I do not often feature guest posts on my blog, as most of my blogging friends are from the USA and it is my heart's desire to keep this blog as 'Australian' as possible. That being said the following post has been written by a dear brother of mine here in Australia whom I think has such a talent for both reflective, theological thinking and writing. Not so long ago I read a draft of what follows and I encouraged him to keep working on it because I wanted to feature it on my blog, with his permission. I have thoroughly enjoyed this short piece by my brother Chris and I hope you will too. I have promised Chris to pass on all the feedback I receive, so please feel free to comment ~ Melanie.
Thoughts on time and eternity:
I was thinking about the differences between working With God, and working For God, after reading about the vast difference in 'My Utmost for His Highest', by Oswald Chambers. He wrote (May 7), talking about being a disciple of Christ, that we will have all of our works not from (or with) God destroyed on that last day, but many people will work based on their own presumptions, not considering what the Lord wants, with no prayer or direction from God Himself. Then two days later Mr Chambers wrote about having a vision of God, and the concept of when we lose the vision of God, we cease in prayer and cast off the vision of God in the little things. He noted that this interferes with our relationship/closeness with the Lord.
I considered later the life of Enoch, and the Scriptures say that he walked with God, and was greatly blessed by doing so, he was in fact taken by God, without the effects of dying first. As I have often thought of this, many challenges come to my mind, such as, how can I consider God while being in anxiety, pain and suffering, a bad mood, frustrated by the things of this world. We should find such things abhorrent.
The Apostle Paul has encouraged us, that we should pray continuously with earnest expectation that the Lord shall answer according to the counsel of His will. But Enoch found a way to keep his relationship close with God, by walking with God, he was resolved to have his eyes, mind and heart (all including his innermost thoughts, more often than not) on God. Enoch knew God, and Who He really is, in a relationship, not tainted by false idols, as the Scripture as a whole would suggest. The enormity is quite striking, but I know that despite my many short comings, our freedom is found in Christ, Who knew no sin, praise the Lord!
As I considered it again this morning, I pondered the differences between Time & Eternity, and how opposing they are from each other, and how these implications have affected mankind since the fall.
I have considered the contrast during this time of meditation of the opposing doctrines of Arminianism and Calvinism, and how can they be rectified keeping in mind that both arguments quote the Scriptures, yet come to two completely different conclusions. If I think about the fall of man being when Adam ate of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, being the only command that God gave, yet we chose disobedience, I consider that man chose to know what is both evil and good, and thus providing a gap between man and God, that demands justice.
In God's immediate judgement, He put limits on man's lifespan (time), and made the earth and all creation groan until the Lord completes His promise of redemption (Christ's return and final judgement), which is evidenced by the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This points to the fact that God has made corruption in His perfect creation, due to our own corrupt actions and intentions, thus making time itself corrupt.
Although we are quite limited in time, God reigns in eternity, as written in the Scriptures, and Christ Jesus is seated at the right hand of God which shows that He Himself is currently in Eternity, yet it also states that we are seated with Christ in eternity, when we are in Christ Jesus, and of course Jesus lives in us.
I consider that Christ being the remedy for mankind's sin, as He was crucified and took on our sins, for He who knew no sin became sin for us, and that sin must be punished, could be the only possible answer, and it is a free gift of grace. Then in bringing us into eternity, we are now both in eternity and the limitations of time being rectified through Christ, so it is becoming evident that time and eternity can be brought back together (although limited because the perfect has not come).
When I consider that Adam would have both lived in time (uncorrupted) and he walked with God, I see that both time and eternity co-existed in perfect harmony. Since it was mankind's rebellion against God, it makes it all the more amazing that He sacrificed His only begotten Son, which of course was agreed upon by the Godhead before time, therefore the argument of a mean and cruel father is disproved, since Jesus had already decided.
This brings me to my thoughts on free will verses God's predestinational purposes. If time and eternity must meet, it can only happen at the point of time (and eternity) where Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all mankind's sins, and therefore made it possible for us to have fellowship with God in eternity, the cross of Calvary.
The argument of Arminianism and Calvinism, stems from the fact that Christ died for all, as just one example from Scripture says, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. (John 3:16). Therefore it is taught that Christ died for whoever believes in Him. From where? It clearly says, “For God so loved the world”, therefore any one in the world can be saved if they believe in Him, verses, we have been predestined in the Calvinistic standpoint, quoting just a small portion of God's Word Ephesians 1:11 sates, “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose in Him Who works all things according to the counsel of His Will”. The argument from that verse alone states that we are of course predestined by God, and even in the counsel of His will (being the Godhead Triunity), both sides use and quote a lot more verses, but there is just an example, but both cannot be wrong.
It is therefore easy to suggest that as both scriptures can't be wrong, as no scripture is, so they must both be right. I consider that there comes a point in our lives where we recognise our need for a Saviour, during time and space, yet in eternity (limitless by knowledge or power) God meets us, as He knew He would, making it both right that we accept Christ, and can repent. Yet at the same time God foreknew us, and made it possible for us through His grace, but the truth is who can know or comprehend the mind of God.
As for walking with the Lord goes, I believe the only way this can be achieved is to constantly seek and trust the Eternal, Living, True Creator, who lives inside those that are His, in His strength. Although we are limited (in time), Jesus lives in eternity, and co-exists in us, and hopefully (only limited by our own desires), with us. Only by His power can we do anything (apart from wood, hay and stubble), which is one of the most amazing truths eternity could possibly produce.
Just think about it, the One True God, choosing to live and walk with a broken vessel, such as yourself, and even me! What a remarkable revelation, the Perfect in and with us, making time and eternity close once again. It is only with each step, millimetre by millimetre, trusting and seeking Jesus as Lord, that we can resemble the walking that the past greats of God's Holy Word reveals.
I find it ironic that the world says that time is against them, or that time is the only enemy (like we hear watching a sporting team losing in the last moments), since time is only tainted because of our choices, therefore if time is an enemy, it is clearly a result of our own desire to be our own god.
As for time itself, will it be done away with in eternity? Well, someone might say only time will tell, but I like to think it's all in God's hands, and if we are walking with God, through Christ Jesus, empowered by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, what can stand against us! Some questions are too difficult to have a complete understanding of on this side of eternity, but the Bible tells us that we can safely put our trust in the Lord, and the truth. Jesus is truth, and His Word is truth, He will guide us and lead us, through Faith, as Proverbs 3:4-5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight”.
(In time) Chris.