Monday, August 25, 2014

Holy Unity


 

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” – John 10:17-18
 
I’ve been reading the book of John for a while now, and reading it very slowly.  One thing I’ve learned about God’s word is that if you want full revelation of what God is telling us, you have to read it slowly and let Him direct you.  You have to stop at the passages that He causes you to linger at, dig into the words used, the person saying it’s frame of mind, and ask Him to give you full understanding.  What I’ve discovered is that this is the first time in my 40+ years of Christianity that I’ve really read the book of John.
When I come to John 10 I finally understand what the book is about.  It’s not about the Samaritan woman at the well, though that is in the book.  It’s not about how corrupt the Jews were, but that’s in the book too. It’s not even about the blind man who was healed on the Sabbath or the disciples.  It’s about who Jesus was.  The entire book, beginning with it’s very first verse, is about WHO Jesus is.
Today I come to two passages in John 10 that are incredibly important in revealing who He is.  In John 10:17-18 Jesus speaks of His life.  He had the ability to lay down His life, and then pick it back up again.  Think about that and what He is saying.  No one took His life.  He didn’t just die like we would die.  He chose to die – laying down His life.  Then three days later, He took it up again – of His own power!  His life was not the life like you and I have, which is a life that leads to death because our very nature is sinful, and the curse of sin is still on us.  His life is the life explained in John 1 – eternal life.  It’s different than our life because it comes from God who is also eternal.
Later on in John 10, we read verses 27-30 where Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.”
You cannot give what you do not have!  His life was eternal.  It had to be different than our life, or there would have been nothing for us to gain by having him give it to us.  ETERNAL life is the life that Jesus has.  Life without end! 
But Jesus reveals even more of who He was in the very last 6 words of the passage.  He says “I and My Father are one.”  In my Bible the word “MY” is in italics, showing that it was translated.  The original says “I and THE FATHER are one.”  THE Father is God, the creator, the owner and ruler of the universe and everything in it.  Jesus and God are ONE. 
Jesus was not just a man sent by God.  There have been plenty of those and we call them prophets.
Jesus was not just a man born from a virgin birth, although that is how God chose to have Him enter this world.
Jesus wasn’t just a perfect man, having no sin and no transgressions against God and being fully faithful and obedient. 
Jesus was ONE with God in Spirit, and we call that Spirit the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus offers that same Spirit to us through believing in Him.  He says “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).  Just as no one could take Jesus’ life from Him, no one can take that same life from us.  It is ETERNAL.  You cannot un-earn that life and lose it.  It was not yours by your own means, but yours through the power of Jesus Christ, who is One with God, who gave it.
Here’s a thought.  What if we were to be as obedient to God as Jesus was?  What if we followed His every command, acted in unity as Christ did by obeying God’s every command, saying everything He tells us to say and doing everything He tells us to do.  What if we stopped being ruled by the daily duties we see that we should have, and gave over our full life to Him – every minute of every day – to just wait on God and go where He says go, do what He says do, and be His – in Unity. Would we one day be able to say “I and the Father are one”?  Now I know some are thinking “We cannot be like Jesus! That’s blasphemous! We’re not God!”  No, but we’re children of God aren’t we?  We’re “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17) aren’t we?  I think our biggest problem is that we see ourselves first as human, and secondly as children of God.  God sees us as His Children, given the life of Christ.
I do believe that unity of Christ and God, to be one, is the goal.   If we are to be joint heirs with Christ we cannot do it and have conflicting actions between Christ and ourselves when we reign.  The unity has to start somewhere.  I’ve heard Christians say that we “need more of Him” and prayers that say “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful”, or hear ministers and song lyrics about how we need His presence.  If you are a child of God, you cannot have and do not need more of Him.  His Spirit is in you.  What we need is less of us so that He becomes the only controlling power in our lives!  We need unity with Him.
 

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