An extension of Sermon XLV in our series on Zechariah.
It is really necessary to slow down, even when it is counter intuitive. All around us, our culture is telling to go faster, to expedite all of our interactions as much as we can, all in the name of being more productive, of doing more with our time.
This acceleration makes a difference in the way we approach God. Particularly, in terms of our theological pursuits. Who has time to consider all of the different details of His work of restoration? Just give me Jesus! Is the outcry of our Christian culture. And if you can do it in bite-size pieces of information, much more the better.
When we summarize to the extreme the doctrines of Scripture (What did Jesus do for you? He died on the cross is the quick, portable and incomplete answer), we lose vital details of His work of redemption that are necessary for us to worship Him well and to face life. Yes, the details are that important. We cannot separate the the work of God the Holy Spirit in our sanctification from His justice, for instance. We cannot talk about God’s judgement of the nations without taking into account His holiness and total otherness. And what about the future glory? Would it make sense without also looking at the ministry of God the Son?
Yes, we can talk about individual biblical doctrines, but we must consider not only all aspects of those individual doctrines, but also the relationship that each one of them have with the others.
Zechariah is doing exactly that at the end of his book, from Chapter 12 to 14. This portion of the prophet’s writings are one single prophesy that includes several topics, all of which are related to one another. They form a tapestry of sorts, with individual treats interlocking, relating, informing one another. Yes, there is beauty in zooming in and contemplating each of those treats, but their beauty can only be total appreciated when we step back, and look at the whole piece of art.
And we can tell that we are gazing at great, really truthful theology when it translates into a great and truthful force to direct our life of worship and interactions with other human beings.
CALL TO ACTION ONE: Look at the whole! Do not be satisfied with headline theology. All of Scripture is useful to equip you. Yes, it will require from you to invest some of your most valuable resources – time being the first of them – but the result is worthwhile.
His Beauty not only secures our salvation, but it also secures our future place in glory. His work of restoration is not limited to give us a clean slate, leaving everything else from that point on to our own abilities. He saved us from something specific – God’s wrath – and for something specific: to be like Him. In this last part of his book, Zechariah gives us some hints of what we are going to look like, in that future state of glory when the consummation of our salvation will finally take place. Our strength will be the LORD, perfectly (12:5). He will have His Spirit, perfectly (12:10). We will be clean, perfectly (13:1). But, for me, the best part is that my idolatry and my tendency to corrupt His word will be removed. It will be cut off. Perfectly (13:2-6).
Then, we live in between the acquisition of our salvation and its consummation. Our daily lives take place in the tension of the already and the not-yet. And while we wait for that consummation, He is at work in and with us, to make us more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ. This process is called sanctification, and it was defined by a group of very smart people, many years ago, this way:
(Question 35 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)
|Q: What is sanctification?
This work of His free grace is making us able to operate in the rarefied atmosphere created by our sin, in a way that resembles His holiness. We are able, more and more, to faithfully imitate the Lover of our soul.
CALL TO ACTION TWO: Consider both extremes of His salvation for you: its acquisition and its consummation. If you focus only if the acquisition, you may get the impression that the rest – making it all the way to glory – depends completely on you. If you only consider the consummation and the glory that is to come, you may lose interest in living this life in a way that reflects His character for others to see it.
And one more thing: when are faithfully present in the in-between, we can find peace and freedom to share with others.
CALL TO ACTION THREE: Take His work of sanctification in you out for a spin. He is doing nothing short of a miracle, transforming you more and more into the image of Jesus Christ! Take that transformation out into real life to see how it holds. It will. You are being well equipped to do something that will not go unnoticed: love others – specially those who do not share your cultural preferences – in a redemptive way.
Recordemos Su gracia por nosotros.