Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Jesus-life

Saul (Paul) had an expectation, based on the Scriptures, that the kingdom of God would appear, and he thought he could help bring that about through imprisoning people who he thought weren't going about it right.

Then he had a revelation of the crucified, risen, ascended, seated and gloriously reigning Jesus, and of His true people the Church. The experience saved his spirit, and gave him a sense of commission to the nations.

Had Paul now come to think of the gospel, and the Church and its new way of living as the very fulfilment of his kingdom-expectation? or did he see his new activity as just something else he was doing instead, while still waiting for the kingdom to come?

I think the answer is that Paul came to understand that Jesus is the Messiah and that He was truly reigning in His kingdom, and that the gospel of the Lord Jesus the Messiah is the announcement of that fact, and that the Church are the true people of God in Him. That new realisation gave Paul a new way of doing 'kingdom'.

Of course Paul also understood that even within that scheme of the kingdom, some things were still future - he understood that Messiah is still to come the second time, and that all Messiah's enemies shall be put down including death, and that Messiah will then subject all things to God and will Himself be subject to God.

But is that second-phase - the culmination - of the already-inaugurated kingdom-scheme, meant to involve reverting to a Jerusalem-based, temple-based Levitical-like system, even if only for a thousand years?

If the Apostles thought that must be a crucial outcome of Bible-prophecy, you would think they would have attempted to bring it about - through teaching Gentile believers in Jesus to make annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem, for example. But they insisted on no such thing. Quite the opposite: they instead taught the churches that they were in fact already a royal priesthood, an holy nation, in the Messiah, and that they had come to the true mount Zion.

The Apostles knew God wasn't finished with Israelis, for as long as He isn't finished with the nations. But it seems to me that they saw any spiritual distinction between Israel and the nations as having been absorbed up together into Messiah and eliminated in His heavenly kingdom-reign. Not that that absconds from Israel's promised-position - it fulfilled it!

A problem with saying Israel's prophesied-kingdom is pretty-much all still in the future, is that the Bible-passages which are purported by some to be about that, are some of the very same passages which the Apostles asserted had seen their inauguration already through Jesus. The gospel - salvation - was to the Jews first, and also to the Greek, Paul said - not the other way around. The order was, first that which was natural, afterward that which is spiritual.

So, the ancient promises really were all about Jesus, about His gospel, and about all nations! It really was about the cross; Messiah's two comings. The Jesus-life. This is it.

It is given to us, not only to believe on His Name, but also to suffer for Him, for the Church which is Messiah's body. But our present sufferings work for us a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

This was Paul-s newfound passion. And it's yours!

"As the Father hath sent me, so send I you".

"You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bear much fruit, and that your fruit should remain".

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature".

"He that shall come will come, and shall not tarry".

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