23 Jan 2003

The Fulfillment of Man

Submitted by theshovel
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Let me expand on what I mean when I say that Jesus is the fulfillment - not the replacement - of man.

First off, the statement doesn't deny the truth stated in John 12:25, but emphasizes it:

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.
John 12:25

Please notice, the verse doesn't claim a man's life needs to be replaced but rather it presents the irony in how his life is truly found. Likewise, the question...

For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:37

...refers not to the exchange of Christ's life for ours but to man's false perception that life can be gained through the acquiring of possessions in this world.

Now, while it is true that Christ has become my life he did not become ME in place of me, he became my LIFE so that I could finally BE me.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

Seen as a replacement, a bogus identity conflict often rises up from which we struggle to achieve a less-me-more-Him relationship; but as a fulfillment, no such contradiction exists.

You see, without Christ, I had been loving what I only perceived as my life, which means that I had been existing in a constant state of loss regarding it. Trying to find myself in this world only succeeded in pushing my life far from me. Through Christ, the life I thought I had gained in this world was actually against me, and I have come to hate that bogus thing ... even though I might often try to convince myself otherwise!

We have labored far too long under the fallacy that we ever had any life to begin with, for all we ever had was the emptiness of a parasite attached to a dead host. That's right, we lived as vampires sucking the life-blood from others, but those sources only contained an artificial nourishment that had to be replenished on a constant basis to keep the lie alive. The activity of the exchange perpetuated the illusion that life was somehow being transferred or sustained. In reality, we were incessantly haunted by the nagging demand of emptiness, even while claiming to have been fulfilled by it.

The good news is that in his death Jesus nailed the lid shut on the vampire's coffin, for he took that former emptiness and condemned it to death in his own body. He became for us the embodiment of sin, doing away with the perversion of that which had originally been created in God's image. The former was done away with ... and we finally found ourselves.

The simple reason many Biblical statements regarding the former life often reek of contradiction and impossible demands should be obvious: they are viewed according to the false perception of life as imagined by a marred creation that has no real life! When Jesus addressed the people his words couldn't help but create conflict because he spoke of their life in terms meant to expose their false perceptions of it. Statements made after Christ's death and resurrection are likewise misread because they force those same false perceptions into the words we read even though heavily contrasted to reveal the only true life.

In Christ - who is the very image of God - the unfulfilled was fulfilled, the incomplete has been made complete. Apart from Christ, the designation "Made in God's Image" has less meaning than a faded label on an old pair of soiled underwear. Nevertheless, that fatally flawed image has been foreshadowing the real one from the beginning, even as a mirage in the desert testifies that water is not merely a dream. The image insists something substantial.

And yes, it has everything to do with the word of God. :)

One of these days I may continue this.

Comments

I have questions about the fulfillment. I experienced the adamic nature as my life and I used every system to live the life created by the lie as me not knowing it was only death. Then Father brought contradiction into this mix and layer by layer showed me the illusion I was believing to make my life work which really was only death. I think the exchanged life is a misnomer because I think it was an exchange of death to HIS LIFE. He brought me to the place that I knew in this body of flesh there was NO pleasing God. I thought the old was crucified (was it just the old way of thinking that was crucified?) and now I am a NEW creation with new thinking as I now see the illusion everywhere. I don’t know that it can be figured out because I find no system or law available in HIS LIFE. Seeing the old crucified leaves me no more or less just NO LIFE. I have had the thinking that He made my death now in Oneness with HIM which is Life as only He is. So I thought the old life was killed in Him at the Cross (Rm.6:6)and a new connected with him at the resurrection as all things became new? If this looks like I am trying to figure this out - I do know that is futile. I remember when I saw Him as Life I for the first time liked me - if that makes sense. Is that what you mean by fulfillment? Perhaps I should see this as just a change of operating systems? What say ye as I would like more clarification if there is any. Vivi
theshovel's picture

Hello Vivian! Good to hear from you again. :) First, let me echo what Sherri (Dignz) wrote, as it was excellent. Let it sink down deep!! :) [quote=You]I have had the thinking that He made my death now in Oneness with HIM which is Life as only He is.[/quote] Yes, IN HIM is the only true understanding of death and new life, for it is HIS resurrected life that we are now found in. His crucifixion is our crucifixion, and his raised life is our life. In this, God’s very purpose for man is brought about. [quote=You]I remember when I saw Him as Life I for the first time liked me - if that makes sense. Is that what you mean by fulfillment?[/quote] This ties in directly to what I mean by fulfillment. After all, instead of the death we came to know within ourselves something else came alive. The testimony of the Spirit within us constantly makes the demand that our real life was never found apart from Christ. [quote=You]Perhaps I should see this as just a change of operating systems?[/quote] While our passing from death into life can be considered that way, I think the description pales in view of the life that forms the new operating system. I may take Sherri’s suggestion and continue this. :) Love, Jim

shovel -> “One of these days I may continue this.” perhaps it could be ‘one of these days’ now?  :) this is very good and encouraging and i want to read MORE!  :) vivi, thank you for bringing this up. :) i, too have often thought about that phrase and description ‘exchanged life’. it has been a while since i have tho’. usually when i think of that phrase i think of a ‘trading’. i don’t know if that is appropriate or not, but it is what pops up in my head all the time when i hear it or read it. it bothers me because i believe that there was/is more to this life than that. i can not see it as merely an exchanged life. to me it is more of a miraculous life … a life that was called out of death. to me, that means something that the previous ‘life’ could never do or bring about. to me it means the life that was called into being from outside of a life that was really no life at all, but an empty unable-to-be-fulfilled, unable to please god thing. life was spoken into being, birthed as it was from the very source and essence of life into that empty thing that had no connection to god, nor could it. it seems to me that emptiness can only recognize more emptiness. it is all it knows. empty means empty. empty is lacking … always lacking. however, when emptiness is seen as its own futility, then perhaps that is a testament that life has been birthed, and that life has swallowed up empty futility and now sheds light of revelation on what is and what is not, what was and what was not … WHO IS the I AM. (a little redundancy - i think that emptiness is the bondage of itself, always and forever seeking to fill, but never able to ‘satisfaction’. never able to ‘reach god’ no matter how hard it may try.) however, in christ … he has provided his life and his life is completely satisfying to him who is the very source and essence of that life. he has miraculously joined us by birth into that very life. from that life we have the eyes that ‘see the illusion everywhere’, as you so well said.  :) i enjoyed that very much and recognized it as my same truth and experience in him with you.  :) enjoyed this very much. :)

i was thinking this morning that if empty means lacking, then we have much reason to rejoice! christ lacks nothing. the new creation that he has made us lacks nothing. we are indeed empty no more!  :) there are residual memories in these bodies that are conditioned and convinced that we are still empty as far as anything of god is concerned … that we are still lacking … that there is need for ‘more’ … etc. it is merely delusion and illusion based on lies, deception, appearances, etc. i love that part you brought up mr. shovel-man-dude about how there is a mentality in the realm of worldly religious wisdom that insists we need ‘less of me and more of him’ … ‘he must increase but i must decrease’. totally taken out of context from what john the baptist said once before christ died, arose and ascended, resulting in the coming of the spirit of god IN man. that demands the question of how much more ‘decreasing’ can we be than dead? with christ we died to all that was the source of division, chasm, enmity between us and god.  :) christ has reconciled us. there is no more that separates us from him. thank god and hallelujah amen for-EVER more, always and beyond!  :) the new creation life that we are in christ is the END to ALL that separated us. we are separated no more!! celebrate ~ rejoice ~ wallow in his love, confidence, security and care!  :) time to get on with this day … hope you all have a good one. :)

These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: January 24, 2003 by Neil

Once again you have nailed it, Jim old boy: Christ our fulfillment.

Just as electricity is indispensable to a light bulb being able to function as a light bulb, just as gasoline is indispensable to an automobile being able to function as an automobile, so is Christ in man is indispensable to a man being able to live as a what he was created to be. Without Christ we only deceive ourselves in thinking we are functioning as men--human creatures. All of what we do, think or say apart from Christ as our life is but emptiness, clanging gongs and crashing cymbals.

Jesus gave a partial example of this upon stating to an astonished religious hierarchy that man was not made for the Sabboth--but the Sabboth for man! This of course demanded that the whole of the Law was the same way: formed for man and not man for the Law, the way in which it was taught by the religious leaders of Jesus' day. A revolutionary idea that totally annihilated them and their gargantuan efforts to achieve peace with God.

What need did God have of the Law or for man to follow the Law? Indeed, being God what need did Jesus have to follow the Law? The Law was made for man, a temporary fulfillment for us until we could be fulfilled by the only one who could fulfill the Law first and thereby be the fulfillment of man.

All about us today we see those who call themselves Christians attempting to "follow Jesus." They've gone back to the other side of the cross and keep the Law alive, trying in vain to follow its impossible demands. But Jesus said the only way to follow Him was by going to His cross and becoming crucified with Him. Jesus did not remain dead and so the only way to follow Him beyond the cross is to receive His life as a replacement for ours just as he received back His own life in replacement for the one He lost that had become sin for us.

If, dear one, you are attempting to follow Jesus then you are trying to fulfill the Law that only the Son of God could fulfil--and has! What you need is electricity in your personal light bulb and gas in your personal car, the life of Christ so that you can function as the man, woman or child God created you to be. Great stuff, Jim. Always a pleasure to exchange the truth of Christ in us, our life and our only hope of glory.

Peace, my brother


Posted: January 24, 2003 by Joyce

I finally just finished reading the last shoveletter. Some things that stuck out to me in it were:

"Now while it is true that Christ has become my life, He did not become ME in place of me; He became my LIFE so that I could finally BE be. " / "Seen as a replacement, a bogus identity conflict often rises up from which we struggle to achieve a less-me- more-Him relationship, but as a fulfillment no such contradiction exists". / "The former was finally done away with and we finally found ourselves.

Though I understand all of this to a degree and agree, some questions still come to mind. I guess I'm wanting a more concrete understanding of how it is that that LIFE made it possible "that I could finally BE me." If I wasn't ME before the fulfillment of LIFE, what was I...or anyone else in that predicament now? Does this go along with what we are told about how if Adam and Eve had eaten from the Tree of Life instead, then we would have had that completion then instead of having to wait for Christ to bring salvation later on?

Also, I was very much raised and taught in the arena of "less of me and more of Him". They backed it up with the words of John the Baptist who said that I must decrease and He must increase." Maybe that was just a one time thing then since that was a unique situation of someone who actually lived at the same time that Christ was on earth and who did have followers that needed to then become followers of Christ. (?)

Joyce


Posted: January 24, 2003 by the shovel

Hi Joyce,

WHO were we? Heck, we didn't even know. That's why we defined ourselves by what we did or where we lived, by our ancestral lines or the color of our skin, ad infinitum. The same goes for those without Christ now.

This is why we hate the modern concept of evangelism with its underlying thrust to make people become "Christians" as opposed to something else. The message of Christ declares fulfillment to a world that is frantically seeking to find a real identity. It declares, through Jesus, a release from whatever has bound us to the vicious cycle of missing the very life we have tried to find.

What would have happened if Adam and Eve ate from the tree of life is a hypothetical consideration that didn't happen, and as Christ is "the lamb slain from the foundation of the world" it doesn't seem that it would have happened, etc ... BUT the tree of life does obviously picture the life of God that could have fulfilled them even then. All of this is working together to reveal this most magnificent miracle of God as the life of the man.

Regarding the "I must decrease, he must increase", I think you see it rather clearly. Had we been there when John made his statement we would have felt the impact because we would have been witnessing a confusing and discouraging shift. Realize that for quite a while John had been preaching out in the wilderness so that the whole surrounding area was charged with an expectation beyond anything they had ever known, and could only quote back to the ancient Scriptures regarding Moses and David. The accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke repeatedly told how "all Israel" came out to see John. He was the absolute BIGGEST thing that had ever happened in their lifetimes. [No doubt there had been a stir concerning the birth of Jesus ... but only in a very limited way as it was kept mostly hush-hush by God.]

When Jesus finally showed up on the scene to be declared to Israel by John many of the people weren't really sure what to do, who to follow. The people had been powerfully drawn to this wild man. He was looked upon skeptically by the religious elite, but couldn't be ignored by them so that even they made a show of wanting to follow his "baptism".

Though John had been speaking of "preparing the way" the people as a whole weren't too sure about this Jesus: he didn't quite fit their expectations. But little by little many of John's followers left him and started following Jesus. In the midst of John's testimony about how Jesus was the one he had been sent to proclaim John made the simple statement about "his" ministry: I must decrease but he must increase. He said it to let them know that this mass exodus is what was supposed to be happening so that they would not view Jesus as one who came to steal John's followers.

Also consider that John was the epitome of the law, while Jesus was grace personified. The old was even then in the process of passing from the scene while the new was being raised up.


Posted: January 24, 2003 by Mike Nagle

Jimmy -

You are the only one I know who can get away with including soiled underwear in a treatise on "New Life." I loved the teaching. It is so true that we naturally and even instinctively interpret the things we begin to learn in our new lives through the ruined lenses of our old lives. How easy it becomes then to make the new life just a peculiar and impotent twist on the old life. Nothing really new, alive, potent, transforming or real. Just old religion in drag.

Love


Posted: January 24, 2003 by Richard

Hi Jim,

The comments are from my friend Bill.

Love, Rich-man

In regard to the article you sent me from "The Shovel." I liked it. This
is another view of what we have been going round and round with others the
last few weeks. Namely the question of obliteration or individual identity
or who the heck is on first anyway? The author correctly notes the key
distinction between "me out and Christ in" and Christ as my life. We need
to be careful of this as I noted the other day. It just sounds so
spiritual to say its Christ and not me - but this is a trap and a dodge. I
feel this position (it's Christ, not me) is motivated by a desire to evade
personal responsibility.

We were made unique individuals by the Father. This fact is one of the
greatest evidences of how precious we are to Him. The Father sent Christ
to give us a way to become all He intended we should be - not to destroy us
and replace us with Christ. If that were the case He could have more
simply and humanely just wiped out humanity after the fall and populated
the world with "Christ Clones." I firmly believe the Father's desire is to
have a huge family of individuals all united by the animation of a common
life - Christ. We are, I feel, to be a infinite expression of the various
aspects of Christ.

Have a great day. Love.

Your brother and friend,

Bill


Posted: January 24, 2003 by John

"Nevertheless, that fatally flawed image has been foreshadowing the real one from the beginning, even as a mirage in the desert testifies that water is not merely a dream. The image insists something substantial."

Jim,

I will have to be brief to ensure that this email is sent! But I wanted you to know how blessed I was by your recent letter. The whole thing was great and encouraging. In particular the above line had been sticking with me since I read it. It says so much that can easily be missed.

".. even as a mirage in the desert testifies that water is not merely a dream."

I love that line, and have already used it since I read it. It is a great analogy of how God uses suffering to reveal truth to us. It is why the atheist prays to God in a desperate hour and how God teaches us a truth about Himself when we go through trials. I like, in particular, the atheist/unbeliever idea. God can be denied easily when all is well at the oasis. But in the desert of life, we desperately look for what we thought
never existed. That very desperate vision is a testimony to his existence simply because we look and cry out to Him.

Anyway, I loved the whole letter. Thanks for your encouragement!!

Your brother,

Sherri, [and whoever is reading] I just wanted to echo your concerns with the ‘exchanged life’ coined phrase. I just never liked it because what I heard BEHIND the words was fleshly understanding. I mean it comes down to WHO is doing the exchanging? I mean how can something dead ‘exchange’ anything? We were risen. We now are now walking in the same way we were once risen from the dead. We are miraculously producing what is pleasing to God.

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Random Shovelquote: Justification (view all shovelquotes)

The justification we have in Christ has no similarity to the justification being sought in the world. It is rather the insanity of the futile mind that has corrupted the simplicity of the good news. source