261. The Final Judgment

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

To reconcile all things

…and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.  And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Col 1:20-22).

Jesus has reconciled only a certain, select group of people, according to what most of us have believed, in order to present us blameless and beyond reproach. We have limited the scope of this reconciliation, thinking it could not possibly include everyone and everything. Inevitably, different groups have had different opinions about who is in and who is out.

Everyone and everything is included. Jesus reconciled all things to Himself. If Jesus did it already, no one needs to do anything more. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves holy and blameless and beyond reproach because He already did it. He died our death, dealt with our separation and brought us back into a restored relationship.

…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world (Greek: kosmos) to Himself, not counting their sins against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19).

God is not counting anyone’s sins against them. That is forgiveness. Psalm 103 tells us that as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. No matter how far you travel trying to find them, you never will.

Vine’s dictionary will tell you that kosmos means ‘the sum-total of human life in the ordered universe, considered apart from, and alienated from, and hostile to God, and of the earthly things which seduce from God.’ Even if you believe that, the kosmos is what ‘God so loved’ in John 3:16 and what ‘God was in Christ reconciling’ in 2 Cor 5:19. It has all been reconciled.

We have this word, that Jesus has reconciled everyone, but what have we done with it? Have we shared with people the good news of what God has done for them, or bad news, that they are not reconciled with, and still separated from, a God who doesn’t even like them?

The final judgment

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is age-enduring life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23).

Jesus died our death and now there is no longer any sin, and therefore no wages due. If no one’s sin is counted against them, based on the power of the cross, then all subsequent judgments must produce life and not death. As Francois Du Toit says in the Mirror Bible translation of 2 Cor 5:19, “the fallen state of mankind was deleted.” There is no double jeopardy in God’s kingdom: you cannot be tried for the same thing twice. No one can be judged again for what Jesus already died for. The cross is the final judgment. There is no future ‘judgment day’: it already happened at the cross and we have all been declared blamelessly innocent.

Sadly, we judge people all the time, based on their behaviour and what we consider to be right or wrong rather than looking at them in love through the eyes of Jesus. We do not necessarily condone everyone’s behaviour, but we need to be careful not to think that it excludes them from God’s love and reconciliation.

Pleased to reveal His Son in me

Paul recounts his encounter (as Saul) on the road to Damascus:

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles… (Gal 1:15-16).

He does not say that God revealed His Son in the bright light that blinded him, but that “God was pleased to reveal His Son in me”. God had been at work in him all along; Jesus had been in Him all along; now God revealed that to him. God is not separated from people, even from someone like Saul who was implacably opposed to Him. He is at work in all people to reveal to Himself as love and light – and through them to others.

For too long the good news has been presented something like this: “There is a big gulf between you on one side and God on the other. The cross bridges the gap and you can walk across that bridge and engage God.” The real good news is that there is no gulf. God is already at work in everybody, and our job is to help them see that (not to tell them that they are dirty, rotten sinners who deserve to suffer eternal conscious torment as their punishment in hell). There is no separation.

The fullness of God was in Christ

Let us not imagine that the incarnation separated Father, Son and Spirit; nor even the crucifixion. Scripture tells us that all the fullness of God’s being dwells bodily in Christ (Col 2:9) and that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19). On the cross, Jesus felt the agony of fallen humanity when he quoted the opening line of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But every Jewish person who heard Him knew where the Psalm was going, with David crying triumphantly “He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him but has heard when he cried to him.” (Ps 22:24).

Resurrection

The restoration of all things is based on the victory of the cross over all things that would hinder our reconciliation and restoration to relationship.

All judgment and justice are based on the victory of the cross over sin, death and the grave; every hindrance or legal obstacle is overcome. Jesus holds the keys of death and of Hades (Rev 1:17) and He is using them to unlock the door, not lock it. That is totally contradictory to some of our belief systems. God has opened access to everyone. The gates of the New Jerusalem are never shut. Everyone is included, no one excluded.

…so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to age-enduring life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 5:21).

The power of the resurrection has defeated death (and it is what enables everything to be restored). The resurrection has overcome death and grace now reigns.

All will be made alive

For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Cor 15:21-22).

Take note of the ‘all’ in both parts of that last sentence. It seems that no one has much trouble with the first ‘all’ meaning ‘all’. The second ‘all’ is where the trouble begins, because if it is the same ‘all’ then much of our theology bites the dust. So we have made ‘in Christ’ conditional, in a way that we do not with ‘in Adam’: so that only those who are ‘in Christ’ will be made alive. And we have gone on to define what being ‘in Christ’ looks like, according to our various denominations and streams.

Both mentions of ‘all’ are the same ‘all’. Christ was the last Adam and the Adamic race ended with Him. From this side of the cross, no one is descended from Adam any more but from Christ. From that point on, all are ‘in Christ’ (though some do not know it and the ‘gospel’ we have preached has consistently told them that they aren’t). And Paul says that ‘in Christ’ all of us are going to be made alive.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:56).

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death (Rom 8:2).

Those are very familiar scriptures and we read them as if they apply exclusively to ‘us’ (those we consider as being ‘in Christ’). But who is under the law, since the cross? No one, not even the Jewish people who were the ONLY ones under the law in the first place!

Everyone has victory over death and sin through the power of the cross.

…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity [literally, from before the times of the ages] but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim 1:9-10).

Death is abolished. It no longer has power over anyone. This was already decided ‘from before the times of the ages’ but has been ‘brought to light’ by the gospel.

More to come

God is not holding anything related to sin against the world and is restoring all things, first to original condition and then to His original intention. God is looking for all things to grow and mature from their original condition to fulfil their potential, His original intention. Original condition is just the start: there is more to come!

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Background for header meme by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
The text, "Blamelessly innocent" is a reference to the Mirror Bible translation of Ephesians 1:3-4 by Francois Du Toit:
Let’s celebrate God! He lavished every blessing heaven has upon us in Christ! He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world! Jesus is God’s mind made up about us! He always knew in his love that he would present us again face-to-face before him in blameless innocence. God found us in Christ before he lost us in Adam!

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260. Coming Back into Alignment

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

In this series of blog posts we have embarked on a journey to discover the full meaning of ‘the restoration of all things’ (Acts 3:21) and the part we all have to play as sons of God in that restoration.

All things

What are the ‘all things? For me, the phrase ‘the restoration of all things’ refers to all physical and spiritual things that have been lost, distorted, damaged, destroyed, broken or disconnected; everything that God created in line with His original intent and purpose. That would include:

  • Creation and everything in it
  • Everyone, everything, everywhere, throughout all time and all history
  • All relative dimensions of time and space
  • Our eternal memory, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and position as light beings, as we were before we came into this realm
  • All our abilities and powers
  • All dark and light matter and dark and light energy, including the restoration of the speed of light (which has diminished over time1)
  • Access to all places and all realms everywhere, at any time, inside and outside of time and space as we presently know it
  • Our inheritance, identity, position and authority as sons. This is fundamental and impacts the whole of creation because it is as sons that we will play our part in the restoration of all things.

God is looking to see everything restored which was lost when the light of glory was removed. It is in His nature to bring healing, reconciliation, redemption and restoration. Why would He not want all things restored to their original condition and functionality, back to how He always intended them to be? It is not as if He has changed His mind or had a better idea! Restoration for us – and for all creation – is nothing more nor less than coming back into alignment with God’s eternal thoughts about us.

Father and son(s)

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God… The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ… For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God… the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Rom 8:14-21).

We are heirs of the Father and co-heirs with Jesus. He has empowered us as sons and given us authority for the created realm, and creation will recognise and respond to us when we are manifested as sons. Therefore whatever is revealed about ‘all things’ in context of the relationship between Father and Son directly relates to our own sonship.

‘All things’ in the Bible

Before we launch into a consideration of ‘all things’ in the Bible, a brief word about how we read our Bibles. As we read, we have a tendency to automatically revert to the familiar assumptions that we (or others) have made, both about what a particular passage is talking about and what it is saying about it. Instead of merely thinking we know what it says, let’s engage with, meditate upon and enter into the scripture and allow God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to reveal what He is saying through what we are reading. That takes awareness and practice but it opens up a whole new vista of revelation.

All things in subjection

For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15:27-28).

But what does ‘in subjection’ mean? Who and what is going to be brought into subjection?

If we are ‘in subjection’ to Him, then we acknowledge that we are His subjects. The Greek word hupotasso means ‘to place under’. We are under His protection, under His blessing, under His love, under His covenant.

And not only we but ‘all things’ are to be brought into agreement with God’s plans and purposes. We may look around and wonder how that is ever going to happen. I suggest that it starts with a group of people who say “Yes, God, I want to be in agreement with You. I come into agreement that I am a son, and for my sonship to be revealed to all creation.” That is not what religion has encouraged but Jesus is our example: through His relationship with the Father He only did what He saw the Father doing.

None of this is about theology or doctrine, whether we agree or not with a particular person or teaching. It is all about relationship with God; with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and about being willing to maintain a loving relationship with other people with whom we do not necessarily see eye to eye. We can be in relational agreement even if we hold different views. We do not need to be ‘right’ and so reject everyone else as being ‘wrong’. Again, this is not something religion has encouraged or modelled for us.

Some Bible verses

Here are some New Testament verses mentioning ‘all things’. I am not particularly going to explain or teach on them. In line with what I wrote earlier, I would encourage you to take some time to meditate upon them, engage with them – perhaps read them in some other translations – and see what God has to say to you about them.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36).

…but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God
(1 Cor 2:9-10).

…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him (1 Cor 8:6).

all things originate from God (1 Cor 11:12).

There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all [persons] (1 Cor 12:6).

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor 13:7).

…with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth (Eph 1:10).

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11).

He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things (Eph 4:10).

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him (Col 1:16).

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Col 1:17).

…and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven… He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Col 1:20, 22).

Reflection

In light of what God has shown you in love as you meditated on these verses, do you believe there is potential for all things to be restored to God’s original intent and purpose?

Do you believe that there are some things that could not (or should not) be restored to God’s original intent and purpose? Why not?

The only thing which I consider really cannot be restored is the DIY (do-it-yourself) pathway itself, the pathway of the knowledge of good and evil. That was never part of God’s intent and purpose for creation in the first place.

Reference

A time varying speed of light as a solution to cosmological puzzles – article by Andreas Albrecht and Joao Magueijo (Cornell University, 1999).

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259. Clothed with Glory

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott  

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Jesus was talking about the coming Pentecost and the first step of the Holy Spirit leading us into ‘the freedom of the glory of the children of God’, re-clothing us with the glory Adam and Eve displayed. That was to be the beginning of the process and our transformation was intended to continue, but many have become stuck or even refused to go there! We must embrace that truth, and the reality of spiritual gifts, but see it as just one step along the road to fully restored sonship and the authority that goes with it.

For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.  I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:6-7, 9).

For Israel, under the old covenant, the house they were expecting to be filled with glory was the Temple. And when Jesus came to the Temple, He came with the glory of God again. But He was rejected by the religious leaders and when He left the Temple for the last time (in Matthew chapters 23-24) He left it desolate, that is, without the glory. In the new covenant we understand that we are the house, and we are to be filled with glory.

And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:26-29).

Our bodies are a house of God, and we are part of this ‘mountain of the house of the Lord’ which is being restored by fire. The fire of God is not something we need to be afraid of. His fire is His love, and it only consumes the worthless, temporary things we have created on our DIY pathway. His fire is necessary to restoration – we cannot restore anything by the self-help methods which compromised God’s original intent and purpose in the first place.

Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it (Isa 2:2).

When God displays His sons to the world, when we are fully restored to positions of sonship, raised up and seated in authority in the heavenly realms, people will be drawn to the glory they see restored in us. What will that look like?

Transfiguration

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Matt 17:2-3).

Moses represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets. Everything in the old covenant was there to honour Jesus as he appeared in the full blaze of the glory of sonship. If that happened to Jesus, it can happen to us.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!” (Matt 17:5).

An extra phrase was added to the first time the Father affirmed Jesus as His Son: now He is saying “listen to Him!” So when we know our position, when God speaks that affirmation over us, creation will know to listen to us. Creation is looking for the revealing of the sons of God; it will listen and respond to us when we stand in that restored place of authority.

Mystic glimpses

At various times in history, God has given a few people mystic glimpses of mankind’s original state and of His original intention for us. In 1820, Anne Catherine Emmerich had an extensive and very vivid personal revelation in which she described Adam and Eve as clothed in light.

“They were like two unspeakably noble and beautiful children, perfectly luminous and clothed with beams of light as with a veil. From Adam’s mouth I saw issuing a broad stream of glittering light, and upon his forehead was an expression of great majesty. Around his mouth played a sunbeam, but there was none around Eve’s. I saw Adam’s heart very much the same as in men of the present day, but his breast was surrounded by rays of light. In the middle of his heart, I saw a sparkling halo of glory1.”

In 1882, Luisa Piccarreta encountered Jesus, who explained that in creating man, He placed him in the sun of the Divine Will. This was a garment of shining light, whose rays covered his body in a way that honoured him and rendered him beautiful. When Adam lost his garments of innocence he used material things to cover himself. Jesus’ earthly garments were taken from Him before He was crucified. “He did not take on other garments upon His Resurrection. Instead His Humanity was dressed with the shining garment of the sun of the Supreme Will… The Divine Will, while it is life, is also man’s true garment of Creation2.”

Though figuratively “naked,” because their knowledge of their premortal state had been taken away by a “veil of forgetfulness,” Adam and Eve had come to Eden nonetheless “trailing clouds of glory.” While the couple, as yet, were free from transgression, they could stand “naked” in God’s presence without shame, being “clothed with purity” in what early commentators called “garments of light” or “garments of contentment.” In one source, Eve describes her appearance by saying: “I was decked out like a bride, and I reclined in a wedding-chamber of light3.”

Such testimonies are designed to motivate us to pursue our restoration in light, not to settle for less than God intended and to reconnect with the eternity that has been placed in our hearts. Hebrew tradition and many rabbinical writings talk about the loss of innocence and glory in terms of light being removed. My own encounters with light and talking to Adam revealed the same truth. It is the Father’s desire for us to be restored to the light of our identity and glory as His sons. The more we realise and – in relationship – get to know the truth of who we are, the more we will begin to shine.

References

1 The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations, vol 1 – Anne Catherine Emmerich, quoted in Frank Rega’s blog post referenced below.
2 Were Adam and Eve originally clothed in garments of light? – blog post by Frank Rega
3 The Nakedness and the Clothing of Adam and EveJeffrey M. Bradshaw.

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258. The Glory of the Children of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

In considering the restoration of all things, we need first of all to focus on having our own relationship with God fully restored. Restoration is personal. It is about restoring our spirit, soul and body to God’s original intention, desired condition and full functionality.

It is about our spirit’s eternal identity being restored. It is about having everything within the soul – mind, emotions, will, conscience, imagination, reason and choice – restored to innocence; all brokenness, fragmentation, separation, isolation, and rejection done away with and healed. It is about having our body restored to health and wholeness, right down to DNA level. It is about recovering our ‘supernatural’ abilities (which we only regard as supernatural because we have mostly lost the ability to manifest them naturally). In all this we will see our eternal destiny restored, together with all its identity, purpose, position and authority.

The glory

“…that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:21).

God wants us to reconnect to what ‘the glory’ really means and to re-engage with it so that creation will be set free. If we do not come into that glory, then creation cannot be set free. The glory is really the weight of the essence or nature of something; in this case, the weight of the essence of our sonship. Adam was clothed with glory and we will be transfigured to that state again. Jesus was transfigured to show us what that would look like.

Jesus reveals that we pre-existed in God; he defines us. He justified us and also glorified us. He redeemed our innocence and restored the glory we lost in Adam. All these things point to one conclusion, God is for us! Who can prevail against us? (Rom 8:30-31 Mirror).

That is what Jesus has done, but are we living in that reality? Are we experiencing the fullness of the glory we should have as God’s children or is that glory veiled by the way we live our lives? If we have limiting beliefs which inform our vision and choices, if we see ourselves as less than God sees us, then we will not be radiating that glory. The more we engage with metanoiaand see ourselves as God sees us, the more we will shine with that glory. Once we begin to experience that, we will also be able to function in the knowledge of our authority as overcomers.

You made him (man) a little lower than God and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honour (Psalm 8:5).

God made man to be that way.  The original Hebrew word translated crowned means to encircle, to surround. In other words, Adam and Eve were surrounded by glory and honour. They shone with the glory of who God created them to be and creation honoured them for their position as sons.

God gave them a wonderful environment to rule, in which He would truly be their provision and protection within that intimate relationship. Because they had been clothed with glory they did not need any further clothing, as we do today; because they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship they did not need to gain knowledge or figure things out for themselves. They did not need to rely on their own understanding because they could draw on God’s understanding. Everything came through their relationship with God.

Man’s fall was a fall from a position of glory. The gospel is the good news that the Father sent Jesus to restore our glory and so begin creation’s restoration.  Jesus proved God’s love for all His creation (‘God so loved the world’ is not restricted to just people!) by choosing to die – for us, as us and in our place – to reconcile our relationship and to restore it to what it was in the Garden of Eden and beyond that, to what it would have become. Just as we respond when we look at God’s glory, so creation will respond when it sees ours.

The ministry of reconciliation

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world (cosmos) to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18-20).

God was in Christ when He reconciled the world (the Greek word is kosmos), not forsaking Him, separated from Him or turning His face away, as we have been taught. Paul says that God has already reconciled mankind, not counting their trespasses against them. That much is a done deal. God has reconciled Himself to us, but only we can choose to be reconciled to Him. If anything or anyone is still separated from Him, it is not of His doing.

We are to serve creation by exercising that ministry of reconciliation, so that everything gets restored. We will carry the ‘word of reconciliation’ in the very foundation of our being and it will transform our entire being from the inside out. That is how we can be ambassadors, representing God’s kingdom and authority among the whole created order.

From glory to glory

…but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor 3:16-18).

The original purpose and intention of God for each of us, what He created us to be and do, that is what we will see reflected. That is an image which will change and transform us as we submit to the process. It does not happen in an instant: we have to keep looking. If it happened in an instant, we would start looking somewhere else and become conformed to the image of that ‘somewhere else’ instead. The ongoing process is integral to our continuing relationship with and representation of God.

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”, is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6).

When anyone turns to God, a veil is lifted from their hearts; light comes and they are enabled to behold the glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ.  In believers who continue to look into that glory a transformation takes place, by which we are continually changed into the same image (God’s original intent), from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.

Note:
1. Metanoia is the Greek word normally translated as repentance in our English Bibles. The original word has nothing to do with feeling regret or saying sorry, but is about turning around and thinking differently so that we are of the same mind as God about something.

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249. The Veil is Taken Away

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Acquainted with perfection

Live consistent with who you really are, inspired by the loving kindness of God. Do not allow current religious tradition to mould you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within (Rom 12:1-2 Mirror Bible).

“Become acquainted with perfection”. We know that God is perfection. But have you ever considered this? His image of us is also perfection! Perfection is what He sees in us when He calls us and gives us a destiny in sonship. Our own view may have been distorted by our experiences of life and the things we believe, but His original intent and purpose remain unchanged. He still sees us as we really are, therefore only He can bring about the transformation in our thinking that will enable us to ‘live consistent’ with that.

We have to get to know Him. There is no methodology that will achieve this consistency outside of relationship with Him. If we do not see God as He really is, there is no possibility of seeing ourselves as we really are. Our unrenewed minds are veiled by the constructs of our own consciousness. And even though we may ditch our old understanding of who God is, if we merely replace it with a new understanding which is also a construct of our own minds, then that will not be accurate either. What we need is a renewed mind and a continual, living relationship.

Taught to conform

But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Cor 3:14-16).

This veil is our old religious or DIY belief system that causes a hardened mind. Justin Paul Abraham points out that in the church we have been very good at teaching people what to think, but not how to think. Most of us have been taught to conform, either explicitly or implicitly. But conformity to ideology, theology, doctrine and cultural norms actually limits our creative thinking and our sonship. We must turn to the Lord for the veil to be taken away.

To turn is to engage metanoia, the word which is normally translated ‘repentance’ but which really means a radical shift of thinking. We know that the more we try to turn away from something, the more we will focus on the thing we are trying to turn away from. The solution is to turn towards something else instead, and to focus on that. To remove the veils and renew our minds we need to behold God face to face, to engage Him heart to heart and mind to mind, so that we can become like Him. We can do this through meditative encounters. As we open the eyes of our heart, as our imagination is activated, we can begin to see, hear and perceive true reality. Our encounters with God will begin to challenge what we thought we knew about Him.

Expand my reality

I had a number of encounters with God which created cognitive dissonance within me. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (or psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values, especially when something happens to highlight the contradiction. This was very distressing, but it served to expand my reality of God and myself. I had a choice, to fight to hold onto what I had always thought to be true or allow the Truth, Jesus, to renew my mind.

I had engaged God’s heart many times with my spirit, outside the limitations of time and space, where my unrenewed mind could not function rationally. Then one day God said “Let me show you My mind.” I am not going to describe it visually, but it felt like being in the middle of a continuous, harmonious conversation between Father, Son and Spirit, in which I could hear faint echoes of my own name.

Again I heard the Father say ”Let Me show you something” and I briefly glimpsed reality from His perspective. I saw that He was connected to everyone that had ever lived, is living or will live, all at once; that is around 108 billion people and counting. He was connected to everyone in the ‘now’, knowing every choice and every decision made every microsecond, and His loving desire was to bring good out of every choice, to redeem even the most stupid decisions of every single person. What amazing love!

Meanwhile we know that the love of God causes everything to mutually contribute to our advantage (Rom 8:28 Mirror Bible).

Same old

Unless our minds are renewed we will find ourselves stuck in the ‘same old, same old’ life. We want to know who God really is and who we really are in Him, yet our past belief and experience limit our capacity to grasp what is really true. Our mind has the capacity to go way beyond its present conscious awareness. We need our minds expanded, though not with psychedelic drugs or anything of that kind: engaging the mind of God will do it. He is omniscient, He knows all there is to know, so engaging His mind will likely be an image-busting experience for us. Are you willing?

Communion

One simple way we can encounter the mind of God is through communion. Renewal of the mind through communion breaks the neural pathways linked to old mindsets and establishes new neural networks, new perspectives, that can be continually renewed. I have shared my original communion prayer with you on this blog before, but I will close this post with a version I wrote to help me renew my mind through engaging with the body and blood of Jesus.

When we take communion we fellowship, sharing life, partaking of His life by focusing and fixing our eyes on Him. As we eat His flesh and drink His blood we are engaging with His life, His essence, His mind and His thoughts.  We engage by faith: not just reciting the words parrot-fashion but meditating on what we are asking and experiencing the reality.

Applying the Body and Blood of Jesus to the renewal of the mind:

I eat your flesh and drink your blood so that I will have the Mind of Christ.

I engage in the body and blood of Jesus and I embrace the transforming power of the Mind of Christ contained within it.

I engage the record containing the light, sound and frequency of God’s consciousness for the renewal of my mind, back to its eternal condition.

I embrace the record of the dimensions of the kingdom released in my mind by the thoughts of God to renew, rewire and restore my brain and thinking.

I engage God’s thoughts and apply them to my mind for health and wholeness, to break and remove all negative neural pathways linked to my conscience.

I speak to my marrow and command it to be a new source of blood that will renew and rewire the cells of my brain so that I can think like a son of God.

I apply the frequency of God’s thoughts resonating with truth to transform my mind into the Mind of Christ by removing all lies and breaking all strongholds.

I command every neural pathway attached to negative memories and ungodly behaviours to be broken and new neural pathways aligned to truth to be formed.

I apply the blood of Jesus to all negative and impure memories and break all connections to sin and trauma – Mind and thinking, be renewed!

I apply the blood of Jesus to all negative images within my imagination and all negative belief systems within my reason centre – Mind, be cleansed!

I call my mind to resonate with the thoughts of God contained within the Mind of Christ and come into alignment and agreement with an eternal perspective.

I choose that my brain and mind be conformed to the likeness of my Father and Brother in heaven to release the creative capacity of sonship

Let the word of God be breathed into my mind, unlocking its true capacity and releasing the supernatural abilities of God.

I trigger the ability for telepathic communication, telekinetic power and transmutation abilities.

I trigger the ability of creative thought, translation, bilocation, pre- and post-cognition and time travel.

[Click here to download a copy of this prayer to print for your own use or to share with others. Opens in a new tab or window.]

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Expanding Our Reality: Deconstruction and Restoring Consciousness

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241. You Have Not Desired

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott   

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Modern evangelical religion sees the Father punishing and forsaking his own Son on the cross. Yet the early Church Fathers (who were discipled by those that Jesus discipled in love) did not believe that God punished Jesus. The cross is not about abandonment but quite the opposite: healing and reconciliation.

Relationship sees the death of Jesus as the communion, oneness and togetherness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit breaking into our separation.  It sees the love of God breaking into our alienation and darkness with light. The purpose of Jesus’ death is to find us, to establish relationship with us, in our sin, in our death, in our bondage; and to recreate us or to make us alive, to bring us from death into life. That has been His desire all along.

If God is not ‘counting their trespasses against them’, then there is no reason for Him to punish anyone. And fear of punishment is absolutely not the way Perfect Love operates in any case: instead, His kindness leads us to repentance:

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Rom 2:4 NIV).

What is wrong with this picture?

So if we look at the Old Testament law and the sacrificial system and see an angry God needing appeasement, something is very wrong with this picture.

Cain and Abel were the first people we know of who brought God an offering:

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions (Gen 4:3-4).

God had not asked them for anything. So I wonder who told them that God required offerings or sacrifices. I would suggest that it was the same satanic DIY religion whose lies inspired Adam and Eve to make coverings and hide in the bushes.

Since then, and throughout mankind’s history, making sacrifices (including child sacrifices) to appease angry do-it-yourself gods has been integral to religion. Sacrifices are made to ensure fertility, bountiful harvests, security and victory. Abraham was told to leave his idol-making family behind but he didn’t (Gen 12:1). Jacob’s wife Rachel stole her family idols when she was leaving home (Gen 31:19). Israel sacrificed to idols while they were in Egypt, and even took them with them into the wilderness (Acts 7:43), where they got Aaron to make a golden calf (Ex 32:1-4).

Delight in sacrifice?

It was anger at the sight of the golden calf that caused Moses to break the original tablets God had given him (Ex 32:28), God’s own handiwork which according to the original Hebrew were actually sapphire cubes of heavenly revelation.

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

Moses wrote the law from His own interpretation on the replacement tablets he cut out of stone. He gave the sacrificial law to stop Israel sacrificing (including child sacrifice) to idols such as the golden calf, Baal, Molech and countless others. God allowed Moses to introduce the law to limit sacrifices that could be made, not to endorse them. He neither wanted nor needed the sacrifice of animals to appease His wrath.

At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands… as it is written in the book of the prophets, “It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship” (Acts 7:41-43).

God really did not want their sacrifices.

For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices (Jer 7:22).

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure” (Heb 10:5-6).

King David, even after committing murder and adultery, knew that appeasement was not what God required:

For You do not delight in sacrifice,
otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God,
You will not despise

(Psa 51:16-17).

Justice, not sacrifices

“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats… Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow” (Isa 1:11, 16-17).

“I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings… But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:21-22, 24).

“…and to love one’s neighbour as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:33-34).

A change of heart, righteousness or justice could only come from relationship with God, not out of the self-righteousness associated with our own DIY religion, or with the Law. In fact the Law only served to demonstrate to those who were under it that they could not have a relationship with God through their own DIY efforts.

A living sacrifice

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

Paul is not writing here about trying to appease God by serving Him. It is very easy to slip back into the mindset that we need to do something to make us more acceptable to Him. Political and religious spirits constantly seek to subvert the gospel. Jesus warned his disciples about this:

“Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15).

So let us consider, are we in any way still living a DIY religious lifestyle?

  • Are we praying and reading our Bibles more out of fear than faith?
  • Are we doing good works to earn forgiveness, or brownie points?
  • Are we paying our tithes and giving our offerings out of obligation?
  • Are we sacrificing our children on the idol of ministry?

There’s nothing I could do
That would ever make You
Love me more
There’s nothing I could do
That would ever make You
Love me less
(Outrageous Love by Jonathan David Helser and Ed Cash).

Nothing we can do could possibly make Him love us any more than He already does. Nothing we can do can make Him love us any less. He loves us consistently, perfectly, passionately. Once we recognise this fact, the idol of ‘GOD’ as the distant, angry, punishing deity begins to be demolished in our lives.

What if?

  • What if God was ACTUALLY good?
  • What if God was ONLY good?
  • What if God was ALWAYS good?
  • What if there was NO dark side to God – at all?
  • What if God was FOR us, not against us?
  • What if God doesn’t allow evil, but rather seeks to DISALLOW it by applying His curative energies to both victim and offender?
  • What if God cares deeply, tenderly and intensely for the wellbeing of everyone at all times and in all places?

A.W. Tozer famously said that “by a secret law of the soul, we grow to resemble our image of God.” We become like who we behold; so we need to know the true God if we are to be like Him and represent Him on the earth.

Once again, let me say, I am not trying to invent or convert anyone to a new theology or belief system but I am encouraging us all to meet God face to face and find out what He is really like. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing with me about these things, why not ask God for personal revelation and let Him reveal Himself as the Truth?

SoundTrack: Outrageous Love by Jonathan and Melissa Helser via YouTube

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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240. Loving Instruction and Correction

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Love, the very essence of His Being

If we continually engage with God in a relational way we will continually find new things. We certainly cannot contain Him in a box – or even in a book. We need a relationship with Him and then, just as in any relationship, we will gradually (or sometimes in a flash of revelation) get to know what He is really like.

As the Joshua Generation, we are called to engage our inheritance, to cross over into the realms of heaven. In that, whether we are engaging God in the realms of heaven or engaging Him in our own heart, or in the spirit, or outside of time and space in the heart of God Himself, God is revealing His precepts, His character and His nature. When we meet God face to face, it begins to change our view of Him, and for the better. You can take it from me: we honestly have no idea just how good He is!

When I have engaged face to face with Him, what I have found is that God is Love. That is not only His predominant characteristic, but the very essence of His being. That Love poses a challenge to many of the ways we have thought about God because of our religious upbringing or traditions. If we are to live as the sons of God we truly are, if we are to love one another and to love the world as He does, then we need to have an authentic experience and testimony of God as a loving Father. After all, we are His representatives, His ambassadors, and we are to play our part in bringing the whole of creation back into a relationship with Him, to be reconciled to Him. Notice that it is not that He needs to be reconciled to us, the world or creation: He has chosen to maintain relationship with us from eternity past and unambiguously demonstrated that once and for all through the cross.

Father, Son and Spirit

The word ‘God’ has all kinds of different meanings to different people. When I write or speak about ‘God’, what I mean is Father, Son and Spirit; there is a relationship there, eternally expressed between the members of the Trinity, and this is the relationship into which we are now invited. As we experience the true reality of who God is, false doctrines and theologies will be exposed as lies, distortions and misrepresentations when compared with the Truth (the person, Jesus, rather than an impersonal set of beliefs, tenets or ideas).

Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. He said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”. We may think we ‘know’ this, but right there is a potential bombshell of cognitive dissonance waiting to explode. What do I mean by that? When we read the Old Testament and the New Testament, there is a danger that we see two different ‘Gods’. The New Testament ‘God’ looks like Jesus, whilst the Old Testament ‘God’ is vengeful, vindictive, unpredictable, and downright scary. It should be no surprise if we struggle to hold these two incompatible views of God in our minds at the same time, yet that is exactly what many of us have done ever since we became Christians. We have looked at this through our own filters and through our own preconceived ideas. If we will look through the lens of Jesus we will realise that any dichotomy is not real, it is just a perception.

Not God at all

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17).

“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6).

Everything that is good in our lives has come from God. Conversely, we can know that everything that is bad has not come from Him. He is, has been, and will always be the same. And His unchangeableness is the reason we are not consumed, and do not have to fear being consumed. It is because He is Love, that perfect Love who drives out all fear. He is good, all the time.

God (who is Father, Son and Spirit) is always smiling at us and is always in a good mood with us; always, even when we mess up. His countenance does not change. He does not get angry with us. Everything He does towards us is for our good, not to harm or punish us. And every time I have used the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ in this paragraph, that does not only include Christians: God so loved ‘the world’ [Greek: kosmos] that He gave… but we will pick up that particular hot potato another time.

The reason we might find it hard to trust God is because the god we have been taught to trust is not God at all. That “GOD” is an imaginary construct of DIY religion, a distant, angry disciplinarian, a two-faced deity with a dark side which is to be feared. That anger, or perhaps you may have heard it called ‘wrath’, could be poured out in extreme punishment on anyone at any time.

That was who Adam and Eve wanted to avoid by hiding in the bushes. But God did not come lashing out at them in anger, roaring “What have you done?” He came seeking them out in love, asking, “Where are you?”. He was saddened by the loss of relationship (and was ready to restore it, if only they were willing).

Discipline, not punishment

Last time we saw that the cross had nothing to do with ‘penal substitution’, nothing to do with God punishing Jesus. But that whole doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement has so perverted our view of God that we often try to avoid His discipline because of fear of punishment (because if He would punish Jesus, for sure He would punish us). Can we really trust a god who would punish his own son so cruelly? It is very difficult to see how anyone could trust in a god like that. The world does not, and votes with its feet.

However, God’s discipline has nothing to do with punishment:

Embrace correction. His instruction confirms your true sonship, just as a father would take natural responsibility for the education of his children. Discipline is not punishment but loving instruction and correction to bring out the best in us (Heb 12:7 Mirror Bible).

God disciplines us to bring us back to the image He created us in. The Greek word translated ‘discipline’ is paidian, which means ‘the training and education of children’ or ‘instruction that trains someone to reach full development (maturity)’. That is what God does with us. But we have a tendency to read into the word all kinds of experiences we may have had in our own childhood and customs and practices we may have adopted in bringing up our own children or observed in others. But God’s discipline is not flawed like ours. If His discipline seems harsh at the time, it is often because we do not like being caught out, or do not like the learning process necessary to get us back on track.

The perception of an angry, punishing, retributive “GOD” is reflected in our society. Western civilisation may be built on a Judeo-Christian ethical foundation, but if the Judeo-Christian understanding of the nature and character of God is flawed, then so too will be the society built on that foundation. The evidence is clear: angry, punishing parenting styles, support for corporal and even capital punishment, wars, jihads and crusades. This kind of institutionalised violence and retaliation has not solved the problems the world faces and it never will. Only love will solve the problem. Only relationship with God will deal with these issues. Our DIY methods only make things worse.

Spare the rod and spoil the child?

Many of us were told (and have believed ourselves) that corporal punishment is clearly taught in scripture. Christians in some countries have fought for the right to smack their children when their governments have sought to bring in laws to forbid the practice. Here is the scripture which is often quoted:

He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently

(Prov 13:24).

Does this mean that we should beat our children to discipline them? It does not. When you understand what the rod is, you realise it is not a cane to beat someone with.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Ps 23:4)

The shepherd uses his rod to guide, to keep the sheep from stepping off the correct path, not to punish them.

God does not beat us. He corrects us, He puts us back on the right path in a loving way. His discipline is not an angry parent taking out their frustration on their child, as sometimes happens in human society. His discipline is parental love in action and nothing else. Nothing that harms and nothing that maims, shames or blames: only a love that empowers us to fulfil our destiny, a love that strengthens us to know our true identity and to express who we really are.

That is why we can embrace His correction, understanding that it demonstrates how much He loves us and that He cares deeply about us.

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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Choose monthlyquarterly or annual options for your automatic recurring subscription payments via credit or debit card, and try Engaging God free for 2 weeks – no payment will be made until after 14 days, during which you can easily cancel if you wish.

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