Union with Christ is the ground of everlasting joy, and it is free.” – John Piper
Over the last few posts, I have been unpacking the incredible hope and promise we have in the New Covenant secured for us by Christ Jesus. Certainly, our salvation is a key feature of the work of God in the New Covenant, but our salvation is not the end. It is the means to the end. The chief end of the New Covenant is the restoration of oneness between ourselves and God. Oneness with our God is now possible because we by the blood of Christ Jesus have been purified sufficiently to be the host to the Spirit of Christ residing in us.
This is an opportunity of magnificent if not unimaginable consequence; to host within us the creator of the universe, the Very God Himself, as a companion for life and eternity. Deeper than human level companionship, our God offers to restore to us to oneness with Himself – one in passion, desire, and purpose. Functionally, one in being.
All of this is for us here and now as New Covenant Christians. We need not wait until life after our deaths to experience union with our God. What on earth could possibly begin to compare with this? Yet how many Christians live each day focused on temporal matters and not fixated upon our God? How many are living in busyness and religiosity, and cannot relate to Jesus’ call to sit at the feet of the God within us?
There is something else our God is doing through this New Covenant. He is preparing us for co-rulership with Himself. In the garden of Eden, prior to sin disrupting the human-God relationship, humans shared in ruling over creation. From Genesis 1: “Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
In eternity, this relationship will in some way be restored. Look at the promise Jesus makes to us “…To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Our God intends to use this New Covenant relationship with Himself to prepare us for co-rulership once again.
Yet so few believers are pursuing oneness with our God. We have all been sold a bill of goods and have been led to believe that there is meaning in the pursuit of temporal experiences and temporal goods. We think that these will make our lives better, will bring us satisfaction. We have also been led to believe that spiritual health is found in looking busy, and our spiritual life is measured by performance more than intimacy with our God.
If these were true, we would come to a point of having enough. The fact that we must keep seeking more of these experiences, must continually be busy tells us these things can never satisfy. They are temporary and perish with the using. They will never satisfy, bring us to oneness with our God, or prepare us for our role in eternity.
These lies are the strategy of our enemy, Satan, who is hell-bent on distracting us from our calling. He is busy selling us the snake oil of lesser things so we will not take the healing balm of the Holy Spirit seriously and begin to really live. Not live like the world would have us live, live as intimate companions with our God, co-rulers-in-training, one in being and spirit with God Himself.
In the second century AD, Irenaeus wrote, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” What did he mean? He was writing about how our God is glorified when we come to realize our oneness with our God. Listen to what John Eldredge says about how he reacted to these words from Irenaeus: “Hope unbidden arose at the thought that God’s intentions towards me might be better than I’d thought. His happiness and my happiness are tied together? My coming fully alive is what He’s committed to? That’s the offer of Christianity? Wow! I mean, it would make no small difference if we knew–and I mean really knew–that down-deep-in-your-toes kind of knowing that no one and nothing can talk you out of–if we knew that our lives and God’s glory were bound together. Things would start looking up. It would feel promising…the offer is life. Make no mistake about that.”
We will never experience what it means to be fully alive apart from being focused on our oneness with our God. In that oneness of new covenant living we will find everything our hearts truly desire. We will begin to see how everything else – everything else – for which the world seeks is counterfeit.
“If we do not know how to enjoy God and be filled with God, we shall not know how to work with Him, how to be one with Him in His work.” ― Witness Lee