26. The Obedience of God
From the moment Jesus said, “Glorify Me,” a Man walked this earth for the first time, a Man as God intended from the beginning, a Man living out from the full reality of the tree of life. A Man, that is, God revealed, the image and likeness of GOD!
26. The Obedience of God
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:13-18
Consider these words: – To show to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel. –
Over and over, in picture after picture given to us through the journey and feasts of Israel, we see the intense reality of the gospel, the stark absoluteness of what IS, set before our eyes until we are simply compelled to believe that what God says is true. – In which it is impossible for God to lie.
At the center of the Atonement, at the center of all of God's counsel, are Jesus' words: “It is finished.”
One thing alone blocks our walking in the full knowledge of our union with God; that one thing is the lingering doubt, the whispering shadow, that since I clearly do not “look like God,” Jesus' words must not be true. Something more, something, maybe, on my part, is needed, so that I will become, someday, Christ-like.
In other words, we do not know that God and we are one because we suspect, by the evidence of our eyes, and the judgment of our self that Jesus lied.
This is the issue and has been the issue from the beginning. This is the whole purpose of God, the whole point of everything. God speaks: “Let there be light.” That Word is the sending forth of Christ, God becoming seen and known by His creation. The serpent speaks: “Did God really say that?”
God has no interest in “proving us” to see if we will believe Christ or the serpent. Why would God want to do that? Separate from God, we must get it wrong. Filled with God, God must prove Himself true.
God is determined to prove that His Word, Christ, prevails against all other voices, and that His Word, Christ, triumphs in weakness, when all appearances scream the opposite. God has a thing for His Word; God has a thing for proving the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus speaks; the Spirit of God does; the Father is revealed.
We have not understood this relationship between Jesus and the Father. In fact, our entire goal, the bond of the Covenant, is to know in full experience every moment the same relationship with the Father that Jesus knew.
Being like Jesus is not possessing as a separated self a super-human Christ power. That image is, in fact, being like the serpent, a glorious angel. I really, really, really, want to hack to pieces that evil definition of Christ.
All that being like Jesus is and means is found inside the concept and reality of relationship with the Father.
The Father sends His Spirit to do; He sends His Son to speak.
It is not our task to do, except for the normal everyday things of Christian kindness; the doing of God remains the task of the Holy Spirit. It is our task to speak.
We continue to follow the Hercule Poirot principle in our pursuit of the knowledge of God; that is, we find those odd out-of-the-way clues that everyone else misses and follow those strange and seemingly insignificant things all the way Home.
I have just found four odd little clues that I have never considered before. Four times Jesus commanded the Father. We have two simple questions to answer. Did God obey Jesus? And how did God obey Jesus?
Three of these commands are recorded by John in Chapter 17. One is recorded only by Luke in Chapter 23.
These four commands present to us such a fascinating certainty. Jesus spoke them into time and the human experience in just the same way that Moses assembled the tabernacle in the wilderness, beginning by placing the Ark in the Holiest and ending by draping the gate over the entrance pillars of the outer court. Yet, even though these four things were spoken out from the Holiest first and ended with our entrance into the first knowledge of God last, we know these commands of Jesus only by starting with the last and ending with the first.
Let me give these four commands of Jesus to the Father in the order in which He spoke them followed by the same commands in the order by which we enter into their knowledge.
Glorify Me together with Yourself. – Keep through Your name those whom You have given Me. – Sanctify them by Your truth. – Father, forgive them.
Father, forgive them. – Sanctify them by Your truth. – Keep through Your name those whom You have given Me – Glorify Me together with Yourself.
The words of Jesus, “The last shall be first and the first last,” apply to many things, for they are the very nature and expression of God. We once took them to be negative; they are entirely positive.
Knowing these two arrangements of order, first, the speaking of God into His creation, second, our entrance into knowing this speaking of God, is at the core of our victory (and the premise ofThe Jesus Secret).
The first thing established by God is the last thing we come to know in our experience. And the last thing established by God is the first thing we come to know in our experience. There is a simple reason for that, it is called the faith of the Son of God, the acknowledgement that God is, in fact, eternal – ALL right now.
God wants us to know that, from the moment we enter into the forgiveness of God, glory is already fully accomplished. This is what I have taught, that God always leads us in triumph, that is, the full celebration of complete victory BEFORE we see it with our eyes, for the simple reason that it IS already finished. In fact, the finish was full and complete in full existence and reality before the beginning ever began.
If you think this is really weird, you're right. We must accept God's extreme oddities if we desire to love Him.
Just to have God's picture clear: Father, forgive them is the gate into the outer court, the fulfillment of Passover in our lives. Sanctify them by Your truth is the door into the Holy Place, the fulfillment of Pentecost in our lives. Keep through Your name those whom You have given Me is the veil into the Holy of Holies, the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the certainty of Tabernacles in our lives. And glorify Me together with Yourself is the Pillar of Fire upon the Mercy Seat, the outflow of the final Day of Tabernacles into all creation.
But are these “commands” required of God and not just simple “requests” asked by Jesus?
Certainly, inside the nature of communion, Jesus speaks with full regard to the Father. But these are certainly not “requests,” as in, “Oh, please, God, if You would, pretty please.” Such speaking is of the evil one.
These commands of Jesus could just as easily be worded in this way and mean the same thing.
“Hey, You, do what I say, now.”
Now, when I lived in the “obedience” gospel, I was taught that delayed obedience is disobedience. It's not that those things taught were untrue, it's just that they could not apply to me, but to God. It is God who fulfills all of His expectations, but only as we accept that He already is our only life, living right now in full union with us and expressing Himself by us exactly as He pleases.
How long was it after Jesus commanded God before God obeyed?
– To show to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel. –
The command of Jesus and the full and explicit obedience of the Father are one and the same.
Now, having embraced fully the Day of Atonement and having placed before our eyes the necessity of turning around in order to know the reality of God, our goal right now is to know how Jesus thinks, for we are transformed into His image as we think exactly like Jesus thought after He had come forth as the unfolding of God into visibility in human flesh, walking upon this earth.
At the center of the mind of Christ, which we fully possess, is the faith of the Son of God. Look at the bold and presumptuous faith of Jesus. Aaron does not turn around until he KNOWS that the atonement is finished. – Jesus turns around nine hours before the real Atonement is finished.
Jesus commands the Father concerning the Pillar of Fire, the Veil into the Holiest, and the Gate into Pentecost BEFORE Gethsemane. That is, minutes before Gethsemane.
We know that the cross is from 9 AM until 3 PM. We assume that the interrogation of Jesus is from 6 AM until 9 AM. We then place Gethsemane from 3 AM until 6 AM. We assume that Jesus leaves the upper room with His disciples after 12 midnight. Thus the prayer of Jesus to the Father in John 17, the prayer that birthed the Kingdom, is prayed between 12 AM and 3 AM.
Jesus says, “Father forgive them,” sometime during the first hour on the cross, that is, between 9 AM and 10 AM. Jesus says, “It is finished,” moments before 3 PM. At that moment the Atonement is finished. At 3 PM the Atonement is accepted by God as perfect and complete. Let's then set the order of time.
2 AM: Jesus commands the Father concerning the completion of all things.
6 AM: Jesus rises to His feet in Gethsemane, “turning around” for us.
9:30 AM: Jesus commands the Father to forgive the entire creation.
3 PM: Jesus speaks, “It is finished.” The Atonement is now complete.
Look at the audacity of Jesus' faith. The Atonement is not finished, yet Jesus turns around as if it is, nine hours before. Jesus is still corruptible, still walking in the likeness of sinful flesh. He remains able to call upon ten thousand angels, able to call the whole thing off. He is about to pass under the curse of God: Cursed is every man who hangs upon a tree. Jesus is still mortal, His body can and will perish.
Jesus knows all this, yet He stands to His feet in Gethsemane, having turned from Sorrow to Joy, having turned entirely around for our sakes, in the certainty of “presumption” that the Atonement IS already finished, even though it is not.
Jesus expects to fulfill the Atonement; Jesus expects that He will be pleasing to God.
Jesus relies absolutely, not on Himself, but on the immutability of God's counsel. He does so for two reasons among many. First, only by such audacity of faith does God place you and me into Jesus literally and actually that we might be there in Him through every step He took. Of truth, the Father placed us into Jesus by the very breath of Jesus as He spoke, “Glorify Your Son that Your Son may also glorify You.” And second, Jesus shows us with all clarity the faith of the Son of God by which we live.
The second time Jesus turns around is the same to human eyes – completely premature. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father EXPECTING that all creation will come into submission to Himself.
I watched part of a television show about men presently confined in a maximum security prison in California. As I watched the hard viciousness of these men and their screaming accusation, their determination to be filthy-evil only, I could hear the voice of the “Christian” doubter.“Come on, who are you kidding, these men will never yield themselves to the kindness of Jesus, not now and not ever.”
Jesus EXPECTS that they will even though all outward appearances in the present moment scream the opposite. Jesus expects that they already have, even while He sits there waiting, seemingly to us doing nothing.
I want to begin with Jesus' final command, Father forgive them, because that is the first entrance for us into the knowledge of God. But before we look at the meaning of God's obedience to that command, we must know that the first command of Jesus to the Father is already FINISHED.
Here is the final completion of that first command.
Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:28
Someday? No. Already over with, already done. Those hard and wicked men in prison have already yielded themselves to the loving-kindness of Jesus, they just don't know it yet. Yes, we know that the unfolding of God into time is a progressive unfolding that appears to us as start to finish, but we begin knowing that the finish has already come first.
– We begin knowing that all things are finished.
Father, forgive them. – This certainty of this command, the extent and scope of this command, the immediacy of the Father's obedience, sends shivers all through me now every time I see these words.
John Calvin was dead wrong. The Atonement is NOT limited; the New Covenant presents no such idea.
He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
The word is cosmos, all creation, all of heaven and all of earth; the meaning is clear.
God all in all is also fairly explicit and definite in meaning, rather hard to mistake. And yes, the Greek word used here for “all,” Theos ta panta en pasin, that is, pas, has a very peculiar and unusual meaning (I'm being silly). It means – are you ready? – ALL!!!
Father, forgive them. – Did God obey Jesus?
The simultaneous obedience of God has two parts. The first part is the instantaneous fulfilment, the second part is the unfolding of the knowledge of that fulfillment through time. The unfolding of God's obedience through time has two parts. The first part took place during the next 5 ½ hours after Jesus told God exactly what He required God to do. The second part takes place as each individual person in the creation enters into the knowledge of what God has already fully done.
A sister who reads these letters has shared with me her concerns with the idea that Jesus “became sin.” I always take this sister's concerns to heart, sometimes I see that God is changing my thinking by them and other times, I have written gently and carefully to explain what I see that God is speaking. Either way it is the hand of the Lord. Her concern has been – how could Jesus be the spotless Lamb if He actually became sinful?
There was a time in my life that I would have recounted Jesus “becoming sin” as graphically as I could. Yet that whole way of thinking does come out of the “transaction” theology of Nicene Christianity, the idea that redemption was a transaction between God and Jesus to satisfy God's righteous indignation.
Did Jesus become sinful in the manner of Himself being all evil and filthiness. Not hardly! Did Jesus “become sin” in the manner in which the sin sacrifice in the Old Testament “carried” the sins of the people? Yes. Here are the New Testament verses that speak of this reality.
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. Hebrews 9:28 – But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.Hebrews 10:12
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness 1 Peter 2:24 – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18
In looking up the Greek for 2 Corinthians 5:21, I see that the translation cannot be other than what is found in the New King James wording: no sin to be sin. The key word in these verses, however, is huper, translated “takes away,” “to bear,” and “bore.” It means simply that Jesus picked up and carried our sins to the place our sins must be, the empty grave, a task entirely outside of our ability or standing.
Yet Jesus' body, carrying our sins inside of it, did pass under the curse of God, “Cursed is every man who hangs upon a tree,” (Galatians 3), and it died according to the penalty for sin spoken by God in the beginning.
None of this is “for God.” It is for us, that we might believe that the tomb is empty and our sins are no more.
Yet God is an accountant, and He requires an accounting of all things. At the very same moment that Jesus required the Father forgiveness of all sins, God forgave. It's not that God withheld forgiveness until that moment, for God does not dwell in time. Rather, Jesus' words were simplyGod manifest in the flesh. But over the next few hours before Jesus' physical body died, in the realms of the heavens, all sin committed by all was accounted and placed upon the Sacrifice, vanishing with it into the empty grave.
But when we understand that God obeyed Jesus in absolute totality, we stand in the certain knowledge of God. Then, as time proceeds in the human experience, one by one, individuals come to know for themselves that, indeed, all sin is already forgiven. Many imagine that God forgives them when they repent. They are wrong. It is when they repent that they discover a forgiveness that is already fully finished for all.
This thinking is essential to the thinking of Jesus. When we look around at all other humans upon this earth, we see two absolute realities about each individual person. That person is already forgiven, and that person has already yielded to the Salvation of Jesus. They might not yet know it, but it is already true. Regardless of any outward appearance we may see with our eyes, none of that is real; the only thing real is the Salvation of God.
I look at my neighbour watering her lawn and think, “You have already opened your heart to Jesus and received the forgiveness of God, you just don't know it yet.” The idea that my neighbor might be “lost” if I do not convince her to “get saved” has never entered Jesus' mind.
This is how Jesus thinks right now: From henceforth expecting . . .
The next command of Jesus in our experience, the third which He spoke, is the command to the Father to sanctify us. To be sanctified is to enter into the full experience of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Place in which the Spirit of God prepares us to enter all the way into the Holiest.
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
We understand “I am the way, the truth, and the life” as being the fulfillment of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles in our lives. Here is how Jesus thinks about our sanctification.
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:12-14
If we were not already perfected forever, than being sanctified could not exist. Our being sanctified is nothing other than the unfolding into space and time of God's eternal being. God obeyed Jesus the moment Jesus spoke those words in John 17. In fact these four commands of Jesus are the birthing of the Kingdom, the creation of the new heavens and earth.
The third command of Jesus in our experience, which is the second in His speaking, is the command of Jesus to the Father to KEEP us. Even as I write this word “keep,” I am overwhelmed by the power, the intensity, the ferocity, the absoluteness found in its never ending depths.
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are . . . Those whom You gave Me I have kept . . . But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.John 17:11-13
Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
Living in the keeping of the Father is living in the Atonement fulfilled; it is living convinced that any form of separation from God's Person does not exist, that we are Jesus' flesh now filled with God, that we are the Mercy Seat of God revealed into this world.
This command is the foundation of our thinking just like Jesus thought. Thinking like Jesus thought begins with the full, unrestrained knowledge of God the Father filling us full – a knowledge that exists entirely by faith, the faith of the Son of God.
It is the Father who keeps, and the Father keeps in a very specific manner.
First, although we are just now discovering the full meaning of Father-KEEP, we also know that Father-keep “began” the very moment Jesus spoke these words. But of course, Jesus' commanding the Father did not “begin” anything in God, it only revealed God into space and time. We are not and have never been “un-kept” by God. Being seized in God's grip, in God's Person, is the only thing we are, the only thing we have ever been.
Second, we must know the tenacity, the sheer claw-power in God's grip. God does not grip us with His “hand,” but with His entire Person present and all.
Third, this mighty Grip that is God is filled with power, but power pointed in a very specific direction.
You who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5
The word “revealed” is the apocalypse of Jesus Christ; “the last time” means at the most opportune moment, that is, Today. Salvation is the Mercy Seat beating as our hearts.
Most people miss the “through faith” part. Faith is specific to the Word God speaks; Faith believes that what God says is true and absolute, fulfilled in all ways, here and now, God in Person in us – against all outward sight and all human judgment of self.
Faith has turned around. Faith is absolute boldness; the daring audacity of David, the presumption of Jesus, the faith of the Son of God.
Finally we come to the first command by which Jesus commanded the Father.
Father, glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You – Glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
The very second Jesus commanded the Father, God obeyed.
From the very moment Jesus said, “Glorify Me,” from that moment on, we are seeing the precise glory of God's power and the express image of His Person. It is not a heavenly glory, or, shall we say, heaven saw the walk of the Atonement as something absolutely and utterly glorious, beyond any glory ever known in heaven.
From the moment Jesus said, “Glorify Me,” a Man walked this earth for the first time, a Man as God intended from the beginning, a Man living out from the full reality of the tree of life.
A Man, that is, God revealed, the image and likeness of GOD!
That image is not found in what was done to Jesus, the cuts and the open bleeding wounds. That image is found in the bearing and essence of Jesus as He carried us all the way into life.
The glory Jesus required of the Father IS the full Oneness of relationship between God and Man, perfect union first, precious communion second, and shared expression third, Person inside of Person. The glory is the communion, a communion found only in absolute union, a communion that always flows out to bless others.
Here is the issue. In fact, I believe I see now what is the primary thing blocking God's people from walking in full union with God right now. The problem is the definition of God.
How we define God affects everything related to our lives. Because the Atonement is complete, any thought of “falling short of God's glory” IS and comes from a wrong definition of God. Unless we actively alter our definition of God by speaking Christ out loud, we will continue to imagine that we are not quite yet His “glory.”
The problem with the definition of God and the definition of glory are the same.
The common definition of both God and glory is a super-radiant heavenly expression emanating perfection.
Everything created by God serves to reveal some aspect of God's being or nature. For that reason, we can say with certainty that super-radiant heavenly expressions emanating perfection are created by God to reveal a certain aspect of Himself. But those CREATED super-radiant heavenly expressions emanating perfection have a name: they are called cherubim.
It is one thing to be awestruck by those aspects of God revealed to creation by cherubim. What is not okay is to call cherubim the image and likeness of God. It's what the serpent wanted, and Christians have given him his wish all these centuries.
To define God by the characteristics of cherubim is to look at one's self and to say, “I cannot be filled with all of God right now because I do not look like what I imagine God looks like, that is, like a cherub. Therefore, I will wait until I look like a cherub before I will believe that I am the image of God.”
There is one description of God ONLY in the entire Bible. The reference in Revelation 4 that equates jasper and sardius to God is not referring to the One on the throne, but to the throne itself. Nowhere is there a description of the One upon the throne EXCEPT – in the heavens, a Lamb having been slain and in the earth a MAN walking the Path of the Atonement.
I'm telling you, that is what God looks like. God does not look like a cherub; God looks like a Man!!!
That is the testimony and assertion of the entire Bible, especially the New Testament.
Jesus was killed because He looked like a man instead of looking like a cherub.
Let me define both God and glory. First, we can say that glory is the intimate immediacy of God in Person.
Glory, God, is HEART – carrying all, sharing all the imperfections and sorrows, dreams and joys, fears and hopes, triumphs and failures of each individual person.
Cherubs, super-radiant heavenly expressions emanating perfection, know perfection only.
God knows imperfection and sorrow. God knows dreams and joys. God knows fears and hopes. God knows triumphs and failures. God laughs with those who laugh and weeps with those who weep.
No cherub, no perfected heavenly emanation, can ever be like God.
Do you know dreams and sorrows? Then you are like God.
Do you know triumphs and failures? Then you are like God.
Do you know joys and tears? Then you are like God.
Have you fallen flat on your face in the mud? Well, so did God!
Man reveals God, not angels and not heaven.
Glory is Heart inside of heart. Glory is sharing heart with God.
Glory is bearing inside our chests the very Mercy Seat of heaven, the very throne of God, so that we also can be like God, as God Himself in Person fills us full. Glory is being the tip point of the Pillar of Fire that carries all things up into life.
Glory is being the hands that touch; glory is being the heart that cares.
Like God, we lay down our lives for others.
Like God, we forgive all.
Like God, we touch with tender compassion.
Like God, we weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh.
Like God, we expect unhindered victory in all joyful confidence.
Glory is the capacity to put your arm around a hurting, confused, and lost individual in full compassion, BECAUSE you have been there, and then show them your heart, and the absence of all their fault, there inside your own heart, the throne of God, and then to affirm to them that they also are loved, that they also are respected and honored just as they find themselves to be. – Notice that I said “capacity.”
How could you love just as God loves if you have not suffered with those who suffer, just as God does?
How could you be like God in obedience to God if you were not like God? Stop waiting to believe that God is telling you the truth until after you look like a cherub. It ain't gonna happen. Be what you already are as you are, the very image and likeness of God, a man or a woman, God revealed.
Father . . . Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You . . . I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
As I said earlier, this glory cannot be heavenly glory, for this glory is separate from both heaven and earth.
I . . . pray . . . for those who will believe in Me . . . that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us . . . And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You . . . have loved them as You have loved Me.
The glory of Jesus is not an individual glory, but a heart sharing of family, brethren walking together with each other, each one Christ as them, and together with God in Person in them, in the joy of communion, in the fellowship of love.
Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
You love Me – You love them is the essence of communion, Heart inside of Heart inside of heart – the glory of God.
The glory you gave Me I have given them. Turning around means that you and I walk knowing that we are clothed right now in the very glory Jesus possesses outside of creation. If you don't see that, then your eyeballs must be fixed. There is only one remedy for non-functioning eyeballs: FAITH.
The faith of the Son of God, the simple decision that God is, in fact, telling us the truth, the only thing that will ever please God.