the Primal Receiver
By John Gavazzoni
I had been invited to minister at an informal conference in a house-church setting. It may have been the first meeting of the weekend series when some group sharing was triggered by the Spirit moving upon me to share a word extolling God's saving grace. Several of the brethren in attendance contributed words of agreement re: the primacy of grace in the economy of God, when the brother in whose home I was staying, who was also acting as a sort of moderator of the meetings, added, "yes, and all that's left for us is to receive."
Fresh from hearing the Lord update His renewing of my mind on the subject of receiving from God, I turned to him seated at my right in the circle, and gently introduced a thought to him that he'd never considered: "But it's Christ in us who is the Receiver." He was a brother who most certainly was not without an appreciable level of revelation and understanding in the ways of God, yet the thought I had introduced to him left him with that "deer in the headlights" look. Come to think of it, that's probably the same look I had when that outlandish thought (outlandish to the conventional evangelical mindset) first intruded into my consideration.
The God who sent His Son into the world, also "has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts..." And those into whose hearts the Spirit of God's Son has been given were "dead in trespasses and sins" at the moment when they received. They were, in their state of deadness toward God, not able to add something of their own to their receptivity.
As an analogy, think of someone whose heart has stopped, and not even electric shock is working to get his heart beating again, when the attending physician resorts to an injection of a stimulant directly into the heart. That person has RECEIVED a life-giving injection without adding any willful contributing factor to the reception. The impetus and power of reception came by the decision and action of the physician. The patient, though, did receive the vivifying stimulant.
Apart from the deeply disturbing work of the Holy Spirit, we're left with a deep resistance to accepting how utterly helpless we are before God even in the matter of receiving from Him. God gives, THUS we receive! That's the sum of the matter. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it.
Now we come to the relationship of Christ to the Father in us. As has been true of the Son of God, in and out from, the timelessness of God's I AM Being, into our time-circumscribed existence, the Son still owes, continues on owing, all that He is, all that He speaks, and all that He does, to Father God's givingness. This wonder of relationship continues by Christ's indwelling His many brethren.
He is the Primal Receiver. All the goodness, ease, and well-being of which the gospel of Christ speaks, flows from the Father to the Son. Christ is the Primal Receiver to us, in us, and for us. We are "heirs of God, and joint-heirs of Jesus Christ" in that Primal Receptivity.
Jesus knew of what He spoke, when He told his disciples, "Freely ye have received, freely give." The giving and receiving that is at the heart of God's love lies in the freedom of God, not in any receiving-initiative that proceeds from some God-allowed sovereignty of choice on our part.
The Greek for receiving in the New Testament does convey a taking, a receiving with the hands, but dear brother or sister, it is the nature of the life of Christ in you, to take, to receive with the hands, what God so freely gives. It is the giving of the Father that PRODUCES the receiving of the Son. Never, in the life of Christ, as He saw the Father giving to Him, did He think that the consummation of Father's giving was dependent upon His (Jesus') receiving. The dynamic, the mighty force, of the giving becomes the dynamic and power of the receiving.
When the Father gives, the Son receives. No contrary option has ever been involved, nor ever will involve, the kind of relationship after the manner---as conventionally presumed---that the two parties must each do their distinctively bilateral part for the relationship to work, as in "only if the Father does His part of giving, and the Son does His part of receiving, can the transaction be consummated."
Within the working of Godness, the Father's giving IS one and the same with the Son's reception, and the Son's reception IS one and the same with the Father's giving. Jesus said He only did those things that He saw the Father do. In seeing the Father give the fullness of the Godness to Him, Jesus saw His own integral reception. Giving and receiving in the innards of the Family of, and which is, God, are one seamless transaction.