“The campus revolt in America is not unlike the French theater of the absurd: actors on the stage, moving about in crazy quilt patterns without discernible purpose, speaking their lines without listening for a response Everyday engaged in private conversation or in dialogues that make no sense. Nobody communicating. Just people on a stage, confined to their own little worlds, talking past one another.”
“The Test”; Walter Adams; (Macmillan Co,; 1971) pg 9
Not much has changed in the last almost 50 years since this was written.
Yes once there was a baby in a manger, but the baby did not stay in the manger. He grew to be a man. Though the manger is important, the manger is now empty. .
Yes, the baby that was in that manger grew to be a man, and one day they took him and put him to death by crucifixion on a cross, but he did not remain on that cross as his dead body was taken down and placed in a tomb. Though the cross is important, the cross is now empty.
Yes, the body of this man who was once that baby in a manger and as a man died on that cross was laid in a tomb, but the tomb is now empty for death could not contain him. He is risen from the dead and hold the keys of death and hades in his hand. Though the tomb is important, the tomb is now empty.
Yes, the man who was once a baby in that manger, and grew up only to be put to death by crucifixion on that cross, and was buried in that tomb that is now empty, has ascended into heaven and now sits on the right hand of God the Father. From that throne he will one day come again in judgement and make all things new.
The manger, the cross and the tomb are now empty.
Jesus Christ is Lord.
For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.~ The Letter to Diogentus (2nd century AD)
The fact is that both the "beatific vision" and the "new creation" view of heaven are correct, but only one takes precedence. Despite all that we will discover in eternity regarding the new earth and the New Jerusalem, this truth will hold true even in heaven: "in this place is One greater than the temple."
"The Alluring Brightness of His Glory: Cherishing the Preeminence of Christ above the Counterfeit Offers of a Consumer-driven Christianity" ;R.L. Coursey; (West Bow Press, 2017); page 438
God purposely puts an offence in the message of the cross to render it unattractive to self. As a result, those who would seek Him and find Him cannot do so under the power of self, nor from the primary motive of self. Real Christianity is foolish from the world’s point of view,; “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable..” Paul concludes that, from the world’s perspective we lose in this life. But doesn’t Hebrews 11:6 tell us that “he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him?” Yes, but many of the heroes of the faith in that chapter do not look like they were rewarded, unless we have an erroneous view of rewards! Upon a closer examination, it becomes obvious that the rewards experienced by these people were of another nature than those commonly sought after by the world or offered by the church.
When we tell the lost that “God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives,” we must be very clear as to what that plan might entail. If we mean wonderful from the world’s point of view, we not only give false expectations, but also encourage them to seek themselves in religion. Ultimately God’s plan for all these heroes of faith was wonderful;, but before they could arrive at their reward some had to travel the path of “trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonments: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” In essence, the way of faith that leads to rewards always directs its travelers down paths of self-denial and self-sacrifice, rather than self-indulgence.”
"The Alluring Brightness of His Glory: Cherishing the Preeminence of Christ above the Counterfeit Offers of a Consumer-driven Christianity" ;R.L. Coursey; (West Bow Press, 2017); page 71
Whoever you are, come, celebrate this shining happening, this festival of light.
You, the devout, God’s unshakable lover, and you the servant brimming with thanks.
Come, walk into the joy of your Lord.
You who began before sunrise, come for your stipend.
You who waited till nine in the morning: the feast is for you. And you, the not-till-noonday starter, do not hesitate; you shall not lose a thing.
You who began at only three in the afternoon, have no scruples, come!
And you who arrived just before sunset, forget you were late. Do not be bashful.
Our Master is magnanimous and welcome the very latest with the first.
He will not entertain you less, you of the eleventh hour,than you the dawn toiler. No, not at all.
To this one he gives, and on that one he showers rewards.
Whether you were a success or whether you only tried, he will greet you, make much of your effort, extol your intention.
Let everybody, therefore, crowd into the exhilaration of our Savior.
You the first and you the last: equally heaped with blessings.
You the rich and you the poor: celebrate together.
You the careful and you the careless: enjoy this day of days.
You that have kept the fast, and you that have broken it: be happy today!
The table is loaded. Feast on it like princes.
The milkfed veal is fat. Let no one go hungry.
And drink, all of you: drink the cup. The vintage is faith.
Feed sumptuously all: feed on his goodness, his sheer abundance.
No one need think he is poor, for the universal empire is emblazoned, wide open for all.
No one need mourn uncountable falls, be they over and over.
For forgiveness itself has reared from the tomb.
No one need fear death; for our Saviour himself has died and set us free.
He confronted death in his own person, and blasted it to nothing.
He made it defunct by the very taste of his flesh.
This is exactly what Isaiah foretold when he declared:
“Hell is harrowed by encounter with him.”
Of course it is harrowed.
For now hell is a joke, finished, done with.
Harrowed because now taken prisoner.
It snatched at a body and – incredible – lit upon God.
It gulped down the earth, and gagged on heaven.
It seized what it saw, and was crushed by what it failed to see.
Poor death, where is your sting? Poor hell, where is your triumph?
Christ steps out of the tomb and you are reduced to nothing.
Christ rises and the angels are wild with delight.
Christ rises and life is set free.
Christ rises and the graves are emptied of dead.
Oh yes, for he broke from the tomb like a flower, a beautiful fruit: the first fruit of those already gone.
All glory be his, all success and power…for ever and ever!