“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet is without sin.” “For in order to be a suitable high priest, He had to be made like His brethren in every way, …
“The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had blessed it, broke it, saying, 'This is My body.' In the same manner, after supper, He took the cup and said, 'This is My blood of the new covenant; do this as often as you drink it.' For whenever you …
Then, all creation will be “filled with the knowledge of YHWH, even as the waters cover the sea.” All creation – even the present, even the distant past – will be filled with the glory of the Resurrection. “Those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. Those He predestined, He also called. Those He called He also justified. Those He justified He also glorified.” This indicates something of the nature of salvation to me. Salvation is an eternal work. In Philippians, Paul writes, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Salvation is the action of God. Just as Jesus is “the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world,” so salvation is eternal. God has not only foreknown and predestined His children from before the world began. He has also justified them and even glorified them [Read more…] from before the world began. Our salvation is real; it is an eternal truth. The full revelation of our salvation will be in the Second Coming of Christ. “He will appear again, not this time to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” “All creation groans, as in the labor of child-bearing, until the day when the children of God shall be revealed. For the creation was not subjected to futility through its own will, but through the will of Him who subjected it, in hope, that the creation also would share in the glory and liberty of the children of God.” So, when Paul writes, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” he is telling us to live out the salvation that Jesus Christ has already perfected. We live out this salvation because God Himself is working in us to perfect in us the salvation that Jesus Christ perfected on the cross and revealed in His resurrection. The Holy Spirit Himself, the “very flame of YHWH” dwells in us; how else shall we respond to such near presence of the Holy God except with trembling and fear, except with holy terror? In a certain sense, the whole battle of living the Christian life on earth is to stop fighting – to surrender, to trust and believe. Our salvation is already complete. We simply have to live in that salvation – to abide in Jesus. It is about realizing in our bodily life the complete union with the Resurrection of the Incarnate Son of God which, even now, is ours, is our life. “For your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you, too, will appear with Him in glory.” Just before this, it is written, “Therefore, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” The whole battle is already won. “In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” The glory and the honor and the praise belong to Jesus Christ alone. He has died and paid the debt for sin; He has filled death with His life; He has risen from the grave and ascended, as man, to the right hand of God Almighty. As it is said many times, “Salvation is of the Lord.” It ought to be – it is – effortless to live out that victory. The victory is already complete. “I have overcome the world.” It is not, “I will overcome the world.” It is already done! Even so, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Him.” Even now, we are, truly and by Divine mercy, seated in heaven with Him. We will wear crowns because we are, in very fact, made one with Him, and so His merit, virtue, and victory is, in very fact, our merit, our virtue, and our victory. We will throw them at His feet because it is all His free gift; every crown is His, the merit and the virtue and the victory is all His; we added nothing. He did everything. Nonetheless, who has ever completely entered into that victory this side of death? Who has ever realized this truth? Who has walked wholly in the Eternal Spirit who lives in us and with us? It is, though, no more of an issue how, though “having been justified through faith in Jesus Christ, we have peace with God,” yet we can and do still fall for the desires of the flesh, than how it is that we were (and yet are) sinners and yet are glorified in Him. He filled our sin and death with His righteousness and life. In the end, we will see that made manifest in all creation – in every single moment that has ever been, is, or ever will be, throughout all the breadth and height and depth and length of all creation, indeed, in eternity. It is my belief that all is Heaven. This is not to deny hell or the punishment of the wicked. It is to say that it is the lesser reality. Heaven is Real. Heaven is the immediate presence of God, in His goodness and His love. Thus, Heaven is reality. Heaven is good. God will be all in all; Jesus Christ will be all in all. What else is Heaven? Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the Life; God is He whom to know is eternal life. That He is all in all means that Heaven is everywhere. God is Love. This is not to deny that God hates; God hates as only Himself can hate, not despite – o wretched thought! – but because He is Love. God's fierce, burning hatred towards sin is the expression of His Love toward evil; it is what His Love looks like from the view-point of that fall into ruin and horror. Some think that hatred and love are opposites; in fact, they are no such thing. Those who think so know nothing of real love or of real hatred. Love is the greater reality. Good exists, pure and undiminished, without evil. So, Love is, pure and undiminished, strong and glorious, without any evil to evoke hatred. Goodness and Love is the reality, the real thing; evil is the departure, the falling-away, the turning from Reality upon itself, and, therefore, into ruin – a ruin more horrible than words can ever say. The fact that evil is not true as Good is true is not to diminish its evil – it is simply to say that it is evil. The ruin of that which God, the Lord of Love and Goodness, has made and declared good is horrendous beyond all the imagination of man. Only God, being Love Himself, knows how evil, how completely deserving of disdain and hatred, this ruin of His good creation, this twisting of His Goodness, is. That is hell – death – sin full-grown – sin revealed to the sinner, or is it God revealed to the sinner? To say that hell means the natural consequence of sin, that it is, in fact, indistinguishable from the sin which brings it forth, that hell means that a creature has turned its gaze to itself, the gaze which ought to have been the channel of life and goodness from God to the creature and of worship from the creature to God, and, thus, is separated from goodness and life by its own choice, fallen into ruin and torment – to say that hell means that God has turned His back on sin, has thrust the sinful one from Him into the darkness outside with unimaginable scorn and hatred, that hell is exile from the presence of God because of His holiness, holiness which still sears the exile because God is Real, the only Reality, from which the exiled one came into being and exists. It is just two different ways of saying the same thing. In one sense, they are separated from God; in another, Heaven is hell to them, precisely because their own sin is their hell. They do not know God in His Son. “No man can see My face and live,” God told Moses, but He hid him in the cleft of the rock. He hides His children in the pierced side of Jesus – Heaven. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. He descended to the depths and ascended to the heights so that He might fill all things. He is altogether lovely. He Himself is life, is Heaven. His love overshadowed our lives and filled them with goodness, worked all things together for our good, even the most horrible, the most dreadful, the most ruinous acts of sin-cursed nature or, worse, sinful men, and this, even while we did not know Him, did not know that He is good, did not believe His love. This, I understand, is part of why in Romans St. Paul does not say, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him,” and then stop there, but he goes on to say, “the called according to His purpose.” Even when we were only called, even when we were completely blind and had no inkling of the light of Heaven that was, nonetheless, all around us and in which we swam, still He worked everything for our good. For, I hesitate to call “only called.” In His knowledge, from our view-point, foreknowledge – and all God knows is true – we were glorified with His Son. In Christ's ascension, we were glorified. Salvation is judgment – is God's revelation of His truth – that His children are His children, one with His Son in His crucifixion and death, in His burial, in His mighty resurrection, His glorious ascension. Yes, even God's revelation of His Truth, Jesus Christ who said, “I am... the Truth,” for salvation is that “we shall see Him as He is,” indeed, salvation is, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Yes, salvation is God's revelation of the Truth, His own Son and Word, for “When Christ, who is our life, appears, we, too, will appear with Him in glory.” Even now, we “behold with unveiled faces as in a mirror the glory of the Lord and are transformed in that same image from glory to glory, as from the Spirit, who is the Lord.” Judgment is that all things shall be what, indeed, they are. The appearance of the Son of Man is the judgment of the world – to us who believe, salvation. Then, all creation will be “filled with the knowledge of YHWH, even as the waters cover the sea.” All creation – even the present, even the distant past – will be filled with the glory of the Resurrection. “The ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” Copyright 2018 Raina Nightingale
Only God knew what awaited any of us in the arena. Sometimes, it made my blood run cold. But, I knew Jesus was with me. As frightening as it could be, considered in the flesh, this was an honor of which I was not worthy: to be a witness of the Lord. The thought that I would die for Him – it was inconceivable, unbearable joy. And then... I would see Him! I couldn't imagine it. I'd fall at His feet and beg His forgiveness for not loving Him better. I knew He'd forgive me. I just couldn't believe it. To finally see Him whom I loved – Him who had died for me! It was so wonderful it was scary. Scary in a happy way, but I'm not sure it's not as scary as the arena.
The goal of the Christian life, salvation itself, is, apparently, a participation in the life of the Trinity. This may well be the greatest mystery in Christianity; perhaps it is, for in it is bound up the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation. But, what can it possibly mean that human beings, mere creatures, are called and given to share in the very life of the Triune Godhead? How can this even be? “Or do you not know that those of us who were baptized, were baptized into His death? For we died with Christ through baptism into death in order that by the power of God the Father, who raised Christ from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life… For, if we have become partakers of His death, we will also be partakers of His resurrection.” “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” “For we are the members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.”
God is holy, jealous, and alone in majesty; He will not share His name, His prerogative or His glory with any other. Jesus Christ has claimed the name of God, He has claimed the prerogatives of God, and He has claimed the glory of God. Unless Jesus Christ is, in very fact, God, He has blasphemed Him. The Jews of His day understood that. That is why when He said, “I am; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven,” they condemned Him to death for blasphemy. God is Holy and God is King, and no one but God can sit down at His right hand.
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.