I remember vividly the day I became a Dad. Every detail, nearly every second, as if the memories of my seeing in those moments are like a movie in my head, the images easily retrievable from within.
Life-changing stuff sticks with you… in you, like that.
One of the things I remember about seeing McKinley, now 9, for the very first time, was kinda, well… how beat up she was. Poor baby had some bruises and splotches on her (perfect, angelic) little face, and her head was certainly not a cranium-like round.
She got pushed around a bit being born, and had evidence to prove it.
I think birth is like that. New Life is like that. I think it’s supposed to be.
For several months, now, I have been sitting with, chewing on, reveling in… a new birth, New Life. Specifically, I started seeing something new, to me, and it rocked me. To the core. It began messing with stuff. Changing things. Everything. But it was Good. As it grew, it kept getting better. Usually, I process things like that in writing, and often publicly, sharing with you. Usually, I do that rather simultaneously, or otherwise quickly.
But this has been different. More difficult. Truthfully, it’s been rather uncomfortable. I’ve never known with such conviction that something was True, and needed to be shared – and yet struggled so much to come up with the word combinations with which to share it.
It reminds me of birth. New Life. Something amazing and wonderful, ready to explode into tangible reality – and yet struggling to pass from the womb of development, through the canal toward Real Life.
I begin with all of that as a clumsy way of trying to communicate that, in so many ways, I have, and am… beginning again. Starting over. Zero-basing everything and moving forward with open hands and a loose grip. What is on my heart to write about is a bit like standing on the precipice of a cliff (Infallible Parachute attached, mind you), the only next move to be made being the jump. Things are different now. New. Better. Good. It all cannot be captured in this blog post, or a thousand more. But it will inform and propel the trajectory of any I do write forthcoming.
It will likely be clumsy as well, as I go along, and attempt to bring you with me. I thank you in advance for your patience and Grace.
But birth is imminent. New Life is here. The struggle has been had, and there is evidence to prove it. But, like the inevitable emergence of McKinley through her struggle, the emergence of this Life in me (and in you) is ready to be revealed.
Not coincidentally, what has shifted so dramatically for me has its beginnings in, well, The Beginning. Interestingly, though, I got there by musing on what I had previously considered as more of “the end.”
When I wrote my book, The Path of Freedom last Spring, there were 3 or 4 major hurdles, sticking points, that I had to move through and overcome along the way toward grasping Freedom more deeply. One of these was a re-definition of “Heaven” and “Hell.” Like most western Evangelicals, my prior concept of these was primarily as the (only) two final, eternal destinations of all of mankind. In that way, I had always read references to “The Kingdom of God (Heaven)” as purely that future place where those who believe upon Christ will be… one day.
But as I began to see that the Kingdom was the Gospel that Jesus was bringing – and that this Kingdom was at hand, near, and within us – I shifted away from the paradigm of “Heaven” being a possible future, eternal destination, and into a new paradigm of the realities of this Kingdom of God being lived from, and in… now. It’s not that I rejected “Heaven” as a future, eternal something altogether. It’s more that my eyes were shifted from looking up only, to looking around and within. God. Is. With. Us.
This is where the lie of separation was first exposed to me.
Having moved beyond that little “bump in the road,” I went about the process of finishing my book, and finally, releasing it. Happy with the accomplishment and enjoying the satisfaction of fulfilling a lifelong goal, I pretty much then went about my resuming my life.
It’s funny, because ideally one who writes would be able to capture the whole story in one story (or book). But, at the same time, how boring would that be? All the books would likely already be written. Sometime after having “turned the page” on The Path of Freedom, the implantation of this New Life occurred. And it was related to the idea of “Heaven” that I had written about in the now out there book, but instead, this time, my mind got to musing about the opposite… “Hell.” Specifically, if “Heaven” was not really only a future, eternal destination for those who “believe,” but is more a present Reality called the Kingdom toward those who “believe,” then, what if “hell” is not really only a future, eternal destination for those who “do not believe,” but is more a present (non)-reality for those who are in unbelief?
As you can imagine (and may very well find racing through your head, now), this raises a lot of other questions.
What is “hell?” Is there a “hell” at all?
What is “belief” or “un-belief?”
What does it mean to be “saved” or by “Salvation?”
And even more, if you’re like me, it shakes things so thoroughly that, if you choose to pursue it, you are forced to wrestle with even deeper level things like:
Who is God? What is He like, really?
What is the point of it all (life, humanity, Christianity, me, etc.)?
What about The Cross?
And so the New Life in the womb begins to form, grow, be fed, develop… expand, move, get stronger… command every attention, migrate toward self-revelation. And just like this New Life (and so as to not be so metaphorical – I’ve been using “New Life” here to describe a new way of seeing and thinking about God, myself, humanity… everything) was implanted in a genesis moment, or a beginning, so too did I find the genesis of understanding and seeing it in a Genesis, or a Beginning.
But even before what we read in Genesis, where “In the beginning God created…” I began to see something deeper in the second Genesis, John’s Gospel. Here, we see that before “the beginning” of Creation is to find The Word already present. The fullness of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Spirit – was, in continual existence, “I am.”
But there was more. In this “Logic of God,” so too were we – humankind! Our origins were long before our own natural birth, and not of our parent’s exercising their free will to “be fruitful and multiply,” haha. No, we are the Origin and Design of God! We are the result of His Will. We really are known, even before He forms us in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). Let me emphasize that this is long before He uttered “Let there be…”
The impetus of Creation was a tangible expression of what already was in the heart of God, the Father, Abba – Inclusion.
The Fellowship of the Divine – Father, Son and Spirit – was gloriously opened up as per the Counsel of Themselves, and from before time, “from before the foundation of the world,” we can be found there, to have been invited in, included. (I open this up some in my first podcast, Episode 001). The Godhead exists in an ever-giving, self-emptying expression of Love. The Trinity exists in Oneness, Union, yet without loss of distinction. The Father is of the same being as the Son. The Son is of the same being as the Father. The Spirit is of the same being as the Father. Etc.
It is in finding our inclusion within Them, that we find our True Beginning, or our Real New Birth. We are included in the Life, the Love, the Being, the Oneness and the Union.
When They expressed Their Design and Desire in the Genesis creation narrative, God is seen as announcing humankind as “very good,” a set-apart distinction from all of His other works of creation. The “image and likeness,” the Imago Dei in which we are, is the penultimate expression of God’s masterpiece.
Inclusion, then, and expression in the enjoyment of image and likeness of the Divine is our Original Design.
To this point, many may be nodding their heads in agreement. Perhaps some of this is new to you, but I suspect much of it you can find agreement with. That is where I found myself, right up until a few months ago. I have written plenty about the Eternal Purpose of God, much of which expresses our having been in the thought and heart of God long before Creation.
But that sin problem, and Adam and Eve and the Fall, and the need for reconciliation, and…. All of that still had it’s grip, was still a veil that clouded my sight, still darkness that could not comprehend Light. So here is really where things changed for me, the thing I had never “seen” before.
God had already found us, included us in Christ, before we were ever lost, or “separated” in Adam.
As the Original Design, and image and likeness was God’s Logic before the foundation of the world, so too, were these already associated in Christ, before the foundation of the world. He has always known us, and is eternally drawing us to agree, to know ourselves as we have always been known.
One of the massive qualities of the Incarnation was to reveal to mankind their redeemed innocence, their True Nature, their Imago Dei. Jesus came, in part, to show us who we already, Really, Truly… Are. What happened with Adam and Eve and the Fall – with sin – was that through the one act of unbelief, humankind forgot who they are. We forgot Who our Designer was, and as such, our Design. It is true that all mankind are included in this Adam.
2 Corinthians 5 reveals that if one died for all, then all died – and One did die for all. The “if” requirement was met. One did die for all. Therefore, all things are now new, no one is regarded in the flesh. We are reconciled. God Himself was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. The “Therefore” is not a condition, but a conclusion. It really is finished. Paul believes ALL are in Christ. And since all are in Christ, they are new creations. All people have become new. It is true that we were enemies, at enmity with God in our minds. We, in our fallen mindsets of unbelief, hid behind fig leaves, thinking ourselves to be separated from God. But we have been reconciled. Judgment came in Adam’s death. Grace and justification came in Christ. The same all who fell under the judgement in Adam are the same all who are made Righteous in Christ. (Romans 5).
We were chosen in Christ before we were ever given the chance to “choose” Him. His choice precedes and supersedes ours. The Saints were Home before they ever got started (Robert Capon).
Jesus is the Other Man, the Last Man, the Last Adam – the Vicarious Man. For us, of us, as us – He died – and the entire Adamic, fallen, deceived race with Him.
For us, of us, as us – He was “Born Again” – raised in New Life, and the entire, redeemed, innocent, Righteous, Glorified Race with Him.
There is now, therefore, no person who is regarded as unclean or common. No person is to be regarded by the flesh. Jesus came to reveal who God is, and who we are, and that there is no separation, and never has been, except in the fallen mind.
We are all One.
We are Included.
This is the Light that gives Life to all of humankind. The revelation of Christ within our redeemed innocence is the Source of our existence. The Mystery of the ages is revealed, Christ in you. The prayer of Jesus has been answered, and was before He prayed it (He only asked that which the Father had already granted – and as we’ve seen – Jesus was already present in Their Counsel “in the beginning.”), we are now One, as They are One. The Kingdom of God is within – you, me, and every person.
We began in Him (Colossians 1) and all things consist in Him. Jesus is the Word and the Life that sustains all things. “Religion” seems to be about “becoming” something that God has already eternally declared that we are. We instead need to remember, awaken to, arise into that which has been in us all along. In such we “realize” or “see” who we have been created to be. As Francois du Toit said,
“Gold does not become gold just because it is discovered.”
We are Gold. Pearls. Children of God. Included. This truth transcends your “religion,” “faith,” or “belief,” and even transcends your agreement of it. Your seeing your inclusion or not, does not negate the Finished Reality of your inclusion. What faith or belief does, then, is make the Objective Reality a subjective experience.
In Jesus you find your true origin, your True Self, your Real Humanity. He has eternally and forever, from before time and space, sanctioned the integrity of your Sonship. The original mind and opinion of God about humankind is fully captured in the Person of Christ.
Like newborn babies, experiencing the stark brightness of the light as they emerge from the darkness of the womb, this Reality of Light, at first, blinded me, stunned me, even made me want to find a shelter of comfort (like a fig leaf, or being back in a womb). Yet, this Light is now defining my Life. I am seeing that He has always been, and I with Him, and He with me. The darkness, though it for so long could not comprehend this Light, is day by day being pierced evermore, as this Light cannot be diminished. I am ignorant of my redeemed innocence (from before time) no more!
McKinley’s face and head of course healed soon after her emergence into the light of this life. Her struggle and the evidence of it faded away. So too is the apprehension and doubt and struggle of my own emergence into the Light of this New Life.
My calling and mission is to draw attention to this Light, so that all people will see that He is the Source of their very lives, and in doing so, be “saved” from the darkness of the fallen mind.
I got at least one thing right for sure in my book, The Path of Freedom, when I said,
“When you know who you are, you’ll know what to do.”
When you know who you are, and who you’ve always, already been, you will indeed know the Truth, and the Truth will indeed make you Free. How to live, what to do… is effortless from there. The Light of Love illuminates and enlightens all things.
The invisible Word is now visible, incarnate, in me, in you. God’s Logic is expressed in us. We are One.
We are Included. And that is Good News.
What do you think?