There’s this metaphor I was told lately about faith that I really liked, probably because it was a food metaphor, and everybody likes food metaphors.
So basically, my faith, your faith, our faith is like a giant southern meal. The aroma is notably fried, but so tender and warming that the very smell warms the soul. Ma’s fried chicken, battered in her homemade batter, and grandma’s famous gravy recipe. It’s that side of mashed potatoes with all the fixin’s that you crave on a lonely evening, the one you look forward to every thanksgiving.
And there’s that small side of corn. Sweet corn. Deliciously peppered and buttered.
We have this huge meal of a faith. But most of us examine with awe the whole plate, and then eat but one kernel of that sweet corn and then rave about how amazing the whole meal is, about how it’s the best meal of our lives.
“Oh man, Jesus, that’s the best southern style dinner I’ve ever had. I’m so grateful that you made this for me, and invited me here to eat it. How could I have ever thought that the meals I ate before this were so good? This is good!” You say, emphatically to your host. You’re over-animated, waving your fork with exuberance as you describe this meal.
And the whole time, Jesus stares back, blank-faced, and says: “But, you only ate one kernel. You didn’t even begin to feast on everything I had for you.”
And I think for the longest time that was me. You might find it to be true of yourself.
Staring at a Set Table
We come to faith in Christ, and we believe that we’re forgiven and that we’re going to heaven now. New Christians get so excited about this! You have eternal life with the God who made everything and loved you! Of course you should be!
And of course justification by faith is the most wonderful gift ever! Without it, surely we’d be eating the canned corn from the dumpster. In fact, that is the very tenant of faith that allows participation in the meal in the first place. Don’t hear me saying that justification by faith is stupid, or that we’ve got Christianity wrong for 2,000 years. That’s not what I’m saying.
But what I am saying is that Jesus didn’t just die and resurrect to give you a “one-way ticket to the city of pearly gates”. That’s only one kernel of the feast God has in store for His Beloved. 
It’s not a stamp on the wrist that says you mentally ascended to the right truths, and can be allowed in the club. Faith, that notion of trusting God in what He did, who He is, and who He says you are, is more than getting your access code to a good ending.
God is still here doing work among us. He’s still pushing to know us and be known by us intimately. It doesn’t end after eating that kernel, and sitting down at the table with Jesus. I think we spend so much time talking about the tenants of faith. We talk about the utensils and the cups, and disagree about what they’re used for and where they should go on the table. We discuss whether or not the green beans and mashed potatoes should touch. All the while, Jesus is at the table wondering why we won’t just pick up the fork and eat with Him.
Picking up the Fork
Faith is about knowing God. This knowing isn’t just a “oh, I know about God”, or “I have an idea of what God would be like” or “I know what God has done.”
It’s knowing Him. It’s being in communion with the divine trinity. You are to participate in the divine love the Father has for His Son, and vice versa. You are adopted into the family. 
God doesn’t just want you to acknowledge your need for forgiveness, pray a few times a week about how bad you are, and then believe He forgave you and one day you’ll go to heaven.
Most of that’s good stuff, but it’s a mere shell of the full depth, complexity, and beauty of the truth. God wants you to abide in Him, and be constantly dwelling in His presence. If you trust in Christ, He does dwell in you. He is present with you everywhere.
He wants to pour out his unending, infinite, full-weighted love on you. The love that formed you in your mother’s womb, knowing every thought, action, and circumstance that would come from you. The love that gave you every good gift. The love that granted you every breath you’ve ever breathed. The love that sought you in the darkness, and so desires to bring you to the light.
Coming to Jesus is coming back into the arms of the Father who knit the very fabric of our universe together, to the love of the Son who so desperately cared for you that He humiliated himself by dying on a Cross for your sake, and to the Spirit who groans for you, interceding in prayer for you, and seeks to purify you.
Will you stop staring at the plate and eat?
It’s your move
See, theology is tangible! We don’t have to get the deep stuff and then pull practicality out of it like a magician with a bunny and a hat. Dwelling on the deep truths of the Bible is reflecting on the very nature of reality, the way the world is, and the nature of the God who made it. Especially, the reality of redemptive history and the Kingdom of God that broke into the world with the Cross of Jesus. If we know and trust those truths God has given us, we can live into the reality of them. We can eat that meal with God.
There’s a kingdom to build, a message of mercy and redemption to spread. There’s a love to share, a love that renews the broken hearted and heals the lame. There’s a God to know and experience in the very depths of your soul. There’s a love so great, a love so grand, that you could never fully comprehend how immense it is. You are the recipient of that love, the love of God.
Will you and I just talk about it? Or will we sit down, pick up the fork, and eat with Jesus?
- Again, I’m not belittling the doctrine of Justification. Surely there is no other way for us to be saved than the atonement of the Cross, and the justification through faith in that cross. That is essential. Without it, there is no meal. There is no communion with God. I am just insisting that we must not forget about sanctification. It’s the consummation of our justification. We are created new in the image of Christ upon believing, and sanctification is the outworking of our new position as an adopted son our daughter of God. Sanctification is the outworking of new communion with God, and the fruit of the indwelling Spirit. ↩
- The New Testament really emphasizes this language. Paul especially refers to us as sons and daughters, adopted. This is such profound and transformative language, that we are now apart of the family of God! ↩
Post Image Used under Creative Commons Attribution License. Original Image by Jodi Bart