Saturday, October 8, 2016

Holy Trinity and Waiting for My Change

“…He Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He Who prepared us for this very purpose is God [the Father, 1:2,3; 11:31], Who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord [the Son, 1:3,4,14; 4:14; 8:9; 11:31; 13:14] - for we walk by faith, not by sight - we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 4:14-5:10).

The Father is the One Who purposes our resurrection (5:5), gives us the eternally divine Person of the Holy Spirit “as a pledge” (5:5), creates our resurrection body (5:1), and “will raise us also with Jesus” (4:14). This is done for His great glory (4:15). How great is “the love of God” (13:14)!

The Son Who is the resurrected Lord is the One to Whom we are faith-united to receive our resurrection from the dead (4:14). While here on earth, we are “absent from the Lord,” and desire instead “to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (5:6,8). The apostle, in his focus on this eternally divine Person of the one true God, appeals to our will (“we have as our ambition”) and our affections (“to be pleasing to Him”) in directing our attention to Him. We are motivated by the reality that this Son is the Judge and Rewarder of how we steward our time in this world. The greatest blessing a human can enjoy in the context of forever is “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” (13:14)!

The Holy Spirit, given to all who believe in the resurrected and glorified Jesus Christ (John 7:39; Acts 2:38), is a gift from the Father to assure us throughout our days here on earth that He will raise us from the dead in His good time. The Holy Spirit, God present in us, is a pledge of a future promise (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13,14). How comforting is “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (13:14)!

This one true God Who is three Persons will accomplish a great change in us. Consider all the ways Paul describes our God-wrought transition:
“…our outer man is decaying” → “our inner man is being renewed day by day”
“…momentary, light affliction” → “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison”
“…the things which are seen” → “the things which are not seen”
“…temporal” → “eternal”
“…the earthly tent which is our house” → “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”
“…this house” → “our dwelling from heaven”
“…naked…unclothed” → “clothed”
“…mortal” → “life”
“…at home in the body,” and therefore “absent from the Lord” → “absent from the body and…at home with the Lord”

The Father “has prepared” (aorist middle deponent participle of κατεργάζομαι) us for this change, working it through our faith-union with the resurrected Son and assuring us of this purpose by giving us the indwelling Spirit. This has been my meditation this last week as I prepared for a graveside service I led yesterday. For the believer in Jesus Christ, the setting of earthly remains to rest in the cemetery is the great statement of faith in the promised change.

“Oh, that You would hide me in the grave,
That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past,
That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my hard service I will wait,
Till my change comes.
You shall call, and I will answer You;
You shall desire the work of Your hands.
For now You number my steps,
But do not watch over my sin.
My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And You cover my iniquity”
(Job 14:13-17, N.K.J.V.).

Give glory to the Triune God for His purpose in our resurrection. Burial is a step in that glorious direction.
Ft. Bayard National Cemetery