Then I Shall Know
There was a prideful Pharisee, Saul, who was seething with a zeal to destroy all followers of a false messiah he thought to be dead. In one of the most pivotal moments of recorded history, this Saul was knocked off his horse -struck by a Truth so bright, that he, who thought he saw so clearly, was now blind. He was smacked in the head by the Finger of God –out of the blue, the Glory of the crucified and risen Christ exploded upon him. Dazed and too traumatized to ride his horse, Saul was lead by the hand to a destiny not of his choosing. An overwhelming Grace of God had intervened into his life -disrupting his small, myopic reality. Such was his introduction to Jesus, the God whom he was persecuting.
Forever changed by his encounter with God, Saul received a new name for his new identity: Paul. His old life was shattered when his mortal mind was exposed to the Mind of God. A New Man emerged when he was baptized into the Light of Truth. Saul’s small world could not define Truth, so, Truth redefined Saul’s world -introducing Paul to the Mysteries of God. Paul spent the remainder of his life expounding on this Revelation of Grace.
In his treatise on love, Paul wrote, ‘Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.’ (1COR 13:12) Unlike the mirrors of today which produce clear, bright images, the mirrors of Paul’s time were polished metal, reflecting blurred images in dull hues. He is saying that our finite minds and physical senses can only hope to perceive the infinite realm of the Spirit. For now, we are reduced to humble reflections of the Realities of God.
Paul is saying that when we come into Glory, we will know as fully as we are known; that unbound by our feeble senses and finite minds, we will know God as he knows us, with a knowing that is unhampered by the limitations of this world. If we were sealed in a cell, with thick walls of lead, in the bowels of the earth, we would not be hidden from God; he would still intimately know us and be present to us. And if he chose to reveal himself to us there -to our crude senses buried in dirt- it would be as effortless as when he walked through the walls of the Upper Room after Pentecost. What scripture is holding out to us is that, in Christ, we will come to know the Mind of God –dimly now, as we grope toward the Light, but fully then, when God’s Glory will be revealed. We will know with a knowing that transcends time and space -with the utter Fullness of God.
Paul illuminates these Mysteries in the three chapters of Colossians: ‘and what we ask God is that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will. So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you, … thanking the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light. …He is the image of the unseen God … for in him were created all things … everything visible and everything invisible … Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity. Now the Church is his body, he is its head. …In his body lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfillment, …and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed - and he is your life - you too will be revealed in all your glory with him. …You have stripped off your old behavior with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator; … and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew …There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.’In unveiling the Mysteries of God, Paul is opening our eyes to an unimaginable destiny. God holds all things in Unity- all that ever was, is, or is to come. And he desires us to share in that unfathomable Unity. Not only to know the Love that flows between Father, Son and Holy Spirit; but to share in the Love of all whom he Loves! Our destiny in Christ, our Communion with God, our Promised Inheritance, is the Singularity of his Love: of all the Love flowing within the Triune God; and of all the Love flowing from it –past, present and to come. We will know the Mind of God. We will know as fully as we are known. We will exist in the Common-Union of God’s Love.