If Jesus is the exact representation of God (Heb 1:3), then God is not only nonviolent, but God does not grasp to be more than he should be. Some would ask, “why would God grasp at anything when he is almighty, all powerful, and everywhere at the same time?” This is an excellent question, but what I would like to propose is that God thinks more about you than he does about himself. Or better yet, God thinks you are more important than himself. That’s a big statement….and I truly think it is possible when we see Jesus representing “God’s very nature”. The verses I will focus on are again in Phil 2, which say,
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
I mentioned in the two previous articles that grasping and Love are antonyms. They cannot be more different than each other in terms of how Paul is describing Jesus in Philippians 2. What follows is that, if Jesus is God, then God also does not grasp…for selfish gain over any aspect of creation. If Jesus has emptied himself, so has God. If Jesus is a bond-servant, then so is the Father. If Jesus is obedient to the Father to the point of death, then the Father is obedient to Love to the point of being completely emptied of all conceit and selfish desire to be with Jesus on the cross (2 Cor 5:17-19).
What Paul sees in Jesus is the exact representation of God as being “self-emptying”, or Kenosis, as I pointed to Michael Gorman’s book called Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul’s Narrative Soteriology. Can this mean that God, as the divine display of his character through Jesus, has emptied himself of all selfish desire to the point that only true Love comes forth and sees you as more important than himself? Would this not be a true act of Love to another? I say that this is who God is…to the very core of his own being…to Love another in humility, as a servant, without grasping for any position that would benefit himself…allowing only Love to be in him. Therefore….simply put…..God Is Love. Now it is our turn to live out salvation as Jesus did….as self-emptying so that Love can reign in our mortal bodies (Rom 6:12). I realize Paul uses the word sin in Romans 6, but when sin does not reign in us…it looks like Love, right?
An excellent study by Peter Goodgame, from redmoonrising.com, called The New Exodus: A New Framework for Understanding the End Times, has done an outstanding job to show that since Jesus, the new creation is in The New Exodus…modeled by the first one in the book of Exodus. The links to his study are here, and I believe you should read all of this study. It will encourage you to reevaluate what living in the Kingdom of God really could be to you. One point has stood out to me in his paper titled Rising Stars: The Stellar Destiny of the Redeemed, which states,
“Remember that Adam was also a “son of God” and made in the image of God, but he grasped for something greater, and wrongly aspired to a greater reputation. Adam rejected being a servant and desired to be equal with God. Adam sought to exalt himself and through his disobedience he was condemned and disgraced……Where Adam failed, Jesus was faithful, and now it is through Jesus, the bright Morning Star, that the human family can be redeemed, rising as new Morning Stars in the dawning of the new day to take our place in the chorus of the eternal heavenly family.”
Peter Goodgame rightly points out that Adam, the First Adam, has grasped to be of greater reputation….which still plagues the entire human race today. That greater reputation is symbolized by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet, it is the Last Adam, Jesus, who did not grasp, but emptied himself of all conceit, selfish ambition, and saw others to be greater than himself. He was obedient to who his Father is all the way to the cross. This very act of salvific love to all creation has shown the eternal God in his true self…as self-emptying. This is the act of Love that Jesus has given to show that God sees us as more important than himself. He looks at us and says,
“We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Now it is our turn to show what it means to be in the Kingdom of God…to be self-emptying, self-humbling, and to walk in the Spirit of Christ just like the Last Adam has shown. We have a choice to be apart of the Tree of Life, which symbolizes Jesus. Therefore, to be self serving, pursing success, promoting ourselves, making a name for ourselves, being violent, demanding justice on the wrong doers, wanting the execution of murderers, being lovers of money and fame, to think our ministry or church is better, to think our denomination is more right, to think we are anointed, and to aspire to a greater reputation are all Antichrist (1 John 4:3). These are the powers and forces that wage war against us as we go into the Kingdom of God. It was Jesus who…
…”emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”