Going on to Perfection

In the opening thanksgiving of his Letter to the Philippians , Paul prepares his readers for one of its key themes: Going on to perfection in Jesus . The promised bodily resurrection is necessary for the consummation of this process - It is an integral part of the future salvation that believers will receive when Jesus appears “ on the clouds of Heaven .” What God began in the Philippians at their conversion He will continue to perform until that day, “ the Day of Christ .”

The Revelation of Jesus

In his introduction to First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul describes members of the congregation as those who are “ eagerly waiting for the Revelation of our Lord Jesus ,” an event he connects to the “ Day of the Lord .” In his letters, Paul refers to this glorious event as the ‘ Parousia ’ (“ arrival ”), the ‘ erchomai ’ (“ coming ”), and the ‘ epiphaneia ’ (“ manifestation ”) of Jesus, as well as his “ Revelation ” or ‘ apocalypsis .” By comparing how he applies these several terms, it becomes apparent that the same event is in view in each case, and always he applies whichever noun he uses in the singular number.

Light of the World

According to the Apostle John, “ Life ” is found in the “ Word ,” and that life is the “ Light of men .” It is “ shining in the darkness ,” and the darkness “ cannot seize ” or suppress it. This same “ Word ” or Logos has become “ flesh ,” the Living Word of God manifested in the man, Jesus of Nazareth. In him, the Glory and the Life of the God who created all things are manifested for all humanity to see.

In Spirit and Fire

At the Jordan River, John proclaimed a baptism in water “ for the remission of sins ,” and he announced the arrival of the “ Coming One .” The Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah of Israel as promised in the Book of Isaiah - “ Behold, I send my messenger before your face… The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord .” This Coming One was the long-promised King of Israel who would baptize his people “ in spirit and fire .”

Rend the Heavens

The Spirit of God and the voice from heaven confirmed the calling and identity of Jesus – the Son, Messiah, and the Servant of Yahweh .  In the Gospel of Mark , Jesus first appeared when he was baptized by John in the Jordan River. The passage identified him with his hometown of Nazareth, a small village of no consequence, though its very insignificance plays an important part in the narrative. He is the Messiah who does not conform to popular expectations even as he is anointed by the Spirit of God in fulfillment of Scripture.

The Logos

The Prologue of the Gospel of John presents key themes that are expanded in the body of the Book. Most critically, Jesus is the Logos , the “ Word become flesh ” in whom life and light are revealed and received by penitent men and women. He is the true “ Tabernacle ” where God’s “ Glory ” dwells. Moreover, in his Prologue, John employs imagery from the history of Israel to illustrate what God now provides to mankind in His “ only born Son .”