Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Reaching the Saturation Point

"one Lord, one faith, one baptism..." Eph. 4:5

"[with] one Lord (or: Owner), one faith (or: loyalty, confidence, assurance, and trust; or: one belief - Bultmann), one submersion and envelopment which brings absorption and permeation to the point of saturation." Eph. 4:5 Jonathan Mitchell Translation.

Soaking wet is a condition I normally avoid. I love roller coasters, but if one involves water, count me out.

I did get dunked when baptized, but it appears Paul's view of the sacrament isn't just a ritual for church membership. It's more than getting dipped for Jesus.

"Having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God who raised Him from the dead." Col. 2:12.

In some of the early churches baptism was more like a near death experience. People weren't in and out, but held under for a period of time to simulate dying. I doubt we could pull this off today. A church contemplating this approach should have an attorney on speed dial.

Consider the church's position at that time. In the beginning, resistance came from both religious and political fronts. Being a Christian was a health hazard that could shorten one's life span exponentially. Baptism gave the new believer a taste of what was a real potential sooner-than-later future. It also confirmed the status of their old man. He was dead.

I enjoy Mitchell's description of the interconnectivity with God that baptism provides. We are submerged, enveloped and saturated with Him. He permeates our entire being. We can't get any closer to Him than that.

It's a comforting and empowering thought. The Very God of Very God infuses Himself into us. The old really passes away and the new truly has come.

One Sunday my pastor made a radical statement, "I am Jesus Christ in Scott Johnson form!" That woke the sleepers up.

Just to be sure no one misunderstands, he wasn't claiming to be God, but simply agreeing with Colossians 3:3. "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." My Pastor accepts the truth that he is now permeated and saturated by God as Paul describes in Eph. 4:5. Because this is so, "How then should we now live?"

My friend Ray Ray took our pastor's words to heart. The next morning at work he boldly announce, "I am Jesus Christ...", but promptly forgot the rest of the sentence. His co-worker's reactions ranged from confused to amused. At least they know that Jesus is in the building and where to go to find them if they need Him. And they will.

Most Christians relegate this type of intimacy with God to life after death in heaven. If you do, can you explain the good it will do you there? The challenges to be faced are here in this earthly portion of eternal life. Couldn't we benefit from this type of closeness with God now in the circumstances we'll face here?

Jesus and God are both in heaven. Since we're "in Christ", so are we. We should be those, "who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb. 5:14 (emphasis mine). Note the primary purpose is to spot what is good, and not the other way around. Perhaps we entertain angels unaware because we are too busy looking for demons. We don't recognize the good guys when they show up.

As believers we've been invaded by God in a friendly takeover. Let's live out of that reality. Absorbed into God, let's impact our world now and release what's inside of us. As His body on the earth we can show those who don't know Him what He's really like. As we recognize, accept and project God, Who is already inside of us, there'll be no lack of manifestations of God in the world.

How about you? Have you ever thought that as a Christian one is already bi-locational, on earth and in heaven at the same time? How does the scripture in Col. 3:3 change your ideas of experiencing heaven before you die? How will you prayer life change if you pray from your position in heaven with Christ as opposed to you place here on earth?

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