I don’t know if it’s getting older, getting married, or having children that has done it, but in the last 8 years I have come to understand many things from the Scriptures that I just took for granted, or wrote off as cliche before.
Verses like “…take every thought captive to Christ,” and “… children are a blessing,” and “be not conformed to this world.”
I also started to really examine my attitude towards ecclesiastical things, like worship and the sacraments.
I’ve come to some conclusions.
This entire universe was created by a personal being who has always been. Think about that for a minute. He has always been. He has no beginning or end. There is nothing above Him. And He has created everything that we see. The pinnacle of His creation is man (humanity). Man was created in His image. Think about that for just a minute, and bear with what I’m about to say. I was not created in His image in and of myself. Man was created in His image. Male and Female, humanity was created in His image. Not dogs, not cats, not fish, not bees, but Man was created in the image of God.
But like bees we are essentially a single organism, not totally independent from each other. And it is with this organism, that the creator decided to have a particular, special relationship with. That relationship was predicated on Man being completely obedient to the Creator, and Man destroyed that relationship with his disobedience. At that moment, Man was cursed. God wanted nothing more than to end that curse and restore the relationship that was severed.
Many individual men attempt this on their own by establishing rules, and rituals, and many deny that there is a creator, and seek nothing but temporal pleasure in a vain attempt to put away the despair that they constantly feel.
Man is lost and alone. Man needs that relationship restored, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that Man can do about it. He is helpless, completely unable to fix things. Without his creator, Man is dead.
But even at the moment that Man disobeyed the Creator, separated himself from the Creator, and cursed all of humanity, God promised that there would be reconciliation. There would be a restoration of that relationship.
Do you realize that not only is this the story of the beginning of mankind… it is the story of mankind in all of eternity? God promised, way back when we first lost hope, that there is hope. And there is hope… no matter where you live in time… in eternity, there is hope.
That hope is there whether you do things right, or you do things wrong. Whether you figure things out now or later, the hope is there.
That hope is in the person of Jesus Christ. God, the Creator, humbled himself, and became a baby born to a Jewish couple. Mary was His mother. She was a virgin when He was conceived, He was not conceived by the seed of Man, remember, Man is cursed. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit of God in the womb of Mary.
Does it matter that Jesus was Jewish? Only because the Creator promised Abraham that hope would come through his line, and his line was the Jews descended from Isaac and Jacob. All that does is prove that He is who He says He is. What matters is that He is God, and He is Man, and He is perfectly obedient to the Creator.
Then He suffered an evil agonizing death and was punished with a punishment reserved for those who are disobedient. He literally “paid it all” He was obedient, He repented of our sins and then He suffered and then He died.
But then He resurrected, for not even death has any power over the Creator.
Now our relationship with our Creator was restored, is being restored, will be restored.
Through one man’s disobedience we were all cursed. It was not just symbolic.
Through one man’s obedience we have all been redeemed. His life, death, and resurrection was not just symbolic.
We have certainty of our faith in Christ through the proclamation of His Word, the sacraments of baptism, and communion. These are means by which grace is poured down upon us by the Creator. They are not just symbols.
Our forefathers had faith in a future redeemer that they could not see. We look back to our redeemer. We have seen the hope of Man.
We marry, become one flesh, have offspring, and raise up that offspring to believe, to marry, become one flesh, to have offspring, and raise up that offspring to believe, & Etc. It is not just symbolic.
There are two kingdoms: the kingdom of the Creator which consists of all those who believe that Christ is the Redeemer, and the kingdom of Man which is the World. While alive in time we are citizens of both kingdoms. When we die we are citizens of only one of the two.
I want to teach my children that it is not all just symbolism. So that as we see our neighbors tending more and more away from the creator, and tending more and more towards the World, it is not just symbolic.
When in our own country we see legislators being sworn in with hands on a copy of the Koran, the word of Allah, rather than the Holy Bible, the Word of the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that it is not just symbolic.
It is real.
Spiritually, physically, transcendentally, temporally, eternally real.