"The inconceivably complete identity of God is the paradigm of all personhood,
at its very plurality is the foundation of all relatedness. Such is the 'image of God' in which we are made. In that light,
the doctrine of the Trinity is not some facile
mystification, but a straightforward statement of the multiple
of God ...
If God is a Person, that ... translates into moral absolutes for
us ... humanity's alienation from God
has occurred at precisely that level of character and relationship. (1)" (Dave Hunt, The Mysterious Trinity)
To start with, God who is three persons, is foundational to understanding
how He is Love, how we can love and how personhood is defined, beginning with God.
If God's Love couldn't be demonstrated until he loved us, then the creator
is dependent on the creature.
This makes Him Less than God.
However, if the persons of the Triunity always had a love relationship,
which is only possible among persons, then that is the starting point. (Isaiah 48:12-16; Genesis 1:26; John 1)
In this case the creator is not dependent on the creature, us.
Deny this and the rest of one's theological and even practical journey
is problematic at best.
"The quality of love and the capacities for fellowship and communion,
their very nature, require another personal being with which to
share them. And God could not fully share Himself except
another Being equal to Him. Yet the bible says that "God is love" in Himself alone. This could only be true if within
the Godhead itself there is a plurality of Personages, or or divine Persons, who could express and experience love in relation
to one another. Although the actual word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible, the concept is clearly expressed there, providing
the unity and diversity that makes possible the love, fellowship, and communion within the Godhead." (Ibid)
When we look at the Triunity of God, we see that this is the model for
us in our relationship with God and others.
"What is particularly amazing to me about this prayer for unity is that
Christ uses the Godhead as an illustration of how unity works. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all IN RELATIONSHIP
with each other. They are the three in One. Both unity and diversity are emphasized by the reference to the Trinity. God has
modeled His request for us."
(The Awesome Power of Shared Beliefs, Wagner, pg. 25)
"That they all may be one;
as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent
me." (John 17)
Notice the PERSONal Pronouns used here. This clearly communicates a personal
relationship between persons. Deny this and you lose all capacity to communicate and relate with others.
joy, and peace in the body of Christ as a whole and and its members individually begins with understanding this in mind and
heart. This trickle down theology is to be a witness that Christ was sent.
It amazes me at how many religious folk are willing to accept an alleged
relationship with the Eternal One that is not really a relationship at all.
They probably wouldn't accept that kind of nonpersonal relation with their
spouse, family members or friends but they assume that is the kind God had from all eternity and wants out of them.
That kind of relationship would be considered dysfunctional according to
There is a big difference between Religion and Relationship.
In Religion man is on an eternal quest to reach up to God or maintain favor
with God, with works that are seen as gaining acceptance with God.
Religion doesn't even need a God to be personal to exist.
In Relationship God reaches down to man (John 1), and continues to reach
down to man personally and lovingly. (Romans 5:10)
In Religion even after the initiation, the religionist is always insecure
and trying to appease God, as if he or she is trying to hold on to something.
In Relationship, we love God because He first loved us. We have OBTAINED
a gift and want to do what he asks.
Relationship focuses on the vertical, God to us, then us to him.
'We Love because He first loved us.
Religion focuses on man climbing up to God.
Trying to climb up to God, just like Sisyphus eternally trying to push
a rock up a hill, they lose strength before they get to the top.
A former Pastor of mine used to say, 'Focus on the Vertical and the Horizontal
will take care of itself:'
Too many are trying so hard to appease God, working out their salvation
and sanctification with 'fear and trembling' that they neglect the precursor to that which says, 'For it is GOD who worketh
in you to will (desire), and to do (obey) of his good pleasure.' (Philippians 2:12,13)
In the beginning God...
I have heard so many people misquote the following scripture and say, 'Resist
the Devil and He will flee from You'
That is not what it says, It says, 'Submit to God, Resist the Devil and
he will flee from you.' (James)
When we struggle against sin we often focus on the sin to be resisted or
on ourselves in resisting the sin, when self is the problem.
Empowering or disciplining self to deal with self makes no sense whatsoever.
It just makes self stronger.
By dying to self, Relationship is not about becoming a nonperson as Religion
often teaches, but preferring God and others to self.
Discipline should be the result of looking to Jesus the author and finisher
of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1,2)
I am not going to lust, I am not going to lust ....only puts the focus
on the lust and self.
"But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the
Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3)
Religion has a veil on the heart that blocks the glory of the Lord.
Relationship with open face beholds as in a glass the glory of the
Lord, and the result is that we are changed into the same image from glory to glory.
Looing Upward takes focus off of the things of this world and our own
efforts to appease God.
Religion places all kinds of layers between us and God
Relationship removes those barriers.
It is only when we (believers) look to God that we look away from self.
In one of my devotionals it says, 'We don't fight sin, we are dead to sin only to the degree that we are alive to God:
"Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." It looks like
Jesus has a lot to do with our faith here. (Hebrews 12:1)
See it is our vertical relationship with God that frees us from the world.
We are dead to the world to the degree that we are alive to God.
In the scripture when 'death' is discussed it is a separation of some kind.
Faith and Works separated equals death. Faith Without Works is dead. (James
This is not to say that we should focus on the works but on the object
of our faith who will work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12,13)
Good works is the result of being saved, not the cause or maintaining of
8 For by grace
are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should
boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that
we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2)
Body without the spirit is dead. (James 2)
Alive to God is dead to the World.
Look at it this way, The closer we get to God (vertically) the further
away from worldly influences we are.
The mysteries spoken of in the NT refer to a union. First a union of God
and Man in Christ, next a union of the believer with God through faith in Christ. (Ephesians 5:32)
Then the other unions fall into place:
Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14-17)
Husband and Wife
But the beginning point for the believer is God reaching down.
That was the whole point of the Incarnation.
"Most Christians put a proper emphasis on salvation by grace through faith,
but afterward, most believers think that they have to struggle for acceptance and maturity. In other words, it comes across
to them that believers are justified solely on the basis of faith in the finished work of Christ, but that we are sanctified,
or progress toward maturity, on the basis of our efforts. This is a contradiction of Galatians 3:3: 'Are You so foolish? having
begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?' The humanistic message that comes through is salvation is by grace
but acceptance or sanctification is by works." (Rejection Syndrome, Solomon, pg. 125)
Paul goes on to say to these Galatians that, 'after that ye have known
God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour
in vain. ' (Galatians 4)
Religion majors on the minors.
Relationship focuses on the majors and the minors follow.
Religion teaches us to do in order to be.
Relationship is being in order to do.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of
his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5)
There is a difference between trying to climb up to God and reaching up
to God for help.
"The Pharisees of Old denied the incarnation of Jesus, God with them, whereas
modern day Pharisees deny the reality of the Son of God in them as they live day by day. The former were slaves to the law
while the latter are slaves to the dictates of self and the flesh." (Rejection Syndrome, Ibid)
Falling From Grace can have two meanings:
1) Practicing Immorality
2) Trying to establish ones own righteousness.
One is in thinking that there is something in us that can reach God on
our own. The other is realizing that there is nothing in ourselves that can attain God.
This is the difference between Religion and Relationship.
"But when there is no strength left in the flesh to struggle against the
spirit, it is the simplest thing in the world to let go of the self- life and exchange it for the life that lives in the union
with Christ that Paul promised; 'I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians
(Rejection Syndrome, pg 67, Solomon)
Be in order to do:
Read Ephesians and Colossians and you will see what and who we are in Christ.
This talks about what and who we are, not what we will be.
Living this life as believers is allowing what is true of us in the heavenlies
and in our spirit trickle down to the rest of our being.
It all starts at the top, divine gravity will take care of the rest.
Too many religionists are trying to do in order to be. They do this in
salvation and sanctification and it is futile.
Worship: 'The Lord inhabits the praise of his people' (Psalms)
When we truly worship the Lord we are lifted up and away from the things
that so easily beset us.
We are in the heavenlies when we worship God. It also gives us an objectivity
on the things that affect us. When we can look down on those things, we gain a heavenly perspective that not only separates
us from sin's power but gives us new strength for when we finally come down again.
Sometimes I listen to the Worship channel on Television while I am on the
Net because it focuses me on God and gives me peace.
Its kind of like Trickle Down Theology. When I am correctly connected at
the top everything good trickles down into the other areas of my life.
Not only do I know about God (proper theology), I know God intimately and
personally. (John 17:3)
Religion is only knowing about God
Relationship is knowing about God after knowing him intimately.
We all will have to be reminded of these things until we see God face to
Our knowing about God is the result of knowing God intimately.
If one rejects the essentials, it is only evidence that they need a relationship
The essentials involve the deity of Christ and the Triunity of God.
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins:
for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins....He that is of God heareth
God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. .. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple,
going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:24,47)
12 Hearken unto
me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. 13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation
of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. ..
16 Come ye near
unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the
Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. (Isaiah 48)
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
...Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore,
Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1)
I wonder sometimes why some people reject the plain sense meaning of scripture
in the essentials and it is often because they don't know God.
We are failures, without God. God reminds me of that often.
'Christ in you, the hope of glory.' (Colossians 1:26)
This is a mystery, union, relationship that the religionists just don't
"Our acceptance is based on nothing more or less than our being placed
into, or baptized into, Christ by an act of the Holy Spirit in response to our act of faith. (Rejection Syndrome, Solomon,
When going to a Promise Keepers Conference I bought a book called, 'The
Awesome Power of Shared Beliefs.'
In it I read:
"Since we're trying to establish a case for biblical unity, it might be
helpful to first distinguish what is not meant by the use of the term. ...First of all, unity is not a oneness at the expense
of the truth. Unity is not an ecumenical endeavor to find the lowest denominator among people even if it means denying cardinal
doctrines such as the deity of Christ or the inerrancy of the Scriptures...Secondly, unity is not a political organization...Oneness
isn't a front for a slick way of bilking people of their money, time, and resources, It just doesn't work that way in Christ's
body....Third, unity is not something you can develop or enhance through a program or a curriculum....Finally, unity is not
an ecclesiastical organization...At first blush that statement may surprise you, but the meaning is understood by contrasting
the words organization and organism. As we developed in the last chapter, the unity spoken of by Scripture is relational and
is based on a set of core beliefs. It's not an external thing such as we see in so many organizations, but it is alive-a real
breathing, heartbeating, fully functioning organism! It's a body, not a building!....In what has become one of my favorite
'Peanuts' cartoons, Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels and then threatens him with her fist if he doesn't cooperate
with her request immediately.
'What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?' Linus
'These five fingers,' Lucy says, 'Individually they are nothing, but when
I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold!'
''Which channel do you want?' Linus asks, thoroughly dejected, as Lucy
Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, 'Why can't you guys get
organized like that?"
That kind of unity comes from the oneness of an organism. All those fingers
have something no organization can boast of. They are related to one another by the fact that they are all part of the hand.
No committee, club or group can make that claim, and therein lies the key to biblical unity."
(The Awesome Power of Shared Beliefs, pg. 22,23, E. Glenn Wagner)
Bj Maxwell 11/26/2006