A Note on Union with Christ

 In Blog

“Father, I have made Your name known to them, and I will make it known, that the love wherewith you love Me may be in them, and I in them.”  —Jesus, John 17:26

“The Incarnation means that God Himself condescended to enter into our alienated human existence, to lay hold of it, to bind it in union with Himself…” —Thomas F. Torrance, The School of Faith

 

 

The apostles lead us to contemplate the fact that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the Father incarnate.  Some of their statements about Jesus are quite astounding.  It was fidelity to this apostolic witness to Jesus that expanded the mind of the early Church and led to the recognition that God is eternally Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three distinct persons, indivisibly one divine being.  This vision of Trinitarian oneness led the fathers at Nicaea to proclaim with the apostles that all things were created from the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, echoing John and Paul’s insistence that all things were created in and through and by and for the Son.  A Trinitarian discussion of union with Christ begins here with the oneness of the Triune God and with the Son’s union with all creation as the Creator and Sustainer of all things—prior to the incarnation.  It is striking that so much of what is said about union with Christ ignores this very proclamation and assumes separation, that is to say, assumes that creation and the human race within it have existence and being and life apart from the Son of God.

For the apostles and the Nicene theologians the Son as Creator is held together with his ongoing sustaining of creation, such that any rupture between the Son of God and creation threatens creation with nonbeing.  The incarnation of the Son anointed in the Spirit is thus not to be viewed as the establishment of a previously non-existing relationship or union between the anointed Son and the human race.  For the cosmos would vanish in an instant without him.  To be sure, the Fall of Adam constitutes a rebellion from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and a declaration of independence from the Son as the very source and meaning of human existence.  The Fall is a denial of human participation in the life of blessed Trinity and thus threatened the union between Adam and Eve and the Triune God.  As Athanasius said, the human race was on the road to ruin and lapsing into nonbeing. In its deepest sense, the incarnation addresses this threat of our ultimate disappearance from existence.  In becoming flesh, the Son of God establishes his existing divine relationship or union with humanity, which was seriously jeopardized by Adam’s rejection, inside the very specific context of human alienation and rebellion.  In an act of astonishing redemptive genius, the Son of God entered personally into the reality that threatened his union with us, namely, our rejection of him.  By giving himself into the hands of wicked men he yielded to our great darkness and rebellion, suffering them personally, thereby using our alien vision and rebellion as the means of establishing his union with us in our sin.  Bearing the insidious scorn of broken humanity, Jesus met us and accepted us precisely in our resistance and unwillingness to come to him, indeed in our hatred of him and of his exposing light.  Therein the incarnate, crucified and resurrected Son secured his union with us by way of our unbelief, once and for all obliterating the threat of our nonexistence.  For he is a merciful Creator who loves the human race.

The response of the human race to the presence of the Father’s Son and Creator incarnate was to damn him, and damn him with bitterness and enmity, giving him gall as his last drink.  The stunning self-surrender of the Son of God to be despised and forsaken by sinners and to endure our hostility against him is our Creator’s personal entry into our deepest iniquity.  Without our vote, without our willing response to him, we could not speak of union here or even of relationship, but only of a strange, anti-relational, legal and external divine act of abstract sovereignty.  But the human race voted indeed.  We responded.  We, Jew and Gentile together, damned and cursed and crucified the incarnate Creator and Son of God—deicide, the rejection and killing of God. What could possibly be more vile?  Yet it is precisely this most vile act that is taken up and experienced by Jesus.  In utter oneness with his Father and the Holy Spirit, and as the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the Son of God became one of us, and we betrayed him with disdain and tortured him in our scoffing rage.  It was not the wrath of the Father that was poured out on Jesus at Calvary, but the wrath of the human race.  Scripture is crystal clear: with venomous contempt we condemned our Creator, banishing him from our presence on Golgotha’s hill.  And the One crucified by humanity is the Father’s eternal Son, the One anointed in the Holy Spirit, and the One in and through and by and for whom all things were and are created and are constantly sustained.  Thus as Jesus bowed as an innocent lamb to be slaughtered by the human race, he brought his oneness with his Father and the Holy Spirit—and his divine, but jeopardized union with the human race—into our twisted blindness and horrifying iniquity.  As such Jesus Christ is the Creator meeting us at our most violent and wicked worst, using our bitter rejection of him to bind us in union with him forever, thereby rendering separation from him an eternal impossibility and destroying every threat to our ceasing to be.

Here is unimaginable sin and unimaginable love meeting in one Person.  The crucified Son is the mercy seat, the place where the blessed Trinity in the person of the Son experienced and endured and accepted and embraced the human race in its alienation and enmity against the Triune God in astonishing and everlasting mercy.  Here is the New Covenant, the new relationship between the Creator and anointed Son and his broken creatures, born in the shed blood of breathtaking divine mercy and human treachery.  And here in Jesus on the cross at our hands is the meaning of union.  The crucified Son is himself the union between the Father and the Holy Spirit, indivisibly one in him, with those whom he created yet who responded to him in unbelief and unspeakable derision.  In our rejection of the Son of God, and in his willful surrender to our bizarre blindness, we stand before a union with Jesus made real not by our faith and repentance, but by our unbelief and treason.  Such a union is so astonishing that it is almost unbelievable, but it is the gospel itself.  It is both too beautiful and too horrible for words, but so it is.

It is the Holy Spirit’s determined delight to reveal this reality, this union, in us, inside our own blindness. The Spirit’s mission is not to create a relationship between us and Jesus, as if that union were not already made real in our rejection of our Lord.  The Holy Spirit does not come to us from the outside, as if the Spirit were absent in the incarnation as a mere spectator watching the Son as he bowed before our hatred.  The Holy Spirit was indivisibly one with Jesus as he experienced our wrath.  And thus the Spirit moves not from absence to presence, but from union with us in our darkness in Jesus to the work of revealing this union in us in our fallen minds.  In oneness with Jesus in his oneness with us, the Holy Spirit comes to us to reveal the truth of all truths—to lead us to acknowledge and embrace Jesus as our Creator and Lord, salvation and life, the true and only source and meaning of our humanity.  As the Spirit leads us to discover Jesus himself within us and inside the great illusion, we behold the one whom we have pierced and encounter the real gospel—the limitless mercy of the Triune God—which both shocks and relieves us in our self-incarcerating pride and overwhelming anxiety. In so doing, the Spirit reveals a reality for us to believe, a reality that we can rest in and allow to silence our guilt and shame, our fear and forlorn sense of worthlessness.  As we discover that we rejected and damned Jesus, and that this Son is indivisibly one with his Father, we see that in the very event of our shameful crucifying of Jesus, the Father was not abandoning Jesus or us, but accepting and embracing us as his beloved children in our unspeakable waywardness.  And as we discover that the Holy Spirit was indivisibly one with Jesus as he submitted himself to us in our dastardly unbelief, we begin to see that the Holy Spirit has made our traumatized, fear-stricken souls, our self-righteous, blind and obstinate hearts the very Temple where the Holy Spirit chooses to dwell in infinite, creative joy, and power, and endless gifts. Indeed, here we see that as we rose against and snuffed out the Father’s Son, we unwittingly offered—from the pit of our insane and faithless apostasy—the one true and faithful Son as our response to the Father.  The discovery of this Father and this Son and this Holy Spirit in us has the actual authority and weight with our souls to free us from our self-loathing and allow ourselves precisely as guilt-ridden, shame-riddled covenant-breaking sons and daughters to be loved by the Father himself, prodigals stunned by the abounding goodness of our Father’s heart and inspirited by the staggering love and humility of our brother Jesus.

Now is the age of revelation and judgment, the age in which the Holy Spirit is at work revealing Christ in us and patiently giving us eyes to see that Jesus—through our rejection of him—is now united with us in our alienation. His “I AM” now dwells in our “I Am Not,” and our Father is most pleased to reveal his Son in us in the joy of the Holy Spirit.  Christ in you, the hope of glory, is the deepest truth about us and is to be proclaimed as the gospel to every human being.  As truth Christ in you is also the light which shines in the darkness, summoning us to take sides with Jesus against the way we think and see and feel and project, even while warning us that if we don’t we doom ourselves to the misery of living in the great illusion and its fear. Now the human race stands under the command of Jesus: Abide in me and in my love and you will bear much fruit.  Now comes the loaded promise of Jesus: If you will walk with me I will lead you to experience my Father with me and a life in the Holy Spirit that is utterly inconceivable to you at this moment, a life not of loneliness and dread, stuck in sadness and self-righteousness and religion, but a life of hope, of freedom to know and to be known and delighted in.  I meet you in your illusion of separation, in the lie of the evil one.  My presence in love calls you to abide in my love, accept my acceptance of you as you are, let my Father be your Father, and I promise that my own “I AM” will flow as a river of living water from your innermost being into your shattered life of pretense.  Abide in me and you will bear much fruit means: if you take sides with me against the way you see my Father as the harsh judge eagerly watching every move you make from the infinite distance of a disapproving heart, and against the way you see yourself as a loser, an apostate worthy only of disgust, or as the all-knowing compenent one who cannot be told a thing, and against your conclusion that your enemies are outside of me and my love, I will lead you into the shalom of the Triune God from the inside out, and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas.

The gospel is not the news that we can receive Jesus Christ into our lives; the gospel is the news that Jesus Christ has received us into his life.  And the us he has received into his life is not the Sunday version of us, but the blind and obstinate, the faithless and fearful and terrified us.  The revelation of Christ in us thus awakens almost unbelievable hope even as it exposes and challenges our alien way of seeing, our way of believing which seems to be the most obvious thing in the world to us.  The light of union confronts the assumptions of our fallen minds, the assumption that we are separated from God and that he has abandoned us in justice, the assumption that we are unworthy of his care and have forfeited any right to his love, the assumption that the Holy Spirit is to be feared and avoided at all costs, and the assumption that we must cross an unknown divide to make things right with God before we are safe.

It is here in the revelation of Jesus’ union with us that we learn the nature of true faith and the nature of sin.  Faith is not an independent act conjured up from our own resources that moves us into right relationship with God.  Faith is believing in Jesus who is revealing himself in the Spirit inside our own hearts and alien inner worlds of fear and self-righteousness and pretense.  Faith does not create union with Christ; faith is believing the union is true, which leads into ever increasing freedom to experience Jesus himself and his Father in the Holy Spirit.  Faith is seeing with Jesus’ eyes and learning to agree with him in trust, and thus share in his peace and hope and joy.  Sin is resisting the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Jesus in us, refusing to see with his eyes and insisting that Jesus Christ change his ways and join ours.  Sin is the insistence that Jesus repent and believe in us, that he take sides with us and with the way we see and perceive and feel and project, that he change the way he sees himself and his Father and the Holy Spirit, and us, and our enemies, and learn from us about the real world.

Nothing in heaven or on earth can destroy the union that Jesus established with us when he became the Lamb surrendering himself to our will to slaughter and destroy.  But we can insist on imposing our darkness upon Jesus Christ and his world.  We can fight him and disagree with his enlightening presence and love.  He will never break ties with us or divorce or abandon us in our folly, yet we are free to sin, to mock him, to resist our own identity in union with him, to invent gods and goddesses, grand religions and religious ways back to our deities, even while we breathe Christological air and have our very being in union with Jesus Christ.  We are free to continue to see with the foreign eyes of unbelief toward Jesus and to experience the tumultuous chaos of our own theories if we so choose.  We are free to carry on living in our own worlds, the worlds of false religion and pretense, of self-generated and grandiose illusions of meaning and purpose, of self-centered pride and manipulation, of jealousy, anger, and wrath, of dread, meaninglessness, and despair.  But we are not free to separate ourselves from the love of God in Christ Jesus, or from the Father’s eternal embrace of us in our wickedness, or from the Spirit’s choice to dwell with us in our great confusion.  And we are not free to escape the reality or the revelation of Christ in us.

Jesus will never force us to take sides with him, but by our own doing we have invited him into the deepest abyss of confusion in our own souls.  In rejecting him we opened the door to our wound.  In crucifying the Creator Son we opened our alienation to his presence and the Father’s embrace.  There he speaks as the living Word of God, the humble brother of the human race, the light of life shining in the great darkness.  There the Holy Spirit, who indivisibly accompanied the Son into the far country of our murder and rage, cries “Abba! Father!” bearing witness with our spirits that we are sons and daughters of the Father, joint heirs with Jesus himself, heirs of God and the triune life.  The Son of God in his union with us summons us in the Spirit to believe, to trust, to weep in the hope of his presence in us, to let go of our assumptions and illusions and share life with him in the Spirit’s delight and in the unearthly assurance of our Father’s steadfast love.  This is the fight of faith, a fight between the believing of Jesus Christ himself and our own believing, between the revelation of Jesus in us and our own but broken way of seeing where our default setting is the assumption of separation from Jesus.  It is a fight which begins with our rejection of Jesus and is quickened by the mind-blowing revelation of Christ in us in the Holy Spirit, and thus carries the promise of nothing less than the life and glory of the Triune God.  And it is a fight that we must engage personally—not to become united with Jesus—but in order to live in and out of his union with us, in order to participate with him in dismantling our alien way of seeing so that his heart and soul and mind, and his own relationship with his Father and his own anointing in the Holy Spirit are free to have the run of the house in our souls, even as we hear that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of faith.  It is an infinitely unlikely impossible possibility that we would finally resist Jesus encountering us in his love, and his witness addressing us from the depths of our own souls in so beautiful and quickening a hope.  But even if we do, and choose to continue to live in the illusion of separation and its cascading misery of great darkness, we can never cease to be.  For it is impossible that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will ever go back on the union they dreamed in eternity and now made real for us in Jesus’ submission to us in our alienation.  And it is impossible that Jesus will ever stop loving us in our darkness, or that the Holy Spirit will ever give up on giving us eyes to see the truth, or that the Father will abandon us, relinquishing his love and withdrawing his passionate opposition to our unbelief and its hell.

A proper essay to follow,

 

 

Recent Posts
Showing 28 comments
  • Dr Bruce Wauchope
    Reply

    Baxter,
    Thanks for this paper on union.
    TF Torrance said he was an evangelist ” evangelising the foundations of western thought”
    As laid out in JB’s unpublished PhD, and TF’s book “The Ground and Grammar of Theology”, we learn that dualism in all it forms infects the western mind. Hence the need for this paper on Union.

    Dualism in theological thought leads to concepts of separation, with Christ being the bridge across that separation.

    If we start from Union it is all different.

    Following the line of Colossians ( all things created in through and by and for Christ and are held together by him, in union with him) ,
    and
    John 1 ( all things were made through him and without him nothing was made. AND In that which was made was life …this rendering of John 1 is in the Early Church Fathers through to Cyril of Alexandria) we find that Creation is in Christ, held together by the life of Christ.
    The Universe is held together by Christ and given its life and is free in this given life to spit on God.
    Quite remarkable.
    TFT call this holding things together while giving it freedom – contingence.
    So Union is a given and contingence is given.
    However in our contingence while held together we have created our own world of darkness with our minds alienated from the life of God.
    While in Union with Christ, held together by Christ and given life by Christ we have created a world where in our minds, our existence, we believe we are not in union and believe many many other dark things about ourselves each other and God.
    It is into this dark creation of humanity that the the Word, Christ, in his incarnation has come as a full human. While holding us together in our darkness he has entered into our humanly created darkness to get to the root of our darkness and uproot it.
    In this essay in line with TFT’s thought as per “On the Incarnation”, Kruger lays out Christ’s inciting us, to expose and open the door to this dark world of our own.
    A world founded on God not being good.
    A world founded on our rejection and the fear of non being.
    A world that believes in the lie of separation and of religion to cross the separation.
    A world that seeks to climb out to God, not drop through our pain into the everlasting arms undergirding our soul.
    A world that could not receive “you are my child’ and respond with “yes I am”.

    Union is given, we are created and exist in union. However in the Incarnation Christ has gone further and created a Union in the place of our own dark creation – our fallen mind our fallen being.
    Now, even here, there is one who knows the Father and can share what he has with us.
    This happened while we were without strength, sinners and enemies !!!

    As we hear of this and respond, we are asked to let ourselves be loved. And this is our difficult walk, to let ourselves be loved, so it overflows to loving ourselves and others. All the while resting in the Fathers arms.
    We do not have life in ourselves.
    The Father has given a command and this is for eternal life for us and this life is in his Son.
    His Son has made us and sustains us [ we are in him]
    and
    He is in our flesh our darkness [ he is in us ] John 14v20
    And he gives us his relationship with his Father === there is no other way.

    For those who reject this …. union does not change. The lake of fire is before the throne in the presence of the Lamb and of the Holy Angels. Hell is not about separation, it is about the ongoing presence and loving fire of God for those who don’t want it. There is only Love. God is only Love. Love will pull away all our creations that blind us to the love we have.
    Thanks Kruger
    So help us Holy Spirit.

    • John H. Walker
      Reply

      Hi Bruce, thank you for this further elucidation of the contents of Baxter’s essay. I will ever be grateful to you guys for the help you have been in enabling those of us with a ‘lesser intellect’ (I know it’s not all about intellect) to access TFT’s thought and insights. May I share your comment here on my Facebook page please? Are you ever likely to be back in the UK? If so, you will always be welcome here in Leeds where we’re looking forward to hosting Baxter in a couple of weeks. Blessings, John

    • Paul Kurts, Sr.
      Reply

      Baxter, I will reply here in Bruce’ reply box. Your writing here on Union with Christ is BEAUTIFULLY articulated and clear. Thankyou for taking time to write this. God bless, Paul Kurts, Sr.

  • Francois Du Toit
    Reply

    A mindset of separation is judgment in itself – our rejection of him removes the bliss of the awareness of this union and immediately engages one with the toil of independent survival, which distorts the pattern of the life of our design. Loneliness was never the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’s agenda.

    • Francois du Toit
      Reply

      Thank you for giving good news such a clear voice Baxter!

      The extremities of our rejection could neither sever nor separate us from our Savior.

      He brought hostility to an end by willing entering into the horror of it – thus making peace! Now, to the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end!
      A highway in the wilderness! Every high place was made low and every valley filled up. The crooked places were made straight and the rough places smooth! Every definition or excuse for distance and separation were cancelled.
      Father, Son and Holy Spirit have only always been one and their oneness is our only true parent-reference. “Let us mirror our image and likeness in human life, so that they may know the same oneness that we ourselves know!”
      Oneness does not come in degrees – only our awareness of it may at times be measured in degrees!
      When Jesus prays, “I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfectly one.” He uses the word eimi to be – [osin] – and not ginomai to become.

      It is not just what we are redeemed from, [our waywardness and rejection of the life of our design] but what we are redeemed into that is most exciting – we are redeemed into rediscovering oneness and sonship!
      The degree of our lostness is not the equation – the length of stay with the pigs is not the highlight of the story in Luke 15
      If realized sonship is the equation then both brothers were equally lost!
      In Christ every singe person is equally found!

  • Jeff McSwain, Ph.D.
    Reply

    Baxter thank you for this meaty and inspiring note. My favorite line is towards the beginning: “The incarnation of the Son anointed in the Spirit is thus not to be viewed as the establishment of a previously non-existent relationship or union between the anointed Son and the human race.” The revelatory nature of the incarnation, and what it says about creation and God’s all-along attitude towards his beloved creatures, is critical. As you rightly emphasize, the fall can do many things, but it cannot sever this foundational bond of love, union and belonging. The devastating irony of our lost-ness is that it takes place inside of our found-ness! And if there was ever any doubt, the unfathomable depths of Christ’s redemptive work is proof that nothing can separate human beings from God. Baxter, your ability to articulate ancient truths in fresh ways is always appreciated! Thanks again!

  • John MacMurray
    Reply

    Baxter,
    As usual, you write regarding profound subjects and topics with a scholar’s head and a father’s heart. And something tells me this is how it should be. Your simple but profound explanation of the inclusion of the entire human race into the life of the blessed Triune God is wonderful and would make your mentors, TF and JB Torrance proud.

    I am especially grateful for your insistence that our salvation is grounded in our union with the Eternal Word, which was established in His creation of all things. And indeed, that same union never ceases, even when Adam breaks relationship, but continues into every man, women, and child. For Jesus, who is that Word become flesh, extends and finalizes that union by following us down into the abyss of our darkness in order that he might heal our souls… every last one of us. This is truly freedom and justice for all. I stand with you in proclaiming this good news.
    Thank you

  • Richard Rohr
    Reply

    Perhaps the greatest single tragedy and heresy in the history of Christianity has been our de facto denial of the soul’s inherent union with God, in both “image and likeness” It has denied us our inner engine of transformation, and any practical understanding of the Indwelling Holy Spirit. How good that we are seeing this from so many denominational perspectives today!

  • Steve McVey
    Reply

    This is the ancient gospel that clearly explains “the faith which was once delivered to the saints.”Sadly, the perversion of the message of the incarnation has become so pervasive in modern Evangelicalism that when those who share the gospel Kruger so clearly articulates here speak out, their message is called “false teaching” or even “heresy.” Count me among those who stand together with the ancient church, proclaiming the beautiful truth of *this* gospel – the wonderful news of the adoption of humanity in Jesus Christ. Keep on speaking boldly, Baxter. The tide of the good news is rising and all the naysayers in the world don’t have enough mops and buckets to stop it.

  • anita brown
    Reply

    I love this so much Baxter– thank you for being you, bringing truth and encouragement. I will read the rest later but for now I have a question after the first few paragraphs.
    With the lens of Christ, do you see Jesus in other religions called by other names? For example, Tara Brach a Buddhist meditation teacher refers to the “friend’ within and I hear this as Jesus.
    IMHO, this is the path to interreligious dialog- to find His blueprint in others who do not know His name.

    Any thoughts, comments appreciated. Namaste’ Anita Grace Brown

  • C. Baxter Kruger
    Reply

    Anita, Jesus is everywhere and in all. This is the gospel to be proclaimed, and ‘the’ reality to be discerned inside the great darkness. The recognition of the sacred presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in every person, place and moment is the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of seeing the light of life. None of us seem to know this reality very well. I am beginning to look for the Father, Son and Spirit in others and in each and every moment. When I do see Jesus in others that is the place for real connection and conversation. I am learning to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in those conversations, as the Holy Spirit is a redeeming genius and loves to connect and enlighten in ways that I cannot understand.

  • Karen Sparks
    Reply

    This is a beautiful reminder that our very existence speaks to our union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Every breath we take is a proclamation of our oneness, even when we cannot see it or refuse to see it.

    I love what you write, “We are free to continue to see with the foreign eyes of unbelief toward Jesus and to experience the tumultuous chaos of our own theories if we so choose.  We are free to carry on living in our own worlds, the worlds of false religion and pretense, of self-generated and grandiose illusions of meaning and purpose, of self-centered pride and manipulation, of jealousy, anger, and wrath, of dread, meaninglessness, and despair.  But we are not free to separate ourselves from the love of God in Christ Jesus, or from the Father’s eternal embrace of us in our wickedness, or from the Spirit’s choice to dwell with us in our great confusion.  And we are not free to escape the reality or the revelation of Christ in us.”

    Your words, along with the words of Jesus, “Father, I have made your name know, and I will make it known”, bring hope to this alienated-mind of mine; that when I don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear, I may be free to live in all the chaos that ensues from such blindness, but it will never change what is true and I have One who is utterly committed to me coming to see.

    Thank you, Baxter, for your participation in the work of the Holy Spirit in giving us eyes to see what’s true about us all, in Jesus.

  • Karen Sparks
    Reply

    This is a beautiful reminder that our very existence speaks to our union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Every breath we take is a proclamation of our oneness, even when we cannot see it or refuse to see it.

    I love what you write, “We are free to continue to see with the foreign eyes of unbelief toward Jesus and to experience the tumultuous chaos of our own theories if we so choose.  We are free to carry on living in our own worlds, the worlds of false religion and pretense, of self-generated and grandiose illusions of meaning and purpose, of self-centered pride and manipulation, of jealousy, anger, and wrath, of dread, meaninglessness, and despair.  But we are not free to separate ourselves from the love of God in Christ Jesus, or from the Father’s eternal embrace of us in our wickedness, or from the Spirit’s choice to dwell with us in our great confusion.  And we are not free to escape the reality or the revelation of Christ in us.”

    Your words, along with the words of Jesus, “Father, I have made your name known, and I will make it known”, bring hope to this alienated-mind of mine; that when I don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear, I may be free to live in all the chaos that ensues from such blindness, but it will never change what is true and I have One who is utterly committed to me coming to see.

    Thank you, Baxter, for your participation in the work of the Holy Spirit in giving us eyes to see what’s true about us all, in Jesus.

  • Jimmy Moriarty
    Reply

    Shalom Baxter my dear friend,

    Thank you for this essay and thank you again for all the clever and delightful ways you’ve helped me escape the Matrix and to see who God really is. Even as a bewildered 20 year old bible college student on that slow IV drip of denominational swill, I knew in my gut there was something wrong with the picture of God I was given I just didn’t know what it was.

    I was trapped in that Matrix until the day I followed an obscure footnote reference about TFT in one of Steve McVey’s blogs. I ordered a couple of dozen books and got started on Torrance. I quickly recognized that I’d need to draw from others who’d already digested and metabolized his theology, and that’s how I found you and a few of the folks who’ve already commented here. Shalom boys!

    I still have moments where I feel disconnected from God… I can’t feel His presence, hear or discern his voice. In those times I’m tempted to accept that Calvinism must be true and I’m just not one of the elect. Then I remember how Yeshua/Jesus grew… by blows… through loud crying and tears. Since we launch our weapons through our mouths, using the array of scriptures listed here and language I’ve adopted from you and your pals, I remind myself out loud of just how my union with Yeshua/Jesus works.

    There’s a line in a popular worship song that is equally medicinal, “it’s your breath in my lungs so we pour our our praise to you only”. I sing that song into the atmosphere to declare the reality of my union… my belonging.

    Becky and I hope to see you here in Jerusalem before we’re through!!

  • Jarrod Woods
    Reply

    What an amazingly, unbelievable, breathtaking truth that the union which has existed before time and is very much alive and well inside every sing person cannot and will not be undone. I’m free to reject that union but never free to undo it!!!! As always Baxter…mind blown!!!!

    • John Walker
      Reply

      I like what you say ‘I am free to reject that union but never free to undo it’ – beautifully put!

  • C. Baxter Kruger
    Reply

    One suspects that Athanasius and The Cloud are smiling. Thank you all for your comments.

  • John H. Walker
    Reply

    I sent this post to a friend and colleague of mine The Revd Jon Swales, who is an Anglican Mission Priest who founded “Lighthouse West Yorkshire” here in Leeds UK (where Baxter is coming Oct 10th to 15th). Lighthouse is a fresh expression of church and registered Leeds-based charity which reaches out to those who are battered and bruised by the storms of life. Many have multiple and complex needs, including homelessness, addiction issues, criminal backgrounds, poverty and crisis in mental health.

    Jon wrote back to me: “Thank you for sending this. Have dipped into it but will give it a more thoughtful read. Initial impression. Boom! Tears in the eyes.”

    “The gospel is not the news that we can receive Jesus Christ into our lives; the gospel is the news that Jesus Christ has received us into his life. And the us he has received into his life is not the Sunday version of us, but the blind and obstinate, the faithless and fearful and terrified us.”

    There’s little I can add except to say, ‘Thank you Baxter for elucidating the really Good News’. I can’t wait for you to be with us in the UK sharing this wonderful Good News with our folk here. We love you Brother. The Revd John H. Walker, Associate Minister, St George’s Leeds, UK (more importantly, a friend of Baxter).

  • Judy Bergmann
    Reply

    Baxter, my mind has been blown! This answers my lifelong query about what it means to ‘abide’ (John 15). “Faith does not create union with Christ; faith is believing the union is true, which leads into ever increasing freedom to experience Jesus himself and his Father in the Holy Spirit. Faith is seeing with Jesus’ eyes and learning to agree with him in trust, and thus share in his peace and hope and joy.”

  • Geordie Ziegler
    Reply

    Greetings Baxter! I have read your short essay twice and gained more from the 2nd reading. I have been doing a lot of reflection, prayer, and thought on what is “the truth of our being”. From your short piece, I am reminded that it is not some static, perfect, statue, but a Person and his dynamic relationship with the Father in the Spirit. That means when I am trying to align the way of my being with the truth of my being it is a much more conversational, dwelling, meditating, repenting, confessing, trusting sort of activity. In short, the truth of my being is Jesus and the way of that truth is seeing as he sees and knowing as he knows so that “his heart and soul and mind, and his own relationship with his Father and his own anointing in the Holy Spirit are free to have the run of the house in our souls…”

    I suppose this is what we mean when we speak of participating or sharing in Jesus’ life.

    And I wonder if part of the disconnect for me has been that when I have been telling people they are crucified and risen with Christ and that is who they are, I have NEGLECTED to mention how lies and shame are the tools of the evil one to occlude that reality and block our ability to know that in our own personal experience. Thank you for drilling down deep on this theme!

  • Bonnie Fairchild
    Reply

    Thank you, Baxter, for this discussion regarding our union with Christ as well as addressing the work of the Holy Spirit. You summarized much of it in your statement “The Holy Spirit was indivisibly one with Jesus as he experienced our wrath.  And thus the Spirit moves not from absence to presence, but from union with us in our darkness in Jesus to the work of revealing this union in us in our fallen minds.”

    To illustrate that, I have had discussions with people who firmly assert that the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Jesus is not available to us until after our personal baptism. My response to them is that their personal belief in Jesus came before their own personal adult baptism, and it is impossible to “believe” without the Spirit of Jesus being present. Without His presence and revelation, the concept of the Incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension is a bunch of “skubula” (to use one of your favorite quotes from Paul) to the fallen mind.

    Thank you for addressing this issue.

  • Bill Winn
    Reply

    The Older Brother in Luke 15 has the freedom and distinction to reject the Father but lacks the ability to send the Father away or to separate himself from the God who is Love.

    “The Fall is a denial of human participation in the life of blessed Trinity and thus threatened the union between Adam and Eve and the Triune God.” This insight is helpful because it helps us understand that the love of God toward humanity has never been mechanistic or static.

    I long for the day when the entire church is willing to sit down and rationally discuss Union- together with a shared bond of Christian love.

  • Kay Carringer
    Reply

    Wow. Wow. Wow!! This is undeniably GOOD NEWS!! Thank you Baxter for the very beautiful, succinct & powerful way that you share it. I am most blessed by the expression of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit in & through You!!

  • Brad
    Reply

    Thanks for putting together this fine summary, Baxter. As my godfather, David Goa, has said, this speaks right out of the heart of St Athanasius, who the Orthodox regard as the theological heir to the apostles Paul and John. It’s great to hear that voice through you in these theologically muddied times. Well done, my friend,

    Brad Jersak (Reader Irenaeus)

  • Wm Paul Young
    Reply

    What is so broken in us that we must pursue even the slightest sense of separation from the being of God and then find a way to justify such a lie? Cannot we understand that once that wedge is driven into the heart of God, it also breaks the heart of every human being. If we exist in our pagan desire to worship Zeus (Mars Hill), while simultaneously ‘living and having our being’ in the Unknown God, now revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in what realm would it even begin to be possible that we could be powerful enough to drive the spikes into the flesh of Humanity with such force as to coerce and push away Relentless Love who is God. If we could not at the Cross, why would we think we had such omnipotence at any other place or time? Surely we must acknowledge that we had no such capability before the creation, in that our very existence was then and always will be essentially entangled with Union. Our arrogance is terrifying, but even so, not hardly a whimper in the face of the roar of many waters.
    Thank you Baxter, you continue to touch the edges of our deepest be-longings!

  • Florian Berndt
    Reply

    ‘It is impossible that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will ever go back on the union they dreamed in eternity and now made real for us in Jesus’ submission to us in our alienation. And it is impossible that Jesus will ever stop loving us in our darkness, or that the Holy Spirit will ever give up on giving us eyes to see the truth, or that the Father will abandon us, relinquishing his love and withdrawing his passionate opposition to our unbelief and its hell.’

    Wonderfully put – that’s the heart of the Gospel! I am reminded of Gregory of Nazianzus statement, ‘Whatever is not assumed is not healed.’ Without the Eternal Son of God entering into ALL that we are, we are lost in our darkness and left to our own devices, condemned to create ever more new vain imaginations to find device ways for reaching a Union that has been already given to us. Thank you for reminding us that the Gospel is not what we can do to reach an unknown god, but about a Father Who has given us EVERYTHING in His Son, and is unveiling this truth now in 0ur hearts through His Spirit that has been poured out on ALL flesh. Apart from this reality, we would have nothing to say to this world.

  • Kristian Holmes
    Reply

    Baxter, my heart has swelled while reading this (twice now). Faith COMES (as Francois says, it is a discovery not a decision) by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Jesus, the Word is so clearly portrayed here and revealed afresh in me by Holy Spirit as I read and ponder the “Truth of all Truths”. The effect? A baptism of assurance as I see how strong and steadfast, how unbreakable this union, that not even death can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ. Darkness is the Trinity’s opportunity. There is so much more to say but this passage from Psalm 139 stood out to me (with an emphasis on v11-12)

    Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
    8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
    9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
    11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
    12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

    Jesus, you have become one with us in our darkness and have brought your Spirit-eyes, with which you see your Abba into it. Thank you for giving us your mind, your eyes, your ears, your assurance, your love. Blessed assurance!

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] For the apostles and the Nicene theologians the Son as Creator is held together with his ongoing sustaining of creation, such that any rupture between the Son of God and creation threatens creation with nonbeing.  The incarnation of the Son anointed in the Spirit is thus not to be viewed as the establishment of a previously non-existing relationship or union between the anointed Son and the human race.  For the cosmos would vanish in an instant without him.  To be sure, the Fall of Adam constitutes a rebellion from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and a declaration of independence from the Son as the very source and meaning of human existence.  The Fall is a denial of human participation in the life of blessed Trinity and thus threatened the union between Adam and Eve and the Triune God.  As Athanasius said, the human race was on the road to ruin and lapsing into nonbeing. In its deepest sense, the incarnation addresses this threat of our ultimate disappearance from existence.  In becoming flesh, the Son of God establishes his existing divine relationship or union with humanity, which was seriously jeopardized by Adam’s rejection, inside the very specific context of human alienation and rebellion.  In an act of astonishing redemptive genius, the Son of God entered personally into the reality that threatened his union with us, namely, our rejection of him.  By giving himself into the hands of wicked men he yielded to our great darkness and rebellion, suffering them personally, thereby using our alien vision and rebellion as the means of establishing his union with us in our sin.  Bearing the insidious scorn of broken humanity, Jesus met us and accepted us precisely in our resistance and unwillingness to come to him, indeed in our hatred of him and of his exposing light.  Therein the incarnate, crucified and resurrected Son secured his union with us by way of our unbelief, once and for all obliterating the threat of our nonexistence.  For he is a merciful Creator who loves the human race. …Read the Rest of the Article at Dr. Baxter Kruger’s Perichoresis Website […]

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.
0

Start typing and press Enter to search