“They shall proclaim His righteousness to the people who will be born, because He has done it.” (Psalms 22:31)
“When Jesus therefore had taken the sour wine, He said, It is finished!” (John 19:30)
It is finished!
Three words of Jesus on the cross emphasized by many contemporary grace teachers. Jesus truly accomplished everything for us. We only have to believe that Jesus went to the cross for us, that Jesus paid the ransom for our sins, that Jesus fulfilled the law for us, that Jesus is our righteousness, that we have received healing through Jesus’ wounds, and so on and so forth. This all sounds great, doesn’t it? All we have to do is rest in the finished work of Jesus and that will lead to a prosperous, blessed and healthy kingdom life.
In this blog series, I want to look at the event on the cross from a different angle. Did Jesus really accomplish something on the cross vicariously for us (and for the entire cosmos); something that no other human being could ever have done? That would mean that the man Jesus of Nazareth must have been naturally more Son of God, more divine and more chosen and called from the foundation of the world, than any other man on earth. We may be like Jesus in this world and we may be intended to be revealed as Sons of God (m/f) as well, yet Jesus is and remains the (only true) Son of God. And even if we believe that we as human beings are (small) Christs (with the emphasis on small), Jesus is and remains THE (only true, great) Christ, exclusive of His kind. Jesus remains inaccessible to us humans in this way. We will never be able to become 100% as Son of God and as Christ as Jesus, let alone believe that we are included in the trinity of God in the same way as Jesus. I am beginning to believe more and more that by seeing Jesus as the exclusive savior, we are blocking for ourselves the path to perfect salvation (spirit, soul and body) that Jesus preceded us on.
Where does the exclusive view of Jesus come from?
The exclusive view of – and the exclusive work on the cross of – Jesus of Nazareth is based on the assumption that at the beginning of human history, due to man’s disobedience, there would have been a fundamental separation between God and man. Man, because of his sinful nature (original sin), would not be able to remove this separation. God Himself would have become man in Jesus to solve the problem. The idea that Jesus on the cross would have vicariously brought about the redemption of the world (cosmos), which no one else was capable of, perpetuates this exclusive view of the person of Jesus. It is a circular reasoning that, in my view, hinders the completion of the process of reconciliation (God reconciling the cosmos to Himself in Christ) and thus the manifestation of the full reality of the kingdom of God on earth.
God created man in His image and likeness. God’s Spirit is the Breath of Life in every human being and God saw that it was very good. If God(s being) is perfect Love and that Love is patient, covers all things, endures all things and does not impute evil (1 Corinthians 13:4-7), how could man’s disobedience have led to a fundamental separation between God and man? According to Paul, truly nothing can separate us from God’s Love, including our misdeeds! The separation between God and man, which has defined our theology (especially soteriology; doctrine of salvation) for centuries, no longer appears to be tenable. The separation between God and man, which we have come to experience as human beings, is located in our thinking, which is a consequence of the knowledge of good and evil. This knowledge has come to define our consciousness (our perception). We have become lost in the futility of our thinking, darkened in our mind, through ignorance we have become alienated from the life that is from God (Ephesians 4:17,18). However, that does not change the fact that as human beings we have all been connected to God from the very beginning and live from the life that is from God. Every human being lives, moves and exists in God. We are all of his lineage, according to Paul (Acts 17:28), whether we are aware of it or not.
Fundamental unity as a starting point
If we assume the fundamental unity between God and man (and all creation), then we will have to redefine the Biblical concept of salvation. If man was never separated from God, then there was also no unbridgeable gap, where sin would stand between God and man. Then the cross was not needed to bridge this gap, then Jesus did nothing vicariously on the cross for us, then Jesus does not need to be that exclusive Son of God, that exclusive Christ. That opens the perspective to start believing that every human being – like Jesus of Nazareth when he walked on earth – is an incarnation (incarnation) of God (the logos) and in essence just as Son of God and anointed with the Spirit (Christ) as Jesus. After all, everything (and therefore everyone!) became through The Word (logos), without logos nothing became. The Life that was in the Word is the true Light that enlightens all men (John 1:3,4,9). So Jesus truly became like us in everything; he came in the flesh (sarx) in the same way as every other human being (incarnation). Those who do not confess this go against the testimony of the Christ (1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7). All humanity (including man Jesus of Nazareth) constitutes the physical body of Christ on earth. As humanity, we are the Son of God and part of the Trinity. There is no essential difference between Jesus of Nazareth and every other human being on earth. Jesus, through a divine revelation – for which he paid a very high price because of his vocation – became aware of his Christ identity “as a firstfruits” and thus revealed himself as the Son of God. Not in order to continue to function as THE only Son of God, but precisely for the purpose that all mankind would follow him fully in this.
The Son of Man
Jesus of Nazareth regularly spoke of himself as the Son of Man; man as God intended every man to be. Jesus forms the pattern, the blueprint, to which every human being has been chosen and called from before the foundation of the world, namely, to be revealed as the Son of God (m/f). Jesus’ mission was not to accomplish anything vicariously for humanity, but to open the eyes of his fellow brothers and sisters to the kingdom of God; the kingdom that had been prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34; NBG). He was called to proclaim release from their prison to those caught in their darkened thinking and to send brokenhearted people (as a result of darkened thinking) to freedom (Luke 4:18,19). To this end Jesus had been anointed; to this end Jesus had received a revelation of the kingdom as a man of flesh and blood. The life of Jesus, his proclamation in word and deed, the Way through the cross to the resurrection and his “ascension,” it was all focused on the kingdom of God and on revelation (unveiling) of the Way that leads to the kingdom of God. Jesus’ ministry was aimed at bringing his people to complete redemption from the curse of sin and death so that they would walk in his Father’s kingdom. Therefore, the call with which Jesus began his ministry was “Renew your mind, for the kingdom is among you“, later even “the kingdom is within you.” Jesus’ message was focused on renewal of thought (metanoia), on opening eyes, on revelation of the kingdom. Nowhere do we read of Jesus that he was going to bring about our salvation through a one-time event on the cross.
In summary, we have concluded the following. That which we as Christians have come to believe that Jesus had to bring about vicariously for us on the cross has always been a fait accompli. There was no need for the cross for that! We have been bound to God from the foundation of the world. Our sins have always been forgiven (Love, after all, does not reckon evil). We have always been in the kingdom of God, only we are not aware of it. We have always been righteous (righteous) in God’s eyes. These are all objective facts that come from the fact that we as human beings (every human being!) are created in God’s image and likeness and are an incarnation of God. Nothing has ever changed about that. By realizing this, we cannot help but look at the cross with different eyes. More on that in part two.
Click here to read the second part of this blog.
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