I believe, deep down, most people feel Adam and his apple are truer than than they should be. And that Noah and his ark are truer than they seem. They just don’t know how to get past appearances; to go past the way things should be and seem, and see them the way they are.
It became instantly clear to me on a fresh read of 2 Corinthians 3, that Paul is not formulating theology. He is raging and crying and singing out in joy; pouring out his heart in a letter—just as you might had you been so completely transformed by Christ; trying to express the change in himself that occurred long ago and still occurs. If he is raging against the Israelites, it is because he is raging against himself before the road to Damascus. Paul, who is, must remember the Saul he was: “How could I have been so dull and blind! How could I have turned out that way! Are we really going to start doing letters of recommendation again?! Really?! Man’s opinions?! Man’s letters of what a Godly man is?! No! I had those letters on that road to persecuting Jesus! I will not be him again! That way lies death and condemnation! Competency in letters—which is the competent intellect’s ministry—kills! Whereas competency in Spirit—which is the competent soul’s ministry—gives life! Creates living, breathing letters of Christ! Faces perpetually unveiled revealing the Glory of God!”
I get the sense Paul riffed that passage in one go. And his scribe said, “Whoah, Paul! That was so good. Do you want to go over it and correct anything in it?”
And Paul said, “No. It is what it is. It came from my heart and that is enough.”
Paul is not trying to make an equation! As if: glory-veil=Christ’s glorification, sanctification=x-salvation + the square root of adoption, face+Moses-mind=Israelite apostasy, justification by faith=32% works + 68% predestination….!
Paul is not trying to make people a new theology! No!
He is trying to make people come alive! As he came alive!
He is not ever contradictory yet (and because) also is he not writing an equation where all terms must be consistently terminal. He is painting a picture. Certainly, and by necessity, with many opposing and complementing colors, shapes and forms—but still definitely one picture. A picture of glory unto glory where the observer says, “Whoah! Right on, Paul. Hey guys, keep this one.”
Upon waking to the sun, the first lesson to remember is to forget oneself.
Remember, Friend, in whatever is happening, Jesus is always speaking to your heart—not your mind. He is trying to get through your mind and into your heart. The only way to change the mind is to change the heart.
In John 16:8-11, Jesus basically says to the world, “You’re wrong. You’re wrong about everything. You’re wrong about wrong, you’re wrong about right, and you’re wrong about knowing right from wrong. But I have to go away for Truth to return. I must become nothing to reveal everything. I have to be fully lied about to tell the whole Truth; be fully humiliated to expose perfect honor. In the moment of my judgement, it is the judge who is condemned.”
Dear Fellow Trespasser in the Field of Christ,
Really digging E.Y. Mullins' insistence that the Bible is a "record of revelation" as opposed to something, or anything, else; including other extraneous, forced and confusing theological categories of "revelation." Helps me with our project of “How we read the Bible.”
The Bible is as perfect as any created thing can be in itself. But its truer perfection is that it is, by its own admission, an incomplete (therefore imperfect) record of man’s transforming encounter with a perfect God whose imperfection is made perfect in finishing its work in our lives.
Thus, the Bible has a mandatory requirement in order to be complete: You.
Without you, the Bible is incomplete. It becomes perfect only in your perfection—when God is revealed in you, and you then are also made perfect.
If the Bible is complete (in itself and of itself fully and finally revealed), then it leaves no room for you. If the Bible is complete, then its creator is done and can sit back and let His work stand. But the Creator is not done! because the Bible is not His work!—it is a record of His works!
Indeed, His work is you!
The Bible simply awaits fulfillment as in the days of King Josiah; lost in the treasure room of a derelict temple; patient for a heart committed to renovation.
The Bible, a written record of revelation, awaits discovery and completion in the surpassing glory of the living record of revelation that is You--God's transforming work .
All of creation groans for completion by its creator.
“The Father has been working and is working to this very day. And I am finishing his work.”
—Spoken by the Working Word, Himself
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
When a man finally comes to the place where he will serve God for nothing, then he becomes the most malleable—the softest possible clay. And then God can do anything with him.
Any unwillingness in him; even, and perhaps especially, in serving God for anything less than Him alone--whether for heavenly kingdoms, eternity, or salvation; stiffens the created against the Creator's hand; resists His will and plan for him. And the chronic resistance wears him down to dust; gradually drying him into a thing of hardness, which is but mere brittle weakness in the hands of such as Life. Christ asks everyone to take off that yoke, and put on His. In the gospels, Christ is insanely and perfectly malleable in this way. At all moments is He completely willing to serve his Father. Even if everything around him is evil; even and precisely in the soul troubling hour when no one and nothing is left, he will serve him.
And so the Son is made into the shape his Father wills and imagines. Heated in the crucible of the world; lain between the hammer of Rome and the anvil of Jerusalem; held by the very tongs of the devil; Christ and his loving and willing heart are hammered and pinned into His glorified shape. Out of dragon-fire is wrought the bronze serpent; raised and exalted for all to see who would look at perfect love and live; who would be made as He is made; who would take no care at what other men might do, but would finally say, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
The work done by and through and in Jesus was done. The finished work; the perfect creation of the perfect Creator may finally cry,
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Obey is a killer word--obedience a killer concept. Killer because the word mostly lays dormant around our lives after the obedience to parents and teachers passes; killer because the concept hides from us even when the cuts and callouses on our backs show, instead, lives and minds and hearts twisted about and pulled in every direction by whips and straps and chains overgrown with barnacles during their long, unchecked usage; killer because obedience is a dismal and heavy word meant for the yoke of oxen until, all of a sudden, Christ picks it up and uses it; and with child-like sincerity, the Man Jesus kills with it; breaking it free of its grayness and ungratefulness; turning it into the very word He himself uses to convey the purist freedom; holding it up to express the very idea of being truly alive. He spoke as if, instead of finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, He found, like Noah, a rainbow at the end of a golden arc of obedience.
Obedience is the skeleton key Jesus holds in his hand that opens hidden doors--doors out of death and hell opening into his words and Life; doors entering upon chambers very near the deepest in God’s reality of Love.
There are two simple and obvious reasons you may be sure this is true:
One: Jesus talks about it ALL THE TIME.
And two: nobody else does (at least in the exultant and shining way Jesus does).
In John’s gospel it is masters and servants, shepherds and sheep, doing the works, following, obeying, and doing my Father’s will from cover to cover.
And if God likes talking about something continuously, then the guy who doesn’t is Satan.
Let me try to make myself clear: A man will gleefully talk about obedience (when he must talk about it all) in terms of what it means after he has touched the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: pain, grind, morality, good, bad, right, wrong, law, blind, breaking. But he never even imagines it, much less talks about it, in terms of what it means should he return and touch the tree of Life, thereby ingrafting himself into it: joy, peace, love, contentment, salvation, healing, seeing, wisdom, keeping. Man understands what it means to obey in his reality—which is only a shadow of it and therefore false—but not in God's—which is all at once lit and light and casting the shadow.
Right after love, comes obey. Right after obey, comes love.
I once almost heard a secret about the meaning deep within “hating your father and mother,” but now I will share my own. I think Jesus was talking about obedience.
Jesus seems to be saying, “There is a great law, and one that is close to your hearts: Obey your father and mother. But here is the greatest, and one infinitely closer: You must disobey your father to obey mine. You must disobey your anything to obey my everything."
All there is, is obeying.
Obeying the one is disobeying the other.
All there is, is Love.
Loving the one is hating the other.
“A man can not serve two masters.”
You—the you that you call yourself, which is your will!—are a slave in the middle of God and Satan. The greater you and your will become: the greater becomes your slavishness in the many-roomed mansion of God. The greater God and God’s will becomes: the closer becomes your sonship and therefore freedom in it. You are Adam. It doesn’t matter who Adam thought he was obeying as he touched the fruit. Whether it was himself, Eve, or the serpent—Adam was obeying his master. "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."
Adam was obeying his father. And therefore hating God.
A man doesn’t go looking for Jesus because he saw him perform a miracle. He goes looking for Jesus because he satisfies. He fills a need inside the man. Jesus is the bread. He himself—not a sign from him—is the life the man needs. And, so, like His Father, Jesus gives himself.
A man will go over hill and through valley, across lakes and streams, searching for someone, not because he saw a wonderful thing he did, but because he partook of him and his wondrous doings. He partook of him and it satisfied. He was loved. He will go because of love.
Do not work for the life you can merely see. But rather for the one you can partake—unto life; given by life.