This idea of separation from God, which is the fuel for fallen-Adam religion, is the very thing that Jesus came to reveal as FALSE. We are in Him and He is in us. Even Paul’s “conversion” was a powerful revelation of Christ IN him. Check it out:
Gal 1:15 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, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (NKJV)
I guess Paul went off to Arabia to spend time with Jesus IN him so he could learn what that meant…?
Oh yeah, check out what Jesus said to Paul on the road:
Acts 22:7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (ESV)
Can you see it? Look closely. When Paul was “persecuting the Christians” he was “persecuting Jesus.” Why? Because Jesus was in them.
“OK, well I get that brother Lance and all, but they were “Christians” so they are “the body of Christ.””
How about another reference? You don’t have to look very far because He is in us so you see Him everywhere…but…here you go:
Remember the parable about “the goats and sheep?” Of course you do. If you were born in the US you have a least a basic understanding of the parable. Jesus says the King (Him) will sit on the throne in His glory and splendor (check out the last post about glory) and will “separate the goats from the sheep.” Without getting into all the debate about final judgment and all, let’s take a deeper look at what is going on in the background.
Jesus says this to the sheep:
Matt 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (ESV)
The interesting part of the parable is the next bit of dialogue. Jesus says “the righteous” answered the King. Note that righteous means “ones in right relationship.” Know how I know that? Check out their response:
Matt 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ (ESV)
They are completely and totally unaware of “what they have done.” I bet they don’t even know they are sheep. Jesus says something about sheep:
Jn 10:25 Jesus answered them, “ I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father ‘s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’ s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (ESVST)
Right relationship…hear His voice. Get it? OK, I’m almost there, just hold on. Here is what the King says to the “sheep.”
Matt 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (ESV)
Who are “these?” Anybody, anywhere, anyhow, all places, all people. Can you see it like in Paul’s example? The King (Jesus) was in all the people. Come on this should be exciting. I bet you never looked at this parable like this before. I can even see Jesus pointing to the goats while He says “least of these.”
This is a real foot stomper…the sheep had no idea what they were up to. They were just in right relationship with the King and doing what came natural. Also note that when Jesus is describing how “sheep know His voice,” His conclusion statement is “Jesus and the Father are one.” Are you seeing the “oneness?” We are in the image of Jesus? We are being conformed to the image of Jesus. Jesus is the first fruit…
OK, now I want to hurt your head a bit. Check out these familiar verses:
Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESVST)
This word “good” is that “agathos” word I talked about in this post. It is “the good” that comes from the inside out. It is the center of our nature being expressed from the depths of our identity in God. It looks like the word “agape” which is the unconditional love word and the same word in the identity phrase “God is love.” When we are living from the union we already have in Jesus (I mean every single person who ever lived, ever!!!!) we are naturally expressing His nature and His person as our nature and our person. He is in us! He is one with us! Can’t we just “surrender” to that truth as Paul suggests? Then our minds will be renewed to “see” what is really going on…the will of God. Our oneness with Him. His will that no person ever and forever will ever or forever be lost in Jesus. Don’t forget. ONE DIED and ALL DIED. He is ALL IN ALL. Yep, even the Christians are in Him and He is in them. Jesus is an equal opportunity savior.
Check out the same verses in the Mirror Bible. Pretty cool stuff.
Rom 12:1 Live consistent with who you really are, inspired by the loving kindness of God. My brothers, the most practical expression of worship is to make your bodies available to him as a living sacrifice; this pleases him more than any religious routine. He desires to find visible, individual expression in your person. Do not allow current religious tradition to mold you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within. (Mirror Bible)
I know I’ve hit this topic before but what the #$!!, will we ever “see it?” Every discussion that goes south and finds a cesspool of religious rhetoric and doctrine and dogma and division and exclusion and hate and rejection and….whew….all that junk…begins with “separation from God.” It just isn’t true. The incarnation is proof it isn’t true. The incarnation, Immanuel, Jesus with us, God in us, the kingdom within us…come on are you with me…God dying at the hands of angry separatist, a forgiving God hanging on a cross, no more sacrifice, no more religion, no more enmity in our minds, no more hostility in our thinking, no more reasons, ever for any thought of separation…yep, that’s it.
Over the top? Maybe. I challenge you to “take another look” at what you have always heard and take up a fresh perspective. Do you see our inclusion? Do you see how we have always been His kids? Do you see that He has always been in us and with us and we are in Him and with Him? If not…next post…oh yeah!