In my last post, I argued that Jesus does NOT want a relationship with you.
Instead, Jesus desires to bring you back in to perfect UNION with God the Father, Son, and Spirit–and through this union a relationship naturally happens.
Therefore, Jesus’s primary goal is not to have a “loving and growing relationship” with you–as this is not found in the text. He wants to make Himself such a part of you (and you such a part of Him) that you find yourself pulled into the perfect love relationship that the Father, Son, and Spirit has eternally shared with Himself.
Therefore, just as Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” union says, “If you have seen me, you have seen Jesus”–and not claim to be the second person of the Trinity, but instead, someone who has been made one with Christ.
This is why St. Teresa of Avila will write:
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the earth, yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.” – St Teresa of Avila
St. Augustine will echo this by saying:
“When God rewards us for our labor, He is only crowning his work in us.” – St. Augustine
This is exactly what Paul says in Philippians, when he will write:
“for it is God who works IN you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” – Phil 2:13
Paul will go on to say things like:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives IN me.” – Gal. 2:20a
“For me, to live IS Christ…” – Phil 1:21
Then Paul will deliver the knock out blow in 1 Cor. 6:17 when he says:
“But he who is joined to the Lord becomes ONE spirit with Him.” – 1 Cor. 6:17
Therefore, it is clear from the text that Jesus did not just die to forgive you of your sins so you can have a relationship with Him in order for you to go to Heaven.
With our broken understanding of relationships today, a relationship can be viewed as something that you have to maintain in order to stay in good graces with the person in which you are in a relationship with. Therefore, if you hurt or anger the person, then the relationship could be in danger. This leaves us striving over time to ensure that we don’t do anything to “hurt” the relationship. This “Gospel” can quickly lead to legalism, bondage, and fear–which equals death.
Union with someone, however, ensures an everlasting, enduring, and eternal relationship.
Union says, no matter what–come hell or high water, come sickness or death, come fidelity or infidelity, I’m in you and you are in me–we are ONE forever. Actually, since we are ONE, union says, wherever you go, I go. Sound familiar?
Union says, there is NOTHING that can separate you from me or my love.
Union says, if I die, you die (Gal 2:20). If I live, you live (Phil 1:21). If you hurt, I hurt. If you laugh, I laugh. If you cry, I cry.
Union says, whatever you do to the least of these my brothers (who I’m one with) you do unto me.
Union says, I will never leave nor forsake you–ever.
Union says, even if you slap me on the right cheek, I will not leave, but will turn my left cheek to you so we can continue to work out the problem.
Union says (with a twinkle in her eye), unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you can have no part of my kingdom–because just as bread and wine becomes a part of your body, that’s what I want.
Union says, you are my bride and I am your husband. Union says, we are not in a relationship, but are now ONE and what God joins together let no man separate.
Union says, I’ll never expect anything from you that I don’t first expect from myself. Union says, I’ll never ask you to do anything, that I am not willing to do in and through you.
Union says, I’m in you and you are in me and we are in the Father and if anyone wants to get to you they will have to first go through the Father, then through the Son, and if they succeed, they will find you filled with the Father, Son, and Spirit.
Union says, no one can snatch you out of my hands because your hands aren’t members of your body, but mine.
Union says, I have created for myself ONE new humanity. Therefore, as a part of ONE body there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, Catholic or Protestant, male or female, we are all one IN Christ Jesus.
Union says, since we are one IN Christ then you are all ALREADY one with one another–so start living and acting like it.
Union says, there is NO place for division among the same body and that a body divided cannot stand.
Union says, if those who are already ONE will embrace and live in light of their perfect union with me, then world will know that God sent me and that God loves the world as much as He loves His very own Son.
Union says, I vow to make every effort to maintain the unity that we have.
Union will sometimes ask sarcastically, “Are we divided?”
Union goes on to say, it’s not good enough for me to be on the outside of you in a “healthy relationship.” I want to be INSIDE you and you IN me.
Union is so in love with you that she says, “I want to eat you!” as the old saying goes when you see a chubby 6 month old.
Union says, I want my breath to be your breath, my life–your life, my death–your death, my ascension your–ascension, my glorification–your glorification, my reigning–your reigning. My kingdom–your kingdom.
Union says, I am the Gospel and the “good news” is that I have come so that you may have Eternal Life and that Eternal Life is not a place, but a living, breathing, person who wants to be your life–not someone who wants to be in a relationship with you.
Union gets on one knee and asks:
“Now then, will you throw your life away, surrender your rights, dreams, hopes, and aspirations, and allow me to live my life in and through you?
That is a lot different that praying a prayer to be forgiven and then living life on your own and under your own power while trying to do or not do certain things to stay in a good relationship with Jesus.