Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dawn in a Chapter

This morning I read 2 Corinthians chapter 5 once because a verse in Spurgeon's devotional caught my eye and gleemed with light. I find myself reading the whole chapter again and again... captivated by it like a man standing watching a sunrise. One sunrise on one unchanging horizon but what beauty as moment by moment it changes 'from glory to glory.'

What a chapter! I love it more now than ever. What freedom we have... what love... what purpose... this taste of Heaven has left us wanting to be clothed in the perfection we are promised. The promise of future perfection given to all those who have just once put on Christ.

We can stand half awake with sand in our eyes as we watch the sunrise. Soon we will rush off to a job we like, or half like, because it will give us money to live. But in this moment we do something miraculous... we enter into faith. We would rather walk on golden shores but we lace our boots or grab our briefcase while love embraces us.

There is a Bema seat after all... and there also is a final White throne judgement. In verse 11 that knowledge carries a 'terror of the Lord' or 'fearful responsibility' (Phobos in the Greek G5401). It is not the fear that somehow God will judge our behavior. Our sin was paid for on the cross. In fact, if men judged our behavior they would deem to be out of our minds. Love constrains us and because of that we have a sound or sober mind (Sōphroneō G4993) even if it is only for the sake of those that do not know our hope. This cross that kills my old man, buries him, and then raises me and seats me in Heavenly places in Christ has world wide scope. I am cut off from the world and it's systems but the cross applies to every man and woman walking or breathing. It is the key... the answer to the cry of every heart!

I have a candle in my hand and it is lit. Oh, how I love it's light. But wait everyone has a candle and many are not lit. They suffer in the darkness like I did. My candle can light theirs. Can I not rush into the darkness? Love constrains me to go.

The lit candle transforms the whole person. The candle lights and a dark garment stained and tattered is gone and suddenly one white and whole appears for old things are passed away and all things are made new. The sunrise reminds me of who I really am. I am one once dead but now I am glowing with life.

Christ's mind is humble. He has made His journey and now He sits forevermore resting from His work. He only rises now to receive those who come to Him not because there is more to be done.

There is an inward dynamic that works because of the action of the cross. It can't be for the sake of duty only or for me to please myself it must be Jesus and a life lived in the upward spiral of ascension.

Death --> Burial --> Resurrection --> Session

Spinning us into an upward life that moves us to desire to reconcile others to this same reality even as we enjoy it ourselves. Because we know Jesus we have life and when we stand before God the Father He will be happy to see us. Many don't have that assurance.

"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor 5:20f NKJV

...and so that chapter ends but the beginning and middle wait to be read again. The colors of the sunrise change and I am changed as I behold them. As I pick up my suitcase to go to work it is not drudgery... it is mission. The bills still need to be paid but I go into the world outside my door in love... as one with a blazing candle.

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