Before anything else I’d like to apologize. Clearly I’ve had a lot in my mind and it feels like I’ve spent too much time in the depths without coming back up for air. That may not necessarily be the best analogy… or, well, maybe it’s worth a try. Again, it’s like I’m out in the dangerous depths and I’m being to drawn in by its lights and its sights, until I remember at the last second how I need to dash back to safety.
How’d that sound? Anyway, after the dumpster fire I left yesterday, I thought it was about time I hit the Word again. So here goes nothing.
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Because of Christ and His birth, death, resurrection and ascension, not only may we ascend into the hill of the Lord, not only do we merely stand in His presence, but we are encouraged to RUN to His throne of grace during our time of need.
Because of what Christ has done for all of us, we can say that we seek His presence AND enjoy His presence at the same time. It works both ways – we celebrate this finite world ushered into infinity, and we also celebrate infinity poured out to saturate all aspects of this finite reality. Reconciliation is both finished and ongoing, just as anything infinite is absolute, but in the same time “changing”, as it is evolving. Intentional in growth, deliberate in thriving.
With that in mind, I read cleanliness and purity not only as the absence of filth and corruption, but more as the presence of life and righteousness. And since there is no life that is not everlasting life, and there is no righteousness apart from the eternal Christ, in whom we are alive, so our hands are clean, our hearts are pure – finished, and ongoing.
It’s familiar to the ‘flow’ I mentioned and failed (well failed at least according to my standards, anyway) to fully elaborate on: The infinite nature of God’s glory and grace, of His peace and power, can be seen as a raging river, absolute, but always moving; Any filth or corruption may make its way to infect the waters, but it’ll not last, compared to anything that is infinite and eternal.
And we say the same thing, not only for obvious filth and corruption, but also for anything and everything that presumes its glory to match that of our great God. None of it – no idols or anything in this finite world – none of it would last, compared to our infinite and eternal Father.
Indeed, we see another perspective to the God of our salvation – He is so, because He is our infinite and eternal Father!
“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us; Then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul.
Blessed be the LORD who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
The God of our salvation proves He is on our side. He did not allow the people of Israel to serve as prey to the men who rose against them. As the Word say, by His grace and glory they may have been trapped, but they were able to escape.
See, when we also, in this day and age, say that our help is from the Lord, not only are we saying that Christ helped us by way of proclaiming us righteous unto eternal life, but the other side of the coin is that we have escaped from sin, and therefore free from death.
Salvation is sin separated from us, for righteousness to be literally fused with all of our being. And as the Scandalous song goes, “It’s all because of You, Jesus; Now my soul will live.”
Any time spent contemplating on the Word from the perspective given to us by Christ, the Living Word; that time is never time wasted. It’s the same thing the other way around; Time spent contemplating on Christ from a perspective of the Word gives us cause to think, and is ultimately also a good use of our time.
The fear of the Lord is contemplation on Christ, who is the Living Word… and as we celebrate Him, intentionally or unconsciously, no doubt we would get returns of eternal value. It’s one thing to draw confidence from the fact that Christ is our wisdom, and leave it at that – but as I was going through Proverbs 24, well, we see how wisdom drawn from meditation on Christ certainly has its more practical opportunities (Practical, that is, in terms of how we see it work even in this fallen reality):
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
Understanding how Christ came to us from heaven to earth and lay His life down for our sake gives us a staggering, humbling perspective to how He adds value to us. That’s what came into mind as I was writing those verses down. Through the knowledge of Christ’s finished work we appreciate how not only have we ourselves been re-built (into new creations), but also re-established (proclaimed as separate from sin, and proclaimed as righteous), and sustained (with much more than finite riches, but what really matters – everlasting life).
And as Christ has added value to us, so we add value to others. In our celebrating the love of God made known to us by Christ, we draw people to the knowledge of His saving grace, so they, too, would be built, established, and enriched. We give as we have been give to by Christ.
A wise man is strong; yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.
If we consider these verses while keeping Christ’s finished work in mind, we see a little more into the stipulations when He died. What I mean by this is that when Christ lay down His life, He relinquished His strength, knowing full well that in His taking of the death we deserved, He would render Himself vulnerable, forsaking all notion of safety; and not only that, He would reel in all the hopelessness associated with crushing defeat, without any chance of victory.
In understanding the sheer oblivion Christ embraced for us, it adds just a little more realism to the wooden crucifixes with a recognizable ‘Jesus’, doesn’t it? Christ took death, defeat, and danger – Christ took our end so we would have a beginning, with Him.
And there is it. Our starting point for when we build, establish, and enrich ought to be our becoming righteous unto eternal life. The same should be said for when we increase strength, and when we wage war, or run to safety.
Salvation is the centrality of our being, and Christ is the centrality of our salvation.
It is as I’ve always said, only in a different way:
Christ is our Foundation, indeed.