|Posted by Chase Aderhold on February 16, 2015 at 5:55 AM|
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." -- John 14:20
I am so raptured lately by the fact that you and I are as close to God as we are ever going to be -- AND THAT'S GOOD NEWS! For so long, it's seemed like God has been so far away and that there was no possible way of reaching Him or attaining to whatever level of goodness and mercy He may be on until we're dead and gone to heaven. We've created this beast of an organization that's fueled by the ideas of distance and delay and called it Church. We cling to these hopes that cause us to fast, pray, seek, beg, and seek some more, just so that we can experience a momentary glimpse of God's presence in the here and now because the future is way too distant to wait for an encounter with God. In the mean time, we read our Bibles and self help books so that we can feel better about our sin (falling short) and long for God to get over His obsession with all our miscomings so that He can just be near us all the time. We want to be out of the body so badly because we're convinced that this body is some kind of stained ruin of former glories that we've sacrificed on the altar some time in our youth or early 20's in order to convince God to move nearer to us.
Praise God! That's NOT the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can actually be interpreted from the original Greek as the "Well Done Good News". It's the news of how God is so totally outside of our concepts of justice that He reconciled us to Himself before we even imagined we were separated. Though we ran, He ran faster, and He never left.
Can you try and grasp with me right now that you fill up God's thoughts? Need a scripture? Okay.
"Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me..." -- Psalm 139:1
"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake and I am still with you." -- Psalm 139:16-18
"What is man that your mind is full of him, and the son of man that your care is focused on him?" -- Psalm 8:4
You see, there's this deep and eternal association between you and God. The Incarnation is a huge event in human history which stands adjacent to all we've ever beleived about God. Up until then we saw our deity (or deities) as something completely other than. The concept of God was of one that was totally separated from us and all that had to do with us and that's what made Him Holy to us (which is what Holy means). The concept became that, because God was so totally separated from us, we would have to become Holy, or different/separated, in order to be near Him. Why? Because being near the Father is what we were designed to do (more on that later).
But then God came as a man. Not just in apperance, but fully. All of God was wrapped up in human flesh. The same flesh that you and I have. For Thirty-Three and a half years, God walked around openly telling everyone about Himself and just how close He really is to them. But that doesn't really fit in with our theology, does it? This body is too weak and broken to contain anything special, much less the fullness of God. If we were to so much as look at the holy deity that we'd invented, we'd instantly be overwhelmed and die. But how in the world does one look the source of life in the face and the result is death?
For so long we've held doctrines that claim that we're not as close to God as we could be. That if we'd just do this or that, we'll be more like God or more like Jesus. Doesn't that sound familiar?
"But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opeened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." -- Genesis 3:4-5
It wasn't swallowing the apple that caused the fall but swallowing the lie. Eve was successfully convinced that God was holding something back from her and that she lacked in her likeness. But we have no evidence that was the case. God made all of Mankind in His image and likeness. Adam and Eve both were as much like God as they ever would be. They were as close to God as they ever would be.
But now even today, we heep doctrines up around ourselves agreeing with what the serpent said in the garden that day. We're still convinced that God is not as near us as He could be or that we still need to be more like Jesus. We're thinking "like mere men" (1 Corinthians 3:3). All this time, the Incarnation has been staring us in the face. God's answer was that, if we were convinced that we were not like Him, He would show us that He looked just like us! The fact that there is a Man with flesh seated at the right hand of Father shows that we've been on His mind all the time. And because we've been on His mind, we've been all wrapped up in Him and He in us. The incarnation is a literal manifestation of the feelings of the Father towards Man for all of eternity.
"In that day, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." What day? The day you realize that you're as near to God as He's made you to be. Your very design is companionship with God.
Jesus gave a parable in Mark 13:28 that we needed to "learn the lesson of the fig tree". He said that as soon as the branch becomes tender and leaves appear, that summer is near. Is the fig tree still a fig tree when it doesn't put out figs? Yes. Is an airplane still an airplane, even when it's not in the air? Yes. Are you still in fellowship and communion with God, even when you don't feel it? Absolutely. Why? Because that's what you were designed for and there is a God who's absolutely obsessed with you! He refuses to stop pursuing you and he's never far away from you. Father loves us with an everlasting love. There's no changing it. He's made up His mind to love us. And though we still rage against Him with accusing doctrines of failed gospels, He still stays as close to us as He did to Adam: just a breath away.