Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bittersweet Refinements: Chapter III

The following is a rewritten chapter from Bittersweet Refinements.  If you would like to read the entire book, from start to finish and in the proper order, please go [here].

Chapter III
A Term of Endearment
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. [Romans 8:15-16 NIV]
Before proceeding any further, please let me explain that when I make some reference to our Heavenly Father, I am referring to not only the Lord God Almighty, but to His only begotten Son [John 1:14-18], who truly is the Lord Jesus Christ [Matthew 3:13-17], and His Holy Spirit [1 John 5:8], as well.  For I most certainly do not want to add anymore to the confusion, myself.
Yes, I have been made well aware of the absolute truth of the matter truly being that they are three distinct individuals.  Well, at least in a natural sense to the extent of my understanding [John 14:20], but in a spiritual sense, our Heavenly Father is also One [Deuteronomy 6:4] and the Same [Genesis 1:26] with His only begotten Son and His Holy Spirit.
No, I cannot explain how that is possible—certainly not physiological terms.  I just know that it is indeed true through the witness of His Holy Spirit [John 16:13], and it is because of how much more intimate it is to me to refer to Him and Christ Jesus as also being my Heavenly Father that I do so.
More importantly, this is something that our Heavenly Father wants.  For we were created to have a very close and personal relationship with Him [Matthew 11:28-30], and rigid formalities get in the way of this—even when they are well intended [1 Peter 5:7].  Alas, I know that many see nothing wrong with calling their own earthly parents by their actual names when speaking to them, but does this not suggest that they consider them as being no different than everyone else?
Of course, there is something far more serious that gets in the way of us wanting to truly have a very close and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father instead of just with His only begotten Son.  For it has been widely taught that Christ Jesus stands between us and the wrath of the Lord God Almighty [Romans 1:18].
No, this is not to deny that [Isaiah 53:1-12], but the whole absolute truth of the matter truly is that Christ Jesus IS the Lord God Almighty [John 10:30]!  Furthermore, it is written: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:28-39 NIV]
In other words, the wrath of the Lord God Almighty, who our Heavenly Father, is the wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, the grace afforded us through the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit is the grace of our Heavenly Father [Ephesians 2:8-9].
Tragically, our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit is generally left out of most equations.  For He is usually presented as being nothing more than merely a helper to us by those who do openly recognize His existence, but He is never considered as truly being on the same level as Christ Jesus and our Heavenly Father by most in the Christian community.
Yes, it is indeed a very great tragedy.  In fact, it will be lead to the eternal doom of far too many [Matthew 12:36-37].  For it is written: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.  And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” [Matthew 12:30-32 NIV]
It is to miss the point of truly having a very close and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father to think in terms of punishment, however.  For it is written: We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  We love, because He first loved us. [1 John 4:16-19 NAS]

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