Years ago, former EFCA President Paul Cedar confessed, “I want all that God wants for me.” I too wanted:
- All of God’s Scriptures (including the Apocrypha).
- All of God’s Gifts (I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4; Romans 12 and the seven gifts of the spirit in Isaiah 7).
- All of God’s Church (The Church Militant, Penitent and Triumphant).
Oops. I forgot to mention the last ALL, suffering. Paul says: “…and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
If you want to sit at God’s table, you must first bend your will to God’s and follow Christ to the cross. After James and John told Jesus they wanted all of God’s kingdom, remember Jesus’ question, “Are you ready to drink the cup?”
James and John answered, “Yes.” Guess what, even though the brothers had no idea what was in store, God gave them the grace and strength to say YES to ALL of what God’s wanted for them.
What’s inside the cup God has in store for us?
Only God knows its contents, but we know God will give us all the graces necessary to drink that cup. Through confession and penance, he gives the grace to clean our cups. Matthew 23:25-26 states, “Clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Also, God promises us to feed us in the “cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ.”
If we drink the cup, Jesus promises us something Moses wasn’t able to see, “the Face of God.” The New Testament promises us:
- “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matthew 5
- “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” John 6:40
Revelation 22:4 promises God’s children will see the face of God. Most Christians I know reserve this future “beatific vision” to the next life. It’s a Western thing. Thomas Aquinas reserved it for the next life. Martin Luther, the two-fisted drinking reformer, thought holiness in this life was nothing more than wishful thinking.
Interestingly, Eastern Christians (aka Orthodoxy) believe its possible to share God’s image (energies) in this life. When Athanasius wrote, “The Son of God became man, that we might become god” he was referring to God’s master plan of restoring His people to the pre-fallen state of Adam and Eve.
If you grew up with an Eastern soul, you believe God’s plan is for you to become partakers of God’s nature in the here and now. If you also have some Russian in your spiritual DNA, you recognize without the struggle (PODVIG), there will be no face to face encounter with Jesus in this life or the next.
Wisdom 3 agrees, “For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.” To paraphrase Saint Peter, “If you suffer now you won’t have to go through suffering when you die (cf. 1 Peter 5:10).”
Paul writes in Romans 6, “For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his.”
Do you want God to completely sanctify you? Drink ALL of God’s cup.