To me, “God and Grace” are one and the same. Without Grace, the world would have fallen apart long ago. But — how then — does the “Grace of God” work? How does “Grace” keep the world running? Like God, who is Spirit, Grace needs a body to live in. The world itself is a body, that the Spirit of God set in motion with the inertia to reproduce and renew itself! And, until God withdraws that energy the world returns to “void” what it was before (Genesis 1:3). In a similar way, the Spirit of God made man and planted part of His Breath/Spirit in man so that man can wrap himself in the Spirit and Grace of God (Genesis 2:7). The union and the “Presence of Spirit and Grace” are best seen in the “Life and Work of Jesus the Christ” (John 1:14-17). And Christ is best seen and manifested in you and in me, who believe and do what Jesus commanded (John 15:5-10; 17:20-26).
God Chose to Work Through Man
God did not withdraw from the world when He handed the world over to man (Genesis 1:26-31). God secured His place in the “spirit and breath of man” (Genesis 2:7). The Creator endowed man with a will, a conscience, and the ability to choose what man thinks is best. Adam and Eve began to learn, by their mistake, what God wanted for them was in their own interest (Genesis 3). Mistakes are our first teachers and they are not the end of our life journey; but rather, they are the beginning of learning for us how to live. To help us overcome our stumbling, the Heavenly Father sent His Spirit to enlighten some of his children. However, not many of the children were able to help their fellowmen correct their bad choices. So, God sent His only “Begotten Son!” Yet, his own “chosen people” disposed of Jesus, the Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4; Matthew 21:33-43).
Thus, when God the Father needed to manifest “His Love,” He sent Jesus (John 3:16). And God had Jesus show us how to love by giving “His Life” for his own (John 15:13). Jesus illustrated how love must be applied to anyone in need (Luke 10:29-37). Jesus showed us how to forgive our enemies (Luke 23:34). Jesus taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:7-16). And Jesus taught us how to behave in public and in the world (Luke 14:10-11; Matthew 5:16; 7:1-2; 7:12). We must be wrapped in Grace and act like our Lord with poise and truth (Luke 6:36; Matthew 5:48). To Jesus, his followers were quite capable to outdo their Lord, because of His limited stay on earth (John 14:12). The Jews questioned Jesus’ Sonship of God! And therefore, He told them that man himself can be a “little god.” Man has the ability and the skill to do anything he wants. In fact, man has been entrusted with “God’s Work” itself, and with the “Redemptive Work” of God’s Son (John 17:1-26; 20:22-23). Everything God has to do in the world, man can do, and that is the reason why man will represent himself on Judgment Day and his deeds will defend him/her or condemn him/her (II Corinthians 5:6-10; Revelation 20:12).
What Kind of a Person did Jesus have in Mind?
On the Feast of Dedication, Jesus had gone to Jerusalem and offered to the Jews what only God would do, Jesus was sent to do God’s Will as the Son of God. On earth, God the Spirit works through man! To communicate with God’s Spirit, man bears “God’s Image and Likeness,” and man houses “God’s Breath and God’s Spirit.” This was incomprehensible to the Jews! And this concept continues to be incomprehensible to us as well. Then — how did Jesus face the puzzled people?
It was the feast of dedication in Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called the gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them,even though you do not believe me believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands (John 10:22-39).
God has created man, the human being, equipped to manage himself, the earth, and what is on the earth. Man is even able to conquer gravity and reach into space. God has made a good person and filled him/her with good seeds. Where, then, do the weeds come from that have filled the world and hurt life’s existence? What has become of man, who was made in the “Image and Likeness of God?” Man is God’s incarnation of the “Divine,” and Jesus Christ is the “Sublime Evidence.” God has incarnated man with His Spirit. Life, in any form, would not exist without the “Breath and the Spirit of God.” Only the body and the flesh of man is carnal, but the soul and the spirit is eternal. Like the Son of God, man too is an offspring of God. At conception, the “Soul and the Spirit of the Son of God” assumed a physical body to become the “Son of man.” And likewise, every soul/spirit at conception takes on a physical body that is intended to be productive in this world for man and God. Woe to those souls/spirits that deprive the “unborn” of their right to live. All souls/spirits do not die when they leave their earthly bodies, but they go to paradise or the place of the dead and they await their day of reckoning (Luke 23:39-43; Luke 16:19-31; I Peter 3:18-22).
All the Departed Responded to the Voice of Christ
Jairus’ daughter heard Jesus and came back from her sleep (Mark 5:35-43), so did the widow’s son of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), and so did Lazarus (John 11:38-44). Jesus shared some specific things, which He had to do before His departure and what He would do during His absence. He did everything by His own choice. Before Jesus returned to be with His Father, Jesus spent three days and three nights with my ancestor in “Valhalla.” And then, Jesus spent forty days with his disciples (Acts 1:1-11).
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have from my Father (John 10:17-18).
And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again (Mark 8:31).
It was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain in the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:44-46).
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he (Jesus) went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water (I Peter 3:18-20).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:25-29).
What has Become of Grace and Truth?
“Grace and Truth” were brought into the world by Jesus Christ (John 1;17). And, whom has Jesus entrusted with passing on “Grace and Truth?” Theologians led me to believe that God kept Grace, and that God is handing it out as a free gift of salvation to whoever believes in Jesus, regardless of what the person has done (Ephesians 2:8-9). But how can God spread anything without a human body (Romans 10:14-18)? According to Jesus’ Prayer in John 17, God the Father gave Jesus’ disciples “Grace and Truth” and they received it from their Lord. The disciples passed “Grace and Truth” to their disciple, who handed “Grace and Truth” down from disciple to disciple into our time. We, too, are the heirs of “Grace and Truth,” and that is why our fellowmen need to find their way back to God. Thus, I have become, like Christ, a “way of Grace and Truth” that leads to salvation for me and for others (John 20:21-23; Matthew 28:18-20). It was when I began to manifest “Grace and Truth” in my life, that my conscience found contentment and peace.
But before I could sow and harvest Grace, I had to acquire Grace, grow Grace, and then I had to learn how to use Grace. Fruit does not ripen overnight, or in one day, or even in a month. We have fig trees, and by the middle of August, we picked some large and juicy figs. We also had more smaller figs, which are also edible. Then we had many small figs, which do not ripen in our climate. In a way, it reminds me of the sower who sewed on good soil and produced hundred-fold, sixtyfold, and thirtyfold. Only, our figs did the opposite: the very good gave us thirty percent, the good sixty percent, and the bad ones hundred percent zero. I doubt that the climate of the world, or even Christians, could match our fig trees (Luke 18:8). If we do not keep refilling and renewing our “vessel of grace” we also will stop producing and running.