Monday, August 10, 2009

Guidance and the Voice of God - Pt 3

Of the hundreds of weddings I have been to, I think I have only been to one with an official ‘wedding planner’. It was a spectacular wedding! I’m pretty sure the cake was from the same place as the Masterchef’s chocolate mousse cake and the reception was right on Sydney harbour with boats and ferries sailing past us and under the bridge. We arrived there in the late afternoon, so were treated to beautiful pinky-purple skies as the sun set and we sipped champagne. So pretty! Everything was ‘planned down to the t’. You didn’t notice the wedding planner very often, just occasionally you’d see her in a corner speaking into her headset, or very briefly as she came out to arrange the bride’s dress before the bridal waltz (wasn’t that once the job of the bridesmaids?).

I couldn’t help but think of this scenario as I read the second and third chapters of this book. Sure, God is the Sovereign creator, the Shepherd of his people and the Planner as the book says, but have you ever tied these together to think of him as the ultimate wedding planner? ... Go along with me on this for a moment, because it’s not as ‘girly’ as it sounds. In the last post we looked at how God’s grand design is foundational to Christian guidance: God has a plan and he is working in the background, mostly behind the scenes, occasionally in the foreground, to make that plan come about.

At the start of chapter 3, on p 30, the authors say that there are many ways we could look more closely at the details of that plan and many Bible passages that could be looked at. They are right! They have chosen Ephesians 1:3-10 to show that the goal of our lives is to be under Christ; 1 Peter 1:3-5 to show we are destined to inherit heaven; Romans 8:28-30 to show we are destined for glory (becoming like Christ) and Ephesians 2:8-10 to show we are destined for good works. We could very easily add our own here and that is Revelation 21 where we read:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2 NIV)
Just as a wedding planner’s goal is the perfect wedding with the perfect bride and they guide the bride and groom in that direction, so God’s ultimate goal is the perfect wedding between His people (the church/ the new Jerusalem) and Christ, and He guides us in that direction too.

Yet unlike the worldly wedding planner, God is not merely interested in all the external details of making everything look good. He is working everything to change the character of the bride and make us worthy of our groom. He has purified us and dressed us in white and is taking us to heaven ‘to be submitted finally and completely to Christ, perfect and holy and blameless before him’ (see p 38). ‘We are to respond to what God has done (and is doing) to achieve his plan’ (p 39). We will look at what Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne say about how to do this in the next post.

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