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Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Christ-Consciousness: the Will to Serve

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is [ rightly ] judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”[e] But we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2:15 & 16

A truer statement will never be made than that Jesus was the Christ! Ask ( most ) any Christian & they will tell you, to varying degrees, that Jesus IS the Christ & that He exists still as the Second Person of the Trinity. As the Messiah of Israel, Jesus was Sent of the Father, Scripturally & eschatologically speaking, to 'save His people from their sins' ( Matthew 1:21 ). We in the West, particularly & peculiarly, have traditionally understood this Jesus as being THE Christ, the very Essence of the Creator God; as the Scriptures say, 'God with us' ( Matthew 1:23 ( Isaiah 7:14 ): the apostle Paul wrote that 'God[c] was manifested in the flesh'. This view is not necessarily wrong, for the Christ that Jesus exalted IS the Christ, the Christ of the Father  ( Luke 9:20 ), that dwells in all of us ( John 14:23 ).

It might be truly said that the Christ dwells within each & every one of us, humanity as a whole. Jesus did say, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him', so, to be honest, most if not all Christians would probably have a problem with the universal statement, 'the Christ dwells within each & every one of us, humanity as a whole'. In order to manifest the Christ Within, one must obey the Universal Law which Jesus elucidated, namely that of loving one's neighbor as oneself. To truly love one's neighbor implies a love of the Creator God, or the Divine Principle.The question of whether or not one can truly love another without first loving oneself, or the Divine Principle, may be a matter for another blogpost.

The term 'Christ', meaning 'anointed', might truly be used of anyone; it simply means that one was 'anointed' for a particular purpose & 'sent', if you will, to fulfill that certain purpose. As traditional, orthodox Christians, most would view this 'anointing' wholly in the light of Scripture, as in the baptism of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11 & Luke 3:21 & 22. The Spirit, of course, was His true Anointing.  Jesus' anointing thereby is not something unfamiliar to any Christian, or at least, it shouldn't be! One might well say that it was at that point that Jesus, in fact, became the Christ, although He had been sent, as the Christ, when He was born, some 3o years earlier.

When Jesus was born, according to Scripture, to the Virgin, He was born of the Spirit. His Father, one might say, was the Holy Spirit. In much the same way, we are born of the Spirit when we are awakened to & made conscious of the Christ Within. As the Scriptures also say ( Christians love to quote this passage ), ' I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me' ( Philippians 4:13 ). With the Strength of the Christ Within, as the apostle seems to say, there is NOTHING we cannot accomplish! However one wants to rectify or justify his words here, this might be well be viewed as a Universal Truth. Other Scriptures, like Matthew 17:20, seem to bolster this statement, thus intimating that nothing is impossible ( Luke 1:37 ) for the One who is in Communion with the Creator.

Communion with the Creator God, to the orthodox Christian, usually involves bread & wine, the constituent elements of what is most commonly known as 'The Lord's Supper'. Although these elements can certainly be a symbolic reference to that Communion, they are by no means necessary to it. Jesus told His first-century audience, 'unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you' ( John 6:53 ). We understand, of course, that Jesus was speaking metaphorically here & in no way was He referring to the so-called Lord's Supper. He was reminding the Hebrews of their own history, in other words telling them that unless they accepted Him as the Messiah & realized that in Him was their true Salvation, they had no true Life in them.

We have been taught that Jesus was the only true God: this is true enough, but what does it mean? Jesus was 'God with us', but cannot this truly be said of us as well who have realized the gravity of 'Christ in us'? Is not 'God with us': 'God.....in the flesh', so to speak? Since the Creator dwells within us, in a different dimension, even & since we can do all things through Him who gave us Strength, is it really all that much of a stretch to say, along with Jesus, that He is our Father & thus that we are His Son? As surely as Jesus was the Son of the Creator God, so are We!

When Jesus walked this earth those almost two thousand years ago, how did He live? Was it selfishly, following His own vain pursuits, or did He live His relatively short life in this biology in service to others? Scripture pictures a Man who gave His life for others; in fact, as the Story of the Gospel progresses, we see that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice at the end of His inglorious existence. He very literally laid down His life for even those who despised & rejected Him!

About the Divinity of Jesus the Christ, there can be no doubt. Even though, as Scripture records, He lived a life of sinless perfection, He was a Man who, in many respects, was just like us. His biology, as far as we can tell, functioned just as ours does, yet, through His own choices, He never sinned against His Father. Jesus loved as no man before or after Him has loved. He loved with a perfect love, a love which, also according to Scripture, has been perfected in us ( I John 4:12 ). Since this Love has been perfected in us, we too, may be said to live that perfectly sinless life. Don't get me wrong, we still fail, in this biology, as individuals, to love perfectly all the time, but maybe that's our problem, we tend to think of ourselves as individuals rather than parts of a Whole!?

A Life of Service to the Whole would circumvent those failures; as the Scriptures say, 'love covers all sins' ( Proverbs 10:12 ) .If we would but learn that Love is what enabled Jesus to live as He did, to serve as He did, even to the point of denying this biology, then we too could live such a life as He did & through such a life of service, be exalted as He was. As the Messiah of Israel, Jesus was revealed to be 'God.....in the flesh'. As we follow in His footsteps, being the very Temple of the Living God, may we not rightly claim that Title for ourselves?

Charles Haddon Shank


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