What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 6) or What are we transformed to?

God is transforming us into the same image of his Son Jesus Christ so he could bring us up to heaven. In order to be in the presence of God the Father in heaven, realize we have to be holy. In order to enter heaven, we have to be holy, constituted with the divine nature and not with our fleshly nature that we were born with. We have to be born of God so we have his divine life and his divine nature. This divine life only expresses a divine nature—it is always righteous in its actions. This is not our reality today. We are fleshly, so we still express our human nature in sin. No matter how righteous we think we are, we are still born of flesh. So how does God solve this problem?

A man named M. J. {I have not used names or identified groups so “the surpassing greatness of the power may be from God, and not from us.” (2 Cor. 4:7)} once said the difference between Christianity and all other religions is that in Christianity, God came down to man to rescue him and bring him up to God, while all other religions ask us to improve ourselves so we could go up to God. Even in Christianity, it can be practiced as a religion if we only talk of self-improvement. Realize the self is actually the problem. It is our flesh and nothing good dwells in our flesh. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’” (Mark 10:18) Everything that we do in our flesh is sin. “…For there is no one who does not sin…” (1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chr. 6:36)) “There is none righteous, not even one.” (Rom. 3:10) So how do we reach God? If we work within ourselves, we will never reach God. If we trust in our flesh, realize we are in sin. For “…Whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23)

Before we believed, whatever we did, whether it was good or bad, we did it without God because we were not born again. We did not have faith. Everything we did was out of our flesh. To God in his holiness, it was all leprous because it come out of our flesh. Realize all discharges of the flesh are unclean in God’s eyes. (Lev. 15) “When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean.” (Lev. 15:2) All our expressions out of our flesh are in sin in God’s eyes. Even anything we touch, we make it unclean. “Every bed on which the one with the discharge lies shall be unclean, and everything on which he sits shall be unclean.” (Lev. 15:4) Even our righteousness in our flesh is in sin, because it came from our sense of what is good and evil formed in us when our eyes were opened when Adam took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When we are doing good, realize we are saying, “I can do good, in my flesh, without you God.” That is what all religion tells us to do. When we commit sin, we are saying, “I can do evil, in my flesh, without you God,” When we say, “I can do all things, in my flesh, without you God,” realize we have confidence in our flesh (Phi. 3:3).

This is what happened with Satan. He thought he was good enough to do everything without God. This is the original rebellion. Today, realize because we have taken from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we all think we know how to be good without God. We all think we are right. That is why “in the world you have afflictions.” (John 16:33—Recovery Version) Only in Christ do we have peace—“in Me you may have peace.” (John 16:33) In the world, everyone is heading up all things in themselves, in their own flesh. Only when we are born of the divine life, born of Christ, can He head up all things in us. “Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.” (Eph. 1:9-10—Recovery Version) Realize Satan thought he could head up all things in himself. That is the original rebellion. When we say we can head up all things in ourselves apart from Christ, we are also rebelling. That is why we were not to take from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We were supposed to take from the tree of life, Christ, as our life, so we would have the divine nature. To head up all things in Christ, realize we need to be “in Him” (Eph. 1:10)

In the first covenant, God told us what to expect when we go to heaven. We have to be righteous as he is righteous. Because of our rebellious nature, our nature of sin, he told us what not to do. That is why the ten commandments tells us what not to do. You shall not. (Exo. 20:3-11) (Even keeping the Sabbath day holy, is you shall not work. He tell us to honor our father and mother, because we do not. We should not dishonor our father and mothers.) To tell us what not to do means that we are doing it. Our rebellious nature according to our flesh wants to head up all things in us apart from God. So the law came in to restrict our actions externally. The law restricts our flesh but does not make us holy. By following the law, we clean the cup on the outside. If we could truly follow it in our flesh, it would not look so bad. But externally cleaning our cup is far from God’s goal for us to make us holy so we could be brought up to where He is. Through Christ, He is making us holy so we could be brought up to heaven to be one with Him.

So God gave us a second covenant. In this covenant, he tells us what not to do, not from the outside, but from inside of us. That is why we have to believe. When we believe, the divine life gets into us so we are born again. We are born not of the flesh but of the Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6) When we are born of His Spirit, He doesn’t tell us what not to do. The source of our life is no longer the flesh but the Spirit so we become “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). We have been set free in Christ Jesus from our sinful nature in the flesh. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Rom. 8:2) We are told what to do now with this life inside of us. “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27) Love is a condition on the inside, a state of being. When God places His Spirit in us, we gain the capacity to love Him. We cannot take it out to show anyone, so love is a change on the inside. When we are loved, we can sense it by the little things that are done, by the words that are said. We manifest our love by the same little things that are said and the actions that we do. When we love God, the inside of our cup  changed. We want to do what He wants us to do. As we read his Word, we begin to appreciate who He is. A fire begins to burn in our hearts. His words become spirit and life to us as we feed on Christ, assimilating Him intrinsically within our being so we will be changed on the inside to be like Him. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:53) When we love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind, we will do His will and not our own will. Our wills come together and His will becomes our will so we are one Spirit with Him. (1 Cor. 6:17) We have grown old in Him and He dresses us and brings us to places where we do not want to go in our flesh. (John 21:18) In this second covenant, the laws are written in our minds and on our hearts from the inside. “I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Heb. 8:10) We are finally a people for his own possession. (1 Pet. 2:9) “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:11-14)

He is working in us, instructing and transforming us on the inside, so we would be zealous for good deeds on the outside, in this present age.

 

(Please read this prayerfully as it is not easy.)

To transform us so we would be ready to go to heaven, we have to be changed from the inside. We have to be perfected and made holy and acceptable to God Himself. The only way is for God to come inside into man. That is why we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. No matter how hard we try in our flesh, it is still flesh and is unclean when compared with God holiness. This was what the children of Israel tried to achieve for generations but failed. In His final steps before his crucifixion, Jesus gave one final lesson to the children of Israel. “And following him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:27-31) The daughters of Jerusalem refers to the children of Israel who were crying for Him. He told them they should be crying for themselves because they have rejected their Savior. By rejecting Christ, they can only rely on their flesh. But the flesh, following the commandments, cannot transform them to be holy. So blessed are the barren, because that which is born of flesh is still flesh. This is the situation with the children of Israel today. When they realize whom they have ignored, whom their ancestors have crucified, the only one who could make them holy and bring them to heaven, then they will want mountains to fall on them and be covered by hills. Their ancestors killed off the only being that has the divine life among them that could bring them to heaven (the green tree), what will they do when they are left dead in their laws. When we follow the law in our flesh, we are still dead on the inside. So it is better to be barren.

Today, having been born of the Spirit, many believers still rely on their flesh to try to reach God, to qualify them for heaven. Though they are cured of their leprosy, freed from sin, they still rely on their flesh to do what is better. When the leper is declared clean of their disease, they are brought back into the city and the priest does a strange ceremony to them to declare them clean.

“Then the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed. The priest shall also give orders to slay the one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water. As for the live bird, he shall take it together with the cedar wood and the scarlet string and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over running water. He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field.” (Lev. 14:4-7)

Realize that the above verses foreshadow the crucifixion of Christ. The two live clean birds is Christ. He was crucified for us, shedding his blood to cleanse us of our leprosy in the flesh (our sins) as signified by the slain bird. The cedar wood is what the cross was made of. The scarlet string is the scarlet robe they put on Jesus to mock him (Mat. 27:28). The hyssop was a branch used to bring a sponge full of sour wine for Jesus to drink on the cross (John 19:29). (The significance of these items can be found in “Life-Study of Leviticus, Msg 43”) The divine being, that was free as a bird, was confined in an earthen vessel, in the body of Jesus, in his humanity when He died. Realize Jesus had this treasure, God, in his earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7). That is why we are like Him. On the cross, when “one of the soldiers pieced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (John 19:24) Realize the bird was slain over running water: the blood was for cleansing us of our sins, and the water was the life supply to our spirit so we would never thirst. His death was so complete and effective on us, as signified by the blood sprinkled seven times, the number of completion, on the one who was to be cleansed from leprosy, that not only are we pronounce cleaned from our leprosy (freed from our sin), we are freed by his resurrection power to soar with Him in the resurrection life, flying into the open field. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Rom. 8:2)

As Christians today, we should realize how effective the death of Jesus on the cross is in dealing with our sin. Many of us experience his resurrection to various degrees. The hindrance in our experience of Christ fully is our flesh. It could be in evil but more commonly it is in our good. We trust our own efforts. We trust in our own flesh so Christ cannot exert his will through us. This is our biggest problem. After we are cleansed of our leprosy, we still depend on our flesh. That is why God showed Moses he was still leprous inside before he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exo. 4:6-7) After the leper is declared clean by the priest, “The one to be cleansed shall then wash his clothes and shave off all his hair and bathe in water and be clean. Now afterward, he may enter the camp, but he shall stay outside his tent for seven days. It will be on the seventh day that he shall shave off all his hair: he shall shave his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair. He shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and be clean.” (Lev. 8:9) Our hair is the external expression of our flesh signifying our human dignity, glory and strength. Samson was not allowed to cut his hair. Baldness is a sign of mourning and humiliation. (Eze. 27:31; Jer. 16:6; Isa. 3:24; 15:2; Mic. 1:16; 2 Kin. 2:23; 1 Cor. 11:5) That is why Paul says, “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the women is the glory of man” (1 Cor. 11:7) and so a woman’s head should be covered. Realize we are all female, part of his Bride today, and every iota of our hair needs to be shaved. Only He is the Bridegroom. After we are saved, realize we still depend on our flesh. All our hair needs to be shaved so we do not depend on our human dignity, glory or strength. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves.” (2 Cor. 4:7)

We will no longer have glory in our flesh but the glory will all belong to God. When we submit our will to His will in this way, realize Christ has united heaven and earth. “Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite (head up) all things in him, things in heaven and thing on earth.” (Eph. 1:9-10) When He heads up all things in us, His purpose of why He came to earth is fulfilled. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this in not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10) When we live by faith, according to the will of the Spirit within, his workmanship, which is us, is completed. We were created in Christ Jesus for good works, now He is formed in us (Gal 4:19). God had arranged this even before we believed, that we should walk in them. When we submit our will to His, we become holy as He is. If everything we do is according to His will, where is sin? “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 The. 4:3) When we follow His will, it becomes our sanctification. We are made holy in Him. He can bring us into heaven before God Himself. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mat. 6:10) We are transformed to the same image of Christ.

His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. His kingdom come. This present age is closed.

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