Friday, April 22, 2011

"There is an Endless Kingdom to be Inhabited"

Is it right that we have to see a loved one perish while life still seems so full of opportunity? Is it right that little babies are born at barely two pounds and given less than a 30% chance of surviving? Is it right that sweet, loving women are emotionally and physically abused daily, with no obvious chance for escape? That thousands are without homes because of "natural disasters"?

I had planned to do a 3-day Easter post on Jesus as our great High Priest. The Lord has taught me much about that over the last several weeks and months, and I wanted to pass it along (though of course it is nothing new). Yet, presently, there seems other more pressing things on my heart.

Am I resounding gong constantly talking about suffering and pain?

Like most cities, Charlotte has it's group of homeless that stand on the street corners with signs, begging for money or food. My heart clenches with guilt and sadness when I see them, because I know no human being deserves to live in rags, and never know what being full feels like.

Does anyone else want to cry out with me "This isn't right!!!"

So my thoughts this Good Friday are somber. With sin such a reality, how could they not be?

But in less than three days I will be singing praises that Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!

And it is because I will be singing those praises that the present afflictions of my heart, and the hearts of those around me can be comforted.

Christ died. In that death he took the weight of sin upon Himself. Practically, this means that we are free from slavery to sin. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Then, in His resurrection He conquered sin.

This is not just the sins we commit, or the good things we've left undone. Sin has not just effected our actions.

Sin is death. Sin is pain. Sin is suffering. Sin hurts.

So if Christ has conquerer sin, why do I still cry for the hurt people in this world?

The Holy Spirit-inspired writer of Hebrews puts it this way, "...At present we do not see everything in subjection to Him. But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory an honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone." (2:8b-9) It's as if he's saying, "Right now things aren't how they should be, but Jesus tasted death for us all... so it's going to get better!"

After all, God originally created and intended for a sinless creation. He hates sin, and all that it brings to His creation. This is not how He intended things to be, and so He made a way to make it right again.

That's while I'll be singing Alleluia on Resurrection Sunday. Because God made it right through His Son. Though we still feel the sting of pain, of death, it is not what always will be.

I like how Christian puts it in John Bunyan's famous Pilgrim's Progress,

"There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom forever. There are crowns of glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of Heaven. There shall be no more crying, nor sorrow; for He that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes. There we shall be with seraphim and cherubim - creatures that will dazzle our eyes to look on them. There also we shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that have gone before us to that place; none of them are hurtful, but are loving and holy, everyone walking in the sight of God, and standing in His presence with acceptance forever.... And the Lord, the Governor of the country, hath recorded in this Book if we be truly willing to have it, He will bestow it upon us freely."

Good Friday, of all days, should make us long for that heavenly kingdom more and more.

 Life is not as it should be, 
but as God continues His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, 
all will be made right.

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