Paul says our affections should be set on things of heaven, not things of the earth, because we are DEAD and our life is hidden with Christ in God." We are IN the world, but not OF the world. And God sees us as dead in our flesh, and alive in Jesus. The gospel is meant to straighten out our thinking, and get us thinking the same way God thinks.
MAN'S SEPARATION THEOLOGY MESSES US UP
We think of ourselves as separate from God, and from other Christians. But in reality we are not. We think that God is 'up there somewhere.' But if we believe Jesus, the Kingdom of heaven is in the midst of us, and we are joined as one with both Jesus and the Father. I know it's a hard pill to swallow, but it is what the gospel says. We are seated in heaven with God, and are on an equal level with him.
Skin color, race, age, education, position, net worth, -- nothing matters. A 13 year old is on the same level as any pastor with a string of letters after his name, if (1) they believe the unbelievable gospel, and (2) listen to the Holy Spirit telling us about Kingdom reality.
Instead, so many try to relate to God in law and religion, and this results in feelings of condemnation, guilt and judgment. If we relate in righteousness and reconciliation -- which means atonement or being ONE with God -- this results in grace, confidence, love and boldness.
Don't forget we will be judged by our gospel belief (Rom 2:16). Jesus says the same thing but says we will be judged by the word that has spoken to us -- which means the gospel (John 12:48). This is why Jesus says to repent -- of all other beliefs -- and believe the gospel only.
WE ARE DESCRIBED AS BEING CHRIST'S OWN BODY
In Ephesians, Paul speaks of marriage as an analogy to Christ and his church, and it says that Jesus is the HEAD. It says he presents us to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, but in holiness and without blemish. We are sanctified and cleansed thoroughly. Then it says we are part of Christ's BODY, FLESH AND BONES (Eph 5:30). How much more ONE with God can you get than to have the same body, flesh and bones?
Jesus is the HEAD, so don't live like our head is decapitated. We are joined to him.
PAUL SAYS, 'LET THIS SAME MIND BE IN YOU'
We have the mind of Christ. It's not something to be given to us in heaven, but we have it now if we think gospel truth, and live in gospel reality -- even if sometimes it's very hard to believe. This is why I call it the unbelievable gospel.
And what Paul says in Philippians will really blow your mind when you really believe it. He says, "Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God..." STOP! Make sure you hear what it just said: "Let this mind be in you that was in Christ, that he was in the form of God."
Preachers jump right over this and start talking about how Jesus emptied himself, became a servant and was humble. Yes, this is all true. But it disregards the unbelievable gospel in this passage that tells us HOW Jesus did this: he knew he was in the form of God and equal with him. And Paul tells us to think the very same way.
Then the passage goes on to say, "Jesus did not think it robbery to be equal with God." One Bible translation says, "Jesus did not think equality with God something to be grasped after."
Jesus knew he was equal with God. Paul tells us the think the same way, and not that God is 'up there somewhere' watching us, taking notes, and preparing to judge us. The Jews of his day knew that he claimed to be equal with God. It says, "You, being a man, make yourself equal with God" (John 5:18, 10:33).
Some of us may understand the claim of Jesus too, but we don't usually grasp that we are put on the same level with God that Jesus has, because of God's verdict of justification in the halls of heaven.
This part of the gospel is just too unbelievable for most to believe. But don't forget that both Jesus and Paul say we will be judged for our gospel UNBELIEF.
I'll reiterate what Jesus said, "Repent -- of all other beliefs -- and believe the gospel." Paul says, "They have not all obeyed the gospel" (Rom 10:16). Isaiah says we have not believed his prophecy of the grace and the glory coming to us.
EVE WANTED TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD
Remember that, in the Garden, Eve tried to become equal to God.
Well, gospel reality is that we have been declared to be one with God, and equal to him. This is just one of the many gifts and glories we have been given. When we receive this as true, we begin living in a more glorious dimension, and all aspects of life begin being transformed. We will conclude these thoughts next time.
As The Gospel Life Coach, Roger shows how the gospel is the power of God, enabling us to live life better by accident than we ever could on purpose. http://www.TheGospelCoach.com. You will begin to find new coaching videos at: http://RogerHimesLifeCoach-GospelTranformation.com. Read regular tweets on Twitter: /TheGospelCoach