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.

What happens to believers who do not follow God’s will?

People who have truly believed in the Lord at any time in their lives have been born again with the Holy Spirit giving them the divine and eternal life so they will not perish. There is no sin that they can commit which will take the eternal life away. Otherwise it would not be eternal. “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” (Heb. 6:4-8) It is impossible to renew them again to repentance because the divine life, once born in us, cannot be reborn again. It never dies. But it puts the Son of God to open shame because it says his death and resurrection, the dispensing of the life-giving Spirit, did not work in them. Their own wills took over and they did not submit to Christ to allow him to live out of them. What they produce is thorns and thistles, which are worthless and close to being cursed, ending up being burned in God’s fiery furnace. These Christians are worthless to God and are close to being curse—not cursed—but close to being cursed because the eternal life is still within them. They need to “press on to maturity.” (Heb. 6:1)

Realize if we reject the will of God and operate on our own wills, it bears a consequence. God uses his fire to purify and sanctify us. God’s fiery furnace is for our purification, it is not for our punishment (although it might feel like punishment). It is for our disciplining because God loves us. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Heb. 12:6) People whom He has established a covenant with, whether it be in the first covenant as with the nation of Israel, or in the second covenant with born-again Christians, He will discipline. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi. 1:6) We could be purified with God’s fire today in this age, or in God’s fiery furnace at the day of Jesus Christ when He returns. That is our choice. If we allow Him, Christ will gradually purify us today. That is how we “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phi. 2:12) “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29)

When Christ returns, realize God’s fiery furnace is not the lake of fire. His fiery furnace is for our purification. The lake of fire is for eternal punishment. These are two separated things in the Bible. God’s fiery furnace is to smelt our dross away. “I will also turn My hand against you, and will smelt away your dross as with lye and will remove all your alloy.” (Isa. 1:25) Our impurities will be burned away in God’s fiery furnace. We are being purified today, right now at this very moment, for today in a day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). We are learning to submit our wills to his will today so he would head up all things in us (Eph. 1:9-10). Realize the will of God is our sanctification.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 The. 4:3) The will of God is our sanctification. If we abide by His will, we are sanctified. The reason that Jesus Christ came down to us is to sanctify us so we could be brought back up to the Father in heaven to be one with Him. To be brought up to the Father, realize Christ is changing our leprous condition in sin to a glorious condition in holiness. To transform us from these extremes, he needs to burn all our dross away so we become pure like him, in the same image of Christ. This transformation is his workmanship. His goal is not to get a huge number of people, but to get a few whom he has purified and sanctified. That is why only the remnant will return (Isa. 10:20-22; Mic. 5:7-8; Acts 15:17). Purification is to cleanse us of sins; sanctification is to cure us of our sinful nature. Purification is on the outside; sanctification is on the inside. Purification makes us not leprous in appearance; sanctification cures us of our infection of sin making us holy and acceptable to God. In living in us, Christ is perfecting us today, so we would be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48) We are his workmanship today as he perfects us. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) We are the project he is working on today, created in Christ Jesus when we were born in him to be righteous, and now he is perfecting us, by growing in us so we express his divine nature and walk in righteousness. Realize transforming us into the same image as he is is what he is doing today. All other things, as serving in the church, caring for the poor, missionary work, even preaching the gospel is secondary to perfecting us. As we are being perfected, these things will come out naturally. They become a spontaneous expression of our divine life, of the Spirit inside of us, whom we have let free to do as He will. We would work tirelessly to serve in his church, to care for the poor, to do missionary work, and to preach the gospel. These are the different gifts the Spirit gives to all the saints. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Cor. 12 :4-11) We exercise our gifts as He wills. As the Spirit burns within us, we begin to burn and express who he is. We become like the burning bush in the wilderness, expressing Christ in our humanity—a frail bush that is not consumed by his holy fire.

 

(Read this prayerfully in front of the Lord because it is not easy nor light.)

 

As Christians, we are all trying to discern the will of God so we could be aligned with it. What about Christians who do not want to follow the will of God? What about those Christians who exert their own wills and continue to sin and do not let God purify and sanctify them? When will they be purified and sanctified?

Realized they will be purified when the Lord comes back. When He comes back, He will test all our works with fire. If we do not build on the foundation of Christ (1 Cor. 3:11) our work will be burnt up. “Each man’s work will become evident, for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:13-15) (Realized those who do not build of the foundation of Christ are still saved because they have the divine life which is eternal, yet they are saved as through fire.) What is the reward that some will receive, and what is the loss that some will suffer?

To end on a positive note, I will talk about the loss those who do not surrender their wills to God will suffer first. The Word says they will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. All references to “weeping and gnashing of teeth” will be reviewed so we have a clear understanding that it is for believers who have received Christ. It may not be a place, but a condition of extreme regret that these believers will feel for not submitting themselves as a living sacrifice to be transformed by Christ prior to his return.

The first instance is about the faith of a Gentile centurion who believed that Jesus could heal his paralyzed servant at home by “only saying the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Mat. 8:8). Jesus marveled and said, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from the east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat. 8:10-12) God made a covenant with Abraham so all his descendants are part of the kingdom. Those who do not believe in Christ have not seen the light, so they are thrown into outer darkness. In that place, when they see Christ return in his glory, there will be much regret. They will be in a place with weeping and gnashing of teeth when they see the Gentiles, like this centurion, reclining at table with their forefathers. Realize the Jewish people are saved if they abide by the first covenant.

The next incidence concerns the tares among the wheat. The Lord explains, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sow them is the devil; and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has an ear, let him hear.” (Mat.13:37-43) Realize the tares are the ones who seem to be growing with us. They grow according to not what the master has sown, but what the devil has sown. They rely on their own strengths to grow. Not with the power of the Spirit. Because they succeed in growing outwardly, they become stumbling blocks for God’s children. They too have built, so they appear to be growing, but their building is in wood hay and stubble. So at the end of this age, when their works are tested by fire, it will be burned. If they do not believe in God, they will also be burnt.

“Again, the kingdom of the heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire, in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat. 13:47-50) Realize Christians today are the fish that has been caught by the Lord so we don’t remain in the world, the sea, anymore. But among us, there are bad fish that are wicked and not righteous. These fish express their own wills, their own desires and not God’s will and God’s desire. Righteousness does not originate from us. It is a quality of God. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’” (Mark 10:18) Even Jesus could not call himself as good. It is the divine life of God in him that makes him good. Only by living through us do we become transformed into the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21) So if we think we are somehow righteous in our flesh, at the end of this age, God will throw us into his furnace of fire to purify and sanctify us.

“Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then he will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. And they came from the east and west and from the north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:24-30) We may do many things for the Lord, but if we do them in our own strength, He will not know us because his Spirit has not been free to live within us. We may even think we ate and drank in his presence, but we did not eat and drink Him. We may understand many things in our minds because He “taught in our streets”, but we must let Him live the truths out of us as the Spirit of reality. “That is the Spirit of truth (reality), whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17) Realize when we know the Lord, the Lord will know us. We do not want to go to that place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat. 24:45-51) In this parable, Christ is our master and we are his slaves. If we are faithful and sensible, we will follow our master’s will. Realize we have been put in charge of giving food to his household. We are responsible to “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17) if we love Him, following his will. But if we say that he is not coming for a long time and even beat our fellow slaves, becoming a stumbling block to them, and indulge ourselves, we will be placed with the hypocrites and sent to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This parable is for Christians and not unbelievers because we have a master in Christ.

In the parable of the talents, the master gives to his slaves various amounts of talents and the faithful slaves multiply them. But the slave who was given one talent said, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. ‘Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Mat. 25:24-30) As slaves to the master, all Christians are given a gift, a talent, that they need to exercise. The Lord is giving us a warning that no matter what little we think we have been given, we must use it to enlarge his kingdom. If we don’t, even that talent will be taken from us. If we exercise our talents, realize they will multiply. The more we utilize or have fellowship with the Spirit within us, the more we will realize the power that is in us and be filled to the fullness of God. The more we will realize that Jesus Christ is in us. (2 Cor. 13:5)

Just prior to the parable of the talents, is the parable of the ten virgins (Mat. 25:1-13). These virgins are pure and separated to Christ, the bridegroom, already. Yet they needed sufficient oil in their lamps. The virgins with little oil are not filled to the fullness of God as their spirits. Christ has not entered into all aspects of their lives. They have not presented their bodies completely to God as a living sacrifice. They have not submitted their wills fully to His will. So the bridegroom says, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” (Mat. 25:12) To know someone is to have the same spirit with them. When we exert our own wills, Christ does not know us.

Enterance into the wedding feast of God will be a reward to those who are faithful and sensible. This is the reward in 1 Cor. 3:14. We have to be faithful and sensible to Him, having become filled to the fullness of God by eating Him. Christ has been assimilated intrinsically into our beings. Our wills are subject to his will, like a slave to his master. Our spirits have become one with His Spirit so “He who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17) We are prepared for the wedding feast so we are dressed appropriately. “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mat. 22:11-14) “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb…These are the true words of God.” (Rev. 19:9)

Be prepared. Surrender your will to His will in this age.

If not, realize He will purify and sanctify us at the end of this age in the day of Jesus Christ in his furnace of fire, a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “For I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi. 1:6)

For those who are prepared in this age, they express the will of God and are being purified and sanctified. As such, they are like Christ, transformed into the same image. They are the “true words of God” (Rev. 19:9). As Christ is our great high priest today (Heb. 4:14; 10:21), they will be priests of God and of Christ to the nations. “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection, over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6) Maybe this is their reward.

By His mercy and grace, I urge you to be part of this group by surrendering your will to His will. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom. 12:2)

 

 

 

 

 

What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 5) or What are we transformed from?

To be transformed intrinsically to the image of Christ, we need to eat Him. That is the only way to be “holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1) That is why only Christ is “the way, the truth (reality), and the life” (John 14:6) because He provides man with the divine nature. That is why the first commandment says, “You shall have no other gods beside me” because other gods can’t provide you with the divine nature. But to fully appreciate why we need to eat Christ, and not have a practice based on simple obedience according to our human flesh, we need to realize our true human condition. We need to see what we are transformed from. (I will talk about what we are transformed to in the next blog).

Since Adam’s fall, the nature of sin entered into man, assimilated into him intrinsically by his eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By knowing what in right and wrong, he gained a “confidence in the flesh,” (Phi. 3:3) believing that he can do all thing apart from God. Satan, the archangel, thought so too. He rebelled against God because of this. Realize our rebellion against God, is because of our confidence in the flesh. Satan urged us that if we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, our eyes will be opened, (Gen. 3:5) so we began to judge all things as better or worse, resulting in Cain killing his own brother Abel because Abel had a better sacrifice (Gen. 4:3-7). The ability to discern between what is good and evil and thinking we can do the good according to our flesh is the very nature of sin within us. Thinking that we are capable to doing better, to gain things that are better based on our own abilities, leads us to commit sins. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Rom. 7:18). The nature of sin took over Cain’s actions so he killed Abel. To cure us of this disease, we need to eat something else. We need to assimilate Christ as the tree of life and intrinsically transform our beings, having “no confidence in the flesh,” (Phi. 3:3) to express the divine life of Christ alone.

God, being holy in nature, sees our flesh as if it has been infected by leprosy. This was a shadow or illustration of our human condition.

Leprosy is an infection by a Mycobacterium, which targets our skin and our nerves, leading to deformities of the skin and deadens our sensations. When sin “infected” mankind, our flesh turned leprous. Just like leprosy, which has a long incubation period of 5 to even 20 years (an incubation period is the time between being infected to when a disease manifests itself in symptoms), as a child, sin lay dormant within our beings until we were taught the law. That is why Paul says, “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.” (Rom. 7:9) The disease, which Paul was already infected with as a child, came alive in him when he learned the commandments. “For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.” (Rom. 7:7-8) When we know what it is to covet, introduced to us by the law, our ability to discern what is better or worse made us covet. If we did not know better or worse, why would we covet? This is the opportunity that sin seized to produce in us all kinds of coveting. We begin to want what is not ours. That leads to actions that are sinful causing us to commit sins. This is the infection that has entered the flesh that is expressed as deformities. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Rom. 7:18-19) Just as in leprosy, due to the infection of sin, the expression in our flesh is deformed and leprous, and we become desensitized to the sins we commit so we repeat our sins over and over again. So “the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:19). This is our condition before we were saved (or if we did not understand the significance of our salvation and only practiced a ritual). “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’”(Lev. 13:45) wherever he goes because his flesh is unclean.

Before we were saved, “[Our] dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Lev. 13::46) because we were leprous. “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead.” (Num. 5:2) Realize Christ, as our priest, came down from heaven to save us. “And the priest shall go out of the camp,” (Lev. 14:3) as God did in Christ Jesus, leaving heaven itself, embodying divinity in human form, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped; but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phi. 2:6-8) Though we were leprous, God loves us so much that he came down to heal us. Today, no matter how leprous and unclean we are, no matter what sins we have committed, Christ loves us so intensely that he left divinity behind to save us. No matter what we are caught up in, Christ came to save us. No matter how ugly and unclean our situation is, Christ came to save us. All we have to do is call out his name.

When we call on him in the midst of our destitute, he will come. If you close your door and seek him with a pure heart, and desperately call on him, he will come as the life-giving Spirit to enliven you giving you hope again. When you say, “Lord Jesus, save me. I need you. Come into me and make me clean.” the Lord will come in. He will come into the deepest part of your being, your spirit, to dwell with you. It is that simple.

That is what happened to the leprous man after Jesus establishes what the kingdom of God is like in the Sermon of the Mount (Mat. 5-7). “When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing. You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying. ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Mat. 8:1-3) If we simply ask him to cleanse us, he not only cleanses our cups from without, he will touch our spirit and cleanse us from within. It is that simple.

By calling on him, we have finally realized we are not capable, that we have no confidence in our flesh anymore. We must drop all our sense of being able to, so we do not take his name in vain. (Exo. 20:7) Realize all of us in our flesh is leprous, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) Recognizing ones own leprousness is one of the hardest things for man to do. We depend on ourselves, thinking we are right all the time. We give honour to ourselves and depend on our own methods of solving problems. For Moses, he spent the first 40 years of his life as a prince of Egypt, proving he was so capable in his own flesh as Pharoah’s sister’s son. He was a man with full confidence in his own flesh so God had to send him to become a simple shepherd for the next 40 years to unlearn what he knew. Imagine the change in his life and living conditions, from a royal prince to a simple shepherd, from everyone obeying him to tending disobedient sheep. It took him a whole generation, 40 years, to learn this humility. He had to lose his confidence in his flesh before God could use him. Then God called him from a burning bush.

Realize the burning bush is Christ. Christ came in the flesh, in a form of a man that should have been burnt by God’s holy fire, but he was not consumed. He came in the frailty of the flesh that should be burnt, but was not because he was sinless. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin…” (2 Cor. 5:21) That is why God’s divine nature did not burn him; rather he expressed God’s holy fire and spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

From the burning bush, God showed Moses three signs. To maintain focus, I will only address one of the three signs. “Again, the Lord said to him (Moses), ‘Put your hand inside your cloak.’ And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then God said, ‘Put your hand back inside you cloak.’ So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.” (Exo. 4:6-7) After 40 years as a shepherd, unlearning the things of Egypt, God showed Moses that in his flesh, according to his own abilities, he was still leprous. When we put our hand in our cloak against our chest, we think we are really good. But God shows us that in our flesh, we are leprous. Moses’ strengths or weaknesses, if he depends on his flesh, are still leprous. That is why when “Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’ But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’ Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses…” (Exo. 4:10-14) When Moses relied on his natural abilities bases on his flesh, considering his lack of eloquence in the past and in the present, the anger of the Lord was kindled against him. Realize whatever our history, whatever we think we have done or not done, whether in the past or in the present, we have been given a new start by the Lord. His death on the cross has crucified every element of our flesh. Each morning as we get up, realize it is a new day, a new beginning, a day of the Lord, and a day of salvation. “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17) We can no longer rely on our own abilities or inabilities in the flesh. We need to depend of the abilities of the Spirit dwelling inside of us. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Act 2:4) Moses needed to learn that it is God that gives us utterance. We need the Spirit to work within us today to become our outward expression.

Today, both our strengths and our frailties, if expressed out of the flesh, are still leprous. That is why Leviticus 15 tells us any discharge from the body is unclean. “When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean.” (Lev. 15:1) Anything that we produce, if it is out of our flesh, is unclean in the sight of God. “Put no confidence in the flesh.” (Phi. 3:3) That is why we fail. We lack the simple understanding that it is Christ who must live in us and be expressed out off us. “Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5)

Call on Him. It is that simple.

What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 4) or What is eating Christ?

Putting on Christ transforms us outwardly so people sees us living and working in righteousness. It is the Bride making herself ready, “’it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev. 19:8). Our external righteous acts that people see is our fine linen. This is the transformation of our mortal bodies. “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom. 8:11) This makes our cups clean on the outside. How do we make our cups clean on the inside? How do we practically renew our minds (Rom. 12:2) setting it on the Spirit (Rom. 8:5-6)?

We do this by eating Him. To change us internally we need to eat Christ as our bread of life. That is why Revelation 19 continues, “for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’” (Rev. 19:8-9) Our righteous deeds on the outside, reflect a lifetime of eating and enjoying Christ inwardly. That is why “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb…These are the true words of God.” (Rev. 19:9) When we eat and enjoy Christ in such a way, we will be invited to enjoy Christ at his marriage supper to enjoy Him more. We have learned how to eat and enjoy Christ Himself, so we become the true words of God, transformed into his image.

What is eating and enjoying Christ inwardly? When we eat something, that substance becomes assimilated into our beings and intrinsically becomes a part of who we are. We are what we eat. When we eat Christ as our bread of life, we assimilate Him into our beings and intrinsically become like Christ. That is why we “are the true words of God.” (Rev. 19:9) As we feed on Him daily as our daily bread, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Mat. 6:11), his sacrifice on the cross to deal with the sinful nature becomes a reality to us. His death to sin becomes our death to sin. “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Rom. 6:6) “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Rom. 6:8) “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Rom. 6:5) “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 6:11) “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4) As we eat of Christ, his words become living and operative (Heb. 4:12) within us so his words become spirit and life to us (John 6:63) as he assimilates himself intrinsically into our beings.

We must eat the bread that the Lord gives us. “…Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:53) No matter how we change on the outside, unless we are changed on the inside, it is not real. We have cleaned our cups on the outside, but we are full of abominations on the inside (Rev. 17:4). Jesus came down to earth to change us on the inside. When Christ fills us on the inside, realize that we are cleansed from within (Mat. 23:25-27). The only way to clean us from within is to eat Christ. Learning rules and regulations does not work. Christ dwelling in our hearts works (Eph. 3:17). We have to assimilate Christ into our beings so the divine nature become one with us. That is why “you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:52) The life Jesus was talking about was the divine life. The divine life carries the divine nature into us. This is just Christ Himself. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (1 Cor. 6:17) As we eat of Him, Christ becomes so intricately woven and mingled with us that we become like Him. As we are mingled with Him in this way, there is no separation between God and us. That is how He “will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore.” (Rev.3:12)

When Christ is assimilated into our beings, realize His divine nature becomes one with us. The purpose of Christ was to bring us up to God. He redeemed us to save us from our sins and our sinful nature; He resurrected to bring us up to God. In his resurrection, He released and sent us the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) who has made a home in our hearts (John 14:23). As the fire inside of us, He is burning to cleanse and purify us on the inside. Our cups are cleansed by his Spirit dwelling inside of us. The only way we can come before God is if we become holy as He is. How does Christ do that? He transforms us intrinsically so we are like Him in nature. We become “holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1) because we have been made a living sacrifice. The divine nature becomes our nature as Christ lives out of us. His holy nature is expressed out of us as righteousness. That is why “we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

“And they all ate and were satisfied.” (Mat. 15:37) When we eat of the heavenly bread, we would all be satisfied. Nothing else fills the hunger within us even though we try to fill it with many things. We were made with a God-shaped cavity inside that can only be filled with God. That is why we hunger and thirst and are not at peace. Christ needs to fill our beings internally so we would never thirst. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” (John 6:35) “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phi. 4:12-13) Our cups are being filled on the inside to the fullness of God so we are satisfied (Eph. 3:9; John 1:16).

We must realize the kingdom of God is here today. We should not think that only in the future, at the end of this age, will the kingdom of God be established. “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your mist!’” (Luke 17:20-21) God is establishing his kingdom through his Son Jesus Christ today.

Don’t miss out!

As we grow old eating Christ, realize we are transformed into the same image of Christ — holy on the inside and righteous on the outside.

What is God? (Part 2 – His light)

(Prior to reading this, please come before the Lord with a loving heart, seeking his mercy to give us understanding so our spiritual eyes will be opened. This is not light reading so please read this slowly.)

To “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27) is the most important element in our transformation into the same image of Christ. “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in the world.” (1 John 4:17) When love is perfected, realize we have confidence in the day of judgment because the Spirit has set a fire within our beings, so “as he is so also are we.” This fire, set within our temples, will renew our minds and motivate us to do the will of God.

In the Bible, after the great flood in Noah’s days, God promised to never use water to judge man again and, as a reminder, he used the sign of a rainbow in the clouds (Gen. 9:15-16). In his resurrection, when He is on the throne, “He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance” (Rev. 4:3), reminding God not to judge with water. Today, realize he uses fire. “Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peels of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 4:5) The number ‘seven’ in the Bible means completeness or fullness. The fullness of the Spirit of God means in its function, the Spirit has been intensified in its work within us. That is why it is “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.” His Spirit today is like seven lamps of fire burning within our spirit.

Fire has multiple effects. Firstly, the fire of his Spirit serves to cleanse and purify us. “Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it.” (Exo. 29:36) Not only did our Lord come to save us so we would be redeemed from the sins we have already committed, He is actively saving us from the sins we are about to commit. “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) Everyday we have to let the Spirit burn within us. “I will turn my hand against you and will burn away your dross completely; I will remove all your alloy.” (Isa. 1:25 – CSB. The NASB is “I will also turn My hand against you, and will smelt away your dross as with lye and will remove all your alloy.”) When the Lord inhabits our spirit with his Spirit, realize there is a fire burning within to remove all our impurities so we become like him. He is burning away our dross completely. “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29) Because Christ was completely burnt as the burnt offering, realize we are like him in the same image. We also need to be completely burnt so all our impurities are burnt away.

Secondly, fire is a source of light. In fact, in the first century, light is fire. Wherever there is light, there is fire. This light now shines within our spirits to illuminate our minds. “Then Jesus again 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.’” (John 8:12) “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone on our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6) This verse is one of the most important verses in the Bible because it relays the concept of how God is transforming us by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2). Please read this verse slowly, over and over again, with love in your heart for God, until the Spirit gives you understanding and renews your mind.

To the Jewish people in the first century, they were being told by Jesus, the God that they loved and cherished, and venerated and worshipped for generations, is now being expressed in the person of Jesus. This is radical thinking. All the stories that had been passed down throughout the centuries, transferred from one generation to the next, is about Jesus. All their religious practices, rules and laws that were given by God Himself and held sacred for all these years, were a shadow of the things to come. “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Heb. 10:1) “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Col. 2:17) The substance belongs to Christ. The true form of these realities, the true meaning of all their religious practices, is Christ Himself. Realize it is the same today.

Religion is not a practice. It is not a mode of behaviour. The substance must belong to Christ. Why are we separated? It is due to our different practices. We must head up all things in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10) so He can be our all in all (Col. 3:11; Rom. 11:36). We need to be the overcomers wherever we are meeting (Rev. 2-3), to build the house of God.

As the Light shines in our hearts, Christ is transforming us by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). His seven-fold intensified Spirit, as the lampstands of fire within our beings, will radically change us. Our minds will be renewed as he shines on our hearts. From being disgusted with the brother who slurps his soup too loudly, we will forebear and love him. From just practicing religious activities every weekend, we need to have the Spirit change us radically so the realities of Christ may be formed in us (Gal. 4:19). “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19) From sitting in the pews every Sunday being passive, we would realize we are his royal priesthood, needing to serve God actively in shepherding his flock. We need a heart that is continually being shone on so Christ can transform it into a new heart. “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them.” (Eze. 11:19-20) When the Spirit shines within, it renews our minds softening our hearts so we will keep his commandments and do them. We will finally be given the “one heart” (Eze. 11:19) unifying us to serve the living God.

Thirdly, the work that we do is powered by His fire. The seven-fold intensified Spirit is powering us today to give us the motivation and the drive to carry out God’s eternal purpose. “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) Jesus came to cast fire within us so we would not be “lagging behind in diligence, [but] fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Tim. 1:6) We need to fan into flames the gift of God so we would be fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord. “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit…” (1 Cor. 12:11) Realize the Spirit empowers us today.

After we believed in God, we have only received the essential Spirit (John 20:22) that gives us the divine life. We have been brought into the Holy Place within the temple of our spirits. We still need to be transformed into the same image of Christ. Before Christ ascended he told his disciples to wait until they were clothed with power. “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) To be clothed with power from on high is to put on Christ so others sees Christ in the disciples. “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4) When the Spirit of power entered into the disciples, they were given tongues as of fire. The Spirit filled them so they spoke only what the Spirit wanted. The Spirit gave them utterance. We are clothed with this power from on high so we have put on Christ expressing him with tongues of fire as the Spirit gives us utterance.

The foreshadowing of the Spirit of power coming “like a mighty rushing wind” into the disciples filling them with the Holy Spirit (Act 2:1-4) occurred when the altar of sacrifice was first lid. When Moses and Aaron “came out and blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” (Lev. 9:23-24) Realize Moses and Aaron didn’t light this fire on the altar, God did. The seven-fold intensified Spirit today is the fire that comes from on high to empower us to do his work. This fire is burning continuously through all the generations today. “Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.” (Lev. 6:13) Realize it is burning within you as you are reading this. That is why the disciples have tongues of fire. When they spoke, it is the Spirit giving them utterance. They spoke like Christ in his resurrection with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:27) “When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:30-32) When the Spirit gives us utterance to reveal Christ in the scriptures to others, it is never straightforward. It is in pictures and allegories and parables because the understanding requires the one who listens to use the Spirit that is in him. That is why Jesus spoke in parables. The Spirit has to reveal Christ to us so we can put on Christ. “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) Realize it is only through the Spirit that God reveals Himself today. That is why Christ was hidden to the two disciples and they did not recognize Him. When Christ broke bread with them, realized they were being fed in their spirits with the bread of life. The Spirit fed their spirits revealing Christ to them.

When Christ explained to the two disciples all the things concerning Himself in the Scriptures, their hearts were burning from within. When the Spirit gives us utterance, what proceeds from our mouths is tongues as of fire which will burn in people’s hearts. They will burn with the same Spirit, the same fire. That is how the Spirit works through us to build the church of God. “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” (2 Cor. 4:6-7) Realize the surpassing greatness of the power is Christ shining in our hearts. When we see the face of Christ, we will know the glory of God. When this happens the work we produce will not be of ourselves but of God.

Fourthly, the work that we do will be tested by fire. When we allow his Spirit to work in us in this way, the works that we do will be built on his foundation, on the foundation that is Jesus Christ. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11) God has already tested the works we do on the foundation of Christ if we build according to our Spirit within. “Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:12-15) By saying “he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire,” realize Paul is talking to Christians who have received His life essentially but build on a foundation other than Christ. To build on a foundation other than Christ is to uphold any principle or idea, simply anything today, more important or higher that Christ Himself. This was foreshadowed in the Old Testament.

“Now Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” (Lev. 10:1-2) These two sons of Aaron offered strange fire that was not of the one Spirit, not built on the foundation of Christ. Being priests serving as representatives of God, realize they put a different fire in their firepans. His holy consuming fire took them (Heb. 12:29). Today, if we build on a foundation other than Christ, because Jesus has now died on the cross to redeem us, his holy consuming fire will burn everything, but we ourselves will be saved, “yet so as through fire.” This is a dire warning for us today as we are all priests to God.

For those who see themselves as teachers in our Christian community, realize only the Spirit should give us utterance. If we all built on Christ and Christ alone, there would be no division and our work will be gold, silver and precious stones. Issues that are not Christ, that we fight for so adamantly, are superfluous to Him and will be burnt up in his consuming fire.

If we love Him, He is using fire within our temples today to cleanse and purify us through the seven-fold intensified Spirit. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Heb. 12:5-6; Pro. 3:11-12) Realize those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. His disciplining is to transform us. When we look towards Christ, his shining will be upon our hearts disciplining us. His Spirit is shining in our hearts, giving us the knowledge of the glory of God as revealed in the face of Christ. To see how the Lord is disciplining us today, realize we have to look towards the face of Christ. When we look inwardly towards the Spirit we will see the face of Christ. “His head and hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire…and out of His mouth was a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” (Rev. 1:14-16) “…in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire.” (Rev. 19:11-12) Realize as Christ lives in us, He not only sees everything, the flame of fire from His eyes is judging everything. When we look at his face, the glory of God judges us as flames of fire coming from Christ’s eyes. This is how He judges those who love Him today to transform them, cleansing and purifying them. Job had to learn this lesson in a very hard way.

In the book of Job, realize Job was defending his own righteousness all the way through the entire book. God, in his holiness, loved him, so He disciplines Job. In turn, Job loved the Lord and unwaveringly tried to listen to God. However he argues how righteous he was. Only in the last chapter does Job realize the holiness of God. Job answers the Lord, “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:3-5) When we love the Lord in such an unwavering way, we will be disciplined by Him. All that we know of God maybe only “by the hearing of the ear.” Realize God disciplines us so we could say, “But now my eye sees You.” To see the glory of God, things too wonderful for us which we did not know, look unwaveringly towards the face of Christ within our spirits. God’s goal for us is not just to make us righteous, but to make us holy so we could become His bride, an equal partner to Him. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1) “…Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29)

The Lord uses water to save us from the sins we have already committed. He uses fire to save us from the sins we are about to commit.

To “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27) is the most important element in our transformation into the same image of Christ. It teaches us how to “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mat. 22:39)

“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4)

The next time you see a rainbow, remind yourself that God no longer judges us with water; He teaches, instructs and admonishes us by showing us the elements (or spectrum) of His Light.

What is God? (Part 1 – His love)

(Please read this slowly.)

The question, “What is God?” is an unfathomable and mysterious question for humans to ask. But can we use the Bible, which is the word of God, to tease out the major characteristics of what his substance is. What is God composed of?

God is the sum total of all the positive things. The expressed nature of God consists of these positive things. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23) The fruit of the Spirit is the expressed nature of God, so his expressed nature comprises of all these positive things. “For you were formerly darkness, now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists of all goodness and righteousness and truth).” (Eph. 5:8-9) The fruit of the Light consists of all goodness and righteousness and truth (reality). The Father’s nature is in all goodness (Mat. 19:17); the Son’s way towards the Father and his living on this earth was in all righteousness (Rom. 5:17-19); and the Spirit imputes all the truth as the Spirit of reality (John 14:16-17) into us. This is the Triune God himself. The fruit of the Light is the expression of the Triune God himself. It is all goodness, all righteousness, and all truth. That is why “Christ is all, and in all.” (Col. 3:13) That is why God is the sum total of all positive things.

As children of Light, we are the expressed element of what God is. (Eph. 5:8 – Footnote 1 – Recovery Version) We “are Light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8) because we express his essence. As creatures on this earth, we were created to express the essence of who God is. That is why we were created in God’s image. As the Spirit of reality that we have all received (John 14:16-17; 1:16), we are to express the divine being, the essence of who God is himself. That is why, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4) When the divine life, as the Spirit of reality, comes into us, it not only shines to illuminate our inner darkness, but it shines out from us for all to see. That is why, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5). The world will not understand the children of Light, they may just appreciate the fruits produced by the Spirit in us. This is the Light shining is darkness.

Light is the expressed element of what God is, but what is the essence of who God is? The inner substance of God is love (Eph. 5:8 – Footnote 1 – Recovery Version). In the Old Testament, it says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps his covenant and his lovingkindness for a thousandth generation with those who love him and keep his commandments;” (Deu. 7:9) He has a steadfast love (Exo. 34:6; Num. 14:18; Lam. 3:22; Psa. 86:5,15; Joel 2:13) and an abounding love (Psa. 145:8). His love towards us was so intense that he gave his only begotten Son to us, so that we would not perish, but would live, saving us. (John 3:16) In the New Testament, it says, ”We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) God is composed of love. His inner parts are constituted with love. The fabric of his being is love. His inner substance is love. The love that he has for us is so intense, so thorough and complete, that he was willing to sacrifice his Son for us, to give up his own life to save us. He was willing to be led, as “a lamb to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7), to die on the cross for us – though he was the creator of this universe. This was the depth of his love for us. This is the inner substance of who God is.

This love is so absolute, so ultimate, so divine in nature. This love is incorruptible. It is not a natural love that we feel, it is the expression of God himself. When we love God, it is with this same self-sacrificial love of God living out of us. “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.” (Eph. 6:24) The love we have for the Lord is with this same self-sacrificial incorruptible love. That is why Paul implores us, “by the mercies of God, to present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1). Our love for him will not be to preserve our natural life in the flesh, but to live the spiritual life that is wholly and absolutely separated to him. This is our “spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).

As we do this/as the Spirit expresses God’s incorruptible love through us, realize we have “become one Spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17). As the Spirit takes over our thoughts of what is right and wrong, we begin to only know love for the people of this world with God’s incorruptible love. “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16) – so we also love unconditionally with an incorruptible love that is of God. When we “know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (Eph. 3:19 – Recovery Version), we will know what it is to “be filled unto all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19) When we abide in love, we abide in God. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) We are fully saturated and mingled in one Spirit with God himself who is the very substance of love. That is how love is perfected in us. “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17) As he is so also are we. Realize this, “as he is so also are we…in this world,” we are to treat our brothers, in fact, all the images of God, like Christ did, with the same self-sacrificial incorruptible love of God. That in why we are “one Spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17).

When we love God with his incorruptible love, becoming one Spirit with him, we will love our brothers. That is why, “If anyone says, ’I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) To love God means the inner substance of God, his incorruptible love, is shining forth from us. Who he is, emanates from us. The expressed element, his light, of the inner divine substance of God, his love, emanates from us. The light of his life shines forth from us as love in this world. That is how the church is built. That is how we “are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22) That is why Christ is “head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:22-23)

 

What is God?…God is love…and we are to be the expressed part of who he is…

 

How do we overcome sin? (2018-03-27)

How do Christians overcome sin? We are taught to behave a certain way according to Christ’s example. With the help of the Spirit, we are able to do so. However, Christians still commit sins and sometimes knowingly (defined usually by their conscience). So how do Christians overcome sin?

First, we have to understand a few issues with sin. In the Bible, ‘sin’ and ‘sins’ refers to two different things. ‘Sin’ refers to the nature of sin that is in us. It is what makes us commit ‘sins.’ The ‘sins’ man commits are the same as his trespasses. That is why there are two different sacrifices related to sin(s) in the Mosiac laws: the fourth sacrifice is the sin offering, (Lev. 4:1-35; 6:25; Rom. 8:2; 2 Cor. 5:21) for unintentional sins, dealing with the sinful nature of man, and the fifth sacrifice is the guilt offering, (Lev. 5:1-18; 7:1; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18) for known trespasses, dealing with the sins that man commits. By dying on the cross, not only has Christ Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, his sacrifice dealt with our nature of sin, freeing us from its bondage. “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) “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:11)

Overcoming sin is not something that people do, it is something that Christians realize. Sin is a part of our human nature once Adam took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Discerning the difference between good and evil is an attribute of God, (Gen. 3:22) not man. Imagine a situation where we could not tell good from evil, we would hold God as the only authority, there would be no reason not to love our father and mother, we would not know why something is better, good, than something else that is worse, evil, so we would not murder, not commit adultery, not steal, not give false witness, and not covet. (Exo. 20:3-17) If we could not separate the difference between good and evil, there would be no envy, no one wronged, no anger, no jealousy, no anything. [However, the small differences we see between good and evil eventually, over time, escalates to massive insurmountable differences that polarizes us to extremes resulting in behaviours that are truly evil. That is why, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eyes?’ (Mat. 7:3)] With no differences between good and evil, we would appreciate whatever we have. We would not be any wiser – “that the tree was to be desired to make one wise.” (Gen. 3:6) Though this seems simplistic, it is the bases of all the struggles in the world today. If we do not know good from evil, we would abide by the laws of God. There would be no need to struggle. When Adam took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he gained an attribute of God that is divine. “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:22) Adam was human, but he gained this divine insight into knowing what is good from what is evil. He knew what was better for himself, so he commits the evil to get it. Cain was the first affected by this. He saw his brother’s offering was ‘better,’ leading him not only to lose his love for his brother, but to kill him. He no longer loves his neighbour as himself, (Luke 10:27) as all the specks in their eyes are amplified. He no longer bows down to the higher authority of God. He no longer loves God with all his heart, all his soul, all his strength, and all his mind. (Luke 10:27) He gained the nature of sin. He knew what was right, but being human and knowing good from evil, he could only do what was wrong. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Rom. 7:18-19) This is the nature of sin that dwells in us. “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Rom. 7:20) The nature that dwells in our flesh is sin. We need to die to this, so Christ came in the flesh, (John 1:14) condemning sin in the flesh, (Rom. 8:3) releasing the divine nature as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) to dwell in us. (Rom. 8:9) We need the divine nature to come into us to give us the ability to overcome sin. “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Heb. 2:14-15) As long as we ‘share in flesh and blood’, humans are ‘subject to slavery all their lives’ because we have a ‘fear of death’ when we break the law. So God came and became human, ‘partook of the same,’ dying for us so he could ‘render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,’ who keeps accusing us, and makes us accuse each other of doing evil. That is why this age will end, when “the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” (Rev. 12:10) Through the cross, realize we are no longer “slave[s] to sin,” (John 8:34) but have “come to [our] senses and escape[d] from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (2 Tim 2:26) Through Christ’s death on the cross, we have died to sin. “For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3) “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:11) “And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Rom. 6:18) So it is not a matter of doing right in our flesh, it is a matter of being right in our spirit with his Spirit. It is not a matter of trying to be right by ourselves, it is a matter of living in righteousness in Christ. We need to realize that we are not alone, but Christ now lives in us.

The reason we fail so often in overcoming sin is because we are trying to overcome sin. As human beings, we cannot overcome sin because we are human. So even after we are saved, we continue to be tempted to commit sins and fail. Only Christ can overcome sin. Not only can Jesus overcome sin, he has already done so in his human living on this earth. He was perfectly obedient to God. “I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30) “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:28-29) “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” (John 6:38) Only He had the ability to follow the will of God. As a man, he not only had the knowledge of good and evil, he had the ability to follow it, because he was also God. He was human and divine. He was the only man who was able to submit his will to God’s will. Even at his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) As a human, he wondered, if the Father was willing, if he could avoid his crucifixion; as God, he was always obedient to the will of his Father – ‘Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ By his crucifixion, he condemned sin, removing its power and eliminating the nature of sin, once for all by dying on the cross. By being totally obedient to the Father, he finally bruised Satan’s head. (Gen. 3:15) This person of Christ, with all the attributes of his being, in resurrection, has come to live within us as the life-giving Spirit. (1 Cor. 15:45) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) Realize this. Realize that Jesus Christ lives in you. Realize that we have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live. We died with Christ and our sinful nature no longer lives. It is not us that has defeated our sinful nature, it is because we have died to it with Christ. Christ has defeated it by dying on the cross. We are united with Christ in his death. Being dead, it is no longer I who live. It is only the resurrected Christ who now lives in me. Realize Christ Jesus now live in us. “And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

For those who have known Christ for sometime, it is not uncommon that when we think we have done something for Him, something negative seems to happen to us. Whenever we think we have done something wonderful for God, he is there to empty us again, to humble us again, (Phi. 2:5-12) so that the “surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7) “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (Gal. 2:21) In maturity, we realize we can only manifest the life of Jesus by dying to ourselves. “Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.” (2 Cor. 4:10-12) So that is how we work out our own salvation, (Phi. 2:12) by constantly dying to ourselves, so Christ could live out of us. “So death works in us, but life in you.” (2 Cor. 4:12) “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phi. 2:13)

Following our conscience and living a righteous life before God is not supposed to be a struggle. It is a mere consequence of us realizing we have died with Christ and are now manifesting the active and living Christ that is in us. That is why it is the fourth and fifth offerings for the children of Israel, not the first, which is the burnt offering. (Lev. 1) The burnt offering is completely offered to God as a sweet aroma to him. It is for God’s pleasure. The offering is skinned and the entire animal, cut into pieces, is offered to God. This is a picture of Christ, as the ultimate sacrifice. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phi. 2:5-8) Realize Jesus was ‘in the form of God,’ but he emptied himself, submitting to the Father’s will, humbling himself to the point of death. He was the only human that was completely obedient, completely righteous, yet when he was accused, he kept silent, not saying a word in his own defence. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isa. 53:7) It is impossible for any of us to do. He was brought to the point of death, and still did not fight for his ‘good,’ because he was following the Father’s will. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Realize we are not able to, but this person of Christ, who is now living in us, He is able to. We can do nothing apart from him, but he abides in us, and we abide in him. (John 15:5) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” (1 Cor. 6:19) “Do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor.13:5)

Christ was absolutely for God. He was a human with his own will, yet he submitted it totally to God. “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.'” (John 4:34) Jesus compares the will of God to the very basic element that sustains his life, food. He was absolutely, a hundred percent for his Father’s will. Everyday he lived to accomplish the Father’s work. He did everything according to God’s will, not his own. Although we often think we are standing up for the ‘good,’ or doing the ‘good,’ realize it should not come from ourselves, from our own wills, but from  Christ who is living within us. Even when we love, it should not be from ourselves, but from God. Only then is our enemies loveable. Christ loves all of us sinners. In our living, whatever we do, realize it must not be us doing it, but Christ. This is how we “present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.” (Rom. 12:1) The fire of the burnt offering was kept burning continually, “Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out,” (Lev. 6:13) indicating every moment of Christ’s life was to do the Father’s will. His entire being, including his will, was burnt continually as “a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.” (Lev. 1:9) We need to have Christ living out of us every moment of our lives. When we allow Christ to live out of us, then whatever we do, even the ‘good,’ has been tested by fire. Only the work of Christ will withstand God’s test by fire. “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:12-15) Realize we should not think we are doing ‘good,’ we just need to allow Christ to live out of us. That is why we should not touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We need to eat from the tree of life. The bread of life is what sustains us today. (John 6:32-35) That is why the opening of the gospel of John reminds us of Genesis by saying, “In the beginning…” (John 1:1; Gen. 1:1) In Genesis, man was supposed to eat Christ, symbolized by the tree of life, daily to transform him intrinsically and make him one with God. Today, we are supposed to eat Christ, symbolized by the bread of life, daily to transform us intrinsically and make us one with God. Because man fell, sin entered into man, so God could no longer come into us.  We knew what was right and wrong but had no ability to carry it out. (Rom. 7:18) “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 restore man to eat from the tree of life, receiving the divine life, because God so loved the world, he gave us his only Son, so whosoever believes in Christ, who receives him (John 1:12) into their spirit, (Rom. 8:9) “should not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16) “and live forever.” (Gen. 3:27) “In him was life, and the life was the light of man.” (John 1:5) The divine life shines within us because it has a divine nature, shining in our human nature. When the light shines in us, even the darkness of our hearts cannot overcome it (John 1:5) — “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Cor. 5:4) Christ is our bread of life. (John 6:35) “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Mat. 4:4; Deu. 8:2) The Word of God is the bread we need to eat today. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:64) Lord, give us this day our daily bread. (Mat. 6:11; Luke 11:3)

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The Lord said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48) How can we be perfect like our heavenly Father? It is impossible for humans to do. We need to eat of the bread of life. We need him continually. The children of Aaron ate of the grain offering. A portion was offered to God, as “a pleasing aroma to the Lord. And the rest of it Aaron and his sons shall eat.” (Lev. 6:15-16) “Every male among the children of Aaron may eat of it, as decreed forever throughout your generations, from the Lord’s food offerings. Whatever touches them shall become holy.” (Lev. 6:18) When we take Christ as the bread of life into our beings, realize it is no small matter. Realize he is living in us to transform us, expressing his holiness through us, so we become perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” (Rom. 12:1) Christ, dwelling within us, is the reality of our holiness that is acceptable to God. That is how we overcome sin.