Insight into eternity

378 insight into eternityIt reminded me of scenes from a sci-fi movie when I learned of the discovery of an Earth-like planet called Proxima Centauri. This is located in an orbit of the red fixed star Proxima Centauri. However, it is unlikely that we will discover extraterrestrial life (at a distance of 40 trillion kilometers!). However, people will keep asking themselves whether there is human-like life outside our planet. For the disciples of Jesus that was not an issue - they were witnesses of Jesus' ascension and therefore knew with absolute certainty that the man Jesus is now living in his new body into an alien world, which refers to Scripture as "heaven" - a world which has nothing in common with the visible "heavenly worlds" that we call the universe.

It is important to know that Jesus Christ is fully divine (the eternal Son of God) but also completely human (the now glorified human Jesus). As CS Lewis wrote, "The central miracle for which Christians stand up is the incarnation" - a miracle that will last forever. In his divinity, Jesus is omnipresent, but in his continuing humanity he dwells bodily in heaven where he serves as our high priest and waits for his physical and thus visible return to the planet Earth. Jesus is God-man and Lord over all creation. Paul writes in Romans 11,36: "For of him and through him and to him are all things." John quotes Jesus in Revelation 1,8 as the "A and O" that is there, who was there, and who comes. Isaiah also explains that Jesus is "the High and the Exalted" who "lives (lives) forever" (Jes 57,15). Jesus Christ, the exalted, holy and eternal Lord, is the executor of the plan of his Father, which is to reconcile the world.

Note the statement in John 3,17:
"For God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but to save the world through him." Whoever claims that Jesus came to condemn the world, in the sense of damnation or punishment, simply lies not correct. Those who divide humankind into two groups - one who is destined to be saved by God and another who is destined to be condemned - are also wrong. When John (perhaps quoting Jesus) says that our Lord came to save "the world," it refers to all humanity, not just a particular group. Let's take a look at the following verses:

  • "And we have seen and testified that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world" (1, Joh 4,14).
  • "Behold, I proclaim to you great joy that will befall all the people" (Lk 2,10).
  • "So it is not the will of your Heavenly Father that even one of these little ones will be lost" (Mt 18,14).
  • "For God was in Christ and reconciled the world to himself" (2, Kor 5,19).
  • "Behold, that is the Lamb of God, who bears the sin of the world!" (Joh 1,29).

I can only emphasize that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of the whole world and even of his entire creation. This is what Paul makes clear in Romans, chapter 8, and John through the book of Revelation. What the Father created through the Son and the Holy Spirit can not be broken apart into individual pieces. Augustine remarked: "the external works of God [concerning his creation] are indivisible." The triune God, who is the One, acts as one. His will is a will and undivided.

Unfortunately, some people teach that Jesus' shed blood only redeems those whom God has appointed for salvation. The rest, they say, are destined to be damned by God. The core of this understanding is that God's purpose and purpose are shared in relation to his creation. However, there is no Bible verse that teaches this view; any claim of this kind is misinterpretation and ignores the key to the whole, which consists in the knowledge of the nature, character, and purpose of the Triune God revealed to us in Jesus.

If it were true that Jesus intended to both save and condemn, then we would have to conclude that Jesus did not correctly represent the Father and thus we can not know God as he really is. We also need to come to the conclusion that there is an inherent disunion in the Trinity and that Jesus revealed only one "side" of God. The result would be that we would not know which "side" of God we can trust - should we trust the side that we see in Jesus or the hidden side in the Father and / or the Holy Spirit? These quirky views contradict the Gospel of John, where Jesus clearly proclaims that he has made the invisible Father fully and correctly known. The God revealed by and in Jesus is the one who comes to save humanity, not to condemn it. In and through Jesus (our eternal intercessor and high priest), God gives us the power to become his eternal children. By His grace our nature is changed, and that gives us in Christ the perfection that we ourselves could never attain. This consummation involves an eternal, perfect relationship and communion with the transcendent, holy Creator God, which no creature can attain on its own - not even Adam and Eve before the Fall could have done it. By grace, we have fellowship with the Triune God, who stands over time and space, who was, is, and will be eternal. In this communion, our bodies and souls are renewed by God; we receive a new identity and an eternal purpose. In our oneness and fellowship with God, we are neither minimized, absorbed, or transformed into something we are not. Rather, by participating in the human being who was risen and ascended from the Holy Spirit in Christ, we are brought into the fullness and highest perfection of our own humanity with him.

We live in the present - within the boundaries of space and time. But through our unity with Christ through the Holy Spirit, we penetrate the space-time barrier, for Paul writes in Ephesians 2,6 that we are already in the risen God-man Jesus Christ in Heaven. During our transient existence here on earth we are bound to time and space. In a way we can not fully understand, we are also citizens of heaven for all eternity. Although we live in the present, we already share in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. We are already connected to eternity.

Because this is real to us, we convincingly proclaim the present reign of our eternal God. From this position, we look forward expectantly to the coming fullness of the Kingdom of God, where we will live forever in union and communion with our Lord. Let us rejoice over God's plan for eternity.

by Joseph Tkach


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