The 5 columns are a graphic showing Creation, Separation, Redemption, Transformation, Completion. I will be working on it over the next few months as part of my work, hoping to share it with experienced Christian workers and new believers from various groups of people in Asia with very few in their language who are also believers.
The goal will be to have a simple organizing view of the Christian explanation of the human response to good and bad in light of Christ’s plan. (I’m sure I will edit that sentence, a lot).
This is not primarily an evangelism tool. It is more an early discipleship too. However, many early discipleship tools can be used for ‘ev’ if there is enough dialogue going on with someone who isn’t sure what believing would entail. Part of the reason is that the symbols require a willingness to ‘see’ them. They are not self-evident and compellingly clear.
crown = God as sovereign
heart = human, created in God’s image to give and receive appropriate love with him and people
globe = creation, the world, physical and spiritual (angels, demons, etc), on this planet and beyond (cosmos).
stacked in 1st column
This shows the original order of God/man/everything else. The point is man’s purpose is to be God’s representative to the rest of creation, under his authority in a loving relationship. The aspect of our current experience which relates back to this ‘1st column’ is the experience of ‘goodness’; of ‘oughtness’. To phrase it more simply, and like a mini-catechism “Why do we experience good?” “Because God is good and created a good world with a good role for us as people”.
stacked in column 2
- cloud with dotted outline of crown
- globe is upside down
- heart is upside down
cloud with dotted outline of crown = God is there, but not seen directly
globe is upside down = the world is now over man and not working like it should (sickness, death, storms, demonic, etc.)
heart is upside down = humanity has submitted to creation, specifically to rebellious spiritual powers, which results in love not working with one another as it should, and our desire to worship God blocked by creation, which explains why we are natural idolators.
side by side in column 3
2. upside down heart under a cross
The first heart shows the incarnation. Jesus is the 2nd Adam, humanity as we were intended to be.
The upside down heart under the cross shows Jesus becoming sin for us, taking all of our column 2 failure as if it were his own and dying as a result; in judgment.
The final heart shows the vindication through resurrection. Righteous Jesus + sins of the world dying on the cross = resurrected Jesus. His righteousness is greater than our condemnation.
- cloud with dotted outline of crown
- globe is upside down
- heart is upside right with a cross in it
The only differences between column 2 and 4 are the result of the cross on the heart. Now the cross is turned toward love when it abides in the work of Christ on the cross. This is meant to show a number of things to believers who are struggling with hard circumstances.
1. God is there, but we do NOT see him clearly as we would like.
2. The world was intended for good, but it is NOT working like it should. People do get sick and die, spirits do bully, lie and manipulate; life is STILL hard after coming to faith in Christ.
3. We don’t have to have our hearts upside down in subjection to creation. We can be conformed to the image of Christ by resting in his work such that we put off worldly ways and put on Christ’s ways.
2. heart with cross in it
This is the final hope, the destination of life which is reconciled with God. God is clearly seen because he is with us. Humanity is restored in authority over creation (including spirits) and everything works the way it should. No sickness, sadness, death remain (all the bad is judged in the transition from column 4 to 5).
How to use it? For personal reference in processing.
1. processing experiences = good? thank God for his good creation. bad? remember the consequences of leaving God’s way for the way of idolatry (ruined the world and life). choice? good over bad, in Christ, in me/us, and eventually in all that remains.
2. processing scripture = notice in Scripture God’s goodness and intended ways is column 1. Notice the way of death (idolatry, spirit of Babylon, etc.); that is column 2. Follow the plan of salvation, from the beginning of Genesis to the resurrection is column 3. Transformation of someone who turned to God’s grace and was changed is column 4 (even in Old Testament stories). Column 5 is Hope revealed, including Psalm 67, 96 and anywhere the final state of restored completeness is described.
3. in choices.
thank God for good.
take responsibility for being part of the problem (we all contribute to sin pollution) when we sadly face evil and suffering in a fallen world.
pay attention to the sovereign plan of God unfolding in promises, events, and examples leading to Christ.
humble ourselves under God by trusting in Christ and his ways. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. That grace is given to transform us to be more like Christ.
stay hopeful, even when things are dark and difficult. Remember where things are headed, and don’t be afraid to ask for miraculous glimpses into the final state in the form of miracles even now (healings, etc.). Part of the discipleship process will include explaining miracles as ‘column 5 signs and samples’, not as any current pattern. In other words, God does do amazing things, but the basic pattern of this world, even in the life of someone living a column 4 life, is hardship, suffering, and ultimately death. Be real (and Biblical), but also be free to call upon God for exceptional provisions, particularly as signs to others of where the future is headed.
This is the general idea to be edited and practiced.
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