By Paige Hunt
“Consequently, as difficult as it may seem, you ought to divorce yourselves from sentimental attachment to the prefiguring doctrine of the Messiah, which was designed to carry us like a vessel over the ocean of prophetic dispensation into the completeness of the fulfilled promise. A mind shift from attempts to impress God by your behavior, to faith-righteousness in Christ, is fundamental. There is no life left in the old system. It is dead and gone; you have to move on. All the Jewish teachings about ceremonial washings (baptism), the laying on of hands (in order to identify with the slain animal as sacrifice), and all teachings pertaining to a sin consciousness, including the final resurrection of the dead in order to face judgment, are no longer relevant. (All of these types and shadows were concluded and fulfilled in Christ, their living substance. His resurrection bears testimony to the judgment that he faced on humanity’s behalf and the freedom from an obstructive consciousness of sin that he now proclaims) ” – Hebrews 6:1-2 (MIRROR WORD)
In Part One of this series we discussed giving up our own efforts, to freely access the results of Christ’s own obedience on our behalf (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). As we do this, we naturally live an enjoyable, exciting life of rest, in which we successfully see all of the promises of God with our own eyes. Our Daddy is good to us all of the time!
As Hebrews 6:1 states, we’ve been carried ‘into the completeness of the fulfilled promise’, and thus ‘a mind shift’ must take place in our own lives. This is because our minds have a built-in GPS system, with us automatically locating ourselves somewhere – such as in our emotions and in our circumstances. Certain events produce a particular ‘feel’ in our life, and we can run on auto-pilot in the dimensions of those environments, living by the ‘religious rituals’ of their ‘expectations’ and ‘limitations’. However, we have escaped from those systems, because our location is in Christ with God. We are positioned in the glorious realm of our inheritance: a realm more truthful and authentic than our five senses and all of our memories. It is a realm which has given us new spiritual senses. As we locate ourselves in our perfection in Christ, and in His cosy acceptance of us, we see that atmosphere of heavenly bliss, that loved-up ‘feel’ of heaven, manifest here on earth.
In Matthew 17, there is an account of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain in front of Peter, James, and John. Transfiguration simply means that what was within Jesus radiated outwards and he was thus ‘glorified’. The transfiguration was an account in which Jesus revealed the true nature of the Christian. It is as we locate ourselves correctly, in the faith-righteousness of Christ, that God’s glory radiates out of us and our whole lives are transformed (Romans 12:2). We can believe in this faith-righteousness for every area of our lives, especially in the physical realm. We don’t need any more diet-plans or habit-breaking routines of self-denial. Christ is the doorway into perfection made visible for every area you could think of, because God has thought of all areas of our lives and blessed every area with all of his best blessings, personalized to our desires and needs (Ephesians 1:3). Whether you desire a healthier physique, material gain, a happy marriage, to break that restricting habit, or to overcome your insecurities, faith-righteousness is all-sufficient, because our Daddy loves us. It is out of the same glory cloud which radiates from within us, that our heavenly Daddy said “this is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Because He loves us so much, we can rest and trust in this love. Ah, relaxation!
In Genesis, there is a story about Jacob having a dream of a stairway to heaven. This stairway stretched from heaven to earth (Genesis 28:12), and it released manifest blessings (Genesis 28:13-15). In the same way, Christ is our ‘gate of heaven’ (Genesis 28:17), and as we rest in him we receive ‘freedom from an obstructive consciousness of sin’ in every form imaginable! As we agree with his faith, we grab hold of the spiritual substance of Christ and draw it into the natural realm, and we see the God-kind of results in our life. Our life ‘gets’ that cosy, loving feel of heaven.
Within Philippians 3, Paul speaks a lot about his ‘impressive’ earthly credentials which qualified him to have supreme confidence in the flesh – i.e. in attempts to impress both God and mankind through behavior (Philippians 3:3-3-6). However, he says something truly enlightening:
“However, what things were gain to me [attempting to impress through behaviour], these have I counted loss for Christ…I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ…[I count all of those things loss so that I can] be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that what is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead’ – Philippians 3:7, 8a, 9-11 (emphasis mine)
In other words, faith-righteousness is defining our lives by ‘the knowledge of Jesus Christ’ – what he knows to be true about us in our union with him, and what His cross and resurrection constantly communicates to our lives. As we root our lives in him (‘being found in him), we experience the ‘power of his resurrection’, as Christ’s personality, blessings, and all of heaven’s harmony, beauty, creativity and splendor manifest in and through our lives. We also experience the ‘fellowship of his sufferings’. This does not mean that we will have to suffer (see verses such as Psalm 91 and Luke 10:19 which speak of divine protection! Our Daddy desires for us to be safe and secure). The ‘fellowship of Christ’s sufferings’ is that which is mentioned in Isaiah 53:5:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings is a personal, tangible understanding in our hearts that because Christ suffered for us, we do not have to experience the effects of sin and death. Instead, we experience ‘the resurrection from the dead’ in the here and now; things such as ‘renewal of youth’ (“who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:5), the reversal of decay in our teeth, restoration of sight and hearing, and the list goes on and on!
This good news is our foundation, which brings us confidence that we do not have to establish any rituals in our lives to gain a desired result. Our faith-righteousness in Christ is perfection in our spirits, souls and bodies. His freedom dominates our lives! This is the creative dance of grace which has captured our hearts (Galatians 5:25). We no longer have to live within the stifling, stuffy confines of any religion!
As a result of all of this, we can view prophecy in a completely different way. As Matt Spinks has articulated it:
“Old Testament prophecy is still where most prophets even today are at. Old Testament prophecy relies heavily on dreams, visions, symbols, and looking in the Spirit. It is not bad, but not the fullness. Christ is the fulfillment of all the dreams, symbols, and partial pictures. They are all ultimately pointing to Him. Aka… our effortless love-union with Him. New Testament, or fullness of prophecy, does not rely much on these types and shadows, but speaks a simple message of union, love, and fullness in Christ. NT prophetic may not seem as flashy, because the normal everyday things become heavenly…Heaven and earth reconciled”
Prophecy then, is no longer trying to glimpse at something far ahead in the future, but it is the revelation of the Son and our inclusion in him! (Hebrews 1:1-2).
There are a few ways in which we can engage with New Covenant prophecy concerning ourselves and others, and they all begin with the fundamental truth that our heavenly Daddy practices our Presence perfectly, with total acceptance, and tangible adoration (see Psalm 139, and the declaration that this knowledge is ‘too wonderful’!). The Holy Trinity is a river of delight, glory, fun and ineffable beauty which runs throughout the entire world, and our existence flows out of this outstanding reality. This is the best news in the entire universe! C. Baxter Kruger writes it this way:
“I remember noticing that it was an exceptionally beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, no rain, no darkness, nothing but pure sunshine, and almost warm. I remember going through a round-about and looking up at the hills and the sunshine, and for a second I swear the whole earth stopped and rejoiced with me. I swear the mountains sang. It was Biblical stuff, the trees clapped their hands in joy. I saw the beauty of it all, the glory and the joy and the great dance of life, as I had never seen it before. I experienced it, tasted it, was baptized in it. And there and then, in that moment, I suddenly realized the problem of my life. All along I had been thinking about God the wrong way. All along I had misjudged the very being of God. I had been a blind idiot. God is not some faceless, all-powerful abstraction. God is Father, Son and Spirit, existing in a passionate and joyous fellowship. The Trinity is not three highly committed religious types sitting around some room in heaven. The Trinity is a circle of shared life, and the life shared is full, not empty, abounding and rich and beautiful, not lonely and sad and boring. The river begins right there, in the fellowship of the Trinity. The great dance is all about the abounding life shared by the Father, Son and Spirit. In an instant, all the dots were connected for me. The logic of the universe fell into place—the logic of creation and of Jesus’ coming, the logic of your life and mine, of babies and baseball, of work and fishing, of romance and sex, the logic of woodworking and running a Cash and Carry store, of laughter and fellowship, of human history, of life: It all came together. And I saw that it all begins with the Trinity and the great dance of life shared by the Father, Son and Spirit. That is the rhyme and reason and mystery of it all. The vision was so overwhelming that I almost wrecked the car, and I had to pull over on the side of the road. I tried to write it all down, but it was too much. It was too beautiful, too rich.” – C. Baxter Kruger, ‘The Great Dance’ p. 17
We can therefore evaluate our lives, and the lives of others, through this gloriousness: through the heaven of God’s imagination. This reminds me of Revelation 22, with the description of God’s river of life (Revelation 22:1-3). We can splash around in this river of life, and get completely soaked in the revelation of our origin in Him as we have fun! The fun of total and child-like abandon! Let’s splash around in the rivers of His opinion of us, and of our shared beauty and loveliness in Jesus. We are of the essence of heaven: of a divine romance, so sacred and adored. God is our Daddy and He lives to dote on us, to adore and enjoy us with all of the loveliness of His being. As we live knowing that we are adored, and cultivating an awareness of His adoring Presence, we realize that we are of the same dignity and loveliness as the Trinity, and we share one life, one essence, and one inexpressible joy. As we exaggerate God’s personal goodness towards us, we realize that He is always greater than our most untamed imaginations (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Practical Application Point
The practical application of this, then, is to get creative and imaginative in enjoying God and falling into that tangible awareness of His love for you. Surround yourself with good grace resources, and know that you are free to personalize His love in everything! Here are a few ways that I personalize Daddy God’s love:
1. I surround my life with ‘reminders’: cute objects such as teddy bears, to help me to remember throughout every day the truth that my heavenly Father knows me to be cute. As a parent with a newborn, God’s highest priority is to make you feel secure, comforted, and surrounded with His cotton wool essence of perfect safety and wonder. He is cuddling you. He is the God of all cuteness, and in no way is He harsh or scary. (I also carry with me reminders of His personalized promises to me, which reminds me of His goodness, kindness, and unconditional, limitless love).
2. I thoroughly enjoy my interests, knowing that there is no real sacred/secular divide. For example, when reading fantasy books such as Lord of the Rings, I see the creative beauty of Lothlorien as a description of our heavenly life of faith. Once again I am going to share with you a C. Baxter Kruger quote, from one of his interviews, about a meeting he had with a systematic micro-evolutionary biologist:
“He was coming back from a research trip in the Caribbean, and he was all concerned about plants becoming extinct… I said, “Where did you get your passion for plants?”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “Was your Uncle Freddie a botanist, I mean, your mother a botanist? Did you just decide one day you’re going to be passionate about plants?”
So I pull out my napkin – he’s got his diagrams – and drew three circles, and I said, Father, Son, and Spirit. I said there’s only one man, there is only one person in this universe that cares about plants, because they belong to his Father – his name is Jesus. And Jesus is not going to care about those plants without our participation. He’s put his passion for his Father’s plants inside of you, you’ve been toiling around in the Caribbean participating in his passion for his Father’s creation and its care, and its flourishing. And you don’t know who you are… In that moment you could see the difference, because until that moment, he thought he was doing that. It was his passion, and by God, it was his idea and it was his energy and he was doing this, and he was proud of what he thought he was doing in his own strength as a human being. And in that second, the light of Christ dawned, he saw himself for who he really was. He’s part of something much larger.
I said, “The most important thing is whether or not God believes in you. He does, and he’s sharing his life with you, and that’s who you are. If you can come to see that and believe in Jesus, then you can give yourself to participate not in a prideful look-at-me-I’m-better-than-you way, because he’s going to make everybody in other departments feel “less than” because they’re not botanists, they’re just theologians or whatever. But you can participate in this in a much more personal way where you can give yourself to be a part of this and include the way in which Jesus is doing a lot other things.”
That’s a simple illustration to me of how that begins to work out. Pride is gone in a sense of, I want to participate, Jesus, in what you are doing here. Show me more, what am I missing, what are you doing with these plants. You’re the one that’s in resurrection and you’re bringing these plants back, what do we do, how does that work? And you give yourself to participate in a much more intelligent and clear and less prideful and sanctimonious way.”
God desires for you to know that He is within all of your beautiful, holy interests with you! You share one heart and mind with The Holy Trinity!
3. I practice hospitality with myself. I know that through self-love, I will be more open to receiving tangibly the revelation of how God feels about me. So, if I am tired and stressed out, I run a bubble bath, or I make my bed look beautifully cosy. I treat myself the way that a really talented homemaker would treat a guest. A while back, me and Josh travelled to Indiana, and the family we stayed with welcomed us with scented yankee candles, and beautiful cushions on the bed. Everything was amazingly cosy and made us feel like royalty. I think it is so healthy to practice that same kind of affection towards ourselves.
4. I use my creative abilities to enjoy Daddy’s love for me. I love to write, so for example, I could sit down and enjoy writing an imaginative piece of creative writing about a magnificent fantasy world, as a description of this beautiful grace of God within me, and what it looks like. If you’re a singer/songwriter, you could write an intimate song about the wonder and beauty of Daddy’s grace and love.
5.Another way to use your creative abilities to ‘practice God’s Presence’, would be to write an encouraging message to your friends. Focus on the way that God sees them, and the feelings that Daddy has towards them, and encourage them out of that flowing artesian spring of grace within your heart!
6. Also, you could spend some time with a delicious hot chocolate and some great worship music, a good grace book, or a wonderfully encouraging sermon. I love to daily enter his rest, through enjoying wisdom from other grace ministers, and allowing their gems of grace wisdom to renew my mind to Daddy God’s grace and love, and away from performance mentalities (Hebrews 4:11; Romans 12:2)
There are so many more things you could do, and this list is in no way comprehensive! What are some of the ways that you enjoy and embrace the life of faith?
Francois du Toit, The Mirror Bible: A selection of key New Testament texts paraphrased from the Greek (South Africa: Mirror Word Publishing, 2012)
C. Baxter Kruger, The Great Dance: The Christian Vision Revisited (Jackson: Perichoresis Press, 2000)