English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)
…6 For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7 but it is God who executes judgement,
putting down one and lifting up another…
10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.
When arrogance gains power whether in relationships, in the work place or in society, sin is soon revealed. The vulnerable are abused and the weak and needy forgotten. Our fruits reveal us.
Pride’s punishment is a shrivelled humanity which imprisons us – you do not become what we are called to be. We are to be more than our needs. Arrogance and pride bind us in a cage of our own self, limiting us to our immediate hungers. This is the punishment. Evil drinks it to the full- power is grasped and drinks evil to its dregs.
God is there though, in each moment, with the possibility of redemption. However deep we have fallen, however messy life is, God is there. God’s plan is that all will be saved. God is good and in his goodness, he is there in our every moment. In turning from evil and doing good, goodness redeems us and we become goodness as he is goodness.
The choice is always there, but some harden their hearts and become stiff necked. This is the punishment, the not turning is the punishment and the separation of ourselves from God’s ever-present goodness is the punishment. The goodness of God hardens some hearts. Not accepting God is good stiffens necks but God is always good, always there. Instead of life, death is chosen. God hardens some. God’s goodness hardens hearts. Some are lifted by God’s presence but others are put down.
All life is treasured by God and he does not relent. He is humble and will not give up on anyone. By the power of the cross, the sting of death is removed and forgiveness is there for all. There is healing.
We all pass through the needle’s eye of death. We are all purified by the fire of God’s love. The power of the cross is the power of forgiveness and healing. This is true as we live and when we die.
We may suffer great loss as we pass through the eye of the needle and we may feel intense anguish as the flames of God’s love deal with our stuff. The stuff we grasp and hold too tightly is stripped from us and burned up to reveal, and free, our true blessed selves. From the mess of our lives the wood and hay is burned up leaving the gold and the precious stones.
From first to last, we are blessed and loved. Hearts of flesh are formed now and forever as we turn to God. There is healing in the cross as we regain our true humanity and all is made good and we are drawn beyond our humanity. This happens in our now and at our death. Good remains. God is ever present as we are renewed and refined in our troubles and through it all, through the hardships, we gain a crown of glory.
But what if in passing through our final death, no good remains and the fire burns everything as there is only wood and hay? What if in the separating from our stuff and the burning, nothing is left? What if through it all there is only death? What if our being is consumed by pride and arrogance? If in our lives we become stiff necked and God’s goodness only hardens our hearts, what then?
Love is vulnerable and opens itself up to the pain of rejection. Evil denies freedom and binds others to itself by force. There is no evil in God. God is love. God will surely draw all to himself and no evil will come into his presence.
What remains as God draws us will be treasure as we face the judgement of our good and loving God, daily and to the last. All evil is consumed by the cross. All pain, suffering and hurt will be no more. All are healed by the cross. This is our new birth, now, today and for ever.
All are born again in Christ to inherit ever-flowing life. The one on the cross is the resurrect Christ. In the suffering, in the hurt, in the pain and in the tears the God of ever flowing life, ever new life, is there. It is the God of new life who is on the cross. Choose life and receive it to the full!
2 Corinthians 5
English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)
5 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 … 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
… 10 For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
… we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
… 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, … in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In his book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (Feb. 2008), Wright says this about the resurrection:
“The point of the resurrection … is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die … What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it. What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbour as yourself—will last into God’s future.”
…everybody believes something
everybody believes somebody
Jesus invites us to trust resurrection
that every glimmer of good
every hint of hope
every impulse that elevates the soul
is a sign, a taste, a glimpse
of how things actually are
and how things will ultimately be
resurrection affirms this life and the next
as a seamless reality
and saved by God
Resurrection by Rob Bell