I’ve observed an interesting thing over the years in the body of Christ. We seem to know who Christ is, but we don’t seem to grasp the reality of what we’ve become in Him.
And this is critical because our destiny is tied to our identity. And identity is tied to identification.
Case in point. I will get a resounding response from most believers to the fact that God came for us, to save us and set us free. Yes, amen. But a surprising few resonate so much to the more important fact that the Father’s plan was to substitute Christ for us and place us in Him. I think this is unfortunate.
One view looks at what Christ does for us apart from us, the other looks at what we’ve become because Christ included us.
As C. Baxter Kruger points out (“[GOD] is FOR us“), “It is one thing to say that God has done something in Jesus which can be our reconciliation. It’s quite another to say that God reconciled us in Christ (2 Cor.5:18). One says God did something for us in Christ, the other says God did something with us in Christ.”
It all begins and ends with Jesus Christ. His life is the only Christian life. This is eternal life–the zoe life of God.
As Gary Whetstone said, “Anything that says God is there and I’m here is not God…God must be identified in and through my life.”
We actually have no identity of our own apart from our union with Christ. Not that we have no unique personality or value or purpose, but that Christ defines our new life.
If we fail to see our inseparable connection within Christ as a believer, we fail to see our true existence. We fail to find our life and, thus, seek it outside of Christ. This vain pursuit only leads to frustration and angst in our God-thirsty soul.
Now we may understand our life in Christ conceptually but not in the practical, everyday, transformed perspective meant for us to walk in.
For instance, many Christians talk about having to “die to self.” But this is not only unscriptural, it makes Christianity no different than any other man-made religion. But biblical authentic faith tells me I’m already dead to self. My life is now Christ’s life. There’s quite a difference between the two.
Paul was obsessed with this new reality. He simply concludes, “For You died, and your life is hidden in Christ.” (Col.3:3)
He didn’t say we need to die, or we will die if we’re serious enough. He stated emphatically, you’re dead. So it’s futile to keep trying to do something God has already done. We can only believe it, rest in it, and walk it out by faith.
As I said in another post, we need to live on the right side of the Cross.
This was why Paul continually prayed that we would get this glorious reality about ourselves (Eph.1:15-2:6). For this is the gospel, the good news! But it requires revelation.
Man can’t teach it to you but the Spirit will reveal it to you if you are open to receive it.
For the new creation perspective is one from heaven to earth, rather than from earth to heaven. We now see all things in Christ, seated with Him in heavenly places–far above all principalities and powers…which includes all our circumstances.
Of course, our inner reality affects our outer reality, so we need our minds renewed to this new reality about who we already are–from believing in Jesus to believing like Jesus.
Nonetheless, many believers still seem to see themselves separated from Christ’s life. On the outside, striving to get in somehow. This is not the Good News!
As Paul said emphatically to the Colossians, this is fraudulent Christianity, a worldly philosophy, inventions of men designed to rob you of your inheritance (Col.2:8-10). And he would also probably say that much of what passes for authentic Christian teaching in our evangelical world has the appearance of wisdom, humility and godliness, but is nothing more than powerless religion with a “Christian” veneer (Col.2:20-23).
Jesus didn’t just come just to enhance our lives–to forgive us, heal us and deliver us from oppression. His main purpose was not even to give us a ministry of preaching, healing and miracles. Although all these things are included, they are sidebars to the main point. Jesus came to give us His life. Yes, He did something to us. He changed our very existence, made us something unprecedented and unique in human history. And He was the “prototype” of this new species. (Rom.8:29)
This is the New Covenant. For the gospel cannot just be about forgiveness of sin. You could have your sins forgiven under the Old Covenant by slaughtering enough bulls and sheep. No, this “better covenant” is about identification. It’s not about religious requirements or sin management, it’s about the new creation (Gal.6:15).
This is the mystery of the ages that was Paul’s obsession, and it should consciously and habitually possess us, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Col.1:27).
And this new and unprecedented species of God’s creation called “Christ-ian” (the suffix ian means “resembling”) was the Father’s plan all along–to bring, as C. Baxter Kruger has also pointed out, “a new reality of Divine-human togetherness.”
Wow. Lots to chew on today. I truly am blessed by your teaching, Mel.
Thanks Susan, much appreciated. And amen! If what Christ did WITH us doesn’t make our brain go tilt and overwhelm us with His love, we still don’t understand it at all. It REALLY is GOOD news! 🙂
Pingback: Thoughts about the new thing | In My Father's House
How was it that “God came for us”? It was God Who placed Jesus in the womb of the young Essene girl, so perhaps you could say the Spirit of God, the Force of God came unto Miriam (Mary/Maria), but it was her son Jeshua (Jesus) who came unto the world,not God.
Thanks for commenting here, but if God did not come into the world in human flesh then there is no point of redemption. There is no salvation for us. We are still lost, still orphans and cannot have communion with Him. For His main purpose was not to die for us, although that was the means to this end, but to bring us into the same fellowship He had with the Father from eternity in the Godhead. But because of it, as He is, so are we in this world (1 Jn.4:17). The Father’s plan was to include us in the Divine dance between the Father and the Son and Spirit. John was very clear about this in his writings. God was the Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn.1:1,14). The Father sent His eternal Son who took on humanity for this single purpose. The whole point of redemption was to bring about the “divine togetherness” between God and man I was talking about here. He could not reach out to us and include us without becoming like us.
As the early church father, Athanasius said, “For that was the very purpose and end of the Lord’s incarnation, that He should join what is man by nature to Him who is by nature God.” You don’t have biblical Christianity without this.
The Holy Spirit is not a force or an it, He is a person, always referred to by Jesus and the NT writers as a “He.” They also refer to God as a Father which, again, means relationship and family. This Father has a Son. For you cannot say God is love (1 Jn.4:8) unless you are saying He is in relationship within Himself. For love must be expressed in relationship to be love. You could say He has love, but not that He IS love. This requires more than one person. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been in fellowship within the Godhead from eternity. Jesus’ purpose was to invite us into that fellowship. This is the New Testament revelation.
God is Spirit according to the Scriptures, but Jesus after he died and was resurrected proved to his disciples he was not spirit by showing them the wounds from his impaling.
When your reasoning having to speak about the Holy Spirit, the Force of God, being a person because in your language you say “he” for Spirit (in other languages this is ‘she’) and than you make the Spirit to be a “he” others would say God is a woman because the spirit is a ‘she’ and Wisdom is also a “she”. Either than wisdom has to become in your language and under your people a fourth godhead, being a woman god, because God is Wisdom and wisdom comes from God.
But what about tables, glasses, auto-cars, cupboards, do you really think they are also persons, when we say about the table or cupboard that “she moans” ” she suffers”, ” she cries”? do you think we really believe that table is going to give load voices we hear as human voices and see in the furniture a real person?
Please do try to understand the language in which the Holy Scriptures are originally written and how people spoke at that time and how they speak today.
Marcus, if you’re trying to persuade me that Jesus was and is not fully God and fully Man, you’re most emphatically wasting your time. And I do not wish to turn my blog into a debating center about doctrine or interpretations of words. But for the sake of the subject of this post, I will explain my position here as succinctly as I can. You are free to disagree with it and share your own views on your blog.
Yes, God is Spirit and He is also now Man, seated at the right hand of the Father as the eternal Son. Not only that, we have been placed there in Him. This is the whole point of redemption. Why God did what He did for us. That doesn’t make us God, it places us IN Him. This redemption places us, not in a mere human being, or a really good human being, but in God in Christ.
The early church fathers fought for this revelation of Divine-togetherness and established creeds to summarize this truth. As Athanasius stated, God became man so that we could be placed in Him. For we cannot be placed in a mere human being. We cannot be God’s sons and not be in the Divine life. A mere human being cannot bring us to God. Jesus became flesh to bring God into human flesh. He must be divine or we have no fellowship IN Him. We could be with Him but we could not be in Him.
And again, God IS love, which shows that He is more than one person within Himself. He always was love before creation, which requires being able to express it within Himself, apart from creation. For love must be expressed as an action in the context of relationship. And God could not be love if there were no object of that affection in relationship. In other words, He requires something or someone outside of Himself to express love and BE love. No, for God to be love, He must be more than one person within Himself. God is love apart from His creation, apart from anything outside of Himself.
The incarnation is critical, above all else, in understanding the purpose of redemption. Jesus was not just a human being given like some sacrificial goat so some distant angry God could be appeased, so that we don’t go to hell. No, that was not the point at all. It was to bring man into the divine life and fellowship with a Father who desires a family of His own kind. And the only way He could do that was become a man. God gave Himself for us (Jn.3:16). He purchased us with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
It’s very clear that the Scripture not only states the incarnation of God the Son, who was with the Father from the beginning, but that it was absolutely necessary for our inclusion in Him. God is a Father from eternity, which requires a Son of HIS own kind. This is also why we had to be adopted to become one of His own, but Jesus was not adopted. He was with God and was God (Jn.1:1). And He became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn.1:14).
This is the whole purpose of His incarnation and understanding our identity as a new creation, which is our divine-togetherness. Without this, we don’t know who we really are. We are left seeing ourselves as “mere humans” (1 Cor.3:3). Again, it doesn’t make us God, but we have been placed IN God, which allows for our adoption as sons. Jesus’ coming was God Himself coming to man to connect with us. Without this we also do not understand the character and nature of God. We are still orphans without a home in the Father, we are still separated from God, even in heaven. We cannot be “in Christ” if He is not God. I will use the words of C. Baxter Kruger (“The Great Dance”) briefly here to explain what I mean.
1. If Jesus is not fully divine, “very God of very God” as our Nicene Creed states, then He has given us less than the fullness and the life of God. He cannot give what He does not possess Himself. For eternal life is entering into God’s very own life. We cannot enter into God Himself if Jesus is not divine. We cannot not be adopted to be His own kind as sons. Again, we would still be separated as “mere humans.” We are still orphans, separated from the divine life in God.
2. The logic holds true on the other side. If He is God of God, but has not become a real human being, then He may have the divine life, but it does not reach us. We cannot enter into the divine life of God, the fellowship, the communion that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have enjoyed for eternity. We only become spectators, forever separated–God is “up there” and we are “down here.” Even in heaven, we are still separated. Again, we cannot be IN Him.
3. This point speaks to the nature of God as a Father. For it was not just any God who became human, it was the SON of God. He didn’t come as an abstract, faceless, Omni-power who became human, it was the Father’s beloved Son, the One who was in fellowship with Him from the beginning, the One who lives in the fellowship of the Spirit with the Father. This also speaks of the love of God as a Father, that He would want to share His divine life with us in His family in both heaven and on the earth (Eph.3:14-15).
When Jesus was on the earth, we see in the NT accounts that, while He did not use His divinity (Phil.2:5-8) but humbled Himself as a man, He did not give up this fellowship with the Father. This is the whole point for us. He remained in this divine fellowship and showed us how to live in this “Divine dance,” as it’s been called. And He gave us His Spirit as the means to place us in the Triune God. This is the key to understanding eternal life and true Christianity itself. As Paul said, we have the love of the Father, the grace of Jesus Christ and the communion of the Spirit (2 Cor.13:14). This is the Divine dance, if you will.
For we haven’t been placed in a mere human being who now sits at the right hand of God, but God of God who become flesh and dwelt among us. In my view, if we don’t understand this, we understand nothing about why God redeemed us. We understand nothing about our own identity as sons.
To summarize, when we say that God is a Father, we are saying He, by His very being, is in relationship. He did not become a Father, He was a Father from eternity. He was never alone, and never wants us to be alone as orphans either. This is the key to understanding the heart of the Father for us. He came to include us in that fellowship. THAT is the GOOD NEWS! It’s not good news if these things aren’t true. It’s an orphan religion of men.
But you are free to have your opinion and I will respect that. You and I read the Scriptures quite differently. Blessings to you. You are loved.
Thanks for your explanation.
Blessings to you to.
Pingback: Looking ahead…transition, molting and reformation | In My Father's House
Pingback: Why Christ must be God for us to be in Him | In My Father's House
Hi Mel… me again! If you will, could you please point me in the right direction (in your blog or other’s) regarding the atonement. I feel God is drawing me into a deeper/heart revelation of the Cross so I am fasting and have been praying ‘for a heart revelation of what Jesus did on the cross, why He had to die and what His blood has done’ I know in head knowledge all these answers but I REALLY want my heart to be impacted. I want to live & breathe only to bring Him Glory but first I feel that it needs to be real to me/a revelation … not just ‘stuff I have been taught’. Love your writing’s… they are my favourite part of this crazy cyber world 🙂
Thanks. As far as my blog goes, you can check this post and all the references to other posts. I may write more on the atonement in the future.
Outside sources, I would read C. Baxter Kruger’s “Jesus and the Undoing of Adam” and “God is for us” referenced above. Kruger has a simple way to explain the atonement that leads to greater intimacy with God. A classic work that includes the atonement in context of our new life in Christ is Watchman Nee’s “The Normal Christian Life.” We teach this book at our ministry school.
I could look around for other blogs, etc. but, frankly, I find that most of them miss the whole point of the atonement. Too much is focused on the sacrifice and not on WHY the sacrifice. C. Baxter Kruger does a great job on the why, yet He’s an easy read.
Hope this helps! Blessings.
After my first response I found a post by C. Baxter Kruger on his blog about the atonement. Here’s the link, “On Atonement.”
Oh yay! Thank you… I KNEW you would have some great ideas 😉
I have just purchased the book by Watchman Nee – WOW! Thank you for the referral. Can I ask (no need to respond if your busy) but have you ever had a ‘crisis of faith’? My heart is SO hungry for Jesus but it seems the more I pray & pursue Him I end up in a vicious cycle of reasoning & doubting… everything! I have seen, heard and felt His Presence and yet still these thoughts assail me. Almost like the revelations I have from Him just seem to good to be true so then I sabotage the peace & freedom that comes with knowing Him 😦 Surely He can deliver me from this constant backstepping! Just thought if you had experienced this… how do you get beyond it & into a place of faith that’s unshakeable? Your faith inspires me… that’s why I am asking you 🙂
I’m glad you got the book! It’s a classic on learning about who we are in Christ. And, yes, I’ve had a crisis of faith. I never stopped believing in Jesus as my Savior but I did get very disillusioned, full of doubts and even angry. Actually, it’s all faith–doubts are just our having more faith in other things. I would need more specifics to give a more specific answer but I think if you’re hungry for God you’re in a good place–a spiritual discontent before going to a new level in your relationship with Him.
Remember, biblical “knowing” is in having revelation knowledge. And what God has revealed to us by His Spirit is ours (Deut.29:29). No one can talk us out of it. So, the crisis comes in the areas where we still need revelation. Faith is an issue of the heart not the head. But we must start by believing God, then the understanding comes later. We must allow our experience rise to the level of God’s Word, not bring God’s Word down to our experience.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions. Keep going forward! And blessings on your new adventure with God! 🙂
Omgoodness thank you for taking the time to reply! More specifically I am seeing and hearing in the Spirit, I have the gift of ecstatic prophecy… I have some VERY profound experiences which has me feeling unsettled. I think this is taking awhile to settle as my ‘new normal’ therefore my mind works overtime trying to think through what is happening to me. I know it is God but every so often I get tormented with the evolutionist arguments etc. thinking maybe, what if I am wrong and they are right! This gets me down because I KNOW my Lord and I know the Truth. I Just cannot get my head around how the whole world can’t clearly ‘see’ God in everything. Ahh God is up to something… refining my faith for the Greater Good, but I do get tired of shaky faith, dear me I want faith unshakeable! Apologies for the long winded message, I am so blessed that you would take the time to chat, you have no idea how much it means to me. THANK YOU from the very depths of my heart. 🙂
Lauralee, things like evolution are not really your struggle. Based on what you’re saying I believe your battle is because of your sensitivity to the spiritual world. I have found that highly prophetic people have had these kinds of battles because of the voices. And not knowing how to deal with them has often led to confusion–even depression, panic attacks, and various forms of anxiety throughout their lives. I think you would benefit from Kris Vallotton’s book “Spirit Wars.” You can see a video clip and read a sample of the book here…
Basically, we have three voices speaking to us–our own, God’s voice and the enemy’s voice. Sadly, most Christians think all of them are their own so they let them go unfiltered in their thoughts. This can be very detrimental to our spiritual health and faith. We are told to capture those thoughts that argue with what God says (2 Cor.10:3-5).
Hope this helps. Blessings.
Thanks Mel! I have read through half of Kris V book… a friend referred me to it when I first started with prophetic encounters etc. Must get back to finish it! Some days I wish I wasn’t so sensitive to the spirit realm… nevertheless, you have truly blessed me and been extremely helpful. Taking thoughts captive from now on 😉 Keep up your amazing work, the mantle on your shoulders is world changing, trail-blazing… changing the destiny of generation upon generation!!! Blessings to you & your family 🙂
You’re very welcome. Blessings. 🙂
Oooh,I love it.
From another beloved in the Netherlands
Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to you.