9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
WE are Transformed by INCARNATION (ONENESS = IN Christ) not saved by being good enough
This week we thought some more about love and how it is defined in the biblical language of John. In 1 John 4, the author is determined that believers understand what God’s love actually is, how it differs significantly from the feelings of love which you and I defer to and in accordance with all this, re-emphasize how much we need to engage intimately with God through Christ Jesus in order to be enabled to live this love on earth as it is in heaven.
Graeme mentioned that this was consistent with John’s gospel where in chapter 21 during the renowned Peter and Jesus discourse, Peter is finally able to be honest with Jesus about the level of love he could bring to the table. Jesus was able to bless this sober estimate by assuring Peter that he’d have all he’d ever need from the Father God to succeed in the task he’d been created for.
The good news is always that we are the 100% human part of the equation and as such we need the 100% divine of Jesus by his Spirit to keep on keeping on, even when we miss the mark and fall short of the glory of God which is actually the definition of sin (Gk = ‘hama(r)tia’). God gave us each other because he knew that together we could be the BODY of Christ who is the head. You see, if Christ is head we respond whole-HEART-edly and TOGETHER we can have the MIND of Christ.
We weren’t supposed to do this alone because GOD DIDN’T. Graeme concluded with the Greek description of the inner life of the triune God known as ‘Perichoresis’. He used the almost complete analogy of our closest relationships on earth but where that example comes up short he introduced the historical artisan idea of ‘the divine dance’ to describe the living, breathing and dynamic nature of the relationship between the 3 persons of God AND with us. The invitation is to something eternal which starts when we take up God’s lead.
We often hide from others in our lives because we don’t feel safe revealing who we really are. There’s a danger of rejection, shame, humiliation. But if God already knows all that there is to know about us, every single thing, and STILL is asking us to dance, what is it that keeps us from entering into this whole-heartedly and on a moment-by-moment basis? Wrestle with this question in your prayer times this week and ask God to reveal to you any fears you have. Reflect on how well God knows you and consider you are called to know God in this way as well, to the best of your ability. Of course, we are not capable of knowing God as God knows us fully, but do we even approximate this with the capacity we do have? Ask God to nurture in you a desire to pursue and know God deeper than ever before.
Individual Response or Group Questions
- How does this description of God’s inner life compare to other explanations of the Trinity you might have heard?
- What does the idea of Perichoresis have to do with baby Jesus and the Christmas season?
- How do you feel about this idea of dancing with God? Does this seem presumptuous to you? Does it seem inviting? Intimidating? Describe what in you longs for or resists this.
John 21, Philippians 2, 2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Cor.6:19-20 & 12:12-13; John 14:8-9; and John 12:47