“…from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 5:16-18 KJV 2000).
“[Who] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17).
As indicated by these verses from II Corinthians and Colossians, a unitive vision of our life in Christ and our relationship with the Father is not unique to the gospel of John. Just as Jesus is understood to be the Son of God and at one with the Father, it is also suggested in the book of Acts– in a sermon reportedly given by Paul in front of the Areopagus in Athens –that we, too, are children of God and at one with the Father, if we but knew it:
All that separates us from kingdom of heaven is a counterfeit reality—an imaginary projection of the carnal mind which fabricates a complex illusion through which we are impoverished, imprisoned, blinded, and oppressed. Jesus proclaims deliverance from this illusion:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
And just as Jesus and his disciples, in the gospels, proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (also suggesting that it is “within us” or “among us” — cf. Matthew 3:2; Luke 17:20-21), so St. Paul proclaims a ministry of reconciliation and entreats people on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God:
II Corinthians 5:19 . . . God was [in Christ] reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Far from being pretense or wishful thinking, this promise of reconciliation is for real. It holds good for anyone who recognizes the Divine presence and abides therein! In light of this good news, then– this growing sense of reconciliation and awareness of oneness –let us continue to explore some key verses from the gospel of John which point to the REALITY of the Divine presence in which we are reconciled us to God.