It is written that we shall “stand before” Him, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son — it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.
~ CS Lewis, in his epic “The Weight of Glory,” preached originally as a sermon at Oxford, on June 8, 1942
This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
~John, The Beloved Disciple, in 1 John 1
Oh beloved, it is true.
Each of us was made in the image of G_d. It is written in Genesis 1: “Let Us make Man in Our image.” As such, this became a core doctrine of the Jewish faith, and the Church grafted in through the New Covenant. It has been so since the earliest Rabbinic, then Church councils. Irenaeus was a disciple of the Beloved Disciple, John. This church father said it this way: “Gloria enim Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei. (The glory [ed. note: Light and weighty presence] of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God).”
However, there is another core doctrine, that is equally foundational to our understanding of mankind. And this is that we all have fallen short of the glory of G_d who formed us to be like Him. In turning away from our Design, we turned in on ourselves. The church father, Augustine, called it: “Incurvatus in se,” and it denotes a terrible, inward-curving bondage, and selfish view of our existence.
In short, instead of becoming the saints we were Made to be, we are sinners with no way to save ourselves. As these core doctrines come from a clear reading of Scripture, we realize that both of these truths are necessary ingredients in our salvation! We need to know what we are Designed to be, and we need to be convinced of the fact that we can’t become that fully-human person without Jesus.
In repentance and confession of our sins, we find the path to our new identity in Christ Jesus. However, many of us who have no trouble seeing our sinfulness can have our vision of who we have been made to be, clouded. We may say something like: “What I have done is just too wrong. Maybe I am forgiven, but surely G_d has a ‘cheap-seat’ section in heaven for people like me. Yeah, I did not have to go to hell, but heaven will not be for me, what it is like for others who really lived for G_d.”
Can we see it?
The Devil is a liar. G_d is not like us in our fallen state. We are being conformed to His likeness in our exalted state as adopted sons and daughters of the King, and citizens of His Kingdom which will have no end. There is no limit to this. None. The Word, and the experience of terrible sinners set-free by His Holy Spirit show this Truth to be true.
I worked with an old educator in Germany, in the early 1990s. He had been involuntarily drafted into the German Wehrmacht, and manned a machine gun crew defending Omaha Beach on D-Day June 6, 1944. He really did not want to be there, but the Nazi regime was coercive to the point that he would have lost his home, and his wife and kids would have been put in concentration camps.
44 years later, he joined our US our military contract group in Central Germany in 1990, but before accepting the position as a school administrator, he travelled to the US for an extensive training program to learn about how our team ministered to US military families overseas.
As we finished the training, Herr B. came up on stage, and stood quietly before about 120 US civilians, contractors and active military officers. He gave a brief bit of background, but then hung is head and his chest began to heave. And then…. he confessed to our team. He had not yet told that story to anyone in our group. It must have been a terrible burden for him to carry.
He wept in shame and said, “I killed your fathers. How could I ever be part of this team?!?!” And then stood there, humble and dignified, ready to be dismissed. However, instead of shame, the moment turned into the beauty that can only come when Christian brothers come alongside another brother in need. Some of the older active US military officers went over and embraced him, held him, and brought him onto the team… WOW!!!
Beloved, we are all Herr B. in one way or another. We have fallen short in so many ways. But infinitely more than the compassion shown by a few soldiers for a former enemy, G_d does not just want us to join the team and sit in the cheap seats. NO! He wants us to experience the total cleansing that comes from accepting HIS forgiveness. Then He wants to restore us to our Design as sons of our Heavenly Father. Then, He wants us to know that we are fully, utterly, absolutely, totally accepted as His very beloved children.
It Does Not Matter What Your Personal Deficiency, Or Whether It Be A Hundred And One Different Things, God Has Always One Sufficient Answer, His Son Jesus Christ, And He Is The Answer To Every Need.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Think About This: “God rewards those who seek Him. Not those who seek doctrine of religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself. And what is the reward? What awaits those who seek Jesus? Nothing short of the heart of Jesus.” ―