When The Sun & Moon Speak

Yesterday, as we all watched the Eclipse together from different places across the country, as we all stared with wonder at the moment of Totality, something really wonderful happened. Magically (or so it may have seemed), all hostilities ceased, protests abruptly came to a halt, and we didn’t care about the color of the person’s skin who stood or sat next to us. As one were simply amazed. Watching some of the news coverage after the event, people said that they had cried not really knowing why and that they had felt a peace and oneness with everyone and everything. All eyes were fixed on the heavens, and somehow we knew there was MORE and that we  wanted to be a part of it.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

[God] has planted eternity in the human heart…      

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature…

You and I were created in the image of God. No matter the color of your skin or if you are male or female, you were made in his likeness; you were made for Him. And though sin has brought death and separation, perverting our understanding of God and ourselves; we KNOW. We may not understand how we know or entirely what it even is that we know, but the truth is that when we behold the glory of God in his creation our hearts know that we were created for something more. And what we experienced yesterday as we watched the eclipse together was creation itself, the sun and the moon crying out, “God is here, and he wants you!”

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

[God] has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature…

Know it or not, yesterday, we all watched the same “podcast.” In our hearts, we all heard the same message: “Come to Me, let me love you and show you who you really are.”

 

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Rethinking Church Practice and Liturgy

Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.  No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say.  But if no one is present who can interpret, they must be silent in your church meeting and speak in tongues to God privately.  Let two or three people prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said. But if someone is prophesying and another person receives a revelation from the Lord, the one who is speaking must stop. In this way, all who prophesy will have a turn to speak, one after the other, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged. Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can take turns. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…

Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul.  One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said [ever wonder how he said it?], “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

There are so many things that are revealed to us within these various pericopes of the Bible; I must admit that I find my mind wanting to go in several different directions. But I ‘ll put forth a sincere effort to stay focused on what the title of the article indicates that the content found herein will be. I’ve thought about these things for a LONG TIME, studied them in Bible College/Seminary, but woke up this morning and as I worshipped, felt the desire to put some things down “on paper.”

Truthfully, I suppose that it was something I read yesterday that stoked these embers again. I was reading an About section a church had included on their website, and it read something to the effect of, “And we believe that worship [singing] puts us into the position to receive the preaching/teaching of the Word..” I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed, and I began to think again: Why do we do “church” the way we do it? Why do we hold to the practices/liturgies that we do? And ultimately, why do we call what we do worship?

If you’ve ever studied Church History, the obvious answer to the questions I’ve asked extend all the way back to what is known as the Reformation. For the uninitiated or perhaps I should refer to you as “the blessed,” simply stated, the Reformation was what caused the existence of what we call the Protestant church. A breaking away from the Catholic Church ultimately resulted in what we have today: Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, and so on. The Reformers rejected many of the teachings that the Catholic Church maintained. And after much fighting and bloodshed (even amongst the Reformers themselves), the Protestant Church came to be. But the Reformers retained some of the liturgies and practices of the Catholic system, including the priest.  Only now he was called the Pastor. Insert spooky time travel music…, and we come to the year 2017.

Today, we have divided “church” into everything that comes before the Pastor preaches/teaches, i.e., worship and the “true reason” for our gathering together- The Word. Usually it looks something like this: 3 Songs (A good fast one to get ’em going, then some medium to slow ones to induce “worship”), the offering gets collected, the Pastor preaches/teaches (nowadays there may be a “team” that fulfills this position), prayers are scattered throughout at different points during the “service,” and then you go home. This paradigm has been “successful” for a long time. The trouble is: 1) According to statistics, it’s not working anymore. 2) You don’t find it anywhere in the New Testament.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is awakening the Body of Christ to the reality that we need to change. He is challenging us to prayerfully and humbly reconsider the practices and liturgies that we have made into idols. A mighty Wind of God is sweeping among his people: shifting, moving, changing, reviving, and stirring our hearts to surrender all. And asking those who lead, “Are you willing to relinquish control? Is it success or my heart that you truly seek?” Sometimes, the two are not synonymous.

Perhaps the reason for this “awakening” has come to remind us of what true worship is. Worship is relationship, namely, the perichoretical relationship of the Trinity. And our worship can only be “understood” within the context of this relationship, and our participation in it. It is not something we do apart from God, to get to him, or to get him to come to us. Worship is something we “do” in Him. Although worship may/will be expressed through our actions, it is not merely things that we do: singing, preaching, praying, Bible-study, service, etc… It is who we are, men and women living their lives in Jesus, participating in the very life of the Triune God. That which the Father, Son and Spirit have known from all of eternity has been given to us. Before there were angels, planets or people, there was worship. There is no Step 1, Step 2, Step 3…   Worship is not centered around any aspect of worship or liturgical practice, it is centered around the person of Jesus and his union with his people. And it can look different in every gathering as the Spirit provides the order.

As worship is relational, derived from the mysterious perichoretical union the Church has with the Triune God, our coming together is not designated to the control of any individual other than the Spirit of God. While there are leadership gifts,  the shepherds/pastors who feed, watch, care, and guard the souls of God’s people are but one expression. According to scripture, God has also placed within the Body Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, and Evangelists, who are also to equip the people of God for the work of ministry. And as we see in the passages above, when the Church comes together it is not only the “office gifts” that are used, but each member functions according to the grace that God has allotted. We do not have to fear that chaos will ensue, but can trust that as we humbly submit to one another, the Spirit will provide decency and order and correction if needed. To put it in today’s vernacular, “This ain’t no one man show.”

Before I am accused of denying that biblical instruction/teaching has no place in our gatherings, let me say that it should be obvious to anyone familiar with me or acquainted with my writings that I believe that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” As I have said so many times before, I’ve spent a lot of money and time acquiring my degree in Biblical Studies/Theology. I do however question the way we have limited the means by which the “impartation” of the Word is expressed. 

While authentic worship most definitely involves receiving the Word of God, I fear that we have failed in that we have come to see preaching and the “Bible-study” as the only means by which this is to be accomplished. It would seem that we have forgotten Paul’s exhortation to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” We must remember that the Bible itself declares that the gifts within the Body are also they that strengthen, encourage, and declare God’s Word. The Word of God, engrafted, alive, and expressed in and through the hearts of believers, holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

I suppose I could talk about buildings, home churches, small groups, etc…, but I think all of that will work itself out as we sincerely seek the Lord concerning these matters. After all, the “where” of worship is any place that two or three gather in his name. So, when it comes to rethinking church practices and liturgies, may we be willing to lay everything we think we know at his feet and trust him to mold us after the kind intentions of his heart.

 

 

 

 

 

Mystic

mys·ti·cal: spiritually allegorical or symbolic; transcending human understanding; inspiring a sense of spiritual mystery, awe, and fascination; of or relating to mystics or religious mysticism…

I rarely listen to the radio anymore. With Google Play, Pandora, YouTube, CDs, etc…, I just don’t have the need or desire. Anyway, while I rarely listen to the radio, I hardly EVER listen to “Christian Radio.” Today, I was reminded once again why I do not. Coming through the air-waves was some pastor,  somewhere, warning his congregation against “Christian Mysticism.” He exhorted them to beware of such things as “practicing God’s presence,” sitting quietly and waiting on God (meditating), getting yourself in a position to hear from God (he said something about brain-waves…), and pretty much anything along these lines.

Strangely enough, the one thing he DID do, was hold up the Bible  (and his denomination’s paradigms, by the way) as the only way to truly “hear” from God. I couldn’t help but see the irony: he encouraged his congregants to get truth from a book, a holy book that an invisible God uses to communicate his truths to mankind- sounds pretty mystical to me!

You know, I spent a lot of money and a lot of time in seminary getting my degree in Biblical Studies/Theology; I believe that what the Bible claims about itself is the absolute truth.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

But I want to say something very carefully: the Bible is not God. You can know the Bible, quote the Bible, teach the Bible, and pray prayers from the Bible, but still have no true knowledge or relationship with God whatsoever.

When Jesus was teaching, at one point he told his listeners, ” You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” With that one statement, he declared that true biblical knowledge, true theology, true revelation an life is relational. And how are we who are over 2,000 years removed from Jesus’ physical presence on earth supposed to have an abiding intimacy with him? How are we to be relational?  Well, it is through the Spirit who lives within us. Again, that sounds pretty mystical to me!

Consider the following:

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

…we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal…

…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

I could go on, but those are just a few verses that immediately come to mind. And again- it sounds pretty mystical to me!!

I think I do understand to some degree the motivation behind the warnings of many “Christian Leaders” regarding “Christian Mysticism,” but I’d like to offer a word of exhortation if I may:  Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds(Pastors), and Teachers are called to EQUIP the Church, not CONTROL the Church. And effective equipping involves understanding that each member of the Body of Christ is indwelt by the Spirit of God or as the Apostle John said, “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” Care for the flock, feed the flock, Shepherd the flock, but understand that each of us have received the oil of God’s Spirit and are being led by that same Spirit of Truth. Do not let your desire for the well being of God’s people become that which quenches the Spirit.

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

(Sounds pretty mystical to me.)

 

 

 

 

Whatever It Takes

“Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.”

It is an awesome thing, after you’ve lived a while, to look back and see how the faithful love of the Lord has always been there. Constantly working to bring you to himself even when you weren’t aware of it, even when you were running with all your might in the opposite direction. To have lived some years and to have gained the perspective that only time can afford is a wonderful thing. What seemed like a jumbled tale of happenstance and random events crystalizes into a glorious story of the steadfast love of the God who will do whatever it takes. And for me, I think that Psalm 107 illustrates this point as well as any pericope in the Bible.

The author of the Psalm describes several groups of people (I’ll call them wanderers, prisoners, fools, and merchants.), and he describes their journeys and how God moved on their behalf. The wanderers were poor and destitute, without food and drink, close to death. But God heard their cry and rescued them. The prisoners had outright rebelled against the Lord. Their rebellion had bound them in misery and gloom. But God, in his mercy “broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them.” Then they cried to the Lord, and he delivered them and “broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.” Then there were the fools who also turned from God, and in their folly found nothing but dissatisfaction, deep discontentment that ate away at their very lives. But when they cried to the Lord he “sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.” Finally, there were the merchants, sailing the seas, perhaps with minds only set on finance. But when the storms struck and their ships were tossed around, they feared for their lives and called on God who “calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.”

The story goes on to tell of rivers being changed to deserts, “and springs of water into dry, thirsty land. He [God] turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there. But he also turns deserts into pools of water the dry land into springs of water.” This Psalm provides a beautiful description of God’s faithful love, it’s both poetic and eloquent. In it you see that God is the God who will do whatever it takes to deliver his people. In the midst of our wandering, when chains have bound our foolish, rebellious heart, when we’re giving all of our energy in pursuit of the riches of this world; this Psalm shows us that God will do whatever it takes to bring us to himself. But I can do you one better than Psalm 107.

The “whatever it takes” ultimately meant that God would become part of his creation. In the man Jesus, the unimaginable occurred: God joined divinity and humanity. In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God displayed his great love and willingness to do whatever it takes to join us with himself. He personally becomes part of his creation. His appearance means that instead of being wanderers, we are adopted into his family. We are prisoners no more, for he himself has come to make us free. He has rescued us from the folly of seeking our own way by becoming wisdom for us. And instead of being mere merchants, relentlessly bargaining for the riches of this world; he has become our treasure and desire. This was his plan all along, and it gave him great joy to do so. What we see in pictures and poetry in Psalm 107 becomes flesh and blood in Jesus. We now know that the ultimate goal of God’s faithful love was not only to deliver us from the death, insanity and brokenness of sin, but to actually join us with himself. And in Jesus he says, “This is how far I’m willing to go! You in me and me in you- whatever it takes.”

Worship: A Cosmic Boomerang?

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with folks about worship, and I’ve heard it described and defined in just about every way imaginable. But something that seems to be common in my conversations and observations is the idea that worship is something we do “down here,” apart from God. He’s up there and we’re down here. We kind of throw it up to him, and then it comes back in the form of his presence, anointing, power, miracles….whatever. A cosmic boomerang. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Worship is relationship, namely, the perichoretical relationship of the Trinity. And our worship can only be “understood” within the context of this relationship, and our participation in it. It is not something we do apart from God, but rather in Him. Although worship may/will be expressed through our actions, it is not merely things that we do: singing, preaching, praying, Bible-study, service, etc… It is who we are, men and women living their lives in Jesus, participating in the very life of the Triune God. That which the Father, Son and Spirit has (Why has instead of have, hmm…?  ) known from all of eternity has been given to us. Before there were angels, planets or people, there was worship. Worship is that which has been expressed in the Trinity always. The Father says of the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever.” The Son says to the Father, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” The Spirit glorifies the Son as God’s love is poured out in our hearts, and we cry, “Abba!” Only when we begin to see worship as our lives lived (and laid down) in participation of the Triune life of God, in Jesus, can we even start to fathom the glory of that into which we have been called.

Jesus prayed in John 17:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their [the apostles] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Can you see the adoration, the desire, the love- the worship?

No, worship is not a cosmic boomerang that we throw up to God, hoping to receive a piece of heaven as it comes back around. It is us, in Jesus, living and loving God, in the way God has always lived and loved.

Let It Flow

“Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out. At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD’S charge, according to the command of the LORD through Moses.”

Reading the above scripture you can’t help but be awestruck by the way Israel was led in their journey e.g., a physical manifestation of God’s presence. We think how easy it would be to know where to go, what to do and when to do it if we experienced something like that. Actually, we’re in a much better position than they were. We are in Jesus and God lives in us. We are actually in the “flow” of the Trinity.

I used to think that real, spiritual Christians probably got up in the morning, and found an index card on their kitchen table mysteriously written by the Holy Spirit, providing instructions for their lives. Maybe the Über-Christians discerned the will of God through signs, specific prophetic utterances, or some other super spiritual means. Well, God can indeed lead in all of those ways (even the index card), but I’ve come to understand that more often than not, living in the will of God is simply a direct result of abiding in Jesus.

Remember the call to Abraham? The Lord said, “Get up and go to the land that I will show you.” Abraham didn’t receive a lot of information, only the command to leave and the promise of guidance. Over and over in the Old Testament we read of God’s promises to lead His people. We read stories about the ways God led certain individuals, and think, “Oh, if God would would only speak to me like that…” But we’ve got it even better! In the New Testament, we find Jesus assuring us that the Holy Spirit would actually indwell us, reveal Jesus to us, give us the “mind of Christ,” and guide us into all truth. Jesus spoke of us actually being in him, abiding in him like branches in a vine. ThLiving Water by Cassie Searse thing about branches is they don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out what their supposed to be doing. It flows naturally as they are connected to the vine.

Following the will of God is not so much a matter of knowing stuff as it is being in Someone. As we remain in Jesus, drawing our life from him, being continuously filled with his Spirit (like the “sap” flowing through the vine), the will of God will be a natural process. Branches that abide in the vine simply bear fruit for that is the will of the “Husbandman.”

Someone told me something once, and I didn’t understand it at the time. But I get it now. It went something like this: “Come to Jesus, abide in him, and then do what you want.” You want to stay in the will of God? Abide in Jesus, and let it flow.

What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name? “That which we call a rose would by any other name smell as sweet.” Really? What we call something, its name, reveals to us something of its “essence.” Therefore, if I am talking to someone about a rose, I would not call it a daisy. The name rose contains within itself the “essence” of the flower of which I am speaking. When people speak of you, when they mention your name to those who know you, the word “Bob” does not stand alone. It carries with it your character, things you’ve done and said, your values, your personality- the “essence” of who “Bob” is. What’s in a name? Everything.

I think a lot of Christians fail to realize what “in the name of Jesus” means. For many, it’s really nothing more than a moniker attached to prayers and endeavors in order to assure success. The louder we say it, the frequency with which we use it, somehow, magically, validates our words or course of action. Sadly, in many cases, “in Jesus’ name” is merely the Christian version of “abracadabra.” And perhaps the reason so many of us experience unanswered prayers, and fruitless “ministry” is because we have attached the “Jesus Moniker” to things in which his name, quite frankly, has no part.

If you read the book of John, especially chapter 17, you find Jesus speaking a lot about the name. And reading these passages, you understand that his name is more than just a formula for successful prayer and ministry. It is in this name that we are kept. The revelation of the name continues among his followers “that the love with which you have loved me [Jesus] may be in them, and I in them.” The very heart of God, his “essence,” is contained within the name. All that God is, all that he is doing, his character, his values, his personality, his intentions and desires are contained within the name. So when we pray in his name, when we minister in his name, as we simply live in his name, it is to bring a revelation of who he is and what he desires.

So, what does this look like? How does this all play out in us? Well, the first thing we need to understand is that there is no “in the name of Jesus” without relationship. And the cool thing is that as lovers of Jesus we are right smack-dab in the middle of the relationship God has enjoyed within himself for all eternity. We are “in the name.” In Jesus, we have been made partakers of the life, love and fellowship that the Father and Son have always known. We have been made partakers of the divine nature, and as we abide in him, we come to know who he is and what he desires. And as a result, we live and pray and minister.

What’s in a name? If you are in Jesus, you are!

(Please understand that in this post I am not using the term essence in a strict theological fashion.)

What’s The Point?

Recently I asked a question (on Face Book): “What’s the point of being a Christian?” Needless to say, there was a variety of opinions.

Perhaps when considering the “point” of Christianity we should approach the subject, not considering “our point,” but God’s. Do these verses help to clarify the “point”?why
“…that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them… just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us… The glory that you have given me I have given to them…. you may become partakers of the divine nature… And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

What would happen if we viewed Christianity (and creation itself for that matter) in the context of the Love between Father & Son?

 

Forget Me Not

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

“ Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

“ But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.” (Psalms 13 NIV)

            I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate with what David is saying in these verses. In my walk with Jesus, I have experienced times (extended periods of time) when I felt as if God had forgotten all about me, and wouldn’t even look my way. That sweet communion that I enjoyed with the Lord was only a memory that brought no comfort, but actually served to torture my soul as I struggled to understand what was going on. The “enemy” seemed to have the upper hand, defeating me at every turn.

            For the lover of God, there can be no greater torment than the perceived absence of His presence. The “sparkle” in your eyes grows dim, and even death itself seems a distinct possibility. You can hear the enemy whisper, “I knew this would happen, and now your God has abandoned you. I’ve got you now!” Perhaps there are even those who rejoice that you are in such a state. At times like this, there is great heaviness and darkness, panic can easily set in. But it doesn’t end there!

            Along with the psalmist, we may trust in the unfailing, loyal love of God. But although we idealize men like David; dare I say that we are in a better position than he ever was? For you see, Jesus has come! The Father has caused us to be placed in him and He in us. The kingdom of God is within you. He became everything that we are so that we may share in all that He is. The eternal love that God has always known within himself, the holy love of the Father, Son and Spirit is ours in Christ. We are connected to Him like branches to a vine. The very life of God is in us, flowing through us if you will, in the Spirit. The One David knew in part, and prophesied about in part has come. It is finished! And we are in Jesus. Talk about rejoicing. Talk about singing. Oh yeah, God has been “berry,” “berry” good to us!

            We all go through hard times, times when it seems like God has left the building. But be reminded, you are the “building” God resides in. The Father has placed you in Jesus, and shared with you the eternal holy love of God. He would no more leave you than He would the Son. Think on that, and rejoice in the Lord.

Imago Dei

In Exodus 20, Moses commanded the people that they were not to “make an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” The people were to know that there is nothing that they could create that would adequately reflect who God is. God is holy, all together different from anything or any one in all creation. The second commandment explicitly forbade man from trying to make an image of God. But did you know that God himself did make something that would reflect his image? Yep, he created it from the dust of the earth, breathed the breath of life into it, made it a living soul, put it in a garden, and called it Man. Have you ever really taken the time to consider what God meant when he said, “Let Us create man in Our own image.”?

Most of the time, when you talk with folks about being created in the image of God, it always comes down to, “Well, we are spirit, soul, and body, and that’s kind of how God is a Trinity.” Well, I think that’s a good start, a legitimate point, and we’re headed in the right direction, but I believe there is a lot more to it than that. Let’s dig a little deeper. Who is God? What is his essence, his nature? I think we need to look into this in order to understand just how we were created in his image.

First, I have to say that the words I am going to use to try and explain my point will fall way short. Honestly, how do you describe the holy indescribable? But, words are all we have, so here goes. The One God is Triune. He is Father, Son, and Spirit. He exists as three “Persons,” while at the same time; He is One. Within the Trinity there is love and communion, worship if you will. Theologians call this Perichoresis, complete and perfect unity without absorption. This is the perfect, holy God. And we are created to reflect this perichoretic image! Although, man is not God, and never will be God (this is a shock to some of us I’m sure), we are created to exist in a similar form of perichoresis through our union with Jesus. This is what Dr. Jim Gifford refers to as perichoretic salvation. Yes sir, a kind of mutual indwelling without absorption, thereby reflecting the image of God. I believe that’s what being created in the image of God means. In some wonderful, mysterious way; we partake in the eternal Trinitarian life of God. Hallelujah!!

Consider the words Jesus prayed in John 17: “[I ask] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us…I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.” We, as believers, are in God and he is in us. There is so much more to being a Christian than talking about sin all of the time. Yes, we know that prior to being born again; we are dead in our sins and separated from God. We must repent and turn from our sin. But when will we understand that salvation is about more than sin and death? Your sin has been dealt with on the cross; it’s time to get busy living my friend! “[O]r have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”(Romans 6) We have new “perichoretic” lives that partake of the life of God, and reflect the very image of He who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (I John 1)

Jesus came not only to die for our sins, but to extend to us the very life of God whereby we may have fellowship with him, the kind of fellowship that has eternally existed in the Triune God. You have been invited to experience this life. You were created to reflect this glorious image.