Thursday, November 28, 2013

In This Is Love (part 17)

As a recognized son of God, Adam must be understood to have been given a responsibility of covenant that would aid him in identifying a creative power beyond himself.  The mark of his covenant was the commandment to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  To do so would be to eat to his own peril, as death would be the result.  In contrast, adhering to the commandment would be life for him, and he would presumably never feel the usurping encroachment of death. 

Israel, as a son of God, was given a heady responsibility as well.  Their mark of covenant was the law.  Most specifically, their covenant required them to keep a series of Sabbaths, reverence the sanctuary of their God, and to worship the Creator God exclusively.  Their adherence to these requirements would be life to them, causing the accrual of blessings untold to them (Leviticus 26 & Deuteronomy 28), whereas violations would bring the requisite and promised curses, ultimately resulting in exile and death.  The son of God that was Solomon received a warning related to idolatry, but was offered the promise of long life if he were to make proper use of the gifts bestowed upon him by the Creator God in service to that God’s people and as that God’s representative to the world. 

Jesus, the unique Son of God as the physical embodiment of the Lord God of Israel, performed the work to which He had been tasked, and re-oriented the promises and blessings and cursings and life and death around Himself.  He commissioned and purposed a renewed people of the Creator God with a very much old covenant task.  The new mark of that old covenant task---the destruction of the works of the devil---would be the proclamation of the fundamental Gospel message that Jesus was indeed the crucified and resurrected Messiah and Lord of all. 

Adherence to this idea and this task would mean life---eternal life (not a never-ending life in a far-off place called heaven, thought of in such a way as to make this life and world secondary and almost irrelevant, but rather, the life of the age to come intruding upon this present age).  However, it would not just mean eternal life for the one that embraced the belief and what it required, but it meant life would be communicated into this world by the very act of proclaiming this Gospel message. 

Speaking forth the Gospel, along with manifesting the power of the Gospel in deed (which would mean service to the world because of and in response to the call of its King), would actually be activated by the power that raised up Jesus from the dead, while also activating that same power in the place where the Gospel was being preached (in word and deed).  This, in itself, would somehow effect transformation in minds and in lives, along with the destruction of evil and the defeat of death---the ongoing and eventual renewal of the creation along with the renewal of those that had been made in the Creator God’s image to steward God’s creation.  This renewal is always happening in incremental stages but it is never complete, as it is the Holy Spirit’s mysterious working through those that are now called sons of God, to provide them and the world a glimpse of heaven come to earth (the realm of the Creator God overlapping the realm of man), in advance of it finally and fully being so. 

The son of God for this world in which the kingdom of God has been inaugurated and in which Jesus is the resurrected King is the church of the Christ.  Just as the Creator God has placed numerous sons in this world, so too is this particular son placed in the world to shine the light of His glory, and to carry on the long-established mission of the Son, doing so in and with the same Spirit, as was promised.  As Paul communicates to the Roman congregation, again relying on the context of the son of God tradition and writing “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God,” adding “The Spirit Himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.  And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)---if indeed we suffer with Him so we may also be glorified with Him” (8:14,16-17).  

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