When we have a wrong, broken, distorted, fallen, deceived, derived or “balanced” image of God we will absolutely find ourselves in the middle of a giant mess. The messes in our lives are products of our fallen perception of self and God. Jesus is the answer. He not only annihilated the Sin nature on the cross He revealed the purest, perfect and HOLY nature of God on the cross. God killed by the hands of angry sinners is the nuclear explosion, blinding light of explosive revelation that reveals the triune Holiness of God. This holiness is our inheritance and our identity and our destiny and our resting place. God’s holiness IS NOT the inside of a LISTERINE® bottle (C. Baxter Kruger). God-Holy is the absolutely-unbelievable, uniquely-unconditional and other-centered Love relationship that utterly defines His oneness. His Holy is how we describe Love in action. It brings the angels to their knees and the saints to song because it is “other worldly” and beyond our comprehension. We didn’t have a word to describe this most beautiful expression of God so we declared “not awful, not awful, not awful!” That is what hagios (Greek word for Holy) means. In our struggle to describe something so wonderful we declared “it is not like us.”
But…. IT IS NOW WHO WE ARE IN HIM. That is the good news. We are so included in God’s family that we are literally joined to Jesus in His incarnation, death and resurrection. We are occupying the same space as Jesus in this family dynamic. We are experiencing His love for the Father and the Holy Spirit. We are drinking in His compassion for the others. We are swimming in His unconditional emptying of Himself for the others. We are living His Kenosis (emptying of one’s self) condition. We are joined to Jesus in this “out of this world” dance of love and joy and selflessness. If we will just come to “rest” in Him, if we just come to the place of peace in the truth of what Jesus has done, then this powerful holiness will naturally come forth from our innermost being. If we just surrender to Jesus deep healing power, He will pull out all those lying logs that have dammed the river of living water.
OK, now the Bible stuff to make it official.
Maybe you know this verse:
Phil 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (NASB)
See that phrase “although He existed”? Here is the Greek word for that phrase:
5225 hypárxō (from 5223 /hýparksis, “under” and 757/arxō, “begin, go first”) – properly, already have (be in possession of); what exists, especially what pre-exists, i.e. is already under one’s discretion (note the prefix hypo). (I begin, am, exist, am in possession.)
And here is the word for “grasped:”
Cognate: 725 harpagmós – to seize, especially by an open display of force. See 726 (harpazō).
Let me suggest that Jesus did what He did BECAUSE He was God and that was His nature. Here is more of the passage:
Phil 2:7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (ESV)
This is what makes God Holy (set apart): 1. He is sooooooooooo big as God and confident of His identity that humbling Himself doesn’t change His position or perspective or anything of His sovereign status. It doesn’t hurt His ego to become a servant. 2. His nature is to give. His nature is to be a servant. The Father serves the Son. The Son serves the Father. The Holy Spirit serves them both. They are an unbelievable circle of humility towards each other.
That is why Jesus not only could do what He did but HAD TO do what He did. Our condition as fallen Adam was the perfect opportunity for God to demonstrate who He really was. He could finally reveal to mankind His nature. He could finally reveal His intention. He could finally show us all how much He loves mankind. He reveals His plan to include us by showing us what other-centered Love looks like. Not as a concept to copy but a revelation of God’s nature.
Now we know that we are joined to that very nature. This is why when Jesus washes His disciples feet it is a natural expression of a triune God. This is what it looks like in this Holy family. Jesus was showing us what it will and does look like in us and with us in Him. In fallen Adam we would not have the capacity to be so other-centered from our hearts. We may put on a show or pretend or try our best but it is not from our nature. In Jesus we are a new creation that is patterned in the image of Jesus. We have His mind and heart. We share His feelings and expressions. We know and exhibit His nature. His very laws of Love are written on our hearts. Our freedom is in His expression through us. Washing feet is a privilege. Loving another is natural. Giving of ourselves is releasing the essence of God within us.
Check out the same passage in the Mirror Translation:
Phil 2: 5 The way Jesus saw himself is the only valid way to see yourself! 2: 6 His being God’s equal in form and likeness was official; his sonship did not steal the limelight from his Father! Neither did his humanity distract from the deity of God! 2: 7 His mission however, was not to prove his deity but to embrace our humanity. Emptied of his reputation as God, he fully embraced our physical human form; born in our resemblance he identified himself as the servant of the human race. His love enslaved him to us! 2: 8 And so we have the drama of the cross in context: the man Jesus Christ who is fully God, becomes fully man to the extent of willingly dying humanity’s death at the hands of his own creation. He embraced the curse and shame of the lowest kind in dying a criminal’s death. 2: 9 From this place of utter humiliation, God exalted him to the highest rank. God graced Jesus with a Name that is far above as well as equally representative of every other name; 2: 10 What his name unveils will persuade every creature of their redemption! Every knee in heaven and upon the earth and under the earth shall bow in spontaneous worship! 2: 11 Also every tongue will voice and resonate the same devotion to his unquestionable Lordship as the Redeemer of life! Jesus Christ has glorified God as the Father of creation! This is the ultimate conclusion of the Father’s 1intent! (The Mirror Translation)
I hope you are beginning to “see” that we (as the western church) have missed the mark when it comes to Holiness. Our distorted view of a god who is not real has driven us to exclusion and rejection and division and separation and self-improvement. The God revealed by Jesus looks like a God who can “give up His status” and become a servant and Love His creation so much that He redeems them in death. Our Father, Son and Spirit have gone to the depths of our dysfunction to rescue mankind from the lie of “angry God.” God made us to be in His family and went so far as to join Himself to mankind so we would always be included. He willingly let mankind reject Him and kill Him so He would be right in the middle of our darkness. We were hiding from Him and didn’t trust Him and declared “why have you forsaken me” over and over. Jesus meets us (mankind and the cosmos) right there in the “forsaken me” place. God humbled Himself as an act of Love for us. It wasn’t contrived (get well plan) or necessary (legally) or required (judicially) or a debt payment (to an angry god). Jesus on the cross is what God looks like. This is what it looks like in the circle dance of a Holy God. Their oneness is their otherness.
So let the mess fixing begin. We should be free of the mess maker of a Holy distortion. Can you see “Holy” differently now? Yes, I know it is too good to be true but that is what makes it God. He is way bigger than my limitation in understanding. Oh yeah, it is OK to be embarrassed a little for what we believed before. Years of wrong understanding is nothing compared to one moment of revelation.