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Nullified

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“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Jesus Christ) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 KJV)

I will be examining two questions from this passage:

  1.  How was the devil “destroyed?” Isn’t he still alive and active today?
  2. What was it that the fear of death held people in bondage to or from?

Regarding question 1: The Greek word translated “destroyed” here is katargeo, which actually means “made void, ineffective, nullified.” Jesus didn’t eradicate the devil, he nullified him.  In particular, Jesus’ death nullified the “power of death” which the devil had. I’m not entirely sure all of what that entails, but I do know we have to look at this spiritually, and Paul said that the mind of the flesh (the natural mind) is death, while the mind of the spirit is life and peace.1 I think the power of death has to do with keeping men naturally-minded and religious.  This is done by continuing to offer fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, using law to keep men aware of their sins, and thus keeping men in a state of guilt and self-awareness (death).  In short, the power of death is the power of accusation and guilt, fueled by law, which keeps one naturally-minded, self-focused and fearful of/withdrawn from God.

I believe that the devil’s power is nullified because there is no longer a legitimate claim of guilt or condemnation (or even “sin” in the sense of violating a written law) for those in Christ.2  The law’s purpose was to symbolize Christ, but because of the weakness of our flesh, law also functioned to bring natural-mindedness (spiritual death) through an awareness of sin, which fostered a fear of death and judgment.3  But in Christ, there is no written law, condemnation, guilt or “sin.”4 That’s an unchangeable fact. As Romans 8:33-34 says in the literal version: Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? God is the One justifying! Who is he condemning? It is Christ who has died, but rather also is raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession on our behalf.”  Christ conquered death and is a permanent intercession. Having been nullified, the devil’s primary weapons are now deception and accusations which have no basis.  I realize that some may worry this creates an excuse for people to “sin.”  Maybe it does.  But regardless, one who truly loves God and His Kingdom would abhor using God’s mercy as an excuse to gratify their flesh or dishonor Him, and God would not trust one with a selfish heart like that.  If simply “getting to heaven” is your goal, then in reality you’re serving yourself, and God is just a means to get what YOU want.    

Regarding question 2: what was it that the fear of death kept men in bondage to or from? I think the answer is simple, though it can be expanded upon greatly. The fear of death is the awareness and fear of judgment fueled by offended law, guilt, and self-focus.  This fear kept men bound to the law and thus stuck in a cycle of sin and death, and bound from the spirit, thus kept away from righteousness and life.5 Bringing men into righteousness and life in the spirit is what the “freedom” in Christ is about. Our being freed from an awareness of sin and guilt is for the bigger purpose of freedom to participate in the spiritual Kingdom of God as sons. Jesus was sent to those who were under the law, who through the law had become spiritually poor, blind, broken and bruised,6 with no real relief in sight.  He fulfilled this law and ended it in order to institute a “new way” of relating to God, in righteousness, spirit and truth, with God-awareness, not self-awareness.  A return to a relationship with God as Father, not simply “master.”7  Hallelujah!

Now, let’s remember it’s not enough for us just to see and acknowledge these truths (and I only see them partially as it is); we must allow them to shine within us and cast out the darkness (deception, manmade ideas) which we have called light (truth, wisdom from God). This will seem very much like allowing our way of thinking and understanding to be cast away and replaced as the spirit reveals to us God’s heart and will.  This is repentance. Being diligent in this by God’s grace will bring change, freedom and joy.

 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 KJV)

  1. Romans 8:6
  2. Romans 7:4-6, Galatians 2:19
  3. Galatians 3:19-25, Romans 3:20; 5:13,20; 7:4-7; 8:3, 1 Corinthians 15:56.
  4. Romans 4:15, Romans 8:1-3, 1 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 9:26, 1 John 3:5-9
  5. Romans 8:2
  6. Luke 4:18
  7. Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 7:6; John 4:23-24
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Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Kingdom Warnings in Hebrews

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I think in some ways, Hebrews is the most unusual and “mysterious” book in the New Testament (along with Revelation), and it is one of my favorites. As I was reading it recently, three explicit warnings given in the first few chapters stood out to me, and as I thought about and looked into them further, I found some really cool stuff.  I was also reminded that while it might be more pleasant to focus only on the promises and the positives, if we believe those, we should equally believe the warnings that came from the same source.   (All scripture quotations from the WEB ® translation).

(Hebrews 2:1): “Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away.”

(Hebrews 3:12-13): “Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today;” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

(Hebrews 4:1-2): “Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed with faith by those who heard.”

Condensing and summarizing these warnings helps clarify them:

  • (2:1) Our Call: Pay closer attention to God’s word; first and foremost as given through Christ himself, but also as given through His apostles and prophets.  What is Being Avoided: Drifting away from God’s heart and Kingdom, into religious deception or spiritual apathy.

  •  (3:12-13) Our call: Be aware that an evil heart of unbelief (spiritual blindness) can take root, exhort each-other.  What is being avoided: An evil heart of unbelief (a spiritually blind, deceived heart), falling away from the living God (walking in old religion instead of fresh revelation), being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (having a heart and mind which is callous and impenetrable to the truth, being covered by layers of convincing deception).

  • (4:1-2) Our call: To fear, to ensure faith (gift of true spiritual perception) is “mixed” with what we hear from God.  What is being avoided: Coming short of and failing to enter God’s promised rest.

I don’t have a lot more to say on this…it’s sobering. I think the church of Christ, by and large and almost from the outset, has failed to heed these warnings, and has suffered the consequences listed above, resulting in irrelevance, disconnect from God, and hindering the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. It would go a long way if believers would get over themselves and their selfish focus on “sin,” heaven, and hell, which are not what the gospel is really about.  Instead, let’s seek to have a Kingdom mentality like Jesus did (his first words in scripture are “repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”), the apostles did (Paul preached the kingdom until the end)1, and the Father does. 

Isn’t it interesting that neither the admonitions or warnings in these verses have to do with behaviors or actions?  This is because behavior isn’t the issue.  Jesus’ life and death was for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for the will and heart of God. Nothing more or less. With that goal in mind, our path and calling are clarified. As Jesus said, we are to seek first the Kingdom of God (His will done on earth as it is in heaven) and His righteousness (the things He desires in the current season and moment).  Our good or bad behavior factors in to the equation as a very minor point, if at all.

Sin/bad behavior is an issue which has already been dealt with, and what God sees as sin in the new covenant is different from what natural man, who remains under the law, sees as sin. If we truly love God and desire to do His will, what we must be sure to avoid are things that will hinder the Kingdom. These are the things that Hebrews warns of and are spiritual, inward states like an “evil heart” that is impenetrable to new truth, religious deception and dogma, doctrine without revelation, false faith, flippancy towards God’s message through His prophets and apostles, self-confidence, etc. Bad behavior won’t hinder the Kingdom nearly like these things will (if at all).

I hope this served as an exhortation for you and I am thankful for others who exhort or otherwise fulfill their role in the body of Christ faithfully. Let’s think on these things brothers and sisters, they are extremely important if we care about God’s Kingdom. Amen.

1. Acts 28:31

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Truth and Evil

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“For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed (reprimanded). But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”1

The verse above contains more than I can try to explain here, so I want to focus on one aspect of it which really hit me recently, regarding the contrast being highlighted.  It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Christianity, the religion that has regrettably formed around Christ and his teachings, is rooted in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, instead of the Tree of Life. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.

Because so many of us were raised in this pseudo-spiritual environment which is rooted in the wrong tree, our understanding of God and His will has been distorted to see everything naturally. Outward behavior becomes a primary focus, and spiritual concepts such as good and evil are understood as actions that we perform. But notice that John compares those who do evil with those who “do the truth.” Think about that – do the truth!  The spiritual opposite of evil isn’t goodness, it’s truth. Evil fears being exposed as flawed by the light, but truth welcomes the light because truth comes from the Father and the light will only reveal more of Him.

Let me mention this: Jesus didn’t come to earth and die so we can go to heaven someday, or so that we can avoid torment in hell. That’s a shallow and extremely selfish understanding. Jesus came to open the way to the Tree of Life in the earth again, to restore spiritual vision and freedom to God’s people,2 paving the way for the Kingdom of God to be manifested on earth as it is in heaven. We’re involved in this process and God does love us, but salvation is toward a bigger end than us, our personal happiness or eternal security.  What really important is the will and Kingdom of God, and our hindrance or cooperation with its establishment.  

Jesus’ teachings and parables (both before and after his death and resurrection!) were almost entirely about the Kingdom of God! Acts tells us Paul preached the Kingdom of God right up till his death. We MUST begin to have a spiritual, Kingdom perspective if we are to ever begin to understand the scriptures and the Father’s heart. From a Kingdom perspective, good and evil become defined very differently. Good is what comes from in the Tree of Life and the heart of God (which are the source of Truth), furthering the Kingdom of God (His rule and reign) on earth.  Evil is what comes from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the mind and heart of man, hindering the will of God being done on earth.

Here’s a harsh statement that I only say because it’s true: much of what religious men, including Christians, see and do as good, God sees as evil.  I cannot put a blanket statement on each and every thing, nor am I the judge of anyone.  But I know that in God’s sight (which is very different than man’s), religion, including Christianity, is evil.  Again, not evil as we understand it in the sense of “bad,” but evil in the very real sense of being founded in the mind and will of man, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and therefore a distraction and hindrance to God’s kingdom.  Men presume to know what God desires and what His Kingdom should look like and then go about doing that, but God sees and labels the result “evil.”  Those who practice this religious evil avoid the “light” of God’s spirit and Jesus’ teachings because it will expose (literally: “reprimand”) their work.  Regardless of how good it appears in our own eyes, everything done from the mind of man, the Tree of Knowledge, is evil in God’s sight because it is a distraction from and hindrance to the Kingdom of God.

We aren’t the King. What we like, what makes sense to us, the way we think things should be, doesn’t really matter at all. We have to deny ourselves – our religious selves! if we’re truly going to be disciples of Jesus and walk as sons of God.  Let’s welcome and seek out the light of God’s spirit within, to expose what is evil and let us repent.  Let’s honor our Father and seek to have all our works be “done in God,” not our religious selves.  As always, I include myself in these things.  Amen.

  1. John 3:20-21 WEB ®

  2. Luke 4:18

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Elementary

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“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, which will cause the burning heavens to be dissolved, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?”1

A friend of mine on Facebook (hey Rob!) recently posted some comments on the verses above, which stirred up some things in me. He noted that this passage is speaking primarily, if not exclusively, of the destruction of everything that has its origin or foundation in the blind nature and mind which mankind inherited from Adam.  THAT is what the arrival of the day of the Lord/day of God will destroy, and if you keep reading, I think you’ll see that to believe such isn’t as farfetched as it may sound.

First, let’s look at this statement: “the elements will be dissolved/melt with fervent heat…” If read in a physical sense, this is saying that the materials and minerals of the earth will reach such a high temperature that they will melt and dissolve, likely killing anyone unfortunate enough to be around while the earth melts beneath them.  No doubt thousands of sermons have been preached with that very understanding. But that’s a surface-level, physical understanding. Let’s look deeper, where the good stuff is.

The Greek word translated “elements” here is stoicheion. Would it surprise you to learn that in the other 5 places stoicheion is found in the Bible, it’s clearly NOT referring to anything physical? Stoicheion actually means the fundamental components or most basic parts of a system or way of operation. It is the basic “elements” of Adam’s fallen way of perception and operation that will be destroyed by “fervent heat” and thereby help usher in the Kingdom of God on earth. I believe the fervent heat is actually God’s presence, like Hebrews states: “Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that can’t be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”2 Our God isn’t just a fire, but specifically a consuming fire, which melts and dissolves whatever isn’t refined and pure (that is, whatever remains of Adam’s corrupt, fallen nature and way).

Here are the other 5 uses of stoicheion in the New Testament:

  • “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements (stoicheion) of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:3-5 KJV)
  • “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles (stoicheion) of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years!” (Galatians 4:9-10 ESV) -One of the fundamental “elements” of Adam’s fallen world is to relate to God through fear and law. This is one of the “elements” that is being melted and dissolved by the arrival of the day of the Lord.
  • “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles (stoicheion) of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food…” (Hebrews 5:12 ESV)
  • “Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements (stoicheion) of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 WEB (R))   -It’s really plain here what stoicheion refers to: the “vain” mind and way of natural man, who inherited Adam’s spiritual death and continue to live there.
  • “If you died with Christ from the elements (stoicheion) of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, ‘Don’t handle, nor taste, nor touch…’” (Colossians 2:20-21 WEB (R))

Much more could be said, and much more remains hidden, at least to me. But I think and hope this short look will challenge your way of thinking and help bring you into line with things as God knows them to be. Once the spirit of God reveals the spiritual nature of the scriptures and of God’s present and future plan for mankind, the real journey begins. Don’t be afraid to change your way of understanding when new light is revealed – that’s what repentance is, and it’s essential. I love you all in Christ; God bless you.
1. 2 Peter 3:10-12 WEB (R)
2. Hebrews 12:28-29 WEB (R)

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Walking on Spiritual Paths

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The admonition to walk or live “according to the spirit”  is given in a few places in scripture, primarily Romans 8 and Galatians 5.  One can only walk one of two ways:  according to the flesh, or according to the spirit, and the two are opposed.  

Let’s be careful not to become too casual or familiar with spiritual concepts.  If you think you’ve grasped a concept or idea, you quit looking any deeper into it, and the deep places are where God’s heart is.  It’s also true that anything one encounters regularly tends to seem less important.  

Along that line, I strongly encourage us all to refuse to accept pat answers and dumbed-down understandings.  We have to be careful here too, because many of these make a lot of sense to the natural mind and are given by well-respected, talented men.  My question is this: what exactly does it mean to live or walk “according to the spirit?”  The dumbed-down answer (to this and most every spiritual question) boils down to “acting better and believing the right things.”  Often, this consists of some combination of reading the bible, praying, attending church or Bible studies/small groups, quitting bad behaviors (“sins”), and witnessing to others about Jesus.

One problem is, it’s possible to do all those things without truly pursuing or loving God.  The classic example is becoming (emotionally) “hyped up” at a church retreat of some sort, or to get (emotionally) “convicted” after listening to a hellfire sermon, causing one to clean up behavior, attend church, read the Bible, pray, or witness more.  But once the emotion fades, the old ways are back in full force.   In these cases, there was no spiritual change, because the spirit doesn’t fluctuate like emotions do.  Likewise, I’ve seen people who do truly love and seek God, whose behavior was sub-par at times and who were not involved in church activities and did not have a set “devotional” time.  Thus, walking in the spirit has to be more than a reformation of behavior, change of beliefs, or an increase in religious activity, even if there is a zeal for God behind them.

What does scripture actually say?  Romans 8 gives some interesting insight into this issue.  Keep this in mind as you read: Flesh = natural things, whose origin is man, whether good or bad.  Spirit = supernatural things, whose origin is God, and are beyond “good” or “bad.”  Romans 8: 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  Galatians 5:25 adds: “If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit.”  The essence of living according to the spirit is to be spiritually-minded: to think, see, perceive, and understand all things according to the spirit of God – His light, His life, His understanding, which are given or imparted to His sons through Jesus Christ.  The essence of walking in the spirit is to stay in that place; to refuse to let the natural (“fleshly”) mind influence one’s understanding and perception.  Rather than behavior, it’s about the location one’s awareness and source of life is rooted in.  Again, in every single case, this will either be: 1). In the flesh, meaning according to logic, reason, human understanding, and anything originating with man, or 2). In the spirit, meaning according to revealed truth from the spiritual realm, apart from logic and reason (though not necessarily contradictory to them). 

If these things are so, we have to unlearn our old patterns of looking shallowly at behavior which never reaches God, but only brings guilt, pride, or quiet hopelessness.  Instead, let’s see and believe that Jesus dealt with sin once for all, and truly BE free to get our focus off ourselves and onto establishing the kingdom of God, where those who live and walk in the spirit are to get spiritual treasures and bring them to bear here and now.  In other words, cast off every appearance of the flesh, whether good or bad, and like a baby, learn all over how to walk with spiritual “legs” on spiritual paths. 

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Father’s Good Pleasure (Rich Toward God pt. 3)

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“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”1  -Jesus Christ

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”2

Jesus and the first apostles said often that God’s children are not to fear.  The ultimate reason behind that exhortation is always the love of God the Father I believe fear and love are opposites.  Fear is a driving force of the blind soul (mind, life) of man, while love is a driving force of man’s divine spirit.  Fear is rooted in insecurity and leads to self-focus of a million different forms.  Love is rooted in being secure in God and is absent of self-awareness. 

*Note: You can skip this paragraph if you’re familiar with the parable I examined in parts 1 and 2 of the “Rich Toward God” blogs.  If not, here’s a quick refresher: a man has fields that produce a harvest larger than his barns can hold.  He reasons within himself and decides to build bigger barns, store up all his produce, and take it easy for years to come.  God then visits him and tells him he’s foolish, because his life is being taken and all he planned or worked for will not benefit him at all.  Jesus says this is how it will be for everyone who stores up treasure for themselves and are not “rich toward God,” meaning to have an abundance of the spiritual things God finds valuable. 

The verses immediately following this parable (22-34 or so) are probably more well-known to most Christians, but many (like me until just recently) don’t seem to realize they are a continuation of the train of thought which began with the preceding parable.  It’s important to note that while the parable was given to the crowd that gathered around Jesus, the teaching that followed is said to be given exclusively to his disciples; to the few who truly and consistently followed him.  Therefore what he said doesn’t necessarily apply to those on the “broad way” who claim to follow Jesus but in reality just want their needs supplied.

In these verses, the first thing Jesus instructs his disciples is to “take no thought” or “do not be anxious/worried/preoccupied” regarding physical needs such as food and clothing! He then reminds his disciples that life goes beyond what is sustained by physical food, and the body goes beyond the physical shell we clothe.  Jesus said that though we are worth much more than birds or flowers, His Father yet provides food for the birds who have no barns (unlike the rich man) and He beautifully clothes the flowers though they don’t toil (unlike the rich man again).  Worrying about and trying to prolong or benefit our natural life (like the rich man did) is contrary to the way of a follower of Jesus, and storing up earthly treasures for ease or security will actually tie down one’s heart (awareness, devotion) to the earth.  That’s “no bueno” for a someone seeking to follow the spiritual path of their master.

Here’s Jesus conclusion: 

“For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”3

It’s interesting, there are two different Greek words used for “seek” in this passage.  The nations of the world “epizeteo” selfish needs such as food, clothing, ease and security.  Epizeteo means to seek selfishly, in order to satisfy a desire or craving.  Jesus said that instead, or differently, his followers are to “zeteo” the kingdom of God, which means to seek with no strings attached, simply for the worth or beauty of the thing sought.  Zeteo is actually a form of worship.

Again, God is well aware that His children have physical needs, and His kingdom (rule, dominion) includes them.  Therefore, Jesus can say this next:  “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.4

Isn’t that beautiful and exciting?  God found it good and fitting to give the kingdom to the “little” flock that followed Jesus.  In the first chapters of Acts, we can see some of what the spirit of Christ in them began to do, under his headship.  There are two types of seekers: needers and worshipers.  I think still today it is God’s “good pleasure” to give the kingdom to those who seek it as worshipers, as those who want God to be glorified regardless of their own ease or security.  Those who seek the kingdom and righteousness of God in order to know and worship Him don’t need to fear or worry about their physical needs. 

Do you ever find yourself, with no ulterior motive, stirred to know, worship and give glory to God?  Do you have even a small desire or inkling to be free of religion, pat answers and bland doctrines?  If so, I pray that desire is fanned into flame.  However small or weak your desire may seem, use it.  I think the “flock” of true disciples today is still relatively little, but I also hope and believe this flock will grow.  It will require a revolution, though.  Come, Lord Jesus.   

 

  1. Luke 12:32 NASB
  2. Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV 
  3. Luke 12:30-31 ESV  
  4. Luke 12:32 ESV  

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Source of Corruption and Source of Love

“…He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Peter 1:4)

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)

I noticed something striking as I read the passage from 2 Peter above.  In it, Peter actually tells us the source of the corruption in the world and how one can escape it!  I’m not claiming to fully understand or explain everything contained in that verse, I just want to show you some things that became clearer as I looked at this passage closer, some things I think will be quite helpful.  Understanding, I believe, is a prerequisite of manifestation. 

The corruption in the world has come, we are told, by means of “lust,” which is translated from the underlying Greek word epithumia.  Today we often associate lust with sex, but epithumia is more broad, essentially meaning “craving or passionate desire.”  It usually, but not always, refers to a craving for something forbidden or self-serving.

“Corruption” in scripture broadly refers to everything outside of God’s kingdom, because ultimately, everything outside of God’s kingdom will be destroyed.1  (I think that in a very real sense, even now God only “sees” those things that are part of His kingdom, but that’s another issue).  Everything of this physical world, as well as everything that has it’s origin in the heart and mind of man, apart from the spirit of God, is corruption.  It is all passing away.

In 2 Peter 1, I believe corruption is referring specifically to the nature of man, which has been fearful and self-preserving since Adam’s disobedience, and which violates Christ’s law of love.   This corrupt nature gives rise to all variety of self-serving desires (lusts) within man, and these desires lead to all sorts of wickedness, oppression, deceit, inequality, fraud, callousness, and abuse. 

The opposite of this corrupt nature is the divine nature of love, which is entirely unselfish.2 Love is the antidote for the corruption that manifests in our lusts.  If one is walking in love, one won’t be craving things that are outside God’s kingdom.  The good, useful, and pleasant things of this earth which the world lusts after are seen by those with God’s love as tools to be used or gifts to be enjoyed with thankfulness.  Walking in the love of God leads to one’s awareness set on  God and the spiritual realm, one’s desire to further His kingdom, and one’s heart to delight in the beauty and worth of spiritual things of God Himself such as love, mercy, faith, hope, peace, glory, kindness, and truth.  True love brings contentment in serving God in spirit, no matter what one’s situation is on earth. 

So, if love is so important, the question is: how does one get love?  There’s never a “do this” answer to spiritual questions, and spiritual things are never owned or possessed like some commodity.  Genuine love is always produced naturally, meaning without effort (though not without suffering).  Love is produced within you only as the one who is love manifests in you.  As your selfish, corrupt “Adamic” source of life diminishes (you die), by grace (God’s influence upon you), through faith (revealed truth), you are able to possess and express more of the new source of life, which is Christ himself and full of love (you are saved).  Love becomes your nature when Christ is revealed in you, and it grows progressively as his life is progressively revealed in you. 

This process happens as in our spirits (not our minds) we come to truly know, see, and apprehend what God has done in Christ and how God now sees us – having died and risen with Christ.  I believe God grants this “knowing” and “seeing” to those who are humble and desperate.  Scripture refers to the power that makes spiritual reality known as “light.”  This light, scripture says, is to dawn and shine in our hearts,3 making the promises of God real in our experience.  Peter rephrases this same idea in 2 Peter 1, stating we are to become “partakers of the divine nature,” i.e. the nature of love!  To partake of the divine nature actually means to have the same nature as God, to share in His life, to be one of His very kind, in the same vein as Jesus Christ himself.  Being separated (“having escaped,” 2 Peter 1 puts it) from the lust and corruption found in the lusts of our Adamic nature is simply a byproduct of this process.  In this season, this is what it’s all about.  

 

  • 1. 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, Hebrews 12:26-27
  • 2. 1 Corinthians 13:5
  • 3. 2 Peter 1:19, 1 John 2:8
 
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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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