A Glimpse Behind The Curtain

 

…we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near…

…we hold to the hope that lies before us.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

One of the coolest things we get to be a part of as lovers of Jesus is unfortunately  one of the things I think we fail at the most. And that is, providing those around us with a “glimpse behind the curtain,” a “peak and taste” of the One who is our life and love. He who is in fact the One in whom we and all of creation lives and moves and has its being (Acts 17:25-28). No, I’m not advocating universalism or pantheism. But I am saying that the curtain which separated man from intimacy with God has been removed, granting to all men access to the most holy place through Jesus. And we are to be the instruments through whom the world comprehends this reality.

The Church excels in  bringing the world into the “outer courts.” We allow them to see the “place of sacrifice.” We also have no problem with providing them with the “rules and regulations” of worship. We are experts at spouting off our “code of ethics and morality.” But the disconnect lies in the fact that unless one sees behind the curtain, worship becomes ritual, and sin  devolves into some kind of “checklist.” We have become quite proficient in expounding on the “what” they must know, but provide few answers as to the “who” and the “why.” We come across (and portray God) as the proverbial parents who say, “You don’t have to understand. Just do as I say.” But it is only as we ourselves live life behind the curtain, encountering the essence, the energy the “ousia,” the love and holiness of our Abba God that we begin to understand and can subsequently (effectively) be the glory and the fullness of Him who fills all and all.thcnh86v2s

We must remember that as priests our function is not only to minister to the Lord, but to be a liaison between God and man. In Jesus, as we live by his Spirit, we are to be living pictures of the life God has offered to mankind. And as we with unveiled faces behold and reflect the glory of God, we “pull back the curtain” allowing those around us to see expressions of the grace, the mercy, the hope, and the love of God. It is behind the curtain that we realize that holiness is not merely “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” but rather the beauty and life of the One who is altogether “other than” and unlike anything else- the One who invites us to come and be like Him. And consequently, the world witnesses the True Light shining off of the faces of those who live life behind the curtain. As we grow in the Love of God and our understanding matures, we communicate the reality of Jesus in words not taught by the world, but by the Spirit. Abiding in the Vine, behind the curtain, we come to rely less on the carnal tree of the knowledge of good and evil and become more complete instruments of the power of God, revealing the good news about Jesus that pierces hearts and minds, that pulls back the veil allowing the people in our lives to see the truth behind the curtain.

Step right up ladies and gentlemen! It won’t cost you a dime!! Step right up, and be amazed as you see the awesome wonders that await you behind the curtain!!

Is anyone thirsty?
    Come and drink—
    even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
    it’s all free!
        Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
    Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
    You will enjoy the finest food.

Come to me with your ears wide open.
    Listen, and you will find life.

Glory

“[Father,]the glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

I’ve been thinking about “glory” a lot lately. Whenever I’m in the Word it seems like I’m always being drawn to passages about glory. Or, I’ll go somewhere and someone is talking about glory. My wife & I led worship at a conference last Saturday evening, and guess what; yep, the message that night was about- glory. In the past, when I’ve contemplated glory it has had to do with God’s Shekinah Glory or “Christ in you the hope of glory” or “Man, we got on up in the glory today at church.” For me, glory has always been some illusive, intangible thing that God has, and every now and then we get a little taste of it. Then finally one day we’ll be with him and literally see his glory. It had never really dawned on me that, in Christ, we are partakers of glory. Not only later, but right now.

One of the wonders, and an “aspect” of the glory of the Triune God is the “agape-knowledge” shared by Father, Son, and Spirit. Within God there is complete disclosure, intimate knowledge, mutual adoration, and unified participation- God is love. And this love, this intimate knowledge, this glory has been given to us by God, in Jesus. “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “In fact, it is this knowledge, this revelation of God through/in Christ that IS eternal life itself (John 17:3). Not only later, but right now.

This glory of the “agape-knowledge” of God does not exist merely for our personal benefit. Another aspect of the glory is that as the Son came to earth and glorified the Father through the manifestation of his name, we too as partakers of glory declare the reality of God in Jesus. As the world beheld the glory of God in the person of Jesus, so it is that we who are the fullness of him who fills all in all make known the manifold wisdom of God, the eternal purpose that has been realized in Christ Jesus our Lord. Not only later, but right now.

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”