Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Room for God

As a child, I learned this southern gospel classic by Ira Stamphill:
I've got a mansion just over the hilltop
In that bright land where we'll never grow old
And some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold

I also learned from John 14 that Jesus told his disciples of the place He was going to prepare for them. In verse 2 Jesus says, "In my Father's house are many rooms (KJV, "mansions" - Gk., monai, "dwelling places"), if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" In verse 23 he says, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home (Gk., mone, "room, dwelling place") with him." This is quite remarkable. Not only is Jesus preparing a place for his people. He and the Father (and the Spirit)are indwelling his people. He is not only making a home for us--we are being made a home for him.

How can I (an unholy sinner) possibly be made a dwelling place for God (the Holy One)? Surely a dwelling place for God must be swept clean of all evil--be made spotless and white as snow. This is a task we cannot do on our own, but only by receiving daily the grace of God who declares those in Christ righteous based on his merit, not ours--and is making us more and more righteous as we die to sin and rise to new life day by day for the one who died and rose again for us.

A collect (a short prayer used in a worship service) found in the Book of Common Prayer reminds us of the place we ought to prepare for Him: "Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at His coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for Himself."

In Revelation 21, we are told by John of the coming of Christ:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from he throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God."

Come--not to find, but make this troubled heart
A dwelling worthy of Thee as Thou art.

--(Bishop Handley Moule)

No comments:

Post a Comment