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A Given Understanding

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“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” -1 John 5:20

There are several deep and somewhat confusing statements in this obscure verse.  First, John says that Jesus came and gave an understanding, which enables us to “know Him who is true.” John then says that we are “in Him who is true,” “in His Son Jesus Christ,” and that somehow all this connects to “the true God and eternal life.” 

Reading this verse, the first question I have is, what is the “understanding” Jesus came and gave, and how does it enable us to “know Him who is true?”  On the surface, one might say this understanding refers to the things Jesus taught about God.  But there are two main reasons I don’t think that’s quite it.  First, because Jesus didn’t really teach “about” God.  Instead, he taught about the Kingdom of God, demonstrated it with healing and miracles, warned and prophesied against the corrupted religious establishment, and stressed the importance of loving others as oneself (which he said sums up the entire law). The second reason is, the Greek word for “understanding,” which is dianoia, doesn’t refer to mental knowledge.  It is most often translated “mind,” and seems to mean a full and true comprehension and thus a correct perception.    

John says this dianoia Jesus gave enables us to “know Him who is true.”  The word “true” is alethinos, which refers to that which is genuine, the real article without any falsehood or counterfeit.  Thayer’s Greek lexicon defines alethinos as:

  • 1. that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine

    a. opposite to what is fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated or pretended

    b. it contrasts realities with their semblances

    c. opposite to what is imperfect defective, frail, uncertain

  • 2. True, veracious, sincere

So, it seems that John is saying the understanding and perception Jesus gave enables us to know God the Father as He genuinely is, to know His real nature, and not a distorted or incomplete representation.  The idea is, I think, that before Christ, under the Old Covenant, God’s people knew Him primarily through a relationship of laws and symbolic rituals.  Their relationship to God was more like one of master and slave, not Father and son.  The partnership and Spiritual union that the New Testament says is ours in and through Christ was not yet available.  The transition from the Old Covenant of law to the New Covenant of grace and faith through Christ was colossal, and has not yet been realized on a large scale.  Many scriptures speak of this transition.  Here are a few:

  • Galatians 4:4-7 (WEB): “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children. And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” 

  • John 4:19-24 (WEB):  “The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

  • Romans 7:6 (WEB): “But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.”

  • Hebrews 8:1-5 (WEB):  “Now in the things which we are saying, the main point is this. We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a servant of the sanctuary, and of the true (alethinos) tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things (the physical temples and rituals were only symbols and representations of heavenly, spiritual realities), even as Moses was warned by God when he was about to make the tabernacle, for he said, “See, you shall make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.”

  • Hebrews 9:22-24 (WEB): “According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission. It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves (the alethinos, the true) with better sacrifices than these. For Christ hasn’t entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true (alethinos), but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…”

I believe the mind/perception/understanding Jesus gave is both the demonstration of God’s true nature as a loving Father rather than a callous master, along with the ability to be a “partaker” of this nature, as 2 Peter 1:4 says. I still believe that as far as God is concerned, flesh is dead and gone.  He doesn’t see our flesh or sin at all, because in God’s mind all believers are “in Christ,” meaning they have become adopted as members of the corporate son of God, literally becoming members of Christ’s body and filled with God’s nature, thus becoming one with God.  This too is the understanding Jesus gave, which Paul and others have elaborated on.  I won’t take the space to elaborate on it here, but, for example, scripture says Jesus “condemned sin in the flesh,” that there is no condemnation in Christ, that we have been perfected forever by the one sacrifice of Christ, and that God Himself has placed us into Christ Jesus, as 1 Corinthians 1:30 says.  

When John wrote that we are “in Him who is true, in His son Jesus Christ,” I believe he meant we are in God AS A RESULT of being in Christ. We in Christ (and Christ in us), Christ in God, thus we in God (see John 14:20).  It’s nothing we did or can do, God did it already.  Not only that, but it seems to me that neither “the true God” nor “eternal life” are found apart from our identity and union with Christ as members of his body, which is a spiritual reality we must “abide” in.  It’s as if God has allowed His nature and being to intertwine with ours in a deep way, through His son.  Now, all this doesn’t mean we as individuals are instantly perfect or that we can’t still act from the flesh.  To say that is to deny the obvious.  What it means is to the extent we have the “dianoia” to recognize we have been adopted as Sons in Christ, and our nature is that of Spirit and love, that we are not under the rule of sin and law, and that we are corporately the body of the son of God – as these truths become the foundation of our hearts and minds, we can manifest the fruit of the Spirit and establish the Kingdom of God on earth.  It is desperately needed, and I believe the season is coming where these things are going to come to pass.  The question is if we will have the courage to lay down our lives in the flesh and the world to manifest the life of the Son of God, our true Life.  Amen.

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Posted by on January 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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No More Children

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And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart…”  (Ephesians 4:11-18 KJV)

I’ve heard it said that doctors can’t truly heal anyone; all they can do is to somehow help the body be able to heal itself. I think this is true, and it’s the same spiritually. One thing Paul writes in Ephesians 4 is that some healthy members of Christ’s body have been assigned certain functions by God, aimed at ensuring the body as a whole is functioning as intended.  The words “apostle,” “prophet,” 0r “pastor” aren’t special positions of leadership, they are functions of service to the body.  Their main role is to identify and remove spiritual trash, and prevent or heal spiritual disease, like a waste management system in a city, or an immune system in a body.  Paul said the goal is that the entire body of Christ become united and in harmony, building itself up in love and coming to the fullness of Christ, the spirit of God.

So what does spiritual trash or disease look like?  The New Testament actually answers this question over and over, including in the passage above, where Paul identifies some unhealthy or useless things that need to be eradicated: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive…”   That’s a bit wordy, but it just means that in order to be healthy and mature, the body of Christ as a whole must heed and taught by the spirit of God instead of the natural mind of man.  We must leave behind the multitude of religious doctrines which are taught as divine yet have been shaped in the minds of selfish men.  The shocking truth, which is strongly supported by the apostles and Jesus himself, is that the most trash-producing and disease-causing force among the body of Christ isn’t “sin” as we have been taught – it’s the multitude of doctrines and religious ways which have been formed in the mind of man!  Therefore, as I have said, I believe Paul is saying the primary role of apostles, prophets, pastors, etc. is simply to help remove or nullify these useless and damaging “winds (influences) of doctrine” from among God’s people, so that they can receive and live from the life of God (also known as “Christ”) within them.  That sounds easy or simple, but many people see their way and understanding as divine and/or find their identity in it, so as a result they strongly resist the idea that they have been deceived, and will shun or even persecute those who say so.  However, if we’re going to mature, we ALL have to face this fact: many things we have been taught and many ideas or “truths” we have held dear and defended, are false and distracting at best, or spiritually poisonous at worst.  It’s called humility, and it’s a prerequisite for true salvation.1

In the last verses of the passage above, Paul, as an apostle, pleaded and “testified in the Lord” that the members of Christ’s body “no longer(meaning at least some still did) walk like those who haven’t been awakened to the reality of Christ within them – living according to the darkness of the natural human mind, being alienated from the life of God because of ignorance and a calloused heart.  Do you see that the only fault Paul warned about was not “sin” or bad behavior, but to stubbornly live from one’s human mind and nature, without the light of spiritual revelation as the foundation of understanding? That is what is spiritually deadly, not cursing or drinking or looking at pornography or losing one’s temperTo live from one’s own mind and nature results in alienation from the life of God which is within and available all the time.  Religion is essentially darkness imitating light; it is formed when blind men (which is ALL men apart from the spirit), instead of admitting their blindness and waiting for the gift of sight in order to proceed on solid ground, instead pretend or convince themselves they can see based on doctrines they believe.  Religious men stumble in gross darkness, yet proclaim how wonderful what they see is.  They may be so blind they will spend their whole lives, even die, for an idea which has no existence in the mind or heart of God.

If you teach others – then please, please, for your own sake and for the sake of others, make sure first and foremost that you understand the new covenant, the basis of which is to live by the spirit/anointing of God (Christ) in you, and are pointing others to do the same.  I am becoming more and more convinced that spending time in quiet spiritual communion with God, away from the teachings of men and without any sense of obligation or agenda, is ESSENTIAL to begin to be taught by the Spirit of God and learn to recognize what is and is not of Him.  I honestly think this is how all spiritual knowledge is given, and it’s not usually easy or quick. The Bible can help inform you or keep you on track, but it is not “divine” itself, and even it is subject to the spirit. Sometimes, the natural mind just has to be made to shut up, to be quieted, so you can be aware of God’s presence, letting him minister to you in ways deeper than thought.  This can be done anywhere at any time, but the less distractions and noises the better.

Let’s realize that the spirit of God is very able to teach and lead us.  Let’s humble ourselves by being willing to see just how wrong and off-base we may have been, no matter how right it seemed we or others were.  Let’s shut up our minds in God’s presence, and let go of what we “think” and what WE “believe,” allowing His spirit and presence to minister to us, communing with Him spirit to spirit apart from any duty or agenda.  As we do, we’ll receive revelation, we’ll receive guidance, we’ll find the fruit of the spirit appearing in our lives naturally, instead of religiously trying to force things we really don’t find within.  This is my heart, and I hope I’m in some way serving the body of Christ in these writings.  God bless you.

 

1.James 4:6, Ephesians 2:8

2 Corinthians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:45

2. Romans 14:17

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Overwhelming Love

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I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit.” (Eph 4:1-4 WEB (R))

…that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:14-16 WEB (R))

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. But if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he doesn’t yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him. (1Co 8:1-3 WEB (R))

To truly follow Christ, one must remain humble and teachable – not simply willing to change one’s understanding and perception, but EAGER to do so.  Sentimentality has no place in a spiritual walk; change is often just another word for growth.  So, I am certainly not against seeking to gain correct “knowledge” or “information” about God’s ways or character, but I want to highlight that while knowledge has its place, it MUST be secondary and subject to love, or it becomes poisonous instead of nourishing.  I think you could say this: love without knowledge is immature, but knowledge without love is hurtful

In Ephesians 4:16, Paul says that a mature and healthy body will be “building itself up in love.”  Love is vital to growth within the body of Christ, and since we are one body, we are actually OBLIGATED to love one-another, as Paul also writes in Romans 13:8.  However, because many leaders and ministers have preferred knowledge over love, and because so many believers have allowed themselves to be divided over who is right and wrong in their understanding, the body of Christ has been divided and its growth has been stunted. 

This can be a bit confusing, because scripture says knowledge “puffs up” (makes one proud), and that one day knowledge will pass away, but it also says in many places that knowledge is very good and valuable. I believe one simple reason for this is that there are two sorts of knowledge: knowledge of the mind (information/reason), and knowledge of the spirit (revelation/light). These are quite different, and it is the knowledge of the mind, aka information or reason, which tends to make men proud and which will one day pass away. This may be a startling statement, but it’s true:  we should never cut ties with a brother just because they don’t have the knowledge or understanding we do.  If we do, we’re preferring knowledge over love and stunting growth within our own body!

It’s easy to say all this, but I’ll be the first to admit practicing this requires discernment and a lot of patience.   In Ephesians 4:2, Paul says we should be “bearing with one another in love.” The word “bearing” is also translated as “suffer” and “endure.”  It’s often hard and taxing to accept others where they are, when you can see their faults but they stubbornly won’t or can’t.  But love compels us to do so, and we want others to do the same for us.  Bearing with one-another may be the only hope we have of maturing.

Here’s my disclaimer: this doesn’t mean we shirk from speaking the truth, even at times if we know it will offend others, nor does it mean we have to accept anything and everything someone does or says.  Truth AND love are essential.  Jesus offended religious people all the time, but it wasn’t his intention or goal.  He simply saw how the ways of the religious were damaging and leading astray those who were truly seeking God’s way, and spoke undiluted truth in love for his Father and his Father’s people. 

Paul also knew the importance of knowledge, praying  that the love of his fellow believers would grow and abound in greater knowledge and discernment, so that they wouldn’t  tolerate and devote themselves to various things which seem good but are devoid of actual, spiritual life.1  What all this does mean is that we must value love and unity more highly than knowledge.  It means we let love “overwhelm” our insistence that others see or conform to our way.  It means we live at peace with everyone to the fullest extent we can while abiding in Christ.  If someone seems incredibly immature and stuck in their ways – don’t divide from them or attack them, but bear with them in love (you may have been that way yourself once).  If someone contradicts or seems to disrespect your ways – don’t divide from them or attack them, but bear with them in love.  Again, this requires discernment and a connection with God, as there are millions of challenging scenarios when you’re talking about relationships between people.  Ultimately, be led of the spirit.

If we can follow the law of love and accept one-another in peace, we keep the body of Christ connected and thus love can flow and growth WILL take place.  Like Paul said, we should be EAGER to keep the unity of the spirit.  Don’t all want truth, when all is said and done?  Honestly, some don’t, but we can rest assured that God will ultimately have His way.  In the meantime, choose the way of love – to bear with your brothers and sisters.

God bless you…

  1. Philippians 1:9-11

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Collective Consciousness and the Snowball Effect

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 “…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”  (1 Corinthians 12:25-27)

Have you ever heard the term “collective consciousness?”  I’ve always suspected there is something true in it.  As I’ve heard it, it’s the idea that the thoughts and perceptions of all people are in some way connected, so that the “consciousness” (awareness, perceptions) of one group or even one individual will, at least to a small degree, influence the rest of mankind.

One thing many Christians wonder about is why there is so little power and authority being expressed on earth today among Christ’s body.  Why do so many alleged miracles and supernatural events seem bogus or weak?  I think the explanation for this is to a large extent found in the idea of Christ’s body as a “collective.”  If you’re around believers much, it’s obvious that many members of Christ’s body are sick and weak, being alienated from God’s spirit of love and power.  Therefore, I believe since all the members of Christ’s body are connected, the rest of the body is hindered and the expression of Christ and the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth are limited.  To illustrate this, think of your physical body.  If one leg is badly broken, while the rest of your body may be working fine, you’re still not going to be able to drive places and do things you otherwise could.  If you have a toothache, while the rest of your body may be fine, it affects everything and makes even simple tasks more difficult.  So it is with the body of Christ.

Last week, out of nowhere, it dawned on me that Paul himself wrote about “collective consciousness” nearly 2,000 years ago, in 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (quoted at the top of this post).  Put simply, Paul said all members of the body of Christ are connected, so that what one part experiences is, to some degree, experienced by the whole.  This concept of the church as Christ’s body is an incredible, mind-blowing, and sobering spiritual reality – not just a neat title.  God’s spiritual anointing (Christ) is upon you and I – we are Christ on the earth!1  

There’s one more related term I’d like to look at, called the “snowball effect,” which gets its name from what can happen if you roll a small snowball down a snowy hill.  As the ball rolls down the hill, snow sticks to it, making the ball bigger and bigger, causing more and more snow to stick to it, until it very quickly becomes massive. What if this applies to Christ’s body?  What if, as you and I “forsake all that we have” (Luke 14:33)2 and become aware only of the life of God within, restoring connection with the head of our body (Christ, the spirit of God), we then exert an influence on the rest of the body to do so?  What if then, as more believers begin to do the same, there is an even greater influence on the rest of the body to do so, until one day Christ’s body, all over the earth, walks in the purity and power that Jesus did when he was here?  How amazing is that thought?

I truly believe that the spirit of God is forming the snowball right now, and will roll it down the hill when it’s nice and solid; how long that will take I don’t know.  I think it could be within a generation or two, as I seem to see more and more people, especially younger people, waking up and coming out of religion (I’m working on a blog about that).  That’s necessary, because religion is a tremendous hindrance to the Kingdom of God.  When the ball does get rolling, it’s going to be quite a sight.  

If this could be the case, it’s tremendously important that you and I put off the “old man” (Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:9), which is Adam’s nature, desires, and concepts, and express Christ instead of Adam.3  There are many, many sick members of Christ’s body.  Some are greatly held back by religious doctrines, duties, or concepts which they don’t realize God has no part of at all.  Many are weighed down by guilt, shame, and condemnation.  Many have tried and failed so many times they’ve essentially given up, having found almost nothing real within the Christianity they’ve been exposed to.  Deep down they want to know and please God, and have tried to “fake it till they make it,” but find they are powerless, and begin to believe that they will always be.  They are in the “Romans chapter 7” experience Paul wrote about, where they want to do good, but are powerless to do so because the power of sin within them is too strong.

Here’s what I suggest.  Get to know your God personally, not by learning things about Him from others.  I believe the best way to do this is to get quiet in His presence, commune with Him as best as you can, diligently and consistently.  Yes, reading scripture helps, but you’ll never reach Truth without divine revelation.  Forget what you’ve been taught, prioritize the knowledge and experience of love, and let the goodness of God and His presence begin to work on you inwardly and reveal Truth to you.  Share what you’ve learned as the spirit allows, and encourage others along the same lines.  The rest of your body, and many others, need it!  God bless you.

  1. 1 John 4:17, Colossians 3:3, Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27, Romans 12:5
  2. I believe that in this verse, Jesus wasn’t saying we have to give up all our physical possessions like cars or houses or whatever.  He was referring to spiritual possessions – things like our own ideas and concepts about God, our own understandings and all the spiritual things we have accumulated, find comfortable, and hold dear.  We cannot follow Jesus as a disciple unless we forsake these things.
  3. All of these verses speak of the “old man” who is dead and who we are to “put off,” or shun.  I wrote about this more here, but the idea is that as we have inherited Adam’s fallen, darkened nature, we also have inherited Christ’s nature of life and light.  Adam’s nature can be very religious and good and well-meaning and kind, but is ultimately blind and opposed to God.  God only pays attention to and desires the expression of Christ – His spirit within us.  This is a huge key.
 
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Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Hope of Righteousness (Our Body pt. 2)

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For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”1

For we were saved in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for that which he sees? But if we hope for that which we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.”2  

A thoughtful reading of the above verses will raise a few questions, but seeing new things often requires the courage to take off, at least for a moment, one’s lenses of previous belief and doctrine.  I pray God’s grace works in us to desire truth more than comfort, familiarity or acceptance.  Here is the question I’m going to focus on in this post:

1). Aren’t we already righteous in Christ?”  If so, then what is this “hope of righteousness” we are waiting for and what does it mean to be “saved in hope?”

To answer this, we first have to understand what righteousness is in God’s eyes, and how we attain it.  First of all, righteousness is not morality. Simply stated, the “righteousness of God” Jesus said we are to seek is alignment with and conformity to the desires and purposes of God.  Since God’s purposes are centered around His Kingdom, righteousness for a believer will in some way line up with the establishment and ways of the Kingdom of God.

Here’s a helpful, though imperfect illustration of righteousness: lets say you have children, and you instruct them to take out the trash before they go to bed, as the garbage man will be collecting it in the morning.  You tell them this is important for the household to run the way it should.  The next morning, you see the trashcan is still overflowing and it’s starting to smell.  Your children excitedly inform you they decided to draw pictures for their grandma instead of taking out the trash as you, the head of the household, wished.  While the children’s choice of activity was in a sense “good,” it wasn’t righteous, because it wasn’t what the head of the household desired and instructed, and it wasn’t what the household needed at that time.

With that in mind, the “hope of righteousness” which believers await is the expectation (hope) of God’s will being fulfilled and His life expressed all over the earth, through the body of Christ, just as it is in heaven.  Jesus’ prayer was for this very thing to take place, saying: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”3  As sons of God, this is to be our desire and what we strive to see come to pass.  So many Christians have been indoctrinated to wait for a tribulation and judgment, thinking that the kingdom is going to come sometime in the future, likely after they die.  Jesus said the kingdom was “at hand” in his day, and I believe God is now waiting for a generation of believers to connect with Christ, it’s head, and manifest the kingdom of God on earth just as Jesus did when he walked the earth.  Now, since Jesus’ body has many members all over the earth, the kingdom will be manifested globally.  This is what we see in Revelation 21 and 22, which speaks of nations, on earth, bringing honor to the kingdom of God which is on earth as well (Revelation 21:24).

So what about believers being made righteous in Christ?  Well, according to the plain teaching of scripture, the only way to obtain and maintain a state of righteousness is through faith.4  Some translations say “faith in Christ,” others say “the faith of Christ,” and the literal Greek may say just “the faith Christ” or faith “into” Christ.  Either way, scripture is clear that even as believers, we cannot access grace or please God without faith.5  So what is faith?  Put extremely simply, faith is a divine gift of spiritual sight.  Paul said believers are to “walk by faith, not by sight,”6 meaning that for a disciple of Christ, one’s entire life will be guided not around one’s own understanding and reasoning (even of spiritual things), but by the inward illumination and prompting of the spirit of Christ, the “life-giving spirit” that Jesus has become.7  Christianity teaches that faith is essentially a “belief” in something, but seems to have missed the fact that faith is entirely spiritual, a divine gift.8

Jesus Christ was the word of God made flesh.9  He is the perfect expression of the Father,10 and therefore as his body walks by the spiritual sight granted us by the spirit of Christ, we will be in alignment with God’s will and will be righteous.11 Rather than waiting for illumination and only walking by faith, the body of Christ has, for centuries, largely walked by human understanding, doctrines and traditions, but either can’t or won’t see and admit this.  Thus, many believers refuse to repent and the earth suffers as a result.  As the body of Christ is “transformed” by the working of the spirit of Christ, scripture says we, together, as one body with many parts and one temple with many stores, will become the righteousness of God” in Christ, and that this is attained “through the faith of Christ.”12  That is the hope of righteousness we are saved in.  It’s not instantaneous; it must be sought, flesh must remain crucified, and love must be the underlying force – looking past sin, proclaiming reconciliation, enduring hardship and suffering.  So be it, I hope you’ll join me.

  1. Galatians 5:5

  2. Romans 8:24-25

  3. Matthew 6:10

  4. https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?qs_version=KJV&quicksearch=righteous+faith&begin=47&end=73

  5. Romans 5:2, Hebrews 11:6

  6. 2 Corinthians 5:7

  7. 1 Corinthians 15:45

  8. Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8

  9. John 1:14

  10. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15

  11. Paul wrote about the walk of faith using a different illustration in Ephesians 4:13-16 (NKJV).  He says that apostles and prophets and such are only given until: “…we all (the entire church) come to the unity of the faith (the whole body finally connects to and is directed by the head) and of the knowledge of the Son of God (the faith of Christ), to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”  When this happens someday, the hope of righteousness will have begun to be fulfilled.  Imagine a natural body in which certain parts acted independently of the head, while others submit to it.  It would be a mess, and that’s exactly what we see right now, only we’re so used to it that for many it seems normal.  

  12. 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:22

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Body or Bodies? (“Our Body” Pt. 1)

192px-Star_of_life2.svg

Paul, writing after Christ had ascended and the Holy Spirit had been given at Pentecost, made it clear in the scriptures below that he was still looking and waiting for something.  Jesus’ work was incomparable, immense and powerful, but more-so in the sense of preparation and potential rather than immediate fulfillment, like an acorn compared with a towering, mature oak tree.  We need to be patient and careful, waiting for divine illumination to relate to spiritual things, because Truth is only accessed by revelation, and if the foundation is faulty, so is everything built on it.

  • For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  (Gal 5:5 KJV)

  • So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…  (1Cor 1:7 KJV)

  • For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look (wait) for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  (Php 3:20-21 KJV)

  • So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look (wait) for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.  (Heb 9:28 KJV)

  • And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23 KJV)

In getting to the (super awesome) point, I want to highlight something extremely important which seems so trivial it’s easy to miss: not once in all these verses does Paul mention personally awaiting or looking for somethingInstead, he includes himself in a group which is looking and waiting, using terms like “we,” “our,” “you (all),” “them,” and  “ourselves…”  Paul writes of himself individually in many other places1, but not in reference to waiting for Christ or the transformation of the body.

Ok, so why does that matter?  Well, look at Phillippians 3:20-21 and Romans 8:23 (MLV) again, and see if you notice anything unusual:  

  • “For our citizenship exists in the heavens; out of which we are also waiting for a Savior, the Lord Jesus the Christ.  He will fashion the body of our humbleness, *thatit may become transformed to the body of his glory according to the working of which he is able to even subject all things to himself.”

  • “And not only they, but we ourselves also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves are groaning in ourselves, waiting for our sonship, that is, the redemption of our body.”

Do you see it?  Until very recently, I didn’t.  In both verses (and others I didn’t list), Paul is discussing awaiting the transformation and redemption of “our body.”  Our body?  Think about this; wouldn’t it be strange if a patient told their doctor: “you know doc, something’s wrong in our body“?  We’d think that person was mentally ill or possessed, but that’s precisely what Paul wrote!  He didn’t say our bodies, but our body.  Is it becoming clearer?  Our (plural) body (singular)!    One body, consisting of many individuals. What Paul was awaiting wasn’t the transformation and/or redemption of his individual body, but for the entire church, the spiritual body of Christ, of which he was just one member, to be transformed and redeemed as a whole.  Paul wrote very very plainly that each and every believer (plural) makes up the body of Christ (singular), and that each individual is just a part of Christ’s corporate body.  This is Paul’s understanding of “our body.”2  What Paul was actually awaiting was the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy that he himself would raise his body up after 3 days.  Jesus didn’t mean his physical body, but his spiritual body, the Church.  If you want to see this proven from scripture in a really cool way, check out this article.  

(Edit: someone read this and said that emphasizing Paul’s use of “our body” instead of “our bodies” is semantics, but it’s not!  Paul did use the plural phrases “your bodies” and “our bodies”  plenty of times in other places, and in those cases, he was in fact referring to individual, physical bodies. Here are a few examples:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:15: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?”

  • Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice…

  • 2 Corinthians 7:5: “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest…”

Like Paul, we have to come to see our individual bodies and our personal “ministries” as important only as they contribute to the much larger and more important whole.  An eye or hand are only useful as part of a body.  This takes our individual importance down a few notches, which is a very good thing for most of us.  As I’ve said before, God’s purposes and plans are much, much bigger than your or I personally, and we need to change our way of thinking to match up with God’s heart.  In Christ, the seed of transformation has been planted and the full potential of the matured body is there.  I believe the right season is finally arriving for this growth to take place, and the result is going to be a new body, one that has never been seen before, save perhaps for a brief period shortly after Pentecost.

Thank you for reading.  I hope this pointed you to the Father and His Kingdom.  

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:10, Phillippians 1:16, many more.

  2. 1 Corinthians 12:4-31

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Once More

Haggai 2

“In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying: 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah (ministry toward man), and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest (ministry toward God), and to the remnant of the people (the elect), saying: 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory (the brief period when the church truly walked in the Spirit)?  And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?  (The current state of God’s people corporately is pitiful by comparison). 4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. (The least to the greatest must work as God instructed, building up the body of Christ using the materials (wisdom, power, truth) gathered from the mountains (the spiritual realm in Christ), refusing to be discouraged in any way).  5 ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you (the covenant of election, inheritance and circumcision which God made with Abraham and his seed in Genesis 17.  Circumcision = being separated from flesh, that is, everything which does not originate with God Himself.  The New Testament scriptures actually discuss the true meaning of circumcision quite a bit – see Romans 2:28-29, among others) when you came out of Egypt (bondage of religion and law), so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’  (Do not fear, but remember that the new covenant which Christ established has brought us from estrangement to adoption, Adam to Christ, the kingdom of darkness to light, from from the flesh to the spirit).

6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) (a future event) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7(ASV) and I will shake all nations; and the precious things of all nations shall come (the treasures of all the earth will come to the kingdom of God: see Psalm 50:12, Isaiah 60:5, 61:6, Rev. 21:26); and I will fill this house with glory, saith Jehovah of hosts. (Hebrews 12:26 quotes this verse as a prophecy of the coming eternal, spiritual kingdom of God, with Christ as the cornerstone of its temple, which is composed of the corporate body of Christ on earth and based on spiritual offerings, sacrifices, and worship).  8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts (all the riches of the world belong to God). 9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts(Rom. 14:17: “the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”)

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”’”  Then the priests answered and said, “No.”  (External contact can’t impart holiness). 13 And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”  So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”  (Contact with death brings uncleanness.  In the new covenant, “death” = absence of God’s life/spirit, and “unclean” = spiritual blindness).   14 Then Haggai answered and said, “‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.  (Though unaware of it, God’s people as a whole have become blind and carnal, and God has no pleasure in or desire for the things they offer Him. While the new covenant and promises in Christ are secured, they can still be missed by individuals and even entire generations).

15 ‘And now, carefully consider from this day forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the Lord— 16 since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty ephahs, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty baths from the press, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid—consider it: 19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’”  (Prior to Christ, there was no spiritual abundance, and little truth and wisdom. But from the day Christ, the foundation, was “laid” by making atonement on the cross, God has been blessing to His people with all spiritual blessings, though wine (grace), fruit (maturity), and oil (anointing of the spirit) will not immediately abound).

20 And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying:

‘I will shake heaven and earth (The coming Kingdom of God will be primarily a heavenly kingdom, not a physical one).
22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms;
I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms.
I will overthrow the chariots
And those who ride in them;
The horses and their riders shall come down,
Every one by the sword of his brother. (In the proper season, God is going to establish His kingdom on earth in fullness, and all evil, wickedness, and death will be destroyed).

23 ‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Zerubbabel was a direct descendent of Jesus Christ, as noted in Matthew and Luke’s genealogies.  He may have been directly related to both Joseph and Mary.  Jesus, like Zerubbabel, was used of God to rebuild God’s spiritual temple, a process which we are privileged to be used in).

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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