What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 8) – What is Christ’s resurrection power?

(Please read this prayerfully asking God to reveal it in your spirit. This will not make sense to those who have not believed so I apologize. But for those who love Him, his Spirit will enlighten, encourage and empower you. The previous blogs, index on the home page, will provide a clearer understanding of this passage starting at “What is God?”)

 

To be transformed into the same image of Christ, realize we have to die first. His expression cannot become our expression when self still exists. We have to realize we can do nothing for God. “For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Only when we completely rest in Him can He exert his will maximally through us. Only in our weakness, does He show us his strength. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10) Only when we are last, can Christ become first. “So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Mat. 20:16; 19:30) Only when we die, and no longer live, can Christ live out of us. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) But when Christ lives as first in us, realize that He becomes our holiness. The God of peace Himself has sanctified us completely. (1 The. 5:22) We no longer walk with a human life, we walk with Christ in his divine life. That is what the resurrection life is.

When Christ was crucified on the cross, at “about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ … And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” (Mat. 27:46-50) When Jesus died on the cross, the weight of the sins of mankind was so heavily laden on Him that God left him. Whether the divine life that he was born with, or the Spirit of power that descended on him as a dove at his baptism, left, the Bible does not say. Nevertheless, Jesus gave up his spirit so he could die. He gave up his divine life so he could die for us. “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” (Phi. 2:8) His death not only paid the penalty for our sins, but freed us from the power of sin which is in us. It freed us from our original rebellion that says, “We know how to be righteous in our flesh and we don’t need you God.” It freed us from our thought that we, in our flesh, have the knowledge of good and evil and can function to keep the law independent of God, without his divine life and its divine nature that is distinct to God. It freed us from sin. His death broke down the separation between God and man.

“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” (Mat. 27:51) When Christ died, the curtain that separated God from fallen man was torn in two. God can reach man. Man can touch God. This is radical. The earth shook. Realize the separation between God and man, between heaven and earth, exists because we think we can do all things in ourselves, in our flesh, and not need God. We think we can be holy without Him. That is the origin of sin. This is over. The curtain of the temple was torn in two. His holiness can come into us to make us holy. When Jesus died on the cross, he condemned sin in the flesh. “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:3-4) Sin was condemned because it was not suppose to put to death anyone without sin. It was not suppose to put to death anyone who submitted his will to the Father’s will absolutely. So death loss it sting. God could come back, in his righteousness, according to the law, to raise Christ from the dead.

When Christ was raised from the dead on the third day, God came back to Jesus. He “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 1:4) By resurrecting Jesus Christ, God declared Him as His Son, “Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Rom. 4:25) Raising Christ from the dead means God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin(s). By accepting the sacrifice, realized we are justified before God. Being justified before God allows him to enter man once again as the fruit from the tree of life.

Man was supposed to take from the tree of life, a life he was not created with. It was God’s life, the divine life. It was God’s holiness. When man fell, he could not take hold of God’s distinctiveness. “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—‘” (Gen. 3:22) To take from the tree of life is to take of God’s life, his distinctiveness, his holiness that is beyond time. When Jesus died of the cross, he paid the penalty so we could take God into us again, as the bread of life, to assimilate God into our beings intrinsically, transforming us into his image so we could be one spirit with him. This is the power of his resurrection.

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Jesus was crucified as someone perishable in the flesh with a human life, as someone dishonorable in man’s eyes, as someone in weakness in his natural body. In resurrection, Christ was raised as a new creation imperishable in the Spirit, as a new creation expressing God’s glory with eternal power in a spiritual body. As the life-giving Spirit, Christ was able to come and make a home in man’s hearts giving him His divine life, a life full of His distinctiveness, His holiness that was eternal. “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Cor. 15:47-49) The power of the life-giving Spirit being released was so strong over death when Jesus was resurrected that “The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Mat. 27:52-53) In resurrection, the punishment of death for sins we committed is over when we believed. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55) “…The perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality…” (1 Cor. 15:54) In his resurrection, as we “shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (I Cor. 15:49), we have finally fulfilled the will of God through Christ living in us. “…According to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 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 things on earth.” (Eph. 1:7-10) “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Cor. 15:49) Today, in the realm of our spirit, we have already unified heaven and earth.

Within our spirits where the Spirit dwells, God has already unified heaven and earth today because the holiness of God is already living within our bodies, the temples of God. As Christians, we must realize through the Spirit, that we have been crucified with Christ, and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us in resurrection. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) All the things of this world, we need to let go of, if we deal with it in our flesh. We need to live within our spirit with his Spirit expressing though us. To do this, realize we need to eat of Him. We need to assimilate Him into our beings so His life intrinsically becomes our life. His thoughts become intrinsically our thoughts. “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16) To keep our spiritual life alive, realize we need to breath Him in, just like we need to breath to keep our physical body alive. That is why “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16) The breathe that God breaths out, we need to breath in. That is how God makes us alive in our spirits. When we immerse ourselves in his words, the Spirit within us will give us understanding. “These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) Realize “…the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Cor. 2:11-14) That is why we need to “Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly, teaching and admonishing each other in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in [our] and and’s hearts to God.” (Col. 3:16)

When we let his word become a reality to us, we become a kind of firstfruits of his resurrection. “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (Jam. 1:18) Christ was the firstfruits of the resurrection. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:20) “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:22-23) When Christ resurrected, He secretly ascended to the Father to present Himself as the firstfruits to God for His enjoyment. This is foreshadowed in the festival of the firstfruits waved to God.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf after the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.’” (Lev. 23:9-11)

The children of Israel were to offer the firstfruits of the harvest to the Lord. Immediately following his resurrection, before Christ’s public ascension (Luke 24:50-53), Christ secretly ascended to present Himself as the firstfruits to the Father. The firstfruits were people who have died to themselves in the flesh and made alive in God in his holiness, just as Christ was. Realize one human being saw Christ in his resurrected form and touched Him even before He presented Himself to the Father as the firstfruits.

That person was Mary Magdalene. “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.” Mary loved the Lord so much that, while it was still dark, she got up and ran to his tomb. She was the first one to see that the stone had already been taken away. “So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’” (John 20:2) Her concern was only for the Lord and where they may have laid his body. She did not understand the Scripture, that Christ must rise again. When Peter and the other disciple came to the tomb, they did not understand that Jesus had resurrected. “For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.” (John 20:8-10)

“But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping, and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.” (John 20:11-12) Because of her great love for the Lord, Mary just stood at the tomb weeping. She was so overwrought with emotions because of her love for the Lord that when she saw two angels in white sitting in the tomb, she did not recognize them as angels. Her only concern was for the Lord. “And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’” (John 20:13) Even when they spoke with her, her one desire was to know where the Lord was. “When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’” (John 20:14-15) She was so distraught, she wept continuously at the tomb and now just wanted His body. “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher).” (John 20:16) Realize this is the most poignantly touching moment recorded in the entire Bible. Man demonstrated his own free will to love God so intimately that God reveals Himself. She loved Him with all her heart, with all her soul, with all her strength, and with all her mind. When we love Him in this manner, Christ reveals Himself fully to our Spirit, filling our spirits with the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).

If you do not fully feel this kind of love for God, realize you have to humble yourself. Love cannot be manufactured. It is simply there. It comes with time as we walk with the Lord. As a first step, we have to humble ourselves. When we love someone, realize it is their will we want to please and to do, not our own. We want to do everything for them, and not us. They take precedence, not us. They consume our thoughts. That is why Paul said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith is Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Phi. 3:7-11) When we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1), realize we love God. Everything we do is not for ourselves, but for Him. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) We are dead to everything in this world so Christ can live within us.

To see the Lord in this way, we need a severe turning within our beings. Mary had to turn twice to finally see the Lord (John 20:14 and 16). We heed to humble ourselves and get down on our knees, and pray to Him. “Lord, show me how to love you. Show me what it means. I give you my all, all my power, all my strength, all my abilities. That you would be Lord to me.” Only when we can truthfully call Him Lord in our lives, do we have faith in Him. Only when we say, “Lord, you control everything in my life,” do we believe there is a God living within us, doing everything. When we took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we thought we could do everything without God. Only when we take from the tree of life, will we know the power of his resurrection.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and you God.’” (John 20:17) Because of her love for the Lord, Mary touched the Lord in His resurrected body even before He ascended to the Father. Jesus in turn revealed to her the most important reality of being a Christian—that God had come back into man as his life and life supply in His resurrection. Before His resurrection, the dearest term the Lord used to call His disciples was friends. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:13-14) After His resurrection, we are related to God as sons. Jesus was the only being born of the Father God, now God is our Father making us brothers with Christ. Through His crucifixion and His resurrection, the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) was released to bring God with His divine life and nature back into man to dwell in our spirits. Humans that are of the flesh can be freed from sin and be holy like God Himself. We can be transformed into the image of God through His indwelling Spirit. That was the revelation that Mary was rewarded with because she loved Him so much.

Today, if we love Him that much, with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our minds, realize we will be a kind of firstfruits to God. “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (Jam. 1:18) The firstfruits are offered as a wave offering first for God to enjoy, then for us to enjoy. The Christ within us, as the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), transforms us to be holy, first for God’s enjoyment, then for us to enjoy each other.

 

To love God means to put His will first, and not our own. As we rest in Him as our Sabbath, we have surrendered our will to his will. We live by faith and not by sight. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) When it is no longer I who live, but Christ expressing out of us as the fruit of the Spirit, collectively, we become the firstfruits for God’s enjoyment and for man’s enjoyment. This is how His Body is formed. This is the power of His resurrection life lived out of us.

 

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