Inseparable, p. 130
[This chapter was the most challenging one of all for me to write, but also one of the most important to me. It started out as three chapters, if I remember correctly, but it became apparent that one could write an entire book on the concepts I was attempting to cover. So I worked to consolidate it into one chapter; no easy task. And two nights before my final draft of the manuscript was due I completely rewrote the whole chapter. Oy.]
“The kingdom of God is in your midst… Seek first the kingdom of God…” Spend some time reflecting on and studying the fact that in Christ, we are citizens of the kingdom of God. As such, we are His emissaries to the world. We are His representatives. We play a part in communicating His plan for redemption.
Here’s a quick excerpt from this week’s chapter:
One of my favorite words is shekinah. The concept of shekinah is found throughout the Old and New Testaments, although the word itself (“the one who dwells, that which dwells”) is not. It refers to the glorious presence of God, and more specifically, a visible sign of God’s presence. Rabbinic literature views the pillars of fire and smoke in Exodus especially as shekinah glory, physical manifestations of God’s presence.
The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 HCSB)
The Word became flesh. Jesus embodied the presence of God because He was and is God. The Greek for “took up residence among us” could be literally translated “tabernacled among us.” Jesus set up camp in the midst of His people. Jesus was the ultimate shekinah, the full representation of God in flesh (see Colossians 1:19; 2:9). While the people were keeping an eye out for a military figure to bring freedom, Jesus came as something far better—God in the flesh, the Liberating King. He established a new era in an eternal kingdom without borders. It is this kingdom of which we who are in Christ are a part.
If you’re in Christ and Christ is in you, you are God’s dwelling place. His Spirit resides within you. How does this change your life? Your daily outlook?
This week’s assignment is to read Chapter 9: Worshiper Fulfilled. This week we’ll take a look at what it means to be truly happy.
This week’s discussion question:
What does it mean to be a part of God’s kingdom here and now? What might it look like to be a part of God’s kingdom to come?