Jesus declared that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent. Here eternal life is not just long life. But it is limitless life, which is why Jesus came to undo blindness and decay and offer us life to the full. Jesus is saying that God is known through Himself which is where we get the truth of the Jesus Lens: Seeing and knowing God through Jesus.
God cannot be known through the law or from a legalistic Christian culture. We grow in knowing God by agreeing that we have been received into the life of Jesus – life in which He lives in fellowship with Father and Holy Spirit. Jeff Turner has some helpful insights on knowing God through Himself as distinct from attempting a view of Him through the law and the knowledge of good and evil. He writes.
“At one time we, as a species, knew this being called God quite well. The first man and his wife, so we’re told, lived naked in His presence and felt no shame (Genesis 2:25).
It seems that God likewise lived “naked”, so to speak, and unveiled before man’s eyes, revealing to them constantly the actual truth of Who He is.
Theirs was an unfiltered knowledge of God that was not dependent upon second hand information or sacred texts. They experienced a “naked”, uncovered relationship with the Holy in which nothing was hidden or held back. All that God was and is laid naked and bare before the eyes of humankind.
In this state of possessing a pure knowledge of God humanity was lacking in any concept of good or evil, for this “knowledge” had not yet become a part of the human experience. It had yet to enter into our lives which would seem to suggest that originally, man was not made to behold God as “holy” in a moral or behavioural sense, as God discouraged man from eating the fruit that would grant him this ability.
In man’s original mind there were no lines of distinction between good and bad, or sacred and secular. God was all in all, and Adam and Eve enjoyed life in the context of His presence, without a consciousness or understanding of sin. God was not the judge, the rule master or the dispenser of fines and penalties for moral infractions. He was simply Father, and above all He was Love.” (1)
LIFE IS RELATIONSHIP
Turner describes a state of affairs where life is relationship with God. Life has not been compartmentalised, categorised and neither has a hierarchy of values been established. Life simply ‘was’ and humans had it because they lived in relationship with God.
It’s significant that this relationship dissolved when man believed a lie about God. Captured in untruth and a false narrative, Adam became separated from God, from Himself and began to seek wholeness in overcoming of his own accord. In overcoming all the things that he could now see that he was not himself - juxtaposed but not in union with God.
ALL THINGS TOGTHER IN CHRIST
In his book ‘The Naked Now’, Richard Rohr writes on a similar theme. He implies that we need not make dichotomies out of our existence and that we can give up living in dualisms of the is and the is not kind.
This does not mean that we abandon them. Just that we do not live in them.
BUT THE REALITY IS CHRIST
Good and evil are real and distinct. Yet evil is parasitic on the good and could not exist if there was no good to distort. Rohr would have us realise that there is the original good that comes from God and that has been restored by God in the person of Jesus Christ. This is obvious in Paul’s declaration of the nature of Jesus
‘The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ Col 1.15-17
Then there is Paul’s assertion that ‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV. The new creation is Christ as you, Christ as us.
The alpha of the new creation is Jesus and the omega of the new creation is Jesus and the new earth.
This new creation occurs when we allow ourselves to be drawn into God’s oneness and wholeness. Paul is specific about this when he writes ‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth’ Eph 1.10 NLT.
John also writes, "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen--the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's new creation Rev 3.14 3.14 NLT.
Jesus will never grow religion. He generates life itself, life clothed in life and never in the clothes of death. We can insulate ourselves from the limitless life of Christ when we enclose ourselves in layers of religion that did not come fom God.
WHAT’S YOUR MINDSET?
Wholeness and new creation life become ours in a spirit and life mentality but not in a law/sin mentality. The former is fragmentation, decay and death. The latter is resurrection, life itself and new creation. Our life in God is the unfolding resurrection of Jesus in our persons, families and societies. Christ is all and in all is what it says. He is life, joins us to fellowship with God and to the life that we call the earth and the cosmos. In Jesus we are joined to life. All of it is holy and we are made whole as we grow up in the spirit of sonship to be life-givers and people who touch dead situations with spirit and life.
Living in the naked now we live in radical union with God. This is the privilege of all – not of spiritual giants. These giants become who they are because they live naked to God’s naked self.
You can live in externalities, compartments and definitions and call this your faith. Then again you can be a person who has moved from mere belief or belonging systems to actual an inner experience of God: An experience of being one with God because you are realizing that ‘I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
(1) Turner, Jeff. Saints in the Arms of a Happy God: Recovering the Image of God and Man (p. 20). Jeff Turner. Kindle Edition.