John Gavazzoni
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The Gavazzonis'

Reality and Actuality
By John Gavazzoni

In this article, I will be using the word, "reality" to express that plane, dimension, sphere or realm of existence where there is no obstruction, impediment or even resistance to the communion of perfect love. There, love rules by the sheer power of self-giving and self-sharing without any pollution from egotistic competitiveness. There, divine graciousness – the free flow of loving communion – prevails.

By "actuality," I will be presenting the fact that Reality (the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ) has determined that inside Itself – the all-encompassing containment field of existence – there must exist, as integral to the temporal succession of the ages, an adversarial presence: a rebellious alien contrariety. There, enmity rules WHILE always being overruled by the circumscribing Reality that has determined that it, the enmity, have a place in Love's Grand Design.

In the mind of a person where there is insufficient patience, in the quest to understand that until – in every sense – God becomes All in all, Reality and actuality co-exist, and so strange spiritual hypotheses take root (which I'm quick to acknowledge fit within the complex I've described). In the process of being apprehended by truth, and in the measure that the carnal mind is involved, the seeming incongruity of Reality and actuality co-existing leads to some folks opting out of the tension of such a consideration, and settling for really stupid conclusions.

When Jesus made the claim that he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, being the Truth conveyed being the Reality, i.e., the Genuine. He made that claim of identity in the face of the indisputable existence of that which is not true, that which is untrue, and that which is false; in the face of that which is not Real, but is rather a delusionary presentation; in the face of that which is a synthesized substitute for the Genuine. (I work in a branch of the leather industry, and amazingly, and amusingly, I have known products to be labeled, "made from genuine, imitation leather.")

What Jesus came to face and conquer was no illusion, though it was delusionary. The whole alien, hostile dimension was existential, as was His death that the inevitable confrontation demanded. Our Lord, Jesus, was sent from Reality into actuality, so that an extract of the ESSENCE of the contrariety was absorbed by Himself – and by His life, death and resurrection was then converted into glory! The enmity was changed, reconciled, transformed into loving, devoted servitude to Reality.

He took an extraction of the essence of eonian actuality into Himself (He became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him), while leaving it still functioning. It continues to function in a delirium of vain expectation. It actually expects to fulfill its purpose of breaking free from the constraints of Reality, and to create its own independent existence. It is, of course, a vain, futile expectation, for the Lord, having so transformed that extract within Himself, returned to implant Himself within the still functioning contrarian existential actuality to conquer it from within. The Kingdom of God is within and among us.

Sin continues on. Death continues on. Sickness, neuroticism, pyschopathy continue on. They are actual elements of existence in this present evil world. But they are doomed to transformation, for the transformation has been accomplished at the extract of essence, at the cellular level. It is so impatiently hasty to declare that on the basis of our Lord's death, that there is no more sin. Sloppy, sloppy thinking. There is enough of living in denial in the world. Let us not encourage it among the saints who are trying to apprehend the Reality.

On one hand, the expository impatience can lead to dear ones throwing up their hands in despair and opting out of a life of faith – from not being able to reconcile Reality with actuality – and thus choosing to make the best of things by becoming a "well-adjusted" citizen of the realm of actuality. I have a dear friend and former co-worker in the work of the gospel, who has settled for that life-posture.

On the other hand, there are those dear brethren who cannot acknowledge the continued existence of the actual, while holding to the Real. They call that the highest road of faith, while not seeing that they are denying the necessity that hope must abide along with faith and love. If there is no more sin, and all that is integral to its existence, then why should hope (better, expectation) abide?

If, as they say, all the negative is just "carnal-mind thinking," don't they understand that they have unthinkingly acknowledged the existence of sin, for the enmity of the carnal mind is the essence of sin. If there still exists the problem of the carnal mind, then sin still exists.

There are peaks within the mountain range of biblical inspiration. While the whole range is inspired, some parts rise above others in the compactedness of truth. The first epistle of John is such a peak. Oh the richness of John's explanation of that which is born of God, that which comes purely straight from the loins of God Himself, yet exists, implanted "in this world." In that marvelous exposition of the aged apostle, we find apostolic balance. While declaring that "As He is, so are we in this world," he also warns against living in ideological denial: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.... if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." 

Turning to the excellent translating scholarship of my dear friend, Jonathan Mitchell, to make our point abundantly clear, I quote from Jonathan's translation of the New Testament, amplified, expanded (with) multiple renderings: "If we should up and say that we have no failure (or: that we do not periodically hold sin or possess error), we are continuously  leading ourselves astray ( or: deceiving ourselves and driving ourselves off the Path, and the Truth is not (or: reality does not exist) within us."

So much of our bad theology springs from very deep-seated, subconscious insecurity. There continue to exist little pockets of darkness in the conscience where the power of the blood of Christ has not yet reached, and we try to answer the whispers of condemnation from that region by making audacious statements about the non-existence of sin. It's simply a more subtle form of trying to cover our sin by some good works, in this case, the good work of hyper-revelation.

John GavazzoniJohn Gavazzoni
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