Monday, August 14, 2017

Beatific Vision...what is that?!

The following is an attempt to capture the essence of the beatific vision with a much fuller discussion by Kyle Strobel on the link at the end. 

The beatific vision (first God's own, than ours) creates eternal and infinite delight (happiness) because that which is most beautiful and delightful (God) is beheld, engaged and communed with (participated in).

The essence of the life of God is the giving and receiving of infinite glory/honor/love/ delight between and among the persons of the Godhead (Trinity). It is this eternal and infinite community of Glory/Beauty/Delight we too are designed for and called (offered) to participate in.

Our sharing and participation in this is our greatest joy/happiness. This in turn moves us to share this/him with others. As we do it (our delight in him) is further magnified and intensified in so doing.

Our joy is God's greatest joy (outside of the joy he always knows within himself).

It is ours only because it is first his.

Our participating in and sharing (passing along...paying it forward if you will) his glory throughout the earth not only brings God honor/glory but also gives him great joy.

God delights in our delight in him and our sharing that delight with others. He does not wish to keep his glory to himself but desires it be multiplied throughout the earth, thereby increasing that glory (not by him becoming more glorious within himself but in his glory being experienced by more people i.e. more broadly disseminated and in this sense multiplying his glory). This is why he sends us and 
why we go.

He is the Alpha and Omega; The Beginning and End (
Rev_22:13) . All things are from him through him and to him. To him be the glory forever! Amen! (Rom 11:36)
Joh 16:14  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 
Joh_17:5  And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Joh 17:13  But now I (Jesus) am coming to you (Father), and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves
Joh_17:22  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
Joh_17:24  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

A much fuller and more technical discussion of the beatific vision by Dr. Kyle Strobel is available here.

Other posts related to beatific vision 
Overview of Jonathan Edwards theology.


The following is a reproduction of the Strobel article with highlights and notes added. (endnotes not included. For endnotes go to full Strobel article in link above) 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

why God calls us to glorify him

The call of God to glorify him is also a call to experience our greatest glory i.e. our greatest sense of value, meaning, importance, delight, joy etc.

It is a call that is all about us because it's all about God first i.e. God calls us to glorify him so we might experience our greatest glory and joy which is only in him, the All Glorious One.

The only reason it can be about us is because it's all about God first i.e. if God were not the God of great glory, we would not experience the great joy of knowing him or be created by him as bearers of his image with the ability to experience that glory. We not only exist because he made us but we also enjoy him because of the way he made us i.e. in his image.

The reason God pushes so hard (constantly calling) for us to glorify him is because his love of us is that great i.e. he longs for our greatest delight and joy.

When you know what you have to offer is that good for someone (who you greatly love) you will go to great lengths to persuade them to take up your offer. Even to the point of going over the top in your efforts; maybe even coming off as obnoxious at times. You know once they do they will be so delighted they did, they will be forever grateful for your persistence and staying on them. 

God doesn't call us repeatedly because he needs us (Acts 17:24-25) to glorify him (knowing and experiencing his own glory has been the essence of his being as Father, Son and Spirit from all eternity past). He knows we need to glorify him. It is in our best interest when we do.

He also calls us to glorify him simply because first and foremost he is all glorious. For him to call us to glorify anything other than him is not only untrue but it is to our harm and greatest loss because it's untrue.

The call of God to glorify him is an invitation to experience our greatest delight and joy. A joy that can only be found in the source of ultimate delight and joy i.e. The interrelational joy and delight found from and within the Father, Son and Spirit.

In summary, there are two parts to God's call for us to glorify him. 

1.     He is all glorious. To find a greater glory in anything other than God is simply not true or possible. 
2.     He loves us infinitely and therefore desires our greatest delight and joy.

Actually there is a third that flows out of the first two. 

     3.  Once we experience God in his glory we will share it with others thereby expanding it, bringing joy to a greater number and greater honor to him. 

Some other links that look at different aspects of experiencing his glory and our worth are as follows: 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

everything is broken...however

Because we all live in a broken world, we all deal with hardship, struggle and pain. This is not unique to us nor are we somehow or for some reason singled out as God's target for punishment when we experience difficulties and struggles. 

There is a bumper sticker that says "sh*t happens." This is a crude but fairly accurate way of saying suffering is simply part of living in a fallen and broken world and some indication that even the world gets it. 

Not only is our world broken but we are broken; everyone of us... no exceptions. A primary result is we all have a endless longing to be valued and loved. A longing designed to be satisfied by the source of life and love. We are all in **need of healing and restoration for not being valued and loved, no matter how well-off we may think or appear to be. And this is simply because we have walked away from the source of love and life, God himself. 
**As we plug in to God, our longings are redirected toward him and our need subsides. The more we plug in the less we feel the need to be affirmed by others.  Once we are in his presence and fully plugged in, a constant sense of value and love (i.e. glory) in Him will be an ever increasing part of our existence.  
Some may object saying they have never walked away from God. They just don't care. If anything they might say God has walked away from them. Or they don't feel the kind of longing I am describing. 

But God says he loves you. Have you explored this claim? He also claims to be the Creator and provider of all things. Do you acknowledge this claim? Have you explored whether any of these claims (and many others) have merit? These are not insignificant claims that should be ignored if true. If you have not seriously (since they are serious claims) explored them, and they turn out to be true, you have in effect walked away from God. 

To illustrate, if I offer you a million dollars and you thumb your nose at me and never seek to determine whether my offer is real or not (when it actually is), what would you call not exploring this offer? The issue isn't the actual offer (which for sake of illustration we are saying is real), it's your not believing the offer. Which means only for you, the offer is not real, when in fact it is.  

The fact that we also think we are going through a unique hardship (and having a pity party as a result) only speaks of how self obsessed (and alone/separated/isolated) we truly are. Our relationship with God is severed resulting in all other things and relationships being broken. 

At a very deep level we all long to connect with someone who loves us with no strings attached. We seek this from others who can never truly and fully love us this way (which is why we hide our darkest, most shameful secrets [I am sure you can think of some] even from those closest to us). We long to be loved at a level in which we don't have to be concerned about hiding our true broken selves but are free to be who we really are, warts and all and still be fully accepted and loved. 

A solution that far exceeds the problem

The beauty of all of this is God himself stepped into our world of brokenness as a man and took on the ultimate pain and suffering of hatred, persecution, ridicule and rejection not to mention God poured out his full judgment for the rebellion of mankind (including our own) onto Christ. This ultimately lead to his death (when he in fact deserved none of this) so that he could one day free us from all of these things. Death had to occur to complete the judgment. 

He also did this knowing we could never love him with a love equal to the love he showed us.  

Jesus died for us so he could restore us to union with his Father. He did this knowing we never did or could ever do enough to equal the level and extent of love he showed us. Yet he was "ok" with that.

What does this tell us about his love? What kind of love is this that compelled Christ to take on the loss of this very love he has known from all eternity past so others might have it? What does this tell us about the greatness (largeness) and abundance of the heart of God and his Son?

Christ didn't do this so he might gain something from it for himself. He actually experienced just the opposite when he set aside something infinitely valuable and glorious so he could make this happen.

What he did gain however is the joy of knowing others would know this very same love of his Father that he knew and has always known.

A love so great and delightful for him that he longed for others to experience it along with him. He was compelled to share it. He simply could not keep this love to (or for) himself.

In fact his longing to share was so great he sacrificed some of his own experience of that love for a time so he could share it with others that we might share in it together with him. 

Can you imagine such a love as this!? This was the love of God in and through Christ for you. 

This is how great his love for us is and the basis for the promise and hope of fully participating in this love one day for all who trust Jesus.

Do you trust him?


*The realty is hardship and pain is not suppose to happen. Though it may be the common experience for all, it is an aberration, not a part of our original design nor will it be a part of the future experience for those who are in Christ.