Thursday, August 25, 2005

Lordship of Christ, Spirit of holiness

The Darden Christian Fellowship (DCF) 2005-2006 has now officially begun. I mentioned on Monday that this was the week for graduate picnics, DCF tonight and GCF (Graduate Christian Fellowship) on Saturday evening. It was, I think, a great success. The student leadership did a great job organizing things; I provided the grill; the Study Center provided the food; our faculty advisor did the grilling honors; and we all worked to keep the conversational decibel level high...

Prayers, by the way, are appreciated for DCF and for these and the other students at Darden. Darden is a top-ranked graduate school of business with a challenging case-study approach to teaching and learning. DCF and the Center for Christian Study would like to support these Darden students and the school in every way we can, as we seek to bring all areas of our lives under the Lordship of Christ.

Which brings me to my concluding reflections on Romans 1 and 8, sparked by my larger discussion of Russell Moore's good book, The Kingdom of Christ. As one might expect, the kingdom of Christ and his lordship are linked. If Jesus did indeed become the son of God (human king) in power at his resurrection from the dead if he moved in his own human life from flesh to Spirit (though without sinning)... if he was himself anointed with the Holy Spirit at his baptism in a way which anticipated the fullness of his resurrection kingship... and IF we too are called to walk in the new life of the Spirit until the time of our own Spirit-engendered resurrections... THEN bringing our lives under the Lordship of Christ is at least at one level to be like him now (as the Spirit enables) so that we may be like him even more in the future (as the Spirit enables).

If none of this makes any sense, well, uh, you'll probably need to reread the last six or seven posts. And I should also say that this isn't the full story: because Jesus is fully divine as well as fully human, his lordship goes beyond simply the human lordship (sonship/kingship) he obtained at his resurrection. He is worthy of divine worship because he is our God. And yet... he is also the human lord of the universe, a position he attained at a particular time and in a particular way and which human lordship he invites us to join him in. This too is part of the gospel, as Romans 1:3 makes pretty clear.

So what does this mean for the present? One of the comments on the last post highlighted the devotional aspect of all this: the call to live now as if the age of the Spirit really had dawned in our lives as we look forward to that great sonrise (Rom 8:18-23!) in the future. I think that is part of Paul's point in Romans right from the beginning. Note that when he refers to the Spirit in Rom 1:4 it is as the "Spirit of holiness."

This is an unusual way of referring to the Holy Spirit and accentuates, in Greek as in English, the "holiness" of the Holy Spirit. Why? To anticipate the line of thought in the early part of Romans 8 where the indwelling temple presence of the Spirit in the people of God ("But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit dwells in you," v.9) demands a certain of life in the present ("So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh," v.12) even as it promises even greater life in the future ("if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you").

In other words, the Spirit of future resurrection power is also the Spirit of present resurrection holiness. The Spirit of future bodily transformation is also the Spirit of present ethical transformation. God is engaged in a comprehensive renovation of his creation, completed already in Christ and continuing in his people--from the inside out. So all this talk about inaugurated eschatology and the "already and the not yet" and the two ages with the intrusion of the Spirit is anything but pie-in-the-sky ivory-tower theology. It's all about how the kingdom of Christ is working itself out in our lives and in the church--with a view toward the future--in the right here and right now.

That's worth thinking about, on both a personal and societal level, day in and day out. Perhaps some of you can help us draw out the implications of this for our lives. Precisely in order to bring them more and more under the lordship of Christ.

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2 Comments:

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Jim Schmidt said...

Bill,
Oh to live in this moment; moment by moment! as you say so well "the Spirit of future resurrection power is also the Spirit of present resurrection holiness. The Spirit of future bodily transformation is also the Spirit of present ethical transformation. God is engaged in a comprehensive renovation of his creation, completed already in Christ and continuing in his people--from the inside out." and I say Amen! When the darkness encircles around I want to pray "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bittnerness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new evey morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'This is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'" Lam 3:19-24.

Thanks again for the encouragement to us!

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

You asked for us to expand the implications of the Kingship of Jesus over his new humanity. I just posted on my blog my transcription of a beautiful retelling of the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus by Bishop Tom Wright that I think does just that, as it interacts poetically and narratively with not only the road to Emmaus story, but Isaiah 40 and a 19th century British poem.

Read it here.

 

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