Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, July 26, 2013

Times and Seasons

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. - 1 Peter 1:3-5

Jesus told us to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven where it may remain incorruptible and secure.  Through Christ, an everlasting inheritance is being kept for us, not in the dark, sealed vaults of banks or in an earthly fortress guarded by men who pass away, but in the eternal light of heaven under the watchful eyes of God who neither changes nor sleeps. 

Salvation begins in this life.  As a seed is planted and new life sprouts from the earth, immediate evidence of our new life in Christ begins to manifest itself in a short time on the physical plane.  Even as we mature and bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, this will be only a promise of what is to come.  It is not until the old husk is shed and the new seed is planted in death that what we are and what we have will truly be revealed.  The soil of heaven, if you will, is of a different nature and imparts to that which is hidden in it a virtue fuller and more lively than the earth's limited nourishment can invoke.

Paul's analogy of the olive tree in Romans 11 is a convenient one.  The Cross is often referred to as the Tree.  We, like branches broken off the Tree of Death, are grafted into the Tree of Life through faith.  Where we could bear only the bitter fruit of death before, we now partake of the nature of that into which we have been joined by faith and the grace of God.  Thus begins the laying away of glories for the next stage of this new life.  There are plants that will grow in one season and send down heavy roots.  If we seek to gather seed from them in that first season we will be disappointed.  They must die back over the winter and come out again, exploiting what has been stored away in the hidden roots to produce viable seeds.   

Our lives here will wither and pass away having served their purpose.  The destiny for which you and I were born, foreknown by God and for which we have been engrafted to Christ may never be seen in this world.  But in that "last time", on that Resurrection mornin', as the song says, the trials endured, the sometimes ugliness of human existence, the senselessness and futility which marks so much of what we see will all be reconciled in the beauty and truth to be unveiled when we rise into the new day, the new season of that heavenly life.   

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