Monday, 5 September 2011

but do we believe it?

I was listening to some favourite Christian songs on my iPod. They came from some radio programmes I did a few years ago; Breakfast Meditations. On the third or fourth morning I was thinking about the Greek word poiema. If it looks like our word 'poem' that is no accident, that's where our word comes from. It means 'made' but with the sense of a design and process and completion.

It's the word used in...
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, Rom 1:20 NKJV
You can see the sense of the word here as it refers to the creation. The 'creation' is not a random accident but a carefully planned and crafted work of art. It was designed and executed with a clear purpose that Isaiah identifies...
For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. Is 45:18 NKJV
There we have it. It was not created 'in vain' ie without purpose, but to be inhabited. What is the purpose of the creation? We are. But what is our purpose? Ah, that's another question.

The word poiema is only used twice in the Bible. The second time is in Paul's letter to the Ephesians.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10 NKJV
So each time poiema is used it is in the context of creation. The first time in the context of the natural creation but the second time in the context of another creation... the Church. By the 'Church' I don't mean a denomination or the conglomerate of Christian gatherings. I don't even mean the sum total of all evangelicals throughout the world. This is not an accumulation but a creation; a new creation. Something which did not exist and then as a result of carefully planning exists as a work of art which was executed with a master's skill.

So, is the Church a beautiful but fatally flawed human concept or is it a divine poiema? Is it the result of a Gentile section grafted onto a faithful Jewish remnant or is it a new creation?

For Paul it is a single family comprised of those in heaven and those on earth upon whom God has put his name; he has owned them as his own. Eph 3:14,15. Part of this new creation's purpose is to manifest to 'powers and principalities in the heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God'. Eph 3:10. Like the first creation is has not been formed 'in vain' but in order to be inhabited... by God himself. Eph2:19-22.

It is enough to keep us awake at night in breathless wonder at the audacity of God's great plan and work of grace... but do we believe it?

No comments: