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2. The Measure of Christ

If I am measured by Christ, then Christ is all my dimensions.

     

2. The Measure of Christ

© Daniel Yordy - 2015

I received the following note from a reader.

Hi Daniel, I am so blessed. This is such a blessing (The Third Place of Knowing God), and I have been reading and thinking on this much of the last few days.

When I had a bad time in losing my peace because of a wrong action, I got back into what is true, where I dwell in Him in me, and I was made glad.

Even the good of that wrong tree is not life. Daniel, Him in me dwelling in my flesh, knowing this and believing HIM, is perfect. Entering in through this flesh because it is His is good news.

Last night I was at a fellowship and we were given a piece of paper to measure our walk this last week. Of course it brought guilt as I, the old I, did not measure up. I realised, why measure a dead person? Christ is in me and that’s it.

I did share His fullness in us with them two weeks ago. But they knew I had said things I should not have said to my daughter, as she went to speak to them. The pastor even mentioned me and said my message was beautiful, but then handed out the measuring list. I felt so guilty. So very guilty. Though I said some true things to her, I had said them in anger and afterwards knew I was wrong.

But when I got home I once again read and pondered this truth, and I know that I know I am made strong even in this as He only is my life.

I am entering into the Holiest where I can eat and eat of Him, the Tree of Life. I don’t judge myself because how can I judge a dead man? He is now in me in this flesh which is His, and therefore I enter in through and with this flesh.

Blessings, L.

~~~

Dear Sister, your words fill me with such joy. What a wonderful example you give.

I will introduce the Song of Songs in an upcoming letter, but here I want to draw in one particularly meaningful passage. This passage in the Song of Songs was always used by preachers against me. Your story gives such a perfect example of the very opposite of what the preachers claim.

I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took my veil away from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am lovesick!Song of Songs 5:6-8

Now, keeping in our full view the understanding of Father arising every moment through all that we are, coming into our present knowledge through the Lord Jesus Christ, appearing now as us, we see that the love relationship described in Solomon's poem is a description of this precious communion in which we live, this communion we share with the Father and with Jesus Sent.

Here is the same experience you went through that you share.

“When I had a bad time in losing my peace because of a wrong action.”

Now, here is the truth. You had a bad time in losing your peace, not “because of” your wrong action, but because for a moment you allowed the wrong action to become something large in your sight, something larger than Jesus your only life. We all do that at times; in Him it's no big deal.

Look at the words of the Shulamite: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. These are familiar words, yes, but they are now to us, oh, soooo STUPID! – There is no such thing.

Yet, because of the very real human emotions of frustration and shock when we say or do things we would prefer not to say or do, we imagine, for just a little bit, that Jesus is far away from us, that He is not singing us as all that we are every moment, speaking Himself into us as the new creation, and in our momentary delusion, we go out “looking for Him” among our Christian brethren.

There we meet the preachers, the watchers on the wall.

I just love how you express what happened in your experience.

“We were given a piece of paper to measure our walk this last week.”

They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took my veil (His flesh)away from me.

Oh, this is so perfect. You know, when we seek for Christ alone all through the Old Testament, I am just overwhelmed at how perfectly we find Him. It's as if the entire Old Testament is about nothing other than Jesus alive in our hearts, our very and only life. (Oh, Jesus did say that, didn't He? :-)

Here is the measurement.

Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . . speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— Ephesians 4:13-15

As in all verses in the Bible, so especially in this one, life beckons to us from this verse, drawing us in, but the knowledge of good versus evil cries the loudest and turns almost all who approach away from the life. And that tree of good versus evil is always attended by preachers, the watchers on the wall.

But let's consider life.

Till we all come – The first key word is “come.” The King James translators chose to translate it “attain” in keeping with their role as the watchers on the wall beating God's precious people. “Attain” is, in some ways, the opposite of the word Paul used, katantao, which means “come down to,” as in coming down to the coast from a higher inland place.

Come down to the unity of the faith.

Come down to the knowledge of the Son of God.

Come down to a perfect man.

Come down to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Notice that the word “attain” contributes to the belief that becoming like Jesus is a factor of human achievement, becoming “like God” as was offered in the garden.

But you see how the verb rules the sentence. If all these things are something we “attain,” human achievement, then the watchers on the wall who beat us with the claims that our Beloved is displeased with us and thus far away – until we “get it right,” are correct. And if they are correct, then you and I have no hope. If the most capable of Christians fall short of this measurement, what hope do you and I have?

But if the verb is “come down to,” as in “Learn of Me – for I am meek and lowly of heart,” then we eat of life, simply because we don't know any better.

The second key word is epignosis, which means intimate, first-hand, and personal knowledge, not intellectual or theological knowledge. Paul uses this word for “know.” John, on the other hand, uses ginosko, similar, and also meaning intimate, first-hand, and personal knowledge, with the intimation of sexual intercourse.

But we know what Paul means when he uses epignosisthe knowledge of the Son of God, in the same way that all dictionary writers determine the meaning of any word – we see all the ways in which he uses the word and determine his meaning from the context. Here is the defining context.

That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment (epignosis)of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:6

The Greek word for “in” Christ Jesus includes the meaning of union.

This verse in Philemon has grown and grown in importance to me. It is another rendition of the second command of the gospel: Speak Christ. It is an extension of the seventh most important verse in the Bible, that we keep our confidence high.

Acknowledge, list on your paper, all the goodness of Christ that fills you full.

Finally, the word “measure” is simply a measuring stick, we would call it a yardstick.

Now, you go to the watchers on the wall because you want them to help you find your Beloved. Notice that they make no effort to locate the Beloved for you, to join your hand to His and His to yours. Rather, the watchers in Solomon's poem beat the Shulamite, and the watchers among our fellow believers use “Christ” to teach us to turn our back on Christ.

“We were given a piece of paper to measure our walk this last week.”

“Look at yourself; judge yourself by the sight of your eyes; you don't measure up to a far-away Christ.”

That's what the watchers did to the Shulamite and your pastor attempted to do with you.

Do they ask you to measure Christ? Or do they ask you to measure a corpse lying in an empty grave? “The grave is empty,” they sing. So, what corpse do we measure? As you say, “How can I judge a dead man?”

Let me just say this about the watchers. Yes, they are good and kind people. Yes, they are anointed of God. Yes, they love the Lord Jesus as much as they know of Him.

But here is their problem. They have judged sin to be large and Blood to be small. They have judged sinfulness to be large and the cross to be in great need of human assistance. But worst of all and most of all, they have judged Jesus to be far away, helping us just a little bit, from afar, but only through a dim and murky barrier that we, by our own human smarts and strength, must learn to cross.

And to assist us in our blind and confusing journey into “being like Jesus,” they beat us with whips.

“You do not measure up to Christ.”

I sit here in supreme joy and in great peace and comfort KNOWING that Jesus has measured Himself to me.

God gave me thirty years of living in the agony of not measuring up to Christ, frightened and vulnerable, knowing that I needed to know Savior and Salvation, yet BELIEVING and seeing both just beyond my reach. He gave me that breadth and depth of experience in order to give me now the extreme contrast, so that I would understand and be able, somehow, to articulate for God's precious people the joy and wonder of our Salvation.

His name is Jesus, and He has conformed Himself to us, that He might live us all the way into all the knowledge of God.

The Greeks had a myth in which a great man named Tantalus had displeased the gods. So they chained him to a rock and placed food and drink just beyond his reach, the aromas wafting across his nostrils. The food and drink were right there, full in his sight as he hungered and thirst, just a fraction of an inch beyond his fingertips. But try as he might, he could never quite grasp them; always, they were just a reach too far.

And that is the false measurement the watchers on the wall use to beat God's precious people. They show you Salvation; they describe what it means to be like Christ. We are drawn to their anointing and to their vision. But then they claim that you and I are chained to the rock of sin, and that Jesus, Salvation, all the fullness of Christ, is right there, we can almost touch Him, we feel His glory wafting over us. BUT NO! Look at your paper, write down your measurement.

You have fallen short once again!

They believe in the fullness of Christ, yes. They just believe in sin and sinfulness more.

But you see, here is what we do. We have figured out a little trick.

We are not chained. We are not bound to our own sins, for they belong only to Jesus.

And so, in our foolishness, not knowing any better, we disregard entirely any claim that the“fullness of Christ” is just beyond our reach, and we simply eat and drink of Jesus. There we are, in our innocence and joy, eating of Salvation, speaking all the fullness of Christ as our very and only life, and to the watchers on the wall, we have violated the holy.

To them, we have dirtied God.

“Look at your paper,” they cry. “Read what you did. See what you are.”

“YOU do not measure up to Christ.”

Since we are agreeable people, we oblige them. We read out loud what we have written there on our paper, all the measurement of Christ.

Christ my only life is faithful and true.

Christ my only life pleases the Father in all things.

Christ my only life pours out His life for all.

Christ my only life walks in perfect communion, sharing all things with Father.

You see, the others in the group are not measuring themselves by Christ. They are measuring themselves by sin. Sin is their measurement.

If I am measured by Christ, then Christ is all my dimensions.

But if Christ is not all my dimensions, then the measurement must be something other than Christ.

Other than Christ, not-Christ, has a name. Sin.

Christ has measured Himself upon all that is me. I am swallowed up into Jesus.

The seventh most important verse in the Bible, the great jeopardy verse, the command verse (Hebrews 3), commands us that we partake of Christ only as we keep our confidence high.

Look at the things all your brethren in that circle listed on their paper as they measured themselves by sin. Then gauge their confidence level. Is it high or is it low? Then look at the things you write on your paper as you measure yourself by Christ. Is your confidence low or is it soaring in the heavens in great joy?

Your pastor is a good man. Your pastor is a wicked man. He has used sin to break the confidence of those who look to him to lead them into Christ. He has chained them to the rock of sin in the imaginations of their minds and placed Christ just beyond their reach. Yet we know that Jesus also loves and carries him.

Now, I want to talk about something else you said. “Afterwards I knew I was wrong.”

I want to place before us two contradictory commands in the gospel.

Paul: That the sharing of your faith may become effective

by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Versus

James:  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

 The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Now, the word James uses is harmatia, usually translated sin, and meaning “falling short of the mark” or measurement.

Paul says, “List all the good things of Christ inside of you.”

James says, “List your sins, every point in which you fall short.”

Now, both of them use the exact same word – EFFECTIVE! Paul claims that our faith becomes effective (that it works) when we list the good things of Christ that we are. James claims that our faith becomes effective when we list all of our sins and falling short of Christ.

We have a decision to make, a simple, human, and very personal decision. One of these two must rule over the other. If we choose James, as all Christianity has done, then Paul's claim not only fades into the background, but becomes, to us in our perception, wrong, even evil. And if we choose Paul, as we have done, then James' claim becomes, in our perception, wrong and dirty. (I am being realistic about our perceptions.)

Yes, I once viewed Paul's words in Philemon 6 as immature and deceptive, leading the unwary into the mire of easy gracism. We knew that we had to be careful with Paul, for some of his claims could lead us astray.

Those who choose James' understanding of this element of the gospel, as the entirety of Christianity in history has done, have created a Christian practice called “confession.” Your brethren may claim they are not Catholic, but how is their practice of listing how they have failed Christ any different?

How, then, do we fit James 5:16? Here is the wonderful thing about acknowledging every good thing that is in you in Christ Jesus, making this confession of Christ our only way of life. We do not have to throw out James. (Understand that all who use James 5:16 as the rule DO throw out Philemon 6 in one way or another.)

John seems to give us a moderation of James: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Here is what happens. Perception is everything.

Those who practice the confession of sins, when they read John, emphasize “confess our sins,” and then place forgiveness and cleansing as secondary and peripheral, things that come only by some form of human effort, called by some, “penance” or by others, “repentance.”

Those who practice the confession of all the good things of Christ inside of us, see One sacrifice for sins forever cleansing us every moment as HUGE!!!!! And “confess our sins” as two things.

The first part of “confess our sins” is the entrance into Christ, Galatians 2:20, becoming guilty before God and thus shutting our mouths concerning sin and self as those who are crucified and dead must do.

But the second part of “confess our sins” is a minor, though important part of the river of life flowing out of us.

Conflicts arise with other people. That's just a given. In every conflict, regardless of the issues, even when we are “right,” it is possible for us to find, even if it might be small, some factor in which “I am wrong.”

And thus “I am wrong,” becomes then, not our repetitive entrance into a Christ who remains just beyond our reach, but rather our holding the door wide open to our brother or sister, that they, seeing that we hold nothing against them, also might enter into Christ. It is easy to say, “I am wrong,” to acknowledge where we may have messed up BECAUSE we know we are dead and silent before God. We KNOW that God cannot remember or even hear concerning any sin regarding us. We KNOW that Father is always arising in us, bound to us by Covenant Bond, sharing all things together with us.

We KNOW that when we stumble and fall, Father also shares our griefs and carries our sorrows.

And thus, we also can “come down to” the Jordan, “come down to” the measurement of Christ, “come down to” life laid down and love poured out. We also can be an entrance, a doorway for our brethren, God reconciling the world to Himself through us, that they, in seeing our humility, in seeing our joy, in seeing the wide open door, may also enter into Christ.

You do not say, “I was wrong,” for anything between you and the Father, between you and Christ your only life. You say, “I was wrong,” for your daughter's sake, that she might find no accusation, no resistance to her own entrance into confessing all the good things of Christ inside of her.

“I was wrong,” becomes just a note in the symphony of the singing of Christ.

I can embrace James' claim ONLY as the release of the river of life out from me to others.

I will never place it over Paul's gospel as the rule and government over my salvation.

It is a decision I have made, and I cast my entire life and future upon that decision.

So we do say, “I was wrong,” any time we should in ongoing relationships with others, but we say it in joy, keeping ourselves entirely in the supreme confidence of Christ our only life. And we say it in faith, knowing that the river of life is made effective by our confession, as James suggested.

Understand that God had not released the gospel of Christ our only life into the universe when James wrote his letter. James was not at fault for not knowing the truth of the gospel.

And understand this as well. Peter claimed that there is coming into our lives and experience a grace and a salvation that even Paul did not know.

I am convinced that the grace and the salvation coming now upon us is found all through the Bible, for I find it everywhere I look, even in James, even in Solomon. But I also know that those who spoke those words did not see the full extent of where their words would take us who measure ourselves by Christ and by nothing else.

Let's place your experience in the measuring balance.

“We were given a piece of paper to measure our walk this last week.”

Exactly how does such a practice serve to open the door to your brothers and sisters that they also might be caught in the river of life flowing out of us?

Not even.

And so, because the God who fills us full enjoys a good laugh, we laugh with Him as we list all the measurement of Christ on our paper.

Good things, good things, good things.

God things.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only life I am.

We sing the Song of the Lamb.