Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Part Two, 'Setting our Sights on Heaven', Day 3

Day 3, Chapter 9, ‘Get Wisdom’

In this chapter Wolfe looks at how we don’t set our minds on heaven because of confusion about God’s will. He contrasts a ‘Circumstance’ view of God’s will with a ‘Wisdom’ view. He uses a long (and necessary) build-up to his argument outlining what the circumstance view is (in a nutshell: thinking that you need to uncover God’s specific plan for your circumstances) and the failure of this view to understand the biblical difference between God’s will of precept (commandments, how we should live) and God’s will of decree (what God has said will come to pass, how God orders the world). This is compared to the wisdom view of God’s will.

Wolfe draws these ideas on God’s will to his overall thesis on why we don’t focus on heaven,

…the Circumstance view of the Christian life diminishes the Christian’s sense of the nearness of heaven, because it fosters the suspicion- if not the outright conviction- that death will certainly not come until the Christian reaches the circumstances that God has in mind for him and then lives in those circumstances for some significant period of time. (p. 135)

And following, this particular view of God’s will assumes that God’s will is thwarted if those circumstances remain unfulfilled, thereby “pushing…heaven out of the picture” (p. 135).

Do you do this, perhaps ever so subtly? I know I do.

I think of the plans I have for myself and for my family. Good plans, but plans that fail to take into account that I may not be here to see them realised. The mortal hubris of humanity.

Isn’t it odd that as Christians the one future we are assured of is possibly the one we think about the least? I don’t know if I will finish my Masters. I don’t know if my husband and I will retire in the city or the country, to the bush or the beach. It puts a lump in my throat but I don’t know if I will see my children grow up and set the course for their lives.

I do know that in Jesus I am assured a future with God in heaven.

This is wisdom.

In living wisely we are to remember that our plans are but plans, it is God alone who knows the full scope of our life, “all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.” (Psalm 139:16)

This chapter slots in between two chapters that look clearly and earnestly at the very real presence of our own death. In particular, this chapter follows on a chapter looking at the relative brevity of our life now. Wolfe is encouraging us to remember heaven because that is where God has decreed the Christian will go. And soon (relatively speaking).

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