced, a mountain to be climbed via some steep and tricky cliff paths but with the most amazing view from the top. It is one of those things that will last; one of the traits of character which provides a genuine anticipation of that complete humanness we are promised at the end. And it is one of the things, therefore, which can be anticipated in the present on the basis of the future goal, the telos, which is already given in Jesus Christ. It is part of the future which can be drawn down into the present.” ~ N.T. Wright,  After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters

In a 2010 interview with Trevin Wax, N.T. Wright explains this a little more:

“When you learn a language, your brain literally changes: new connections are made, new possibilities emerge, new habits of mind, tongue, and even sometimes body language emerge and are formed. The result is not, though, that you can speak it for the fun of it, but that you can communicate with people in that language, and perhaps even be able to go and live in the country where that language is spoken, and feel at home there.

This illustration helps to explain one part at least of the well known problem about how “what we do here and now” is umbilically connected to “who we will be in God’s new world”.

The point is that in the new heavens and new earth there is an entire way of life awaiting us, and we have the chance to learn, here and now, the character-skills we shall need for that new way of life – particularly the great three which Paul says will “abide” into God’s future, namely faith, hope and especially love. (All this depends of course on the Spirit, and on the transformative renewal of the mind which Paul speaks about in Romans 12:1-2.) …

In particular, the biblical vision of being human is that of being God’s Image-bearers: which means being like an angled mirror, reflecting God’s wise, stewardly love into his creation. The Christian vision is of Jesus as the true image and of Jesus’ followers, shaped by his Spirit, being transformed “into the same image” (2 Cor. 3.18). Thus being truly Christian and being truly human ought to come to the same thing.”

 

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Great themes of the Bible

Jon Mroos of Elk Grove Bible Church shares an incredible thought on two great themes of the Bible: Temple and Torah. They both point to three things, he writes.

“Take the Torah or Law. The Law literally describes Adam before the fall. It describes his character as a pure image bearer. Secondly, it also describes the “second Adam,” which is Jesus Christ, as a perfect image bearer or character reflector of God. Thirdly, it describes what all those in the “second Adam” will be like on the New Earth as things come full circle and we are made truly human again like Adam, in a new garden, the New Earth. That’s Torah. That’s what the Law is designed to show fallen humans – what it looks like to be truly human again like Adam was, Christ is, and what we will be one day.

Temple is the other theme. God always works or lives with His creation through Temple. We can’t understand the fullness of this, but here is what it looks like: The first Earth (pre-fall) was the first temple as God dwelt with Adam. Heaven had come to Earth and God and man were one. That was ruined and corrupted.

A second Temple was created in Jerusalem by Solomon. It was a place where God and man could unite again. It was temporary and was really a sign pointing to the Temple to come, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ would be the place where God (His divinity) and man (His body) would unite together again and the presence of God would be experienced (the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ).

Jesus Christ as the Temple is pointing to a day when all of those who receive Him would be partakers of the final Temple, the New Earth. It is as if He has one hand reaching out and grabbing God’s hand, and another hand out grabbing your hand, and in the middle united the two is Christ as God and man are united again. And that looks like the shape of the cross as His hands are stretched out, one to man and the other to God. Just as in Solomon’s temple, His blood is shed in the middle to cover the sins that separate God and man.

Everything comes full circle again on the New Earth as it becomes the final Temple and Heaven and Earth, God and humanity, come together forever. Just like Adam, we will be joined with God and the New Earth will become the new Temple just as it once was and we will live in the presence of God as the waters cover the sea.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it illuminated better. There’s a really awesome group of messages on the New Earth on the EGBC website if you want to dive more into that great thought, it’s been incredibly joyful to learn more about this transformation truth!

“It is Finished” ~ The New Humanity

Pastor Jon Mroos of Elk Grove Bible Church (www.elkgrovebiblechurch.org) shares an extraordinary insight into Christ’s final words:
” “Finished.” “Accomplished.” “Completed.” Jesus’ last words sum it all up. These words from John 19:30 have layers of meaning, each one displaying the fulfillment of God’s rescue of His creation which He loves so dearly. What did Jesus mean when he cried out, “It is finished” and how does this impact us today?
Part of its meaning is no doubt a picture of a debt of death that humanity owed God’s justice. Much like writing, “Paid off!” when a car is finally paid in full and you are released from the debt, Jesus Christ released us from our sin debt by declaring that God’s justice had been satisfied through the propitiation of the cross. But I believe there is another layer to these words that help us to see just how amazing God’s plan of rescue truly was.
When God the Creator made this amazing world, He finished it on the sixth day. He completed his work. On the seventh day after God had finished His creation, He rested and enjoyed fellowship with it. At the center of it all were humans that He loved. That creation was ruined under the weight of the fall and God’s justice. It was no longer finished in splendor. It was wrecked in sin and fellowship was wasted away. God could not rest in pleasure and fellowship with the creation that He so loved. How would God work this mess out? Through the promise given to Eve, that God would create a new creation in the middle of an already broken creation. A new humanity would break into the broken humanity as a type of second creation account.
When Jesus Christ said, “It is finished” he was speaking a creation language. Just as the Genesis creation story ended in triumph as God created a new humanity on the sixth day, so Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross likewise created a new humanity. God rested from His great work of creation on the seventh day enjoying His creation, and Jesus Christ on the seventh day, rested in the tomb. Jesus Christ rested from his completed labor of creating a new humanity just as God rested on the seventh day when he completed the first humanity.
This new creation, this new people that Christ created on the cross is the church. We are a new creation, a second Genesis account in the midst of the original creation, which has been so badly shattered. The finished work of the cross is how God came into our chaos to be there with us in the middle of it and to create something new on the cross. This is where it was all going; this is what it was all about. We are a second creation created in Christ Jesus to put on display a true humanity. We are to live in such a way as to reflect the character of God back into a badly shattered creation showing that there is a new hope for the world. That impacts my motives and decisions every day. That shapes the way I live in this world.”

Temple, Torah, King

“But new creation will come about only through one final and shocking exile and restoration. The king turns into a servant, YHWH’s Servant; and the Servant must act out the fate of Israel, must be Israel on behalf of the Israel that can no longer be obedient to its vocation. The God of Israel is the creator and redeemer of Israel and the world. In faithfulness to his ancient promises, he will act within Israel and the world to bring to its climax the great story of exile and restoration, of the divine rescue operation, of the kind who brings justice, of the Temple that joins heaven and earth, of the Torah that binds God’s people together, and of creation healed and restored. It is not only heaven and earth that are to come together. It is God’s future and God’s present.”

Awesome post from the blog BillyVS Quickhits! Read the full entry here: http://billyvsquickhits.blogspot.com/2009/06/simply-christian-thoughts-on-israel.html