FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Obstacles, challenges, roadblocks, trials and temptations. Christians deal with these daily, but according to a well-known Christian author, the spiritual journey believers undergo is a process that will transform them into royalty.
T.W. Hunt, author of “The Mind of Christ,” made that point as he shared with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary highlights from his forthcoming book, “From Heaven’s View: Bringing His Children to Glory.”
Hunt, who taught music and missions for 24 years at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary, returned Aug. 29-31 to deliver a series of chapel messages on some of the truths God has taught him about dealing with adversity.
The origins of the book, Hunt said, came from his daughter Melana’s struggle with breast cancer. After her first mastectomy, she did not want to remove the bandages and look at herself, but her husband told her, “I love you because I am me.”
That statement caused Melana to realize that was how God loved her — not for looks or ability or what she could do for him, but “because he was God,” Hunt said.
Melana began learning from the experience, and Hunt was impressed upon by the Holy Spirit to begin writing what she was learning and what the Lord was teaching him — how suffering and prayer look from God’s perspective.
All of God’s work, Hunt said, should be seen from three frameworks: creation, redemption and God’s glory.
Procreation in human beings is part of a “federal plan” by which they, created in the image of God, are descended from a single head. Because human beings still carry the image of God, redemption provides opportunity to “come back to God, even though we are fallen,” Hunt said.
The third framework, Hunt added, is “the whole purpose of all of this; this enormous creation, the unfathomable redemption that he did, was to bring all of us to share ultimately in his love, in his glory.”
Hunt reminded his audience that while no human being had anything to do with creation or redemption, “we do have a part in our own glory.”
“There’s not going to be such a thing as fame in heaven,” he said, “but there will be such a thing as nobility. We are the royalty, the nobility of the universe.”
God does this, Hunt said, through the process of changing Christians. That process of transformation is very important to God, he added, quoting Jesus’ parable of the seed in Mark 4:26.
This process of coming to glory begins when “God shows us favor by choosing us,” Hunt said, adding that Moses’ prayer of Exodus 33:13 shows that once Christians receive favor, they receive more favor by knowing God and his ways.
Christians also go from strength to strength, faith to faith, and glory to glory, he continued.
While Christians might not think they have any glory until they get to heaven and stand in Christ’s presence, Hunt reminded them that as far as God is concerned, “there’s glory all along the way,” citing 2 Corinthians 3:18.
“This is what Jesus did,” Hunt said. “He had to go through this same process. When he was 12 years old, he knew who he was, he knew who his Father was.” But even so, Hunt pointed out, God was not complaining because Jesus hadn’t yet gone to the cross, and at Jesus’ baptism, God did not say he was dissatisfied but that he was well-pleased with Jesus.
In the same way, Christians are being conformed to Jesus’ image through relationship. Christianity, Hunt said, is the only religion in the world based on relationship.
“All of Christianity is based on first, loving God; second, loving others,” he said.
To love God, Christians have three frames of reference. The first is occupation — being at the same time indwelled by God and hid with Christ in God. A second frame of reference is the way Christians relate to God. The Almighty, Hunt said, is at the same time father, brother, friend, shepherd, potter and so on.
And third, Hunt said, Christians relate to God by proximity, “when he says, ‘I am with you always.’ So evidently it must be pretty important to God that first of all, we relate to him.”
In loving one’s neighbor, Christians have an analogy from music. With homophony, one has a solo melody enhanced by other notes. With polyphony, one has many melodies intertwining. Each melody fits in with and enhances all the others, creating a unified whole.
“Now, beloved, God does not like soloists,” Hunt said, “not in the church. And you will never realize what God wants you to be without the body of Christ.
“Every person in this room represents a desire of God,” he said. “You’re a melody. God intended for your melody to be very, very beautiful, but no melody of God is effective unless it is in combination with other melodies.”
Hunt also spoke on the glories that lie ahead. To illustrate “graduation day,” as he referred to entering heaven, Hunt talked about a dream he had had in October 1973.
In the dream, Jesus told him that he was going to accompany the Lord to deep space. Hunt saw “colossal glories” beyond description, but the most unusual aspect of the dream was the colors that did not exist on earth.
These colors, Hunt said, had the strangest effect on his eye, like the feeling one gets from touching satin or silk. There was a physical delight from these colors.
Hunt noted that the visible spectrum comprise just a small portion of the many types of light waves that exist, ranging from radio waves, microwaves and infrared to the ultraviolet spectrum, X-rays and gamma rays.
“I just wonder when we get our new equipment beyond the eye cones that we’ve got right now, if there are going to be some rather incredible beauties that none of us presently can imagine,” Hunt said.
He made a similar point about sound waves and hearing, asking if in heaven the music will “be beyond anything we can presently imagine.”
1 Corinthians 2:9, Hunt said, reminds Christians of the truth of greater, as yet unknown glories awaiting them, that the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard.
God made humans with the ability to enjoy those things necessary to live. “I just wonder if these things are not hints of glories beyond anything that we can presently possibly imagine,” Hunt said.
But beyond physical glories, there are going to be even greater glories, wonders that humans cannot now comprehend because these are spiritual glories, Hunt noted.
While some characteristics of a Christian have to be learned, like humility, faith, patience, endurance, longsuffering, purifying, dedication and diligence, some other characteristics are already in believers because Christ dwells within them, Hunt said, listing righteousness, holiness and glory as examples. These three characteristic are inherent in God but come to Christians through Christ as conformity to God’s characteristics.
These attributes are reckoned or put into believers, Hunt said. “Satan can argue with faith. Satan cannot argue with reckoning,” Hunt said. “I want to urge you, learn very early in your experience [to] start reckoning on what you are, what you have in Christ. …
“I am so excited about judgment. I cannot wait for judgment,” Hunt said. “I think judgment is going to be an explosion of glory and of revelation as we finally see what all this really means, as we finally see what God considers great.”