CURRENT WEAKNESS; FUTURE GLORY

PMT 2014-099 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Heaven

You have suffered long enough: this is my last article in a series on the question of suffering, the church, and postmillennialism. I have been dealing with the charge that God has called the church to suffer in this age, which would seem to undermine the postmillennial expectation. But postmillennialists affirm the reality of suffering — and even in the time of Christianity’s highest advance before Christ returns! How can this be?

We must recognize that even the very height of earthly, postmillennial glory pales in comparison to the “weight of glory” that is ours, and that stirs our deepest longings as sons of God (cf. Php 1:23). As recipients of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, Christians experience “the heightened form which our desire for this future [resurrection] state assumes. For it is not mere desire to obtain a new body, but specifically to obtain it as soon as possible” (cf. 2Co 5:1–10) (G. Vos, Redemptive History, 46). What is more, we who know God’s saving mercies deeply desire “the state of immediate vision of and perfect communion with God and Christ” which “the future life alone can bring” with its “perfected sonship” (Vos, Redemptive History, 55). Anything short of perfected sonship is a form of suffering “not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Ro 8:18).


Postmillennialism Made Easy
(by Ken Gentry)
Basic introduction to postmillennialism
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Indeed, our very state of mortality is suffering when compared to eternity, for the body is “sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1Co 15:42–44). As Christians “we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven. While we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2Co 5:1–2, 4). We are motivated by the fact that Christ “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Php 3:21).

Thus, the postmillennialist agrees that we are to “suffer with Christ” until he returns, for we grieve over the sufferings of our forefathers, endure the pains and limitations consequent upon our fallen experience, bemoan our own indwelling sin as well as the sin of the unconverted, and earnestly long for the eternal glory we will share in the presence of God. Strimple even recognizes the suffering of Romans 8 involves “sin and all of its consequences,” “all the corrupting consequences of human sin,” not just persecution (Strimple in Bock, Three Views on the Millennium, 61, 106). Gaffin admits: “Christian suffering ought not to be conceived of too narrowly. Suffering includes but is more than persecution and martyrdom” (Gaffin in Barker, Theonomy, 213–14).

Earthly suffering involves times of prosperity as well as times of adversity. Even at the height of the kingdom’s earthly development we will always need to struggle in order to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Mt 6:33), always resisting the temptation to arrogantly declare: “my power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth” (Dt 8:17).


Redeeming Pop Culture
(by T. M. Moore)
How should a Christian understand pop culture?
What in it should we appreciation and enjoy?
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Conclusion

Having studied the issue of suffering over the past several articles, it certainly is not true that the biblical message of suffering and perseverance contradicts the postmillennial hope. Postmillennialists gladly affirm the redemptive irony of God’s victory over Satan. Postmillennialists wholeheartedly agree that the faithful church weathering the storms of persecution is victorious. Postmillennialists unashamedly confess the reality that our state prior to the resurrection is one of suffering. We do humbly affirm the “theology of the cross” (Gaffin, 216); but we also heartily rejoice in the “theology of the resurrection.”

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One thought on “CURRENT WEAKNESS; FUTURE GLORY

  1. Charles August 21, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Very wonderful article !, I fully agree with what Dr.Gentry have written on this post. Although I’m a Premillenialist, It really hits the mark on how so many Christians feel with regards to the return of our Lord Jesus:

    As recipients of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, Christians experience –

    “the heightened form which our desire for this future [resurrection] state assumes.

    For it is not mere desire to obtain a new body, but specifically to obtain it as soon as possible” (cf. 2Co 5:1–10) (G. Vos, Redemptive History, 46).

    we who know God’s saving mercies deeply desire “the state of immediate vision of and perfect communion with God and Christ” which

    – “the future life alone can bring” with its “perfected sonship” (Vos, Redemptive History, 55). Anything short of perfected sonship is a form of suffering “not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us”

    – “for we grieve over the sufferings of our forefathers, endure the pains and limitations consequent upon our fallen experience, bemoan our own indwelling sin as well as the sin of the unconverted, and earnestly long for the eternal glory we will share in the presence of God”

    This article nails it perfectly!… It’s exactly what what lots of Christians affirm they feel based on my personal surveys and it’s also what I feel too!. That’s why We believe that God will not tarry for another Century or another Millennium like the Boetner theory. Because God himself knew that “Hope ALWAYS deferred makes the heart sick” ( Prov 13:12) deep inside of us there’s something that longs for it that cannot be expressed by words. And although we are already victorious in the spiritual realm through Christ, there’s a deep honest impression by the Spirit that that there will be no lasting Earthly dominion nor power to fully restrain the physical foes (New Atheism, Secularism, Islam/ISIS, Cults and Mystery Religions) much more stop and dominate them even for a “little while” without the “Ultimate Christian Catalyst” – which is no other the “physical return/presence” of Christ. They will all be silenced even now that “knowledge have increased” – many are now swearing that Scientific knowledge have replaced God and it will further bury him and the need for him through the advances of technology in the near future as they claim, many are also so busy “running to and fro” for the cares of this life and not looking for the things which are above… sadly for them they will all be silenced, although sufferings and oppositions will not be fully stopped, it will be certainly be fully restrained till the time they will be given a short time to finish their folly before their end will finally be executed by the conquering Prince of Peace. Her bride will finally fully weather the storms. Her earthly tent replaced by something not made by hands, swallowed by life and sonship perfected 🙂

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