THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3.13-14 NASB)
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
September 25, 2016
Christ, Our Life & Expectation
Now I am making known to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you .... For I give over to you among the
first what also I accepted, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was entombed ,
and that He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, thereupon
by the twelve." (1 Corinthians 15:1-5 CLV)
For the love of Christ is constraining us, judging this, that, if One died for the sake of all, consequently all died ."
And He died for the sake of all that those who are living should by no means still be living to themselves, but to
the One dying and being roused for their sakes." (2 Corinthians 5.14-15 CLV)
If, then, you were roused together with Christ, be seeking that which is above, where Christ is, sitting at the right
hand of God." Be disposed to that which is above, not to that on the earth, for you died , and your life is hid
together with Christ in God ." Whenever Christ, our Life , should be manifested, then you also shall be manifested
together with Him in glory ." (Colossians 3.1-4 CLV)
… the Lord Jesus Christ, our Expectation [Hope] … the promise of Life which is in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:1;
2 Timothy 1:1)
In these few verses, Paul the apostle of the nations makes it abundantly clear that there is only one message in the
gospel (evangel) or good news that came to him by revelation and that he was charged to deliver to the nations.
Paul's evangel is summed up in one word: CHRIST! Or, to make it more personal, his evangel is summed up in JESUS.
In the Greek, the word Christ means "Anointed One" (of God) or "Messiah" in Hebrew. Thus, we could say Jesus the
Anointed One or reversing it, the Anointed Jesus . To be clear, the origin of this anointing is from God Himself.
Using the word absolutely in its ultimate and legitimate meaning, Paul's evangel is absolutely summed up and fully
expressed in Christ alone. Jesus the Anointed One is central, supreme, and preeminent in Paul's gospel. He is the
center, the circumference, and everything in between in relation to all things in heaven and on earth and to the
fulfillment of God's ultimate purpose of being All in all. Absolutely nothing is excluded and absolutely nothing is
outside of His realm. By the consummation of the ages, Jesus, not only as the Anointed One but also as the Son of
God and the Son of Mankind and the King of all kings, will have summed up or headed up all things in heaven and
on earth. He will be All in All in the fullest sense of its meaning as He ushers all of creation and all of mankind into
the Glorious New Creation in which there is no death, no sin, and no rival kingdoms. All of the old man, the first
Adam, will be gone, never to be seen or heard from again. Mankind will be a New Creation, a New People, a New
Race patterned after the Pattern Son, Christ, the Beloved Son of God. There will be only one kingdom in that day; it
will be the Kingdom of His Father in which God the Father is All in all. The will of God, rooted in the love of God, will
fill all things; there will be no more doubt as to God's will as all of creation lives the will of God, manifesting His love
through and through. This is good news.
But, how does mankind arrive at this glorious future? This is where Paul's evangel comes in. The answer is through
death. Only through death does mankind of the first order (old man) come into mankind of the second order (one
new man). This is God's way and there is no other way through, no matter what man thinks or does.
Considering the above verses, Paul starts with Christ died for our sins. There are all sorts of theological explanations
of sin and how it got here, but these are merely window dressing to our understanding of the gospel. Simply put,
Christ, Our Life & Expectation
sin is missing the mark or goal of God, which is glory . As the Creator of All, God has the right to set the rules and
to decide what the mark is, and He has done just that. Argue with Him if you will, but does the pot argue with the
potter? His mark is His Son in glory . This is what mankind is to achieve. The bad news is that all born of Adam's race
have missed this mark and can never attain to it on their own, no matter how hard they try or how much free will
they exercise. Last time I checked, we all are of Adam's race. This would be a cruel joke on all of us, if there were no
way to achieve God's end. The good news is that there is, and God has provided the way and freely given it to us,
not based on man's free will, man's faith, or on some condition, some requirement on our part. No; God the Father
has provided an unconditional and guaranteed way. You could say it has an unlimited lifetime warranty.
God did not expect man to clean up his act, so to speak. In fact, God knew that, given an eternity of ages, man could
never achieve such a lofty ideal. So, the plan was simple. Mankind in total had to die in order to live. The first Adam
had already introduced a kind of death into his race, but this could not produce life as God sees it and expects it to
be, namely immortal, beyond sin and death of all kinds, whether physical, soulical, or spiritual, for the theological
minded. And, this life will know and manifest the full will of God.
So, what did God do? He placed all of mankind, past, present, and future, into His Son, and He took all of the first
order of man (the first Adam) with Him into the grave. In case you missed it, Jesus took all of mankind with Him on
the cross. We can get all caught up in the theology of a substitutionary death and the whole Judiastic ritualistic
system, but it is not necessary. One, that is Christ, died for all; consequently, all died . This is an extremely simple
equation to get, even for those who like common core and the new math. Jesus died; we all died. End of discussion.
He died for all, not just a select few who somehow figure out the good news. With this great achievement, all of
mankind became dead men walking. Yes, mankind continued with breath, but in God's eyes, they were all dead;
they continued in mortal, corruptible bodies doing corruptible things and continually missing the mark. Mankind
Of course, if it stopped at death there would be no good news. What good is there to God having a race of dead
men walking, or of what value is it to God to have His Son die for all if it stopped there? There is no good until we
see that God raised His Son who knew no sin from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of the throne of God
in glory. Part two to the good news is that He has made the way to raise up all of mankind into the glory of God.
Paul tells us: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). Don't go off on
some theological side stream over this; it's a simple equation: Adam = Death; Christ = Life. All in Adam die. Fact! All
in Christ live. Fact! This is not a conditional statement, as many make it out to be, that is, man has to get himself
into Christ first. No; this is an unconditional statement. All will be made alive for all will be in Christ. Think about
this: If all died with Christ based on God's doing, how does anyone of the all get out of death on their own? A dead
man has no ability to rise out of the grave. So, how does man get out? God must do it! And, He will do it in Christ!
If He doesn’t do it, then He could rightly be accused of an injustice. Consequently, all died in Christ and all will live
in Christ, not all in the same age but each in their own order or rank (1 Corinthians 15.23).
Now, here is where it gets a bit sticky. In God's wisdom, not all will be brought into this place of life in this age. This
is reserved for those who are called and chosen. Again, argue with God if you will, but He set the rules and has the
plan which says that at the end of the ages, no one will be left out, for all will be in Christ and will enter glory.
However, a study of scripture indicates that God works through the few to bring in the many. Jesus' disciples serve
as an example or type. Twelve men were chosen, but only three saw Him manifested in glory. God starts with ones
that could be called pioneers and works through them to forge the way for others. Caleb and Joshua were pioneers.
For those who have been given the faith of Christ, His faith, to believe all this, their lives are now hidden with Christ
in God. Notice how Paul reminds believers that they died, meaning they have no life apart from Christ. The fact of
the matter is that Christ is their life; they have no other life. And, this life is now hidden with Christ in God. Here is
truly the good news: You have been raised up with Him who is now seated in glory, and when He is manifested, you
too will be manifested with Him in glory. This is the promise of life, eonian life, and our hope or expectation, which
is a better word. Hope to the world is a should happen, a could happen, a maybe it might happen, a desire for it to
happen, or a wish it will happen. But in all of these there is no absolute, 100% fact that it will happen. Our
expectation in Christ is absolute and without question or doubt. Expect it! Glory is coming!