When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. -- Colossians 3:4
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The better translation of “when” is probably “whenever”. There’s no definite, set time, even, it seems, of the Second Coming. The birth of Jesus happened, I think, at a “whenever” point, too – “in the fullness of time”. The Incarnation took place when everything aligned properly. Thinking about freewill, this is a point to keep in mind. Outside of weather events and such, a baseball game will usually start on time or close to it. Most of the time, it will end after nine innings – eight and a half if the home team is ahead. We don’t know what time that will be. If it’s a low-scoring pitchers’ duel, it can go pretty fast sometimes, or it may run much longer. The rules, the underlying structure and definition of a game determine how it will end but not when.
However, I don’t think our verse today is strictly limited to the Apocalypse or the end of history or the end of the world. Here is Wuest’s version: Whenever the Christ is made visible, our life, then also you with Him shall be manifested in glory.
I believe that we can, by our faith, by setting our minds on the heavenly reality, by living and acting in harmony with truth, allow Christ to be visible in our lives. Whenever that happens, because He is our life, we are right there with Him. We don’t disappear. Christ does not absorb us or consume us or devour us in some sort of reverse communion. In Screwtape, though, Lewis postulates that the devil does seek to ingest souls in just such an inversion.
To go back to one of our favorite pictures, the glory of the grapevine is the flowering forth to the beauty of the grape. When we enjoy the fruit, it is the work of the vine and branch together. Christ is made visible by the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of believers. That’s who He is and that’s who the believer is as well.