Greetings Friends! In February 2020 I wrote a post about the ‘celestial life’ in which I said that the ‘celestial life’ is anchored upon this passage of scripture from the Bible, “Just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17, KJV). To put it more simply, it means, we live in God and God lives in us. John wrote this, “God is love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16). Jesus is the Intermediary who makes the ‘celestial life’ possible. (John 3:16-17) Jesus is the second Person of the Trinitarian Godhead and is God. The Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Godhead, as is the Father who is the first Person. (Matt.28:18-20; Act.7:55) Humanity is God’s offspring by creation. (Gen.1:26-27). John tells us this, “See what great Love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). Let us continue, this post is the sequel to my first post on the topic of the ‘celestial life.’
By stating, “Just as Jesus is” it conjures and invites the question, who is Jesus? (1 John 4:17) The Bible reveals Jesus as the “I Am.” (Exo.3:14). What does that identity mean – “I AM?” Jesus first revealed this truth about Himself during the time of Israelite slavery in Egypt. (Deut.24:18) God was about to send Moses to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. (Deut.5:15) But Moses was concerned that the Israelites may not find him credible much less believable since he was a wanted man in Egypt – having killed an Egyptian. (Exo.2:11-15)
We pick up Moses’ exchange with God in the book of Exodus, and Moses asked God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “Moreover, God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt” (Exo.3:13-17, NKJV).
The name Yahweh is a transliteration of the proper name YHWH (without vowels) that is sometimes rendered “Jehovah;” in this translation it is usually rendered “the LORD” (note the use of small capitals in the passage). Jesus Christ was the second Person of the triune God that Moses and Israel was dealing with in the Old Testament and under the first (old) covenant.
“I AM WHO I AM,” what does that mean and how do we relate with God through this identity of Himself to Israel and all humanity, His children? The words “I AM WHO I AM,” is translated from the original text, אהיה אשר אהיה, (pronounced “Ehyeh asher Ehyeh”), which can mean a few different things: I am that I am. I am that which exists…. I will exist because I will exist… I will be what I will be.
Much later in the New Testament, Jesus said this to the listeners of His day, “Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:58). This shows Jesus’ identity as the second Person of the Triune Godhead with whom Moses spoke. Therefore, the “I AM” in the Old Testament is identical with “Just as Jesus is” we read earlier in the New Testament. (1 John 4:17, KJV). Consequently, “I AM” is who “Jesus IS.” The Bible reveals other identities and names for Jesus like Immanuel, Messiah, King of kings, and others. But we will deal with His identity as the “I AM” in this blog as it relates to the subject of the ‘celestial life.’
Let’s unravel the relationship with the identity of Jesus as “I AM” with humanity. Let us decode what “I AM” means? Paul’s words explains this further, as it concerns Jesus and our relationship with Him, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, KJV). By saying we have “been crucified with Christ,” it basically means the fallen, rebellious self inherited from the first Adam no longer lives but was crucified and died on Jesus’ cross. In saying, “Christ now lives in me,” the passage reveals that Jesus’s death brings about a rebirth where the indwelling Christ, the second Adam, is the true spiritual person, whom God is creating in His image and likeness. (1 Cor.15:45; 2 Cor.4:10).
Call to mind what Paul was inspired to write, “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom.8:29). By conforming and identifying humanity with the image of His Son, God harmonizes mankind with the “I AM” in Jesus. Jesus is the image of God in humanity. (Gen.1:26-27; Rom.8:29)
Having been born as Immanuel (God with us, Matt.1:23), Jesus lived the perfect human life, sacrificing Himself for our atonement, then being resurrected and ascended to heaven, Paul explains the truth of what Jesus did for humanity, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:6, BSB). Yes, “God raised humanity up with Christ and seated us with Him in heaven.” What does this mean? It means you and I find ourselves in heaven with Jesus (“I AM”) while simultaneously being human right here on earth. This is the essence of the ‘celestial life.’ I am constantly alive and living in heaven in our walk upon this earth.
Therefore, “I AM” is God’s name and life in humanity. So, we can say, “I AM who I AM in Christ, and Christ is the “I AM” in me.” Or, “Who I AM in Christ, is who He is in me.” Personally, it becomes a personal anthem and mantra to live by. So, when a person asks, ‘who am I?’…and answers by saying, “I Am (so-and-so),” it identifies the gift which Jesus (the “I AM”) has conferred upon the person by which he/she lives life as divine destiny would have. Thereby, all of humanity become interconnected, united and one through Jesus, the great “I AM.” Because of our oneness of our humanity in Jesus, each one of us can say to each other, “I am you!” where we are each identified by gift while unified as one.
There are three steps we undergo I call ‘ascents’ in the process of living the I AM ‘celestial life’:
Ascent 1 (Spirit): We must change our identity from the rebellious self who lives in the sin-condition of the enemy, Satan, and receive the new self in the “I AM” in Jesus by the Spirit. It is a process of death and rebirth. Jesus gave this analogy to depict this eternal truth of rebirth and renewal from corruption we must undergo, not only once, but as a way of life, “Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives” (John 12:24; also, 2 Cor.4:10). Of course, Jesus was the first to initiate this cycle of life by surrendering Himself to the sacrificial death that will bring many to salvation.
Paul said, “Just as one trespass (through Adam) resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act (Jesus, the Second Adam) resulted in justification and life for all people.” Yes, “Much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Rom.5:18, 15, italics mine). The first ascent depicts the role of the Spirit in human life who leads all humanity to Jesus as the Messiah, who in turn mediates for humanity and keeps us unified to the Father. (John 16:12-15)
Ascent 2 (Jesus): When Paul said, “I have been crucified with Jesus” (Gal.2;20), this speaks of the process of spiritual death and rebirth through the act of repentance and forgiveness, with the gift of new life in the Spirit. Peter explains it this way, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38).
Then Paul explains how life springs from death where God raises humans up to new life, “Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined Him in His death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives” (Rom.6:2-5). God instituted the ritual of baptism to depict our death and burial in the watery grave, and just as God resurrected Jesus from the dead, we rise out of the watery grave of baptism as newly reborn humans through the Spirit’s power in Christ, the great “I AM.”
With the new life in the “I AM” in Christ, Jesus brings a fresh identity in each of us through the gifts He confers upon us individually and collectively. Paul said this of Jesus, “The Scriptures say, ‘When He ascended to the heights, He led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to His people’” (Eph.4:8). Yes, Jesus confers gifts upon saved humanity. So, every person can say, “I am who I am in Christ through the gifts He conferred by which we are identified in Him (I AM).” Each of our gifts enable us to take Jesus (the Gospel/Good News from God the Father) to others as the wondrous message of salvation from God in order that all humanity can be reconciled and saved.
This second ascent depicts the role of Jesus as Savior and represents the very essence of the Gospel message, for He is the Gospel (Good News). We become the extension of the very Gospel, Jesus Christ, the I AM Himself. Hence, we read, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Cor.5:20, NLB) Yes, Jesus’ work as humanity’s Messiah continues through the walk of saved humans He has called and assigned gifts. Jesus mediation as humanity’s Messiah is what gives passage for the Spirit to enter human life and accentuate Christ’s gifts in humanity, bringing glory to God. (John 16:7, 14-15)
Ascent 3 (Father): The third ascent represents the Father’s role and act in humanity. The Father stands for the Triune Godhead and brings about the wellbeing of His Kingdom modelled after His Son, who in turn confers and assigns gifts upon humanity empowered by His Spirit (Love). The Apostle Peter tells us this, “And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God” (1 Pet.2:5, NLB). The Father is building a temple through Christ the Son to dwell as a home for God and all humanity.
In saying, “living stones,” the passage is making reference to each human being with specific gifts as guides and mentors, who collectively becomes God’s temple and home. Peter goes further to say, “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people” (1 Pet.2:10). Yes, all God’s children are identified by the divine gifts Christ has conferred upon each person, and by which they live and bring healing and reconciliation to and in humanity.
So, there we have it. What we saw in the three ascents are the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit, (Triune God) in humanity bringing about the ‘celestial life’ we live simultaneously in heaven in Christ and here upon earth. As we walk this earth, much like the marine life of the Seven Seas, we are swimming in the spiritual ocean of God’s Love-force guiding each of us to our respective destinies in His divine dwelling and temple.
Therefore, the I AM is the identity of Jesus’ Name and Personhood in humanity and vice versa. Humans become the spiritual person, the I AM in Christ. We become the offspring of God, the I AM in Jesus within the Godhead. By identifying our person with the I AM we are linking each of our personhood with the trinitarian God through and in Jesus to the Father and the Spirit. Thus, the ‘celestial life’ is the preeminence of our human/divine personhood in the I AM existence in Christ within the presence of the Triune Life* of God. (Matt.28:19)
Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who has enabled us to live the Triune Life* through the 3 Ascents. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious humanity made children of God forever. You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination – into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for God’s dwelling:
Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, thank you for recuing me and my loved ones, and all humanity, from the enemy’s fearful and destructive waters, and bringing us home into the life-giving waters of your Ocean of Love. Grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon us all so we may serve one another in your Love. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net. You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you and your loved ones always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* in the Bulamanriver** personhood. In closing, Be strong in the Lord’s Joy.
Farewell for now!
Kiang, (Your Servant and Friend in Christ)
*Triune Life: “Triune Life” speaks of the process of theosis or deification of humanity. What is theosis or deification? “It refers to apotheosis, meaning “making divine.” Theosis or deification is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God (as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Church).” (Wikipedia.org) The belief in the process of ‘deification’ is understood in accordance with Jesus’ teaching, when He said, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If He called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside (cannot be broken)” (John 10:34-35; Psa.82:6). (You can read about the Triune Life at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199, and other posts)
I have written about this subject of ‘deification’ in my blogs under the theme ‘substitution’ and ‘attribution’ (see, http://bulamanriver.net/564), where I showed how Jesus came as God incarnate (Immanuel) to assume our sinful humanity in order to save mankind from sin and death for the express purpose of human deification. (Matt.1:23; Rom.3:10-12, 18, 23; John 3:16; 1 Cor.15:50-55; Rom.8:29) Further, we read the following, “As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of catharsis (purification of mind and body) and theoria (‘illumination’ with the ‘vision’ of God). According to Eastern Christian teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy (or cooperation) between human activity and God’s uncreated energies.” (Wikipedia.org)
So, the “Triune Life” reveals the intersection of human life and activity and the uncreated divine energy flowing from the Tri-Personal Being of God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a way of life which explains that process of theosis whereby humans are transformed in body, mind, and spirit by the Love of God. God’s uncreated energy is His Love. So, the foundational tenet of the “Triune Life” is based upon the Love of God, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Thereby, it can also be called aptly, the “Triune Love.”
I had coined the term “Triune Love” and “Triune Life,” to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:19) This is opposed to the one-dimensional human way of life influenced by the devil. We see God’s Tri-Personal Love move in an inward, outward, and upward trajectory, in this process of theosis which I have called the ‘three ascents.’ The three ascents are three steps which dovetails into one another showing how all three Persons of the Godhead are in the relationship of Love with humanity – where God reveals the fullness of Himself to humanity, both individually and collectively. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2) That’s to say, the act of one is the act of all three, and the act of three is the act of one, making them unified in Love. (Mar.12:29; Deut.6:4)
Every aspect of human living follows this three-step format revealing the three-dimensional aspect of how the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit, directly and collectively involved in the life of human believers, individually and collectively to bring humanity to salvation. These three steps move in an ascending order, so I will call them ‘ascents.’ Each ‘ascent’ dovetails into the next and finally reveals the ‘manifestation’ of the topic, which we will call the fourth step, in this case, Love!
Hence, all my articles are framed within this three-step format, or ascents. The subject of the article dovetails into each ascent and spontaneously lead to the manifestation of the divine Love and reveals how humanity is enlightened by God, and cleansed in mind, body, and spirit. The ascents reveal three doors one must enter to attain the manifestation of God’s Love relationship with humanity. The ascents are not to be misconstrued as some ‘secret knowledge’ or mystical activity. Rather, each ascent represents the relationship of Love a human enjoys with the Triune God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, throughout a person’s life. In fact, the ascents are actually three Love relationships the believer encounters with the Tri-Personal God. This three-way relationship is what I have called by the term, “Triune Life” or “Triune Love.” These ascents represent the movement of God’s Love in an inward, outward, and upward, trajectory to bring God’s enlightenment in a person. The fourth step reveals how the article is made to manifest in the life of the person, both individually and then collectively in humanity.
Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living/Loving,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune Godhead. (John 1:1-2) He took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead by cleansing it of all sin and rebellion. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit (Love) in humans. (Rom.5:5) The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27).
The Bible states, “He (God) does great things that we cannot understand and miracles that we cannot count” (Job 5:9; 37:5). If God acts in ways that cannot be fathomed and is beyond human comprehension, then the miraculous life where humans are privileged recipients, cannot be deciphered by the human mind to its grandest manifestation. But we understand its meaning through divine revelation in that God reveals Himself as Love, and His miraculous activities are enveloped in His Love. (Jer.29:11)
The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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