John R Gavazzoni
Thousand Oaks, CA
Editor's Note: John wrote this essay as a commentary on my statement to him that I feel very uncomfortable when someone says, "We are Christ." Jan Antonsson
Often in the course of attempting to present a truth as clearly as possible to others, I'm enabled to see it more clearly myself. I'm expecting that to prove true as I address the matter of who has the right to claim the title of Christ. It seems to me that a number of really sincere saints lack clarity about this most important doctrine, because they fail to understand the way the identity of the Christ unlolds in scripture.
The Apostle Paul's teaching is the most exhaustive and representative of the Bible's teaching on the subject, and he builds his presentation, explanation and identification of Christ upon a premise that he sums up in the simple phrase, "in Christ," whereas most believers are inclined to identify Christ primarily in terms of His indwelling. We might say that instead of being first impressed with Christ as the containter of human personhood, they think of Him as being personally contained in them.
As long as they develop the doctrine from this basis, they are very vulnerable to missing the uniqueness of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God. But beginning with the all-inclusive Christ, the Christ in whom we all consist, and then proceeding to the internal Christ is conducive to experiencing Christ subjectively in all His glory, whereas, beginning with Christ in us is not so conducive to a full appreciation of the full scope of His Personhood.
I feel strongly the need to join Paul in his emphasis that the universal blessing of God through Abraham was to be in his Seed (Gr. Sperma, singular), Christ, not in his seeds (plural). It was to be that only in the humanity of One, the One---who in respect to His eonion existence came out of Abraham's loins---were all nations, all ethnic groups, to be blessed. Very simply stated, foundationally, the all-inclusive, universal blessing of God was not to be a matter of what was in the many, but in the One.
The truth of Christ in us is based upon the foundation that FIRST, we are IN Christ. Get that reversed and you get into trouble. If I seek to know the Christ in me as my real life, but am not grounded in the nature and unique Personhood of Christ as the abode of my personhood, then I seek to know His immanence without a full appreciation of His transcendence, and that will encourage a tendency to actually minimize Christ, rather than glorify Him.
The Christ who dwells in me is the Christ whose eternal Personhood began as the Seed of God in eternity, and who, from eternity, entered the fullness of the times by a woman whose ancestry traced to a miraculous birth (Isaac) who was the very unique type that pointed forward to the miraculously born One in whom we all were created. Notice in the New Testament the definitions and sequence of the emergence of the Christ as, first, Jesus, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14), and then, the fulfillment of the fulness of His Personhood in the Church, His body.
Paul makes two mind-blowing statements representative of his total revelation of grace and glory. He defines the Church as "His (Jesus Christ's) body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:23), and elsewhere writes that the body has many members, but the many members are ONE body, "SO ALSO IS CHRIST" (I Co. 12:12). So clearly, there is a wonderful sense in which we can say that we, TOGETHER, COLLECTIVELY are Christ incorporated, but only as the body of the singularly all-inclusive One. In identification with Him, we are what He is, the incarnation of God, but He, the One, is the Head of that body.
We are, according to Paul, His very fulness (or completeness) and we are the Body which He is. But note that it is the total Church, the whole Body which is His fulness. God was fleshed out in Jesus, and Jesus is being fleshed out in us, but get it straight, saints, the Many are not individual Christs, the Many are, in the One Christ, the fulness of the One Christ .
The ground of Christ's eonion existence must be traced to the gender-completeness of the Divine Nature, to Deity's own potency and fertility, to the impregating and conceiving reproductive vitality of the Godhead by which the eternal Seed became the eternally begotten Son of God. The Christ is the Seed (Greek Sperma) and the Son is the product of Deity's gift of the Seed to that same Deity's receptivity. The Seed wasn't birthed, the Son was birthed! Sperm and Egg are the source of the birth.
Of course, as I've hammered away elsewhere, He was eternally birthed. This is not to be understood on a time line. There was never a "time" when the Son of God was not. Jesus, was not only excited by Peter's confession that He, Jesus, was the Christ the Son of the living God; He was excited about the sequential order in his confession. "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). The Christ becomes the Son.
Note that John, in dealing with the eternality of Christ, writes of Him as the Word, and writes that the Word BECAME flesh (John 1:14). Jesus, in His parables, always explains that the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11); that theme is continued by Peter in verse 23 of the first chapter of his first epistle; and Paul says the Seed is Christ (Gal. 3:16).
The title of "Christ," or "The Anointed One," gives Him the recognition of who He is from the inside out.
From this Divine love-knowledge proceeds the Son who IS what they "know." First this is eternal reality and then it was demonstrated UNIQUELY in Jesus of Nazareth in the eon. Our own eternal being, as seeds within the Seed, has its "Primal Origin" (Karl Barth) in that union within God. Be clear that our origin cannot be understood as independent and separate from the singular Seed. God does not have seeds (Paul, "not of seeds, but of seed," Gal. 3:16). We all have our being in God, in that unique Seed. So, you see, on one hand the Seed is singular and unique, yet on the other hand it is more; it contains more; it contains more than one individual, as is true in the natural. The whole human race was in the loins of Adam. It strikes me that there is no more abundant type of Christ than the countless number of seeds in the loins of all men.
All those speak of the One Seed of God. No matter how many are born of many seeds, all those seeds were originally included in the One Seed of God.
So Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God becomes multiplied in many who are the greater Christ of the New Testament. BUT THERE WAS ONLY, EVER, ONE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS THE CHRIST AND THAT WAS JESUS OF NAZARETH. No other individual can be called the Christ. And here is where many people's thinking is fuzzy. If our understanding begins with us in Him and proceeds to Him in us, we build an understanding on a biblical foundation.
Now, as I was writing above, I realized afresh that to say that our Primal Origin is in the Seed, as I said above, is only part of the truth. Our Origin of Personhood lies in the Sperm and the Egg. So very important. When you lay the right foundation of understanding, you can proceed to understand the unity; and there arises the matter of the body of Christ and the Bride of Christ. That's another whole story. But I will say that, essentially, the Son and His Bride sequentially carry on the relationship of Father/Mother-God.
Let me mention something that came up in my relationship with a dear mystical friend, whom I'll call Brother Prophet. He's the greatest guy, but he can drive you nuts trying to structure what he is getting from the Spirit. I kept hearing him preach about "I Am" being ultimate, and that God as Father was not ultimate.
That unnerved me, because, in a way inconsitent with my own meditation regarding the emergence of Parenthood and the resulting Family that proceeds out from the Divine Nature, I still tended to think of God's Fatherhood as the "Ground of All Being" (Tillich). But gradually I realized that what this brother was saying was a beautiful complement to what I'd been seeing also, which is that the eternal, sequential unfolding or procession of Deity begins with Being, with "I AM," the Self-Knowing Divine Nature---Being that looks within Itself and finds Relational Family-Desiring Personhood, gender-completeness, Love that pursues and Love that surrenders, resulting in the Divine union by which God becomes Father and Mother, Son and Family by reproductive Love.
You see, you can't become a father or mother without having a child, so the Son, and we in turn in Him, are that by which Being becomes Father and Mother. Incredible! We are, in Christ, that which makes "I AM" become Father/Mother. God couldn't be what He unfolds Himself to be, without us, his children. The Apostle John sums it all up in this comment, "God is Love" (I John 4:8,16). We all are, in Christ, the result of God's internal loving. Love is our Origin, our constitution, and our destiny.
Stay tuned for future serious, seminal samplings.
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John R Gavazzoni
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