Archive for January 2020

The Big Picture

In 2007 The Eagles put out a new album called “Long Road out of Eden”.  One of the tracks is “Frail Grasp on the Big Picture”.  We need to constantly hold God’s big picture before us, but our grasp is frail. Too often we lose God’s Panoramic view because we are looking at the little parts that relate to our own little lives. 

Long before anything existed Father, Son and Spirit were united in a communion of love and joy.  Within this communal life the Father had such delight in his Son that he wanted a vast family of children just  like him. This family would share in the communion of the Son with his Father in the Spirit.  And within this communal life they would be transformed into the likeness of the Son.  The Father loves the Son so much that he has a passion to see his Son in many other sons and daughters. All this will magnify and exalt the Son.  And this supremacy of the Son is the Father’s deepest passion and greatest purpose.  So it is the Father’s Son who fills God’s big picture from beginning to end.

For sure we are included in all this.  For according to the Father’s passion and purpose, his Son’s destiny is bound up with us and our destiny is bound up with his Son. For the Son was chosen before the foundation of the world to be Jesus: God with us as one of us and we with him in deepest union by the Spirit

The Father’s Ultimate Purpose

We humans need a sense of purpose and destiny that is within God’s Ultimate Purpose. But sadly, we tend to ask, “what is my purpose and my destiny”?  We see all things from our own viewpoint. And so each one becomes the very centre of his own small universe. We need to see from God’s point of view.
God had a purpose for us and the whole of creation before he made anything. That purpose has not changed. It was and is Jesus. All things were created through him and for him (Colossians 1:15). And by his Spirit God “has made known to us “the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10 NRSV). The whole of the Father purpose is centred in his Son, is done through his Son and is for his Son.
Where do we fit in the Father’s purpose? God’s entire purpose is all about Jesus and Jesus is all about us. For we are in him and he is in us. God wants a large family who share the likeness of his Son (Romans 8:29 NRSV). We are that family of sons and daughters in union with the Son. But we must always remember that it isn’t about us. It is totally about the Father’s Ultimate Purpose in the Son for the Son. However, when the end comes the Son hands it all back to the Father so that God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Total Identification With Us

Jesus is the true God drawing near to humanity. So near he actually becomes one of us. He refuses to hold himself aloof from us. Even though he was always with God as God he does not stand apart from us. He becomes fully human tasting within himself all that it means to be human.

As the true human Jesus identifies with us fully even in our sin yet without sinning. We see this total identification when he was baptised along with sinners in a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Repentance isn’t simply saying sorry. Nor is it just a feeling of sorrow over sin. A person repents when he changes his mind about sin. He no longer excuses sin, but accepts God’s judgement on his sin. He confesses his sin as offensive to God and worthy of his just judgement. Jesus had no sins to repent over nevertheless, he stands with sinners confessing all the wrong.

On the cross the Father’s Son identified fully with us bearing God’s judgement upon us. He bore the full judgment of God upon sin within his innermost being. He accepted it all willingly without protest. At the same time offering himself freely to the Father on our behalf. In this way he entered into the depths of judgement on sin in a way we can never do. And he also entered into his Father’s grief and sorrow over our rebellion and alienation.

God as human identifying fully with us. This is the only God we know.

Relational God with a Relational Goal

Father and Son are so closely bound up with one another in the Spirit that they “indwell” one another. The purpose of this relational God for his creation is also relational. He wants to reach beyond his own shared life as Father, Son and Spirit to include us in love relationship. Furthermore, the way he achieves his purpose is also true to who he is as deeply relational. For God comes as close to his creatures as he can – in becoming human.

But while God wants to turn towards us we want to turn away from him pursuing our own goals. Indeed, we want to be the goal ourselves. So there is a chasm between God and humanity. A gulf that we cannot cross and do not even want to cross. The mutual relation intended between God and humanity needs to be repaired both from the side of God towards humanity and from the side of humanity towards God.

This chasm between God and humanity has now been bridged by God’s himself. He has himself acted in Jesus to reconcile the estranged parties. For Jesus is God drawing near to humankind and humankind brought near to God. In him the two are brought together as one. And so in him the goal of creation is sure “according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:9). Yes, everything brought together and summed up in him!