Satan didn’t mind the darkness that fell over Jerusalem when Jesus breathed His last breath. He preferred the darkness. He had used it to hide his schemes and scams in the unholy alliance with the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve. He may have chuckled to himself as he thought about how easily it still worked.
He had seen Him die. He had watched when Joseph of Arimathea offered his own tomb and when Jesus was taken down from the cross and carried to the tomb. He had watched as the disciples Jesus counted on scattered and the women at the foot of the cross wept.
When morning broke on the third day, everything was reordered, transformed. The prophecies were true! Jesus was raised from the dead! He was alive and with that, salvation was accomplished.
Satan could not have understood. He was an angel after all, albeit a fallen one to the highest degree. Angels could not comprehend salvation. 1 Peter 1:12 makes note of that.
The reality of the mystery of God’s plan would be discussed and debated for years by those who would become the church fathers. The debate of the full humanity and full divinity in the one person of Jesus would be crucial to the establishment of the church.
Among those in the debate, one named Cyril and others, would be used by God to bring unity to the church. Those decisions and understandings are key to our understanding of salvation and the possibility of re-union through the centuries to this very day.
The debate was centered on what was meant by the whole spectrum of God’s redemption through Jesus. Was the cross of Jesus Christ “the” act needed? Was it only part? It was central, but what about the resurrection, ascension, Christ’s glorification, the role of the church, and Christ’s return?
The centrality of salvation was (and is) that ALL were a part of God’s work in human history.
Like other aspects of our spiritual lives, too often we speak of aspects of the divine work as “it”. One common place is when we speak of the Holy Spirit. When we do so, we objectify a part of the Trinity.
It can happen as well when we think or speak about our salvation as something we do. Not true.
Salvation is a person, “the” person of Jesus Christ. HE is salvation, justification, sanctification, and the source of all spiritual blessing.
In Closer Than Close Dave Hickman quotes John Calvin from his writing in Institutes of the Christian Religion as Calvin affirms this:
“For we await salvation from him (Christ) not because he appears to us afar off, but because he makes us, ingrafted into his body, participants not only in all his benefits but also in himself.”
Hickman uses Cyril to point out that “union with the person of Jesus Christ is possible and necessary for salvation. Instead of believers simply having a ‘close relationship’ with Jesus or ‘appearing to be one with him, the Incarnation proves that humanity is capable of being united (made one) with divinity—and that divinity is capable of being (and willing to be) united to humanity.”
Re-union accomplished…except for one thing.
We must make a choice to undo the unholy alliance we made with Satan back in the Garden.
We must choose to receive, believe, and reunite with the One who has been reaching out for reunion since the spiritual adultery Adam and Eve committed in the Garden that has affected each and all of us.
When Christ called out from the cross, “It is finished!” we need to understand the work was finished of salvation for our reunification. No efforts, no work, no striving, no pleading or praying could accomplish it. Only He alone could offer us Oneness again!
Does it look or feel that way?
Is it perfect in its work?
If I am a believer in Christ, then salvation has been fully established and accomplished, but the completion of that work has not yet been consummated. When Jesus returns, we will have perfect union with Him because His Word teaches we will be transformed into his likeness and image.
As Dave Hickman so eloquently states in Closer Than Close:
“Instead of being restored to the image of the first Adam, we will be transformed into the image of the perfect Image himself—the firstborn of the new creation to come. Jesus Christ. Perfection.”
Until then, what is critical for us to hold fast to?