LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The King’s Israel of God



At Mark's request, here is my echo of his post, which ironically we each made separately on our own blogs at the same time:

My buddy in blogdom Justin tagged me with a meme (thanks, Justin!): “Post that verse or story of scripture which is important to you, which you find yourself re-visiting time after time.”

Lately, I have found myself turning my attention again and again to Colossians 3:1-3.

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

The vitality of these verses became increasingly known to me with the development of my theological understanding. After Jonathan’s February 24 post titled “Is it True that 'Israel Always Means Israel' in Scripture?,” I began to consider that God’s Israel includes all of His elect, from eternity past through eternity future, based on many verses – not least of which the following.

“and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – Luke 1:33

And who is Jacob?

“Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” – Genesis 32:28

And who is Israel?

“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ.” – Galatians 3:16

“And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” – Galations 3:29

“But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” – Romans 9:6-8

“And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” – Galatians 6:16

Interestingly, around the same time as my theology with regard to Israel was changing, I was exposed to partial preterism and eventually amillenialism. Both fit like pieces of a puzzle into a larger (as yet incomplete, but beautiful) picture. They all just made sense to me in the light of Scripture.

Christ is already reigning as King over His creation. He has received dominion over it from the Father.

“"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father,” – Matthew 11:27

“And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” - Matthew 28:18

The kingdom of God is already here. It was “at hand” during the days of John the Baptist and was inaugurated at Christ’s ascension.

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or 'There’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” – Luke 17:20-21

It seems to me that if we are to really live our earthly lives as Christians, we should not interpret Scripture with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other – interpreting the days’ events prophetically. Eschatology must be Christ-centered. Our eschatological expectation should be neither epoch-centered nor a correlation of current events. God’s kingdom is the consummate manifestation of his covenant with His elect, originally made with Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.

As purchased vassals of The King, paid for with the highest price, we should lay our own lives down each day because they mean nothing in comparison to the glory that is found in Christ, and we are to regard our earthly good as what they are – wind. What is the acquiring of possessions and valuing of same, after all, but chasing the wind?

I think the word ‘possessions’ is a bit of a misnomer. We hardly possess them. We’re just stewards of them because they are given to us by God, but ultimately, they are His and they will be burned by Him.

“And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” - Hebrews 1:10-12

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17

Our chains and shackles from the prison of earthly goods have been broken. We no longer need live as slaves to them and for them – in fact, we are admonished not to live for them. We are vassals of a King – one whose kingdom is not earthly.

“Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” – John 18:36

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” – Colossians 1:13

Jesus is already King over His kingdom; we are but sojourners in a foreign land. Are we looking to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God, as did Abraham (Hebrews 11:10)? If so, then we are more inclined to walk in the Spirit as called to do. Our earthly lives are of little value unless lived with eyes cast upward.

To do so requires that we deny ourselves. We die to chasing after the wind down here and instead empty our flesh of the self life by His mercy and with His grace. To do this myself, I have had to plead for His help to remove from me my desire for even a simple hobby that takes up too much of my time and attention. What is seemingly innocuous can be an idol, and therefore, because I can’t remove it from myself in my own strength, I asked Him to remove it from the desire of my heart and fill it with a desire for more of Him. And He is! What a gracious, loving King we serve.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14

Christian, this earth has nothing for us at all, except to recognize that our lives are hidden elsewhere in our King, who lives and reigns this very minute. Let’s live as though we believe it. Let’s not trade our kingdom birthright for a mess of earthly pottage.

Being a meme, I think I’m supposed to tag others. Here goes:

Gayla
Christina
Scribe to wake him from his blogging slumber

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4 Comments:

Blogger mark pierson said...

Susan, thank you.

Between our two postings and Wayne's on the Fruit of the Spirit as well as his series on the Sermon on the Mount we have quite a doctrinal statement for BC blog going here.

Thanks again!
Mark

August 29, 2007 11:00 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

That post had such a nice flow to it. Very good words. Thanks.

Jesus surely is reigning now. The Body needs to take that to heart, because it doesn't look like it, does it.

But who's to say what this earth will look like in 200 years?

One thing is for sure Christ reigns, and His Gospel is the most powerful thing on this earth; there's nothing more powerful than His Word going forth empowered by His Spirit of truth and love.

Keep up the good work Susan.

August 30, 2007 8:49 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Thanks, Don.

I greatly appreciate your encouraging words.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that He lives and reigns right now.

I don't the Body is to "look" with their (our) eyes for Jesus' reign, like when you noted that "it doesn't look like it." We walk by faith (or should), not by sight.

I'm not sure what this earth will look like in 200 years, but I'm really not too concerned about that. The way I look at this earth is that it's all going to burn anyway. I'm more interested in the new heavens and the new earth. This earth has nothing for me.

Thanks again for your encouragement. I enjoy your comments here and elsewhere.

August 30, 2007 10:15 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"I'm more interested in the new heavens and the new earth."

And we are heirs with Christ! Amazing.

August 30, 2007 7:48 PM

 

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