Monday, December 28, 2009

True Spirituality - Through Death to Resurrection

True Spirituality - Through Death to Resurrection

Comments on Francis Schaeffer's Book True Spirituality
A Book Study By Dan Guinn

Chapter 3 - In Chapter 3 Dr. Schaeffer speaks to the reality of Christ resurrection in relation to our own spirituality. We have already explored what Schaeffer calls the "Law of Love" and the "Centrality of Death". We have learned thus far that true spirituality starts with Christ plus nothing and moves toward actions motivated out of love for God and others (not coveting but giving). The love of God in the life of a believer involves an inward change, not merely an outward one, producing contentment, thankfulness and longing. Yet all of these actions are motivated out of a transformation rooted in the centrality of the death of Christ. Our own personal death to self is connected in the sacrifice of Christ. So in this chapter we move forward to an understanding that our victory does not end in Christ sacrifice, but in His resurrection and the glorification.

Schaeffer ends the last chapter dealing with the circumstances surrounding the Transfiguration. He picks this topic up again here.

"Now let me emphasize that these things happened in history. This is important, especially today, when religious things are constantly being pushed away into a non-historic realm of 'other.' But here in the account of the transfiguration, we have an emphasis on time and space. Luke, for example, records that 'on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met them" (Luke 9:37). Christ and the disciples at a certain point in time went up the mountain, and at another point came down. As they went up the hillside, they did not move into a non-spatial philosophical or religious 'other.' They were still connected in space with the foot of the mountain, and down there in the plain the normal activities of life were going on." Schaeffer, pg. 30 (1971), pg 27, 28 (2001), True Spirituality

Schaeffer also emphasized that Jesus' words following the event, "The Son of man must suffer" (Luke 9:34), which speak of the hardships of real life that Christ must endure further emphatically clarifies that these are events happened in time and space. The son of man would be rejected, slain and raised in history.

Historical Fulfillment of the Prophets
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27

Actual Hands and Feet ("In the Flesh")

39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luke 24:39

Appearance to Disciples in Time and Space

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

The Physical Ascension in Time and Space

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

Likewise, the gospel is revealed in time and space as well. There are multiple instances of special acts of revelation "intruding" upon or speaking into time and space. For example the point of Paul's conversion and the giving of the Revelation of John.


Speaking in time and space in an earthly language.

13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Acts 26:13-15

        In the Spirit on the Lord's day... write what you see in a (physical) book.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Rev 1:10-11

Moreover, scripture indicates clearly that the second advent will be a literal event in time and space highlighting our final glorification and unification with the real physical-spiritual kingdom of Christ.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
Rev. 1:7

"... the day will come when both saved and unsaved will look upon the glorified Christ. They will see him. Every man will see him, not as a religious idea, but glorified, in a real space-time situation" Schaeffer, pg. 37 (1971), pg. 33 (2001), True Spirituality

Finally our resurrection and glorification likewise transpire in time and space.

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

A resurrection and glorification that is linked with Christ.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:5

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 

Romans 6:8

Schaeffer clarifies that we are called to be glorified. This calling brings meaning to man's existence much higher than being a mere animal as science teaches us. It is much more than merely making a mental assent to a religious maxim.

"I am a creature, it is true, but I have a calling to be the creature glorified. I must be the creature...I am called to be a creature by choice, on the basis of Christ's finished work, by faith: The creature glorified.
    Now I am ready for war, now there can be spirituality of a Biblical sort: Now there can be a Christian life. Rejected, slain, raised: now we are ready to be used. But not only ready to be used in this present space-time world, but ready to enjoy it" Schaeffer, pg. 45, True Spirituality

"...this is not once for all. This is a moment-by-moment thing a moment-by-moment being dead to all else and alive to God." Schaeffer, pg. 45 (1971), pg. 40 (2001) True Spirituality

This is what it means to live the victorious Christian life.

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