7. The Entrance of the Holy
- We have seen, we have touched, God. I, John, have placed these hands that you see here, these rough and hoary hands, these physical hands of flesh, I have placed these very hands upon Almighty God.
7. The Entrance of the Holy
Peter wrote of an entrance for us into the everlasting kingdom of God. John spoke of an entrance into the true bride of Christ through gates made of pearls, that is, through our response to suffering and irritation. Jesus said, “Narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and few find it.”
Our entering into all the fullness of God is one side of “entrance.” But I want to consider the opposite, that is, the entrance of God into the desire of His heart.
At some point in our coming into the stature of all the fullness of Christ, we pass the point where it is no longer about our redemption or our salvation or where we are going or whether we are going to “make it” or not. We pass the point where the only thing real that engages our hearts and minds is that the Father would finally obtain the precious thing He has done all things, created all things, risked all things, paid all things, in order to win for Himself.
We sing, “With God all things are possible,” or “Nothing is impossible with God.” Most of the time we are thinking of God altering physical matter or directing the flow of events on our behalf. These things, of course, are incidental with God, He creates by speaking. Speaking is easy, almost as easy as breathing.
We are deeply aware of the awesome significance of the price paid by both Father and Son for our redemption. That price is beyond our comprehension, yet we believe it to be true. We know that Paul’s words must be true, “If God did not spare His own Son, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things.”
You and I are created in God’s likeness. That is different from image; likeness means we are made like God. God looked at Himself when He designed you and me. One thing that can be said about every one of us is that we are filled with desire. Most evil in the world is the result of desire turned the wrong way. Yet those who attempt to eliminate desire from their hearts become utterly fake. I have seen such, and I am repelled by what it becomes.
Desire is the nature of heart. God said of David, “There is a man after My own heart.” That is an extraordinary statement in every respect, one of the most significant in the Bible. David is at the center of the age of man; he is at the center of the Bible. More literal pages of the Bible are devoted to David than to Jesus.
But probably the most significant thing revealed in these words is that, just as with man, the center and core of God is also heart.
Heart is desire. When we are young, our desire is for our own future, and this is right. But when we are older, our heart passes to our children. My wife shared with me that the Lord Jesus visited my younger son in his room, filling him with His Holy Spirit and giving him the gift of tongues in the privacy of his own love of God, just as He did with me when I was young.
There is no greater gift that God could give me than that He would keep my children and fill their hearts with Himself all the days of their lives.
Whatever we are in truth, God is, for God made us just like Himself.
God is Heart. And God is Desire. God wants something He does not have. He wants something that is almost impossible, even, for Him.
I wrote earlier that even the highest heaven does not know God as we do. I did not make that up. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:12:
To them (the Old Testament writers) it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things which angels desire to look into.
Paul said in Ephesians 3: . . . the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
Angels do not see what we see or know what we know. God is revealing large parts of Himself through us right now to heaven – to the highest of heavens – that they have never seen or known.
Heaven does not know God as earth does. Earth knows the Father as heaven cannot. Heaven can know the God whom they serve as He really is only by looking to earth.
God wants something He does not have. God wants something that is almost impossible, even, for Him.
To comprehend the all-consuming passion, the fire of determination, that fills the Heart and Core of Almighty God, we must consider the word “image.” Image is different than likeness.
Let us make man in Our image and after Our likeness.
From the very beginning God determined to conform us to the image of His dear Son.
Likeness and image go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. But the discovery of this thing God wants so very much, this thing that is difficult to obtain, even for God Himself, is found in the word “image.” But first, let’s look a little closer at “likeness.”
Through my years of strength, I designed and built many buildings – homes, shops, kitchens, a large community hall, and so on. When I first walked onto a construction job at age 18, I immediately seized upon the blueprints, took them home, and began to copy them, to create my own house plan ideas. I was 25 when I was given the privilege of leading a large crew in the construction of the first house I had designed myself. I had dreamed of that chance for years, hoping against hope that it would come. And it did.
I have learned the importance of blueprints. The more complicated and difficult the job, the more necessary detailed blueprints become. I worked for a man once who refused to allow me the time to draw complicated cabinets. He had oodles of money, but he sweated very dollar. I would have created a full-scale drawing on a large sheet of particle board if I had been allowed. The result was that the job took many hours more than it should have and it never was quite right.
In complete contrast, for the raising of the Graham River community hall with 65 men in four days, I drew out every single item in the building beforehand including all individual pieces of plumbing, and imagined the assembly of every single piece in the entire building, so that nothing would slow down the many crews of men as they coordinated their work. I spent three months doing little else other than working on that plan.
We have the idea that Jesus became a man 4000 years after God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. We have the idea that Jesus was not a “human” in His eternal state with the Father. I don’t know how this could be true when Jesus said, “I am the same, yesterday, today, and forever.”
Let me give a slightly different scenario.
In the beginning, God contemplated Himself, who He was, what made Him tick, how He was constructed. But a huge part of who and what God is includes a lover of design and blueprints, of making and growing things, of gardens and paintings and panoramic vistas of breathtaking beauty. And so in the very nature and being of who and what God is, He has a blueprint of Himself as part of Himself.
The blueprint of God has a name — Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews says that when God created everything He created, He looked first at the pattern and design of all things – Jesus.
When God designed Adam, He looked at Jesus who was the very pattern and blueprint of Himself. No other part of creation was made in that same way.
Angels are not like God. Heavenly beings are not like God. Man is.
There is no need for us, at this point, to consider the nature and meaning of the fall of that likeness and its infilling by a spirit of darkness. When we try to look at that, though we understand it intellectually, yet in truth, all we can see is the cross standing between us and all of it and that is an end of it.
You and I are not in the fall of Adam, we are in the beginning of God’s intention and we are approaching its completion in fullness. We see ourselves no other way. You and I are seated upon the Mercy Seat, the throne of God, in the Holiest place in heaven, and we see all things out from God’s heart, from His intention and purpose. We see all things out from the burning passion and determination of God’s heart. We truly exist nowhere else.
When God crafted every part of our being, He simply copied the blueprint of Himself – Jesus. We are more like God than we can comprehend. That is what likeness means.
But likeness is one thing, image is something else.
We know that God’s Heart is the fullness of Desire, infinite, omnipotent, all-consuming Desire. But here is the most unbelievable thing any created being could ever contemplate, something so high and holy that even the highest angels have never seen it, though they also desire with all their hearts to look upon it. We cannot imagine that it could be so, but we are forced to accept that it is true by the evidence of the Bible and by the meaning found in this little word, “image.”
God wants something He does not have. God is determined to win for Himself something that is almost impossible, even, for Him.
What are the words that reveal this most High and Holy thing to us?
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.
— We have seen, we have touched, God.
I, John, have placed these hands that you see here, these rough and hoary hands, these physical hands of flesh, I have placed these very hands upon Almighty God.
Listen, this did not happen because of the fall of man, because God had to do something to save some of us. NO! This act of a created being, John, placing his hands upon God Himself made visible and knowable in Jesus filled the burning intentions of God’s heart from the beginning.
But Jesus alone was never the final intention of God; He was the pattern. God wants many sons just like Jesus. God is determined to conform me to the image of His dear Son.
We have no idea the extent of what that means. To place any kind of limit or limiting definition upon what God means when He says that He is determined to conform me to the image of His dear Son is to treat God like dirt.
The issue that John is presenting is not “our” desire to know God. Quite the contrary, it is God’s desire to be known by His creation. It is God who wants to be looked upon and handled. It is God who wants to be known and touched.
Now, the words of Peter are outside of Christianity’s definition of “heaven.” “Things which angels desire to look upon,” – God has revealed through us. Maybe Michael is the highest being in heaven and maybe there are created beings higher and mightier than he. Regardless, “Michael” is a name that allows us to speak personally of the highest of all heavenly beings. Yet, Peter says that inside of you and me, weak humans stumbling along on this earth, there is a revelation of God that Michael himself wants to know, but cannot, even though he stands in the heights of heaven.
And so there are three classes of beings in the universe. On the one hand is God the Father, revealed to us through the Son of God and infilling us through the Spirit of God. Then there are all created beings, all angels and denizens of heaven, all spirit beings of every sort and size, all inhabitants of Hades, both human and angelic, all animals and fish and birds, and almost all of humanity, descendants of Adam both dead and alive. These are all grouped into one category together – created beings.
Third is God’s elect, you and me. We are nothing special in ourselves; we are not superior to anyone. But we honor God by recognizing with boldness that He has set His hand upon us for the purpose and determination of His own heart.
God wants with all of His Heart to be seen and touched and handled by every part of His creation. This is impossible for God by Himself. God is invisible; He cannot be seen or known.
You see, it is not that winning His purpose for Himself is “impossible” with God, it’s that there is only one possible way He can have what He wants.
God must win our hearts.
This mystery we seek to understand – Christ in you, the expectation of glory.
It is through the heart God enters into the possession of His desire, a body, a company of human beings, who make Him visible in all of His eternal power and Godhood. It is through the hearts of those people. There is no other way.
God has given us a picture that helps us somehow to glimpse this High and Holy Mystery.
Consider Mary, standing before the cross. Six hours she stood there, as close to her son as she could be. She did not turn aside, she did not look elsewhere. For every one of those 360 minutes, she looked steadfastly at the son of her womb in all of His agony and humiliation.
That was Mary’s son. 100% of Jesus came out of her. That was the Father’s Son. 100% of Jesus came out of Him. Mary was not alone – yes, John and Mary Magdalene were there, but there was another who stood as steadfastly as Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Father of Jesus was also there, side by side with Jesus’ mother. Together they stood and beheld the passion of their Child.
That was Mary’s son upon the cross. Jesus was as fully human as He was divine.
I can see now that if Mary had not stood there, the purpose of God could never have been written. Jesus recognized His mother from the cross, not to give us something for mother’s day, but to underline the profound reality that He was fully human and fully divine.
We are just like Him.
Look now upon your own heart. That is YOUR heart, fully human, 100% yours. But look again, for your heart is also the Father’s heart, 100% His and fully divine.
Father God places His heart within our breast. It is His heart, yet it is just as truly our heart.
He that believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us.
How does God enter into the full desire and determination of His heart? How does God become visible, so that all creation can see and know Him, up close and personal?
There are two words in our language that reveal to us the entrance of God into His inheritance.
Courage — Expectation
Courage is the English form of the French form of the Latin word for heart. It means first to be filled with heart. More than that, it means to stand true in the face of all opposition. Courage looks at God face to Face and does not flinch or draw back. Courage regards all that God speaks with honor and the highest regard. Courage refuses every form of the accusation of the serpent against God.
I tell you, the winds of that accusation blow strongly in Christendom and in this world. How Christians mock what God speaks in every possible way. Yet they cannot see what they are doing. They speak against God’s words, yet they imagine that they are being “reasonable.”
Everything speaks against the truth you are reading in these letters. Everything. And we have not yet declared these things openly. What hurricanes will blow when we do? Yet for reasons beyond our knowledge, this ingredient of courage, standing without wavering in the onslaught of open opposition, this is one of two critical elements through which the Holy is birthed into creation.
Expectation is a better way of saying “hope.” Hope, through human usage, has come to mean something passive, “I hope that maybe, maybe, someday.” Almost all Christians define hope in that way; but that is not the hope of the gospel.
Expectation, on the other hand, retains the sense of active entwining with God. I expect God to move at all times and in every way. I expect His favor continually. I expect that every word He speaks He fulfills in me in all fullness right now. Expectation is always expecting God.
A brother asked me, “How do you know God is going to do any of this now through you?” To be honest with you the question is to me harsh and incomprehensible. What kind of a moron do people think God is, that He would speak and not do, that His words would fall to the ground empty? One might protest, “Hey now, I’m not saying God won’t do what He says, I’m just saying it has nothing to do with you or me.” Sorry, there is no difference; they are the same thing. To imagine that He will not do anything that He speaks in me in fullness is to deny God; it is to treat Him like dirt.
There is only one possible response to anything and everything God speaks, that is to believe for it in all fullness fulfilled personally in me right here and right now. The serpent was the first to say, “Did God really say that”; he is by no means the last. How can we treat God in that despicable way, to do anything other than expect Him in all that He speaks personally in us right now? I can no longer understand any other kind of thinking.
Yet we are hit with terrible things. We suffer loss, again and again. How can we keep expecting favor when it seems that everything that can go wrong does go wrong? Yet we cannot turn from the expectation of God’s goodness, to do so is to turn away from God.
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have defeated the world.” Paul said that tribulation produces in us the expectation of the love of God flowing out of our hearts. James said, “Count it all joy when you fall into every possible kind of temptation.”
When terrible things happen to us, even when it’s our own fault, when we believe God and see ruin, when we look for good things and instead we are hit with fears and loss, that’s it. Right there is the entrance of God. When we stand in full and undiminished courage and expectation in the middle of all opposition, God is swinging wide the door through which He enters into all of His desire.
Even when we do foolish things and get ourselves in trouble for our own fault – even then, we continue to look God in the Face, eye to Eye, with all confidence and expectation of His favor and goodness – that He will fulfill all that He speaks inside of us. That is the only way we can live.
God does NOT send difficulties our way to “test” us to see what we are made of, or whether we “love” Him or not. NO!
The human and the divine come into union as one ONLY as human faith, the faith of Jesus inside our hearts, holds absolutely to the Word God speaks without wavering, in full confidence of faith – in the midst of overwhelming opposition and every voice crying against it. Willing hearts, filled with love for the revelation of God – that is the point through which God enters into all His desire.
Are we willing for God to win for Himself the thing He wants more than all things – to become visible, to be seen and known and touched – through us?
Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power. Psalm 110
Courage and Expectation are the two sides of Faith. Faith is the entrance of God. Faith is courage and expectation. Faith is the fullness of the heart. The faith of God in our human hearts is the passage, the entrance of God into all of His determination.
Faith is the seed of the woman. Faith is the mother of the Holy.
The human heart filled full with faith, with courage and with expectation is the prize of God, it is His eternal dwelling place, the throne of His glory, the throne of heaven.
God cannot have what He wants just by speaking a word. The only way God obtains His desire is through the willing co-operation of a seemingly scattered group of individual human beings, people who see His heart, who understand His ways, who look Him boldly in the Eye, face to Face as equals, and who move with Him in all confidence in the fulfillment of His heart and theirs.
There is only one answer for creation. There is only one answer for all the problems of this world. That answer is found in your belly and mine, in your heart and mine. The answer is the river of life.
There is no other answer. Every other answer – war, politics, elections, taxes, prisons, laws – all of it, comes out of the falseness and darkness of the spirit of Satan in this world.
The only answer is the entrance of God, and the only door through which God must pass to enter into His creation is your heart and mine, and the only thing that will open that door is courage and expectation standing without wavering in the midst of all opposition.
We were created in the likeness of God, and thus we have the capacity to be filled with all the fullness of God. But God wants more than that. God wants to be seen and touched and known. God wants to move among all of His creation. The only possible way He can do that is through you and through me.
And thus, we are also God’s image. Out of our belly, out of our hearts, out of our innermost being, there flows the river that is the Person of God Himself – made visible through us.
This river, flowing out of the throne of God, our hearts, this is where our eyes must be focused. Terrible things are coming upon this earth whether we admit it or not, and we are the cause. God has seized us in the grip of His determination, and He is fulfilling all His desire through us. All the forces of evil imagine they are up to something, they have no idea – they have been completely tricked into serving the purpose and intention of a God who is considerably smarter than they.
As that river of the revelation of God flows out of our bellies, it hits the called-forth flood out of the serpent’s mouth, and through that great clash, designed and intended fully by God, God Himself becomes visible. As our hearts stand firm in courage and in expectation contrary to every crying wail flung against us from that flood, God Himself becomes visible through us.
You and I thought we were just simple people who love Jesus. And we are. God reveals Himself as the opposite of the world’s expectation. God reveals Himself in weakness, in simple acts of kindness.
And God reveals Himself in mighty power.
You and I will watch this world overturned and restored to all glory, we will see the glory of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. And we will see every bit of it – all of it, flowing out of our bellies.
This is the image of God; our heart and God’s heart are one.