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THE CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE
FROM GRACE TRIUMPHANT
TO FACE DIVINE
Rev. Dr. Robert E. Donaldson
Published by World Wide Web Witness Inc.
Here you see aspects of the Christian pilgrimage, with special attention to Timothy. Its beginnings precede time, its end is with Him who made time, and you may come to Him at any time in this Age of Grace.
You may be defaced, outfaced, or prefaced in your actions by your way of facing things, your reputation, your character, speaking before you come. People tend to grow in the expressive result of their lives, stooped and sullen, sad and contrite, quiet and reflective, frustrated and patient, or whatever the mark might be.
For the Christian however, there is the pilgrimage. It is not, emphatically NOT, a matter of visiting some town famous for this or that, no not even Jerusalem. The cross of Christ was programmed in heaven, performed on earth, and its contribution of action is past; only its application continues into the future. It is the One who died there, whose face beckons, filled with character, essentially in repose, but lively in light and radiant with beauty, the beauty of holiness (cf. Psalm 110, Daniel 7).
In this pilgrimage, the defaced
residues of the image of God in man are replaced by the new surface and the new
character which it exhibits.
Outfaced is the past, distanced is sin in its regal
clothes and costumes; the face that shines is the One who came and went and
This lends light to one's eye, firmness to one's countenance, balance
to one's responses, passion to one's drive, delight to one's inner resources.
No, it is not a physical journey, though truly one's body has much to endure in the pilgrimage; it is a spiritual journey, just as an aeroplane is indeed physical, but the one who LIVES IN IT, the pilot, gives its endurance meaning and its character purpose.
It is known to God before the Ages began, or the world commenced, prepared in His grace, and it leads to His face divine (Revelation 22), where the beauty of holiness is like air, and the individuality of His saved ones is like perfume from flowers crushed, for there is no sin left, and the water of life is pure.
Man is forever trying the superficial, the cosmetic, but truth is not a hand-me-down.
Cloning is so ridiculous: they imagine that some face like some old one will really contain or portend something special like the old one. Not necessarily so at all: you cannot clone character, only the structure offers itself for hopeful action. Within lies the heart, the spirit, the source of experience and the motivation and the illumination or the darkness. The environment beyond all, and infinitely more effective is quite simply that of God.
We did not come by our own decision, to this earth; nor by this, normally, does anyone go. The talents and the task-equipment are not supplied by any bartering in celestial quarters before our arrival, nor do we touch the keys on any celestial type-writer to secure our earthly post. It is accorded. So with the rebirth, it is recorded as it is accorded, by grace. It is pure bounty.
That done, one lives BY grace from beginning to end. By grace we receive discipline, are shaken from our misconceptions or errors of carelessness, oversight or indifference. It is UNLIVELY to be forsaking life, and it is necessary that we be child-trained, in accord with our own Christian desires of course, yet not without something hard to take, in the interim as Hebrews 12 so carefully and clearly signifies.
The world is not going from grace to face, but from disgrace to being unsurfaced, even disgraced, even destroyed finally, unlike those of its denizens whose spirits are equipped for everlasting contempt; for this is one equipment which man can obtain from himself, the allure of sin in the alignment of evil. Yet not all go that way.
It is persons who proceed on this pilgrimage; and often, there is the pre-pilgrimage by which they are led to the Lord, so that they might then start on the pilgrimage proper.
In this volume, the stress is to be on movements from grace, towards shame and obliteration in this world, in its individuals, and BY grace, on the part of its Christians, towards glory and blessing.
Clear focus is thus intended on the DIRECTION of flow of things, the IMPETUS of grace, the EFFECT of expectation of His coming and the THRILL of God actually working in you, both to will and to do, without your being in the least or slightest degree an automaton. You respond, you will, you contrive, you delight, you are disciplined, you ponder, you understand, you always have company and it is always brilliant, though it can be tender, comforting or reproving. This is the gracious presence of Christ who by grace takes us to HIS FACE, in place, in heaven, when the time comes for His return. It is time to recognise its normalcy.
God made the world and us with it (Isaiah 45), plans to remove the world, but to take man to task, after all these godless adventures, unless of course in his spirit he has received the grace of mercy; and He will return to attend to these matters, in Christ as He first came to attend to the eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12-28). Yes says Hebrews, to those who look for Him, He will appear a second time, apart from sin, to the completion of the salvation ("for salvation" – for the body has yet to be resurrected in form sufficient for this new purpose, as in Romans 8:23).
Saved already (Titus 3:5), the Christian is being attuned, surface reconditioned, heart implanted, life revitalised, nature refined, until the time comes and the “restoration of all things” proceeds, including the resurrection (Acts 3:21). This then is planned for the “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8, I Thess. 5:5), as a book, a drama, a play, an adventure if you will, a way of trends, influences, reaching to, tending towards the finding of Christ in His direct sublimity, the journey meanwhile proceeding with Him by His Spirit. There is another journey for those who despise or reject the walk in the light of the Lord: it is one towards the seething mists of departure, permanent or temporary before the love of Christ first dawns.
We will expect to see it in nations, individuals, in movements and in counter-movements, like the ripples on the sea; but all the time, the tide is coming in. It will not be very long before its reaches the high point, thundering inwards to its peak site. All met already in spirit and carried on their journey by His power, Christ's return is not some amazing phenomenon, then, to His people, but the consummation, the terminus, the completion of the trends, the pilgrimage.
Already, it is like the bell for the last lap in running. It is not at all that you are feeling surprised at the nearer and nearer approach of the finishing line. It is in one sense, for this that you run at all; but in this case, it is the One AT the finishing line, who made your race begin, and become worth running and whose strength and grace has run with you (II Corinthians 4:6, Philippians 3:8-9).
To meet Him at the end, it is worth ANY running. God after all is FOR man, in the sense of His kindness to mankind, but also in that of His magnificent aptness for man, the only true object of worship in and for a heart whose worship is proper, natural and an activation of the very core of his life, without which it is bereft, lost, without bearings, cheap and seduced. Yet with this, the true and living God whose ways are attested for millenia, whose face is displayed in Christ, in visible form, whose will is wonderful, man is not merely 'fulfilled'; he is met with his base, design, destiny and dynamic. His airplane after all had a hand; without it, the autonomy is thrilling to some, but ditching for all, in the end.
CHOICE and CHOSEN
Not Craven Fear nor Sickly Love
but the Clean Fear of God and the True Love that has Courage
Citizens Upward Bound,
Life in Love;
and the Visible ?
Pestilence, Suspicion, Irate
Spluttering North Korea and a Morose UN
Suggest it's Won the Ashes - literally!
ABC News Radio, April 25, The Advertiser April 24
JOURNEYING TO HEAVEN WITH TIMOTHY
(I TIMOTHY 2:1-15, 3:1-16, 4:1-5)
The Two Lions
Continuing the Journey with Timothy
(I Timothy 6:1ff. with II Timothy 3:16, and I Timothy 5)
The Acrid Absenteeism from Christ
and the Robust Assurance of
cont. II Timothy 1:8-12, II Timothy 3:1-5,
with Romans 1)
WALKING IN THE TERRAIN OF TRUTH
OR SAILING IN TROUBLED WATERS
(II Timothy 2 and 4)
I Timothy 1
Found in the Face of the Almighty
ON DEVICES OF THE DEVIL and their
IMPUDENT IMPOTENCE in the End
These can be shriveled in the Christian Pilgrimage
by the Power and Wisdom of the LORD
(involving a multitude of scriptures, not least Genesis 3)
WHO LIVES IN YOU
CRUCIFIXION and ASPHYXIATION
of the Human Race at its own Hand
The Ways of the Devil and his hell have been exposed,
but occur for initial contrast here:
With what ?
with the WAYS of the Lord and His Cross that Bred Life Inextinguishable.
Then let us consider PARALLELS in the Death of CHRIST and PAUL,
in the Events Surrounding; and the harmonious word and deed parallel with principle, and in the case of Paul, with the example of His Master. Unable to redeem as Christ could, Paul yet acts in the spirit of sent spiritual service which fears no death, and does not die (John 11:25-26).
And you ?