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Day 74: Living Daily in Reality: The Fullness of Stature – The Hope of Glory

by Ernest O'Neill

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The infinite creator conceived and created everything in a millisecond: he conceived of children like his only son who wanted to return his love.  But he knew that love is only possible for beings who are free not to love.  This meant creating and bearing in his own son in eternity all that he himself is not and then remaking it - this is the meaning of the crucifixion.  All humanity exists inside Christ who has borne the effects of every choice of ungodliness possible - with the result that we all see clearly our choice - God or not God?  Our present world displays temporarily some of that life without God - Christ displays life with God, our father!

You were created in Christ (Colossians 1:16) and you are alive now to grow up into the fullness of his stature as he is fully formed in you (Galatians 4:19).

So part of our present life is Christ living in you and me as honestly and truthfully as he lived in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  Although he did not act directly to change the social and political injustices of his age, he did express the pain that his own spirit experienced in the light of their lack of love and wisdom.  He mirrored the beatitudes that he described in his sermon on the mount because they expressed absolute faith that our Father had changed and rectified the wrongs in eternity so that we could trust his manifesting the rectification appropriately in time.  So slavery and military domination and persecution had all been rectified by God before the world was created but their actualization in this temporary society would take place in God’s perfect time and way.  Meanwhile, however, Christ felt and expressed the pain of his Father’s spirit in his own attitude: so with each of us as we experience and express the heart of God in our present age.  This integrity in our response and restraint in our human action is part of the fullness of his stature into which we constantly grow in this present life on earth.  So we feel the sympathy expressed by Christ for Mary Magdalene and his pain at the hypocrisy of those willing to cast the first stone when we see the same lack of sympathy for the pregnant teenager or harshness in those who condemn her.

So we sense the same fear of impending doom when we see the inevitable decline of our present economy because of the self-destructive influence of the rich on our tax policies.  As passive income is favored over earned income and the gap between rich and poor increases between the top .1% and the other 99.9%, so our economy puts four times more of its income into passive capital.  We feel the same concern for our poor and under-privileged citizens when we see the power of special-interest groups to manipulate our elected representatives rather than encourage the exercise of their free judgments.  We express Christ’s attitude that respected those in authority over us because they are not a terror to good conduct but to bad.

Just as Paul exercised his political responsibility to appeal to Caesar so we exercise our responsibility to elect our representatives and encourage them to exercise their free judgments regarding all our welfare.  At the same time we refrain from any activity that would influence them to benefit us at the expense of our neighbors because our trust is in the free elections that God has permitted and will use for the common good.  So we are blessed by God as the meek or gentle who will inherit the earth by his action as we pray for those in authority so that we are quietly governed -- but our faith is in God’s maintenance of the structure rather than in our taking it out of the hands he is using.  So we live Christ’s ascended life at God’s right hand together with this present life where we continue to learn his obedience through suffering the chastening and conforming effects of our godless environment.

Thus Christ in each of us begins to be fully formed as he develops the world through his faith in the rectification of the world that has been accomplished by his death and resurrection.  At the same time we experience the conformity to his image which is accomplished through the exercise of his faith as we face the chastening effects of the fallen world’s godless deterioration and hostility.  So in this life we share in the development of the earth planned by our Father and we also benefit from facing its unlikeness to its creator.

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