Human Being vs. Human Doing
This post is not about the incarnation or the humanity of JESUS. Rather what I would like to explore is the idea that we as people, humanity as a whole, as created by GOD were not designed to be a “human doing.” What does this mean? The essence here is that what GOD is seeking in us as HIS children has very little to do with what we do. This is an important component of what salvation is. Salvation is not of works, but of faith. What this implies (and almost demands) to us is that there needs to be a clear distinction between what we do for others and what we are before GOD.
GOD wants us to be something with HIM and to do something for others. We can see how confused and confusing this gets when we try to be something, i.e., savior, lover, friend, confidant, whatever, for the people around us. GOD tells us to love our neighbors, that is an action. HE commands us to serve others, that is an action. But when it comes to what GOD wants us to be for HIM is HIS children (John 1:12; Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1).
The Journey Home
The story of the prodigal son captures the essence of this most vividly. When the prodigal returns he never stopped being a son even though he felt unworthy of accepting the position. The FATHER never forgot who HIS son was. The FATHER even went a step further and reminded the entire house of who had returned “from the dead” (Luke 15:24).
The older brother had a similar problem to that of the prodigal. He never left the house, but he had never accepted the fact that he always had been the son and nothing he did would ever have changed that. “Son all that I have is yours, all you had to do was to ask” (paraphrase).
And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'” (Luke 15:31-32 ESV)
JESUS helps us to better understand the transition that needs to take place in order for us to be what GOD wants us to be. Paul called this being transformed (becoming something we are not) into the reflection of JESUS (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Paul also called this being conformed (pressed into a mold) to CHRIST and not this world (Romans 8:29, 12:2; 1 Peter 1:14).
There is a two-part process here. We must first acknowledge that we are children of GOD. This can be hard for some of us to do. But second, we have accepted that this puts us in a very special place within the family of GOD. There is nothing that needs to be done for GOD to be pleased with us. And there is nothing that we can do that will cause GOD to cast us out, if we are HIS children. Distance between GOD and me is a result of my activity to move away and not HIS.
Everywhere JESUS went HE was the truest manifestation of a Human Being. HE did not need to be reminded of the frailty of those around HIM. HE saw it and was moved with compassion (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32; Mark 6:34, 8:2; Luke 7:13). JESUS did not need to be told about the problems in the church. JESUS confronted them head-on even if that meant standing alone. When you know who you are nobody can deter you from your path.
When we learn “to be” and not “to do,” then we will begin to understand The Christian Way.