Journey of Grace

Today I just completed my Bachelor’s degree in Theology… this was the final essay that I turned in………….

In my third essay, I said that it felt like I was on a journey of grace meeting the Father for the very first time. Like the Jews of the Old Covenant, I had forgotten who my Father was… forgotten the Rock from which I was hewn. Though I guess forgotten is not the right word, in truth I knew there was a God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, but the concept of Father only applied to those who had accepted Jesus and now were “adopted” in. Not only is that a wrong idea of adoption but it’s a wrong concept of the Father. There was never a day that He wasn’t my Father, even before I knew Him. And adoption is simply sonship… which has always been ours. I didn’t just get added to His family when I accepted Jesus, I have always been His daughter, born from above. Our term born again is simply the revelation that He has always been my Father… the Spirit bears witness WITH our spirit… that “aha” moment when you realize who you’ve always been and who He’s always been and you cry out ABBA! Sonship revelation is what causes you to cry ABBA!

 

The Father wrote the script of my DNA.  It is His DNA… He birthed us in His image and according to His likeness.  He breathed into Adam His very essence, He breathed into Him the Breath of Life. Adam’s first sight upon waking was the adoration of Yahweh Elohim kneeling over him. I wonder if Adam’s first words were Abba? He saw the awe and adoration of Father, the Word, and the Spirit as they blessed him. The absolute overwhelming, consuming love of Them for him. His first sight was one of acceptance, love, kindness, goodness, transparent intimacy and just utter devotion toward him from this One called Elohim.

I love the Hebrew language because it’s so rich in meaning. It says in Genesis 2:7 that Yahweh Elohim aleph tav breathed into Adam. Elohim is the plural God… the ONE God that is Father, Son, and Spirit. Yahweh is the revelation of Jesus… Yahweh Elohim is the revelation of Jesus as God. It is spelled yod hey vav hey and literally means behold the hand behold the nail. Aleph Tav is an untranslatable word that reveals the power of the cross. Pointing us both ahead and at the same time before the foundations because the cross is eternal. It is there to remind us that as Yahweh Elohim breathed into Adam, Their dream of mankind was being birthed. Mankind became the expression of God’s beautiful thought…. His inspired thought. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are engineered by His design, we are His workmanship, His poetry. That aleph tav is a beautiful pointer of our inclusion in Elohim. Jesus said that because of His finished work, we would know that He is in the Father (Yahweh Elohim) and we are in Him and He is in us.

This little untranslatable sign is a reminder of Ephesians 1:3-5 which is another look at God (Elohim) and the Father of Jesus (who Jesus said is also our Father) blessing mankind. This blessing took place before the foundations of the world. Choosing us in Him and setting our boundaries (predestinating) as His sons. All in love for His mankind. Love that drew us into the union of Himself, the Son and the Holy Spirit to share in this circle of Their love and intimate fellowship. It is what we were created for. It was the original blueprint of our design that flowed out of this Elohim who is Love expressed through the Father, Son, and Spirit.

This love (Ahava) which is defined in Hebrew as an unquenchable love. A love that has such a desire to be with the other that it makes your heart ache.  His love for us, this love that breathed Life into us, is again revealed in the fall of mankind. When Adam fell and hid, the Spirit came into the garden and said, “Where are you?” This is the love of the Father calling out for his son. In Hebrew “where are you” is an idiomatic expression meaning “he is nowhere.” It’s the cry of God’s heart for His son… the ache of a heart that cries “why have you left My heart?” These are the first words of a conversation between God and man. It shows the heart of an Abba. It revealed that we belong and that we are loved. Revealing His heart commitment in desiring relationship, intimate fellowship with man above all else. He didn’t see sin when He looked at Adam in the garden, He didn’t show up to punish Adam for “falling.” He simply came looking for His son, to talk with him and walk with him. To simply enjoy the union of love that they shared. Adam had left God’s heart in his own mind. And the Father’s heart ached and His love longed once again (Ahava) for intimate fellowship with His mankind… with His sons. And He would go to all lengths, do whatever it took, to once again secure that union with us.

Our origin is forever imprinted in the mind of God. This union between mankind and God in Christ is an eternal union which preceded creation. It is an inseparable union that has existed from before the foundation of the world.  A union that could not be broken by the fall of Adam, except in our own minds. He found us in Christ before He ever lost us in Adam. And this union would once again be realized through the death and resurrection of the Son, Yahweh Elohim. Jesus died because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit refused to let go of mankind. For Elohim so loved the world that He sent His only Son… Yahweh. This is chesed, His covenant love for us, that is unwilling to let go of us at any cost.  He would be satisfied with nothing less!

Genesis 5 begins with God creating man in His image and according to His likeness. And then it says Adam begat a son in his likeness, as or like his image. I think it’s interesting that the order is reversed. Adam was made in God’s image and according to His likeness. Adam has a son in his likeness, according to his image. It shows that man’s understanding of their identity had been distorted. According to Adam’s image… what was Adam’s image of himself? He had believed the lie that he was not like God and as a result, his image of himself became distorted with shame, guilt, and condemnation. Adam forgot that his true image was image and likeness of God… one of righteousness, holiness, completeness in Yahweh Elohim… Father, Son, and Spirit. Adam’s peace, assurance, and security were destroyed. In his own mind, he was separated from his Father and inferior to God. So, mankind continued in a false sense of identity… forgetting they were sons, forgetting they were gods… elohims. Forgetting the Rock that gave them birth. So Elohim… Father, Son, and Spirit sent the Son to redeem man.

Jesus, Yahweh Elohim, was the visible manifestation of the invisible Elohim. Mankind’s image had not just been distorted in his own thinking, God’s image had become distorted in their thinking as well. Jesus and John both said that no one had accurately perceived or understood Elohim – Father, Son, and Spirit. No one… not Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets, etc. Except for the only begotten Son who was in the bosom of the Father. As Yahweh Elohim, He revealed to Israel that there wasn’t a single time that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ever did anything apart from the other. From the very creation of man to the cross and resurrection, the Godhead was in COMPLETE agreement and FULLY participated in all.  Jesus is telling them they had gotten the Scriptures wrong… they had misunderstood. Even God tells Job’s friend, “what you and your friends have said about Me isn’t true.” They had a wrong image of God. But in Jesus, we have a COMPLETE image of God. He said if you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father. He reinterpreted Scripture for them, revealing the heart of Elohim, giving us permission to do the same. That if a Scripture doesn’t line up with who Jesus is, who is the visible manifestation of the invisible Elohim, then we can conclude that something else is happening, someone is describing God based on their experiences and limited knowledge…. a false illusion of God.  Jesus came and put an end to all those illusions.  Showing us that the Scriptures are a beautiful love story of Elohim and for us. And concealed IN those Scriptures, the mystery hidden for generations and ages but revealed to us in Christ – Yahweh Elohim is the message of our glorious union in Elohim. I believe He put all those aleph tavs in there just to help point us into the right direction… to reveal to us His eternal plan in Christ.

So, Jesus, Yahweh Elohim, left heaven, took on flesh and became a Man. The incarnation is God’s NO regarding the loss of His sons and the eternal YES of their redeemed union with Him. Yahweh Elohim as the incarnate Son of God came to completely undo the fall of Adam… to completely reverse what Adam had done. This incarnation was planned before creation. Christ became Man to flesh out in time what had already been completed, finished in eternity past.

He came and revealed that God wasn’t a Judge who was consumed with anger over our sins. But that He is a Father who was consumed with love for His sons and that His desire was for intimate fellowship. God’s announcement in Luke 2 was the birth of the Savior, which is Christ the Lord (Yahweh Elohim). And it says in verse 13 that suddenly the multitude of heavenly hosts began praising THE God (Elohim)… telling His story (praise)… saying: Glory to Elohim in the highest, and on earth peace IN men, He is pleased!  Jesus didn’t come to save us from a God who had put distance between Himself and us. A God who had to separate Himself from us. NO! It says God sent His Son as Savior because He was pleased IN us.  He was pleased to dwell IN us.

And He sent His Son as Savior to redeem us back… to reveal to us who we had always been. And who God was and what our relationship with Him looks like from His vantage point. The very word church that we have made into a religious institution was a word of identity. Jesus said to Peter, “Who do you say I, the Son of Man, am?” Peter answered, “You, (the Son of Man) are the Son of the Living God.” The Jesus responds, “Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah.” He probably continued to explain to Peter, “You are son of Jonah – son of man, just like Me. And just like Me, Son of Man and Son of Elohim, you are also son of man and son of Elohim.” And then He changed his name to reveal his true identity… Peter, a piece of the Rock. The Rock that you forgot you were hewn from and which exceeds your natural lineage. The name change would be a reminder that every time he spoke his name or heard his name called it was the declaration of true identity… a piece of the Rock… image and likeness of God. And for the first time, we are introduced to this Greek word ekklesia which is translated, church.

Verse 18 in Matthew 15 says, upon this THE Rock…. Not just any rock but THE Rock! Upon the revelation of our origin, Jesus said, “I will build My ekklesia.” Build is from a root word “domos” which refers to a roof area of a flat house. These areas were ideal for resting and also for passing on information from one house to the other. Jesus is saying My ekklesia is built for the purpose of REST and also for passing on this same revelation of our origin to everyone around us. Ekklesia is from two words. Ek meaning out of, denoting source and origin and kaleo meaning call as well as surname or family name, showing union. It is upon this call of our origin, the revelation of our beginning, the Father’s Name which is also our family name, this union in the Elohim – the family of Father, Son, and Spirit and ourselves.  Upon all of this, you can REST. And from this position of REST and vantage point, you can share this revelation with those around you… from house to house that they are also in this wonderful, glorious family union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit because it is from this origin that they were birthed.

We have an origin and beginning in Elohim Himself. The Savior came not only to save us in our world called time but to show us that there was never a moment that we weren’t saved from eternity past. In Exodus 15:2 Moses declares that the Lord, Yahweh Elohim, is his Salvation. There has never been a time that He wasn’t our Salvation. We may not have realized we have always been saved but we were saved nevertheless. He didn’t just choose for us to be saved at some point. It was a finished work from eternity past… before we were ever created. We have always been IN CHRIST who is Salvation. He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

We’ve watered down salvation to just a sinner’s prayer at the altar to get into heaven and miss hell. That’s not what salvation is. Salvation is a person, His name is Jesus, Yeshua Elohim. Salvation is the all-consuming Love of Elohim that took the initiative and the act in the person of Jesus Christ, the Savior of ALL men. 2 Timothy 1 says in verse 9 that He saved us and called us with a holy calling. There’s that word kaleo again indicating the origin of birth. In Greek, it says He called call holy. He saved us and called us by our origin, by our family union….. holy. Saved and holy is who we are. He saved us and separated us from ALL of the sin and death that came as a result of Adam and set us apart wholly unto Him. Holy… our family identity…. He is wholly unto us! All the time, He’s never not there, He is always there with our welfare in mind. Saved is in the aorist tense meaning it’s a snapshot of something that already happened. When? The rest of verse 9 says according to His own purpose and grace that was given to us in Christ before time eternal! His grace saved us in Christ before time began… from time eternal.

Salvation is not a commitment, it’s an eternal covenant. It was decided from eternity. And it’s not just an event that happens at one time. It’s an eternal reality that we get to experience time and time again. I was saved before the foundation of the world, I was saved 2000 years ago on the cross, and I was saved 25 years ago when I awoke to the love of my Savior. And in addition to all of that, I walk in the experience of salvation daily! Salvation is COMPLETE deliverance, forgiveness of sins, healing, prosperity, made WHOLE in every area of life!

This beautiful Gospel reveals His love for humanity… not because of anything we’ve done but because we have always been His. It reveals a love that appeared in the likeness of men…. He completely emptied Himself into human form. He invested everything in us… He held nothing back. This good news of His grace is not that we could go to heaven and avoid hell….. it’s as Andre Rabe says “it’s that He saw such value in us that He left heaven and came to us.” This was not a temporary event, there is a Man alive and seated on the throne!! Son of man and Son of God – Yahweh Elohim! And we were made alive together with Him, seated where He is seated! And as He is so are we in this world… and this new life, this resurrected life, is Him in us, as us and expressing Himself through us.

I don’t know that I fully have a grasp on the afterlife. My views are changing and growing all the time regarding heaven and hell. I do know that hell is not what I used to think…. a fiery pit, eternal separation from God, the destination of those who choose not to believe in Jesus. And when I now read Revelation 21:25 with a different mindset. Gates in Scripture represent a place of decisions. Does this verse hold out to us the hope that the place of decisions will always remain open to the undecided? That there will always be time to decide? I don’t know. But my heart is open for God to reveal Himself in this… to reveal the truth. It’s going to take ages to come for Him to show us His grace in His kindness… in His chesed, His covenant love that refuses to let go of us… in Yeshua Elohim.

As I finish these major courses and look back over the past 16 months at Global Grace Seminary, I’m astounded with the changes that have taken place in my heart. There is a quiet and rest inside that permeates my entire being. A rest that seems like it was found effortlessly, as I allowed His mind, His thoughts, and His faith to become my own. Although allow seems like such a silly word. How can we allow what already is? There is only ONE mind – His. And there is only ONE faith – His. I guess the word allowing is the only word I can find to express a heart that simply says yes to His mind and His faith expressed in me, as me and through me. There is a Hebrew word that probably comes closer to it and that is shema. Shema gets unfortunately translated as obey. It is a beautiful word of hearing. Hearing and responding from the heart with love. It is a saying of yes before you even know what is being asked of you. Like when my husband says, “Honey will you do me a favor?” My response isn’t what’s the favor and then I’ll decide. The decision is immediate from a heart of love “Yes!” That’s how we enter into His rest so easily… He says “grace” and my heart without fully understanding what it is says “Yes!” He says “faith” and again my heart says “Yes!” Those simple yesses of “shema” release Holy Spirit to breathe His revelation of grace, faith, etc. and understanding comes. Understanding His passion for me! As a result, my heart is at rest in Him finding sweet confidence in our co-union. And all the while eager to know Him more intimately. To understand the depths of His love for me, of His eternal covenant with me that began before the foundations of the world. To journey deeper with Him into this place called grace. To stretch the borders of my understanding of IT IS FINISHED, of my wholeness, my completeness in Him… allowing it to cover every aspect of my life. I feel like the bride in Song of Solomon – I have found the One my soul loves!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s