Thursday, November 25, 2021

Does God Have Form?

While reading through the gospel of John, I came across John 5:37, which I probably have read hundreds of times. I was prodded to stop, and think about it more deeply. The scripture reads as follows: "And the Father who sent Me, He has testified about Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form" (John 5:37 NASB). Well, God is Spirit (John 4:34), and doesn't have form. Or does he? 

In the Old Testament, we read that Moses saw the back of God (Ex. 33:20-23), and Jacob encountered and wrestled with God (Gen. 32:24-30). Jacob struggled with God, and saw him face to face. "Face to face" is a metaphor. It's a better, deeper, and more authentic relationship. Moses, and Jacob had a revelation of what was to come in Jesus. They saw shadows that point us to Christ; when God would come to us in Jesus - Emmanuel, God with us. As John the Baptist said, "No human eye has ever seen God: the only Son, who is in the Father's bosom - He has made him known (John 1:18 WEY). Brad Jersak tells us that "Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and the exact likeness of God's nature."¹ God is invisible, except that he is revealed in Jesus (Col. 1:15). As I like to say, the only true God is revealed in Jesus Christ. There is no other God, but the God revealed in Jesus. Yes, God is triune, but Jesus is the only revelation of God. We can't find God. God has chosen to reveal himself in Jesus.² 

When Philip asked Jesus to show them (the disciples) the Father, Jesus said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father" (John 14:7-9). When Jesus told his contemporaries that he was one with the Father (John 10:30), they picked up stones to stone him. Most of the people of Jesus' day rejected Jesus; who is the "face to face' encounter with God. We do too, when we replace the God of love revealed in Christ with a more "holy" God, an angry God, and a God of vengeance. The true God is revealed and encountered "face to face" only in Christ. He is the [true] image of the invisible God.  

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1. Brad Jersak, "Of Heretics, Kings & Foxes," CWR Magazine, October 2021.

2. John Crowder often talks about this in his "Inner Sanctum" webcasts.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Redeem the Time

Redeeming the time is living in the Reality of God. As his divine children we live, move, and exist in him (Acts 17:28-29). God stands outside of time and space. Time and space is God's creation. Yes, we exist inside of God's created world because we are part of his creation. But the greater Reality is that we live, move, and exist in him. In him we too stand outside of time and space - we are seated with him in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:5-6). This is the great Reality. I know I talk, and write about the great Reality all the time, but it is very important that we understand what this means. Redeeming the time helps us to focus on the great Reality of who God is, and what it means for his children. Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and whether we act like his children or not, we are his children. So the gospel is awakening to this Reality - knowing who God is, and living in that Reality as his divine children. 

If all that matters is faith expressed through love (Gal. 5:6), then redeeming the time is making a conscious effort to meditate, and think about Jesus living his live of love within us. Redeeming the time is living in the love of Christ Jesus. He is our life, and by faith he lives his life of love in and through us.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

All That Matters

According to the Apostle Paul, all that matters is faith expressed through love (Gal. 5:16 Berean Study Bible). If our faith is genuine, it must lead to love. For after all, it's Christ's faith in us, and we know that God is love (1 John 4:16). We know that Jesus entered this world to give us life (John 10:10). He willingly gave his life so that we can share in the life of God. I've heard Dr. Steve McVey call it the exchange life. In other words, Jesus exchanged his life for our life, and in so doing, he took on our sufferings, grieving, pain, and death. Jesus taught his disciples to lay down their lives for others (John 15:13). In essence, Jesus continues to live his life in his followers - those who are living in the greater Reality of the new world pioneered by Jesus. This new world is based on the cruciform love of God. Cruciform means cross-shaped, and the cross symbolizes the greatest expression of God's love. Everything that God has ever done, and will do, as he works in and through his followers, is based on cruciform love.   

Now we might think that our faith should lead to mighty works, or miracles. However, there is no work that is a good work, unless it is a work of love. The fruit of our faith is love, and always will be love. There is no exception. True faith - is the faith of Christ, and his faith is always performing acts of love because love is the life of God. God has called us to awaken to the new creation Reality, and to live out our faith. Faith is more than a belief system. Faith is the life of God, and his life is love. So as the Apostle Paul proclaims, I proclaim to you, "All that matters is faith expressed through love!


Watch my latest video, "All That Matters." 





Saturday, August 14, 2021

To Be Absent From the Body is to Be Present with the Lord - 2 Corinthians 5:6-8



To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord…

If we try to squeeze what the apostle Paul was saying into our religious paradigm, we will automatically think that Paul is saying that when we die we leave our sinful human body behind and our spirit goes to heaven to be with the Lord.

But that’s not what Paul was saying. The Apostle Paul was not a Gnostic. This is the same Paul that said: to whom God willed to make known what is riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you the hope of glory (Col. 1:27 NASB 1995). Here again:   I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20 KJV). 

It is obvious that Paul didn’t have a Gnostic mindset. He didn’t believe that the human body is evil. He didn’t believe that the physical realm is evil. He didn’t have a dualistic mindset. He didn’t believe that the physical world is separate from the spiritual world. But this is the paradigm on which many believers base their faith.  

Paul is saying that at the resurrection of the dead our body will be changed from mortal to immortal, and we will experience the full manifestation of the glory of God. God’s glory will be made fully manifested to us, while at the present time, while living in this tent, it is hidden (Col 3:3-4). 

In this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven (the resurrected body) (2 Cor. 5:2 NASB see the notes for vs 2 in NASB). 

While we are at home in this body, we are absent from the Lord [from the fullness of the glory of God – because we live in the tent or the temporary dwelling and not in the house – the immortal glorified body] (2 Cor. 5:6 NASB with my clarification). Obviously, Paul can't be talking about absent in the sense of our oneness. Go back and reread Col. 1:27, and Gal. 2:20.

For we walk by faith not by sight [believing that the gift of life will be fully manifested in us even though at the moment we don’t see it. Because we are still in this tent or the physical mortal body]  (2 Cor 5:7). 

But we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body [having already been changed from mortal to immortal and living in the glorious new body - God being fully manifested in us.] and to be at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8 NASB).  

Even though the abundant life is a present reality, it will be fully manifested when we go through our metamorphosis - when we are changed from mortal to immortal. “I have come that they might have life, and life more abundantly” (John 10:10). 

The time will come when we experience the fullness of life in our immortal, imperishable, body. “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).  


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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Love Never Fails

Light of the world shine on me, love is the answer. Shine on us all, set us free, love is the answer.¹ 

I do believe love is "the" answer. For the Apostle Paul tells us that love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8 NIV). Now think about that for a moment. Love.... never.....fails!  That means in every situation where there is a disagreement between neighbors, or between nations; love is "the" answer. God in Christ Jesus showed us what that love looks like.  Jesus is love personified.  He said, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13 ASV). Then he proceeded to do just that. He laid down his life not only for his close friends, but for his enemies as well. Jesus' followers are known by this love (John 13:35). This love is not just a cure for the world's problems. This love is a way of life.  

For God himself is love. God has always existed in other-centered love.  Love is the truth of our being. It's who we are in Christ. We are his divine children (Acts 17:28-29 AMP). The apostle John writes, Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7). John tells us that love is the identifying trademark of those who live in this reality.  

We were created in love, and because of love. God became man in Christ Jesus because of love. He lived his life for us, and as us, because of love. He went to the cross because of love. He rose from the dead because of love. He is seated in the heavenly realm because of love. He sent the Holy Spirit because of love. He shares his life with us because of love. He will come again, and his kingdom will have no end, because of love. 

But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13 NASB).


Watch my video, "Love Never Fails."





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        1. Todd Rundgren and his band Utopia, "Love One Another" (music video, REDUX, Live at the Gotanda Kani Hoken Hall, Tokyo, Japan 1992), posted July 6, 2011, accessed April 3, 2021,  https://youtu.be/uSOaLugmdSY. 


Friday, December 18, 2020

A Call To Lament

The Bible tells us there were periods of time when the nation of Israel lamented. Jesus and his disciples lamented.  The scriptures instruct us to lament, mourn, and grieve. We as human beings make poor decisions that lead to sin, suffering, and death for ourselves and for our neighbors. At other times we are apathetic, and people suffer because of our absence. We experience pain, and we lament. 

Joseph lamented for his father, Jacob, with a great and grievous lamentation, and mourned for his father seven days (Gen. 50:10 ESV). Joseph authentically expressed the pain that he felt when his father died. 

To Ezekiel, God said, mourn for Egypt (Ezek. 32:18 GNT).

After Herod had all the young boys killed in and around Bethlehem, the people lamented as the prophet Jeremiah had foretold. "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more" (Mat. 2:18 NASB).

Jesus said, "Blessed are you who weep" (Luke 6:21 NKJV also see Mat. 5:4). Jesus lamented - "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" (Mat. 23:37-39 New Heart English Bible), because he saw the hardness of heart of the religious leaders, and the people's rejection of the prophets, and himself. 

Jesus wept because he felt the pain of those around him (John 11:35). 

Jesus prophesied that his disciples would lament after he was murdered. "you will weep and lament... You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turned into joy" (John 16:20 New Heart English Bible).

Mary wept at Jesus' grave (John 20:11-15).

As Jesus foretold, his disciples mourned and wept for him after he was murdered (Mark 16:10 ESV).

Disciples wept when Paul was preparing to leave them for Jerusalem (Acts 21:13).

The Apostle Paul instructed us to: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15 NASB). 

James instructed us to: Grieve, mourn, and wail (James 4:9-10 NIV). 

Ask yourself, how does Jesus feel about people being exploited, oppressed, enslaved, and censored? 

We are made in the image and likeness of God. God created us to experience love, and joy; but also  pain, suffering, and grief. We lament because we see people being exploited. We mourn because we see people suffer. When we are apathetic, we become guilty of the sin of omission. We lack compassion, and concern for others. When we lament, and experience grief, we are participating in Jesus' emotions. 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away" (Rev. 21:3-4 NASB).

Jesus came that we may have life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10). The abundant life is our, everyone's, authentic life; and no one can take away what God in Christ has given us. 















Sunday, November 1, 2020

Parousia

Parousia (para - beside; ousia - being) refers to much more than the second coming of Christ. God has come to us in the person of Jesus, and "as creature within our creaturely being," says Thomas F. Torrance.¹ 

Even though hidden from sight, Jesus is still Jesus. God became flesh. He became a human being in Christ Jesus. He went to the cross with the same human body, and still lives in his resurrected, and ascended body. Yes, his body was changed from "perishable" to "imperishable."² Jesus is no longer flesh, and blood,  "for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;"³ but he is still human. His body has gone through some sort of metamorphosis. The human body isn't sinful. God in Christ has sanctified our human bodies. Yes, God is holy; so that says a great deal about what God believes about being human. After all, he became human - one of us - to give us life, and so that we may share in his eternal kingdom of love. 

The REALITY is that the kingdom of God has been fully inaugurated, but like Jesus, it's veiled. It's not fully manifested. In Jesus' person and work, he has accomplished salvation for us. He is our salvation. When he comes again, or when he manifests himself, salvation shall be unveiled. Then we shall be like him; changed from perishable to imperishable - glorified! 

Without this understanding of parousia, we would continue to reach for a distant god, and continue to strive to draw closer to this god; not comprehending that the only true God that is revealed in Jesus is present within us. Many believe that this distant god is coming with vengeance to destroy, and or torture human beings that are made in God's image and likeness - his own children. But this god that comes at the end of the age looks much different from the God that came in the incarnation.  That's the beauty of parousia, because instead of two different gods, we have one God - the only true God that is revealed in Jesus Christ. The God that said, "Love your enemies," is the same God throughout parousia - the first and second coming. This God is a present REALITY, and he will be unveiled, fully manifested, at his return. 

Watch my video on Parousia: 




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1. Thomas F. Torrance, Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ, ed. Robert T. Walker (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 301-302.

2. 1 Cor. 15:42, 50-54  We will become like Jesus, raised to immortality. Our bodies will be changed so that we can live in the new creation - the heavenly realm - with God. 

3. 1 Cor. 15:50

4. John 10:10