Sunday, November 2, 2014

Making All Things New

The whole of the scriptures is about redemption. How God creates a fabulous world teaming with the most magnificent nature and animals, and then makes mankind, male and female in Hs own image to rule the earth and subdue it. Mankind is nothing less than a glorious scepter created with the purpose to shine the glory of God to all of creation and the angels. Then early in the grand experiment all of creation is thrown into the chaos of sin. The created decides that they no longer need to depend fully upon the Creator, but instead listens to pride and separates from God for their own purpose.

Mankind was never intended to live independent of the Creator. Made as the beautiful gem-filled scepter of God, now mankind had to create its own glory.  David Needham in his book, Birthright paints an accurate picture of what it means to live in dead flesh. It is nothing more than dead men walking all the while searching for meaning from life:

“Think about human life for a moment – at its best and at its worst.  Try picturing a tiny baby in her mother’s arms. So soft, so loveable.  Look again a couple of years later with the sun in her hair. Chubby little hands, sparkling eyes, tiny nose, delicate smile, spontaneous laugh, running across the lawn and calling out, “Daddy’s home.”  Or look at any little boy, four years old, hanging upside down on his swing, his jeans, baseball cards --- so alive!  Fifteen years later – so beautiful, so handsome, so expectant.  And then… long years, stress, illness, ulcers, wrinkles, pain, sorrow, stooping, decay, dim eyes, the wheelchair, white sheets, jumbled words, a final gasp, death, a box… a grave – that final offense against “the grand adventure.”  Birthright, Needham p. 24.

No matter how productive mankind can be, no matter how many great achievements and accomplishments, no matter how wide the bridge, or tall the building, mankind on his own can never match the glory for which he was created. The scepter was now being used to hammer nails, and to dig ditches; to clean out garbage cans or to be a coat hanger. All productive uses for a beautiful scepter, but nothing close to the purpose for which mankind was designed. But God had a plan to restore the scepter back into His right hand, “in Christ Jesus,” so that in the eternity to come God’s glory will once again reign for all to see in you and me who believe.

If the Christian does not understand the bigger context of God’s grand experiment, we will never completely understand much of the “what and why” of what He is trying to accomplish through His-Story. If you want the sum of it all, look to the end of the book and what does it say?

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God… And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new… It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” {Revelation 21:3-7}

The heart of His-Story is all about “Making all things new” and “I will be their God and they will be my people.” God intentionally allows mankind to choose to sin because the New Man we become in Christ Jesus is far superior to the man and woman created in the garden. Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, but now we as believers not only have God’s image, but we have the very Spirit of God living in and through us in Christ Jesus! If the original scepter was beautiful, the new scepter becomes the perfect reflection of the glory of God. His love, His forgiveness and grace, His fellowship, and His very life now living in and through us.

Can you see how superior the believer becomes in the New Adam, Christ Jesus, than when we live in the old Adam of the garden?  How, what Satan intended for evil, God has completely turned upside down and out of sin, destruction and death comes a New Man in Christ Jesus? Paul says to us, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” {Ephesians 4:24}.

The past few Sundays, we have been looking at Romans 6-8 and trying to understand what happens to the Christian when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved. We are not just saved for heaven, but saved into the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Savior, “that we too might walk in newness of life” {Romans 6}. A New Life that is “Alive to God” and “Dead to Sin” “in order that we may bear the fruit of God” {Romans 7:4}.

None of this sounds like we were saved for heaven or saved for our own personal pleasures and an enjoyable life. No, we were saved with a purpose in mind, that we might become the children of God {John 1:12}. What reflects the glory of a parent better than their children? And who can reflect God’s glory better than us, who are transferred by faith and the mighty work of Christ out of the family of Adam and into the family of God so “that we may walk in newness of life?” {Romans 6:4}.

Each and every moment of the day we now can shine God’s glory as we walk in newness of life, as we walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. Romans 8 is the answer to how God wants us to now live, no longer in the do’s and don’ts of sin, but in the fellowship of the righteousness of Christ. Walking no longer under fleshly human power, with fleshly human purposes that fall short of God’s glory “into the glorious liberty of the children of God” {Romans 8:21}.

Look at the death that the flesh gives and the life that the Spirit gives us in Romans 8~

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

There is so much wealth of the gospel locked up in these words of God that we should read them again and again, memorize them, and begin to make them a part of our everyday life. We are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, and the Spirit brings life, while the flesh bring nothing but death.

Here is the bottom line of the gospel of Christ, Christian, that when we are back in the hand of God, when we are filled with God’s Spirit and walking in the Spirit, only then do achieve the purpose for which we were created, to be the glorious scepter of God. It is not by mistake that sin entered the world, but by God’s grand design to take what was glorious, yet imperfect in Adam, and to run mankind through a refining fire of life and His-story making us into One New Man in Christ Jesus. This New Man made up of millions and perhaps billions of believing children of God, all go forward into eternity to reign with Him. And each one of us becoming a unique gem that fills God's most glorious and perfect scepter.

So tell me Christian, why wait to shine God’s glory? Why scurry about all day in your independence trying to please God with your do’s and don’ts when all God wants from us is to remain in His hand, in Christ, in the Spirit. No matter how great your job, no matter how talented or artistic you are, no matter how much success you achieve or money you make, there is no productivity or pleasure that will ever amount to much when your true purpose is to rest in God and shine His glory.

We can shine His glory by entering into His sufferings, by serving others, and sharing the good news of the cross of Christ. We can shine God’s glory each and every time we look like Jesus, instead of like the world that scurries around trying to achieve success and experience pleasures, yet always falling short of the glory of God. No matter what God has called you to, from CEO to homemaker, from janitor to athlete, no job or talent can shine God’s glory any more or less than when we simply walk with Jesus each and every moment of the day. For this purpose we were created, to love and serve God, and by doing so to reflect His glory for all of creation to see.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:5-6