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The Sting of Death (Root of Slavery Pt. 2)

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, (Jesus) himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (bondage).  -Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV

In my last post, found here, I made the case that the “devil” in Hebrews 2 is not an evil spiritual being.  “Devil” is translated from the Greek word diabolos; an adjective which means something like “an accuser.”  In this post I want to look at what this “accuser” actually is.  

The primary thing Hebrews 2 says about this devil/accuser is that it had the “power of death.”  To make sense of this, we have to understand that “death” is often used in scripture in a spiritual sense, referring to a state of separation from God (who is Life).  Here are a few examples:

  • Romans 8:6: “For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace…”  Just like darkness has no existence in itself, simply being the absence of light, so death has no existence itself, being the absence of Life.  The idea that the mind of the flesh IS death means is that there is nothing divine to be found in or given from the natural mind/imagination of man, which has not been refined by the Fire of God’s presence.

  • 1 John 3:14: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”  Abides in death = dwells/lives in death.  This is clearly not speaking of physical death (or life), but of a state of separation from from God, who is Life.  Note also: love is THE sign of Life.

  • 1 Timothy 5:6: “…She who is self-indulgent is (spiritually) dead even while she (physically) lives.”

 

  • The devil having the “power of death” means it somehow facilitated a separation from God, and it creating a “fear of death” means it also reinforced the awareness of this separation.

 

Now, how did the devil create a separation from God?  To answer that, let’s look at a few other scriptures which mention death and its power. My comments are in blue.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:56 ESV:  “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”  -In other words, law empowers sin, and sin gives death it’s “sting.”  So the foundation of sin and “stinging” death is law.  Law—> sin —>death.

  • Romans 5:12-13 ESV:  “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned–for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”  Again, crazy as it may sound, we see that law —> sin —> death.  

  • Romans 3:20 ESV:  For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.  -Justification NEVER comes by law, only knowledge of sin/violation does!  

  • Romans 7:5-6:  For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.  This is the same basic thing as said in the verses above: law—> sin —> death.  But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”  There are many parallels here with Hebrews 2.  Here in Romans, we are told law and the “written code” held men “captive.”  Hebrews 2 mentions a “life-long bondage” empowered by a “devil” which was destroyed through Jesus’ death.  It’s clear in this passage that “that which held us captive” is the law, also referred to as “the written code.”  So, the “captivity” of Romans 7 is the same thing as the “life-long bondage” of Hebrews 2. All this captivity and bondage stems from the law, aka “the written code,” which created sin and death.

Think of a speed limit: does the law give a reward to those who drive within the limit?  No!  Law doesn’t work like that!  Law’s ONLY function is to accuse; to identify and prescribe penalties to those who step outside it’s boundaries.  In this way, law creates both sin and “sinners.”   When we become self-aware and conscious of sin, then spiritually speaking, we “die.”  This is what took place when Adam and Eve at from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  They immediately saw their “nakedness,” BECAME AFRAID, and hid from God.   But, remember this: when Adam and Eve “sinned,” THEY hid from God, but HE went looking for them!   So here it is:

 

  • LAW is the “devil” of Hebrews 2.  Law accuses and thus gives rise to sin.  Sin then gives rise to death – an awareness of separation from God – through self-awareness and fear.  This also gives death a “sting,” causing people to be aware of and pained by it.  

To summarize: we know that the devil had the “power of death.”  By the same token, it is LAW which gives rise to sin, which then gives rise to death. The devil also facilitated a “fear of death.”  Again, law, by way of sin, gives death a fearful “sting.”  Third, the devil caused “life-long bondage.” Again, it is LAW which creates “captivity,” or bondage!  Here is one final scripture to support this idea:

In part 3 to come, I am going to look at how Jesus broke the cycle of “sin and death” and placed ALL men into a position of grace and life, though many remain ignorant of it.  Thanks for reading.  I know this may be a bit “dense,” but I hope it makes sense and you glean what you can.  Bless you!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Judgment of Eternal Life

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(John 5:19-22 NKJV): “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.  For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son…”

(John 12:31-32 NKJV): “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

In this post, I would like to look closer at the idea of “judgment,” which is one of several concepts men have understood and taught from a place of shallowness, fear and self-focus rather than from the peace and wisdom of the Spirit.  We have to understand that in the Greek language, the word “judgment” means “to separate, to choose, to decide, to make a distinction.”  Today, we tend to associate judgment with condemnation and punishment, but while God’s judgment can include these things, it’s still different than what we typically think.  In John 5:19-22, when Jesus says the Father has committed all judgment to the son, he wasn’t saying the Father was commissioning His son to condemn or punish the world.  In fact, Jesus said he came to do the exact opposite! (John 3:17).  Look again – Jesus said that he only does what he sees his Father do.  He then says the Father “raises the dead and gives life to them” and that the son does the same, because the Father has “committed all judgment to the son.”  The Father’s judgment, the way He makes a distinction among people, which He has administered through His son, is to “raise the dead and give life to them.”  That is what happened at the cross.  Now, this raising from death to life is isn’t primarily a physical one, but a spiritual.  Generally speaking, death = the mind and life of natural man/Adam, and life = the mind and life of the Spirit of God.  

Here are a couple examples:

  • 1 John 3:14 ASV: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death.”

  • Romans 5:17 ASV: “For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.”

  • Romans 8:6 ASV: “For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace…”

In the passage from John 12 at the top, Jesus knows he is about to go to the cross.  He says that in his crucifixion and resurrection, the “judgment of this world” would be made, the “ruler of this world” cast out, and “all peoples drawn” to himself.  So, the judgment of the world took place at the cross, 2,000 years ago.  Then and there, God rendered His judgment of life toward mankind, going both forward and backward in time.  God’s judges the world by ending death and pouring out His Life through His son.  Now, it’s true that not all will receive or walk in this new Life while in these mortal bodies, and I’m not even sure all are able to.  But those things are another subject.

I think it’s also important we understand that this eternal life which God has judged upon us is not primarily eternal in the sense of “never-ending,” but eternal in the sense of quality and nature.  John 17:3 (MLV) records Jesus saying this: “And this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you did send.”  Eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son – not in a mental sense, but in the sense of receiving and participating in their life and union.  Remember in John 4, where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well?  As they sat by the well together, Jesus said this to her: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”1  This eternal life is to be springing up from within, right now, and is found in a current knowing of the Father and Son.  These and other scriptures make it clear that whatever this eternal life is, it’s for now, not just the future.  

Finally, let’s briefly think about what is meant by “life.”  I think, at its core, life is about having consciousness and the ability to use energy.  Jesus famously said that to gain this eternal life, we must lose OUR life.2  I believe he meant this: “in order to partake of and abide in the life of God, we have to be willing to let go of the death we have called life – all the beliefs and pursuits that have their foundation in fear, selfishness, and ignorance.  (This speaks more about letting go of our previous religious beliefs and practices than anything else!)  Really, this isn’t that controversial.  It only makes sense that light and darkness, love and selfishness, spirit and religion cannot co-exist.  As we embrace this eternal life and allow it room to spring forth from within us, we will find ourselves freely wanting to love and serve others, difficult as it may be.  We will begin to let go of what hinders the expression of this eternal Life within us – not out of guilt or obligation or fear, but freely, because our very nature wants to.  Our walk with God won’t be about “seeing results” so much as it will be about being faithful and walking in the Spirit.  And although this new Life is often difficult, it’s also full of glory, hope, and beauty.  We also have the promise that as the Reign of God comes to earth, pain and crying and tears will pass away, forever.  I think this is a long way off in human years, but the only way it’s coming is through the sons and daughters of God walking in the Spirit.  Not just in “miracles” but in wisdom, insight, love, and truth.

I’ve often thought that if I’m going to suffer, it better be for something worthwhile, and to me, nothing is more worthwhile than helping establish the reign of God on earth, partaking of and ministering His grace, truth, reconciliation and love to the world.  I still feel I’m just getting started and I still have days I feel far from these things…maybe I’ll always feel that way, but I intend to keep going!  God bless you.

 

  1. John 4:13-14 NKJV

  2. Mark 8:35

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Life and Death

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You can’t focus on life and death at the same time. This applies to the upcoming election, the state of the world as a whole, or your individual life. If you’re focusing on what is wrong, bad, twisted, shameful, etc. (what I’m calling “death”), you cannot simultaneously focus on LIFE.

Am I saying pretend everything is great and things couldn’t be better? Not at all. Am I saying don’t vote? No. I’m saying get your focus on a higher realm, the Kingdom of God. I’m saying don’t be occupied with what is going on in the realm of “death,” that is, the realm that is not connected and aligning with the Spirit of God – whether politics, wars, your job, your natural family, or your own personal faults.

None of the above things can or do have ANY influence on the spiritual realm. What is of God cannot be changed, cannot be thwarted, cannot be affected by death. Darkness can NEVER dim light. It’s the other way around – light casts out darkness, instantly and effortlessly. Many of the things above remain in darkness, it’s true. That’s the only way they can remain the way they are. But why focus on darkness? And even worse, why try to get rid of darkness with more darkness (your own ideas, your own beliefs, your own efforts)?

This might sound “academic” or “detached,” but I don’t mean it that way at all. The Spirit of God is actually leading me to be more directly involved with people and situations in my surroundings. But I know enough to not do so from a place of frustration, trying to deal with things hastily and sloppily, as my “soul” tends to do. I want to approach everything and everyone from a place of hope and of love, based on the finished work of Christ and the Reign of God which has been established and is growing.

“You can curse the darkness or light a candle” is a bit cliche, but it’s true. The thing is, the only “light” we can truly offer is the Spirit within us, the spirit of love and joy and peace and righteousness. Approach EVERYTHING from there.

I pray we all have our mind and awareness in the reign (kingdom) of heaven more and more, until we are only aware of light even as we walk through a world that still contains darkness.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Death WITH Christ

“…one died for all, therefore all died…Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh…therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” -2 Corinthians 5:14, 16-17.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” -Galatians 3:26-27

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” -Romans 6:5-7

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” -Romans 7:4-6

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” -Hebrews 10:11-14.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Source of Salvation: Life or Death?

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For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
(Romans 5:10)

And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  (1 John 5:11)

 

*Disclaimer: God is ok with asking questions in the pursuit of Truth – in fact, it’s sometimes necessary.  If you aren’t bold enough to change your beliefs as new Truth is revealed, you may as well quit reading now. 

Here’s a question worth considering:  “What is the source of salvation?”  If 100 Christians were asked this, I would guess about 98 of them would answer something like: “the death of Christ,” “the cross of Christ,” or “the blood of Christ.”  It’s scary, but these are wrong answers.  To be ignorant of God’s plan for the church, which He laid through His son, is to walk blindly, in darkness.  According to Jesus himself, to walk blindly in darkness (or to follow those who do) is to end up in a pit,1 making it impossible to truly follow him and to please God. 

Generally speaking, Christianity has mistaken justification for salvation.  In scripture, justification means basically to be forgiven and declared righteous, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Therefore, the source of justification is the death of Christ.2  Justification is very important, but it’s just the beginning.  If the life of a follower of Jesus were a race, many christians would see salvation as the finish line.  Others might see it as the road they run on.  But in the mind of God, what christianity has mislabeled salvation is nothing more than enrolling in the race and lacing up your shoes.  The focus of believers desperately needs to move past the starting line of Christ’s death, to the actual event: the resurrection LIFE of Christ.3  If you’ve considered the benefits of Jesus’ death but never his life, you haven’t even consciously started the process of being saved.

Let me clearly say, I don’t know everything about true salvation – it’s a deep subject with many facets.  I do know a few things, though.  First of all, salvation is a process, not something you “get.”  Someone “getting saved” in a moment or day is impossible,3 and honestly I’m sick of hearing that phrase.  Scripture clearly states the source of salvation is the life of Christ.4 How can Jesus’ life produce salvation?  What does that even mean?  Again, I don’t claim to know it all, but I feel comfortable saying this: salvation has to do with the process of the actual life and vitality of Jesus – the same mind, energy and vitality that was in him – growing within us and becoming our mind, energy and vitality.  Not one believer in all of history became full of the life of Christ (was truly saved) at the moment he or she “prayed the sinners prayer,” “gave their heart to Christ,” “got saved,” “repented of their sins,” or any of the rest of the lingo.  In genuine cases, what happened is the life of Christ, the seed of salvation, was planted within.  True salvation has to do with that life growing and becoming our life, as our old, natural life diminishes. Please read the scriptures and commentary in the footnotes.  Would you rather celebrate Jesus’ death, or experience his life?  Simply repent (change your mind) and ask the Father to give you and those you love grace to see and experience the fullness of Christ in you.  It will require your death, but in exchange you get his life!  I will do the same.

 

  1. Matthew 15:14, Luke 6:39.
  2. This is because Christ is, in effect, a second, spiritual and final “Adam.”  In terms of God’s dealings with man, in Christ all of the old fallen race descended from Adam ended, and a new race of spiritual people began, with Jesus being the firstborn of many to come.  See: 2 Corinthians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-47.
  3. Philippians 2:12, Matt. 24:13, Mark 13:13, Acts 2:47, 2 Corinth. 2:15.
  4. Romans 5:10,17,21, 6:4, Luke 9:24, 2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Tim. 1:10.
 
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Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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