In Glory, We Will Fulfill the Command

“The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.” -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

What the Resurrection of Jesus Tells Us about The End

Lifted “When the barman rings the bell and calls ‘Time!’ it means that closing up has started. Any remaining business needs to be done now. Very soon it will be too late. In the resurrection of Jesus, God has called ‘Time!’ on the world. The end-time judgment has begun: a man has been raised from the dead. Now is the time to do business with God, to get in the right with him. Soon it will be too late.” -Sam Allberry, Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, pg. 129

The Spirit as a Down Payment

Perspective on Pentecost“The gift of the Spirit in which all in the church share, embracing all the differences in individual outworkings of this gift, is described by Paul as the ‘down payment,’ ‘pledge’ (II Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14) and ‘firstfruits’ (Rom. 8:23) of the full inheritance to be received at Christ’s return. These terms function pointedly to express at the same time both the partial, anticipatory nature of the church’s present possession of the Spirit, and the eschatological character of this gift and of those activities of the Spirit presently experienced by all within the church.” Richard Gaffin, Perspectives on Pentecost: New Testament Teaching on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, pg. 21.

If Death Has Been Conquered By Christ, Why Do Christians Die?

By Faith, Not By SIght “To be sure, in dying for them, Christ has fully borne and so secured the removal of the punishment that their sins justly deserve (e.g. Rom. 3:25-26). Nothing Paul says even remotely suggests anything else. But for them, death, as the just punishment for sin, has not yet been removed so far as the body is concerned. For Paul, however certain death’s eventual removal for believers, to the extent that death remains and to the degree that it is operative, the effects of punishment for sin and the curse on it continue. In that respect, death, as punishment and curse for sin, is not yet removed. The culminating note of exhortation on which the chapter ends (vv.57-58 [1 Cor. 15:57-58]) is consonant with this conclusion. Paul assures Christians, “Your labors are not in vain in the Lord,” and that is true because of “God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” But, in light of the immediately preceding verses (note the references to victory in vv. 54-55 [1 Cor. 15:54-55], for them that death-destroying victory, while secured and certain, is still future.” Richard Gaffin, By Faith, Not By Sight, pg. 103.

Illustrations Are Our Friends: Grief

A GRief Observed“The death of a spouse after a long… marriage is quite a different thing. Perhaps I never felt more closely the strength of God’s presence than I did during the months of my husband’s dying and after his death. It did not wipe away the grief. The death of a beloved is an amputation.” -Madeleine L’Engle

The Resurrection and Death

Lifted “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ (1 Cor. 15:55). Most of us hate or fear wasps and bees precisely because of their sting. But if I knew that, somehow, the sting of these creatures had been removed, would I really go into contortions every time one hovered nearby? A stingless wasp would be one we could swat away playfully. No threat at all.

Well, we now have only a stingless death ahead of us. This is not to trivialize the pain that might come with death, for us and for those we leave behind. But it is to recognize that it has been robbed of its greatest sting: sin. Death is not now the prelude to judgment and condemnation, but to a new perfected life. Christians can approach it differently. We have hope- living, breathing, growing hope.” -Sam Allberry, Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, pg. 101

The Resurrection and Self-Image

Lifted “For Christians, death is not the end, but a new beginning…One Christian lady in her mid-fifties told me recently that this is why she doesn’t bother to dye her hair. She said she doesn’t mind the process of ageing affecting her appearance. Her perspective has been shaped by resurrection hope. The best is not behind her; it is to come. The body I have and am– this body now– is not ultimate. Even at its peak it doesn’t come close to the body I will have. Grey hairs are therefore not a threat but a promise. The gradual slowing down of the body, the processes of physical ageing and decay that anticipate our final passing, these are not (to borrow a phrase) the beginning of the end, but just the end of the beginning. Better is to come–much better! Death is the transition to resurrection. We can therefore look it in the eye: it has lost its sting: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55) -Sam Allberry, Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, pp. 100-101.