The following is a guest post from my friend Daniel Williams. I know that you will be blessed and encouraged by this thought provoking post that he wrote for my blog…
As a Trinitarian believer, I can easily “combine” God, Jesus and the Spirit and consider them as one entity without any need of distinction in my mind. However, without recognizing their unique distinctions, we cannot behold the awe and wonder of each one of their glorious roles. Giving distinction to their individual works lets us be amazed and in awe of each one of them. And lets face it, as dusty finite creatures (Ps. 103:14) trying to understand an infinitely glorious God, we need all the help we can get. I have to say that you shouldn’t go too far in this, because God is one is essence, just in three persons. We do not worship three separate Gods (Gen. 6:4). Also, don’t let discouragement creep in whenever you get confused by trying to grasp the Trinity. Our lack of understanding should nudge us towards awe, not frustration. No one ever has, and no one ever will be able to fully grasp the Trinity (except maybe one day in heaven). However, we can gain a useful understanding from the Bible. That being said, let’s get blown away from the person of Jesus! John 1:1 states,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In him was life.”
It is no secret that this passage is about Jesus. This verse from John tells us that Jesus is God’s “agent” of creation, if you will—the Word of God in action, and that He is the source of all life. It also presents the pre-existence of Jesus (He was not created, He was the key agent in God’s creative actions). Read Colossians 1 if you want to be even more blown away by Jesus’ role in this universe.
It was with this passage (John 1:1) echoing around in my head that another passage I have read many times came to new life in my spirit. It was Ephesians 2:4- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Jesus IS life.
To fully embrace this verse in all of it’s glory, we have to really grasp what it means to be dead in our sins. This passage begs the question: If I was spiritually dead, then when exactly did I die? To get the answer, we must go back to the beginning. Everything comes back to Genesis, the book that means origins. When we look at Genesis 2:7, we read that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Then, later on God told them “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
As you well know, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, ate of the tree, and became spiritually dead, and separated from God. The everyday world around us is proof of this reality. Although they did not physically die instantly (because God is merciful), this spiritual death did “leak” into their physical bodies and cause them to physically die as well. But I want to focus on the much deeper death that occurred. This life and death that we are talking about is a spiritual life and death.
When God breathed this “breath of life” God breathed into Adam an ability to know Him fully, and to be in a relationship with Him in the garden. I believe God used (in a way that we cannot fully comprehend) the pre-incarnate Jesus (Jesus before he became a physical man on earth) to breathe this life into Adam. God breathed Jesus into Adam and it made him alive. However, ever since Adam and Eve sinned and spiritually died themselves, humanity has been starved of the sweet breath of Jesus. Thank God for the life-giving, soul-reviving, making-alive ministry of Jesus!
In the same way God breathed Jesus into Adam before he had life, we who were once dead in this present age God has breathed Jesus into us as well, making us alive in Christ Jesus. God planned it, and Jesus executes it. Jesus is God’s actions manifested in this world. Everyone who is in Christ has been given this same breath of life by God through Jesus Christ, awakened from their spiritually dead state. (This is why your old friends may not understand the changes happening in you). In the same way, I’m sure it was awkward for Lazarus to meet people who did not believe that Jesus was a miracle worker. Maybe if Lazarus had seen AMC’s “The Walking Dead” he could recreate his resurrection scene for some of them. How do you explain life transformation? How do you explain being raised from the dead to newness of life? I can guarantee a couple things: Lazarus didn’t say that it was his own will power that he came back to life, nor that he chose to get out of the grave himself because he was only “slightly dead” (for you Princess Bride fans). That would be…inconceivable! You see, dead people can’t really make decisions. They are hopelessly…well…dead. It is only by the sovereignty, power, and authority of Jesus Christ that anyone has life. Could you imagine the look on Lazarus’ face if someone came up to him after his resurrection and said, ‘Hey man, good job in there, you were awesome!’ ? Well, in the same way, it would be just as ludicrous in saying that we brought ourselves back to life. God does everything for His glory. He has to direct attention to himself to save hopeless people. Jesus is the all-powerful, planet breathing, sunset painting, molder of all life. He is not Mr. Rodgers with a beard.
If you are in Christ, you are a living, breathing miracle, and you have been given the same life that God breathed into Adam by Jesus in the garden of Eden, and are free to enjoy the friendship of God. If you are not “in” Christ (a believer and follower of Him), you are being allowed by Jesus that very breath you just took so that you might come to know Him. Everyone who is “in Christ” has been miraculously given the greatest gift of all: Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
The Word of God is verb, not a noun. Jesus is God’s Word in action.
Also, consider another aspect of the passage of Gen. 2:7: “The Lord God…breathed.” 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” And what is Scripture? Scripture is the Word of God—the Bible. The connections are really starting to make sense. Hopefully John 1 still hasn’t left you yet: “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is also important to note that in theology 101 you learn that the inspiration of the Bible literally means that it is “God-breathed.” Simply amazing! So, God breathed into Adam the breath of life (Jesus) and the Word of God (Jesus as well). When God speaks, Jesus is what comes out of His mouth. Also, with that in mind, isn’t it interesting that Jesus is the light of the world? What is the first thing God spoke in creation? “And God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Jesus—just a good teacher? I think He is much more…
Response? Mind. Blown.
So what do we do with all this? I believe that God through Jesus goes through all this to simply win our hearts to Him, and to let our lives bring glory to His name. I believe that our number one priority in response to this knowledge is awe-inspired love and worship for Jesus. It is absolutely impossible to overstate the wonder and glory of what we have from God in Christ Jesus. Knowing that God, through Jesus, is the one who has made us alive from death should trigger a “WOW!” somewhere in your heart. Jesus is the creative avenue that God used to create everything in the world. Jesus is the Lord of this universe and this world. Jesus is the resuscitator our souls. Jesus is a miracle-factory within Himself. Jesus is amazing, and our best, most intelligent attempt at describing Him (including this article) falls incomprehensibly short of the totality of His glory. Our view of Jesus should be ever-expanding and increasing in His glory and wonder. Jesus is huge. As the hymn writer Charles H. Gabriel pinned the words, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” Or the word of Stuart K. Hine, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!” That’s “How great you are!” in modern language.
Jesus went through suffering and torment, bearing our sins upon His shoulders so that we would have life in Him. Paul said in Acts 17:28, “for in him we live and move and have our being.”
Walk in this knowledge as your enjoy creation, as you work unto the Lord at your job, as you commune with God as Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden, knowing and trusting that you also have the Spirit of God within you to lead you and guide you, and to give you power for His witness. Walk in wonder. Gaze at His beauty. Go deep into the awe of knowing Jesus, the lover of your soul. This life that Jesus has given us is a tree that bears fruit of everything good and worthwhile in this world.
Daniel Williams is an amazing friend of mind and a co-worker from the Teen Challenge Regional office in Columbus, GA. He has a passion for serving God, loving others and has a calling to teach the word of God all over the world.