Love and perfection; these two are not two persons, but one. Consequently, a seamless union was formed between all of the human race and God in the God-man, Jesus Christ. This was always God's perfect plan for man – to unite the human race with its Creator. God's plan would be accomplished in its entirety through the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Therefore, through this union, a holy God and sinful humanity could be reconciled in the one sin-less man, Jesus Christ. Through this reconciliation more than a simple "bring back" to a former state of existence happened to mankind, but a translation from a kingdom of darkness to a Kingdom of light took place (Colossians 1:13).
In the same way, just as Christ took on a "new mode of existence" by becoming a man, so too would all of mankind take on a new mode of existence through the new nature given through the death of Christ on the Cross. In this, man would take on his original purpose in life.
"And the Word, entering a new mode of existence, became flesh, and lived in a tent [His physical body] among us..." (John 1:14, Kenneth S. Wuest)
A New Nature
God, in essence, is love. His very nature is love. Man witnessed a perfect manifestation of His love through the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We witnessed the culmination of His love in His death. In fact, we see that love had its full, complete and perfect expression on the Cross. (Photo via Unsplash)
Christ expressed to man God's full nature in the human body, releasing the fullness of love while on the Cross. Love's perfect plan was putting to death the nature of sinful mankind and making Christ the sole atonement for man's sins, so that man would, in turn, take upon a new nature by becoming born again. Therefore, today, the perfect expression of God would continue to be revealed through the life of the Believer as he manifests Christ's nature on the earth.
"Absolute deity in its essence no one has ever yet seen. God uniquely-begotten, He who is in the bosom of the Father, that One fully explained deity." (John 1:18, Kenneth S. Wuest)
The Gospel is so incredible in the fact that Christ was fully convinced that what He had done through love was enough to completely destroy sin, so much so that He sat down at the right hand of the Father in total rest (Hebrews 1:3). The great truth that we must understand about Christianity is the preeminent fact that Jesus Christ has so thoroughly redeemed us to God, it is as though no sin had ever been committed to separate us from Him. What an indescribable love! In fact, there is no greater love than this that a man would lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Paid in Full
Jesus' work of redemption was so complete that we were brought back into the very presence of God, and we are now standing there before Him with nothing left against us (Colossians 1:22). Our debt has been paid in full and cannot be paid twice through our own self-effort, since there is nothing left to pay. There is no point in continuing to work for something that we have been given freely. All that is left is simply to see that we are free.
So we have come into this understanding, that God redeemed us so He would no longer have to walk with us, but so that He could live in us. Paul summarized this matter with three essential words: "Christ in you" (Colossians 1:27). In this beautiful redemption, we see the fruit of it manifested in the transference of His nature to us. The life of Christ is made to manifest in us and through us (2 Corinthians 4:11). His anointing, His power, His righteousness, His glory, His authority, and His love have all now become ours, not in a lesser form, but in their fullness.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16, The New Berkeley Translation)
Oftentimes, we believe that love is something that we have to learn or earn through obedience and time, but this is hardly the case. While some have taught this misconception in the Church, we can plainly see, through the study of Scripture, that love is a supernatural release which comes through our new nature, and is tapped effortlessly in our daily walk with the Lord. So without any self-effort, or process, you have obtained an unlimited measure of the heart of the Father. Through His heart you are able to release an unlimited measure of His love to the world.
"No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us!
"By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit." (1 John 4:12-13, Amplified Bible Classic Edition)
I love how the apostle John tells the reader that no man has, at any time, seen God and then throws a huge curve ball with the word but. He first states that no man has seen God at any time in John 1:18, but turns around and tells the readers that His Son Jesus Christ has fully explained God.
Again, we see John taking this same approach when dealing with man and their "new nature" with the aspect of love being the key point he wants to address when dealing with the indwelling – as John lays out a cold, hard truth: that it is impossible to be born again and not have perfect love.
We see this statement of perfect love again in 1 John 3:14 (New International Version), "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death." We see that man is in death (or darkness) until he loves. This would seem to be a total contradiction to Colossians 1:13, if you believe that Believers must learn to love before entering into the light.
"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves." (Colossians 1:13, New International Version)
There are two ideas laid out in Christianity today. We must make a choice about what we believe, not just about love, but salvation as a whole. If we believe that one must learn to love, we are essentially saying that no man can truly be born again until he works himself into perfect love. When we take a biblical approach to this concept, it would be absurd to choose the process of learning to love as a means to true biblical salvation, when we see that it would eliminate the Blood and Cross of Christ. And if we were truly honest, it would eliminate redemption through Christ altogether.
At the core of true Christian theology is the concept of theosis. Many of the Church fathers taught on theosis. I believe that our generation is not only returning to this as a center of our biblical understanding of the new nature, but we are taking a deeper approach to this understanding. Where many previously believed it to be a process, we have come into a deeper understanding that all has been accomplished on the Cross. Therefore, we are simply to believe what has been done. (Photo via Unsplash)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons once stated that God "became what we are in order to make us what He is Himself." When we look at that statement, as shocking as it may seem, it is evident that Christ's nature is God's nature, and our new creation nature is the nature of Christ. So this understanding becomes almost impossible to misunderstand. God took on the nature of man so that we, in turn, would take on the very nature of God.
Again St. Athanasius of Alexandria is stated as saying, "The Son of God became man that we might become [g]od" (the second g is always lowercase since man can never become God). I believe these two statements depict the concept of how deep our redemption truly is. I also believe St. Athanasius uses 2 Peter 1:4 to place the final seal on the belief of theosis (partakers of divine nature) by saying that we are "becoming by grace what God is by nature."
"Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:4, New International Version)
What would otherwise seem absurd – that fallen, sinful man would become what God is (love) – has been made possible through Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate. No one would ever say that Christ had to learn to love; this would be total heresy, seeing that Christ was perfect, but we are quick to state that we, as Believers, must.
I believe the misconception that we must "learn" to love stems from the core belief that many still believe, that man has not been made perfect through the new nature. I simply want to challenge you to take a second look at your redemption and embrace fully what Christ has accomplished for you through His life, death, and resurrection.
Today is the day to embrace His accomplishment and to celebrate His achievement in recreating you into who God had fully intended for you to be all along. God is love and so are you!
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Charlie Shamp¬†is the Co-Founder and President of Destiny Encounters International. He is a sought after international key note speaker. He has been commissioned by Heaven as a Prophet to bring healing and revival in the nations. He has ministered both nationally and internationally with radical demonstrations of faith seeing lives transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.
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