I just finished a book titled Setting Our Sights on Heaven -- Why It's Hard and Why It's Worth It , by Paul D. Wolfe. It was one of those reads that changes the prism by which I view the works of God, the world, my life, and my journey. I hope to share a few posts on its content:
"The Son of God came into the world. Why did he come? ...Here is one: his mission was to go to heaven and lead his people there too."Speaking of the fact that Jesus 'sat down' at God's right hand, he writes:
"...that language should not be interpreted to mean that Jesus has nothing left at all to do, simply because he is done with dying and rising. Remember, the ultimate goal was a new world -- that is, a glorious new physical world fashioned out of the old -- inhabited by all those whom the Father chose 'before the ages began' (2 Tim. 1:9), clothed in their resurrection bodies, living and serving free from sin, rejoicing in all the just and gracious works of God.
...Consider the present state of affairs -- look at the world, read the newspapers, look at your own life -- and you will see just how much of a discrepancy remains between present reality and that ultimate goal. According to Paul, it's as if the ground we walk on is 'groaning' under the weight of that discrepancy (Rom. 8:19-22), and we are groaning with it (v. 23).
...Thus we can say, as the nineteenth century Dutch theologian Herman Bavnick put it, 'In his state of exaltation there still remains much for Christ to do.'
...What work remains for him to do? First, there is his work throughout this age: drawing all his Father's chosen ones to faith in himself, building them up in holiness while they live, and welcoming them into his presence when they die.
...Second, there is his work at the end of the age: returning in glory, raising the dead, judging all men, and renewing the world.
...When the dust settles on the last day, the Son's mission will have been accomplished. Heaven will have been brought to earth. The place where God is most clearly revealed and most intimately known will no longer be some mysterious realm removed from earthly experience. It will be the whole world. Thus we sing: 'This is my Father's world; The battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heav'n be one.'
...You see, Jesus' mission was 'to go to heaven and lead his people there too' (as I put it before), not by removing us from the earth into a condition of unending disembodiedness, but by bringing about the breathtaking glorification of the original created order, his people included, body and soul, and the earth included too.
...Christ will lead us, ultimately not by leading us away, but by leading us into: having gone first into the future by his own resurrection, he will lead us into the glory for which this world was originally designed. That was his mission from the beginning, and he will not fail his Father.
...Do you see how good the good news really is? In Christ we are not put back under probation and told, 'Try again and don't blow it this time.' Instead he ushers us into the full inheritance that passing the probation would have gained. By his own obedience -- obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8) -- Christ has gained it for us."Glory be to God! More later, Lord willing. In the meantime, please pick up this book... or I'll let you borrow mine.