The Gospel of a Christocentric Cosmos

Two things should be communicated in this blog. First, I would like to tell you how Christ may be seen in all things. Second, I would like to convince you that seeing Christ in anything is a great cause for joy.

Seeing Christ in All Things

What does it mean to glorify God? To glorify something is to publicize it or put it on display. A billboard glorifies a certain product by advertising it; a preacher glorifies something by proclaiming it. To glorify God is to shine a flood-light upon Him and make His characteristics known.

With that in mind, turn to Isaiah. The prophet heard Seraphim cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (6:3). The Psalmist declares a similar point: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (19:1). From these two texts, we understand that everything beneath us (Isa 6:3) and everything above us (Ps 19:1) glorifies God.

Notice that nothing in creation is excluded from this. The universe can be divided into 1) the earth, 2) everything else. We see, then, that the whole universe broadcasts God’s character. The cosmos is a gigantic mirror pointing to God. You can glimpse Him in everything.

With this in mind, consider what Paul says of Christ: “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). Again in Hebrews: “[Christ] is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (1:3). It seems that the Father has chosen to be seen in Christ. Rather than stepping into the sight of men, He has decided to be mirrored in all that Christ does. Thus Christ could say, “If you knew Me, you would know My Father also” (Jn 8:19).

Like the Father, the Holy Spirit exalts Christ. Jonathan Edwards famously derived this from 1 John 4:1-6 in his sermon, “Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the True Spirit.” The Spirit’s work can be distinguished from the antichrist’s in that Christ is always glorified in a work of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit convicts men of sin (Jn 16:8), they cling to Christ. When the Spirit resurrects the hearts of men (1:9-13), they love Christ.

So within the Trinity, it has been decided that Christ is to be exalted and glorified. This does not say the Spirit and Father do not have a majesty and glory: every member of the Trinity is equally Divine. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Spirit is God. God may be described as one being in three persons. The Father and Spirit do not exalt Christ because He is eternally and naturally exalted within the Trinity – rather, they exalt Him freely. The Triune God decided, under no obligation, to exalt Christ. The reasons for this decision will not be discussed in this short book.

In Colossians 1:15-17, notice the relationship between Christ and creation.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Christ being the “firstborn” of creation doesn’t mean that He is the first created thing. It means that He is exalted above creation: before all things. Not only is He above creation in status, but He is involved with creation in its existence. It was through Him that the universe was created. It was for Him that the universe was created. Even more than this, the universe holds together in Him.

To put all these thoughts together neatly, we could say that all things glorify God and specifically Christ. The Father and Spirit have chosen to exalt Christ. Jesus, then, is the Mediator of Divine glory to creation. The universe is Christocentric: centered on Christ. Everything in existence points to Him.

Savoring Christ in All Things

You may be thinking, “Great… so what?” Am I just rambling needlessly? Why is it important to you that Christ can be seen in every nook and cranny of the cosmos? It is important because seeing Christ is the Christian’s source of joy, and because a glimpse of Christ is universally available the Christian’s joy is likewise always available.

The believing heart is a creation of God (Jn 3:1-8; 6:40-65). It is distinct from the natural God-hating hearts of mankind (Ro 3:9-18). The heart of a Christian clings to Christ (Jn 1:9-13; cf. 1 Jn 5:1). The change from hating Christ to loving Christ occurs at conversion. Whereas the natural born man is hostile toward God (Ro 8:7) and dead in sin (Eph 2:1-3), the spirit-born man loves God and walks in righteousness.

The greatest Biblical example of this might be Paul (Ac 9:1-19). He persecuted the church and thought he was serving God by doing so. Thus, a man can appear to love God, but if he does not have affections for the true Christ then the God he worships is actually an idol. The make-or-break point is whether or not an individual bends the knee to Jesus Christ. He is the Mediator of God’s judgment, mercy and glory. He is the funnel through which God interacts with humanity. Therefore, no matter how passionate an individual might be for what appears to be the Judeo-Christian God, if that individual has no affections for the true Christ, he has deceived himself with the pride of his own soul.

Paul was powerfully converted into a man who loved Christ. He explains this in Philippians 3:7-11.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

He earlier wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). Death has been made a dog at the feet of Jesus and actually serves Paul unto the end of eternal enjoyment of Christ. Life is likewise joyful because it is in the context of Christ that Paul lives on earth. Paul understood his entire existence to be within the confines of Jesus Christ. He saw everything through that lens.

The same is true for you, if indeed your heart has been recreated by God. You don’t need me to present a 50-page defense of why seeing Christ is the fullest source of joy for you. We don’t really care for streets of gold, mansions, or family reunions in Heaven, do we? We look-forward to the wonderful day when, in shades of glory indescribable, the King of Glory steps into view and finally our faith is made sight. We hope in great expectation for that moment when, after decades of toil and sickness on earth, our Savior – with might and terrible beauty – says to us, “Well done, good and faithful slave” (Matt 25:21).

The silliest things today are those books and films about people visiting Heaven. Aside from eschatological problems, all we need to disprove their accounts are the accounts themselves. They describe Heaven as a utopia-in-the-sky. Rainbow swing-sets, days with family members, wonderful food – and none of these things are bad. In fact, the Biblical description of Heaven seems to suggest that we may have some of these things in Heaven. Redemption is not the destruction of God’s material creation, but the renewal of it.

Yet it is only after all these things that Christ is brought in – as if He is the icing on the cake to all of these others pleasures in Heaven. What a preposterous thing to consider! “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev 21:23). The glory of Heaven is not the created things, but the Creator Himself – we will not make the former mistake of worshiping the earth instead of its King (Ro 1:24-25).

My friend, Christ Himself is the glory of Heaven, and most professing Christian would find themselves quite bored if allowed entrance to that city. Yet the true believer truly loves Christ, and so he is elated with the news that eternity will hold for him an endless meeting with the Lamb.

So really, if you are not truly a follower of Christ, then this blog will not resonate with you. It was a short but slow read. But if you truly do love Christ, then all I need to do in closing this article is confess with the Psalmist, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (16:11).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s