Wednesday 11 January 2017

The Meaning Of Union I - VIII - David Heisler (2017series)

This is a 2017 version of the subject covered here in 2013

David Heisler is on Facebook which is where these teaching topics are published

What is meant by “union”? “Union” expresses a “right now” reality for all who believe in Jesus. Now, is belief in the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, required for “union” reality? That is a good question for another day. It should be clear though that the Jesus we know is truly not the Man, Jesus, who lived some 2000 years ago. We do believe in Him and we know somewhat, historically, about Him. But the One we know in our hearts and in our spirits is the eternal Jesus – the eternal Christ – the eternal Messiah. At this point you may be confused or even troubled that I make this distinction. Read on.

If you are reading this you have “union” or are “in union” with God. All those who believe are really and truly in union with their Creator. The much more important question is if we know this reality, this union. And, we may not know it - yet.
I am talking about moving into the “inner knowing” of union. This discussion must start with how you perceive yourself at this moment. This “moment” is the only one you have. I’m not sure if there really is another moment other than the one we experience presently. Jesus is certainly the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and end, but we only know this one moment at a time. We must find Him and our union, oneness with our Creator, in this moment.

There are certain realities in life for the believer. So, when I say that all believers are in union with their Creator; that is a reality. And, reality is not changed or altered by your opinion of what is real. But the day to day living in this reality is affected by your perception of reality and, in turn, your perception of yourself.
There are three very distinct perceptions of who or what you know and believe yourself to be. The best scriptural reference I know, and, refer to often, regarding personal perception, is found in I John 2.12-13: “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.”
John refers to three categories of perception, Children, Young Men and Fathers. These are not three categories of personhood, only of perception and understanding at the moment. There are not three categories of believers. In fact we are all Fathers – we just don’t all know it. But when we do - we know our “union”. You always are in union with God, but you might not be fully aware of it at this moment. But, there are eternal reasons and meaning for each category.

John says, “Children, Young Men and Fathers”. [1 John 2.12-13] The category you find yourself in is merely your perception of yourself. Of course we all have all sorts of perceptions and thoughts, but these are the basic three – Children, Young Men and Fathers - at least as far as John saw it.
Now, what does “category” or “perception” mean? Let’s explain. “Children” see themselves in a childlike relationship with God. Generally speaking that person is relatively new to the faith. That person might have had a dramatic conversion experience, as I did. God, who was far off, is now near and He is kind and loving and basically, “Daddy”. It’s a sweet time especially for those who really need a Daddy. However, the Child is basically a “taker” and not a “giver” and, in basic, early immature perception, not much help in the furtherance of the Kingdom. But that is not a criticism, only a factual statement of where we all began.
In the Child stage “forgiveness of sin” is big – for many - really big. I say that because there are many that come to faith in Jesus with a checkered past. Their life gets a complete makeover upon faith in Jesus. So, knowing the burden and the penalty of sin is lifted and that you have eternal life because of the vicarious death of the Savior, life is wonderful and changing, perhaps rapidly.

So, we said that “Child” is the start in how you perceive yourself in this new life of faith and knowing God. And, just as a human child, the reality is that you’re not going to stay a “Child” forever. Some try, but inevitably all will move on.
And, just as a human child, you are totally on the receiving end, dependent on others. And, as it should be, the Child is full of awe and wonder. The Child has many questions and no end of the more “experienced” willing to give advice and guidance. Everyone wants to make sure the Child gets started on the right foot.
Most, new to Christianity, approach it as one would approach anything new – get with the program - find out what you can - associate with others. Advice is freely given by those further down the road.
Up until salvation God is seen as far off. He appears to be a separate entity from me. We seem to exist in the same universe, but He is “up” in heaven and I am “down” here on earth. But, after salvation - we now know Him, personally, intuitively, and before we did not. But basically He still appears to be “outside” or “separate” from us. Christianity is now seen as a thing to be learned, program to do – Bible to memorize, quiet times to have, church to join and go to, bible studies to attend. It can all get very complicated very quickly. It did for me.

I became a believer in Jesus at 18 years of age. I was born and raised Jewish and then, a few months after my moment of faith in Jesus, got baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church at Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Next, I was baptized Southern Baptist at James Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Next, I learned about communal living at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Houston, Texas. I attended Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. And finally, I got the "Holy Ghost” complete with my own prayer language. All this occurred before my 20th birthday. Not bad for a Jewish kid from New York.
I was a mess.
What happened? What happened to the simplicity of “Daddy” sins are forgiven... and I’m going to heaven? Well, what happened was my Child stage of Christianity was over and I commenced life as a Young Man. While my life history may be different than yours, we all have similar feelings, emotions and psychology regarding our progression from Children to Young Men and on to Fatherhood. However, before jumping into the “Young Man” discussion, it is crucial to understand what Christian “growth” means and to review some basics.

Let’s discuss “Christian” growth. First, consider a human embryo. Upon conception that human has the genetic potential for all he or she will ever be. While the human will grow from a microscopic size to a full grown size – the fertilized egg, genetically speaking, is a complete human being. That embryo will never become more of a human being or a better human being. In the very same sense the “child” Christian – while new in the faith – is a complete Christian. In fact, better still, a complete person. The Child will never become more of a Christian or a better person. The Child will never be closer to God or have more of Him. The Child is a 100% complete Christian at salvation.
Now, you would never ever say that because a human being is young or small, that somehow they are not a complete person. Physical growth does not affect the reality of who a human, or a person, is. The confusing point is that, as Christians, we equate Christian growth with getting closer to God by learning more about Him or living a more ethical or moral existence – doing what “Jesus would do” – becoming more “Christ-like”. This is primarily because in the “Child” and “Young Man” stages, God is still perceived as external or a separate Being – which is a misconception – as He is neither external nor separate.

In reality God chose to deem the entire creation lost - not some more than others – just all lost. All need forgiveness – all need a Savior. What He did at that point did not depend upon a human – with the exception of One – Jesus Christ. The crucifixion is the one and final sacrifice needed to bring the entire creation to redemption. “… though the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things … [Col. 1.20] And, the crucifixion is not just a historical event, but rather eternal.
So, when a person avails their self to the free gift of redemption, a very common prayer used by many, upon their first exercise of faith is, “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus”. Well, guess what? That is actually and precisely what happens. Why would anyone doubt that? His Spirit is now joined to your spirit. His Heart and your heart are one. An eternal, Holy Union of God to man is created upon that exercise of faith. It does not get “better” or “more”. It simply is. We should be crystal clear on that point. It really doesn’t get any better. Union is not a relationship that can be measured. It simply is. The only relevant question remaining, and what we are really talking about here is, “do I know it?” Do I know my union? And the reality is that a Child or Young Man really cannot know their union. The union is real however, but it simply is not for the Child or Young Man to fathom – not at the moment.

So basically, in a flash, at the moment of faith, you go from lost to found – sinner to saint. Jesus really, really comes into your heart and you are now born again as a new creation in Christ. There are no better or worse sinners. By the same token there are no better or worse saints. You either are or you are not. And, of course if you are reading this – “you are”. So, if there actually is such a thing as “Christian growth”, it is and can only be in the human understanding of who you already are, not in the reality of who you are.
So, Christian growth, if there is such a thing, is all about understanding, not about becoming. At the moment of salvation His Spirit formed a union with your spirit. Despite the eternal truth that you are in Spirit to spirit union with the King of Kings, you may not know that. The eyes of a Child or a Young Man can still perceive Him as being distant and a distinct Being.
We now enter the Young Man stage. Remember how John describes the Young Man: “… I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one…. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” [I John 2.12-14]

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