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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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Moses to Christ = Shadow to Substance

“Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”  -Hebrews 3:5,6

I’d like to expand on the meaning of this passage a bit.  Warning!  Rabbit trail immediately ahead, skip the portion in parenthesis if you wish.  (I realize that to some, it seems  pointless to examine the Greek meanings of Biblical words and phrases, but this isn’t always the case.  When I look at the Greek, I do so for one simple reason – I want to know the meaning that was being conveyed by the author!  There are many great English translations, but none are without any deficiency.  I prefer more literal translations, but I have also learned that a strict, literal interpretation from Greek to English might not make much sense unless you approach the text spiritually, which many translators didn’t.  In reference to the King James Version, I’ve heard it said that those who translated the text were “more interested in translation than in truth,” and priority number one for most translations is to make the text readable.  While this is understandable, it is also a problem if an awkward or strange literal meaning was conveying a spiritual truth.  This is just one example of why looking at the Greek can be useful). 

Notice that Moses was a faithful servant (meaning attendant) in God’s house.  It’s hard to overstate the importance of Moses’ role in regards to God’s plan for the Israelites of his day.  In Hebrews, Moses is basically being considered as the old covenant equivalent of Christ. Moses was THE go-between for God and all of Israel.  The Israelites actually said to Moses: “speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”2  Moses carried out this duty very well, and in Jesus’ day, Moses was still given the highest place of honor short of God Himself.

This is well and good, but Moses is long dead and most believers know (to an extent) that we aren’t under the law of Moses anymore.  So why would the author of Hebrews, who understood the new covenant very well, give such attention to Moses?  The reason is stated in the passage above: Moses’ ministry was for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later…”  This means God had a greater purpose behind Moses’ ministry.  All the laws, regulations and commands God gave to and through Moses were intended primarily to be a “testimony” – a physical, earthly representation – of this greater, ultimate spiritual purpose and reality which was to come thousands of years later in Christ.  In fact, all of the Old Testament stories, laws, and rules, (many of which seem strange and pointless), served this purpose in one way or another.  Amazing, isn’t it? 

Here’s the main contrast: Moses = attending servant in God’s house. He had no claim to rulership or authority over the house, he just was a faithful servant in the house. Jesus = son over God’s house (which consists of true believers!) Jesus had authority and rulership over God’s household which Moses never had.  Remember, Moses = servant, Jesus = son.  In a household, a servant, no matter how faithful and valuable they are, can never reach a status higher than a guest.  A son (or daughter) are and will always be a part of the household, an heir, an equal.  Jesus came to bring this transition; bringing carnal, law-aware servants into adoption as God-aware, spiritual sons.  He came to bring those who followed the shadow (the physical law of Moses) to those who possess the substance (spiritual reality).  It’s as stark a contrast as that between a reflection of an object and the object itself, or a drawing of a house and the house itself.  With the exact same thing in mind, John wrote: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”3  Paul wrote of this also, at length.4

Having laid this foundation, our passage states we are members of, participants in, and the very building materials of the house of God, “if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”  There always seems to be a pesky “if,” and we better not ignore it.  Having looked closely at the Greek, here’s what this means: “We are of God’s house if we seize and refuse to let go of the truth of the (radical) freedom of our sonship as well as the glorious rejoicing we have in the expectation of all that is given and promised, until these things fully mature within us and we take ownership of them.”  Amen!  I encourage you to re-read and meditate on these things, and look at the scriptures I referenced.  God bless you. 

  1. Hebrews 3:5,6
  2. Exodus 20:19
  3. John 1:17
  4. Primarily in the book of Galatians. Perhaps most clearly in 4:1-7.
 
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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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“Over-Spiritualizing” the Spirit

“Don’t “over-spiritualize” the spirit.”

Think about that a bit – it’s a word God spoke directly to me recently.  It blessed me just to hear Him, because in the unusually distracted and tired state I’ve been in for the past month or two, I haven’t been in communion with God like I want.  Regardless of the circumstances, when the spirit of God speaks to you, it’s encouraging.

This is a word spoken to me, not to everyone, yet I think it’s appropriate to share because it deals with an issue that others surely relate to. 

I am a bit unusual in that I am very interested in and open to the idea of spirit, as a distinct realm of reality and part of the makeup of mankind.  I also believe, with frustration and sadness, that Christianity is largely ignorant and devoid of genuine spiritual reality. Christianity is very aware and a great proponent of scripture, goodness, kindness, morality, doctrine, etc. I’m certainly not against these things and God isn’t either, but let it be known they have nothing to do with spirituality.

I think the essence of God’s exhortation could be stated like this: 

“Realize that “spirit” is not just a vague word or concept, and doesn’t mean anything like “good and godly things.”  Spirit is a realm of reality.  This realm is deeper than and lies beneath the physical realm that our bodies inhabit, but it is just as real – in fact in a sense it is more real.  You have to see it as a real realm with enormous importance, a realm you can and must access and walk in.  Then and only then you can begin to journey on the way of My son, Jesus.” 

I would also add the following as an explanation of why this is so important.  God didn’t directly say this, but I think it’s reflective of Truth, as well as scripture:

“It’s only in this realm that I am truly known and related to.  It’s in this realm that the things I desire and find valuable are located.  Realizing this, change your mind and your ways.  Repent.  Quit living by and regarding the things you’ve gathered from the minds of men, no matter how good they sound, how reasonable they seem, or how inspiring or familiar they are.  I do speak through men.  You’ll know it when you hear it if you are letting the spirit teach and confirm in you.  But I want you to be like a spiritual pilgrim and pioneer.  Follow the example and teachings My son left you.  Seek, listen, follow My Spirit.  You say you want to be Christ-like; this is the way.  Otherwise, I don’t know you.” 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Christ Revealed as Life (Second Coming)

Today, for the first time, I connected these two verses from Colossians 3:

3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

For most of my life, I’ve thought verse 4 was talking about Jesus’ “second coming” to earth. But it’s not. Look at the preceding verse for context. It’s talking about Jesus being revealed (recognized, apprehended) WITHIN us, AS our life.

This must take place, BECAUSE of the idea Paul wrote immediately before this, in verse 3. We have died. These are spiritual realities and won’t fully make sense to the rational mind. It’s just a spiritual fact. In God’s eyes, Jesus, as the firstborn, was and is the ancestor all of His spiritual children. When Jesus died, we all died with him. This is stated over and over in scripture; ignoring it doesn’t change it, it just keeps us from fully partaking of it.

Jesus is referred to by Paul as the “last Adam” and the “second man.” He succeeded where Adam failed. We were born physically with the self-consumed nature our ancestor Adam inherited. In Christ, we are born-again by the spirit, with the nature of God Himself. As we see this fact (Christ being revealed as our life), we will also bear that nature and be in a position of glory. This is progressive, and I think it is to happen individually, but even more importantly it is to occur in the corporate body of Christ, worldwide. But the foundation has already been laid, the work has already been done by Jesus Christ.  Don’t look for Jesus to come in the sky – look for him to be revealed within you.

http://www.marketstreetfellowship.com/553/knowing-him-in-his-death-pt-1/

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Our Obligation

 

 “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you…So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh…For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”1

  “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”2

 The ideas of freedom and obligation (duty) seem antithetical.  Yet both are mentioned in scripture as aspects of the life of a believer.  This deserves a closer look with reliance on God’s spirit to enlighten us. 

First of all, while obligation/duty is rarely mentioned in scripture, the idea of freedom is common and is central to the mission of Jesus. This isn’t my focus here, but scripture declares Jesus came to set the captives free, we have been called to be free, God desires we take care to remain free, we will be judged by the law of freedom, all children of God are free, and more.  However, this is not speaking of freedom as the world understands it, which is essentially a license to do whatever your SELF wants.  This freedom is pertaining to believers, who are in Christ.  There’s surely more to this, but in part I believe this is a freedom from fear and law, and a freedom to love and a genuine spiritual walk with God (hallelujah!).  

Love only exists where there’s freedom and no fear.  I’m talking about self-focused, natural fear. There is no fear in love and no love in fear; they are opposing forces.3 Think about that statement. Serving out of fear means I’m very aware of my self and what I could lose.  Fear fuels this sense of obligation and ultimately it’s self-serving.  There’s no love in that.  The obligation and service of love is totally different – it’s spirit-driven and totally without self-awareness or fear of loss.  It’s an obligation to honor and edify another, not to preserve self, and it’s produced naturally by the new nature of God’s spirit within.  That is love – God is love!   

In the passage from Romans above, Paul says true believers are “not in the flesh but in the spirit” and are “under obligation not to the flesh.”  As believers, our primary obligation is to NOT live according to the flesh – our own desires, understandings, and will – regardless of how good or logical they may seem. This is the flip side of our other legitimate obligation to live according to the spirit.  These obligations are legitimate because our freedom is only in the spirit and is only possible through Christ’s atonement which reconciled believers to God and made our new “natural” state of being as “in the spirit” and to “live according to the spirit.”  This is what Christ came and suffered to make real, and what true salvation is all about.  The flesh/self is, and is to always be regarded as, old, obsolete, unnatural, deceitful, and dead.  It is something to be shunned and forsaken.  To live according to a blind and dead nature is to be dead in God’s eyes.4 

As a second part to my “Alienated from Life” post, I plan to look at more closely at the following scripture: “…that, in reference to your former manner of life (led by the fleshly mind and nature), you lay aside the old self (the flesh), which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit (desires that deceive – seeming godly but aren’t), and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind (grow in spiritual perception), and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (the God-given spirit within you becoming the controlling force and very life of your whole being).5   Amen.  

  1. Romans 8:9, 12, 14
  2. Galatians 5:13
  3. 1 John 4:18
  4. See Romans 6:6 and 8:5, for starters.
  5. Ephesians 4:22-24

 

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Reconciliation Before Salvation

“And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” 1

I think about Christianity quite a bit, the way it thinks and works.  I grew up in it and my thinking was greatly influenced by it.  Over the past several years, I’ve been re-learning and coming to fresh understandings by being taught by the Spirit of God Himself.  1 John 2:27, quoted above, is therefore a verse that means a lot to me.  It’s been a delicate and amazing process.

My observation is that Christianity has stopped pursuing truth and therefore been unable to change, grow, and follow God.  Change is often uneasy and costly.  For example, in many cases, if a pastor of a typical church were to make a significant or fundamental change, even if this change were toward the truth, it could very well result in the loss of the only livelihood he has ever known.  For others, turning toward the truth could mean being ostracized or persecuted by their own family.  These things are too costly for many to accept.  As a result, the average Christian who is content to follow his/her pastor  is rarely exposed to new, deep or uncompromised truth, and if they are, it seems foreign and strange.  Thus, many christians live their entire lives in a largely stagnant state.

As I’ve said before, probably the primary doctrine of focus in all of Christianity, one that is incessantly proclaimed, is “salvation.”  At it’s core, the common teaching of salvation is that through Jesus, we can be rescued from eternity in hell, promised eternity in heaven, and enter into “relationship” with God.  Salvation is said to be what all the “lost” people in the world need.  In the interest of brevity, I want to look at only one scripture that gives a better understanding of what salvation truly is.

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” 2 

There are two main concepts here: reconciliation and salvation.  Tragically, concepts like these are all too easily glossed over as vague “christianese” terms, and their sharp distinctions are lost in the gloss.  In reality, these concepts are incredibly important, being purposes and results that intertwine with both the death and life of the Son of God!  

Allow me to point out a few things from this verse.  What the “lost world” needs is reconciliation, not salvation.  The enemies of God were reconciled to him by the death of Jesus Christ.  The word reconciliation has to do with an exchange; in this case an exchange from being an estranged enemy to being part of the “household of God” and at peace. 3  Reconciliation, at least in potential, is what was accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ at the cross.

It’s believers, who have already been reconciled, that need to be saved!  The agent of our salvation is the life of Jesus Christ.  How so?  We are progressively saved as the life of Jesus Christ, his spiritual nature, grows and matures within us, and our natural life diminishes.  That is salvation.  Multitudes of scriptures allude to this, and once you understand more of what salvation is, they make more sense. 4 Salvation is not an entirely future event or something you have right now, it’s a present unfolding process wherein the life of Christ grows within you and the influence of self, your natural life, diminishes.5  Isn’t that something you need?  No matter how good your behavior, it’s something we all need.  God doesn’t desire well-behaved believers, He desires wise sons who are filled with the same life that His only begotten son was filled with.  Without that life, the best-behaved among us are simply “whitewashed tombs;” nice on the outside, but spiritually dead inside.5

  • 1: 1 John 2:27
  • 2: Romans 5:10
  • 3. Ephesians 2:19
  • 4. Colossians 3:3-4, 2 Timothy 1:1, 1 John 5:11, 2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Timothy 1:10…
  • 5. 1 Corinthians 1:18, Philippians 2:12, Matthew 24:13…
  • 6. Matthew 23:27
 
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Posted by on December 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Covering of Fig Leaves, Pt. 2

Thousands of years after the events in the Garden of Eden, as recorded in Mark 11, Jesus encounters a fig tree, a symbol of God’s people.  Jesus was hungry and desired fruit, but all he found was leaves, because “it was not the season for figs” (fruit).  So we see something very interesting.  Jesus found the fig tree (God’s people) entirely covered in fig leaves, the very same thing Adam and Eve made to cover their loins with after their eyes were opened by the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and they realized their own nakedness.

The meaning of this story is that Israel, and now the Church have not produced fruit (established the Kingdom of God on earth), but instead have chosen to cover themselves in “leaves.”  Fig leaves represent the myriad of ways God’s people use to try to dress up self to be presentable to God – an impossible task.  Fig leaves are manifested among God’s people today as self-improvement programs or means, behavior management, self-examination, determination, motivation, etc.  Fig leaves remain the covering of choice since the garden, because since that time mankind’s natural state is to have the carnal, soulish eyes opened, causing God’s people to have a perception of self-awareness and fear.  This is utterly destructive to the spiritual life.  The first thing God says to Adam after he ate was: “who told you that you were naked?”  In other words, who caused you to see yourself?  This was God’s primary concern, and in the right season, he sent His son to undo this.

I do believe the current season of leaves is ending, and I see signs of this.  A remnant of God’s called people are beginning to see how completely pathetic and unnecessary “fig leaves” are now that Christ himself has been offered as their covering (Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 4:24, John 15:4).  Christ’s covering enables a restoration of innocence (unawareness of sin or self) and spiritual perception.  Law, rules and regulations meant to control the flesh were never satisfactory to God and never intended to remain.  Freedom from the mind of  flesh (carnality) is increasingly becoming a reality for more and more of God’s children.

When Jesus cursed the tree, what he actually said was “no one during this age will eat fruit from you again.”  He was speaking to Israel and the Church, both.  He was saying that until the season of leaves ended, leaves were all that could be produced by God’s people.  The Bible says that in “the fullness of time” (the proper season), Jesus successfully came to regain the spiritual sight that Adam lost, and then some.  The body of Christ on Earth is going to do the same, worldwide.  The result will be as far beyond what we know of as Church or Christianity as Jesus’ life and ministry was beyond that of the Scribes and Pharisees.  There will be no comparison, but many will reject it, just as many rejected Jesus in his day.  I believe our call right now is to seek the Kingdom of God, His will being done on earth.  Seek it daily.  Ask the Father to give you spiritual sight, and be willing to abandon everything you’ve known for that.  Cry out and seek this diligently and desperately, just as Jesus taught us to do in his parables.  For the remainder of this season, it will be a struggle to enter the Kingdom.  But it’s worth it.

I’m with you in this struggle and walk, friends.  May true peace, the peace of the Spirit, be upon you.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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