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Participating in God means participating in the cross

Last time I finished on this thought:

It’s a wonderful thing to participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).  But the very essence of it is taking up your cross and following Christ (Mark 8:34)

It got me thinking about the three 'Abba, Father's of the New Testament.

In Galatians 4:6 we read about the Spirit of adoption praying the Son's prayer within us - 'Abba, Father.'  If anything is 'participating in the divine nature' it's this.  God adopts you into God's communion with God.  And He carries on His life of union and communion in us.  Deeper than your heartbeat is the Spirit's cry within you.  This is your true spiritual pulse.  Abba, Father.  Abba, Father. Abba, Father.

In Romans 8:15 we join in with the Spirit.  Adding our Amen, we make Christ's prayer our own and call out to the Father in that same childlike dependence. Again, this is wonderful participation in God.

But what about the original 'Abba, Father'?  Mark 14:36 - Christ is sweating blood at the prospect of drinking the cup.  With loud cries and tears He prays with reverent submission, "Your will be done." (cf Heb 5:7).  The original 'Abba, Father' is prayed in the midst of Christ's total self-offering.

It's this prayer that is placed within us.  Not just any intimacy with the Father but the intimacy of the obedient Son, obedient even to death on a cross.

Now our co-crucifixion with Christ is something that's graciously happened entirely outside ourselves.  It's first happened for us and then been applied to us.  But now that we've granted this we must confess it's something that happens in us too.  The gift of participating in God is the gift of participating in the obedient self-offering of the Son.  It's not a warm bath and a cup of herbal tea.  It's much more earthy and glorious than that.  In fact it's much more profoundly joyful than that.  We will experience fellowship in the communion of the trinity as we experience fellowship in Christ's sufferings.

10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.  (Phil 3:10-11)

4 thoughts on “Participating in God means participating in the cross

  1. Heather

    Been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be crucified with Christ.

    There is a bittersweet aspect of participation in Christ's sufferings.

    Especially appreciated your reference to Philippians 3

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