Does God have an “outside?” This is what we’ll look at on this installment of my series based on the question, “Are sinners separated from God?”
If you haven’t read my summary in part one, I suggest you do so before continuing on.
But before we get to the seven objections I raised in my introduction, we should probably ask ourselves, is this question even worth looking into? I would answer, most definitely!
Why? Because behind this notion of separation is the source of all “us vs. them” isms, those who are “in” and those who are “out,”all factions, wars, murders, abuse, injustice, racism, and other human atrocities going back to Cain.
This is the orphan theology of Adam, the bad fruit that comes from eating from the wrong tree. Unfortunately, this poisonous fruit has also infected the Church throughout its history with horrific consequences.
When we don’t see ourselves connected to God, and to one another, we will live under the illusion that people don’t have infinite value to God. We will separate ourselves into “camps” and make theological excuses why one person matters more than another, why we should withhold love, hate our enemies and justify our cruelty or indifference. We will make judgments on people’s eternal state and condemn their souls, demonizing and dismissing anyone who isn’t like us, or who doesn’t believe like us, to make us feel safe.
You see, it’s really that important.
Okay, on to my objections. Since I specifically covered the first two points in a previous post titled, “The Myth of Separation,” I will refer you to that to save time and space. I will cover the main points of Scripture here.
Objection one: Actually, nothing can be separated from God. To say that anything can be outside of Christ directly contradicts the New Testament revelation. Here are just a few examples (bold type added for emphasis):
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col.1:16-17 NIV)
36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it). (Rom.11:36 AMP)
Apparently, Paul didn’t agree with the idea that sinners are separated from God since he told the pagan philosophers in Athens the following:
28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:28 NLT)
Furthermore, we have Paul’s own testimony. He understood that Jesus revealed Himself IN him WHILE still an enemy of the cross…
13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…” (Gal.1:13-16 NKJV)
To say that someone can be outside of Christ requires that they be self-existent. In other words, they would have to be God! After all, if they’re not in Christ, how are they even breathing…existing at all?
So I believe we have our answer to the question that started this post. No, there is no “outside” with God! ALL things are in Christ. You cannot exist and or be apart from Christ, whether you are in heaven, earth, or even hell itself. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all are in communion with Him, which we will expand on in a later installment.
Objection two: It assumes our decision can change what Christ has already done. God is not going to change His status toward us or do something new if we believe. Instead, we must let faith rise up in our hearts and change our thinking so we can benefit from the fact that God has already reconciled us to Himself.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled (Col.1:20 NKJV)
10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom.5:10 NKJV)
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them…” (2 Cor.5:19a NIV)
First, notice that WE were enemies of God in our mind (Col.1:20). It was not real; it was in our orphan-hearted thinking. Like Adam, we hid behind the fig leaves of religion. We were the ones who needed to change. By faith we need to let God open our eyes to this myth we believed about Him. This is the very definition of repentance.
Second, notice that God wasn’t the one who needed reconciling! Christ took all our vitriolic hatred and enmity against Him upon Himself on the Cross. Our orphan hearts have been reconciled to our Father by putting Adam to death (Rom.5:12-20; 6:4-8; 2 Cor.5:14).
Third, notice that this reconciliation is past tense. You were reconciled. It happened at the cross 2,000 years ago. God doesn’t change when a sinner believes. He doesn’t pop out of some closet and jump into a person when He gets the green light! He’s not waiting out in space for you to ask Him in either. Like with Paul, when we acknowledge Christ in us and turn our heart toward Him, we begin cooperating with Him instead of “kicking against the goads” (Acts 9:3-6).
We will continue with my objections next time.
Preach it Mel! I’m glad to have people like you speaking the love of the Father. Another great scripture is Psalm 139:8
“If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
Sin can lead us to an earthly hell and make us “feel” separated from God. In my experience that feeling is from guilt and buying into lies of Satan that God loves me more when I’m performing better in my own eyes. Sin does not cause God to separate Himself from us but it can cause us to act like Adam in hiding from God. It’s a true revelation of grace we need to overcome these lies. This revelation of grace doesn’t make us sin more but compels us to live righteously by knowing who we truly are in Christ.
Thanks Justin. Psalm 139 is another good Scripture. And amen to your point. Our sinful behavior blinds us to this reality. Add to that, shame and guilt, which keeps us in hiding. His love and grace, on the other hand, compels and empowers us to live Christ’s very life on earth.
Your comments are much appreciated. Blessings.
Excellent blog post. I’m doing something similar next week on our true identity in Christ. Looking forward to reading more in this series, Mel. God bless.
Thanks Steven. I look forward to what you have to say on this also. Blessings.
Gosh darn, you’re good! 🙂 Thanks, Mel, for walking us through this point by point. Keep it coming, please!
Ha! It’s only because I keep finding out He’s so much better than I ever imagined! Thanks. More to come next week. 🙂
Thanks Mel. The good news is we aren’t separate. We never were. Jesus is perfect human. He is one with the divine. And He is in us and us in Him and Him in the Father. That is a complete way of saying we are completely one. I am the divine manifestation on the earth. That’s what it means to be human. Jesus came to show us the good news as Himself. What would it look like if we actually believed in our oneness? Wow.
“What would it look like if we actually believed in our oneness? Wow.”
Wow is right. That’s everything! What’s ironic about this whole thing is that this union of mankind was “preached” by nonbelievers (hippies, new agers) in the 60’s! We are all one together, etc. Like with a lot of things (i.e., Caiaphas prophesying Jesus having to die for the many), God will have people prophesy things they actually know nothing about. Of course, the church rejected this as some new age gobbledygook. And a lot of it was because it was man trying to do it without God. But the reality is, they weren’t far from the truth, and they were FAR ahead of the church! It’s crazy when you think about it. We’re just starting to deconstruct our deistic, platonic mindset on separation (which is the subject of part three!)
Again, my point in this post is that REAL “peace, love, and understanding” can only come from understanding that we’re all this thing together, there is no “us” and “them.” And when we see this in Christ, we will see other people this way, too (John 14:20). The challenge is opening people’s hearts and minds to receive Christ’s life as their way of living in the Father’s love (And I include Christians in that challenge).
This is so amazing to read, God’s been teaching me precisely this in the past couple of weeks!! And as you said in a comment above – I also thought that some New Age folks are way ahead of this one. God contains all universe, and Jesus came to set up an alternative, perfect universe, which will the only one remaining in the end, if I got this one right. And we are part of both all humankind, and of the body of Christ. It should never be us vs them, we are part of both. Great stuff!
Reblogged this on alancetotheheart and commented:
Check out what Mel has to say. This is a great series to rid us of the lie of separation. Thanks Mel.
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