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We ARE It (Without Hands pt. 1)

I’ve written many times about the fact that in Christ/Spirit, we have died and risen into new life.  In Colossians 2:11-13 (ESV), Paul uses the illustration of physical circumcision to make this same point:

“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…” 

There are several important things Paul states about this spiritual circumcision. First, it only exists “in him,” meaning in Christ/Spirit.  It’s not something that is seen in the physical body or felt with physical senses.  Second, it was done “without hands,” meaning that man had no part in it and cannot alter it.  Third, this circumcision didn’t cut off a foreskin, but the entire “body of the flesh.”  By doing this, God did what man couldn’t (and still can’t) – end the flesh. As God sees, in the Spirit, EVERYTHING which has been birthed from the “seed” of man is condemned, dead, taken away.  Fourth, Paul says God did this while men were dead in trespasses and (spiritual) uncircumcision.  We didn’t “earn” this, it was done in God’s timing and by His decision.  Paul says by cutting off the flesh, God was forgiving all trespasses and uniting men with Christ, making them alive TOGETHER with him. Needless to say, a radical change has taken place!  This change, for those with eyes to see, is not in the physical world, and not in the darkness within or outside of us.  Those things remain dead.  This change is in the Spirit, which then alters our perception of and relationship to everything, and which ultimately will consume all that is not in accordance with it!  

In a recent post, I mentioned some questions I wanted to address in light of these things.  Here are a few of these:

1. How should we relate to other people?  

-I agree with Paul, who in 2 Corinthians 5:16 wrote believers are to “know no man after the flesh.”  Knowing that in the light of the new covenant, all flesh has been cut off and put away, and all men reconciled to God, we will not relate to people (positively or negatively) based off what is dead and cut off.  It’s unnatural and often very difficult to walk this way, but I think the term for it is LOVE.  For example, In 2 Corinthians 5:14, Paul wrote: “…the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded (recognized) this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died…”  In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul also famously wrote that love keeps no record of wrongs, is longsuffering and kind and never quits.  I believe this is because love is based on the eternal, accomplished fact that Christ died for all, as all, reconciling all men to God, who is no longer counting sins against anyone. 

 

2. What should our relationship be to the world? (I define “world” not as planet earth, but as the systems and values that have been founded and established by man on the earth).  

Again, scripture answers this quite clearly:  

  • “…the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  -Galatians 6:14

  • “…all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” -1 John 2:16-17 ESV

Recognizing the cross of Christ was our cross too, and that his resurrection was our resurrection too, we will not make any firm attachments to anything still founded on the old creation, nor will we let its values or deceitful desires enter our hearts.

3. What is our relationship to religion?  

-We realize that God is satisfied in His son, and places no value on anything except an increase of His spirit.  In the new creation, there is no benefit (nor intrinsic harm) in any outward observances of any kind.  The only obligation we have is to love one-another.  Seeing the mind and hand of natural man underlying all forms of religion, and knowing natural man is spiritually dead, we simply leave religion be, calling men to come out of it as the Spirit reveals the new creation within them.  We then follow the Spirit in freedom and Life, outside of pretense and ritual.

4. What do we make of it when we still “sin?,” if we have died and been raised with Christ?  

– First, let us remember, according to scripture, Jesus became sin on our behalf, took away the sin of the world, and God is no longer reckoning sin against anyone.  So while sin exists (in a sense), it is, in the final analysis, a moot point, a defeated foe, a nullified issue, and one that we would be much better off not worrying about at all.

Assuming this is true and we are reckoned sinless and have been raised to new life in Christ, it is still the case that the MANIFESTATION of this reality is not instant or painless.  We remain human, and scripture gives many examples of carnal behavior even among the early church.  Even when we genuinely are seeking the Kingdom, it often takes time for us to let go of habits and attachments that were formed in darkness, especially those deeply-rooted issues which often develop from traumatic experiences and subconcious lies.  It also often takes time to unlearn and undo the fear-based, self-focused way of relating to God many of us were raised under.  And because some of these things remain, sometimes old behaviors/habits persist for a time, or temporarily return.    

But, the key thing is, having died with Christ, we know these things are not “us.”  As Paul wrote in Romans 7, it was not he (Christ, his true identity) that sinned, but the vestiges of sin (the old man/Adam) that remained within him.  Knowing Christ alone is alive, he sought and suffered to see that truth become the manifest reality of his existence.  Knowing any old, sinful ways are not “us” and are not being held against us, we can avoid the two deadly errors: either thinking we “have it” and becoming proud, or thinking we “don’t have it” and becoming discouraged and fearful.  We don’t “have it” or “not have it.”  We ARE it!   It’s just a matter of revelation, refining, and manifestation.  

Here’s what I mean by “we are it.”  A few scriptures speak of purification or refining, which is a process that identifies and removes foreign material so only the valued substance remains.  In the same sense, the Spirit isn’t working to make us something new or better, but simply to identify and consume what ISN’T our true and valuable nature – Christ/Spirit/love.  As we yield to the Spirit’s gentle work, painful as it may be, the falsehoods and impurities are removed, making us become MANIFESTLY a new creation in the process.  It may not look like the ideal person religion has presented, but more like Jesus.

~

Father, renew our minds and hearts to the reality of the new creation.  Let us always remember that in the end, the “hands” of man are useless.  May Christ, our life, be manifested, unhindered by our own efforts or misunderstandings.   Thank you that you removed sin and are not dealing with us accordingly.  May we be the same, for ourselves and others, that fear might diminish, and love and wisdom grow.  Amen.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2017 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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Knit Together in Love

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“For I desire to have you know how greatly I struggle for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden.”
(Colossians 2:1-3 WEB (R))

“Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. 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.”                 “…Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forevermore, that I don’t cause my brother to stumble.”
(1 Corinthians 8:1-3,13 WEB (R))

Let’s be real for a minute.  Do you or I sense our hearts being “knit together” with others IN LOVE?  In other words, are we coming to a consensus of agreement regarding our genuine oneness and unity with one-another in Christ, and does this cause us to care for each-other as ourselves and esteem each-other higher than ourselves?  In love, are we bearing with patience and kindness the ways of ignorant and fearful men, despite the pain and hardship that this brings our way?  If not, we’re not following the way of Christ, it’s as simple as that.  In the end, what matters isn’t knowing the Bible, moral behavior or refraining from “sin,” but loving one-another as ourselves.1  What matters, according to Paul, is “faith working through love.“2  This means the essential thing is being able to see through the eyes of the Spirit rather than our (often religious) mind and understanding, and in so doing, relating to men based on the finished work of the cross which was the death of every man, whether they know it or not.  If we really see this, we will be able to walk in love and kindness and towards even the cruelest person.

These things come by divine revelation, to anyone who genuinely seeks.  However, one has to be willing to give up what he or she has known and worked for, totally and finally, in order to be taught by the spirit, because the Spirit will ALWAYS differ from anything that was devised by man.  It’s true there are people gifted or called to teach, but those who are following the Spirit will ultimately point you to the one true teacher within you – the anointing of God’s spirit.3  A few months ago, a friend of mine referred to me as a “theologian.”  While I suppose in a way that is correct, I have no desire (actually I have a desire AGAINST) being labeled such by any institution or person.  In truth, I am just one member of the corporate, worldwide body of Christ.

This blog, which I’ve updated regularly since 2012, is primarily aimed at teaching and explaining the ways of God and correcting the numerous falsehoods within Christianity.  I cannot help but continue to point out the irony I see and the frustration I feel at the fact that the religion which uses Christ’s name has often served to hinder the very things Jesus Christ promoted and labored for.  For example, so much of Christianity promotes morality and self-righteousness, instead of love, resulting in criticism and self-righteousness instead of mercy and truth.  It promotes the hierarchies, institutions, traditions and doctrines of men instead of the manifestation of sonship and the establishment of the Father’s Kingdom on earth!

I have no intentions of ceasing to create new posts, and have a few in the works right now.  However, I think you will notice in the future a greater emphasis on love, as this is where the Spirit is leading me. Especially since reading about and listening to the story and teachings of “Peace Pilgrim” a few months ago, I am sensing a real and lasting change in my heart toward the realization of my unity with mankind, and toward demonstrating love for all men in more practical ways.  I am noticing this same trend among other believers as well.  Even after 15 years as a true believer, I am still often surprised by how the way of the Father differs from mine.  Anything devised in the mind or heart of man, no matter how well-intentioned, will always, at its core, be self-serving and based on fear.  Anything devised by the Spirit will be based on love and the edification of others.

Right now, I invite and challenge anyone reading this to ask and seek the Father that His vision of things and the love of His spirit might take over your heart.  I invite you to stand firm on the truth that God is good and that our very life and being are in Him – therefore, we can rest assured that His ways are worth losing ours for!  As sons of God, we don’t lack anything and we don’t need to hold on to things when others need them more than we do.  I hope we all will see that sharing, giving, and laying down our lives for others will not result in “death” as our flesh thinks, but will actually produce life! 

There is nothing harder on the flesh than love, but there’s also nothing more divine. The world actually needs less religion, not more.  It needs less sin-awareness, less self-focus of doom and gloom.  It needs to see the love of God displayed in real ways, and to be pointed to the spirit within.  It needs to have fear replaced by love and death by life, and sons of God are the ones to bring this to fruition.  So be it.

 

  1. John 13:34, Matthew 22:39.

  2. Galatians 5:6

  3. 1 John 2:27

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Light of Life

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“Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.'”1

Recently, some friends of mine presented to me the teaching of Richard Rohr on the “true” and “false” selves, which I believe are the same things as what others have called the flesh and the spirit, the old man and the new man, or Adam and Christ.  What Mr. Rohr teaches is essentially that the false self is the identity we have given to ourselves – an identity which consists of who we see ourselves as and who we believe we should be.  The false self is often based on our life experiences and our daily roles and duties.  It is tainted by selfishness and warped by fear.  The true self, he says, is who we are beyond and underneath all expectations, experiences, fears, and pain.  The true self, he says, is the only one who is born of God, and it must be uncovered and allowed to dominate our awareness. 

Another thing I’ve thought about is Jesus’ title as “the light of the world.”  What does this mean?  Think about this: light has two important functions, which operate together: 1). To reveal or manifest what is real and true, and 2). To dispel darkness and false ideas of what is real and true. When you turn on the light in a dark room, two things happen: you learn what is in the room, and you learn what isn’t in the room.  So if Christ gives light, what reality or truth does his light enable us to see and apprehend?  Could it be that this light which Christ shines illuminates and thus reveals a distinction (which is what “judgment” actually means) between what is of God (spirit and truth), and what is of man (flesh and falsehood)?  Perhaps a primary thing Christ came to enlighten men about is that the spirit of God is within them (the true self), and that we can walk as sons of God simply by attending to and living from that life which is within us, while denying our self-preserving old nature.  Spiritually, in the absence of light (darkness), there can be no reality, only the imaginations of men, which can certainly produce wonderful emotions and great religions, but never life.

The arrival of Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy that the time of “darkness” was ending:

  • (Matthew 4:13-16 KJV):  “…He came and dwelt in Capernaum…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying:  ‘…the people which sat in darkness (all men, ultimately) saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up'”.
  • (Luke 1:67, 76-79 KJV):  “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying…And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death…”  Notice that according to God, law-keeping Israel, who Jesus was sent to, were sitting in “darkness” and “the shadow of death!”
  • (Luke 2:25-32 WEB (R)):  “Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. He came in the Spirit into the temple. When the parents brought in the child, Jesus, that they might do concerning him according to the custom of the law, then he received him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now you are releasing your servant, Master, according to your word, in peace; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples; a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Paul taught that believers were once in darkness, but in Christ are now in the light:

  • (Acts 26:22-23): …I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen, how the Christ must suffer, and how, by the resurrection of the dead, he would be first to proclaim light both to these people and to the Gentiles.”
  • (Ephesians 5:8): “For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…”
  • (1 Thessalonians 5:5): “You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night, nor to darkness…”
  • (2 Corinthians 4:6):  “…seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
  • (1 Peter 2:9):  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light…”

This post is just scratching the surface…I’m already working on a part 2 that goes deeper.  For now, I just hope you are seeing that all believers are to live “in the light” and be a source of light for others.  This doesn’t mean living a moral life (as I’ve said many times before, atheists and “religious” folks can both be very moral), nor does it mean merely “witnessing” to others about Jesus, which can be done in your own power and from a wrong motive.  The light that we are to walk in and shine is the LIFE of God – His spirit within us, our “true self.”  The defining characteristic of this life is self-sacrificing love which is naturally produced (though still painful at times), and a desire for communion with God in Spirit and Truth.  Again, Jesus said those who follow him will have “the light OF life.”  It’s a life and light that is within us, right now.  You don’t need to beg, do something, or go somewhere to get it.  Just realize it’s there and seek to uncover it.  This isn’t automatic or always easy, but it is very possible, absolutely revolutionary, and spiritually necessary.  Stay tuned my friends.  God bless you.

 

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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You Died

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If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. (Col 3:1-4 WEB (R))

Would you be surprised to learn that you’re dead?  It’s true, and scripture declares it clearly and repeatedly.  We can believe it, even before we understand it.  The verses below lead to this startling though emphatic conclusion:  we died with Christ, and are therefore dead right now.  Confused?  Keep reading!  Each verse states our death with Christ in the past-tense, meaning it has already occurred and cannot be changed.  We don’t have to put ourselves to death – we already died!  And if we died, that means what we often call ou

  • Romans 6:4: “We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death…”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14: “…we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died.”
  • Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me.”
  • Colossians 2:20: “If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why…”
  • Colossians 3:3: “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:11: “This saying is faithful: ‘For if we died with him, we will also live with him.’

Let’s see if we can grasp these two verses; Colossians 3:3-4, which say: “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When (literally: “whenever”) Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.”

Most of us have missed or ignored the “you died” part, and been taught to think these verses somehow mean our “true” life will begin when we die, or when Jesus returns from heaven at the end of the world.  But that’s not what this is saying at all.  This says our death has already happened and our life being revealed with Christ is a reality now.  For example, in Galatians 2:20, Paul says he had died and Christ was “living in him at that moment.  A better translation of Colossians 3:4 is: “Any time Christ, which is our life, is made apparent, our life will be made apparent with him in glory.”  In a nutshell, this says that a great change has taken place, that “we” died and Christ is our identity.  Where and what Christ is, is where and what we are.

So how did we die?  What does that mean?  Whether we see the full expression of this or not, Jesus’ death was the death of all men (see 2 Corinthians 5:14 above), ending Adam’s reign in man and on earth, and his resurrection was the beginning of Christ’s.  As Paul wrote, Jesus was the “last Adam and the “second man.”8  Just like Adam was once the identity and life of all men, Christ is now the identity and life of all men, if they will just see and accept it.  I believe it is precisely because Christ is our life and identity that scripture says things like: we are eternally perfect, free from condemnation, beloved, accepted, complete, unable to sin, at rest, free from law, desiring to do good, full of love and peace, anointed, etc. These things are true of Christ, not of our old nature (Adam).  To begin to walk in their reality, we have to renew our mind to who and what we truly are, and put off the old things.

That brings me to another very important point: while what we might call our “old nature” (referred to as the flesh, Adam’s nature, the sinful nature, the carnal nature, the old man, the natural man, the human soul, the false self, the carnal mind, etc.) is dead, it isn’t “gone.”  The New Testament often speaks of “death” in a spiritual sense, where “dead” means condemned, without life, irrelevant, obsolete, thrown away.  Because of this, God has no recognition or dealings with our dead nature at all, and neither should we.1  Self-awareness is spiritually lethal.  God doesn’t hold the badness of our dead nature against us, nor does He reward us for its goodness!  If something is dead/obsolete, it is simply put away and forgotten.  All that matters is the increase of Christ in and through us.  The mind of Christ eats from the tree of life, but our natural/Adamic mind continually eats from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, remaining carnal and dead.  It can’t be improved or changed; it must be totally shunned and left in desolation.  If we don’t put off the old, we can and will continue to walk in death – Adam’s nature.  The most dangerous thing of all is to remain in death, but call it life.  Religion is full of that – labeling dead things as spiritual or divine.  It’s a terrible deception.

Let me give an imperfect and inadequate illustration, though hopefully still a helpful one.  Let’s say you are hired by a kind, generous, wealthy landowner to mow a large plot of land, mowing sections of it every day.  On your first day, you arrive with your own mower, which has been handed down for generations in your family, which looks like this.  Although this mower is slow, difficult, dirty, and inefficient, it’s all you’ve ever known, so you just make do. However, there is a mowing manual that describes what the landowner desires this plot to look like, as well as some of the wonderful enjoyment and excellent results which other people have had mowing similar plots owned by this wealthy landowner.  To your dismay, no matter how hard you try, how badly you want to, or how much you sharpen and oil your mower, you find mowing to be difficult, and are consistently unable to measure up to all the manual’s descriptions.  This causes discouragement and even fear and worry over the landowner’s disappointment.   You cope by reassuring yourself that the landowner is merciful, and you frequently send Him letters thanking him for His mercy and asking him to forgive your poor results and mistakesDespite that, you wish you could do better. One day, someone tells you that there is an unlocked barn nearby on the property with a seemingly endless supply of these, which the landowner purchased, expecting and hoping His mowers will use it.  You are so shocked and amazed, that at first you can barely believe it.  Almost everyone you know uses the same old style of mower you do, and some of them have seemed happy to do so for decades. Quite a few seem proud of how hard they work and how much they sacrifice to mow their plot with their old mower. You realize, however, that these people don’t really understand what’s in the manual and how far short they are really coming to the landowner’s desires. In any event, when you realize the free and permanent gift of the new mower is true, it dawns on you that this your family’s mower was obsolete (“dead”) all along, and that no one could truly have followed the manual while using it.  When you realize the landowner understood this, and wasn’t upset at you for getting bad results with a “dead” mower, your view of Him changes. He wasn’t expecting the impossible and he wasn’t angry with you for falling shortYou’re even a bit embarrassed by all the letters you sent him, apologizing for things He wasn’t upset about in the first place. The Landowner was mostly just waiting for you to begin using the second mower, which he freely provided.  You begin learning and using the second mower while unlearning the habits and expectations you had formed while using the first. You find your results and enjoyment begin to match what is written in the manual, and are excited to honor the landowner by using His gift and beautifying His land.

Admittedly, this illustration falls short in several ways, one of which is that God doesn’t “give” us Christ, but placed us in him!  But I still think it’s helpful.  As is probably obvious: the landowner = God the Father, plot of ground = our time on earth, first mower = old/natural/carnal/Adamic nature, manual = Bible, letters to landowner = prayers, second mower = nature of Christ in us, other mowers = fellow believers.   Now, in this scenario, why would someone ever continue to use the first mower?  I can think of a few reasons.  Maybe they don’t realize it is available, or don’t believe it.  Maybe they don’t know how to use the new mower, so they get discouraged or believe it really doesn’t work.  Maybe they don’t know how to keep gas in it, so they do well only for a while.  Maybe the high standards described in the manual are so intimidating, it’s easier to stay limited by using the first mower.  Maybe they are so familiar and comfortable with the first mower that it’s scary to change, or maybe because everyone they know still uses the first mower, changing would cause tension or persecution and so it’s easier to just keep going the way they always have.

The ramifications of our identity as Christ are both exciting and sobering.  If it is true, then our call and potential are much higher than if we were truly just “saved sinners.”  The appropriate results using an 1800’s push mower are far different from those using a 2016 riding mower.  While we, as Christ, are not under condemnation2 or any religious obligation,3 Christ in us contradicts what remains of Adam.  We have freedom to grow in the Father’s love, but Christ humbly serves others, loves those who mistreat him/her, and seeks the Father’s will and Kingdom above all else.  Seeing Christ as our identity and life is glorious, but thinking, speaking and walking according to that life isn’t always easy, and many never do.  It leads to suffering of various kinds, often through rejection or persecution from those stuck in religion who remain fearful, proud, and blind.  I have also found it takes desire, time and effort to learn to inwardly connect with and follow Christ instead of my old nature. While the way of Christ is full of challenges and even suffering, the glory of being manifested as a being of wisdom and light and love and peace and joy, just as Jesus was, outweighs any cost.

The truth is, you are not a “saved sinner.”  That is no longer your identity.  You are Christ!  It’s true!  I’m not saying you or I are the equal of Jesus, because we’re not, and never will be.  I’m saying we are individual members of Christ’s body,6 and together, we are the fullness of Christ on the earth.4  This makes Christ our identity, who we are, and God intended and accomplished this in JesusThis is a precious, glorious, amazing, sobering truth!  It’s not something to take and use selfishly, it’s something to rejoice in and submit to!  When Christ’s body realizes who and what it is, and connects with its head (Christ himself), we will again see the manifestation of Christ on the earth, just as we did 2,000 years ago in Jesus.  Perhaps the biggest limitation the church has had is identifying as “human” and “natural” and “sinful,”  which do not describe us, and never have. 

I understand this may sound heretical or crazy to some, and you are certainly free to disagree with me.  I’ll love you anyway.  However, I hope you won’t let offense or fear stop you from seeing the truth in the scriptures I quoted, and more importantly, from connecting with the truth of your inward being.  I don’t claim to know or fully live up to all of this, but I’m seeing it and growing in it.  If we can learn to silence our restless minds and let go of our own beliefs, allowing ourselves to simply be in God’s presence without agenda or distraction, humbly seeking His mind and His heart instead of validation of our own way, I believe some of these things will begin to make sense and the Spirit will reveal things that we couldn’t have seen on our own.  As 1 John 2:20, 27 says so plainly, you have no need for a man to teach you, but Christ, the anointing/spirit of God within you is your only teacher.  Trust and connect with Christ within you, and be taught there inwardly.7  You will find truth if you do.  Christ resides in you now, because that’s who you have been made to be.  What a gift!  God bless you.

 

  1. Romans 12:1-2, 6:11
  2. Romans 8:1
  3. Romans 13:8-10
  4. 1 John 4:17
  5. 2 Corinthians 5:21
  6. Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 6:15, 12:12, 27
  7. 1 John 2:20,27
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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From, Through, and Into

CSIRO_ScienceImage_2933_Nautilus_shell

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of (from) whom are all things, and we in (into, for) Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by (through) whom are all things, and we by (through) him.”  –1 Corinthians 8:6

What this verse says is essentially this:

  • There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things.
  • There is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things.
  • Our life and being is directed into the Father, through Christ.

That’s so amazing I could end this post right now.  The more I seek God without agenda or preconception, the more I see that the authors of the Bible, the first apostles of Christ himself, were all what we would call today “mystics,” who taught union with God, just as people of other belief systems have done for centuries!  There are differences too of course, the primary one being the apostles emphasized that life and union with God are only made possible through Christ.  Nevertheless, union with God and being made spiritually alive are central themes of scripture that are often neglected.

  • “Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…”  -1 Peter 3:1.  Tobring us to God” doesn’t mean taking us to heaven.  It means awakening our spirit to connect with God’s spirit, right now…
  • “Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also.  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”  -John 14:19-20.  Again, our life is from God, in Christ, and Christ is our way into the Father.
  • “When all things have been subjected to him (Jesus Christ), then the Son will also himself be subjected to Him (the Father) who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all.”  -1 Corinthians 15:28.  “That God may be all in all.”  That’s the culmination I think.  There’s a mystery to it, but it’s amazing.
  • He (God, the Father) made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings, that they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might reach out for him and find him, though He is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’  Being then the offspring of God…”  -Acts 17:24-29.  Wait, so we are God’s offspring?  We live and move and have our being in Him?  These are all truths that are ours in Christ, right now.  Nothing needs to be or can be added to them.
  • “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  -Colossians 3:3.  You’re dead.  That’s repeated many times in scripture.  You were crucified with Christ.  If there’s one thing you and I need to see as a starting point, it’s that.  Our own life and everything it produces, good or bad, is dead in God’s sight.  Our life now is in Christ, and nowhere else.  Something being “hidden” means it’s concealed, buried.  Our new life is so concealed, buried, and intertwined within Christ that we’ll never find it apart from him.  Our life, which is with Christ, is found in God.  We are one with God right now, through Christ.  We aren’t God Himself, but we are joined to Him in a way far beyond what we see outwardly.

All but one of these verses in some way mentions both life and union with God.  Our natural tendency is to think of life and death in physical terms, but the Bible is speaking spiritually – being “alive” is to be connected with God, while to be dead is to be alienated from Him.  Scripture is clear that our life is in Christ, therefore Christ is our conduit of access to and union with God.  The Father deemed it that way.  The good news of the gospel is that we HAVE BEEN, ALREADY placed in Christ, thus made at peace with God and spiritually alive.  By virtue of being “in Christ,” we are spiritually seated in heaven right now, are adopted into the Father’s family right now, and are partakers of God’s divine nature, right now!  We lack nothing, because Christ, our life, lacks nothing.1  God sent Christ to be the first to enable and embody a new, spiritual life for all mankind, thus bringing union with God again (which Adam gave up by following Eve).

Again, these thing are realities now and forever.  The only thing that prevents access to them is the blinded, prideful human mind and soul.  Jesus referred to the inability of ALL men (Christians included) to apprehend truth apart from divine revelation as “darkness.”  Sin is taken care of.  What we need to fear and diligently seek to avoid is perceiving darkness as light,2 by taking things that originate in the mind of man as good and spiritual, and refusing to consider otherwise (repent).  I honestly believe the first step for a disciple of Jesus Christ, who will fulfill their call by the power of God as he did, is to see that since you and I are in Christ, we are also in the Father, and lack nothing, but have authority over our sphere of influence, NOW!  Glory to God!  Whatever you or I knew or valued before Christ, good or bad, let’s forget it and just be aware of God’s presence of peace, love, and joy within us, now.  Our soul might have turmoil, but our spirit is in Christ and at peace.  Amen!

 

  1. Ephesians 2:6, Romans 8:15, 2 Peter 1:4, Colossians 2:10.
  2. See Matthew 6:23. The New Living Translation reads: “But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”  -That’s not a literal translation, but I believe the idea is correct.  Darkness posing as light and proclaimed as light by influential men is the greatest, most dangerous darkness of all.
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Love, Life

tree-214094_640

“By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”1

“…Always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.”2

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is life, in the spiritual sense the term is used in scripture (I wrote about life and the law it a little bit here).  I think life is such a huge and important thing, but something we don’t really understand or possess naturally.  I lately had the realization that there is no life without love.  But what is love, and what does it look like to love God and love others?  That’s what I hope to look at a little bit here.  I pray the spirit of God takes these inadequate words and uses them to do what only he can – reveal truth to the soul.

Jesus and the first apostles had much to say about love, and many of their statements lead me to believe that in their eyes, love is the greatest and highest thing.  Jesus said the greatest love any man can have is to “lay down his life for his friends.”3  If that’s true, then understanding what it means to lay down your life should help us understand what love is.

In each of the several scriptures that mention laying down your life, the word “life” is a translation of the Greek word psuche, which is also frequently translated “soul.”  Psuche refers to the part of us that isn’t physical – our thoughts, emotions, opinions, will, desires, etc.  To lay these things down literally means to set them aside, to neglect them.  Therefore, the greatest love is to set aside and neglect your own rights, feelings, opinions and desires, no matter how justified or strong they are, in order to benefit your “friend.”  Love is always self-sacrificing, but to set aside your very soul in favor of another is the greatest love.

Jesus didn’t want believers to become Christians, but disciples; those who exactly follow their master’s teachings and way of life.  According to Jesus himself, to be his disciple you must do 3 things: deny yourself (lay down your life), take up your cross (endure hardship and opposition), and follow him (his example, his way).4  In John 13, Jesus knows his time on earth is coming to an end and he has only one more chance to make a statement to his disciples before he is crucified.  Here’s what he does: “Jesus…arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”5 

Notice that Jesus first “laid aside” his outer garments.  Lay aside and lay down are the exact same in Greek.  This is symbolic of laying down one’s life.  After Peter protested that Jesus was too good to wash his feet, Jesus said: “You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Most certainly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither one who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”6   If Jesus wasn’t above washing the feet of impure men, we absolutely aren’t either.  Jesus knew that in a few hours, Peter was going to deny him and Judas was going to betray him, but that’s wasn’t the point.  

Jesus said he came so that we may have LIFE in greater abundance (not necessarily an “abundant life” as men think of it).7  This life is the spirit of God active and powerful within us, but many of us seem to remain without much experience of this.  I believe one reason is that we have pursued life by knowledge and scripture, but what this life demands is love.  The cross we are to carry is the often painful laying down of our life that is the core of love – repaying good for evil, blessing when we are cursed, forgiving from the heart, showing unconditional kindness and mercy.  In fact, Jesus’ sole commandment to his followers is that we love one-another like he loved us – without condition or ego.8  In other words, that we lay down our lives.  When Jesus was on earth, though he had access to unmatched spiritual and natural authority on earth and in heaven, he didn’t assume the role of a God, superior to men.  Instead, he humbled himself and became a servant of men.  He took the lowest place, and helped elevate others.  He had no home, and all but a few rejected him in the end.  He often withdrew alone, and he shunned fame and notoriety.  If you want the divine life Christ came to give, you first have to lay down yours.  That’s love.

I pray this was edifying and challenging, and God willing I’ll have a part 2 of sorts posted soon.  As always, there is more, and deeper avenues to these things, seek them out!  God bless you. 

 

  1. 1 John 3:16 WEB (R)): 
  2. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 WEB (R))
  3. John 15:13
  4. Matthew 16:24
  5. John 13:3-5 WEB (R))
  6. John 13:13-17 WEB (R))
  7. John 10:10
  8. John 15:12
 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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