What can you say about the infinite goodness of God? Really, what can possibly be put into words that will even measure on the scale of God’s amazing love and grace and mercy? Every good moment, every good expression, radiant glory pouring out on all the cosmos, the very energia of existence found in the thoughts of our amazing Father. Wow! All of that yummy awesomeness in and around us all the time…but…we can turn our backs and ignore the power of creation and the source of goodness and the person of Grace…That is the fallen condition. That is what Jesus comes to reconcile so that we never again think of ourselves as separate or apart from Love Himself.
In this journey of discovery it is like waking up from a dream (or maybe more like a coma) and “seeing” for the first time. The more the Grace of God seems “too good to be true,” the more my senses come alive to the person and presence and beauty and majesty and glory of the one who holds it all together. Yeah, come on!!!!
In that light of the gospel, the light of the Earth, Jesus Himself, we get to take a fresh look at old concepts. I keep discovering what I was told or what I thought I knew or what I dreamed up in my own fallen understanding isn’t what Jesus reveals. Have you experienced that? That “process” is the renewing of the mind and the transforming power from glory to glory that Paul talks about. Check out this verse as an example:
John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (ESV)
Straight forward right? So many “churches” and denominations and heads have been severed over verses like this one. When our fallen-thinker takes the place of Jesus-revelation we miss His perspective.
In the last post “Holy Kiss” I talked a little about the “born again experience.” Listen it was only a few months ago that I saw this differently then I do today so we are all being “transformed” but let me share a “new way of seeing” this passage.
We were all born in God and from God. We are all His kids. We are all just now waking up to this reality. Jesus took care of any “accounting” for condemnation, wages of sin, guilt, shame and so much more in a very mysterious way but a complete way 2000 years ago. Now we are “coming alive” to the truth of who we really are. We were all “born from above” before we were “born from our moms.” Now we are “born from the water and spirit” to experience the Kingdom of Heaven. Just like waking up from that coma, we are breathing in the truth of His reality which is really real. Did I loose you? OK, the root of “born” is this word:
1096 (ginomai) means “to become, and signifies a change of condition, state or place”
That is cool. So how is my condition changed? I am already a child of God so what is Jesus talking about? Let me suggest that this is an awakening to a truth. The water would be our “baptism of repentance.” Check this out:
Mark 1:4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)
You have to know that God forgives, that is His nature:
Rom 4:5 But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God). 6 Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does: 7 Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried. 8 Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him. (AMP)
What John (the Baptist) was doing was having people get in the water and “immersing” themselves in total agreement to God’s nature to forgive. The water didn’t bring forgiveness. The water was for “repentance.” They were changing their minds to agree that God is so good and gracious and that He forgives our trespasses. They didn’t need to get wet to get forgiven. They got “buried” into an old understanding (God is not that good) and “raised again” to a new understanding (God is that good). It was an expression of faith (belief and trust) in the one who forgives. That is the “too good to be true” part.
We likewise have a moment in our lives when we stop and turn around to face Him. We stop hiding from an “angry god” that isn’t real and turn to a God who is Love. We get a glimpse of the goodness of God in someone’s testimony or something He does in our lives and we turn around, change our minds about Him and turn to Him. There He is waiting to give us a Holy Kiss. That is our moment with the Spirit. We have been “changed in our condition (born) from water and Spirit.” Isn’t that awesome?!?!?
His love, His intimate embrace wakes us up to His nature and our identity. In our fallen-thinker we are still cloudy and shaking off the cobwebs:
1 Cor 13:12 For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. (AMP)
The perfection has come. He is Jesus. He is love. Yes He gives gifts but He is the stuff of gifts…Love:
1 Cor 12:31 But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love]. (AMP)
We were made for intimacy with Him. We are joined to Him. Our intimate embrace matures us and changes our thinking and we are getting bigger on the inside than the outside when we embrace His love for us. Yay!
Eh 3:19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (AMP)
The word baptism isn’t really that complicated. It means to immerse or dip or pickle or dye. Take a piece of bread and dip it into the wine…baptism (I’ll save that for another post). So check out how this passage in John reads in The Message:
John 3:5-6 Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit. (The Message)
A lifetime of religious rituals and rites and rubbish can’t ever ever ever take the place of one teeny, tiny moment in the intimate embrace of your Father. He is right there. He can’t be away from you. He is inhabiting your very person. Jesus came to demonstrate that truth, provide for that truth, make certain that truth and bring us alive to that truth. Like a great mustard tree we were just little seeds waking up to our intended and created identity. He took care of all the “work.” You get to believe it is true in His intimate embrace.