The 3 C’s of Christianity: Conversion, Communion, and Consummation
I once found myself in a vision of the Tabernacle of Moses, with each of the three portions of the Tabernacle representing a degree of intimacy with the Lord. The Outer Court was labelled ‘Conversion’ and there was a large area splashed with the blood of Jesus. Beyond the blood, a veil had been slashed open so that anyone could enter into the next level. It was clear that although the gate to salvation is narrow, once inside we can go as deep as we want.
- Unfortunately, many people don’t get much further than Conversion; it is just too messy to walk through the blood. I took a moment to consider whether I really wanted to get my feet dirty and eventually crossed through the veil to the Inner Court.
- The Inner Court was the place of Communion and I saw the body and blood of Jesus laid out for me to consume. Those who enter this place find a deeper satisfaction with the Lord but it comes at a cost; it is darker in the Inner Court and you will have died to self a little in your walk through the blood. Beyond the next veil, the Holy of Holies was waiting.
- This is the place of Consummation; true and total intimacy with the Lord. Once reserved for the high priest alone, we now all have access because of Christ’s blood sacrifice. I stood with the veil before me, the full glory of His power and presence just a step away. I’d been praying for more of God for so long and finally, I was about to be face to face. I would have thought I would run straight in.
Instead, I found myself gripped by an immense fear. The holiness emanating from beyond the veil was so intense that I felt like if I were to step any further I might die. In reality, death to every part of me is what is needed in order that Christ might live through me, but in that moment I couldn’t embrace it. Though it is scripturally true that I have been crucified with Christ, I realized that it wasn’t yet a reality in my full being. My mind was still set on earthly things, my flesh- driven by a fear of dying- was consumed with dread, and so I did not venture any further.
This experience bothered me. I thought I knew Jesus pretty well. I thought my hunger for more of Him proved my devotion. It was startling to discover that He was waiting for me in a place much deeper than I dared to venture. Sometimes, in my vanity, I can be tempted to think that my desire for God is greater than His desire for me. Through dark and testing times I have sometimes entertained the bitter lie that God is absent, unloving or unknowable. But the truth is, if God did not want to be known then He is big and powerful enough to never be found. On the contrary: Jesus’ deep hunger to be known by us is precisely why He came. God takes no pleasure in holding back His presence or power from our lives. There is no price or pain that we could pay that would compare to what He paid for the chance that we would turn and know Him. When our lives flashed before His eyes during the awful crucifixion, we can be sure Jesus wasn’t merely thinking, “I hope they get saved one day.” He hungered and thirst for much much more.
The God of Israel was a spectacular God, one who did not share His glory with another. Yet, on the night He died, Jesus made this astonishing statement: ‘The glory you have given to me, I have given to them’ (John 17:22). If we are in Christ, then we are no longer considered to be ‘another.’ Total unity, total Consummation, is available to us. That is what He wants for us. That is what He died for. Is it what we live for? When He calls us deeper, will we dare to go? Even if it kills us?
The veil is open. All we need to do is step through.
Francis Chan makes the ironic observation that while ‘God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.’* Let’s not settle for comfortable Christianity, with an acceptance of Jesus which stops at Conversion. Communion is sweet but even that isn’t deep enough. Let’s keep walking through the blood, all the way to Consummation, whatever the cost. The veil is open. All we need to do is step through.