“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”Romans 8:20-21 (NIV)
Mr. Calvin wrote, “there is no element and no part of the world which, being touched, as it were, with a sense of its present misery, does not intensely hope for a resurrection.” (Commentaries Chapter 8).
I started this morning with a devotion on the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25, 2:12). How did I end up with a passage on fallen creation? Coronavirus, that’s how! 🙂
Every religion attests that the world is not as it should be. We have that in common. Christianity suggests it is cursed (Genesis 3:17-19), broken, suffering and longing with all its brief generational inhabitants for a future deliverance. The ground is thick with thistles, the heart of humanity quarantined in it’s self idolatry, separately from meaningful fellowship with our Creator.
I’ve been watching World War II documentaries this past week. We have not been evolving as a species, at least not morally. While the beauty of original design shines through the cracks, the present reality of a creation departed from original design mutes us existentially from its potential fullness. We, along with the machinery of our present creation are drudging along in our self-imposed structures, living for meaning, meaning to live.
This is the worldview of Christ followers throughout history, before the internet, before print. Our alienation from God is the context for Jesus first coming 2,000 years ago. God is One and yet reveals Himself as three personalities. Like concepts of eternity, this is beyond our mortal framework but is nonetheless what we must grapple with. This God creates a world for his crown creation to inhabit. We’ve rejected Him and inherited a deserved judgment – isolation from Creator, cursed in isolation from our deepest longings and wrestling with this grinding inward knowledge that all is not well. It’s why we are never quite happy enough, contentment is illusive.
We strive for purpose, we’re fearful, anxious, suppressing these feelings as best we can on the hamster wheel of life.
Some of us do a really great job and have managed a sense of oblivion within our matrixed quarantine from God. Is that a word, ‘matrixed’? (Such a great movie that sums up the Christian world view so well in my opinion!)
God is not punishing us, not directly. Humanity created this by rejecting His authority from the start. This freedom in the system, the interactive cause-effect loops were embedded to maintain the essence of liberty and love. God’s freedom within Himself was impregnated within humanity, but we chose to worship creation instead of Creator. The wheels have been in motion ever since. History is ripe with famine, wars, natural disasters, and yes, viruses and plagues. Whether this Corona global situation proves to be an over reaction, or a warranted time of distress, there’s nothing new here besides the technology of a global world to share in the collective anxiety and potential suffering.
Our hope? Jesus. His first coming rescued us from the law of sin and death and replaced it with the law of liberty! We follow now not commands written on tablets, but the Truth, the Person – and Jesus invites us to abide/live/be in His loving union as Father, Son and Spirit NOW in partial liberation from this fallen system.
We who believe and know the loving presence of Jesus have a taste now of what’s to come, and it is so GOOD!
What about Jesus second coming? He promised final redemption, renewal of this entire created order – but we were not told when. With generations of believers gone before we are”eagerly awaiting” (vs 23) our adoption and restoration. In my lifetime? Hope so. Would be amazing to see – but either way, Jesus reaches through eternity back to us, He’s been there, both sides, hand stretched out, and I’m grabbing!
“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope” – Rom 8:25
We take refuge not in quarantining ourselves, but by trusting Jesus is our life now and forever. He has rescued us from a fallen and cursed quarantined world, set us free to abide in His presence for comfort, within the plurality of Himself. The world doesn’t need a message of judgement, because Jesus Himself didn’t come to judge a world already lost in confused chaos. His coming was a message of hope, a rescue from judgement and isolation from our Creator. He pulls us out of the confusion, places the moorings of our being on His stable, eternal, unchanging self.
Finally, what about the Christian response? Let your light shine before humanity in such a way that they may see your good posts, comments and likes – said Jesus never. Good works, faith in action, let’s love and point to the One who loves and use whatever means at our disposal to enter the suffering of those around us – if they don’t know freedom in Jesus, they, like us before freedom, were already quarantined.
“The fact that God has become man, indeed flesh, proves that the redemption and resurrection of the entire earthly world is not just a possibility but a reality.” Irenaeus
Keep Jesus center. Live your life as if everything He said was true and His resurrection will become the rock from which you build your life and prepare for the next. Avoid listening to vain, ego-centered preachers and so-called prophets who claim to know more than you or have special access to God’s knowledge. God is wise, and hides the revelation and beauty of Jesus to the humble who would never suggest such an elite status. (This last paragraph for my kids, as this blog is primary for posterity).