Oh yeah, there is more. Check out the last two posts when you have a chance. In the first of this series I talked about how this concept (deceptive as it is) of separation started in the garden and is what lead to the fall in the first place. Aloneness and lostness and feelings of separation are the beginnings of everything evil. Overstatement? Maybe not. Here is a link to the first post. In the next post I tried to show how Jesus reveals to us our “oneness” with Him. You can see our “union” with Jesus all over the place, if you look. Even in the unlikely place like a parable about “judgment” we can see Jesus in all of us. Check it out here.
Let’s take a look at another very obvious reference to this idea of “us in Jesus” and “Jesus in us” and “all of us in the Father” and so on and so on. Here are a few verses to chew on:
Jn 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory (awareness of their weighty significance LLT) that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (ESV)
Maybe you have heard or read this passage before and someone told you this means “we are all part of the same group…etc…bla bla…yawn….” Let me challenge your thinking to the nth degree. No, that ain’t what this is about. This is a metaphysical, existential, mystical, transcendent…yeah all those words…description of our union with our creator. Jesus is the example. Jesus is the proof that it is true. Jesus is the way to this truth. Jesus reveals the loving Father and creator that we desperately want to be in union with, right?
When you are married you begin to understand what this is all about. Even Paul said the mystery of “us in Christ” is like a marriage. OK, personal time. I’ve been married twice. I won’t share all the details but as a point of comparison I need to share a little. I was married for 19 years to a wonderful woman who is the mother of my three beautiful daughters. Still I never knew “marriage” like I do now. I didn’t have a concept of “two become one flesh” and all that. Now union in marriage is something I “just know.” I am actually “not myself” when I am away from my wife. It isn’t a co-dependent, dysfunctional kind of thing. It is a glorious union that really surprised me and still does. She actually loves to be with me and I love to be with her. Yeah, it may seem simple on the surface, but there is something so beautiful and intimate below the surface that others don’t see but I am constantly aware of.
The dictionary says that the word “intimating” is to “let it be known” or something like that. I want to coin that word for what I believe is this union we have with God. In the Holy Spirit, walking with Jesus, as a child of God…we are “intimated” in Him. We are joined in an intimate union with Him. His presence is never somewhere else but in us and through us. We may not understand or feel or even always believe in this “oneness” truth, but it doesn’t change the certainty of it. Actually when we ponder this union, call out to Him and know He will answer, rest in His presence, abide in His Spirit…we become very aware of His person. This isn’t a “matter and energy thing” but is an “intimating” thing. Our faith in His character and nature, our trust in His perfect and complete and divine goodness, brings us into the awareness of His intimacy with us. Yeah, He is that good. Like the bond I have with my wife, He is there, we are one and sometimes I am just only barely aware of it. Still it is real. It is more real than this reality I call reality. Chew on that.
I believe our journey is to become more and more aware of this union. Like Jesus we grow in stature and wisdom and favor. We are progressing in our “oneness” with the One who is “intimating” us. Jesus is what that looks like. Jesus was already in union with his creation and when He became flesh, He demonstrates what a human looks like in a perfect perception of His union with His Father. We are also His kids. We are also in that same kind of union. We are being transformed in our thinking to “see” this union and know His will (which is for us to know our union). We are being transfigured from kabowd to kabowd into the image of the one we see in the mirror…wait for it…JESUS! Yeah, we look into that foggy, dimly lit, polished bronze mirror and we see Jesus looking back. When we stare into the shiny surface of the mercy seat, we see Jesus reflecting us. When we stand before the full length mirror of HIM we see our self-projected distortions. We see where we don’t agree that we are in union with Jesus. We see our imperfections in believing. We see where we lack belief in our union or in God or in ourselves. We need to “change our minds (repent)” about what we see and step into the greater truth of our “oneness” with Him. Am I being clear? When we see the perfect relationship that Jesus has with His Father and use that as a mirror of our own relationship with our Father…we will see imperfections. We will see where we don’t believe. We will see where we don’t trust. We will see where we don’t have faith. We will see where we are still believing lies.
OK, with that background, let me show you another way to see a very often misused verse. Ready, set, go in three translations:
2 Corinthians 5:10 But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad. (MSG)
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (ESV)
2 Cor 5:10 For we have all been 1thoroughly scrutinized in the judgment of Jesus. We are taken care of and restored to the life of our design, regardless of what happened to us in our individual lives, whatever amazing or meaningless things we encountered in the body. (Mirror Bible)
This is the conclusive statement to a short discussion about this “tent” or “earthly home” and a “building from God.” Let me suggest that Paul is talking about identity. He is talking about our limited understanding versus the divine reality. He is talking about our “feelings of separation” versus the truth of our “union.” He is talking about a Jesus understanding of “oneness” verses our often limited understanding of “oneness.” If you remember from the last post Jesus said this:
John 10:30 I and the Father are one. (ESV)
Maybe this is a statement about His divinity but maybe it is also a foreshadow of this statement:
John 14:20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (ESV)
Now you have come full around the mountain and maybe you are tired. I hope you are liberated.
Can you see 2 Cor 5:10 differently? Is this verse something so much bigger that you previously thought or heard? God is in the restoration business not the retribution business. So in light of restoration and truth and union and oneness and “Intimating”…what is Paul showing us? Even when we get it wrong, even when we forget our union, even when we are struggling with the ever-present question…”God where are you!?!?!” He is there absolutely. All we need do is look at Jesus and those doubts will fade. Our investments in stubborn independence will evaporate. Or intense desire to “do it alone” and “try harder” will ebb like a the peace after a great storm. We see Jesus. We see ourselves in His image. We see where we doubt and lack trust. We see where our faith isn’t like Jesus. Then we ask for more. We get our “reward” of restoration and repair and faith and love and kindness and understanding and goodness and Fatherhood. He loves us that much. He is that good. We are His kids.