The crucified and resurrected life of Jesus
The author of the series of questions I've answered below expressed confusion based upon similar sounding statements made by her former religion that makes a separation between Jesus and Christ by which these conclusions are reached. The bottom-line questions ask: Who is Jesus? Is there a total separation between Jesus and Christ? Is Jesus therefore just the one who shows the way? Is he God? Is he Lord? Is he unique? Did the word really become flesh?
"They say Christ is God, but Jesus is the way-shower!" "Christ is the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error. (Sin, disease and death) - Jesus is the human corporeal concept of the divine idea, rebuking and destroying error (sin, disease and death) and bringing to light man's immortality!" "They say a complete understanding of the 'scientific statement of Truth' is required for 'health'. Basically you must have KNOWLEDGE of God. The crucifiction of 'Jesus' is not a free gift to man. - Man must work out his own salvation with the RIGHT UNDERSTANDING of God."
Hello my dear...
Yes indeed, the word really did become flesh! :)
No doubt there are distinctions between "Jesus" and "Christ", but I believe some unnecessarily complicate the matter. Jesus IS the Christ and we have been made one in him, and he has been made Lord of all. There is a living distinction between how we recognized him according to what is seen and how we recognize him according to the new creation, the one resurrected to newness of life.
So, who is Jesus, the Christ (or the "anointed one")? Are we correct in saying that he is God ... or are we possibly forcing a doctrinal designation where one is not needed? I'm sure this will sound very confusing at points, and is also radically opposed to the fundamental approach to Christianity, but I'm convinced that men's doctrinal attempts to give Jesus Christ "pre-eminence" has only helped to take the focus off of the very reality of him being the MEDIATOR between God and man.
Jesus himself is the union between God and man because in him the life of God was joined to a man. He is the new creation and everything of the new comes out of him. In this he is like Adam. Jesus is the new man, that which is born of God - Adam is the old man, that which is born of flesh.
Jesus' being the Christ has more to do with the reality that he is the chosen one of God, chosen from before the beginning to be the all in all, the one in whom EVERYTHING is summed up. Paul describes Jesus Christ in Colossians as being "first born" of everything, both in everything that has been created in this world and in the new creation.
"First born" doesn't refer to him as just one of many created beings (as some teachings suggest), but it speaks of his position among the creation ... just as the firstborn son in any family declares that he is the one entitled to the inheritance of the father. He was made firstborn of the created world by virtue of the fact that everything that exists was created THROUGH him, for before he became flesh he was still the very same utterance (or expression of God). God spoke, he (the word) went forth and performed the will of the speaker.
He is also the firstborn of the "church" - that is, the new creation - by virtue of the reality that he was resurrected from the dead and became its very source. Everything new comes out of him.
Now, let's get back to the issue of asking whether Jesus is God. You know, if we hadn't grown up in the religious aftermath we have come to call "Christianity" we probably wouldn't find ourselves so hyper-charged over those expected pat answers that supposedly define "truth". Somehow, many don't seem to be bothered by an "agreement" that is demanded by a whole religious world that rejects the very reality of union in Christ. In other words, if "mainstream Christianity" claims that "Jesus is God" why wouldn't I be a little hesitant as to what I think is actually being agreed upon? [More on this under the heading of "God: the Trinity"]
What if the religion of Christianity has simply designated Jesus as being its token God much the same way other religions have theirs? But Christ had nothing to do with initiating a religion; instead, he brought life! What if God truly is Spirit (as Jesus said) so that he wouldn't have ever considered making the claim, "I am God", but that he would constantly allude to being the life of the world, the light of the world, the son of God, the son of man, the way, the truth, the life, the shepherd of the sheep, etc?
What if the whole reality of Jesus is not about him being set up as the God of Christianity, but as the life of that which had been created in the image of God? You see, while religion would have us staunchly defending "Christian" truth (i.e. "doctrine") it would also have us tip-toeing around the life that originally gave those truths a verbal form so that we lose the life in the formality of the words. And then we go to "refine" the presentation of the words, and in so doing remove every hint of life in order to preserve accuracy!
They say Christ is God, but Jesus is the way-shower!
Stuff like this reminds me of doctors who will sacrifice their patients for some kind of greater cause. Jesus IS the Christ, the son of the living God! He didn't come to show the way, he himself IS the way.
Once again, realize that the "Jesus" of religion is nothing more than a fake because he can only be understood according to what he was outwardly ... that is, according to the flesh. Paul, the apostle, even declared that they themselves had at one time recognized Jesus according to the flesh ... but now no longer. Why no longer? Because they had been made alive in him.
For if any man is in Christ he is a new creature.2 Corinthians 5:17
This whole reality is miraculous ... even the recognition of it. Don't despair as if you have been missing anything! If you have Christ, you have life! Don't let anybody trick you into thinking you haven't received EVERYTHING in him!
I'm at the end of my evening and must go to bed, but I look forward to hearing back from you. I realize that I may have confused in some other ways, so don't be afraid to say so, okay? :)
So what you're telling me Jim is the same as JOHN 1: 1-18. And maybe 1 CORINTHIANS: 12-29. Is that right?
It most certainly is! :)
Also that God's Word, (through which all things were created), can never be separated from Him, (God). - Kind of like your letter to me. The words that you speak are a part of you. (They are an expression of you) - But it's much more than this with God!
Yes, yes! The truth of the matter is that the connection between word and speaker has been built into us as part of man having been created in the image of God. Now, until God's Spirit came into us this connection only served as a cause of confusion and hypocrisy because everything we learned about our own word and our own being is that the two OUGHT to agree. Instead, we learned in this world that such an agreement almost always required the application of some kind of external force, written contract or internal sense of guilt or reward to make one "keep his word".
As you rightly suggest, God's word is his own expression of his own being ... and there is no disagreement between the two. :) God EXPRESSED Himself and that expression caused it to happen. That very expression is the Word of God ... and the expression became flesh and dwelt among us, and those who were with him beheld the "incarnation", or the in-flesh-ment of God's expression, the same expression by which everything that is made was made.
The truth is we can only understand that which God made in His image in view of the total agreement between Himself and His expression, that is, His Word. Jesus himself is the perfect agreement of God and man, and only in him is there any true explanation of the completeness of man; for he is the completed man because the life of the man is God. In Christ, we have been created after THIS likeness ... which is a likeness that was only hinted at in Adam.
I like your example of fake designer goods, and that is what we came to understand of both God and man in everything we learned after the understanding of this world's logic. Man's doctrine is indeed like the fake thing, for somehow men have manufactured "explanations" of both God and man that are based upon an outward observance that complies with an elemental (of the elements) understanding. The reality of God can in fact only be understood through the WITNESS of God Himself. And this is what we have received in Christ.
And of course that will be confusing in view of our futile attempts to rationalize this witness into the elemental understanding that simply cannot handle it. :) So, never ever feel inferior because the stuff of God doesn't make sense, because it simply doesn't ... and never will. But we do receive testimony that truly satisfies that lack of human understanding!
If I want to know God, I look to Jesus, or rather the crucified and resurrected Life of Jesus. This is the important part, because here I see the only 'belief' that offers me a free gift. - God does it all for me! (Am I right so far?)
This is great!! I love it. :) Jesus himself is the very testimony of God's Spirit within us. He has caused us to "know" God already. We often question this simply because we examine that which we don't know and speculate according to human understanding, the understanding that is graded according to degrees. The wisdom of God has no such incremental measurement, for it is UN-measurable, UN-fathomable! When you are trying to measure your understanding of God you are measuring human wisdom and not the immeasurable wisdom God has given you!! Bask in this! Let it simply blow you away!! :)
So how do I pray? Jesus says to our Father in Heaven. But as another example, Stephen, as he was stoned, cried out "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
So, how do you pray? There is no formula. I know that our logic has demanded that certain Biblical statements present certain formulas, but that's the measurable wisdom of man trying to formulate a reality for you! Jesus' and John's and Paul's (etc) statements do not dictate a form to follow, but instead declare the reality of God's ears being open to us BECAUSE OF CHRIST JESUS!!
Heck, Stephen would have blown the formulaic view as those who "understand" such a structure will tell you that we shouldn't pray to Jesus. But then again, if you were in his shoes you would have been caught up as he was in the heavenly vision of Jesus standing to receive him!! He was talking directly to Jesus because in those last few moments he had been given to see him behind the curtain of appearance.
Outside of Jesus Christ having become the way to God there was no hearing any amount of ritual prayer. Everything God heard before that time was heard in view of the reality of his coming. Praying "in the name of Jesus" has nothing really to do with name dropping, as in speaking the right formula, it has to do with speaking directly to God THROUGH Jesus, for he is the way to God, the connection of God and man. We have been made as Jesus in this world because we are truly connected with Him and His life by this miraculous union in the person of him who is the joining of God and man.
Realize that the very life of the anointed of God has become OUR life. This is the whole meaning and purpose of Jesus. He has caused us all to have the very same source in God through what he went through in his death and resurrection!
Don't be afraid to keep asking more questions, or simply just reflecting your thoughts and musings in my direction! :) In other words, write back again!! :)