Tuesday, June 2, 2015

At the end of all things, love

Nestled in the middle of the next-to-last chapter in the first letter to the Corinthians, we find the consummation of all things.

But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:23-28)

The Spirit in me was moved by this passage and it moved me. I cannot explain it, but you know the feeling you get when your indwelling Spirit is moved by the outdwelling inspired Spirit, and the grand picture that comes to mind cannot be expressed but only tears can approach the grandeur of the moment you're reading about.

The scene where Jesus bows to the Father and gives the Kingdom back to Him...redeemed, purified, holy, beautiful...all that Jesus has fought for, died for, rose again for, bloodied His garments for, He now bows in Divine Love and presents it to God...it is utterly astonishing in its holy love that exceeds our capacity to understand. Yet we will be spectators to it. Even more than spectators to this coming act of Divine love and submission, we ARE the kingdom that will be presented to God. Do you ever just fall over thinking of the wonder that we worms have been elected, justified, redeemed, glorified, and will be the gift of love given back to our Father?

Sometimes I get thinking of my own self, my sanctification, my sins, my repentance, that I forget it is not about me. The inter-trinitarian love of our God-head is eternal and ongoing. The struggles of Jesus on the cross, the grief the Spirit sometimes feels in us, the anger of the Father, all this is ongoing and this is what it really is all about- God's plan, God's redeemed, God's desire. This wondrous plan started before the world began. But it is recorded in the first moments of history in Genesis 1:26 so that we may know.

John MacArthur on the Corinthians verses:
This is such a powerful, powerful statement. What it says is this, when the Son has received the redemption, when the Son has received His redeemed humanity, if you will, His bride, when all enemies are destroyed and He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, sovereign of the universe, when everything is under Him, except God Himself, He will then take the Kingdom, all that the Father has given to Him, and He will give it back to the Father in a reciprocal act of divine love that God may be all in all. Here in a wonderful inter-Trinitarian way beyond our comprehension, the Father who ordained redemptive history to gather a bride for His Son, a Kingdom for His Son, when the Son receives that Kingdom which is a gift of the Father’s love, in a reciprocating act of love, the Son hands the Kingdom back to the Father. The grandeur of this crowning event can hardly be fathomed.

Sometimes we think about salvation in very personal terms. But it’s better for us to think about salvation in these vast and almost incomprehensible terms, that salvation while you’re involved in it by the grace of God, it’s really not about you, it’s about the infinite love, the limitless love of the Father for the Son and wanting to give to the Son a gift of His love which is a redeemed humanity that will love Him and adore Him and worship Him and praise Him and serve Him forever. And the Son recognizing that all the redeemed are gifts from the Father, even says, “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me.” The Son when He receives them all, gives them back to the Father. Everything is restored to God that He may be all in all. The Son has come as a servant of God into the world to take back to God souls redeemed. He has conquered death, He has by His own resurrection provided a full resurrection for all who believe. And when all are gathered into His arms, as it were, He will take them all and present them to the Father and will Himself subject His own life to the Father.

Our God is three-in-one, something we know but don't understand. One God but three Persons, each with a distinct personality and tasks but in complete harmony with one another because He is one.

What a privilege it will be when we see Jesus present the Kingdom to the Father. It is an inexpressibly beautiful moment of joy, exquisite in holiness, perfect in love. The culmination of the moment we read about in 1 Corinthians is described aptly above by MacArthur as "inter-Trinitarian love" is also described by him in Genesis 1 as the deliberations of the "divine executive council". The goal to redeem the earth was set from time immemorial, but we are privileged to read about it in Genesis 1:26.
He says, “Let us make man in our image.” God is one god and yet He is three persons as we know. What you have here then is the council of the Trinity engaged in the purpose of creating man and now the time is right.

I have to stop at this point. I wouldn’t be faithful to the intent of Scripture if I didn’t do this. Through the years, I have tried to show you that God had a divine purpose before the world began and that that divine purpose was to take a bride, as it were, for His Son. That God the Father desired to give to His Son an expression of love in a bride that would be a redeemed humanity to be given to His Son to love and adore and praise and glorify His Son forever and ever and ever and also to serve Him. That eternal purpose of God unfolded within the executive council that is God within the Trinity. (source)
The Godhead's love for one another within the Trinity is eternal and had been ongoing since before that moment of human consciousness was created and awakened in Genesis 1. But aren't we blessed to be able to watch this amazing love demonstrated in the gift-giving of the Kingdom at time's end.  We will be there. We ARE the gift.

Whenever you're feeling small, or marginalized, or persecuted or woeful, just think of the grandeur in which we will be allowed to participate at the conclusion of the monumental plan of God, to watch our Jesus bow and say, "Father, the Kingdom is Yours."


1 comment :

  1. If it feels a little bit scary (not in a faithless sort of way), I suppose I can tell myself that I'm able to understand the nervousness of a bride before the wedding. I know what I am to expect, but I feel emotions of fear and excitement welling up inside me just the same.
    ---
    Ladies, sorry if I got anything wrong in the analogy. Not being a woman, the best I can do is *try* to understand. And always appreciate insight from my sisters.

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