ONE IN CHRIST IN GOD

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ONE IN CHRIST IN GODCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

When I awakened this morning I had a fresh understanding of God and the Royal Priesthood. The concept is elusive, and I am looking to the Lord to help me make it clear.

I believe the concept is in John 17:21-23, if I can grasp it correctly.

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23)

It isn't as though I never have discussed the above passage before. I have—many times. But somehow something clicked in my mind and I received additional clarity.

The doctrine of the Trinity always has bothered me. Is there one God in three manifestations, or are there three Person who compose one Godhead. In either case, Christ is elevated to the level of God, and that is a good thing.

The problem is, the Bible tells us that we have been predestined to be the brothers of Christ and to be one with Him. How can this be if He actually is another form of God the Father? How can we be a brother of the Father? We feel within ourselves this cannot be. We always will be different in kind from God. Thus what Christ desires more than anything else, that we be one with Him, is defeated at the start. We are human beings, and Christ is the Creator of all things, and that is the end of that!

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.

Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:25-28)

Such is the almighty Christ, the Creator of all things.

How does one become a brother to Someone like this?

To come to know the Father and Christ, not just know about Them, but actually know Them, like you would know a father and a brother, is eternal life. To know God and Christ is the most glorious goal anyone could think of.

But the Scripture goes much farther than this. It speaks of our being one with Christ, not in the sense of being alongside Him, but of being an integral part of Him. We are to eat His flesh and drink His blood. In so doing we become an integral part of Him. We partake of the Divine Nature.

You mean we become part of God? I mean exactly that. This is not blasphemy because it is what the Bible teaches.

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)

I realize this verse appears in many of my writings, but it is saying what I am feeling this morning.

I am not comfortable with the word "because." In my unbearable arrogance I would rewrite the verse as follows, to get closer to my new sense of God and His Royal Priesthood:

Just as the living Father sent me and I live by, from, as an integral part of, because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live by, from, as an integral part, because of Me.

The flesh and blood of the Anointed One that we eat and drink are not the parts of a dead man. They are resurrection Life! They are our Resurrection Life and will draw us up to Him when He appears in the sky.

Let me put it this way: There is God the Father. There is the Word, through whom the Father brought the universe into being. There is the Spirit of God who is of the Essence of the Father and does His will.

Now, the Word has been born of the Father as His Son. The Son has been given a physical form from a human mother. The Son has been crucified to make an atonement for the sins of mankind. The Son has been raised from the dead. The Father intends to put all of the creation under the Son's feet. Then the Son will give all He has gained back to His Father and be subject to the Father, that the Father may be All in all.

For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:27,28)

While all is being put under Christ that God may fill all things, something in addition is taking place. First of all we must understand that there are three Persons who may be considered Divine. There is the Father, who is God Almighty. When we say "God," we mean the Father. I suppose most people living on the earth understand there is a God who created all things.

There are many false religions today that pray to some spirit that is not the true God—perhaps a fallen cherub or angel. Here is an important point. The only true God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. All else are impostors, living in the spirit world, who enjoy the adoration and offerings of people.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14,15)

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

The popular saying that all roads lead to God is a deception. There is only one way to the true God and that is through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. No one knows the true God except Christ and he to whom Christ reveals the Father.

All other god of all other religions are liars and deceivers and lead their followers to destruction.

We of America like to be "broad-minded" and include all gods of all religions. While it is nice to be kind and gentle toward people, the issue is far, far too deadly. The Father of Christ is living and He demands worship. He does not take kindly to our suggesting to people of other religions that "all roads lead to God."

I do not force my salvation on anyone. The Holy Spirit is the only One who can make Christ real to people. On the other hand, if we see someone drinking poison, and try to be kindly and gentle to them by not warning them that they are going to kill themselves, our kindliness and gentleness are misguided. Would you agree with that?

There is the Father. There is the Son. There is the Holy Spirit. These three are One in that they are of the Divine Nature.

What does God desire concerning those people whom He has called to be His Church, His family, His Royal Priesthood whose purpose is to bring God's Presence and blessing to the nations of the earth?

He desires that they be of the same Divine Nature as Himself. To be born of God and filled with God. Through them He can be All in all in the creation.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (II Peter 1:4)

There is human, flesh-and-blood nature. It cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Then there is the Divine Nature. The same Divine Nature is in the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the members of the Royal Priesthood.

This does not place the members of the Church, the Royal Priesthood, on the same level of authority and power that is true of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but it does make them (and here is the decisive point) the same kind of person.

If we are not the same kind of person as the Lord, then we cannot be a true son of God and we cannot be a true brother of the Lord Jesus. We can go through all kinds of religious explanations and reasonings, but we cannot be a true son or a true brother unless we are of the same nature.

An animal has one kind of nature. A human being has a nature different in kind from an animal that is more than just a superior brain (in spite of the evolutionists). An animal cannot be a true son, daughter, or brother of a human, although the American Indians might say otherwise.

God has a third kind of nature. If we are to be regarded as a child of God or a brother of Jesus we must be filled with the Nature of God.

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2:11)

Receiving Christ often is a mental decision to join a religion. But there is more than that involved, if we really come to the Man:

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13)

Let's think about the passage above. "Born of God." Does that expression really mean what it says? Are we truly born of God, or is this just a religious expression?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Why is this? Because He, having been the Word, now has become a Person proceeding from the Father. Is that correct? I am not referring to His flesh and blood body but to His inner Person.

Now we also have a flesh and blood body. But what about our inner nature? Where did it come from? As far as we know, our inner nature as well as our body came from our parents. Thus we are a human being.

Well, when we are born again, our inner human nature is not our only nature. We have a new nature that was born of the Seed of God and therefore Divine.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Peter 1:23)

Because we now have two natures we have a conflict within us. Our original adamic nature is attempting to survive, and our new Divine Nature desire the milk of the Word that it may grow thereby.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (I Peter 2:2)

If the Lord Jesus has a body born of a human being (although now glorified), and an inward nature born of God; and we have a body born of a human being (which one day will be glorified in the resurrection), and an inward nature born of God; then we rightly can be referred to as a son of God and a brother of the Lord Jesus. This seems clear to me; how about you?

Let's return now to a foundational passage, concerning our being through Jesus Christ an integral part of God the Father:

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23)

I do not like the word "unity." The oneness of the Royal Priesthood in Christ in the Father is vastly more than "unity," as we commonly use the term. It is the Oneness that exists in the Father and the Son.

I think Young has a better translation here:

That they all may be one, as Thou Father in me, and I in Thee; that they also in us may be one, that the world may believe that Thou didst send me. And I, the glory that thou hast given to me, have given to them, that they may be one as we are one; I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be perfected into one, and that the world may know that Thou didst send me, and didst love them as Thou didst love me. (John 17:21-23—YLT)

Now think carefully about these fragments below:

That they all may be one, as Thou Father in me, and I in Thee. When we think of the various Christian denominations of our day, it appears impossible that all believers could ever be one in that total Oneness that is true of the members of the Godhead.

Yet, for this absolute oneness Jesus prayed.

It is my point of view that God is beginning this enlargement of the Divine Nature by drawing out from the entire Church a Firstfruits. I sometimes refer to this remnant of believers as an army of judges who will be raised from the dead (or transformed into immortality) when the Lord Jesus appears in the sky and gather them to Himself.

Since in other writings I have explained the reason for my separating the Christian Church into a smaller remnant, and then a larger remainder of the Church, I will not go into that right now. But it must be clear to anyone who observes the Christian churches that there are few genuine disciples of the Lord—perhaps one percent of the Christian believers.

I do believe that when the Lord appears there will be a Firstfruits of the Christian people who in reality will be one with one another in that deep, total, shall I say "organic," oneness that is true of the Godhead. Jesus prayed for this oneness, and I know God heard Him and is going to answer.

This tells us, doesn't it, that the work of redemption in the true disciples, the Firstfruits if you will, must continue for several years yet. The Lord is not coming tomorrow. A further work must be done in the disciples, as I see it.

That they also in us may be one. Now, if the people became one to that extent, but not one in the Father and Christ, we would have antichrist. You may notice, perhaps especially in large assemblies, that the people get together in various social events. Then the people all fall in love with themselves, and Christ is left on the outside. This, unfortunately is not a rare situation.

The important thing is not that we are one, but one in Christ and the Father. There are many calls for unity today. But this is so some group can gain power and exert its will. Each of the godly remnant of Christians is moved by the will of Christ, who in turn is moved by the will of the Father. This is the beginning of the Father becoming All in all in His creation.

That the world may believe that Thou didst send me. Here is the purpose for the saints becoming one in the Father and Christ. The current emphasis on a "rapture" that will catch up the Christian people to join Christ in Heaven reveals the ignorance of the church concerning the will of God.

God is preparing His Royal Priesthood so the people of the world will see the Glory of God in them and realize that Christ has come from God and is not just another spiritual leader. Jesus is the Christ of God. He is not another human prophet. He is the Son of God, the only Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

There are religious leaders today who vaunt themselves. They may be fine men and women, for all I know. But none of them is the Son of God who bring us to the only true God. The world will understand this, as soon as the Church becomes one in Christ and God.

What purpose, then, would be served by a "rapture" of the saints to Heaven? This concept that Christ is going to "catch away His waiting Bride" is a delusion. It is decidedly contrary to the Scriptures.

Jesus is the Lord. Every knee shall bow to Him, of creatures in the heavens, on the earth, and in the dark regions in the interior of the earth. He created all things, including the angels, the cherubim, the seraphim, and whatever other personages there may be. Jesus is King and Lord of all. No other name is to be exalted!

And I, the glory that thou hast given to me, have given to them, that they may be one as we are one. It is the Divine Glory that will make us one in Christ in God. Ecumenical efforts cannot accomplish the desired oneness. At the appropriate time, Christ will give us His Glory, and we will flow together in perfect Oneness–the Oneness that today is restricted to the Godhead.

I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be perfected into one. Can you see from this sentence why I dislike the term "unity"? We will not be brought to "unity." We will be "perfected into one." Can you see how powerful that statement actually is? Perfected into one in the Father and the Son; into the Oneness that They are.

The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Royal Priesthood will be one Being. I guess this is what I am endeavoring to convey. Although as I said before, there is a difference in authority and power, we are speaking of one Being living its indestructible Life among the people of the nations of the earth.

I am sure the angels and other heavenly creatures will be amazed when they see the Divine Glory shining through the Church. They will realize this is God Himself in a new, enlarged Form.

And that the world may know that Thou didst send me, and didst love them as Thou didst love me. This statement is well nigh incomprehensible—that the Father should love us as He loves His Son, Jesus Christ.

You know, as God is opening the Scriptures to us in these days, we are going to have to permit our faith to be stretched. To exclaim in a burst of false humility that we never actually could be an integral part of God is not acceptable. The heroes of faith of the past did not stagger at the promises of God but believed them and pressed forward into their fulfillment.

I can't tell you what new and utterly marvelous things God has in store for us. So let us not shrink back in unbelief, or consider that we merely are intelligent dust (which is a fact!) but be like the heroes of old who bore a true witness of God.

God is with us. Christ is for us. Who can be against us?

(Thank you Jesus for helping me wade through this elusive concept that awakened me this morning!)