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Preparing for a New Relationship to the Earth
Sometimes, being constricted within the narrow confines of discipleship, it’s easy to lose out on the final picture with the hope that is before us. At the end of the story, we see God “marrying” a new earth, a new world—through a new life—a life wherein He is inhabiting us, His People. We are, in effect, that “new earth.”
That life is being worked out in us now. It is not something yet to come. The life itself is ours, and it is now. But its effects must be worked out through its confinement to old earth. The imperishable work of God has been planted within a perishable framework where it is shaped by the temporal realities that mirror its final outworking one day. The grace of God is wrought out from within its confinement to the legality of finite human personality with its images and perceptions that change, are outgrown and must pass away.
It’s this mysterious interweaving of God and man, grace and law, life and image, that gives us the curious paradoxes and polarities over which we are left to work out our salvation. The God who has said “all things are yours” has said “love not the world.” And the God who has said “you are kings and priests” has said “come out from among them and by ye separate.”
As one who was imparted primarily a disciple’s nature, I’ve been strong on the matters of separation, and slow to appreciate the equality of the hope that lies before me of victory, satisfaction and fulfilment in my relationship to the earth. Moreover, as a disciple, I’ve been as easily quick to judge and see the flaws in those who have not shared my nature with its ascetic perspective.
But discipleship itself is part of the legal construct to which my inner life has been confined—but which my life must outgrow. My own discipleship is not part of my life in God. My life in God is greater than my discipleship and must push through it in its hopes of a new earth! My new life is separate from my separation nature!
And so, as surely as my new life has been nurtured under the confines of my discipleship nature, now, it is outgrowing it, pushing up through what were once inviolable boundaries in my thinking in what I could allow myself to desire, or believe to be true, or acceptable with God.
If our life is truly growing, then it can only follow that at some point, its hope of fulfilment must surpass the barriers of our discipleship awareness of what is not acceptable to hope for in this life. Our hope must transcend our sufferings over whatever we have lost in life for Christ’s sake.
If our new life is healthy, it can’t be content to lodge under the shackles of our negative awarenesses of what we “can’t have” in this life, or of what we must “separate from” in this life. We must come out in grace beyond our own discipleship perspective on life—coming even to a pure, holy, undefiled expectancy of imminent fulfilment and new relationship to the earth.
Do we really believe in glorification? Do we really expect it to happen in our lives? What I am really asking is: How do we expect to close the gap between who we are as self-denying disciples now and glorified ones who are able to walk in new relationship to the earth in uncensored enjoyment of what God has given us?
You see, for us, that undefiled hope has been something we have always of necessity relegated to the distant future. “Some day,” we thought, “we’ll be with Christ and be fulfilled. Meanwhile…” And you know the rest… we just slug it out here in Jeremiah-style discipleship. And that’s true. As long as we’ve been under the confines of discipleship, it’s had to be this way. Any thought of final present fulfilment has been taboo. And of course, any teaching otherwise has been false kingdom teaching.
But what I’m saying now challenges those confines. I’m saying we are fast reaching a place on the prophetic time clock in which the hope of present imperishable fulfilment is no longer a distant thing relegatable to the unknown future. Our new life within is chafing under the confines of our discipleship mindedness—not in lawlessness, but in readiness for hatching, for birthing, for harvesting.
Our new life (or am I only speaking for myself?) can no longer be kept down under the limits of disciple-style negative awareness. It is outgrowing its protective shell of disciplines ministered by the Lord in times past. It is less and less able to hear “Thou shalt not this…” or “Thus be wrong with that…”
After having faithfully borne the cross and given up all, some of us are being brought to the place of realizing the imminent fulfilment of a hope that shall not be taken away from us—even despite the sufferings to come on the world and those still being endured by many who are not as close to harvest. We are preparing for a new relationship to the earth. We are losing the awareness of hurt, self-denial, rejection and deprivation in the shadow of a new indomitable hope.
This is the same hope that underlay our earlier expectations attached to specific hopes allied with our first nature—hopes that were mercilessly smashed in times past. But the smashing of all those expectations couldn’t destroy the foundational hope that gave rise to them—a hope that now stands forth all of its own—without defined expectation—certain only that fulfilment is imminent, a new relationship of prosperity with the earth is at hand, and nothing shall take it away. It is even the hope of the end of Job.
As I see this new life within me transcend the limited discipleship framework that has housed it all these years, things that I once feared no longer give me cause for alarm or concern—most of all, the awareness of the horrible situations befalling the earth at these end times, and Christians in general. God’s hope within me is like a pillar of fire and the cloud that guided and separated weak Israel from Egypt’s captors.
“A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee” (Ps. 91).
While others continue to rightly warn of the perilous evils ahead, I am personally no longer concerned by them. I’m not worried about war anymore, or world government, or economic collapse. God’s life in me is transcending that negative focus now. His hope wraps me in a cloud and Shekinah presence that is untouchable by negative earth events and that will make my life an oasis of singular blessing, even if surrounded by mayhem around me.
Personally, I’ve done all the major warning I’m going to be doing. My time as a Jeremiah truly is over. I’ve spent myself. Only a few listened (like you.) But now, God’s inner life can no longer be contained or nurtured by that framework—as good as it has been.
My sharing of this with you is more by way of testimony than anything. There’s nothing I’m urging you to change. I can’t. You can’t. If God’s work has not been sufficiently wrought out in you to relieve you of your negative discipleship awarenesses, then you must abide under them til they have served their purpose. But at least know that there is an end to all this at hand!
It shall not always be as it has had to be for you. And do not be surprised therefore when God’s hope rises in you to a point that it challenges what you have known by suffering only, and you begin to believe that God might actually wish to bless you positively! There is an end to sufferings—a permanent end. “It is appointed to man once to die.”
The gap between disciplined hope and glorification is closing quickly. What we once relegated as future distant blessing is quickly closing in upon us that shall replace our outcast discipleship lot we have known til now and judged the rest of the world and the church by. The dawn of a new faith is here, a higher faith, a faith for blessing that comes—not as an alternative to discipleship, but as a mark of its completion.
If possible, I want to inspire you with that hope at this Christmastime, 1990. Then again, if you choose to stay in discipleship mode and find it too hard to believe we can experience good here and now as well as evil, I’ll leave that with you. For such a one, I run the risk of sounding like a false kingdom teacher—but I hope my past testimony will persuade you otherwise. “I come not to destroy discipleship thinking, only to complete it.”
Discipleship is not the end-all. God’s life in us transcends its confines. If you have grace to believe it, then let my letter help nudge you to believe it and move into it. Prepare with me to enter a new unsulliable relationship to the earth!
written from Merrimack, New Hampshire
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created June 15, 2016