The Cross: Restoring Humanity to Factory Settings

Restoring to Factory Settings

Adam and Eve were created and set down into a delightful world which God had prepared. There was no pain, toil, or suffering because it was not a dualistic world where every pleasure has a flip side of suffering, beauty implies the existence of ugliness, and so on. He instructed them to keep away from tasting of this dualism of good and evil because it would kill them. We would die, that is, from the designer’s intended world and state of being. Probably also from eternal life.

Whenever my computer or other digital device is not functioning according to the way it was meant to work, my first attempt to fix it is to do a restart. This reset will restore the factory behavior that was programmed into it. Like a programmer, God designed us for an intended existence and purpose. In a thumbnail, we were meant to be in a face-to-face relationship with Him, to walk the earth in joy and ease, existing off low hanging fruit without effort. Adam and Eve could hear God’s voice and converse with Him freely. And they were charged with tending the earth and caring for its flora and fauna. We were God’s representatives on earth. And by the way, it was a totally sustainable environment.

The one who made us had guidelines for us to follow, but they weren’t hard-wired into us, they were recorded in RAM (random access memory) which we could choose to access or not.  We had lots of OI (original intelligence) to choose how we wanted to live and behave. Unfortunately, centuries and millennia of misusing the hardware and software (sin) have resulted in a condition where both are corrupted. A reset to factory settings was the answer to the problem envisioned from before the creation of this world.

God’s taking flesh as Jesus – the incarnation – is the reset needed to restore us to this pre-disobedience condition. Jesus was and is eternally the embodiment of God and human. In our metaphor, Jesus is both programmer and program, maker and hardware. Only He could accomplish this reset. And so, embodying man and God, and taking on the accumulated corruption (sin) into himself and dying on the cross, he accomplishes the reset. What’s even more amazing, is that Jesus the Christ is still and forever the embodiment of God and man.

When Jesus appears to the disciples and others after his death and resurrection, his glorified body, as the Bible calls it, still bears the wounds of the crucifixion, and always will. Even as he takes his place in the other-dimensional realm with the Father, he still is man, God, and cross (the eternal action of taking on our accumulated sin). I imagine that he is a resplendent human and God and that his coronation which occurred on the cross is somehow displayed in his being. The wounds Jesus bore for us become the crown jewels of His inauguration as King of Kings.

Why then, in spite of this reset, are we still struggling with this process of regaining our original garden of Eden state? Have you heard the joke about how many psychologists it takes to change a light bulb? Just one, but it really has to want to change. But the joke is not a very good metaphor for our situation. Recently my six-year-old desktop computer crashed and I had to take it in to have its C: drive wiped, reformatted and the operating program reinstalled. After that, it was once again running at its intended speed. However, once I got it home, I still had a ton of work to install all the software programs and check over the data drives, some of which had been corrupted. Well, you get the idea, it’s a process. But even this is not all of it. I don’t think it’s just a matter of time and effort.

This restoration process was begun and made possible by Jesus in the historical work of incarnation and the cross, and by the eternal, continuing work of incarnation and cross. But that’s not all. The work of the cross is complete in certain respects. Perhaps we could say that Jesus removed all the barriers that were there before he did his miraculous work. What will get us to the New Earth condition is veiled in mystery. We know it’s not our striving or even good deeds that will complete the work of the cross. Some will say it’s heresy to say that there is more to come as the work of the cross is complete. On the other hand, you’d have to blind to think we have attained the restoration to our pre-fall condition.

What I do know is that we are to be on a journey that moves us ever closer to Him. It will involve stumbling and suffering at times. It will involve joys and even happiness at times. It will involve bringing bits of heaven to earth. And it will definitely involve being carriers, bearers of the presence of God and his love to all we encounter. But He promises to be with us even to the end of this age. After that a new earth!

16Because the former troubles are forgotten,
And because they are hidden from My sight!                                                                            17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;                                                             And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.                                    18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;                                                                      For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people;
And there will no longer be heard in her
The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
20 “No longer will there be [o]in it an infant who lives but a few days,
Or an old man who does not [p]live out his days;
For the youth will die at the age of one hundred
And the [q]one who does not reach the age of one hundred
Will be thought accursed.
21 “They will build houses and inhabit them;
They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 “They will not build and another inhabit,
They will not plant and another eat;
For as the [r]lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people,
And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.
23 “They will not labor in vain,
Or bear children for calamity;
For they are the [s]offspring of those blessed by the Lord,
And their descendants with them.                                                                                                  24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,”                                                                                                                            says the Lord     (Isaiah 65:16-25 New American Standard Bible)

See also Revelation 21:1 and 2 Peter 3:13 which refer to this prophecy by Isaiah.

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August 2010, when a mosque was about to be built on or near the 911 Ground Zero,             I wrote:

“If you know any card games you understand the trump card… God trumps politicians, Muslims, and any other power that comes against us and avows enmity to Him or His people!  I’m not talking about religion, which is invented by man.  I’m talking about God as revealed to us in Jesus and in the Word of God, both written and living will overcome any human power.”

I read it this morning for the first time since Writing it. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but my wife thought it should be reposted. You can read the rest here.

At the beginning of this year of 2017, I received a prophetic word. It was literally a word, a single word: “RESET”. Well, it wasn’t really capitalized, but I’ve learned what His voice sounds like, so I knew it was a word. But, I really had no one to share it with, other than my amazing wife Ann. As the word unfolded, its meaning became clearer. This year is a year of new beginnings as people’s lives, institutions – political and otherwise – are restored, reset, and are reborn from there.

That seemed pretty clear, and hardly worth mentioning. As January moved along, the word started to extend. Reset encompassed the concept of Jubilee, which was explained in Leviticus to occur every 50th year. On the year of Jubilee agriculture was not allowed and the land was fallowed, which meant that man would eat by God’s grace alone. But more importantly, it was a year of freedom and restoration during which slaves and indentured servants would be set free, debts would be forgiven, and property restored to its rightful owners.

Jubilee speaks of God’s love and kindness, and his heart’s desire for His people that we are free from any kind of bondage. It’s merely an extension of the Sabbath, which I see, not as God’s decree that we stop and worship Him, but His provision for His kids to rest from labor. We must remember that He created a place for us to live in joy and happiness, in a face-to-face relationship with Him. Toil and suffering were never His plan for us. It was the result of rebellion. Some of the yearly feasts God instituted were also meant to interrupt continuous toil, gather as families, and go camping (well, they had to walk, sometimes for days, to revisit the place of their clan). The weekly Sabbath, the Feasts, and the year of jubilee are just revelations of a loving God’s heart.

Jubilee is a redemptive time for God’s people (an inclusive term, as God loves all his created people, not just some – except there are always some who just don’t want to receive – think Pharaoh, the Pharisees, Judas, etc.) to redeem all that was lost, stolen or interfered with. It is a time of being set free of fears and a death to all that is harmful. A time of freedom and breakthrough. A time of rest and restoration while blessings rain down.

Having just moved and being at a new church, I never shared this word. But one Sunday, I thought I would go to the prayer room where people are ministered to with healing prayer and prophecy.  Since I was feeling pretty healthy and pain-free that day, I happened to share my word, and one of the two ladies suddenly broke down crying, sharing with us that she was experiencing one of those debilitating moments. Still, I didn’t share my word.

A few days later, I discovered that 2017 was indeed considered the current year of jubilee. I say considered because there are theological disagreements about the exact timing of the year of jubilee. Nevertheless, when I googled this I found the following on Joseph Prince’s website:

“In this year of Jubilee, according to Scripture, debts are going to be supernaturally canceled. Lost possessions and family relationships are going to be restored. This is the vision the Lord has for all who follow this ministry as we step into 2017!”                                 Theme of the year 2017, Joseph Prince

This morning, when I found my old blog from 2010, I was compelled to post this word – “RESET”.  May you be set free from any bondage that besets you; may your finances be abundant; may you be refreshed as if you had the whole year off; and may your enemies be powerless to touch you. May our country be blessed in every way; our leaders be enlightened in every way; and may we be a blessing to all nations! Amen and Amen!

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The Eye of the Hurricane

Somewhere in Montana.

Somewhere in Montana.

If life is like a hurricane, what does the eye of the storm stand for in this metaphor? Surely we all get that life resembles a storm, or maybe a sequence of storms with a few days of clear skies. But what about the eye of the hurricane. Well, I think that God allows suffering as a means to our growth (see the previous blog). Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense that He’d allow suffering to continue so long, in spite of the rebellion and fall. So what is he after. Continue reading

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Life Is like a Hurricane

Eye of the hurricane

photo courtesy of NOAA

My friend was sharing on Facebook about the setback he had many years ago, and I posted the following:

“I just know that God sees success and suffering differently than we do. I totally identify, having crashed and burned literally and figuratively. Both times it reset my thinking deeply and put me on a better way radically. [Friend] you’re awesome, and you’re a light for many. I’ve always said that if we haven’t suffered we can’t be worth much. I’m sure that Jesus had that in mind when he told the rich man that he had to give up everything before he could follow him. I doubt that he was trying to teach us that everyone has to give up all their worldly possessions, but that each has to have that reset. Makes me want to blog again. Love you my brother, and your dear wife! Thanks for keeping on being you!”

It occurred to me that life is like a hurricane…and the only safe place is in the eye of that storm. What is the eye in the metaphor, and how can we be in it? Continue reading

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“God Is Love” (1 John 4:6)

How can a “monolithic” God be love? I don’t think he can. Because love must have an object, a lover needs another lover. Thus, if John is right, that God is love, it makes sense that God is “on essence, three persons”. It took the early church 300 years to hammer out this little gem. So, the idea is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – however you grasp that – were a love circle from before creation, and they (yes, Genesis uses the plural pronoun) created man out of a desire to bring us into this love circle.

So when Jesus talks about he and the Father being one, and us folks and he – Jesus – being one, this is the meaning. We were created originally to live in a face-to-face relationship with God; we messed it up; and Jesus re-established this one-ness by becoming man and paying for our messes. This is fundamental Christian belief, with an emphasis on a loving God who eagerly desires us to return to the circle of love. The emphasis is on what God did to make this reconciliation possible, rather than on the many hoops we’re supposed to go through.

Salvation is there for everyone, in spite of the Calvinistic foolishness about being chosen. Or you could say that we’re all chosen, “for God so loved the world” means everyone: it is inclusive not exclusive. And yes, we are called on to believe. How and when is not my concern. Moreover, this moment of belief brings with it a supernatural “embrace” or indwelling inside of which change happens. It is not our change that makes it happen. When we turn towards God as a lover turns to the one he loves, He comes into us and we are enabled to “be a better man”…or woman.

If you’re wondering what my theological underpinning is, or even if I have one, it is Trinitarian.  C.S. Lewis was a famous author and apologist who believed this way. Karl Barth was an important 20th Century theologian. And currently I like to read and listen to is Baxter Kruger. You can find his stuff on Youtube.  I’m including a brief and simple explanation of Trinitarian theology for anyone interested enough to read it.

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Link to blog mentioned above:

“Our walk with God is shaped by our view of God. A non-trinitarian understanding of God leads to a spirituality fundamentally different from that which results from believing in a self-giving, self-…”

Read More: Trinitarian-Shaped Spirituality

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How Is Life Like Texas Hold ’em?

Bluffing made easy.

Bluffing made easy.

How is life like Texas Hold ‘Em?  First, we’re dealt two cards.  In life, before we can play, we get our genetic heritage (nature), and our environmental surroundings and formative experiences (nurture).  In the game, the dealer now flips up a total of five cards face up, and we decide how to play our two cards, combining them with the up cards to make the best five card hand we can.  In life, we’re dealt good and bad cards and we make the best of what we’re dealt. So where does God come in? Continue reading

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Intimacy or Intercession

If we neglect intimacy, we cannot be intercessors; if we neglect intercession, we fail our calling.

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Visible – Invisible

Subatomic Illusion

Subatomic Illusion

Until we were able to pry into the atom and beyond, it made sense to believe in what is solid. But the Bible, written two thousand years ago, says that what is seen is made up of what is not seen. Literally, it says that phenomena (the original Greek word which we still use today), IE things that are visible, are not made of things which are not visible. Continue reading

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Teachable Moments: Kingdom Here And not Yet

 

Ophelia_3397

God is consistently presenting learning moments for us. These moments are like experiencing a living parables right in the context of our lives.  Mostly we march right past these billboards without reading or even noticing them.  But they’re there nevertheless.  God patiently prepares these teachable moments for us to learn—or  rather, become—one more little concept of the way the world He designed and created works. Continue reading

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Do Statistics Defy the Existence of God

Turbulence at airplane wing

People think statistics defy the existence of God. Actually God’s order replaces statistics, or rather randomness. Statistics are based on randomness. randomness, or entropy is the absence of God or life, which organizes the universe. A seed organizes random matter around itself to “create” order – an organism. God organised random matter when He created our planet from what was formless and void. Thus believing in statistics is to believe in randomness/entropy/death. Continue reading

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