Hi Everyone, I pray that you, at this very moment, are experiencing the presence of God in your day. Now is a good time to be still for a few moments and let God speak to your heart.
This week we begin to wrap up our series titled “The Way of the Word”, with Part One of Part Seven, titled “The Indwelling Word.”
The Indwelling Word (Part 1):
God in Us; Us in God
In our series titled, “The Way of the Word”, we have considered the Eternal Word, before time and space, and at the beginning of creation. We have considered the Word in the world prior to the incarnation, followed by the Incarnate Word, the Resurrected Word and the Ascended Word. This week in Part one of Part Seven we consider “The Indwelling Word.” Next week we will wrap up our series with Part two of “The Indwelling Word”, where will look at holy habits that can predispose us to a deeper awareness of Christ Jesus, the Word, who is in us, and in whom we live and breathe and have our being.
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. NRS John 14:20
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." NRS
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. NRS
Jesus Christ, God incarnate, is not indwelled by divinity as if his flesh is a container. No, the whole point of the incarnation is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The realization being that whatever the Word assumed then the Word redeemed and vice versa, whatever the Word did not assume then that was not redeemed. The Word did not simply appear to be flesh, or enter into a fleshly vessel, no “THE WORD BECAME FLESH.” Christ Jesus is humanity and divinity in hypostatic union. This is two natures (human and divine) in perfect union and harmony, as one, in Christ Jesus; one soul and one body. In this union divinity elevates, (it does not transform or change) the fullness of the human being; spirit, soul, mind and body, bringing healing to our brokenness, providing a way back to life lived with full awareness of our original nature, which is life lived as those created in the image of God; the image in which all humanity is created. The original nature is not a lost or even a diminished nature, but one that had been effectively concealed beneath a veil of sin that came about by our willingness to be deceived into thinking God was not enough, and that God was holding us back in some manner, when of course the exact opposite is true. Sin in its most basic form is a decision to go our own way contrary to the way of God, thinking that our way is better than the way of God. From this decision all sorts of errant actions flow. In Jesus Christ humanity and divinity experience no change beyond being the fullness of their true united essence in union together, without change, confusion or mixture, separation or division and without one nature (divine or human) being absorbed or overpowered by the other. This was true from the split second of conception and is true for all eternity. This is the necessary condition for salvation. For, it is in the incarnation that God made it possible for divinity to indwell us. A seed, which is the human spirit, was dead due to its perceived separation from Love, concealed by sin. It is this perceived separation and its subsequent damage that Jesus Christ, as perfect divinity and perfect humanity heals. This healing created a state by which the human spirit could be touched by the Holy Spirit, creating the state of healing and awareness by which we can begin to once again see and respond to Love, God, in whose image we are created. This healing and subsequent awareness of who we are, made possible by the Incarnation, paves the way for us, by faith and God’s grace, to receive and be indwelled by the Holy Spirit who re-births our human spirit, heals our damaged souls, renews our minds and brings forth the likeness of God, which flows out of our new awareness that Love, whose image we are created, is in us. The likeness of God is now, once again, able to respond to the image of God and to renew its work in the world through God’s indwelled people.
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? NRS 1 Corinthians 3:16
The indwelling Holy Spirit then provides life to the seed (the human spirit), in which Jesus Christ can grow and we can become more and more Christ-like. In some manner, just as the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and conceived Jesus Christ in her, physically and spiritually, that same Holy Spirit brings about the re-birth of our human spirit, making it possible for Jesus Christ (as the now resurrected and glorified incarnation) to be conceived in us that we may embark on our own sanctifying journey toward holiness and union with God. This is Christ Jesus in us that we may be fully alive “in Christ Jesus” for all eternity.
In this united and fully alive state we quickly understand that the Holy Spirt was not sent as a substitute for God the Father, or God the Son, but as the One who brings healing, new birth, a new creation, that we might know communion with God, who is Love. And although this communion is complete from the moment the Holy Spirit comes upon our human spirit, like the prodigal son we must journey until we become more fully aware of Love in our midst, as we become non-resistant vessels for Love to flow through us and out from us into the world around us.
This is the sanctifying journey of those who gradually surrender more and more to God’s illuminating guidance leading to eventual union with God, which is God in us and us in God. Mutually abiding that we might live fully alive, “in Christ “, so as to bear fruit commensurate with our identities as children of God.
Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. NRS John 15:4
We know that this mutual abiding is operating in our lives because our experience of God’s presence compels us to both testify to the Incarnation and to confess that Jesus is the Son of God; in so doing we intentionally place Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine at the very center of our being and place ourselves at the very center of who Christ Jesus truly is.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. NRS 1 John 4:13-15
We are being called to rest in the Jesus Paradox, a place where we see God, all other people, and all creation as those who are able to be indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, thus indwelled and centralized by the living Christ, with vibrant and alive human spirits, healed souls, renewed minds and active bodies, all for the glory of God, whose will we discover to be ours as well.
“For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit that He may save me.”
John Chrysostom’s (c.349-414D) Christmas Homily
May God Bless you All, Gene Yotka
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