“THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING”
THE ADVENT OF THE KING & HIS KINGDOM
Christ’s Kingdom of Glory
Adventide Midweek 2: 11 December Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of The King, Christ Jesus
Myths about heaven run from childishly inane to damnably false. But heaven, even now, exists in the ever presence of the Lord. To speculate about the details is wasteful of time and unanswerable by way of human reason.
Only Scripture reveals what the hereafter is all about. Scripture is God’s Body and Blood in paper and ink. Christ the King is one with His word—He being The Word made Flesh. The joys of this December’s Advent will be crowned with the Celebration of the Lord’s Nativity. The supernal joys and crescendos of the Final Advent are always preceded by the Law. The coming Kingdom of Glory includes the judgment of the unrighteous.
“There is none righteous no not one.” [Rom. 3.10] Only God is right. Fallen man is wrong. Sinners are not “right in the spiritual head” or heart; are not “right” with themselves or their neighbors and are not “right” with the Lord. And they sin all the time. You sin all the time. Only God is righteous. Only the God/Man Jesus, Immanuel, is Righteous.
Jesus’ words about the great judgment and the coming of His Kingdom of Glory, are true and are to be heeded by Christians. A sloppy and lazy Lutheran ethos has infested most of American and worldwide Lutheranism in the last 100 years or so. Yes we are antinomians by nature—we don’t like the Law—the Law kills. But we are also against the idea that Jesus asks, expects, and tells us to sanctify our lives—our minds and bodies—that is, in our thoughts, words, and deeds. This is not salvation and it is not for salvation. Jesus kept the Commandments and did all The Sanctifying, the making holy, in His Body and Blood suffering and death at the cross. Jesus gives The perfect Sanctifying, the making of a Holy child and heir, a Saint, by washing you + in Him at the font. Jesus does all the work of The Sanctifying you as a Royal Priest by filling your ears with Himself; with placing on your tongues in the Eucharist Himself!
But the last century notwithstanding, every Lutheran theologian from Pieper and Walther back to Calov, Hunnius, Gerhard, Andreae, Chemnitz, Melanchthon, and Luther wrote about, assumed, and instructed their charges to lead holy lives and to work at sanctification…sanctification in the narrow sense of repentance and striving. These Lutheran “fathers” so catechized, preached, and lived this way because that’s the way EVERY orthodox Christian churchman, theologian, and Father had taught for the prior 1,600 years. It’s the way the Apostle taught. It’s the way all the Old Testament Prophets and Moses taught. It’s what Jesus says.
Lest we overdose on “cheap grace” and a self-indulgent, indifferent, and WRONG understanding of Justification, we are instructed by the Holy Ghost and Saint Paul. If there’s anyone in the history of Christ’s people who believed and grasped being saved by Grace alone and not of the works of the Law it was Paul. Paul knew why Jesus had found him, spared him, rescued him, redeemed him, justified him, and sanctified him…Grace pure Grace! Pure love, mercy, and JESUS! Paul was writing to fellow Christians in Corinth and elsewhere…in Kansas and Missouri. Paul knew the hard-wired default position of all men, even sinner/saint Christians. Paul writes: “know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” [1 Cor 9. 24-27] If the Apostle knew he should, he must (not for Salvation, but because it’s what the Lord willed for him) run, strive for mastery, be temperate in all things, and keep his body of sin under subjection, how can your “new creation” [2 Cor. 5.17] wish to do anything less? Paul exhorts you fellow Corinthians “wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me,” [1 Cor. 4.16] and you fellow Philippians “brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”[Ph. 3.17]
In Christ and by Christ you have your lamps filled to meet the arriving Groom, but you nonetheless need to daily “trim them.” You have faith to receive your coming Advent King for He brings the Kingdom of Glory—the heavenly realms of salvific splendor. Jesus says: “…many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of heaven.” [Mt. 8.11] At the final judgment, the culling of the goats from you the true sheep, there will be no fear or apprehension. You will joyfully meet Him in the air at the final trump…triumphant. But you’re here and now. The first Advent, these last days, the final time of the Church, continues, and your Advent journey to the New Jerusalem and the ever Bethlehem marches on through desert, cross, and pain. Take heed, pay attention, be on the alert. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” [Eph. 4. 1ff] Luther also exhorts you to daily drown the old Adam.
These words of Paul, Martin, and Jesus, your Lord and God, are not meant to break delicate flowers or crush overburdened backs. His Kingdom of Glory includes you because He has chosen you “I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands,” [Is 49.16] and “they [you] shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them [you] out of My hand,” [Jn.10.28] and “I kept them in Thy Name; those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost.” [Jn. 17.12]
You don’t have to flap your arms to get to heaven. The angels will carry you as they carried poor Lazarus. You won’t tremble when you’re ushered into the Nuptial Hall of Heaven, then, but now, it’s only Holy Spirit prudent to “take heed, lest [you] fall” [1 Cor. 10.12].
You’re on the ship; you’re safe in His arms. But the embrace becomes consummated the way it’s destined at the final return of Christ. The ships great banquet is yet to be served. You have the foretaste in your daily, weekly, rations of Righteousness, and, you have duties aboard the ship; tasks, sanctifying disciplines. Chafe not at this momentary chastening, these Christian chores, for they conform your body into His cruciform. He carries the yoke. He bears the burden. He “comes to judge the nations, a terror to His foes, A Light of consolations and blessed Hope to those Who love the Lord’s appearing. O glorious Sun, now come, send forth Thy beams most cheering, and guide us safely home to the Kingdom of Glory.”
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost