The keystone of the spirit

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The love of God
is to the human spirit
what the keystone 
is to the arch;
ruin is the consequence
when it falls from
its place.

–Thomas Erskine

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Overflow of life

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The biblical story is driven by the love of the triune God, and in this love by the relationship between God, on the one side . . . and humanity on the other. In this relationship, the Father speaks. He reveals. He gives. Humanity is thereby summoned to hear, to know, and to receive the Father’s love.

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And in hearing the Father’s voice, in knowing His affirmation and receiving His love, humanity is quickened with an abounding life that it does not possess in itself, nor can it create. This abounding life is then to overflow into our relationships with one another and with the whole creation.

–Baxter Kruger
Across All Worlds

His passion is to share

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No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Mt. 11:27 NIV)

Jesus is not another in the long line of religious leaders dispensing divine advice and direction. What is unique about Jesus is his knowledge of the Father. I don’t mean mere intellectual or academic or theological knowledge. I mean personal, experiential, relational knowledge. He knows the Father. He sees the Father’s face. He lives in communion with the Father in the Spirit. The shocker about Jesus is that he has no interest whatever in hoarding his exclusive communion with His Father: His passion is sharing.

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Mark it well, Jesus crossed all worlds to come to us, and he did not come to give us a religious manual to follow, or to leave us with fresh insights about a distant God. He came to give himself to us, and all he has and knows.

He crossed all worlds to establish
a personal relationship with us,
to include us in his own relationship
with his Father and Spirit.

He came to share his soul with us, and thus his own knowledge of his Father, his own peace, his own assurance and hope and joy, so that we could know what he knows, so that we could taste and feel and experience the life he alone lives with his Father in the fellowship of the Spirit.

–C. Baxter Kruger
Across All Worlds

Too good for words

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Why would Jesus do this? Why would he stoop to become human? He had no need of this. He has forever known his Father and enjoyed his Father’s full attention and affection. He has forever shared the concert of life with his Father in the Spirit. Why would he take the time and pain of earthing this fellowship of life? Why would the Triune God do such a thing? Was it because of some deficiency in their fellowship? Was it because of boredom? Of course not! The only reason to earth and humanize this eternal home-life was to share it, with us. As one of the ancients put it, Jesus became “what we are that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself” (St. Irenaeus). Is this not too good for words?

–Baxter Kruger
Home

Image: Maxime Courty

Known, accepted and cherished

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To believe in this Jesus means that we believe ourselves to be known, accepted and cherished by the Father Himself. And what happens to us and in us when we encounter such Divine acceptance? What happens in us when we believe ourselves to be at-home with the Father? Are we plunged into bondage? Are we overwhelmed with fear and anxiety? Are we turned into religious androids? Do we become workaholics, materialists, sexual addicts, murderers, gossips? Are we enslaved to the crowd?

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No. We find ourselves released, set free from the very things that enslaved us. We find a new freedom from the tyranny of work and greed and lust, a new freedom from the need for the approval of peers. We find ourselves at peace and playing golf in the kingdom, filled with joy and hope, free to look into our daughters’ souls and share life with them, free to rest, free to love, free to be who we are. We find ourselves flourishing.

–Baxter Kruger
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Artwork: Thomas Kinkade

No secret buttons

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The answer, the way home, is, as the Bible insists, faith in Jesus Christ. There are no secret buttons to push, no magical elixirs to take, no special potions, no chants to recite or charms to handle.

There are no decoder rings
or esoteric theological classes to take
and no mechanical principles
to apply to our lives.

It is not a matter of church membership, water baptism or being religious. The answer is faith—and faith means unconfusion, seeing clearly, discovering and knowing reality in Christ, embracing it, acknowledging it, loving it— responding to Jesus Christ with a serious and hearty and continuous “Amen!”

–Baxter Kruger
(emphasis added)

Faith is seeing

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Faith is not something you do. Faith is seeing. It’s discovering the eternal character of God as Father, Son and Spirit. It’s seeing that this love of Father, Son and Spirit has been directed toward you from all eternity.

–Baxter Kruger

The Stunning News

The one thing the early church knew for sure, that they were prepared to die for (and did) was, whatever else we say, the man Jesus Christ is God. They knew He was the Lord.

Furthermore, they realized that Jesus prayed to the one He called Father and they realized He was anointed in the Holy Spirit – that there is a relationship going on between the Father, Son and Spirit. They were not trying to develop a doctrine of the Trinity, and they took an enormous amount of flak from the Greeks and the Jews, being accused of polytheism and tri-theism. But the early church developed its understanding of the deity and humanity of Christ, of his relation with the Father and the Spirit – and they worked out the doctrine of the Trinity.

The early church came to realize that the deepest truth about God is the relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And it’s not sad, it’s not boring, it’s not religious, it’s not dead – it’s alive, it’s creative, it’s other-centered. It’s about acceptance, and light, and life and love—and it’s beautiful! And that is what is fundamental about the being of God. If you peel back the onion of divine being, so to speak, and you come to the core of God-ness – you find the relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

Augustine knew that, and he wrote his beautiful treatise on the Trinity, but he was also steeped in Neo-Platonism. The premise of Neo-Platonism is: whatever else you say of God – or The One – it’s indivisible. And if it is indivisible, it can’t be relational. Augustine tried to develop a Christian vision, and at the same time maintain his Neo-Platonism – and what he offered to the Western Tradition is really two Gods. You have the Father, Son, and Spirit, and then you have “the deeper truth” about the being of God. And what is the essence, the deepest truth about God? For Augustine, it became, not relationship, but absolute, total sovereignty. And for the rest of the Western tradition, steeped as it was in Roman law and jurisprudence, it became a legal view of holiness.

I believe holiness is the deepest truth about God – but “holiness” within a Trinitarian vision. Holiness is the utter uniqueness and beauty and goodness and rightness of the divine relationship – that is the essence – the wholeness of the relationship, their love, mutual passion and delight.

You could call it the “great dance.” This is an ancient phrase that you find in the church. C.S. Lewis uses it a couple of times in some of his books. It describes, in a snapshot, the life of God. It’s a great dance. It’s not boring and sad – it’s not self-centered, it’s not narcissistic . . . it’s about fellowship, and communion, and love.

The apostle Paul said we are predestined to adoption – as sons and daughters. It makes perfect sense. If God is like this, then adoption is the main point. Paul said that the Father’s eternal purpose is to include us in this relationship. But we don’t have 1500 years of discussion about this. Why not? Because we have held to this other idea that the deepest truth of God is holiness – not Trinitarian holiness, not relational holiness—but holiness conceived in terms of moral law and jurisprudence.

Our “family conversation” for about 1500 years has been about the Holy God (which is true, God is holy) but not “holy” in a relational way. When Jesus says, “Be ye holy as God is holy,” he’s not talking about a stainless steel, antiseptic, squeaky clean, boring kind of holy. He is saying, be whole, be relationally together, be in fellowship and communion, be unique in this.

But the church embraced this other view holiness of God: stainless steel, moral rectitude, perfection – this God who calls the shots for the entire discussion. And we’ve found Bible verses to support it. And that’s why it’s so hard for us to understand the stunning news.

How stunning is it, that the only reason the human race exists is to be included in the Trinitarian life of God!

I would like to see a conversation about that. Give me 1500 years to talk about “adoption.” About the vision of God who is Father, Son, and Spirit, as opposed to the stainless steel, holy God who’s not interested in relationship at all.

–adapted from Baxter Kruger

Perichoresis

Genuine acceptance removes fear and hiding, and creates freedom to know and be known. In this freedom arises a fellowship and sharing so honest and open and real that the persons involved dwell in one another. There is union without the loss of individual identity. When one weeps, the other tastes salt. It is only in the Triune relationship of Father, Son and Spirit that personal relationship of this order exists, and the early Church used the word “perichoresis” to describe it. The good news is that Jesus Christ has drawn us within this relationship, and its fullness and life are to be played out in each of us and in all creation.

–Baxter Kruger

Invited into the Inner Circle

Here we have a window into the deep inner truth of Christianity. The life of the Holy Trinity—the relationship and beauty and passion, the creative and joyous and abounding fellowship of the Father, Son and Spirit, the love of the Triune God—is given to us in Jesus Christ, shared with our innermost beings . . . Such is the kingdom of God and the very meaning of salvation.

–Baxter Kruger

Free-flowing Fellowship

What the doctrine of the Trinity is telling us is that God is fundamentally a relational being… The Father, Son and Spirit live in conversation, in a fellowship of free-flowing togetherness, and sharing and delight – a great dance of shared life that is full and rich and passionate, creative and good and beautiful.

–Baxter Kruger

When we don’t know God

The road of “trying to please God”
is called religion.
Religion is what we do when
we don’t know
the Father and Son.

–Baxter Kruger

Published in: on 01/23/2012 at 10:59  Leave a Comment  
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Stunning grace

The gospel is not the news that we can accept an absent Jesus into our lives. The gospel is the news that the Father’s Son has received us into his. We don’t make Jesus part of our world; he has made us part of his. In bearing our scorn, Jesus has made room for the real us in his divine, trinitarian life. Adoption is not a theory or a theoretical doctrine; it is reality in Jesus Christ, for in him the Father himself has met, accepted and embraced us as we are forever. In a variation on Paul’s great statement, ‘For you know the stunning grace of the Father’s Son that though he was rich in the shared life of the blessed Trinity, yet for our sake he became poor, suffering our wrath to meet us, and now through his suffering we who were so poor have been included in Jesus’ own rich relationship with his Father.

–Baxter Kruger

Published in: on 08/31/2010 at 2:00  Comments (1)  
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