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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 7) or Why resting in Him is doing His will?

“…The will of God, your sanctification.” (1 The. 4:3) Realizing the will of God is our sanctification. It sets us apart to God so we become holy through Christ’s living within us, transforming us into the same image of Christ. But how do we follow the will of God? How do we become set apart to God? How do we “be holy”?

Realized today God himself is sanctifying us. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he who calls you, and he also will bring it to pass.” (1 The. 5:23-24} He is doing all the work. “Faithful is he who calls you, and he also will bring it to pass.” (1 The. 5:25) To follow the will of God, realize the only thing we need to do is rest in him.

As human beings, we don’t know how to rest in him. Our flesh is always expressing itself so we are not holy. We are not set apart to him because we are still working within our flesh. Realize all expression of our flesh is unclean. In order to be set apart to him, to be holy, realize we must cease from all our work. Even saying “I am surrendering my will to you Lord,” with a sense that we are capable of surrendering our wills to him, is work. We cannot rely on our flesh to do anything. Only Christ, who is living within us, can surrender our wills to him. That is why, “…He also will bring it to pass.” (1 The. 5:24) He will bring it to pass. Our sanctification, our separation from this world of affliction to the Christ of peace, our setting apart to be holy, is entirely through the God of peace Himself. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation (afflictions), but take courage, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 The. 5:23). He is sanctifying us completely. Our spirit, our soul and our body is being separated to him so we would be blameless in the day of Christ.

So what are we to do? Realize it is nothing. We are to do absolutely nothing but just to enjoy Christ. When we enjoy Him and do nothing, we have entered his Sabbath rest. When we enjoy Christ, feasting with Him, the God of peace Himself will sanctify us. That is why, in Leviticus, God tells us that all the expressions from our flesh is unclean. All that we do in our flesh is unclean. So do nothing. “The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations–My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is the Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.” (Lev. 23:1-3) There were seven holy convocations or feasts that the children of Israel were to celebrate. (See “Life Study of Leviticus” for a full explanation of what they are and where we stand today.) In each one, the children of Israel were to do no work; God reminded them repeatedly in Lev. 23:7,8,21,24,28,30,31,32,35,36 and 39 that they were to do no work and rest. In fact, in the holy convocation concerning the day of atonement, the Lord tells them to humble themselves. “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. You shall not do any work on the same day, for it is the day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your Sabbath.’” (Lev. 23:26-32) Realize the humbling of our souls allows us to rest in Him.

[This actually speaks of the future when Christ returns and the trumpets sound, calling the children of Israel to humble themselves and purify themselves with fire before the Lord. Anyone who fails to do so will be cut off from his people. “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9) That is why the previous convocation is the blowing of trumpets, “a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.” (Lev. 23:24) “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 The. 4:16-17) When the Lord comes back, he will be hidden from our view, in the cloud. He is hidden from plain sight. Just like he was over the mercy seat. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.’” (Lev. 16:2) This is what it is like today. He is hidden from our plain sight, but those who love him see him in their spirits, the inner-most part of their being where the Spirit dwells. “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to the lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Pet. 1:19) To those who love him, his second coming will be like his first, announced by the brightest star in the sky, a morning star, except it will now arise only in the hearts of those who love him. That is why “…we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7)]

Learning to rest in Christ is our greatest challenge. We like to exert our will. That is the problem given to us by the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We feel we need to work to do our Christian duties. Realize we cannot do Christian work first until we rest in Christ. In Genesis, God created the universe in six days, then he rested on the seventh day. “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen. 2:1-2) This seventh day was sanctified, set apart, by God to rest. Realize for man, who was created on the sixth day, his first day was God’s seventh day. His first day is a day of rest. Before we till the ground, we must rest in him. “For we who have believed enter that rest…Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Heb. 4:3,11) When we rest in him, we don’t live according to our flesh, we live according to the Spirit so we are no longer disobedient. Why are we not disobedient, because we have been set apart by him as we rest in him. Christ sanctifies us and becomes our holiness. When we work throughout the week, we till the ground now yoked with Christ. “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mat. 11:28-30) When we are yoked with Christ, realize who does all the pulling, and who does all the steering. Christ does everything. “For from Him  and through Him and to Him are all things.” (Rom. 11:36) Our yoke is easy and our burden becomes light as we rest in him. As we get old in Christ, we realize we do not use our own efforts. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourselves and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18) As we grow old in Christ, we stop trying to be holy because we realize it is a distinctness that is of God alone and not of the flesh. We simply need to love Him. Christ becomes our holiness.

“Whom having not seen, you love; into whom though not seeing Him at present, yet believing, you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Pet. 1:8 – Recovery Version) As we feast with Christ at his holy convocations, realize we are eating at his table with him. We are eating of him as the bread and the wine, the bread to supply us with his divine life that is distinctly separate from us, and the wine to deal with our sin by the blood he shed on the cross. Realize Christ is supplying us with his holiness, the bread, and dealing with our flesh with his blood. His holy convocations begin with the Passover, with the blood shed by the lamb of God, redeeming us so God’s judgment passes over us. The second convocation is the feast of the unleavened bread. Leaven is the added mixture of sin into our beings when Adam took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:7-8) We are taking Christ as our unleavened bread each and everyday to supply us with his holiness. We cannot do it ourselves. We rest in Him.

When we rest in Him, we are at a feast, feeding with and on Christ as our unleavened bread. We stay within the Holy of Holies before Him and never go out anymore (Lev. 21:12; Rev. 3:12), we are his priests without blemish. We don’t shave off our hair anymore. “They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh.” (Lev. 21:5) “For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb,” etc. (Lev. 21:18-20), they were not allowed to be priests though they were Aaron sons because of their defects in their flesh. As priests to God today, realize the Christ in you has made you holy and without blemish. We express his perfect humanity if we rest on him and not work ourselves. Instead, we have come into his enjoyment. We are feasting with our brothers and sisters enjoying Christ as our life and life-supply. “Whom having not seen you love; into whom though not seeing Him at present, yet believing, you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Pet. 1:8 – Recovery Version) The Christian life is one of joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. This is the heart of the divine revelation.

 

By resting in and enjoying Christ, we are transformed into the same image.

 

On the Sabbath, when you gather together with your brothers and sisters in Christ, make sure it is a feast unto Him, that you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

 

 

 

 

 

What is God? (Part 3 – His holiness)

(Please read this very slowly and prayerfully in front of Christ.)

 

God is holy.

What does that mean? How can we be holy?

God is holy. Holiness is a state of being that God is. It sets Him apart from us. It is his distinct nature. It is his character. It is who He is. Everything that emanates from God is holy. That is why only the Father is righteous. Not even Jesus, His Son could say He was good. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’” (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19) Goodness is only from God. None of his creation has it. As his created creatures, it makes Him sacred to us. We have to venerate Him. It makes Him God to us.

“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behaviour, because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:15-16) We are to ‘be holy’, not to make ourselves holy. Holiness is an attribute of God and not of man. It makes Him sacred and venerable. Man can never make himself sacred and venerable so no matter what he does, it does not make him holy. (If ever a man is venerated, realize we have made him a god.) If we image a man who does everything righteously, would we call him holy? Holiness is a condition of God, a state of being. We cannot be holy no matter how righteous our behaviour is. Yet Peter tells us “be holy yourselves also in all your behaviour…’You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16) How does this come about?

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’” (Mark 10:18) Even the Son of God did not think He was good. Yet we recognize that He is holy. What make him holy? It was because God was living in Him. As a human being born of the virgin Mary, he could not be holy. But as a divine being born of God, He was holy. He had the divine life within. With God as his Father, his life was divine, so his nature was holy. In expression, his holiness made Him not only sinless, but altogether righteous. That is why He is good. His righteousness was an expression of God the Father.

Realize it is similar for us today. In the flesh, we are sin personified. We are still leprous. However in the Spirit, based on God Himself, we are holy. We are God expressed if we live by our reborn Spirit. (John 3:5-6) That is why we are his many sons. (John 1:12) Our living should be altogether righteous.

This is the difference between the first covenant based on the law, and the second covenant based on Christ. The first covenant tells us what we should not do because we are headed up by the flesh, the second covenant tells us what we should do because we are headed up by Christ (Eph. 1:9-10). The first covenant tells us how to clean our cups from the outside, the second covenant tells us to express God’s holiness from the inside. (Heb. 8:8-12) This is transformational.

Transformation is not a change in behavior, it is a metamorphosis. Just like a caterpillar, in the flesh we crawl around on the ground. When we were reborn, God made us into a beautiful butterfly that can take to the air and fly into the open field. “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. 14:7). No matter how beautiful a caterpillar makes himself, he will never be a butterfly and be able to fly. No matter how righteous we are in our flesh, we will never be holy and be truly good. Holiness is of God and not of us. Holiness is of the divine life in the Spirit and not the human life in the flesh. That is why we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices. “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) A living sacrifice is one who is dead in the flesh, but alive in the Spirit. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:10) Only the Christ in us makes us holy and acceptable to God.

If we think that in the flesh, based on what we have accomplished or grown into, we could somehow be holy, realize that is blasphemous. We have rejected the Spirit. We have rejected God. The only sin that is unforgivable is rejection of the Spirit. “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemies against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 13:28-29; see Luke 12:10) When we teach each other how to be better in the flesh without the Spirit, realize we have rejected God. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” (Gal. 2:21) If we think we could become holy by our improvements over time, we would be “blasphemous” in our thinking. We would have said that our flesh could work towards holiness, that leprosy could become holy without God. That is what religion teaches us. Realize this is “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” (Rev. 17:5) We must not venerate each other according to the flesh. Babylon the great is in the form of a woman, but not His Bride. She says the flesh can become holy by effort. When we teach each other how to be righteous in our flesh without the Spirit, it seems good, but it is not the Bride. It is another woman. It is teaching caterpillars how to fly. It is not holy and acceptable to God because it stems from our own knowledge of good and evil. Its roots are in our rebellious nature that says all things can be headed up in our flesh. We fail to realize that Christ lives in us. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5) When we rely on our flesh, we are not even of the faith. “Whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23)

Christ in us makes us holy. That is why Paul opens his letter, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. To the saints (holy ones) who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 1:1) When we are in the faith, we realize that Christ Jesus is in us. That is why we are saints. Only Christ in us makes us holy. Does living a sinless life make us holy? Realize we are still not holy. Only Christ living in us and expressed out of us makes us “holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1).

The book of Leviticus was written recording God’s commandments in ordinances to the children of Israel. They were supposed to all be priests to the Gentiles (Num. 3:12). Realize it is written to us, foreshadowing what we, as Christians who are the priests to God today forming his “royal priesthood,” (1 Pet. 2:9) are to do. This book teaches us how priests should conduct themselves when we let God express out of us. It draws a clean line between our dependence on our own life with dependence on God’s life. It shows us a distinct separation between the dependence on our flesh and the dependence on the Spirit living inside of us, in being holy and acceptable to God. When we live by the strength of our flesh, it is unclean. That is why there are dietary restrictions in Leviticus 11 (For their significance, see “Life Study of Leviticus”). But “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Mat. 15:11) The expression of the flesh defiles us. Leviticus tells us when a mother gives birth to flesh, she is unclean (Lev. 12) and that males have to be circumcised to cut off their flesh (Lev. 12:3). “But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.” (Rom. 2:29) It tells us that in our flesh we are leprous, infected by sin so we express sins in our flesh. (Lev. 13) We need to be freed by the Spirit, flying off into the open field, and to cut off all the expressions of the flesh, shaving our entire being. (Lev. 14) It tells us all expressions of our flesh, any discharge out of our being, is unclean. (Lev. 15) It tells us not to eat blood, “For the life of the flesh is in its blood.” (Lev. 17:14) so we are not to internalize and gain strength from any life of the flesh other than the divine life that is of God when we serve as his priests. It tells us “None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness, I am the Lord.” (Lev. 18:6) because our wife is “flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23) and any progeny is related to me in flesh. As Christians, we are not to deal with each other in the flesh but in the Spirit. Our dealings with each other should always be in the Spirit and not in our flesh because we all have the same Father. Only in the Spirit, apart from our flesh, can we be one to form his Bride. So in the very next paragraph, the Lord reminds us he is holy. “You shall be holy, for I the lord your God am holy.” (Lev. 19:2) To be holy we cannot express the flesh. So from Leviticus 19:9-27, God tells us what not to do. “You shall not…” because in our flesh, we do all these things. When we function by our own knowledge of what is good and evil, we are in our flesh and not in our spirit with His Spirit, where the Spirit has made a home in our hearts (John 14:23). “If anyone loves me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) Love Him so we are one with God. It is the only way to be holy. That is why, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) No one can be holy without Christ living in him. “No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18)

Holiness is a noun. It is not a process. There is no such thing as holification. It is God’s distinctness. That is why no matter how righteous we are in our flesh, we are not holy. We are far short of holiness because it is distinctly different. The way God makes us holy is to sanctify us. Sanctification is a process. It is a word that means to set apart to God. God Himself is separating us out from the world so we could be one with Him through Christ. Under the first covenant, men in their flesh tried to set themselves apart. They had so many statutes and ordinances to keep. It never worked because they tried to do them in their flesh, by their own efforts. They just could not be holy because the source of sin in their flesh was not dealt with. So God gave us a second covenant. He came himself. He brought his holiness into men, to reside within men, so that not only is the source of sin in their flesh dealt with, the divine life enlivens men so they could be holy. “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:10) Men could be filled with a distinctness that is not of the flesh, not of this world “…That you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19) He could be holy, set apart to God in righteousness because the Spirit in him is holy. That is why, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honour.” (1 Thes. 4:3) This is such a strange phrase, “For the will of God, your sanctification” because is could be read as ‘for the will of God is to sanctify us’ or ‘for the will of God is your sanctification’. Realize when we allow the Spirit to live freely within us, we have let the will of God take over our will. We have submitted our will in our flesh to the will of the Spirit. This is our sanctification. We simply submit the desires of our flesh to the will of God who resides within us. Through the working of the Spirit, we know how to control our own flesh in holiness and honour. (1 Thes. 4:3) That is why we are his workmanship. “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)

The control of our own flesh in holiness and honour is all dependent on the Spirit residing in us. “Do not quench the Spirit,” (1 The. 5:19) “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phi. 2:13) Let the Spirit flow freely in you, to will and to work for his good pleasure. Remain in the Holy of Holies within your spirit where He is and never go out anymore (Rev. 3:12). Realize it is God Himself who is sanctifying you completely today. It is not by our own efforts in the flesh. Even when the children of Israel were told to keep the statutes, it was God who sets them apart sanctifying them. “Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” (Lev. 20:8) “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 The. 5:23) He is setting us apart, our whole spirit, soul, and body, every part of who we are, to be with Him in holiness. This is how He keeps us blameless until Christ returns.

 

God is holy … Christ in us makes us holy.

 

 

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 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 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…