Raymond Arthur Waugh, Sr.
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Christ In History
Christ Our Hope
These are the crisis words that shattered the darkness of the worlds hopeless night and rang the toll on the specter of death that haunted every nook and cranny of the inhabited universe. This is the cry that shook the heavens of men and of angels. This is the cry that gave incomparable assurance of reality to the prophecy, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are therein will be burned up." This is the enunciation that changed the course of human thinking and disrupted the timetables of the human race.
Before this cry, "He is risen," Gods own lived in hope of the resurrection. Since this glorious cry, however, "The whole creation goaneth . . . Also we ourselves groan, awaiting the redemption of our body." Climactically, this glorious resurrection is the basis for Pauls unsearchably-rich proclamation, "O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory . . . Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
"He is risen" is the incomparable truth that provides the evidence that is not seen of the ultimate relationship between God and man. No philosopher ever so related the material with the spiritual, the concrete with the abstract, or the phenomenal with the noumenal. No physical scientist ever so related the macrocosmic with the microcosmic -- not even Einstein with his faulted "Unified Field Theory." No educator ever so related the historical with the suprahistorical. And no biological scientist ever so filled that which was dead with life.
Miraculously, the ultimate relationship between earth and heaven, between the material, and the spiritual, and between mortality and immortality is contained in the cry, "He is risen." The greatest and the least of men must stand with tongues frozen, whether in flushed or pulseless cheeks, before the awesome accomplishment of the supposedly impossible; namely the literal, physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God.
If we can receive it, this cry, "He is risen," makes the ultimate division between those with faith and those without it; between those who are wise toward God and content with the foolishness of preaching, and those who seek after the wisdom and the signs of this world. For the faithful, our need for time and for eternity is met when we experience the beauty of having believed in our hearts that "God has raised Him from the dead," that "He was quickened by the Spirit," and that He had power to lay down His Life and to take it again. It is then that we forever are in harmony with the Scriptural declaration, "He is risen, as He said"!
Christ In History
Some men have recorded both the Presence of Jesus Christ in the midst of men, and some of His Exploits as a man in the midst of men, but the Scriptures alone declare His Resurrection. Hence, apart from the Scriptures and a belief in them no one can be saved. Salvation is dependent not only upon the fact of the death and the burial, but also upon His resurrection. This event beyond all other human events is confirmed finally in our heart-confession, "God has raised Him from the dead."
Certainly, then, it was no idle remark on the part of Jesus, our Lord, when He said concerning the writings of Moses, "But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" Men may enunciate or even emote regarding the historical presence of Jesus or even the historical Jesus, but all to no profit if such is not related to the Word of the Gospel "which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek [Gentile]." Until we have believed that "God has raised Him from the dead," our lives are without the light of life and our futures are without hope.
In truth, the resurrection of the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" and begotten by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin, Mary, so transcends the concepts of mortals that there is an eternity of difference between the Scriptures and the mundane investigations, analyses, and conclusions of men. The prophet of old with inspiration from the Spirit of God declared, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
When we scan the pages that have been penned by "inspired" or "uninspired" mortals in distant lands and in ancient times apart from the Spirit of God, we find only hopeless speculations concerning things of time and things eternal. Certainly, the promised Heaven of our resurrected Savior cannot be compared in any manner with the "nothingnesses" or the excesses of the "Nirvanas" of men. Similarly, the Son of God -- manifest in the flesh and our resurrected Advocate in Glory -- is unmatched by the "unmoved mover" of Aristotle, superior to the "ineffable" of Plotinus, and definitively more creative than the "final cause" of Bruno. Truly, He effects everlasting life for the new creation that is brought into being by "the new birth"; being born again from above, even Heaven, by the Holy Spirit of God when one by Gods grace has come to believing through faith.
Looking at such from a more modern perspective, we can know that our resurrected Lord of glory, even Jesus, is more substantial that the "sole substance" of Descartes, unparalleled by the "universal reason" of Fichte, and more excellent than the "self-caused one" of Spinoza. Certainly, the one of whom we speak as being "risen, as He said," is far more effectual and personal that the "central monad" of Leibniz, preeminent beyond the "apriori postulate" of Kant, more distinguished physically and spiritually than Schellings "infinite," unapproached by Hegels "idea," unequaled by Fechners "general consciousness," and forever unrivaled by Brightmans "limited leader."
Compare any other rational ultimate or intellectual device of mortals with Jesus, the Son of God -- crucified, buried, and resurrected -- and the result must be the same. Jesus, the Son of God, in his earthly sojourn and in his heavenly glory, is not approximated by the reflective, the meditative, or even the imaginative cogitations of mortal minds.
Jesus, the Son of God, truly the Christ -- anointed of God -- manifested Himself so completely supreme and at the same time so faultlessly human; so spiritual and at the same time so fleshly; so powerful at times and at others so perfectly weak; so glorious and yet so submissive that all of the ideologies of men fail to define or to explain Him. Except mortal men and women come humbly and in faith to the Scriptures or heed the words of someone who is declaring, proclaiming or preaching the Scriptures wherein we learn of the death and the resurrection of the Son of God, history -- whether secular or sacred -- can have no meaning or purpose. Above and beyond the rationales of mortal men and women in the midst of human history, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is unsullied and unspoiled by all of the speculations of men and women. Wonderfully, then:
"No mortal can with Him compare
Among the sons of men;
Fairer is He, than all the fair,
who fill the heavenly train."
Christ Our Hope
Beyond all that we think or can ask, however, "He is risen, as He said" makes us to know that Jesus, the Christ, is our only real hope for time and for eternity. By the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul proclaimed, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, and you are yet in your sins. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
The cry, "HE IS RISEN," then, is the ULTIMATE TRUTH concerning human hope, and this truth is incomprehensible apart from God-imbued faith. We have the absolute word in this regard, "The natural man received not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." The Apostle, in view of this, and in view of our only hope, further proclaims, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." We can know with assurance unassailable that this is His ineluctable exultation of faith and victory.
Among those of us who shall put on immortality incorruptible, the cry, "He is risen," will be our song through the eternal ages in the Presence of our Everlasting Savior whom we know in fullness and in completeness as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, "Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The prince of Peace"! Wondrously, because "He is risen, as He said," we can know that "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
By our faith in the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus, even the Son of the Living God, even now we can exult with the Apostle John, "And, I, John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven . . . The throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His Name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; they need no candle, neither the light of the sun for the Lord God given them light, and they shall reign forever and forever."
"He is risen, as He said," then, is our Gods inviolable pledge of our resurrection. With this God-ordained and God-given pledge, we can have the assured joy that soon:
"Face to face, I shall be hold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky.
Face to face in all His Glory,
I shall see Him by and by."
Last updated Friday, October 17, 2008
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