Featured

The Image of God and the Firstborn over all Creation: God must be all in all

It is only fitting that in all things good God should reign supreme, that everything that is not rebellion, that is, defiance against His nature and law, God should fill. There shall be no goodness had by any creature, no good role held or enacted by any creature, that does not belong to God!

This is fulfilled in God’s Messiah. You may say that it is against God’s nature to obey, to submit, to suffer limitations or pain, to die. I say that it is against God’s nature for there to be any goodness which is not His – in fact, I say that it is downright impossible for there to be any goodness which was not first God’s (don’t worry about time and chronology right now – God is immutable in eternity, and there is a sense in which one can say that anything God will do He has done from eternity; though Jesus died on Calvary outside Jerusalem just under two thousand years ago, He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world). You see, God’s nature is the rule of goodness and the measure of all things, and so there can be no goodness which is not found in Him. God is God and we are not, and there are goodnesses which are His to which no creature can aspire, and to which if any creature tries to aspire, that creature then becomes bad and a rebel and falls from any nearness to God, but there is no goodness which He does not have, which is not found in Him. In all things, God must be All in All, God must fill all things, all things must be summed up in God, all things must be by Him and for Him and through Him and in Him. Because of God’s absolute perfection, supremacy and authority, it is against His nature for there to be anything good which is not His and does not source from Him.

In the very beginning, before even time or space came to be, God submitted to God, and so consecrated submission. There is no doubt that submission and obedience is often good, and not a sign or cause of inferiority. Children are to obey parents, but such submission and obedience does not mean that children are less human than parents. Wives are to submit to husbands, but such submission does not mean that women are not human as much as men, or that they have less dignity, or even that their minds are inferior. Employees obey their bosses, but no one thinks that this is because they are somehow less human or inferior humans or have less dignity (doubtless, often enough a boss is better at one thing and his employee at other things, though human society is very marred, and sometimes people are in places it seems backwards, according to their natural talent or their moral character). However, it is obvious that submission or obedience is not bad, or even a sign of inferiority. So it is that, from the days of eternity, the Son, who is Himself the radiance of the Father, submits to the Father in perfect freedom and love, not because He must or because He is in any way inferior, but because He is the Son and the Father is the Father and so it is in accord with their perfectly united nature and will. The submission of the Son is an act as free, as voluntary, as uncoerced, as deliberate and chosen, as is any other act of God, be it speaking the world into existence. In the same way, the Father seeks, from the foundations of eternity, to glorify His Son and exalt Him over all and in all.

So, also, Jesus the Messiah became a man, the man (God created man to be His unique and crowning work and ruler over creation, as it were, to represent God to the rest of the creation, almost, in a way, one might say, as the ultimate or best creation). If there is any goodness ever found in being weak, suffering, or dying, it must be because God has done them all, and they are consecrated by Him. If suffering is to be consecrated, God must become a man, for in His own nature He can not suffer. Jesus Christ is perfect God and perfect man. He is the consummation of all things. He is perfect, uncreated, the Glory of Eternity, the image of the invisible God, and He is also the firstborn over all creation, the firstfruits of all creation. Christ must be, in all things, the Best and the Fullness, for He is the image of His Father and the One God loves to glorify and glory in. Creation must be offered to God in Christ, its best must be Christ and all that is good in it must be in Christ. Christ is God and Man, All in All; He descended into the depths in order that He might also rise to the heights, as the One who fills all in all.

Jesus the Messiah is really, truly man, and all that is good in man He is in perfection, as well as being the very Glory of God, the fullness of God, the One and Only Son of God, possessing perfectly all the attributes of the Divine Nature. Jesus the Messiah is the King; He rules all things, His kingdom will never end, nothing happens that He does not choose to permit, and one day God will establish His throne in the sight of the nations so that every knee will bow to Him and all will know that He reigns and none will have strength to defy His commands. Jesus the Messiah is the Prophet; He gives to men the very words of God, He tells them the decrees of the Most High. He teaches to humans the things of God. Jesus the Messiah is the Priest; it is He who offers the sacrifice that atones for sins and appeases the wrath of God and gains His favor. It is He who, by virtue of that sacrifice, pleads with God on behalf of His people and obtains mercy for them. It is through Him that humans can approach God and can find mercy, grace, and help in time of need. Jesus Christ is the Sacrifice; the sacrifice He offers is Himself. He it is who purchases forgiveness and appeases the wrath of God, it is the offering of His body that satisfies the demands of justice against us and gains for us favor from God. It is by virtue of the sacrifice of Himself, by virtue of His own merit and His own suffering, that He pleads with God, and that we can approach God in Him and find mercy and help. Jesus the Messiah is the Judge; it is He who will judge the nations, it is through Him that God will render and pronounce judgment on every human being and on every word, deed, and action. He is the Man God has anointed for all these roles, since He is His perfect and beloved Son. All that He is, I cannot tell. Ten thousand glorious names would not be enough for all He is and does.

To be our Prophet, the Messiah must be both God and man. He must be God, because otherwise He cannot enter God’s presence to receive God’s decrees and revelations, and neither can He properly teach them. He must be man, because otherwise He cannot teach men in a way that will not overpower or overwhelm them, nor can He come close to sinners. To be our Priest, the Messiah must be both God and man. For He must be a man to understand the weaknesses of humans and to empathize with us, and also to offer sacrifice in our stead, and He must be God, for He must be able to enter the blinding and unapproachable light of the Presence to present the sacrifice. To be our Sacrifice, the Messiah must be both God and man, for unless He is man He is not a suitable sacrifice for the sins of humans and in the place of humans, and unless He is God He has neither the worth required to atone for our sins nor the strength to bear them before the wrath of God until all is accomplished. His anointment as Judge too is related to His being Son of Man as well as Son of God; perhaps that fallen humans might be judged by the Man, the perfect man, the man who has withstood all the temptations that have ever befallen the human race, the man who has borne and expiated sin and extended salvation to them for so long, that it might be clear to all how atrocious, abominable and unjustifiable is the sin of the judged and how appropriate is the judgment, and that the One who gives the prize to the saved and purified should be the very One who both won and is that prize. The Messiah to be King must be both God and man, for God made man to rule over His creation, and He promised David that one of His descendants would reign on his throne and on the earth forever, and so a man must be king over creation, and a descendant of David (a man) must be king, and who but God can be the Supreme and Everlasting King?

So, Jesus is the all in all. In Jesus, all is God’s. For there can be no glory or goodness which is not God’s and does not source from Him and find its completion in Him. His Son has become a man, that in the person of Jesus our Messiah, the perfect Son of God and the perfect Son of Man, God would redeem for Himself a people, and the perfection of every goodness, whether Divine or human, would be found in the person of the Man Jesus, so that all creation would be consecrated to God, and God’s glory should be over all and in all, and all goodness should belong to God and be found in Him! Jesus, the God and the Man, has been found perfect in all things – in power, in authority, in glory, in wisdom, in all that pertains to God, and as Man, our prophet and priest and king and judge, perfect in living and in dying, perfect in suffering, perfect in all that human life entails. He is the Son of God and the ultimate and perfect Man, the second Adam, the glory of God and the glory of creation, so that all glory and every goodness is God’s forever, blessed be His name. And in His glory and exaltation, the Father is glorified, for He is the Son of the Father and the radiance of His image.

A few of the Bible verses relevant to the topic above:

Ephesians 1:9-10, 20-23, and 4:10.

Colossians 1:15-20, 2:9.

1 Corinthians 15:28.

John 5:27.

Copyright 2017 Raina Nightingale

post

All is Sacrifice and there is No Cost

“In view of God’s mercies, therefore, I urge you, present your bodies as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable act of worship.”

“In Him, let us, therefore, continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His Name.”

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like man who was ploughing in a field, and he came upon a buried treasure. In his joy, he buried the treasure, and went and sold all that he had, and bought the field. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who was searching for fine pearls, and finding a pearl of great price, in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought the pearl.”

“Whoever loses… for My sake… will not fail to receive a hundred times as much in this life, and in the age to come, eternal life.”

“What man, if he wishes to build a tower, will not first sit down, and calculate to see if he has enough to finish, lest he should lay the foundation, and be unable to finish, and all should mock him, saying, ‘He has started what he was not able to finish?’ Or what man, if he has an army coming against him, will not first sit down to see if he is able, with ten thousand men, to come against twenty thousand, and if he is not, will he not send for terms of peace? In the same way, you, if you do not give up all you possess, you cannot be My disciple.”

In Jesus, we ourselves are to be a sacrifice to God: a victim, consecrated to God and transformed in the Divine fire from Heaven. All we do, and all we experience, is also to be sacrifice: consecrated to God, and offered to Him in love and thanksgiving, in adoration and worship, in willingness and praise. Continue reading “All is Sacrifice and there is No Cost”

A Request for Obedience to Jesus’ Command of Baptism

Before Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He gave this command to His disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them for the remission of sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

It could not be clearer. Baptism is a command of the Lord given to His Church, and it has to do with identification with Him and participation in His death, burial, and resurrection. “Do you not know that as many of you have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death? And, if you have been buried with Him through baptism into death, then, as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, you too shall walk in newness of life.” Baptism is also associated with receiving the Holy Spirit, with participation in the life of the Blessed Trinity. Continue reading “A Request for Obedience to Jesus’ Command of Baptism”

The Church: Participation in Heaven on Earth

I cannot stop thinking about what I can only term “The Liturgy of Heaven.”

Revelation forms the greater part of the imagery, of this thought of mine, but other passages of the Bible and some of my experiences with Nature contribute.

I see all the angels and saints arrayed around the Throne, in the midst of which is the Slain and Victorious Lamb, before which is the sea of glass intermingled with fire. It is not, to me, mere imagery I read in a book: it is full of life and meaning. Even the sea of glass intermingled with fire means to me something which I have begun to know but cannot utter. Continue reading “The Church: Participation in Heaven on Earth”

The Heavenly Priesthood: The Son in Creation and the Father in the Son

In the beginning was the Word, the Eternal Son, the High Priest of all creation. Being the Word through which the Father created and sustains everything, He is the fitting Priest, the fitting Mediator between God and Creation, through whom God reveals Himself to Creation, giving her being and life, and in whom she adores God and gives herself back to Him in glad worship and joyous sacrifice.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He was like us in all ways, sin excepting, having been tempted in every manner just as we are, but without sin, and so He is able to be a fitting High Priest to His brethren, able to make those who have sinned to be without sin just as He is without sin.

Mankind was created, both man and woman, in the image of God – in the likeness of the Word Continue reading “The Heavenly Priesthood: The Son in Creation and the Father in the Son”

The Love That Bore the Cross For Me (When Every Step’s an Uphill Battle)

When every step’s an uphill battle

And every victory’s followed by a cliff to climb

When the foe stands atop every precipice

And I just want to collapse

I remember

The Love that bore the Cross for me

Stands with hands held out

The hands that caught me when I fell

Sustained me when I could do no more

And give me victories that I could never win Continue reading “The Love That Bore the Cross For Me (When Every Step’s an Uphill Battle)”

The Living Bread is Real: Real Justification and Life by the Real Death of Jesus

“Take, eat, this is My body, broken for you.”

“Take, all of you. This cup is My blood of the New Covenant, shed for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood will live because of Me, even as I live because of the living Father who sent Me, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.”

In the beginning was God the Word, the eternal Self-Revelation of the Father, His perfect Image, true God from true God. They made man and woman in Their image, after Their likeness. This, alone, is tremendous: think about it for a moment, until you stand over-awed by it: God Himself made a creature in His own likeness. It is overwhelming. But, this is only the beginning. This man and woman sin, choose lonely death over the Divine Life, by believing a lie over their Creator, the Truth. They choose to eat of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, of which their Creator had told them that if they eat of it they will surely die, instead of eating the fruit of the Tree of Life, which God had given to them along with all the other trees of the Garden. Continue reading “The Living Bread is Real: Real Justification and Life by the Real Death of Jesus”

Election is About You and God, Not Your Neighbor

“I will show mercy on whom I show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So, then, it depends not on him who runs nor on him who wills, but on God who shows mercy.”

“Who are you, a man, to argue back with God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘Why did You make me thus?’”

Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” And, Peter followed him along the shore, but looking back he saw another disciple following, and he said to Jesus, “But, Lord, what of him?” and Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.”

“And the disciple whom Jesus loved reclined with his head on the Lord’s breast.”

God is Personal, and He relates to us personally. I believe that Jesus’ response to Peter, “What is that to you? You follow me,” is applicable to far more than questions about the length of life and manner of death of other people. We know God personally; we know God as He relates to us, as He reveals Himself to us; we know God in His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of St. John bears witness to the fact that we stand alone before God. Throughout it, the author refers to himself, never by name, but as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” This is further accentuated when Jesus says, “What is that to you? You follow me.” This same Gospel also records these words, “I call My own by name, and they follow Me,” and the interaction between the Risen Lord and Mary of Magdala outside of the tomb, where He says, “Mary!” and instantly she recognizes Him and says, “Rabboni!” Continue reading “Election is About You and God, Not Your Neighbor”

The Reason: The Love of Jesus (It’s Not About Hell)

The Love of God is so good and the worthiness of Jesus is so great that no other motivation is required, or even desired, to come to Jesus or to tell others about Him.

No treasure compares to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. No happiness compares to the joy of knowing Jesus. No beauty is lovely beside Him. No goodness is desirable beside Him. He contains in Himself, He is Himself, the reason why His people love Him. We are in awe of the God who became Man, who walked among us, the Omnipotent, All-powerful One who shared our limitations, the Perfect One who shared our pains and sorrows, the Life that was nailed to a cross and hung to die for us, and who rose triumphant from the grave. Continue reading “The Reason: The Love of Jesus (It’s Not About Hell)”

The Resurrection, Christian Death, and Prayer

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and we shall rise with Him.

As Christians, this is our hope and our confidence. This is what we mean by living. This is our life in living and in dying.

Because of this, there is no reason for us to fear or avoid death. There is no reason for us to try to do whatever we can to put death off for as long as possible. For Christians, death is the consummation of life, the fulfillment of life, the entry into an experience of life more full and abundant. It is an event to be greeted with joy, to which to look forward. If we truly believe that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, that we shall see Him upon death, and that we will be raised with Him to live forever with Him, then there is no reason for us to want to defer death, to escape death for the present moment, to flee from death.

This shapes our entire lives. Continue reading “The Resurrection, Christian Death, and Prayer”

Christian Marriage and Virginity (or Single Life): Glorious Privilege

I do not understand why some Christians think that the married life is inferior and less glorious than certain other vocations. I do not understand why some Christians think any life without marriage is, well, inferior to marriage, less happy than marriage, less fulfilling than marriage, and so forth.

Marriage is – like martyrdom – a glory, a blessing, and a privilege of which no one is worthy except through the merits of Christ. It is ordained by God and cannot be broken or dissolved. It is one of God’s illustrations of the love of Christ for His bride, the Church, all of God’s people, and His union with her. Continue reading “Christian Marriage and Virginity (or Single Life): Glorious Privilege”