by Kevin Mannoia
In the milieu of heated debates over the issue of pluralism and universalism, singularity and efficacy of the work of Jesus there is a truth that gets lost in the shadows. Some say that there may be many ways to get to eternal life with God (pluralism). Some say all will find their way ultimately into the presence of God – that love trumps all current actions and wipes out all consequences (universalism). Well, in short I say that there is one way to enter proximity with God and that is by the means God has established for that very reason – the man Jesus Christ. I also cut to the chase and say that while it would be nice to welcome everyone into the new heaven and earth on the basis of God’s all-consuming and compelling love, I suspect that will not be the case, but ultimately it is God’s to decide.
The feature that gets lost in the shadow of more heated discussions is the “I Am-ness” of the Kingdom. Jesus said “I AM the way, the truth, the life…” Clearly it’s reminiscent of the encounter Moses had with God at the bush. In response to Moses’ need for assurance, God speaks: “Tell them I AM has sent you.”
What is the effect of “I AM-ness” for those walking with Christ? Jesus not only is the singular way to God, and the discriminating point regarding whether someone will be in proximity with God or not, He is also very present. So in effect, the life of one walking with Jesus is that they will be on a singular path laid out by God through Christ, and they will find the assurance of life eternal with God through Christ. But they will also benefit from the present in which Christ lives and exists always.
He is above and beyond time. He is the eternal Present. Living in Christ, then, brings the fullness of life abundant that God envisioned for you. Living in the past results in guilt – over your shortcomings and failures. Living in the future brings anxiety – for the uncertainty and unexpected. Living in the present brings fullness and abundance as God intended.
So you see, walking with Christ is not merely a path to eternity, or an assurance of inclusion; it is the Present of abundance. Living in Christ – the I AM!
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