The plan of Salvation encompasses far more than is generally understood. Sadly the reality and meaning of it has become obscured by the rituals and man-made traditions of religion. This is as true today as it was in the time of Christ 2,000 years ago. These forms and rituals are not the truth themselves. Without knowledge of the underlying reality they were intended to represent they not only become empty and meaningless but also distorted. The essential ingredient of the plan that made it work and why it exists perhaps need a little closer examination. Though it extends beyond this, at the centre of it all is Christ yielding up his equality with God in order to secure the survival of mankind. This was the deeper meaning behind the statement he made to Nicodemus recorded in John 3:16,
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Much religious sentiment has become attached to this statement which has served to obscure the profound meaning of it. One needs to stop and ask exactly what it means for the Son of God to be given to humanity. The Apostle Paul briefly captures this in Phil. 2:5-13. Note verses 5-9,
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.
Notice in verse 6&7, where it speaks of Christ being in the form of God only to give this up to take on the form of man. What is noted here regarding Christ yielding up his equality with God as the ransom to save mankind is the immediate backdrop against which the Christ event of 2,000 years ago is to be understood. This has largely been ignored. The Christian church has tended to view things in terms of the event itself. This is reduced even further by a particularly focus on the crucifixion. Through iconic images and symbols of the cross bordering on idolatry this is constantly kept before us. But the cross is not the defining truth and meaning of salvation. It was part of the Roman penal apparatus as a symbol of cruelty and oppression. For the church to use it in this way gives credence to humanly devised forms above the truth of the Spirit. This has also served to subtly reinforce the notion that God gave his son to die. It was shown how this falsehood came to be established and the effect it has had in distorting the broader truth regarding why Christ came. An entire body of thinking has been built around this that is really of no real value. This is similar to the way people view the Waco event. They see us not in terms of the reality of the Judgment and the matters relating to the seven seals by which we are viewed, but in terms of what happened on Feb. 28-April 19, 1993. They then proceed to develop what amounts to their own opinions of what it means. But these opinions are not what define us nor do they allow them to grasp the true meaning of the event. It is the difference between seeing things in terms of “cause” rather than “effects.” What Paul sought to do in the above texts was to place before us a little of the underlying realities of what salvation is truly about. Notice in verse 8, he relates the crucifixion as one item in the overall scheme of things and not the thing by which everything is to be viewed. Getting to where we can reason regarding the meaning of existence from this broader context of divine truth is what is denied to us when we only see things in the limited scope of just the event.
The truth of Christ yielding up his equality with God to save mankind is the same thing God the Father would have done. But someone has to remain at the helm. The earth and mankind is not all there is to God’s creation. We are made aware in Heb. 1:2 and Rev. 5:13, that there are other worlds and creatures beyond earth. The position of God is a necessary part of the existence and continuation of all creation. There cannot be creation without there being a creator. This is the order of things by which all things consists. Without it everything dissolves into nothing. Does one think that creation can continue to exist by itself? We may argue this all day long but our arguments do not make it so. Who are we? The fact of the matter is Creation is not self-existent neither is it self-sustaining. It is dependent on there being God. Those who would think otherwise, whether knowingly or not, merely use their contrary arguments as a means to promote themselves. They offer no meaningful reason why the plain statements of Scripture should be ignored other than the fact that they do not believe in it. Unbelief is not an acceptable argument by which the truth of a thing is determined and neither is it objective. It amounts to denial and the simple rejection of truth out of not wanting to be bound by its tenets.
Christ is regarded as one who is true and righteous. He has shown complete agreement with the purposes and will of God affirming the righteousness of God’s government. Why else would he willingly give up his equality if this was not so? The object of him doing this, the salvation of mankind, is placed above what would be his own self interest. There must also be some greater significance to why he would do this than just the object itself. This would stem from the intrinsic righteousness of the cause and which further reveals the true nature of God’s government. As part of God’s creation, mankind is not separate from the “self” of God. The creator and the creation are one whole. This is the way it is seen from the context of God and was deemed good and righteous from its’ very inception. The fact that the fall of man occurred does not take away from this. It was deemed righteous that man should have the free will to choose. This reflected the image of God in which man was made. It is man who now dwells in this notion of separation, an illusion that permeates our thinking and which keeps us in bondage to this embodiment. We think to take refuge in a deception in order not to have to face the responsibilities, and indeed the joys, which comes of Life with God. While under this dark cloud the life man now lives amounts to nothing but a lie. In view of this, Truth is seen as abhorrent because it exposes this lie.
In any case it remains to be understood, what exactly is meant by Christ being equal with God? Further what is involved in his giving up this equality as the ransom for mankind? Firstly, it is the Life of Christ that saves mankind not his death. His Life as God is given in exchange for the entire human race, the infinite for the finite. In relation to what Paul wrote in Phil. 2:5-13, Christ stated in Mt. 20:28,
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Note where he states, “…to give his life a ransom for many,” he made this statement while conversing with his disciples about what constituted true governance. How this can become construed to mean his death defies logic. The question needs to be asked what was the life he referred to here? We discussed before the distinction between the life of the body and the life of the soul. Here Christ was not merely referring to the life of his body, which at the time was soon to be unjustly wrenched from him on the cross. The life he was speaking of was that of his divine equality with God. This was the everlasting life he spoke of in John 5:24,
24 Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my words and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
He proceeded further in John 6:51,
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Note where he speaks of his flesh, this statement was a source of some murmuring to those who heard it. This was almost as if he was talking about cannibalism. It certainly got their attention. He proceeded further to explain in verse 63,
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
We noted previously in John 4:24, where he had also stated,
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Where would the spirit and the truth come from that would allow one to worship God in spirit and in truth? This does not come of man himself. First and foremost it came from God. In John 6:57, Christ had stated how he lived by the Father who was the source of the words he spoke,
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Inherent in these words was the spirit and truth from God. It consisted of the vision of life Christ saw with the Father and the Spirit from God. This was being mediated to man as the eternal life principle permitting him to again partake in the divine nature. Without this how would men know the reality of the truth and spirit of God? After the fall he was no longer able to perceive the things of God in the way that comes by being of the divine nature. There was now a barrier between man and God needing to be crossed. Christ came among men from his position of equality with God in order to make this possible. The dynamics of this involved him divesting himself in spirit, which was the life of him; in mind, which relates to the understanding he held and also in body, the form he had prior to coming to earth. Having divested himself he would now be sustained in his new status by faith in God. In his former state he held all things co-equal with God. You will recall what he stated in John 16:15,
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
It was shown in Rev. 21:7, where the one on the throne spoke for the first time revealing that all things in heaven are held in the common ownership of all. We saw the pattern of this here on earth back in Acts 4:32-37.
The process of giving up his Life as God for mankind was not done in one event. It happened over time and in a series of manifestations. Before divesting himself he was first revealed as the voice of God noted in Gen. 1:3,
3 And God said: let there be light…
His visible manifestation would then have been heard as sound and seen as light. This is not the sunlight men see with their eyes. This is the light men experience as consciousness. The inner evidence we are alive and against which mind takes place as a canvass for the senses to register their perceptions. The degree of our consciousness, not all men are equally conscious, determines what we see of reality. This is related to the life energy or spirit we are possessed of and which powers the perceptual field of our minds. Paul spoke of this in 1 Cor. 2:12-14,
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God: that we might know the things that are freely given us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually
Consider further Paul’s comments in Rom. 8:1-16. Note verses 1&2,
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
The mechanics of what Paul speaks of here is the same as what Christ spoke of in John 8:38. The Spirit of Life in Christ animating his Being revealed itself consciously in terms of what he saw with the Father. This also relates to what was spoken of above regarding the context by which the Christ event and what happened at Waco is truly understood. So the spoken word of God was the first evidence of Christ in his manifestations. Prior to this he was one with the father as “unspoken” word. We are able to apprehend a degree of understanding regarding this by reason of our having the Father as a backdrop against which Christ can be seen. This was shown in Gen. 1:3, as God having spoken. Outside of this we would be as ignorant to the reality of Christ as we would be of God. Our knowledge of God proceeds from what Christ as the word of God declares about him. We take for granted what we read about the reality of God with little thought to how these were made available.
This spoken word of God also took form among the angels and dwelt as one of them. He was the one depicted as the angel on the right of the mercy seat in the sanctuary Moses was instructed to build during the Exodus. Remember this was a pattern of the heavenly sanctuary. The other angel on the left depicted Lucifer who was once the light bearer to the angels in heaven. There is a truth about all this that is more detailed than I am inclined to enter into here. It also deals with the origin of the angels. These too were created beings but the account of their creation was not given like the account of the creation of man was given in Genesis. What I will say here in regard to this is both the caterpillar and the butterfly share similar roots. Before coming among men in the person of Christ 2,000 years ago we noted he appeared back in the time of Abraham as Melchizedek. The apostle Paul develops this in Heb. 7. Note verse 3, where he describes him as being,
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest for ever.
Although Paul compares Melchizedek with Christ we are actually dealing with the same Word of God in two distinctive manifestations. This began the process of Him yielding up his equality with God to take on humanity. The reality of this affords us some added insights into the origin of the angels. In any case, when the word of God was manifest as Melchizedek it took bodily form at will and just appeared on the earth. This brought with it the idea of an entity not of this reality taking human form and dwelling among men. It was not until he came as Christ 2,000 years ago that the physical process of actually entering into humanity itself was started. At that time he came through the womb of Mary but without male seed. He had a mother of the earth but not a father. This allowed him to take sinful flesh but not our fallen human nature. This is the cause of him being sinless. The spiritual separation from God we spoke of earlier in our discussion of Adam and Eve was not part of his nature. While embodied in sinful flesh he would remain steadfast to the will of God demonstrating the power of the spiritual above the physical. But this was not the final stage in the process of him taking our humanity. There was yet another manifestation. This time he would come as one born from among men of both male and female seed. As we discussed earlier he would then take both our sinful flesh and sinful nature. He would now become possessed of our humanity in its entirety. Through this process he would bridge the gulf of separation between God and man caused by the Edenic fall. This is to be followed by yet one more phase. He is to appear again. This time in the state associated with what has been generally viewed as his return in glory. Having yielded up his equality with God to save mankind he is to dwell among men as one of us in the glorified state shared also by those who are saved. He continues in this form throughout the rest of eternity. This divine drama has been the focus of attention for the entire creation. Well, almost! Sadly, although the salvation of mankind is the most significant outcome of all this, not many among men seems to have given it much attention. A dramatic change occurs at the opening of the sixth seal shown in Rev. 6:12-17.
Table Of Contents
Previous Page: Chapter Seven: Beyond Judgement
Next Page: Notes And Scripture Index
Return To Homepage