Friday, December 15, 2006

Incarnational Living PT2: Christ in you, the hope of glory

Incarnational Living PT2: Christ in you, the hope of glory

Get ready this is a long one!

Col 1:25 -29 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (NIV)

We partake in a Divine Mystery! It is a glorious one that even Angels desire to look into! (1 Peter 1:12) The Prophets spoke of a grace that would come to us… and He did, in the Person of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1)

In that this Great Mystery Revealed now to us and this Grace given has now become our very Life… For Jesus was the Life that was given to all Creation. We are now written in the Book of Life… (Rev 13:8, 17:8) This is the Life that all this creation was given… yet now, from the time of the Resurrection we have something different. It is not the temporal life that we were cursed with as we chose to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil when Adam and Eve could have eaten at any time from the Tree of Life… and lived forever. And thankfully God in His great mercy banished them forever from the Garden if they had eaten from that tree in the fallen state; we may never have been able to be redeemed.

Incarnational Living is living the Life of Christ now. It is breathing in the New Creation as we exist in this corrupt world… it is drinking of the Living Waters now… as if we are borrowing from the future… yet this future will have not end so to borrow never diminishes as we partake from the source of all, God Himself.

We have power now… the same power that raised Jesus as the firstborn of creation. This God, who became a man, then “learned” obedience, (how if Jesus was not a mere man did this God/man need to learn anything? Hebrews 5:8) which shows Jesus walked as you and I yet one thing of difference… He was born fully alive. We have no true knowledge in how the inner working of Jesus becoming a man, all we are told is the Holy Spirit came over Mary, and with that a Child was Conceived and a virgin now carried this Child. We do know Jesus was born of Spirit, not of an earthly father’s will. Yet not only is this true as Jesus was born into this world, but true also as He was born into the New Creation as the Firstborn of Creation! (1 Cor 1:15) For Jesus is the beginning and also the firstborn of the dead.

As we walk in this world, born anew as a new Creation, we dwell in two worlds… the fallen world, and the one that is Kingdom Come and is here now.

Jesus walked in total dependency on the Father. He did nothing unless the Father did it already in Heaven. Nothing was done without the Father first doing it, just like words cannot come out of a speaker’s mouth before he speaks. (John 5:19)
We live in Christ… and die to this world. This world passes away and we grow more and more into the image of Christ, the second Adam… as man now is fully alive to be able to fulfill his divine vocation of being the image bearer of God.

That is the depth or our message. This is the vocation we now have, of proclaiming the reconciliation of God calling all things to Himself once again. (Matt 19:28)

Isaiah 58 talks of fasting… in that we would commonly think of food… but God is talking of something more… I believe it is fasting because one is too busy doing what God desires… Read here verses 6 – 8 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. (NIV) Notice how close this resembles the passage in Matthew 25 concerning the sheep and goats? Even the sheep were so busy “doing” what God desired that they did not even notice that they had at times gave Jesus water, food and clothing and shelter… the Goats of course laid out their righteous ways before God… and Jesus said He did not know them. Think about that for a moment… in fact go and get a cool beverage and think about it before you read on…


Ok... I know you didn’t do as I suggested… and if you did good for you! I would not have… LOL! The major theme here that one must grasp in incarnational living is that Jesus must know you. There must be a connection to the Head. You must have a relationship with Jesus… You may miss Jesus as He appears at times and you serve Him, yet, His desires of His Heart must be your desires… and that is by getting to know Him. We do that experientially as we interact with the Holy Spirit… Who in turn will bring us to the scripture to teach us more of the desire of God’s Heart…

The second point I want to make here… is about Esau and Jacob.

For years I was confuse as to why God hated Esau and loved Jacob… more confusion was added as I looked at the common teachings of Calvinism that take this story and text and twists it into something it was not intended for.

In the story, Esau and Jacob are twins… yet Esau is born first. This gave him certain rights as he would be in charge of all the father had as the father passed away… Esau, after a day of hunting was hungry, so without a real thought, he gave up his birth right to Jacob… over a pot of porridge. Jacob was not really a great guy... a bit conniving in fact, yet he took the vocation of the first born seriously and now it was his. Later we read the story of Jacob meeting a man by a river. He realizes that this is no ordinary man… in fact if one will read closely we realize it is a pre-incarnation of Jesus. Jacob wrestles with this man until the man has enough… and strikes Jacobs hip… Jacob does not let go… so at this point he says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man then asks his name… and then renames Jacob to Israel. "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." (Genesis 32)

Why do I say this is Jesus? Because Jacob/Israel now asks the man’s name, and Israel states, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."

Now here is the real story. In the OT we are shown shadows of what would be reality in Jesus. And here is an explicit example of that story played out. If you will Esau represents Adam and Jacob represents Jesus… Esau like Adam gave up his rightful position over food… or this world’s biological system… he then became subject to this world instead of taking dominion over it. Jacob, though a bit of a scoundrel, (not the part that is the shadow of Jesus, though I do see that God through Jesus sort of snuck up on Satan like a scoundrel and put one over on him), like Jesus became subject to this world though He created it. He was made lower than the angels as Hebrews 2 tells us. Jesus wrestled with man and God… and overcame as Jacob did… And like Jacob was given a new name of glory from God and was blessed, Jesus too was glorified and became a blessing to all… You see Jesus is the New Israel. One thing so many miss is that there was a danger to the plan of God… in becoming a man, there was the danger that he might not fulfill His vocation. This had to be as Jesus “overcame” the world… in that in order to overcome, there must be the very possibility of the danger it might not come to pass… that was what the temptation was about… both in the desert and in the Garden the night before He faced His trial and crucifixion. Without the possibility of failure there is no possibility to “overcome”.

Jesus was a man, but this man was from Heaven and not subject to this world’s dominion… yet in obedience to the Father, placed Himself under that subjection and learned obedience unto death… Now, as the first Adam bore the image of God… to be God’s ambassador on earth, we too are bearers of the image of the man form Heaven… Jesus. We are His ambassadors as He was raised from the Grave first to the earth, then to Heaven… most people miss that fine detail. In that He was raised to the earth Jesus now had dominion over it as He overcame this world, and then He was raise in Glory to Heaven and now sits on the throne of heaven… later to return to sit on David’s throne and rule on earth as He does now in Heaven.

We are now Living the Life of Christ as His ambassadors of the ministry of reconciliation. This again is closely related to missional living as they are connected in our very vocation of the ambassadors of the mission we are called.

1 Corinthians 15: 1- 8

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

We are not out to persuade others through logical arguments, we are to proclaim the Gospel… we do not set out a proposal in hopes someone will change their mind by our great wisdom and logic, we are to proclaim that Jesus is alive… in fact many use the scripture to prove we are to “propositionally” preach Jesus… yet in that they miss the very point of what is said, and that is Jesus was dead, buried and is now alive! In fact He even appeared to the Apostles and 500 others and then as if almost embarrassed, Paul state he too saw Jesus ALIVE! That is the point, that Jesus was the Messiah and now desires to have a restored relationship with all creation and that includes us, you and me. The mere men that now partake in the New Creation and are now New Creations ourselves.

In a way you may be wondering how this is all “Incarnational Living” yet consider what I have said, and in that I pray that God plants the Seed of Christ and nurtures you and grows you. And as you grow, go… and do what is natural as this New Creation. We must do as Jesus does and partake in the ministry of reconciliation.

I also pray you find a deeper meaning of “Christ in you”.

Now re-read this passage again and see if something stands out more to you…

Colossians 1: 25 - 29. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (NIV)

Blessings,
iggy




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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iggy,

Ian Thomas would be proud. Well written.

thanks,

Mike

iggy said...

Mike,

I love to visit your blog, though i do not comment as much as I want, I find your blog uplifting and I smile everytime I visit...

You are a blessing,
iggy