Christ is not a condemnation.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
The world is not divided into two camps: Christians and non-Christians. For God created everyone and loves everyone, with perfect, divine love. God loves everyone with love that is purely and perfectly self-giving, so wondrously and endlessly generous is God. God set us all to live in the world – but God knows that if we center our lives only in the world and give our hearts only to worldly things then we will perish with the finite things of creation. God knows that it is only by centering our lives in the Source of all life, in God, and by giving our hearts to the eternal things of God that we shall be saved from this perishing and have life everlasting.
We, human beings, as fickle and selfish as we can be, cannot center our lives in God by ourselves and cannot give our hearts to God on our own. We need a Savior. We need, not only someone to show us the way and lead us on the way, but also someone to be the way. Someone who is both fully human and fully divine. The Son of God who is the Son of Man, the Word of God made flesh, God-Incarnate: Jesus Christ. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world, comes to have salvation and everlasting life through him. But… How?
Christ Jesus is Love incarnate and lives Love in the world. He wills his human nature to be united with Divine Will and, thus, sanctifies all of human nature, lifting us up to the Divine. In his human nature, he loves God, his Father, with all that he is and all that he has, giving his heart completely. We see this love in the Son of God’s obedience, emptying himself in the Incarnation – and also in his sacrificing of himself on the Cross. It is not blind obedience that impels him – but, rather, real love.
For death has no power over eternal love.
Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day and ascended into the pure realm of God, which is Heaven, forever. Through this great Mystery, we, too, though we are not divine, may rise and ascend with Christ to heavenly glory. But, only if we also love, love purely and selflessly, with no end other than divine love. This is the way of Christ – and it is only in him, with him, and through him, that the eternal reality of divine love can be reached by us, mere humans.
So, people say that only those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings can have eternal life in Heaven. And this, it would seem, excludes people who do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world and who do not, therefore, practice Christianity. For nearly 2000 years, we have seen people divided by Christianity. But, this is not the perfect will of God, this is not the pure divine intent. Although the Word of God may cut like a sword and divide brother against brother, the sword is designed to cut the human heart. The Word of God is Love – Love that surrenders, Love that is pierced, Love that pours itself out ceaselessly. Who receives this love? Anyone whose heart has been opened by Christ – and every human heart has been opened by Christ, through universal sanctification of human nature – and who wills not that his or her heart shall be closed. Anyone who keeps the soul vigilant to the workings of the Holy Spirit – even if they cannot identify the Holy Spirit by any spoken or written name – receives the blessings of God through His Spirit.
Without Christ there is no salvation, for there is no opening of the human heart and no intimate outpouring of God’s love. Anyone and everyone who truly loves is only able to love because he or she was first loved by God – and that love is made manifest, is fulfilled, is ultimately perfected in being, through, with, and in Jesus Christ. It’s like… There is no divinely human love without the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, his life, Passion, Sacrifice, Resurrection, and Ascension – the full identity and reality of Divine Love in and for Creation cannot exist without Christ Jesus, for Christ is the love.
In a far-off desert or jungle there may be a woman who loves simply and sincerely, with all that she is and all that she has, open to God’s love and the workings of God’s Spirit, willing to give her heart, to give her whole self, completely to all that is divine – to all that is good, true, and divinely beautiful. This same woman may never have heard the name of Jesus spoken or seen it written. She may have no idea what Christians are or what Christianity is. And, yet, she lives it. Her humanity has been sanctified and, so, her heart opened by the Paschal Mystery of Christ Jesus – and she, in her human intellect, memory/imagination, and free will, chooses every day to live in love, to work, think, speak, and act in genuine love, genuine love that is only possible through, with, and in Jesus Christ. She shall not be condemned. She shall have everlasting life – through Christ, the Savior of the world.
How can this be if she is not a professed Christian? Because she is a living Christian, she is a genuinely loving human being who, if she knew the truth of who Jesus is would praise his name forever – not because it will give her eternal reward, but because she has loved him her whole life, without even knowing his name. She has been more faithful to him, without knowing his earthly identity, than one who has spoken his name a 1,001 times without true love. Some so-called Christians might not recognize her – but Jesus Christ will most certainly recognize her.
God loves us, not in order to condemn us and not in order to break us to His liking. God loves us because that is who God is – and God becomes one of us because God has created us to be like Him. In this lies all of our happiness and all of our glory: to love as God loves us.
Christ is not a condemnation. Christ is Salvation Itself.
Do you do all that you do in the name of Christ Jesus in real love? Let us be patient with one another and nurture one another gently, with real love – for that is how God is with us.
Unpublished work © 2014 Christina Chase