“men and women who were of that Way.” (Acts 9:2)
“These ran after Paul and us, shouting loudly: These men are servants of the most high God, who are announcing to you the Way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17)
“And when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him to themselves and explained to him more precisely the Way of God.” (Acts 18:26)
Following the Way
Jesus willingly allowed himself to be crucified as an act of unconditional sacrificial Love for his fellow human beings. From a human perspective, it was perhaps the greatest act of senseless violence ever, but God turned this senseless violence on the cross into the most powerful revelation of the Way that can bring us here and now into the full reality of the kingdom of God. However, we will have to follow this Way ourselves – following Jesus! Because of our focus on what Jesus is said to have accomplished for us on the cross, we have completely lost sight of the Way we ourselves must go. It is not about believing in the person of Jesus, but about trusting and following the person of Jesus on the Way he revealed to us by going it fully ourselves. Therefore, we will have to come to understand the message of the Way and become followers of the Way. This is the Way of the renewal of our thinking. This is not a change brought about by praying a sinner’s prayer or by praying for someone. The cross wants to set a process in motion within us rather than us coming to believe in certain salvific events that would have been brought about for us on the cross. It is a process of trial, resurrection and perseverance that defines our lives 24/7.
The message of the Way
In the final part of this blog series, we take another look at the three visions of the cross we discussed in part two. We will show where they fail and how the visions in question “cover up” the actual message of the cross and thus hinder following the Way.
- Penal substitution. God is eternal Love! Love does not reckon evil. Love covers all things. Love endures all things. Three characteristics of God’s Being that make atonement by satisfaction unnecessary. It was not God who needed to be changed about us, we need to be changed about God! God has always been unconditional Love. That is why Jesus cried out on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” What the cross wants to reveal to us is that God forgives because He knows that we – as a result of our darkened thinking – do not know what we are doing. God forgives not because of the cross, but in spite of the cross!
The Way of life in the full reality of the kingdom, begins with stopping eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Standing without judgment in this world, by looking at people from God’s perspective. Every offender is also a victim, trapped in the futility of thought, darkened in mind, alienated from the life that is from God by the ignorance that reigns in them (Ephesians 4:17). This requires a radical mind-shift, where we will have to hold the old man (the ego) for dead. Only then will Christ rise in us and work out the metamorphosis from glory to glory in us. Focusing on the forgiveness of our individual sins, which Jesus is said to have accomplished for us on the cross, blinds us to the universal scope of God’s forgiveness and grace for everything and everyone.
- Christ Victor. While evil as a result of humanity’s collectively darkened consciousness (the ‘realm of darkness’) may look like a beast and feel like invincible, evil is not a stand-alone (objective) power that had to be overcome. There has never been a moment in history when evil was stronger than God. What Jesus revealed to us on the cross is that we do not repay evil with evil. We will have to overcome the tendency to (subjective) evil in ourselves. Jesus revealed to us on the cross how we can do that as flesh and blood human beings.
The Way of life in the full reality of the kingdom, involves laying aside our human sense of justice and retaliation.
Being nonviolent in this world, by seeing ourselves and the world around us from God’s perspective. Every form of evil that we do to each other as human beings evokes evil again. This vicious cycle will have to broken to end evil. This is the Way that Jesus wanted to reveal to us on the cross. This too requires a radical mind-shift, in which we will have to hold the old man (the ego) for dead. Only then will Christ rise in us and work out the metamorphosis from glory to glory in us. Projecting evil onto a self-contained evil power outside ourselves, which would have been overcome by Jesus on the cross, leads to a passive attitude toward evil. Such as: Jesus had to do it for us, because after all, we can’t do it and now we have to wait for Jesus to come back to deal with evil once and for all.
- Radical grace. From God’s perspective, there has never been a moment in history when creation was lost. From God’s perspective, no one needs to be saved. Objectively, God has already brought everything into being; the cross cannot and need not add anything to that, even retroactively. From a human perspective (subjectively seen), there is a process of reconciliation that will lead to the completion of all creation. The cross is focused on this subjective reconciliation process. When Jesus exclaims on the cross “It is finished!” he quotes Psalms 22:31. Jesus finds himself in the deepest valley of his life and journey he cries out: it is finished, it is good, it is all completed! What Jesus wants to reveal to us on the cross is that the kingdom of God from the foundation of the world is a full reality everywhere, even in the midst of the darkness through which humanity of all times has passed and is still passing.
The Way of life in the full reality of the kingdom, involves seeing God’s glory here and now, right through the darkened reality we perceive with our physical senses.
In Psalms 22:31 we read that God’s righteousness will be proclaimed because God has done it (It is finished! ). God’s righteousness is the perfect wholeness of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not a future reality for which Jesus must return to establish it permanently on earth. Proclaiming the kingdom of God and the righteousness of the kingdom means proclaiming what we already perceive in the Spirit. There is no distance and separation between God and man, between God and creation, and between men among themselves. The whole earth is – here and now already! – full of the glory of God. Everyone and all things are holy. Everyone and all things are full of God’s Love. Everyone and all things are anointed with God’s Spirit. We may begin to see Christ in all and everything! Thinking, believing and walking from this reality also requires a radical mind-shift, where we will have to hold the old man (the ego) for dead. Only then will Christ rise in us and work out the metamorphosis from glory to glory in us. Believing that Jesus vicariously on the cross would have accomplished everything for everyone can turn us into lazy believers. Hush, wait, all is new.
Metanoia → Mind-shift → Metamorphosis
Jesus’ mission was to teach us to think, believe and act from the (now invisible) reality of the kingdom of God by focusing on the invisible, on that which is “above”, rather than on the visible, that which is on “earth” (2 Corinthians 4:18; Colossians 3:2). In this Way, which leads to our complete salvation, we can fully rest, trust and believe.
Jesus did not work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12) vicariously for us; he showed it to us as an example. We will have to work by ourselves the work of conversion that Jesus calls us to – in view of the kingdom of God. It is the work of metanoia (renewal of thought), which leads to a radical mind-shift, so that Christ will come to resurrection right through our physical bodies and ultimately right through all of creation, and the entire cosmos will undergo a metamorphosis, or in other words a cosmic rebirth. The sighing creation awaits the manifestation of the Sons of God (m/f), because creation itself also wants to be freed from servitude to impermanence (Romans 8:21). Our inheritance consists of the metamorphosis (glorification) of our bodies. Creation will follow us in this (so in, so out). This is the Way Jesus revealed to us on the cross. If we follow Him in this Way, the Christ will rise in us no matter what.
Who then can be saved?
Nowhere in the New Testament do we read that following the Way is easy. It is like running a race to get the first prize. Faith without works is dead. Works is not about polishing our outside, our behaviour. It is about inner work, through which the outside will automatically change as a fruit of the Spirit. Whoever follows this Way inward will gradually notice that it is Christ in us who works out the will and the works in us (Philippians 2:13).
Jesus said: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the Way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find the Way.” (Matthew 7:14).
This text may frighten us, but it need not! For when the firstfruits of the harvest have been brought in, the rest will naturally follow. As “Way of Grace” minisitry, we believe that when one-tenth of humanity has found the Way of Life (in the sacred in the temple of our bodies!), the darkness will be swallowed up at a point in time and cosmic reborn will take place.
Do you want to be part of the firstfruits of the harvest? Then take up your cross, nail the old man there daily, and follow us. Do this to finish the race first. Could you use some support in doing so? Then let us know! We are happy to help you on the Way of Life.
“But in those days there arose a not inconsiderable commotion about the Way.” (Acts 19:23)
“But this I acknowledge before you: that according to that Way which they call a sect, in that way I serve the God of the fathers.” (Acts 24:14)
Do you have any questions about the content of this blog, want to discuss it further or do you want to be part of the firstfruits of the harvest? Then don’t hesitate and contact us.
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