Restoring the ALL of the Gospel makes ALL the difference…
…removing barriers that no longer exist!
Just want to share a few thoughts that have exploded with life inside me of late…I just want to warn you this may be a strong drink for some of you-be warned-drink carefully!!
APOSTOLIC VISION – what is it?
How is your spiritual vision these days…let s take a look and see – it can be getting brighter and brighter and drunker and drunker LOL
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17,18
‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowlegde of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened… KJ
…having the eyes of your heart enlightened- ASV
…and that the eyes of your heart may be flooded with light – MON
…that you receive that inner illumination of the spirit – Phil
…that your minds may be so enlightened -TCNT
It seems to me that the more I understand Paul’s spiritual vision the further away from ‘traditional evangelical christianity’ I become…not that that has been my intention and it certainly has not been a deliberate move but merely an observation over the years.
Some of the statements and declaration he made are so radical, that our minds are left doing sommersaults in the light of most of the ‘traditional evangelical thinking’ of our day. I understand that many reading this update would not consider themselves in this category anyways and have drunk so much of the new wine that they are already exiled from this ‘traditionally accepted’ way of believing and doing church today. Anyways, I do not like to box any particular group of people and certainly don’t want to stereotype ‘evangelical christianity’- however, from a personal perspective I want to share a bit of my journey in the hope that your eyes too will be flooded with even more light, and your heart intoxicated with even more new wine on this glorious day of the Lord.
I have found that there is a never ending supply of His pleasures gushing towards us every minute of everyday, and it’s that rich supply of His goodness and grace that I want us to discover together in this writing.
So, back to Paul’s spiritual vision – this was his cup – his drink – you could say…
‘…I behold the love of the Christ, I see in His one death the death of all of us already accomplished after the manner of his death-the death that is to say of all that separates us from God, the death of that personal physical ego, and the release in consequence of that infinite and unselfish life which is the love of the Christ, and the life of the Christ, who died and who rose afterwards that it might be available for all.
I NO LONGER REGARD MAN AS PHYSICAL, BUT SPIRITUAL. THE PHYSICAL IS NO LONGER SET BEFORE MY EYES. CHRIST HIMSELF TO ME IS NO MORE A PHYSICAL BEING; I SEE HIM SPIRITUALLY, AND IN THAT SPIRITUAL VISION I LEARN THAT MAN IS A NEW CREATION.
ALL FORMER VIEWS OF MAN NOW PERISH. HE IS A NEW BEING, ALL IS NEW AND WONDERFUL. THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD TODAY, MY BRETHREN.
2 Corinth 5:14-17 St Paul from the trenches
This spiritual vision of his was a vision of the resurrected glorified Christ and included ALL humanity. He carried this vision within him everywhere he went. He saw people, every person through this new vision and it made ALL the difference.
His Gospel was for ALL, and he came to the Jews and the Gentiles with the same message. In Acts 17 he began in the temple but the same day he spoke with the philosophers and the idol worshippers the exact same message. The barrier that exists in our minds when we think in terms of us and them does not even apear in Paul’s vision. The believer’s and non believer’s heard the same message. The message was ALL- INCLUSIVE you could say. His Gospel was the same to ALL men.
He had come to ONE CONCLUSION and it was this…
v14. For Christ’s love compels us, because WE ARE CONVINCED that one died for ALL, and therefore ALL died. NIV
Let s just say, he looked at all people a little differently after he had come to this conclusion.
Some translations say, IF one man died for all, then all died-and the IF is obviously a conclusive IF not a conditional IF. If we go one step further and read v17 which we are already very familiar with…IF any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come.
We have been taught that that IF is conditional upon one believing the Good News- but if that IF is conditional then so would the IF be in v14’ IF one man died for all…’…anyways….moving on, Paul’s IF was one of conviction…there was no doubt or condition to be applied but an ALL persuading fact that one man died for ALL and therefore all men died.
In Paul’s spiritual vision he saw ALL of humanity involved in that death, all were included, all were embraced, all were dealt with and judged and all were resurrected to INNOCENCE in Christ.
All is new and wonderful, as the Trenches translation puts it so beautifully.
So the barriers that we have traditionally been brought up with produce a different Gospel to the one that burned inside of Paul.
Take the way he spoke with the philosphers at Mars Hill in Acts 17, this is my favourite passage of late, it is so clear that as he presents the Gospel to the people, the unbeliever’s at that point and totally and absoutely declared to them their origin, their belonging to God, their inclusion in His death and resurrection …and it was only after he had layered these wonderful facts that he called them to repent and believe and change their minds and behaviour for the better…
Listen to way He included them first, even before any decision was made, before faith had come…they were ‘in’ before they were in lol
‘So Paul, standing in the centre of the Aeropagus [Mars Hill meeting place], said: Men of Athens, I perceieve in every way …that you are most religious or very reverent to demons.
For as I passed along and observed and carefully observed your objects of worship, I came also upon an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. Now what you are already worshipping as unknown, this I set forth to you.
The God Who produced and formed the world and ALL things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade shrines.
Neither is He served by human hands, as though He lacked anything, for it is He Himself Who gives life and breath and ALL things to ALL people.
And He made from ONE [common origin, one source, one blood] ALL nations of men to settle on the face of the earth…
So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him, although He is not far from each one of us.
For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, For we are also His Offspring.
SINCE THEN WE ARE GOD S OFFSPRING, we ought not to suppose that Deity (the Godhead) is like gold, silver or stone…
…Such former ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges ALL people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to ammend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins)…’
This is such a wonderfully radical sermon to these precious people, with no touch of creating any barrieres or giving any conditional promises to the people….that IF they believe. NO, the Gospel is the Good News that you belong to God, always have done and always will do and therefore on that basis and that basis alone commands a faith response from the heart…
The Gospel is the power of God…and so, we must restore and recover the Gospel in ALL it’s purity and in ALL it inclusiveness to ALL people already…let the Gospel do the work of transforming hearts into the very likeness of who they already are.
It’s a subtle and cunning perversion to the glistening light of the Gospel to think otherwise, one that I am convinced the Holy Ghost is revealing to us right now.
The more we dwell upon the facts, that ALL have been affected by the ONE DEATH already, the more our hearts are filled with love for ALL and this will affect our language, our response to those around us. As we see no barriers between us and them, our behaviour towa. We are ALL in the same boat, it’s just that some of us are enjoying the benefits of our salvation,whilst others are still stuck in their ignorance and the despair and hopelessness that life without God brings.
This one simple truth has enlarged my heart for ALL and continues to transform…
Paul was convinced that one man died for all and therfore all men died, his spiritual vision was clear and vibrant and he spoke with a passion and urgency to tell ALL men everywhere of their freedome and innocence in Christ already accomplished. We are not independent individuals living life out on our own, the lie that this materialistic world view produces, but we have ALL been embraced and gathered up in Christ. We have ALL beein included in this beautiful union with God-God and man united together in Christ [the God-man].
There are no barriers to union with God for any person on the planet, ALL sin has been dealt with in Christ and we have been brought home to Father, Son and Holy Ghost family. We belong to God, we always did and always will. LOVE NEVER FAILS! This is Good News indeed…
I am so excited about this, this is a precious gem being restored to our hearts and it changes everything.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite quotes that ALL say the same thing…
2 Corith 5:14-17 The Message
‘Our firm decision is to work from this focused centre: One man died for EVERYONE. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included EVERYONE in His death so that EVERYONE could be included in his life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.’
2 Corinth 6 George Barker Stevens
‘I now know Him according to his higher, spiritual nature as the risen and glorified Redeemer. If, then, one knows Christ in this living, spiritual fellowship, it will follow that he has a higher point of view from which the world and life will be regarded. This new world has been opened up to us through the grace of God, who in the death of Christ has abolished the discord which existed between himself and us and has commissioned me to proclaim its abolition.’
I am convinced that just as our nation and the nations of the world are experiencing riots, revolts and chaos, so the Gospel we have been handed down is experiencing the same revolution and a much needed reformation …
…thanks for reading, I love hearing your response in any shape or form, Media is a weird and wonderful tool to proclaim His mercies, but as it is not person to person, a response is very much appreciated.
Blissings and blessings from Jo’s cave xx
…say among the heathen that the Lord reigns …ps 96:10