July 25, 2011

Out of Circulation

When I was a kid my father showed me some Indian Head Pennies that he had gotten back in the 1940’s. After seeing them I began collecting coins and this lasted until I was in my early 30’s. When you collect a coin what you are really doing is removing it from circulation in the system. It is still money and can be used or spent like money but because of its rarity or intrinsic value it is pulled aside because it is special. It is put away to protect it from further wear. The coin can be pulled out years later and spent but having been removed from circulation it is distinct from its contemporary counterparts that are still circulating in the system. Most often when these coins re-enter circulation they are immediately recognizable as “more valuable” then their surrounding counterparts. The other coins that have remained in circulation may be similar in appearance but their value ends up being less because they are more tarnished and beaten by the world. Some coins are worth more at face value and these are called denominations (penny, nickel...) and when they are used and work together the sum is always more than a single coin by itself. Coins taken out of circulation tend to hold their luster longer also. The only way to arrest the deterioration of the coin and freeze or improve its value…is to pull it from the system / circulation and set it aside. If they are covered and sealed from the world’s corrosive environment the luster on these coins can last indefinitely or at least seem to.

Why do I tell you this? Let me retype the previous paragraph changing a few words. My father and mother were saved when I was a kid and I saw what it did for them. When the Lord collected them for salvation he removed them from circulation in the system. They still could function within the World’s system but they acted much better as an example of what others still in the world system could be if they would only accept the Lord and remove themselves too...from the system. It is the Lord that gives them (and us) our intrinsic value and rarity (in this current evil age). Some are big people, some small, all worthy and of some value in both the Kingdom and the world system. Even though they are of value in this corrupted world system and can still function they retain more value if we remove them from the corrosion of the world (sin) and seal them away with others. Even though these people may no longer be of use in the world system, they are still of infinite value to God…

John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

They can still function in the system as they formally did but they stand apart and people recognize something about them. They may be older but they seem to have a luster, a sharper edge not nearly as worn down as others. Their vintage was from another era and another place but they stand out from their contemporaries. They have been set aside for special use and they are an example of what others can be. We are to try and remain as near possible to the perfect impression of the mold we are made from. We were created as an exact image or likeness of God.

"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:17

We are called to be like Jesus Christ who, in Hebrews 1:3 "...is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His [God] being" The word "representation" here in Greek is: charakter/χαρακτὴρ and literally means an engraving or stamped figure...as in stamped from a mold as an exact copy...like a coin. Coins that to be created as new entities are stamped to make blanks, blanks are then heated or annealed in a furnace to soften them. They are run through a washer and dryer so they are cleansed. They are upset or forged which is a blow that shapes them but does not cause an injurous permanent buckling of their shape or integrity. They are then struck in the exact mold the are intended to look like and inspect to assure they conform the required standard (holiness). They are then sent into circulation for use in the world. .Because of my parents and other believers like them, I too have now been removed from circulation.

1 Peter 1:14-16 "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

We are no longer uncirculated or mint condition but we have retained or increased value because of what God does behind the scenes.  The system that we work within and the sovereign that we work under gives us our value. The pricelessness of the Kingdom that we belong to and trust we have in God's system for salvation is unwavering. As Christians we are willing to remove ourselves or be removed from the world's system to preserve or increase our value for and in the Kingdom to come. We are literally marked for use in a new dominion as a new denomination.


Philsthrills said...

Interesting thoughts. I think it would be helpful for all of us to really look with sober judgment at how we can be more "in the world but not of the world." (not sure where that quote originates)

Andy Pierson said...

Its a paradox Phil, its a serious paradox. I have thought about it a lot and have come to the conclusion that the Kingdom is never going to be here through human volition. Only when Christ comes back. We are called to preface every action/thought with Christ...then everything else will be given unto us. I believe the answer resides here. The Kingdom holds the most sway in and through those that obey and follow Jesus as devoted disciples. That is why we are called to make Disciples. These disciples in turn hold other disciples accountable. In this way we bring the Kingdom here and do not necessarily need to go there (yet). Hmmmmmm

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