Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Verse 24

"Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power."

I dive into this next set of verses with some trepidation because I am definitely in over my head for at least the next six posts. A surface reading reveals what appears to be discussion of eschatology (the end times), the Trinity, and baptisms for the dead. Simplicity defined.

I make no claim of expertise in any of those areas (and I'm pretty sure only Mormons claim to have a clue what verse 29 is about, and I'm not buying their explanation). In fact, I don't have a firm position in eschatology at this point and like what Pastor H.B. Charles (of Jacksonville) has to say about it, "I'm no expert on eschatology, I'm not on the planning committee, BUT I am on the welcoming committee." Sounds good to me.

So as I dive in and hopefully don't drown or suffer brainsplosion, I'll begin with a word on scope.

So far as I've tackled this chapter I've discussed a lot of individual-level topics: the effect of sin on you as a person, the results of Christ's justifying work on the believer, and the individual decision to turn to Him. But, here it's good to see that the Gospel isn't a story, but it's the story. And it's not just about your soul, but the whole of the Earth.

This verse talks about when "the end" comes, "the kingdom", and the destruction of "all" current powers worldwide.

It's significantly larger than you and me.

It's necessarily larger. Because the scope of sin is larger than you and me. The breadth of redemption is larger than you and me. The reach of restoration is larger than you and me. Because God is larger than you and me.

Sin isn't just the individual actions of moral agents past and present. It is also a web of interrelated actions throughout history, societies, cultures, and nations. Bigots and trans-Atlantic slave trade. Dishonest bosses and $1.25 per day poverty. The war criminal and the war. Sin is larger than you and me.

But, gracefully, redemption too isn't just Christ interceding for my sinful choices. The full expanse of redemption will, yes, see individual sin forever removed, but also will see Japanese and Chinese, Armenian and Turkish, and Hutu and Tutsi living and experiencing God together in perfect harmony. It will see all economic injustice undone. It will see disease banished and death forgotten. The scope of redemption will be larger than you and me.

Restoration will be complete. Not partial. No more insecurity, no more lack, no more struggle. The level of this restoration is truly incomprehensible. I can no more realistically imagine that world than I can imagine a square circle, that is the staggering difference between my current and future reality. Because restoration will be larger than you and me.

And all of this, because God is far, far larger than you and me.

So, while the individual level is good and necessary, don't forget the step back, way back, and gaze upon the big picture.

'No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him'

but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit

-1 Corinthians 2:9-10