PERSON OF SALVATION

BY:  JOHN R. GAVAZZONI

MARCH 11, 2008

PARTS 1-5

PARTS

TITLE

PAGE

1

PERSON of SALVATION

1

2

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST

2

3

THE LARGER MESSAGE

2

4

DEITY’S DEVELOPMENT

3

5

LET’S NOT LOSE THE ‘AND/WITH’

4

 

PART ONE

PERSON of SALVATION

Well being, wholeness, or soundness is what ought to come to mind first, foremost and fundamentally when we read about the salvation which is ours in Jesus Christ. But, unfortunately, because of the spin put upon the words salvation and saved by it’s-either-heaven-or-hell theology that is not the sense that is conveyed to the average reader of conventionally translated scripture.

Thus we separate salvation from “the victorious Christian life.” But salvation is the victorious, saving life of Christ in us. All the things that are appropriate to salvation, all right living that preachers only indirectly associate with salvation, are in fact His whole life being lived out. From that central definition we can understand how being saved, healed, safe, finding refuge, protection and deliverance are included.

So salvation must not be separated from quality of personhood. But there is a tendency to do so. We say that Jesus saves, but fail to make clear that He saves by His wholeness. Salvation is not something that Jesus gives apart from giving Himself. It’s not merely someTHING He does for us. God’s gift of salvation equates to God’s gift of His Son“For God so/thus loved the world that He gave His single-begotten Son…”

According to Paul, we have undergone a reconciliating change by Christ’s death, and we shall be saved by His life. His life; His glorious life; His fully fulfilled, glorified life flowing forth by the Spirit from His glorified Person. According to John, He who has the Son has (that) life, and He that has not the Son has not (that) life. To “have” Christ speaks of possession experientially, knowingly.

Prediction: The discerning heart will take notice of a tendency, on the part of some who, beginning with the obscurity I’ve described, while taking a stand for the salvation of all men, will shy away from the clear and bold apostolic declaration that apart from a vital relationship with Jesus Christ, there is no salvation.

Oh, dear ones, spread the tidings all around, Jesus saves! All earth shall keep her Jubilee, for Jesus saves, Jesus saves. We, and all creation with us, shall be made whole, saved, safe, healed, within refuge and protected IN HIM. The goal of salvation is One New (totally whole) Man. All creation shall be aglow with the glorious well-being of Jesus.

If God has not made Jesus of Nazareth quite singularly both Lord and Christ, then we are all doomed to the ongoing reign of death passed from one generation to the next. I love brother Peter’s bold declaration that his audience on the day of Pentecost had by the hands of wicked men crucified Christ, but God had made Him both Lord and Christ.

The One who defeats the last enemy, death, is the One who is Lord, and The Anointed to bring the glorious purpose of the Father to consummation. The Greater David has met the greater Goliath and soundly defeated him for all mankind. His victory is our victory.

Jesus didn’t merely preach the salvation of all; Jesus didn’t merely have a superior understanding of salvation, He is salvation. To know Him is to share in His glorious wholeness. By His experience from incarnation through the whole of human experience including the very heart of human fragmentation, alienation and death on to resurrection and glorification, He has, in Himself, brought all men with Himself through death to reign in life. Is it religiously exclusivist to proclaim an all-inclusive Savior?

Of course not! But, because some believe it is so, or are afraid that we might sound exclusivist in holding Him forth to the world as the only One in whom men have salvation, some will avoid the equation of the Person of Jesus Christ and salvation. And in doing so, the message will be stripped of its power and its wisdom.

There will be a growing tendency on the part of an ecumenical confederacy of inter-linked interests to agree that the notion of eternal torment is, of course, repulsive to any decent religious sensitivity, but, amazingly so, the declaration of Jesus Christ as absolute Lord will become equally repugnant to some influential voices with that confederacy. This will lead to compromising the truth that Jesus is the Truth.

God is a humanist, for true Humanness sprang from His loins as the God-Man, our Lord; but there is a godless humanISM that attempts to glorify man apart from man’s source, the “one mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus.” We are all the children of God, to be sure, but we are so through the inclusivity of God’s one Seed, Christ.

PART TWO

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST

Our Lord exercises absolute Lordship. Pertaining to His reign, there is no limiting qualification. ALL authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. There are no exceptions. He awaits no one’s permission to act sovereignly. He does what pleases HimPERIOD; and what pleases His Father is that which pleases Him. All that would hope to resist Him is proven to be utterly futile. By Him, “the Lord God, omnipotent reigneth, Hallelujah!

One need only ponder the name and title of this Prince of Peace to whom God has delegated complete control over all things, as in the ancient confession, “Jesus Christ, Lord.” Jesus, the English form of the Hebrew name indicating God saves; Christ. His title, indicating the commission by the anointing to carry out His Father’s will, that anointing inherent in His God-begotten Personhood; Lord, the capstone of the confession making emphatic all that His name and title imply.

Nothing leads us more centrally to an understanding of the nature, purpose, plan and will of the Father than that He should be generically represented by One whose name speaks of salvation, for Christ rules by the One who ruled over the entrance of sin into the world, and will continue to rule until the whole of the cosmos in its macrocosm and microcosm has been delivered from sin’s ruination and beyond.

Why ruin something, only to fix it? That would appear to be the case, but it is not. The ruination and restoration is a ruination and restoration for the purpose of enlargement, increase, enhancement and super-glorification. Divine wisdom understood this to be the Way to release “all the fullness of God.” It is not the Way God sent us to travel all alone. It is God’s Way, the Way of the cross, a Way in which we are granted co-participation by the faith of Christ; co-participation in glory through death to greater glory.

There is a sublimely poignant frame in the vision of the Revelation of Jesus Christ as it passes before the sight of His servant, John. No part of any prophetic vision frames more summarily the nature of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. John sees a Lamb in the midst (exact center) of the throne. Could a case be made for Christ Lordship as the Captain of the Lord’s hosts, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as The Mighty One of Israel, as He who roars out of Zion. Yes, of course! But a Lamb in the center of the throne, that speaks more, speaks more clearly, speaks more profoundly to my needy soul.

He’s a grand Lord to be sure, but He reaches to my depths as the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world. Yes, Jesus, Yeshua, Yehoshua, the absolute saving Lord who saves as a Lamb, humbly, sacrificially, conquering death by surrendering to death for me, for all. Sacrificial love reigns. Sacrificial love finally, inexorably bends every knee and calls forth the confession, “Jesus Christ, Lord.” There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, because there’s a Lamb in the midst of the throne.

PART THREE

THE LARGER MESSAGE

Most of us, I’m sure, are familiar with the very rhetorically colorful expressions heard mostly among young people, as in, in one form or another: “Wellduhh,” “That’s a no-brainer.” “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.” Such creative communication devices came to mind as I realized that we, of the final restoration conviction, are found laboriously going to great lengths to present an apologetic for the universal effectiveness of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

Though the apostles, and particular Paul, did stoop to confronting stupid notions seeking recognition within the community of believers, they did so without dignifying the stupidity. They set thinking straight quickly and deftly, in a way analogous to a martial arts master teaching an arrogantly disrespectful student a painful and humiliating lesson.

Paul got quickly to the point and dismissed doctrinal monstrosities, so that all that was left to say was, “wellduhh!” “That’s a no-brainer.” Sometimes the way we go on, and on, and on disputing religious insanity, does amount to dignifying its claim of defining orthodoxy. It is not un-loving to declare that such screw-loose, vain imagination is not even worthy of a place on the platform of reasonable theological consideration.

Away with such malicious nonsense. We have better things that call for the devotion of our minds and hearts. Your bellowing is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Your bellicose pretensions of orthodoxy are the equivalent of one deliberately and loudly passing gas at an elegant dinner party, and expecting everyone to honor your contribution to the evening’s conversation. Shame on you.

Let us get on with the larger message, for as God grants us the needful anointing to boldly declare “the mystery hidden from ages past,” the contrast between light and darkness will become glaringly evident. When we make clear what God has purposed for all creation from the beginningwhich purpose He has entrusted to His gloriously faithful and competent Son, in whose hands the Father’s desire will most certainly prosper, men and women will find themselves, as we once did, comparing what we once blindly believed, with the effective, unfailing Lordship of Jesus Christ, saying, in effect, to themselves, “wellduhh, left to myself, I really missed a no-brainer.”

Keep the message on target. Jesus, the Lord, the Lord OF ALL, has by His death and resurrection, defeated death and sealed the destiny of glory FOR ALL. Because of Him, all the earth, and all that God has formed from the earth, shall be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Declare the certainty of the exercise of His authority in heaven and earth. Let there be no disconnect between the message and your devotion to the Person who IS the Message. There is an element of intellectually-pretentious discomfort, even embarrassment, extant and growing, that would much prefer to distance itself from that holy, apostolic insistence that the fullness of the Godhead bodily has come to us uniquely in Jesus Christ of Nazareth by whose death alone, the full glory of aeonian life has been released.

There are dark days ahead on the earth, and what the world needs now, which need will become increasingly apparent, are men and women so captured by the fulfillment of God’s and man’s deepest desire in the Person of His Son, that their devotion to Him, and the Truth in Him, will put to shame any and all other heart attachments.

PART FOUR

DEITY’S DEVELOPMENT

One of the glorious truths that “sings” with revelation is the truth that God’s perfection is not static, but eternally developmental. God is expansive, drawing forth from the artesian well of the Divine Nature never-ending out-flowings of love’s glory. As we have several times pointed out, God becomes more and more of all that He is out from the depths of all that He is. Nothing can add to Him, but He can add to Himself out from the depths of Himself, and humanity is integral to that divine development as consummated in the Man, Christ Jesus.

I say it “sings,” because it, as all truth, requires that it be received in the apparent paradoxical tension intrinsic to its sublime nature. As the strings of a stringed musical instrument must be tuned by the tension of being stretched to the degree appropriate to their contribution to a musical piece by being tightened sufficiently to add it’s part to the song, so truth, if it is to sing to our spirit, comes to us often with what feels like intolerable intellectual tension.

Expansive perfection; absoluteness intensified; unqualified provision adding to its store of resources from within; The increase of All-Sufficiency; the source of all growth growingTHAT’S the tension of which I write. It is the development of the Being in whom we all have our being, into Personhood Personhood that is internally relational and family-constituted so that out from THE BEING proceeds the Divine Family that has no end.

Salvation/wholeness/well-being must be understood in the light of Deity’s development. If we lose the Person-root of the message of universal salvation, we lose its essence. THE Being which is the source of all wholeness unfolded as Family-relational Personhood: Potential Fatherhood, from whose side came the potential of Motherhood, fulfilling Itself/Their-self by the impregnation, conception and birthing of the One who, by His eternal begottenness, qualified and fulfilled the Paternal potential of the Divine Nature.

This brings us to the fact that only that which is fulfilled, i.e., brought to complete development is existentially whole and sound. That which lacks fulfillment is vulnerable to being filled with that which is alien to its nature. Adam and Eve were existentially unfulfilled, which condition was at the heart of their vulnerability to deviation.

Our Lord Jesus is the fully developed, complete and fulfilled Man. We speak of the finished work of Christ, but fail to realize that Christ is the finished work of God. Only in sharing His fullness, His fulfillment — as God has indeed accomplished — can we saved so as to be safe from false filling, that is, “being filled with all uprightness.” To experience Christ in all His fullness is to be truly, without qualification, saved.

Whatever be the “it” of eternal worth, Christ does not point to “it,” “it” points to Christ. Soundness of being (salvation) is a participation in the soundness of God, reproduced and given to us in a Son. Well-being is relational in its essence.

Mere theological conceptualization amounts to an avoidance of intimacy with the Son of God. The issue is, as with Peter, “Loveth thou me.” And, as with Paul, “…. the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.”

When Jesus “presences” (parousia), salvation comes to us. We are on the cutting edge of the eternal dynamic within the eons when His presence is our expectation and our delight. Nothing compares to the “presencing” of Christ. Oh, the satisfaction; Oh the filling to fulfillment. There in that Presence we are made whole.

“In the secret of His Presence, how my soul delights to hide; Oh how precious are the lessons that I learn at Jesus side. Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low; for when Satan comes to tempt me to that secret place I go; to that secret place I go.”

PART FIVE

LET’S NOT LOSE THE “AND/WITH”

The relationship of Christ to particularly the believer – but finally understood, to the whole of humanity – is consistent with, and an outgrowth of the relationship of the Father and the Son. The Divine Nature which, though subjecting Itself with us to contrianism, is really what natures all things.  And that nature, as the saying goes, “will out.” That is, it cannot be forever suppressed. Reality will allow for no other ultimate destiny than Itself.

What is the relationship between the Father and the Son? Jesus summed it up most succinctly: “I and the Father are one.”  Undisciplined minds regarding the things of God interpret that expression of the relationship (that constitutes all relationship) according to their distinctive mental temperament.

One mentality prefers to ignore the “and” of Jesus’ statement in favor of a simplistic misunderstanding of the nature of divine oneness.   The other mentality dilutes the depth of the oneness in favor of the god who is the supreme object above all other objects, while having some ill-defined unity. To even speak of the relationship of the Father and the Son really says it all, for stark oneness cannot have relationship — unless it be a relationship that is even sicker than that of the sociopath. 

The “and” of Jesus statement finds its parallel in Paul’s “with.” For Paul, Christ was both in us and with us. That is, He in us constitutes our humanness and our personhood, while at the same time possessing a distinctive “anotherness” as pertaining to us. Paul wanted the believer to fully realize the indwelling of Christ, but also to know that while He is in us, He is also with us in us. He is He and we are we – yet we are one.

Without that full-orbed understanding, eastern mysticism’s reduction of divine oneness leaves us with the most subtle form of legalism’s gospel of self-effort.  For if there is only one, then that one must save itself  since there is no other to save it.  This leaves it with the hilariously, idiotic necessity of taking on the task of disciplining its mind to discover that there is no other god except itself. We thus have not the God who identifies Himself as “I AM,” but the god who is struggling to discover who he is.

When I was pastoring a charismatic church years ago, we had a former Hindu guru, whom Christ had gloriously saved, demonstrate the technique he used to attempt to look within to discover that he is God. He demonstrated by rolling his eyes upward and backward into his head to find the God who was himself. Having come into a saving relationship WITH Jesus Christ, his self-effacing demonstration was both sobering and hilarious to behold. 

The co-dependency that combines the anti-dynamic propensity of western Christianity to know only an external Christ, and the eastern propensity to explain away the “anotherness” of the One who is in us strengthens and more deeply entrenches the sad inadequacy of both theologies.

The West’s history has created a vacuum of true subjective experience of Christ.   And since nature abhors a vacuum, eastern mysticism has been quietly filling that vacuum with a disarmingly deceptive appeal that gives an artificial, mystical sugar-high.

Jesus was not (as some suppose) simply ahead of His time in discovering His sonship, so as to teach us how to discover the same. He was the uniquely, single/only-begotten of the Father, who reproduces the reproductivity of His Father by birthing many sons in His image. The Son, in the likeness of His Father, became Himself a Father. The Father reproduced Himself in one Son, while the Son reproduced many sons – yet they all have their Primal Origin in the one Seed of God.

Abraham had his one son of promise, Isaac, out from whose loins have come all the generations of the children of Abraham. No matter who is the direct father of each generation, they are all children of the original father by virtue of that first generating initiation. If we seek to discover our divinity by looking inward, we will find the one who appears as an angel of light, and one day we will find ourselves admiring ourselves at being so wise as to know that we are our own source of being.

But if we seek the face of our Beloved, we shall know Him as He is, and know Him as He is in us, in union with us. Is it a matter of black and white as to where many teachers are coming from? In some cases, yes.  But in most cases, it’s a matter of mixture. I recently read a book by a man who has just become a very controversial figure regarding what I’ve dealt with above. There was much in the book that I found to be insightful, yet at the same time, there were elements that deeply disturbed my spirit.

May our Lord grace us with the spirit of wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

 

PERSON OF SALVATION, Parts 1-2 [John R. Gavazzoni] 3-11-08          1

 

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