Why is God love? (2018-02-04)

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) The Bible does not say God has love for us, but God is love. It is his nature. It is an integral part of who he is. He loved us so much that he came into the world to die for us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This is how much he loved us. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) He sent his only Son to us, so we might live through him. We are only truly alive when we live through him. That is why nothing in this world seems to satisfy. He lives in us so we now live through him. “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12) We need him to abide in us so that the invisible God is made visible by our love for each other. Who God is, love, his nature, is expressed through us by our love for one another. That is why every brother is precious. It is through him that we love one another with a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional ‘agape’ love.

“If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3) These words were not written just for weddings. It is for how Christians should live – in love with their families, with their brothers in Christ, with everyone (and not just our spouses). We can do everything right before God, which is what every group of Christians is trying to do before God, but if we do not love each other, we are nothing. The sadness today is all Christians are trying to do God’s will, standing on the ground of righteousness, but have lost the love for each other. The ground of righteousness is under the wrong tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genuine ‘agape’ love emanates from the tree of life. It is the expression of the Spirit of life that abides in us. Just love. It doesn’t matter if all we can do is have a ‘philia’ love for each other (see the blog “Why?”). Just love. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet. 4:8) God loves us so much that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) Whatever we do wrong before God, he will forgive us…so lets forgive one another. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) Love triumphs over righteousness. That is why it is God’s new commandant. Showing an ‘agape’ love for one another is selfless. We often say we love one another as long as others meet our expectations. When they do something ‘wrong,’ against our expectations, we are upset. The way we are to love each other is just as Christ has loved us. Regardless of what we have done or will do that is wrong, Christ died for us. Regardless of what others do that is wrong to us, we “are to love one another.” (John 13:34) Love should not be affected by the actions of others, it is a reality in ourselves. It is independent of what others do. That is how God loved us. It is very, very hard to think this way as a man. We have to be the children of God. That is why we need the indwelling Spirit to be the reality of God’s ‘agape’ love in us. “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13) Because he has given us of his Spirit. The Spirit gives us the ability to love in an ‘agape’ way for not only God, but for others. We have to have faith in the Spirit. We can only express this selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love through the indwelling Spirit. Let Him live through us (Gal. 2:20). That is how God will “unite all things in [Christ].” (Eph. 1:10) This ‘agape’ love is divine in nature. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) The ‘agape’ love we express for one another is the evidence that God is in man.

Today, to rebuild the temple (Acts 15:16) that God desires is not to uphold principles defining what God wants, to rebuild his unified church, as the “remnant of mankind [who] seek the Lord” (Acts 15:17), we just need to love one another. “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) The ‘agape’ love we have for one another is evidence that we are his disciples.

Love is the key aspect of God’s nature that we are lacking. To love Him more and more, means to trust Him more and more. When we love more, we trust more. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Gal. 5:6) How does faith work through love? When we love someone, we will trust them. The more we love someone, the more exposed and vulnerable we become because we have given more and more of our trust to them. This is what God in doing with us. As we mature in Christ, we love Him more and more. We are more and more exposed and vulnerable to Him, realizing how far away we are from His desires for us. All the while He has garnered more and more of our trust. So love works hand-in-hand with faith. The more we love Him, the more our faith grows. The more we surrender to Him, the more He can live through us.

Are we predestinated or do we have free will? How does God work through us? (2018-03-14)

The issue of predestination and free will has confused Christians throughout history. From God’s viewpoint, we are predestined because he is timeless and he sees our life, from beginning to end, in its entirety, all at once. For God, time is merely a dimension, like length. It is fully laid out before him. That is why Jesus, even thought he was born in a particular moment in time, is “the first born of all creation” (Col. 1:15) That is how “He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:2) Time does not progress from one moment to the next like it does for us. He sees it all at once. Of course he knows how we will turn out and who will be his children. So for him, he “foreknew” (Rom. 8:29) our futures. From our viewpoint, however, we don’t know how we will turn out. As a creature walking along this timeline, we can turn left or right. So we have free will.

The difficult passage concerning predestination and free will occurs in Philippians Chapter 2. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12-13) How can we work out our own salvation if it is God who works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure? To understand this verse, we must parallel this verse with “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Working out our own salvation simply means not exerting our own will. We must be dead, crucified with Christ, so we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. “Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is it that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5) When we “willingly” abide in Christ, surrendering all to him, he exerts his will through us, working for his good pleasure. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Heb. 4:7) Only then does God work in us, both the willing and the working for his good pleasure, so we can “Be anxious for nothing.” (Phi. 4:6) This is Psalms 51:10-13 where we must be passive before God can make us active (explained in the blog “Why?”). “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psa. 51:16-17) The greatest challenge for Christians today is to have a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart both towards God and towards each other. “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) When we offer everything to him by prayer and supplication (Phi. 4:6), including our bodies as a living sacrifice, we will be holy and acceptable to God. That is our spiritual worship.

When we look at the passage in context in Philippians 2, Christ shows us the example of humbling himself. “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 the death on a cross.” (Phi. 2:5-8) Though Christ Jesus was in the form of God, was equal to God, he emptied himself, humbling himself by taking a human form and died for us, remaining obedient to God the Father. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” (Phi. 2:12) by ‘following’ Christ’s example by surrendering our wills. That is why Paul uses the word, ‘Therefore’ and ‘so now,’ to relate back to the previous passage. We need to be emptying ourselves and humbling ourselves by realizing Christ. Paul is telling the saints in Philippi who have ‘always obeyed,’ they should ‘follow’ Christ’s example now. When we empty ourselves, surrendering our will to him, God is able to exert his will through us. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phi. 2:12) Do you not know it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure? “Do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5) Everything is resolved, including our sinful nature, when we realize Christ is living in us as he is willing and working within us. When we surrender our will to God, we will realize it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. God wants to express his will through us so when we work, it is him who is working for his good pleasure. This is what happened to Paul in the next chapter of Philippians. He had to “put no confidence in the flesh — though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, blameless.” (Phi. 3:3-5) All those things that we consider so right in our lives, that gives us confidence in the flesh, we have to count loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. “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.” (Phi. 3:7-8) Whatever we can do for God, is not as important as the surpassing worth of knowing him. He is transferring our humanity, relying on our own strength, willing and working by our own ability, to his divinity, relying on Christ alone, willing and working by the Spirit who is at work in us. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Col. 1:13) We become dependent on him because we realize we cannot be divine ourselves. As we establish a dependence on Christ, realizing not only what he has done for us on the cross but the working of his Spirit in us today, a relationship of love for him will grow more and more. Our love for him outweighs all that we can do ‘right’ for him. It has to be God who works in us to will and to work for his good pleasure. “Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5) Our ‘work’ in the flesh will not withstand God’s test by fire. (1 Cor. 3:12-16) Love will. Christ will.

“For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them 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 in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” (Phi. 3:8-9) For the sake of gaining Christ, realize we need to surrender all things to him and count them rubbish. Every moment in our lives when someone looks for us, we should be found in him. This only happens when we love him so intensely that all our hearts, all our souls, all our strength, and all our minds, (Luke 10:27; Mat. 22:37) are focused on him. This can only happen through the Spirit who dwells in us. Then it is not our ‘work’ that gives us our righteousness, it is the righteousness from God that depends on faith. We do not have a righteousness of our own based on the ‘good’ that we do, our righteousness comes from God based on how much Christ is realized in us — how much God wills and works through us. The realization of Christ will lead to his working through us. Today, we do not realize fully the Christ that is in us, but we are trying by surrendering ourselves to him, in hopes “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. 3:10-11) In our daily life, we are sharing in his sufferings, humbling ourselves like him in his death so others may have the divine life. “Always carrying in this body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (2 Cor. 4:10) “So death is at work in us, but life in you,” (2 Cor. 4:12) By any means possible, we may also realize Christ’s resurrection power working through us, transforming us so that, “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; 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.” (1 Cor. 15:42-44) “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way.” (Phi. 3:13-15)

Surrendering our wills to God’s will is what we are ‘straining’ for today. We have to forget all that we have known, all our routines, practises, and even ways of thinking, that have somehow become ritualized, to serve a living and active God who is living inside of us. We should have a freshness of love for him, as if it is the first time we are knowing him. We have not “left [our] first love.” (Rev. 2:4) We ourselves cannot do this. Only Christ has done this. Actually we cannot even submit our wills to God’s will. Only Christ is obedient to the Father. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7) Realize it is Christ who is working in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. That is why the first offering by the children of Israel is the burnt offering — every part of the animal, every bit of its being, is completely offered to God as a pleasing aroma to him. (Lev. 1) Christ, the all-powerful God, emptied himself completely by become a man, humbling himself to die on the cross for our sins so we may live. None of us has this level of obedience to God and love for God and man. Christ said, “I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30; see John 6:38; 8:29; Heb. 10:5-10) Realize now that it is Christ, God himself, who is now working in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. This is how we work out our own salvation. This reality is true for us individually and corporately. Guard against doing things out of routine. This is how “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7) So this passage in Philippians 2 is not a conflict.

Our life on this earth is only a brief moment in time. God sees it all at once because we are finite. The natural body will perish, but our spiritual body is infinite. People who pass away prematurely has simply been “called home” earlier in time. So it is the spiritual part of our beings that needs to be taken care of, while we’re still on this earth in our natural bodies, as we don’t know when our natural bodies will be cut off from us. Yet, how we take care of our spirit now has eternal consequences, whether we live eternally in the enjoyment of Christ or whether we are “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10) If we can wrap our minds around what is infinite as merely a dimension, which is really difficult to do because we are finite, the significance of our brief moment in time takes on extreme importance as it stands above time. Infinity is nothing but God in everything. That is why the largeness of our universe is nothing, a nothingness to God. Yet the smallest of every human being is something, something precious to God. That is why “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7; Mat. 10:30) To do this is nothing for an infinite God. But that is how precious we are to him. That is why “He is before all, and all things subsist together by him.” (Col.1:17) “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Pet. 1:20 – NIV) That is why, how we live on this earth in so important. That is why we need God. That is why the first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exo. 20:2; Deut. 5:7) We need Christ in us as our hope of glory. (Col.1:27)

Why do we have a conscience and why can we not keep it? (2018-02-01)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines conscience as “our moral sense of right and wrong.” It arises instinctively in each of us defining how we relate to God and to the rest of the world. It is not the instinct of the “survival of the fittest” that is found in animals. In fact, it tells us to care for the weakest. That is somehow morally right. When we violate our conscience, it tells us that we are wrong. It is the internal ‘voice’ that separates right from wrong within us. It is our knowledge of good and evil. We gained this knowledge when Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 3:6) We gained the moral sense of right and wrong. We gained a conscience.

Conscience is an attribute of God. He lives in righteousness. All that he does is righteous. God is light. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) It is his nature. It is not the rules of righteousness, he just is righteousness. God is light. In Jesus, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5) The light overpowers and destroys everything that is in darkness.

When man ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his eyes were opened. “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” (Gen. 3:7) We gained the ‘knowledge’ of good and evil. We gained a conscience. The problem is we were not given the ‘ability’ to follow it. We knew something that was divine, but we were human. When we gained the knowledge of good and evil, we were ‘like God,’ able to separate good from evil, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:22), but not ‘God,’ as we were still human and unable to do what we now knew, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Rom. 7:15) “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Rom. 7:18) “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (Rom. 7:22) Our conscience is “A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!” (An Essay on Man, Epistle II1733). It condemns us but does not help us out. The conscience lets us discern what is right and wrong, but it could not practically help us carry it out. So we are naked in front of God, and can only hide. We were still human.

The only way we can follow our conscience is if we become divine in nature. That is why God had to come to dwell in the human spirit to give him a divine life. He came to solve our sin problem by releasing the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), transferring us into the divine kingdom. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his Son he loves.” (Col. 1:13) Christ has finally bruised Satan’s head by dying on the cross for us so we can receive God into our beings again. We have been restored to eat of the tree of life again, gaining the divine nature, gaining Christ, whose life abides by our conscience as He lives through us. That is the gospel message.

The divine nature within us, God in man, is simply love. The essence, so to speak, of God is love. The centrality of who He is, is love. It is love that helps us keep his commandments. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Why if we love him will we keep his commandments? “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died, and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live to themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Cor. 5:14-15) The love of Christ is what controls us. It is what allows us to keep our conscience. We no longer live to ourselves, but for him who died and rose again on our behalf. That is why the first four commandments are related to God. Even as humans, it is love that keeps us faithful to our spouses, that keeps us from wanting to hurt each other especially when we are wronged, that helps us care for our children and for our children to care for us, that tells us the most important thing to us is our families, not things, so we don’t take what is not ours, that keeps us from lying to each other. (Note these are the last six commandments related to man.) This human love is imperfect, so we need laws and rules to keep us from violating what naturally should flow from our love for one another. We have marriage contracts and volumes and volumes of written laws to give us rules of behaviour as we cannot agree on things. Our love is human. Only when we have the love of Christ controlling our behaviours is this love for each other perfected. “I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfectly one.” (John 17:23) It is through Christ we can all love one another. We are no longer living to ourselves but for him. “And He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Cor. 5:15) We have become selfless through Christ. We have become imitators of Christ. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Eph. 5:1-2) We have become sacrificial through Christ. Then we can love our enemies as ourselves. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat. 5:44) Our love through Christ becomes unconditional. This is the selfless, sacrificial and unconditional ‘agape’ love we express through Christ to God and to man. Through Christ we have the ability to follow our conscience.

When does eternal life begin? (2018-01-19)

Does eternal life begin when our physical bodies die and we continue in our spirit or does it begin while we are alive on this earth? As everyone knows, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” When we believe in God, we ‘shall not perish,’ in the future, but ‘have eternal life,’ in the present. Jesus said this to Nicodemus immediately after telling him he must be born of the Spirit. “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6). “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12) When we believed, we received the Spirit. This Spirit came into us so we were born of the Spirit. This Spirit that was brought into us is divine. It is God Himself making a home in our hearts. God is eternal, so went he comes into our spirit, we become eternal. We have received God’s divine life, an eternal life, so we have the eternal life. “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.'” (John 14:23) It is the most significant change a human can have. The human is born of water, burying the things of the world that is human, and is born of God, made alive in the things of God that is divine. Christ has come into us as the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). That is what gives us the ability to overcome sin.  That is what gives us the ability to manifest him. That is what makes us the sons of God.

Why should we worship God? (2018-01-30)

Why is the first four commands related to God? Why did Jesus summarize it to loving God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds? (Mat. 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) Why should we pray unceasingly? (Eph. 6:18) Although there has been many answers to this question, the major reason is “so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before God the Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thes. 3:13) When we worship him, we are being transformed into his image. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18). We come into his presence, beholding him as in a mirror, so we could be transformed from something human, made of the flesh, to something divine, made of the Spirit. Our presence before God transforms our minds (Rom. 12:2) where the biggest problem exists. Our conscience makes us see the speck in each others eye, and not the log in our own (Mat. 7:3). Somehow, we cannot see ourselves and how poor we are. In fact, when we see the negatives in others, it is usually negatives in ourselves, so we notice it in others. This is common in all of us. So we need to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2) As our minds are transformed from the human way of thinking to the divine way of thinking, we begin to express him. We begin to express the divine nature so we are like Jesus, ‘proving’ the will of God in our expression. We begin to have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16) When we have the mind of Christ, we will love God and bring ourselves into his presence for him to transform us to be more and more like him. As we love him, our love will grow for him. Then we will love everyone with his love, an ‘agape’ love, a selfless, sacrificial,. and unconditional love that bring us into unity with the same mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 1:10) We would be able to live out in reality, “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47) and commit ourselves to him and his great commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mat. 28:19-20) That is why we are urged “to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom. 12:1) Worshipping God is a repetitive spiritual exercise which transforms us to be like him. So worshipping God is not only for him, but mainly for us.

When we give ourselves to God, realizing we can do nothing, very strangely, that is when we can do so much.

Why do we need to be born again? (2018-01-18)

Nicodemus, as a ruler of the Jews and a man of the Pharisees, thought he lived a righteous life. He was an upstanding person likely much respected by the people around him. Whether he has a secret life contrary to his public image, the Bible does not say. But Jesus told him what he needed was to be born again. He needed to be born of God. “That wish is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6). That which is born of a man is human, and that which is born of God is divine. It is a difference in natures, transferring us from our human nature to God’s divine nature. After Adam’s fall, we had no participation in the divine life. But the Son of Man descended from heaven (John 3:13), dying for us, dealing with our sins, restoring us so we can receive the divine life again. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14). Moses lifted a brass serpent on a cross and whoever looked at it was saved from the bite of venomous snakes. The divine God came to us in the form of a sinful man but without sin, as foreshadowed by Moses, in the form of a brass serpent but without its poison. He died for us on the cross, for our sins that had separated God and man, and resurrected and ascended to heaven, being lifted up, so whoever believes in him, or looks to the brass serpent, will have eternal life. This eternal life is God’s life, the divine life which lives eternally, not our human lives. When we have the divine life in us, that life will manifest the divine nature through us. So no matter how righteous we are, as a man, we are bound to slip. In fact, most of us cannot follow our own conscience. That is why we need God’s divine life. That is why we need to be born again. That is why we are the sons of God. This is the gift that God has given us.

Why? (2018-01-16)

IMG_4808What is God’s purpose for man? Why are we created in the image of God? Why do we have a conscience and why can’t we keep it? What are we being transformed into? What is the Word? Who is his bride? What is love? What is the divine expression? What is the divine revelation and how does God carry it out? Why?

These and other questions will be answered below. Please read this very, very slowly. The Bible is so full of revelations that within one line, many memories that you have of the Word will be triggered. This is how God reveals himself to our minds, little by little (Isa. 28:13). Approach it, however, with the innocence of a child, without any preconceptions, as if reading the Bible for the first time. Here, in these few pages, is a summary of the central theme of the entire Bible. “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11). Bring it prayerfully before God, and you will see in your spirit with his Spirit, the unfolding of the divine revelation of God. (If you are pressed for time, at least please read the the first section and the last nine paragraphs beginning with ‘Why Is Love So Important?’)

In John 14, we have come to a pinnacle in our understanding of God’s eternal purpose for us and for all of mankind. Jesus tells us very clearly how we can follow his commandments. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). How do we follow his commandments? By loving him. By looking to Jesus who, through the Father, has sent us another Helper, “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17). “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17). “Truth” here refers to, not an objective truth as in the Ten Commandments, but a subjective truth, an ultimate truth that is lived out in us, or in other words, a realization of the truth in practice lived out in us. The word “truth” is better translated as “reality”. It is now the living out of the Ten Commandments in us.

The world cannot receive this Spirit of reality “because it neither sees him nor knows him” (John 14:17), but we, as the followers of Christ, can receive him, “for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). We first received him at the time we believed. That is why “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name” (John 1:12) is separated by a coma – they are the same thing. When we believed in God, he was able to come into us, as the Spirit of reality. We were born again. That is why “he dwells with you” (John 14:17), as Jesus was dwelling with his disciples, but “will be in you” (John 14:17), as the Spirit they were about to receive. Jesus died to meet the righteous requirements of the law, to be a substitute for us because of our sins. His sacrifice was foreshadowed by animal sacrifices, namely the sacrifice of a lamb in the Old Testament for the people’s sins. That is why when Jesus was passing by, John said “Look, the Lamb of God” (John 1:36) as Jesus was going to be sacrificed, dying for us as a substitute so we would not face death. However, the sacrifices in the Old Testament could only mask sins, but could not take away the sinful nature in us. “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed of sin” (Rom. 6:6-7). “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:13-14). We are to abandon our dead practices, our rituals and rites, “according to the tradition of men” (Col. 2:8 NASB), not being “extremely zealous…[of] the traditions of my fathers” (Gal. 1:14), which we thought appeased God, but only “serve[d] as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5), to serve the living God. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:8-9 NASB). The living God wanted something that is alive to serve him. So he, himself, became our sacrifice, dying on the cross and releasing the life-giving Spirit, to give life to our spirits to serve him. That is why “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45) who was able to impart the divine life with its divine nature into us. We are now “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). This is because we have received the Spirit of reality, who expresses now the divine nature through us.

The Spirit expresses God’s nature in us. “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). All these virtues are not our doing – they are the fruit, the produce, the expression of the Spirit. They are a realization of the Spirit we have received. It is not our doing. All these virtues are the expression of the new life within us. This is why when we try to do good, we always fail. “Sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me” (Rom. 7:11). “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). Only God, as the Spirit of reality of these ‘good things’, gives us the ability to carry out what is right. What is right is simply God’s nature. When we ask ‘what is love?’ The answer is ‘God is love’. What is joy? God is joy. What is patience? God is patience. He is the reality of all these virtues expressed through us because we do not have the ability. The divine life, the life of God, the Spirit of reality, is the only way. It is the process by which the divine nature can be expressed for the entire world to see in its reality. It is the expression of the divine life through us. That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth (reality), and the life” (John 14:6). This is the great ‘I am, that I am’, realized in us. That is why no matter how righteous we try to be in our behaviour, as in the person of Nicodemus, we need to be born of the Spirit (John 3:1-21) because we lack the divine life.

This has been God’s intention from the very beginning. In the Garden of Eden, Adam was eating from the tree of life everyday. He was not created with this life – it was external to him and represented the divine life of God. We were suppose to internalize this life by eating it and thus express the invisible God. Instead of making robots that follow God, he gave us a choice, to choose his life or to choose an awareness of good and evil. We often speak of choosing between good and evil, even in our churches, because that is what man understands. Man gained the ‘knowledge’ through Adam choosing the knowledge of good and evil. We still have to be aware of what we are choosing. As believers in Christ, “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith” (Heb. 12:1-2). “Sin”, in the singular rather than “sins”, in the plural, is the nature of sin. It still so easily entangles us, even as Christians. The solution is to fix our eyes on Jesus, because by looking to him, we are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18 – NASB). We are being transformed to express God from one state of glory to another state of glory. We are reflecting the image of God and becoming the same image!!! This is what being a Christian is all about. Hold this thought in your head, not out of pride, but out of a sense of deep humility at his great mercy towards you, at the grace that he has truly given to you, and at the wonder at God’s marvelous design for you.

God is still giving us a choice today— to choose his life, fixing our eyes on Jesus so we could reflect him, or to choose a way based on our knowledge of good or evil. If we choose good and evil, we will ultimately fail. [This is the cause of the turmoil with Christians throughout history. Although they have God’s life, they are still looking at what is right or wrong, rather than fixing their eyes on Jesus. They are focused on their practices rather than focused on Jesus. This has resulted in the body of Christ, being fragmented based on our knowledge of good and evil, rather than the one body that the Lord wanted. “There is one body and one Spirit” (Eph. 4:4). It is similar to the issue of circumcision in Galatians. “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Gal. 6:15). These new creations, collectively, form the body of Christ, of which Christ is the head.   The concept of the one body is being recognized by some of the Christian groups today. We need to set aside the law and dwell in the Spirit. We need to pray for the oneness of the body.] We cannot choose to do good because the nature of sin resides in us before we were saved, so that our expression is evil. This is the poison that found its way inside man when Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Not only did he disobey God, but, more importantly, he ate something which got inside of him – the nature of sin. “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Rom. 5:14). That is why we cannot do the good, no matter how hard we try, as sin dwells in us. After we are saved, we have a new nature and are a new creation. Imagine a dog that wants to be a man. No matter how hard he tries, walking on two legs, shaking hands with his paw, we still recognize him as a dog. It is not in his nature to do this, as he is a dog. The only way for the dog to be a man is to be born of a man. If he was born again, as an infant, he may crawl on all fours, make noises like a dog, but we still recognize him as a human. His nature is human. However, we hope that he will eat to grow up into a matured adult, to walk on two legs and shake hands like a man. As a grown man, crawling on all fours and barking like a dog, is very unnatural and, hopefully, he seldom does it. Unfortunately, if he does not eat, he remains a child. This is the same situation that we are in. God has done everything for us and, in fact, has “seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6), but we have to eat to grow, to be transformed into his image. He has made us a “human” but we choose not to eat (or we don’t know how to eat). So we crawl around on all fours and still make strange noises like a “dog”. We continue to think in terms of right or wrong. This is our problem. The only way to overcome this is to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2). “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6 – NASB). This is how we are “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Rom. 12:2). We have to look to Christ, in our spirit, to let the Spirit of reality work within us and not look at what is ‘good’, as ‘good’ still lies under the wrong tree — the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That was why in the Old Testament, people tried to do the good, but failed miserably. As Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments on top of Mt. Sinai, the children of Israel were breaking each Commandment at the base of the mountain. That was why Jesus was so against the Pharisees. They were so focused on right and wrong, having pride in their own righteousness all the while living in the nature of sin, that they missed the righteousness of God that was freely given to them. We need to choose Christ as the divine life instead, so he can live out of us. This was why God had to be incarnated, in order to die for us, dealing with the sinful nature, and resurrect, releasing the life-giving Spirit, bringing Christ, as the divine nature, to be expressed in mankind. On the cross, “one of the solders pieced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34), the blood for redemption and the waters of life, to supply man with the life-giving Spirit. Dying for us was only an entranceway. It allowed us to be approached by God to receive his life-giving Spirit. He is the sacrifice in the outer court before man could enter into the Holies of Holies to be in the presence of God. He died to allow the Spirit to come into man. This is his goal – to supply us with the Holy Spirit, filling man’s hunger and quenching his thirst. This is the choice he has given us today – choosing to depend on our own knowledge of good and evil, or looking at Jesus, for the supply of the Spirit. By resurrecting and releasing the life-giving Spirit, the Son glorified the Father. The glory of the Father could finally be seen. That is why in his last prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You” (John 17:1).

[Why do Christians still commit sins if they have received the divine life and are born again? “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 good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 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” (Heb. 6:4-6 – NASB). If they have been born again and have the Spirit in them, how can they commit sins? The first thing to realize is that even as Christians, we can commit sins. “When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I (Paul) opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” (Gal. 2:11). Even Peter can be wrong. In this particular instance, his mind was not renewed by the Spirit so he held “himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision” (Gal. 2:12 – NASB). He was not “fixing [his] eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2). For Christians who have turned away from the Lord, “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance” (Heb. 6:6 – NASB) because they are again crucifying the Son of God. Once we are born again as God’s sons, we cannot be reborn again as God’s sons, since the divine life can never die – it is eternal and never leaves us. We are “not laying again a foundation of repentance” (Heb. 6:1) as the foundation has already been laid. Think of the analogy of being born a “human” — we can’t be re-born once we are a “human”. We are like infants crawling on all fours when we sin. We need to grow up. So we must “press on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1) if the Lord shows us we have erred and allow the Spirit to grow once more.

In the parable of the ten virgins (Mat. 25:1-13), Jesus tells us we need to be prepared and have a sufficient supply of the Spirit. Why were they virgins and not regular people? They represent purity, people separated to God – Christians. Christ, who in the Bible is the bridegroom, has invited them to the enjoyment of his wedding feast. The oil in their lamps represents the Spirit as oil was used for anointing. The Spirit, as represented by the oil, is ‘the anointing’ as, “the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things” (1 John 2:27). The foolish virgins were not filled by the Spirit and had insufficient oil in their lamps. They were not like the prudent virgins with sufficient oil who entered into the wedding feast, into the enjoyment of the Lord. They were not ‘taught’ by the anointing. They were not matured in Christ. They were not filled with the Spirit. So, though they were invited to the wedding feast, Christ said, “I do not know you” (Mat. 25:12). His abiding in us “teaches [us] about all things” (1 John 2:27) so we “Know the Lord” (Jer. 31:34). We need to have sufficient oil in our lamps at his coming. We need to have the Spirit in its fullness living within our spirit.

The marriage feast in Revelations is our reward – a celebration with the Lord. We are the bride. The feast is the enjoyment of the Lord himself. The “marriage of the Lamb (Christ) has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). How does the bride make herself ready? She has “clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev. 19:8). The Spirit living out through us will produce our righteous deeds. So “‘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. 19:9). We will all be invited to the wedding feast, but are we clothed in fine linen? Have we “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 13:14) as our fine linen? Do we have sufficient oil in our lamps? Are we the ‘true words of God’ – the expression of his Spirit?

The wedding feast is the highest enjoyment of man. In all of man’s activities, it is considered the best. It out-competes the birthday party. Yet this enjoyment is nothing when compared to the marriage feast of the Lord. That is why, of all the miracles that Jesus did, his very first was to change water into wine. Man’s enjoyment runs out. “They have no wine” (John 2:3). So they filled “six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification” (John 2:6). In the Bible, water signifies death of the world, as the waters in the flood, the waters in the Red Sea, the waters use for baptism and Jesus raising above the world walking on the waters of death, and is a symbol of a substance to quench man’s thirst. With the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:13-14). We can drink all of the riches this world has to offer, but we are still thirsty because the things of the world are dead. It does not satisfy us. We need to drink of the Spirit of life and be filled with him. By changing water into wine, Jesus was showing us the law and its dead practices are being changed into the enjoyment of the Lord. Only he can quench our thirst. He is the “good wine” (John 2:10) for our highest enjoyment.]

In John 14, God tells us his divine plan. He says, “In my Father’s house there are many abodes” (John 14:2 – Darby). We are those abodes. He went to the cross to prepare a place where he can “come again and receive us to [himself]” (John 14:3). By dealing with sin, he has prepared a situation where God can came back into man as the tree of life, so he ‘receives us to himself’. Before his death on the cross, Jesus said, “I am in my Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:10), as the Father was dwelling in him. But after his crucifixion, the dwelling of God changed and we are now included. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:20). This is how we become people who keep his commandments (John 14:15). We are in love with him and continue to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2). As such, “if [we] love him, [we] will keep his word” (John 14:23). Note this is higher than the commandments — it is his word. The ‘commandments’ in John 14:15 has now been replaced by ‘his word’ in John 14:23.   We may not commit murder but only the indwelling Spirit allows us to not get angry with our brothers (Mat. 5:21-26), to rejoice and be glad even when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely (Mat. 5:11-12), to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Mat. 5:44-45). To be sons of our Father, we have to have his life. This is the divine life expressing its divine nature through us. We “must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mat. 5:48). The indwelling Spirit is the way to achieve this reality because it carries the nature of God into us. “And my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him” (John 14:23 – Darby). The word ‘abode’ was used earlier by John in verse 2, “in my Father’s house there are many abodes”. This is the divine plan — for God to make an abode in these many ‘abodes’ – us. That is why when the woman at the well asked “where people ought to worship” (John 6:20), Jesus’s answer was “the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth (reality), for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (reality)” (John 4:21-24). This is ‘where’ we worship God. We must worship him in our spirit and in reality. The temple has moved from a building into our spirits. The physical temple in Jerusalem is no longer the container for God’s Shekinah glory (Exo. 40:34-35) because “the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands” (Acts 7:48). That is why Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19) because “he was speaking about the temple of his body” (John 2:21). He was revealing that God’s residence is now in man. That is why we were made in his image — to contain him so we can express him. As a glove is made in the image of a hand – to only contain the hand, expressing the hand’s will and attributes. Our purpose is to contain this ‘hand’ which is God Himself. We were created with a hunger, a thirst, a cavity in the image of God that can only be properly filled by him. No wonder nothing else satisfies the emptiness inside of us. Nothing of this world fits the glove. Our purpose is to contain God, expressing his life and his image. We were made in his image for this purpose – to contain him. “It is no longer I that live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

With this understanding, God’s divine revelation, as written in the Bible, is finally opened to us. We know now why “a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2:16) because we lack the divine element – the divine life. “For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law” (Gal. 3:21). This is why God had to establish a new covenant with us. He never liked the old covenant he made with the children of Israel because the law was external to them and they broke the commandments. It was not “faultless” (Heb. 8:7) so there was a need for a second covenant. In the new covenant, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jer. 31:33) as the Spirit of reality, so “no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me” (Jer. 31:34). We now all know him because of the indwelling Spirit. “The anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things” (1 John 2:23 – NASB). This is why God “will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Eze. 36:26). “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my rules” (Eze. 36:27). This is the Spirit, working within us, ‘causing’ us to follow his commandments. It explains why Jesus said “I come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) because this is the life-giving Spirit bringing us the divine life, a life more abundant as it conveys to us the divine nature. It conveys to us God himself. It explains why “he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16), since the Spirit is alive in those who believe him, who have received him, and it is eternal so that they cannot perish. It explains why Jesus said, “you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6:29), because Christ is imparted to us as the Spirit by our ‘eating’ of him. He is the bread of life, imparting to us the eternal life,y which is just himself as the Spirit. We need to eat from the tree of life. “So he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me” (John 6:57). “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56). We need to ‘eat’ him through his words. That is why “it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63) because our flesh cannot succeed, only the Spirit can. When we read his words, we receive the Word. We receive the Spirit and the divine life. That is why “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). This is why “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1), because God is imparted into us as the life-giving Spirit expressed in his words. This is why “all scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16) so we could breath him in as the Spirit through his words. This is why when he met his disciples for the first time after his resurrection, “he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22) because the Spirit was finally released and God could get back into mankind as the tree of life. This is why before his resurrection, he called his disciples ‘friends’ (John 15:15), but after his resurrection, he tells Mary to “go to my brothers and tell them ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17) because the disciples are now linked to God by the divine life and are no longer just friends to God, but he has become their Father and our Father and we have become his sons by a connection of rebirth by the Spirit. He gave us “the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

By this way, God accomplishes his divine plan. The church as his collective body is purified by his life. He is the “light of life” (John 8:12) shining out of us with his divine element. Therefore, we, as this collective body of Christ, can become an equal partner to him. So he is the bridegroom and we are his bride — through the divine life lived out of us altering our nature to be like him. We become an acceptable partner to God himself. This is the purpose of man.

A Deeper Understanding of The Divine Revelation

What can be inferred from the above is the following. We can do nothing for God. Once we are his believers, having received Christ into our being, we only need to let the Spirit express its nature out of us, “…For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). What we do can never meet his requirements. What we do can never save us. This is what Paul told the brothers in the book of Galatians. “A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 2:16). “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:2-3). We begin by receiving the Spirit, now he wants us to grow and express his divine nature through our earthen vessels, which is impossible for our flesh to accomplish. “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. 4:7 – NASB). So “the life of Jesus…may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:11 – NASB).

(Why Do Christians Need to Grow?)

Implied in the question, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3), is the concept of growth and perfection. When we first believed, first received Christ, we were “like newborn infants, long[ing] for the pure-spiritual milk, that by it [we] may grow up into salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). “You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:12-14). We need to “press on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1).

The concept of growth in Christ is poorly understood in Christianity. We think once we are saved, at that very day, we have become ‘ok’ before God and before man and, at the very extreme, we can now do no wrong and have, somehow, become perfected by God. Yet we find ourselves committing sins. Why is that? It is because salvation is a daily matter. Think of the analogy of the “dog” being born a “human”. When we were saved, we were born of God. We were born “human” in the analogy. He has “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13 – NASB). This is the biggest hurdle. That is why in the parable of the prodigal son, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:32). We were born again “like newborn infants” (1 Pet. 2.2) and our Father celebrates with us in his house. It is a momentous occasion whenever someone is reborn! Then we need to grow up. We need to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:16). We need to bear fruit, the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). We need to increase in our knowledge of God as opposed to our knowledge of good and evil. We need to know the Spirit as our reality rather than the Law as a set of external truths. So we need to be saved daily. That is why the exact date when Jesus was born, though it was such a significant event, even marked by a star over Bethlehem, was not recorded in any historical document. When we “have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can [we] turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world? [We] observe days and months and seasons and years!” (Gal. 4:9-10). [God wants us to think everyday is Christmas!] The observation of special days is now over because everyday is a celebration of him. Everyday is a celebration of the “firstborn of all of creation” (Col. 1:15). Everyday is a celebration of his coming to save us. Everyday he came to save us. Everyday we need to be saved. Everyday we need to be in touch with the one abiding in us. Everyday we need to eat of him and feed on his life to receive his divine revelations within. That is why the manna spoils within one day. “Moses said to them, ‘Let no man leave any of it (manna) until morning.’ But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and become foul” (Exo. 16:20). You cannot save up your feeding on him today for tomorrow to grow in your Spirit. “Now is ‘the acceptable time’, behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Cor. 6:2). This was said to the “ambassadors of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20) who still needed to “be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20) so that they could be transformed to “become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). As ambassadors of Christ, he saves us daily transforming us to become the very righteousness of God in Him. How do we know God is righteous? How will the world know that he is righteous? ” If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29). By the expression of his Spirit through these images of God that are in Him. We become the very righteousness of God in Him.

When we first believed and were born of the Spirit, we were like a child, asking our Father for many things. We go to him and sit at his feet, just spending our time with him. What we ask for is not what is important. What is important is that we spent time in his presence “and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psa. 1:2), spending time in the word. As we mature in life, we ask not for ourselves, but that his will be done for those around us, “so that death work in us, but life in you” (2 Cor. 4:12). The hymn by A. B. Simpson says it so well.

Once it was the blessing,

Now it is the Lord;

Once it was the feeling,

Now it is His Word;

Once the gift I wanted,

Now, the Giver own;

Once I sought for healing,

Now Himself alone.

(Chorus)

All in all forever,

Only Christ I’ll sing;

Ev’rything is in Christ,

And Christ is ev’rything.

There are other verses that are just as real. This is the way we are transformed into his image.

God wants to establish a relationship with us so he can transform us into his image. When Moses came down from the mountain after meeting God, he had to wear a veil over his face to cover the reflected glory of God. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from [the] Lord, [the] Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18 – NASB). Transformation works by us simply sitting at the feet of God, meditating on his word daily, and the Lord will change us because the “Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). This comes from surrendering all to him, looking to him in all things. “For from him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). We can choose not to still, like thinking that the rite of circumcision is necessary to save us. So Paul urges us, “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). This way, you will “not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). Our minds need to be renewed by presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice, or by surrendering all to him so he could be our everything.

How do we practically do this on a daily bases? By calling on the name of Jesus. This is the reason why there are so many songs written about the preciousness of name of Jesus. His Spirit, abiding in us, naturally knows this, so we call on his name. “The Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26). When we call on his name, he comes to us. Just like when we call on anybodies name, we want to get their attention so they would come to us and interact with us. When we call on His name, God come ‘alive’ in us. Memories of his words will be “living and active” within us. His name brings us into his presence with an unveiled face, ready to be transformed by him. There is no other name that does this. Even when we call on our parents, it does not work. That is why we call on his name so often. We “have life in his name” (John 20:31). “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). When we call his name, the person of Christ comes to us. The “knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2) comes to us. His name conveys to us Christ, in whom “all the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:17). We are saved when we call on his name.

(Why Do We Have A Conscience?)

If we are saved from our predicaments when we call on his name, where does our conscience lie? Conscience is the internal element in us telling us what is right and wrong. We gained a conscience when we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is a positive or ‘good’ thing because when we “eat of it [our] eyes will be opened, and [we] will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). As an example, it is what makes the loss of a life so tragic for us that we feel we must uphold its sanctity. [Yet somehow, there is an affinity to violate its very sanctity within our bodies so that our movies and video games feature this pretend violation prominently as entertainment even though our minds take no pleasure at the loss of life. Those that do take pleasure, we find deplorable. Repeated practice numbs our minds. Regulating this, how ever imperfectly, is a human endeavour based on the law.] It allows us to discern good from evil. We gained a conscience.

     (How Will Those Living Under The First Covenant Be Judged?)

How will God judge us if we do not recognize the redemptive work of Christ, that is, if we are not ‘saved’? “For when Gentiles (‘unbelievers’), who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on the day when…God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2:14-16). People who have not heard of the law or of Christ will be judged by what they do according to their conscience, their knowledge of good and evil, when the Lord returns. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Mat. 25:31-32). Note that it says ‘all the nations’ and not ‘the redeemed of God’. The nations are the people that do not know God or did not receive his “free gift” (Rom. 6:23) of salvation. They will be judged by what they have done, whether they gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcomed strangers, clothed the naked, visited the sick, or came to those in prison” (Mat. 25:36). If they “did not do it to one of the least of these, [they] did not do it to me [the Son of Man]” (Mat. 25:45). “These will go away into eternal punishment” (Mat. 25:46). If they did well (working according to their conscience), Christ will judge by what they have done, even their works in secrecy as “God will judge the secrets of man” (Rom. 2:16), so, at that time, “the righteous [will be accepted] into eternal life” (Mat. 25:46) and will “inherit the kingdom” (Mat. 25:34). But this way would be very hard and few will make it, for they are “obligated to keep the whole law” (Gal. 5:3). “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them’” (Gal. 3:10).

Unbelievers, people who have not received Christ, will be judged before his throne based on their works as dictated to them by their conscience. The Jews will be judged according to their conscience and also based on compliance with the first covenant, which is a set of rules spelling out their conscience. People who have not heard of God cannot comply with the first four commandments. God judges them by their compliance with their conscience, their knowledge of good and evil, telling them what to do. It is their acts that are judged (Mat. 25:36). But compliance is very, very hard to do.

If as Christians we are trying to comply by living under the first covenant, it must be a really, really hard struggle to do. Come into his Sabbath rest.

     (How Is His Redeemed Judged Everyday To Transform Them To Be His Sons?)

That is why we need to be redeemed. For the redeemed, believers who have received the Spirit, who are under God’s second covenant, “[He] will be merciful toward their iniquities, and [He] will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12). Our sins are not only forgiven, but forgotten. Then why should we not ‘have a good time’ and commit sins once we have been redeemed? When you know the divine life, it simply does not let you. God will evaluate you based on the fullness of the Spirit you have obtained, your maturity.   Remember the five virgins that do not have sufficient oil in their lamps. The Lord will say, “I do not know you” (Mat, 25:1-13), leaving them out of the wedding feast, the enjoyment of our Lord. For God to ‘know’ us, in the deeper and wider Biblical sense of the word, we need to love him. “If anyone loves God, he is known by God” (1 Cor. 8:3). We need to be known by God. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Because he loves us, our faith is being tested for its genuineness while we are on this earth. We “rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 6:7). When tested, our faith has to be more precious than gold. So he might grieve us with ‘various trials’ for a short period of time, and only ‘if necessary’. “For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6). At a time when we think we are so ‘good’, God will show us how far we truly are from his goal and how much we need his redemptive work in us. After showing us how righteous a man he was in this world (Phi. 3:4-6), 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” (Phi. 3:7-8). Compared to his surpassing worth, we can do nothing righteous. “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” (Phi. 3:8-9). As Christians, we need to gain Christ and be found in him. We need to be always found in him in our day to day lives so we can deal with this world. This is most humbling. It takes us off our thrones so we no longer have any righteousness. “To be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends of faith” (Phi. 3:9). Our righteousness is from God that depends of faith. When we believed, we received Christ, so he becomes our righteous and nothing else. We fall because we are not found in him but are found in our own righteousness. So don’t argue simply based on what you think is right. Be found in Him. He is the reality of our righteousness “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). That is why his redeemed are facing his judgment seat daily. That is why he doesn’t remember our sins anymore. That is why “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

So everyday we have to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phi. 3:10) because we do not have all the answers. We meed to know him and the power of his resurrection working in us. So Paul said, there is “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phi. 3:13-14). It is no longer our own righteousness, but something we strain forward for, the upward call of God which is in Christ Jesus. We are straining to know Christ Jesus and the power of his resurrection. “Let those of us who are mature think this way” (Phi. 3:15). Only things that are in Christ Jesus are real and will last. So “take care of how [we] built upon [the foundation of Christ]” (1 Cor. 3:10). “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). Take care of what we built on the foundation “which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Our work will be tested by fire as to what substance we use to build on the foundation of Christ. If our work is burnt up, we will suffer loss but still be saved ourselves because the divine life in us cannot die once we are born again of the Spirit. What we produce is tested through fire. That is why if we produce “thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned” (Heb. 6:8). ‘Thorns and thistles’ choke out the healthy plants so the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ does not grow in these Christians. This was the curse from Adam’s fall as “thorns and thistles it shall bring forth” (Gen. 3:18) from the cursed ground. Those showing evidence of the “works of the flesh”, including “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy drunkenness, orgies, [and] things like these” (Gal. 5:19-21), “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21). They are “near to being cursed” (Heb. 6:8), not cursed, but ‘near’ to being cursed, scraping by ‘by the skin of their teeth’, because they have been born again but are still so immature in Christ. We will not “escape” if we “turn away from Him who warns from heaven” (Heb. 12:25) “for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). The only thing that can resist God’s consuming fire is God himself lived out of us. This is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2; 21:10-27). When Christ returns on his throne, “He who was sitting was like jasper” (Rev. 4:3). Christ is “the living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 2:4). We “also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5) to God. These living stones that form the walls of the New Jerusalem had its nature changed to be like jasper – so “the material of the wall was jasper” (Rev. 21:18). “It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Rev. 21:11). The Lord would have transformed us to be like him to withstand his consuming fire.

     (Why We Cannot Serve Our Conscience?)

Our conscience is always aligned with God’s laws. Our “conscience testifies with [us]” (Rom. 9:1) if we do good or evil. “One must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience” (Rom. 13:5). We should “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14), understanding that the ‘good works’ that the conscience was making us do, is actually ‘dead’. It does not have the divine life in it if the Spirit does not motivate it. We are not serving the living God. We are serving our conscience.

Conscience is a quality, an attribute of God. God is righteous. He is this much higher level of conscience that defines who he is. That is why he can’t forgive man ‘willy-nilly’ and always required a sacrifice for the sins we commit. He made the first sacrifice when he brought Adam and Eve their coat of skin. When man received this attribute of conscience, he became like God. But he could not abide by his own conscience as it was not in his nature, so he commits sins. Conscience then condemned him. When we believed, the efficacy of Christ death on the cross was applied to us. So “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ” (Rom. 8:1). When we believed, we received the Spirit of life who carried this higher level of conscience, as an attribute, into us. That is why “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has free me from the law of sin and of death” (Rom. 8:2). The Spirit of life possesses, or is, a higher level of conscience, a higher level of discernment for right or wrong. The Law ‘describes’ God’s nature, however incompletely it is described, outwardly. Conscience ‘describes’ God’s nature to us inwardly. It separates “the good that I want” (Rom. 7:19) from “the evil that I do not want” (Rom. 7:9) and make us ‘want’ the good and ‘not want’ the evil.

Why should we not serve our conscience? Doesn’t it make us do ‘good’? The simple answer is ‘no’. Our conscience only gives us the ‘knowledge’ of good and evil, but not the ability. That is why we are ‘like God’, able to know and separate good from evil, but not ‘God’, because we cannot follow our conscience in our practical expression, our every day lives. “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:22). “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom. 7:18). That is why Adam and Eve realized they were naked when they gained a conscience. They realized they were exposed, naked before God’s eyes. “The secrets of his heart [were] disclosed” (1 Cor. 14:23). His conscience judged him, just like “God will judge the secrets of men” (Rom. 2:16). “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13). They “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Gen. 3:8) because they were ashamed of their nakedness. They could do nothing about their shame but to hide. This is what the conscience makes us do – just hide from judgment because we know we have done wrong. We cannot do anything about it but hide. Only God can provide the solution. Only God could provide them with a sacrifice. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21) to cover up their shame. Only God has the ability. That is why He needs to be in us, so we are ‘God’ – we gain his divine nature. Today, those of us “who were baptized into Christ have clothed [ourselves] with Christ” (Gal. 3:27 NASB). We are “longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked” (2 Cor. 5:2-3). “We would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be shallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:4). He has covered our nakedness, our shame, with his divine life. Our conscience only finds rest in him. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:21). We need “Christ in [us]” (Col. 1:27) imparting to us his divine nature as our “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). This is “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints” (Col. 1:26).

Christ in us is the ‘secret’ that has been revealed to his saints that will save us. “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Rom. 7:19). It is like the “dog” trying to walk on two legs. “Thou shall not walk on four legs.” That is very hard for a dog to follow. So we fight everyday based on what we think is best, what we think is ‘good’. As infants in Christ, we continue to crawl on all fours. We argue over the littlest of things, as, “You’re late today picking me up!” and forgetting the ninety-nine times when they have been on time. Or when your spouse says, “Honey, don’t get upset but…”, we are upset already because we will not be told what to do. We reject instruction because we know better. Or “I’ve told you a hundred times, this is the proper way to set the table”. We are exerting rules based on our own sense of right or wrong. We are ‘like God’. But we need the divine element, the divine nature, the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. In hindsight, we know that we shouldn’t have been angry, but, at the time, we did not have the ability the carry it out. We feel guilty and are condemned by our conscience. Yet we are too proud to acknowledge it. We are trying to uphold our own sense of right or wrong which becomes a law when expressed outwardly (publically). This is not God’s law, but our rules. “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:14-15). “For the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (Rom. 7:18). We have the knowledge of good and evil but not the ability to carry it out. “For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin that is in my members. Wretched man that I am!” (Rom. 7:22-24 – NASB). Human beings naturally express the nature of sin that can only be defeated by the divine nature. We need to express the divine nature. We have to be born again. The “dog” needs to be born a “human”. We have to be born 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). Christians need to experience the rebirth by the Spirit and know that they are no longer under law, so they would be freed from their former self that is in the bondage of sin. They don’t need to crawl on all fours anymore. We all need to be in “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).

(Why is God the Cure to Our Sin Problem?)

Humans are in the bondage of sin prior to their salvation. Humans were created as “earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7) with a spirit capable of containing the divine nature or the sinful nature (the nature of sin). They were suppose to contain God as the fountain of life. But “They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13). This spirit has a hunger that needs to be filled. It can try to fill itself with many things of the world, but it is never full. Our cisterns that we have made are broken and can hold no water. Our earthen vessels were broken and could not hold the fountain of living water. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). Only the Spirit can restore these vessels and make them full. However, an external ‘spirit’ which can reside, or make their home in their hearts, can be of God or, in an incomplete, broken and ‘leaky’ way, of Satan, someone that is trying to be a god. That is why some people in the Bible were demon possessed. To be possessed simply means to allow that external ‘spirit’ to reign inside so their outward actions reflect their inner spirit. When man took from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, not only did his eyes open to know good from evil, but something entered him – the sinful nature. Their earthen vessels were broken so they could not contain God. Humans were without this sinful nature before Adam’s fall. That is why “The first man, Adam, became a living soul” (1 Cor. 15:45) capable of containing God as the Spirit. But because of Adam fall, the sinful nature entered in all mankind. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). The nature of sin entered into Adam so he ‘died’ (Gen. 2:17) because the divine life, God’s life, could no longer get in. We can consider the sinful nature to be like anti-matter. It cannot occupy the same space as matter, the divine nature. The matter will totally destroy the anti-matter – the divine nature will totally destroy the sinful nature. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5). We came into darkness, carrying the nature of sin within. God’s light, his divine nature, shining in us would utterly obliterate us. God could no longer came into the earthen vessels he made because of sin. There has to be a penalty with a loss of life before man can interact with God again. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Jesus’ death was so efficacious because, somehow, this divine and eternal life died, unjustly, as a punishment for the sins of all mankind. “’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed’” (1 Pet. 2:24). “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Mat. 26:28). In doing so, he satisfied “the righteous requirements of the law” (Rom. 8:4), [the rule of nature that said matter and anti-matter cannot occupy the same space], restoring our earthen vessels, filling us with “this treasure” (2 Cor. 4:7) – the Holy Spirit, expressing the divine nature so we could live for righteousness. That is why only Jesus’s death was effective in resolving our sin problem. That is why the sacrifice of lambs and goats, or even human martyrs, were ineffective in dealing with our sinful nature. “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin” (Heb. 10:4). These sacrifices only masked our sins but could not deal with the sinful nature. “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near” (Heb. 10:1). The sacrifices offered according to the Law could not release the divine life to us – the cure to our sin problem. They could not release the life-giving Spirit to dwell in mankind. When Christians first believed, they received the life-giving Spirit that came to indwell them. They were born again. They became people “in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1), the solution to their sin problem.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). We can approach the throne, guiltless, to serve a living God. “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). The Spirit of life carries the divine nature, which frees us from sin. It is a law because when we gain God’s nature, that is the way it is. That is our reality. We have been freed from sin and death because we have the divine life, the Spirit of life, dwelling in us. That is why he is called the “Spirit of reality”. If this does not make sense to you, pray earnestly, asking the Spirit to show you, to make it real to you. This is what Christians are wrestling with all the time. We know the Bible says we are freed from the law of sin and of death, but why don’t we behave that way? We need to hunger for the Spirit to reign in us.

What is the role of the Law? Why did God give us rules? “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions…until the seed would come” (Gal. 3:19 – NASB). “The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24 – NASB). “The law is spiritual” (Rom. 8:14) because it is the external written rules of what our conscience is telling us. So it is important to teach our children the Law, the proper rules of behaviour. The Law often condemns us and leads us to Christ to seek forgiveness. But it is not the solution. Christ is. “For the law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near” (Heb. 10:1). Christ, as the Spirit of reality, will “make perfect those who draw near” (Heb. 10:1). “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 3:26 – NASB).

Do not reject our Lord. We should be “holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith” (1 Tim. 1:19). “So faith, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17). Looking at these Christians externally, they seem not to have the “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). If we are “fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2 – NASB), it should be evident, because we would be producing “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). Our nature has been changed.

But if we “walk by the Spirit…[we] will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). God has told us, in plain English, how not to sin – by walking by the Spirit.   Yet, as Christians, we are taught, the five ways to love our spouse, the seven ways to control our anger, or the three keys to self-control, but this has never worked; because they are rules that reside under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and are external to us. We are angry and then form rules of conduct for others to obey, because, having taken from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we are “like God” (Gen. 3:5). “The man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:22). This has been the problem with man throughout history, even in church theology. We argue over what is right or wrong. We fight because this is our right. We know better. We have made too many rules [that have fragmented the body of Christ. Fragmenting the body of Christ is the only way to keep a body from functioning. Be the “remnant of mankind [who] seek the Lord” (Acts 15:17), who are overcomers (Rev. 2:5; Rev. 2:17; Rev. 2:24-28; Rev. 3:4-5; Rev. 3:12; Rev. 3:21).] So we hurt each other. We hurt each other from our families to whole nations. ‘When the rubber hits the road’, this is what we do. We have loss our “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). We have come to accept this as our reality. But this is not God’s reality. If we “walk by the Spirit…[we] will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). How do we stop from hating our enemies? How do we stop being angry at each other? How can we rejoice and be glad when people insult and persecute us? How do we not gratify the desires of the flesh? We need only one simple idea – to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16). We need to be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith” (Heb. 12:2) to perfect our faith, after we have started this journey, to mature as sons of God. He is the Spirit of reality, a reality spreading from our inner self. “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being” (Prov. 20:27). We are “strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:16-17). If we are “led by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:18), then our produce will be the “fruit of the Spirit”. “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). Notice how exact the scriptures are: ‘fruit’, in the singular, is a reference to Christ as the reality of all these virtues; not ‘fruits’, in the plural, as a reference to the virtues themselves. The first item in the list of virtues is Christ’s ‘agape’ love, a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love that humans do not possess. Simon, as the son of John, could not return this ‘agape’ love to God when he was asked by Jesus. This love can only be an expression of God. It is an expression of Christ Jesus. It is a divine expression that encompasses all the other virtues and can only be made real to us by the Spirit. So if we “live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).

For Christians who believe in our Lord and the redemption he has completed for us, why do we not believe these words of our Lord, “Walk by the Spirit…you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16)? Why are we in this struggle with our sinful nature so often? Why do we not lay hold of the Lord’s promise that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and of death” (Rom. 8:2)? Has life struggles clouded our minds? Realize that you have “received the promised Spirit” (3:14). It is based on the promise of God and not on good works. The promise was made to Abraham’s “‘offspring,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from sin and death. This is a promise. The law of the Spirit is unlike the written laws. It is a law of nature. This law is like the law of gravity — if you jump up, you will fall down. It is the law of the Spirit of (the divine) life. It overcomes the law of sin and of death. We have been freed from the law of sin and of death because we have this new divine nature. The Spirit of (the divine) life has changed our human life so we do not only have a human nature but a divine nature. This is what the Helper, the Spirit of reality, has done for us. “But when he, the Spirit of truth (reality), comes, he will guide you into all the truth (reality). He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you” (John 16:13-15 – NIV). As Christians, we have to recognize which covenant we are serving. Are we serving the first or the second?

Mixing up the two covenants has been a great problem among Christians, even to this day. We know we are saved by grace but, somehow, the tree of knowledge within us still makes us think we must follow the law. There has to be “a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Heb. 7:18-19).   We need to have a definite separation between the two covenants because only the second is real, mediated by the Spirit of reality. The first is a foreshadowing of what is to come, mediated by man, based on the law, which was weak and useless. A covenant mediated by man could not make God’s nature real to us, so the law made nothing perfect. That is why we needed a second covenant, a “new covenant” (Heb. 8:8) based on faith, “not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). That is why he cursed the fig tree. The fig tree represented the children of Israel under the first covenant based on the law. After three years of his ministry, the Lord was looking for fruit but found none. “Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none” (Luke 13:7). Before his death and resurrection, that is, before the establishment of the second covenant, the Lord, following the regulations of the first covenant, “was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat. 15:24) seeking fruit from the fig tree. When he found none, the vine dresser pleaded with him to wait one more year for the fig tree to “bear fruit, next year…but if not, you can cut it down” (Luke 13:9). In the middle of this four year however, the children of Israel killed our Lord. That is why He cursed the fig tree because it could not bear the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22) under the first covenant based on a set of external laws. In contrast, “if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Mat. 21:21-22). Faith in Christ, the cornerstone of the second covenant, is so much more powerful that it can ‘move mountains’ because, no longer in it based on external laws, but on the living God living in us. “The Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6) with its divine nature, bring the laws directly into us. The reality is in Christ, the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).

How do we “walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4)? We set our mind on the Spirit. We can set our mind on the Spirit or we can set our mind on the flesh. This is free will. The attraction is fully from the Lord. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5). We need to set our minds on the Spirit. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). This is the classic conflict since creation. It is not between good and evil, but between life (the presence of the Spirit) and death (the absence of the Spirit). That is why “in Him was life” (John 1:4). Therefore, “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). Because their mind “does not subject itself to the law of God, it is not even able to do so” (Rom. 8:7).

(Why We Need The Power of The Spirit?)

If this is still your situation as a Christian, hunger after God for the power of the Spirit to overcome all things that keep you from setting your minds on the Spirit. To have this victorious life that the Spirit supplies us, we need the power of the Spirit. The power of the Spirit is not for ‘supernatural’ miracles, although it can be. The preeminent function of the Spirit is to provide us with the divine nature, God’s life, thus freeing us from sin. That is why Jesus told the individuals he performed miracles on, not to tell others about the miracles, because the miracles all had a spiritual significance. For example, as stated above, when he turned water into wine, he was showing us man’s enjoyment runs out, but Christ, as our “good wine” (John 2:10) for our higher enjoyment, does not. When he healed the son of an official who “was at the point of death” (John 4:47), he was showing us we are all at the ‘point of death’ and need his healing. In fact, we are “a multitude of invalids – blind, lame, and paralyzed” (John 5:3) that need his healing. When he fed the five thousand, he showed us he is our heavenly food which is always so bountiful, as the bread of life to satisfy man’s hunger (John 6). When he walked on water, he showed us that he rises above the waters of death which the world is drowning in (John 6:16-21). When he heeled the blind man, he revealed that he “was the light of the world” (John 9:5) and the followers of the law were blind, “that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (John 9:39). To the Pharisees he said, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains” (John 9:41) because they affirmed that their eyes are opened, knowing good and evil, and are like God (Gen. 3:5), saying they are capable of following their own conscience without the reality of God. That is why pride is so dangerous. Like Paul, when we regain our sight, we are “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). When he raised Lazarus from the dead, he revealed that, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), the divine life that has conquered death. He released his “life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45) for us to receive so we could “know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Phi. 3:10). His resurrection power is what is miraculous today. What is ‘miraculous’ is why, as Christians, we believe that God was incarnated and died over 2000 years ago to save us from our sins. That is the power of the Spirit. That the Bible can be the most popular book in the world, outstripping all other books published every year, and that there can be talks on it every week by the various “ministers of [the] new covenant” (2 Cor. 3:6), “feed[ing his] lambs” (John 21:15) – the saints, and not exhaust it bountiful supply. That is the bountiful supply of the Spirit. The Spirit of reality makes it all true to us. When we believed, we received the Spirit like an infant. It provided us with the divine nature through the divine life. We are “alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:5). But we are not grown up. Paul said to the Galatians, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). We need to have Christ formed in us. The power of the Spirit has not descended upon us yet as children in Christ. When Christ met his disciples in the closed room after his resurrection, he breathed into them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). They were alive in Christ. Yet, he told them to wait because “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The kingdom of God is restored (Acts 1:6) through the power given to us by the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, “suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind…And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:1-4). Their lamps were filled with oil. This is the power of the Holy Spirit, the filling of our spirits with the Spirit that we need – the realization, growing day by day, of the fact that Christ lives in us (Col. 1:27), changing us from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18), and we cannot depend on our own strength (2 Cor. 12:9-10) to follow our conscience but, more and more, depend on the Spirit – as Christians before God, to establish his kingdom.

The power of the Spirit can only be realized by our experiences. It is not magical or supernatural (although it can be), but it is what makes, “walk by the Spirit…you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16), real to us. It is personal and experiential, and cannot be proven by doctrine or theology. The natural man will find it false. It is the thing that makes us believe that God could be incarnated and that he could die for us to forgive us of our sins. It doesn’t make sense to the natural man but is a reality to our Spirit. This power of the Spirit was what enabled Peter, who denied the Lord three times, to end up as a martyr, giving his own life for what he believed/received of the Lord. The Lord even demonstrated this himself. When he was born, the Spirit of God was dwelling within Jesus at his incarnation. But before his ‘ministry’, before he started his work, he was baptized by John. God, “who sent me (John) to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit” (John 1:33). The Spirit descended to confer power to Jesus for his ‘ministry’. This is the fullness of the Spirit.

This is how it is with Christians today. Many Christians have received God, but few have received the power of the Spirit. This was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. “Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine” (Num. 3:12). ‘Instead’ of every firstborn of Israel forming the priesthood, which was God’s original intent, he settled for the tribe of the Levites to belong to Him. “You shall give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel” (Num. 3:9-10). God wanted all the children of Israel to form the priesthood to the Gentiles but because of their unbelief in God’s ability to free them from Egypt causing them to sin repeatedly, only one of the twelve tribes of Israel formed the priesthood. “So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons that they may keep their priesthood, but the layman who comes near shall be put to death” (Num. 3:10). The layman cannot come into the presence of God, into the Holy of Holies. Instead of every firstborn of Israel, the priesthood was narrowed to the chosen tribe of the Levites. This began the separation of the priesthood from the layman, although they were all sons of Israel. As Christians, we are all supposed to form a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9) “wholly given to him” (Num. 3:10). However, many are Christians, but few have received the power of the Spirit, being filled with the Spirit, or have the full realization of their Christian powers. Many Christians just attend church on Sundays and feel they are ‘ok’ before God. The rest of the week, they function independent of God, living in their soul and managing the world around them, “one to his farm, another to his business” (Mat. 22:5). In fact, they may feel this is the ‘real world’ which they manage well at and the world of God is ‘supernatural’ and remote from them. They become the layman who has relegated the ‘responsibility’ of interacting with God to others. How can Christ be formed in them? (Gal. 4:19). How can God’s purpose be fulfilled? We have to realize, through the Spirit, how weak we really are in order to form the priesthood. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Mat. 23:12). “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9). “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (1 Cor. 12:10). It is only when we are weak that the power of Christ rests upon us. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phi. 4:13). We need to be weak and surrender ourselves to Christ so he can work through us and form his priesthood.

In the New Testament, Jesus tells us the same thing. In the parable of the kingdom of heaven, He said, “The kingdom of heaven maybe compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son” (Matt. 22:2). The wedding is for the enjoyment of the Lord as noted above. He prepared everything for them, as “everything is ready” (Matt. 22:4), and invited people to “Come to the wedding feast. But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business” (Matt. 22:4-5). “’The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy’” (Matt. 22:8). As Jewish people and/or Christians, we have all been invited, but are we too concerned with our own way, our own businesses? Do we even mistreat the king’s slaves and even kill them? The king’s “slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests” (Matt. 22:10). People who are considered ‘evil’ when it comes to the law, were invited. However, they have to be transformed – dressed in wedding clothes. They need to “have clothed [themselves] with Christ” (Gal. 3:27 – NASB) in a refined way. They need to have “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14). “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Have we “put on our heavenly dwelling…[that] we may not be found naked” (2 Cor. 5:2-3)? Are we “further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:4)? Is what we have put on a wedding garment, built with fine linen? Have we “clothed [ourselves] with fine linen, bright and pure” (Rev. 19:8)? Are we ready for the wedding feast? For those that are not ready, the king said, “Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13). The outer darkness is not the lake of fire. It is just the absence of light. It is the absence of Christ. We will miss out on Him as our enjoyment because we don’t know how to enjoy him. That is why, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).

Even as you read this, if you have the Spirit in you, do not take this as an accusation that you have to do more and more to somehow be the few that are chosen. We just need to surrender more and more to him. At the end of time, in Revelations, “The accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” (Rev. 12:10). Our problem is the accuser. The paragraphs above are just to show us God’s marvelous design. We have to be aware of it. Now we simply have to have a hunger to set our minds on the Spirit, a hunger for the Word. God’s marvelous plan is revealed in the Bible. When we ponder on all the passages above, written over a period of 1600 years by various individuals, our hearts are warmed and we will love him, and keep his commandments. This is the divine revelation. Then setting our minds on the Spirit becomes easy and a natural way to behave. The Spirit of reality will do the rest. We will find our Sabbath rest. And the Spirit will make us very busy.

(What Is God’s Goal For Us?)

God’s goal for us is much higher than we can imagine. We will do things that seem unreasonable by the world’s standards. We are not just to be righteous, but to be holy. “You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). This can only be accomplished by the Spirit. Colossians 1 tells us the preeminence of Christ who is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). “For in him all the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19 – Darby). But the fullness of God has been given to us. “For of his fullness we all have received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). This is what grace is. This is the highest level of our salvation. This is one level of grace upon another level of grace. As we realize how poor we are, he will grow in us. This is the growth to maturity in Christ. This is the unsearchable riches of Christ that has been given to us.

So what does a man of God look like? It is like the hymn by A. B. Simpson. He loves when the situation or person is unlovable. He is righteous, just because the Spirit is. He forgives others because he has no enmity. He has hope in people, when there seems to be no hope. He has patience, when others rush ahead. He is at peace, when others feel the pain. His concern is no longer about himself, but his family and those placed into his care. He is rich in life and will sacrifice himself for others. He will do things that seem unreasonable, to help those around him. He is never too busy, because the harvest is ripe. He works tirelessly, because the need is there. He will do what is not natural in the world, even offering his own body as a sacrifice. He treats his neighbours like he would treat himself. All of this is due to the expression of the Spirit. This is the fruit of the Spirit. This is what the Spirit of reality does.

How do we come to the realization of the divine life, the Spirit of life, inside all of us whom he has called out? By looking to him as we internalizing his Word, by receiving the Spirit, by ‘eating’ him as the bread of life. These all mean the same thing. This is how “they will be taught by God” (John 6:45), as the Spirit inside of us teaches us. So ”unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:52) because you do not have the divine life, the Spirit within. But “whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:66) so “we will come to make our home with him” (John 14:23) for “we (Christians) are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16). God living inside of us as the Spirit will be this new life. “It is the Spirit who give life, the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:45). The Word conveys the Spirit to us, bringing us the divine life. That is why we read his Word and find so much meaning that we could talk about it so often and never exhaust its bountiful supply. The Word, as the Spirit, is God’s food for us as our bountiful supply. So Paul prays, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to [us] a Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:17-19). Our inheritance is none other than God himself. We are “heirs of God” (Rom. 8:17) and, as brothers of Christ, “fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). By giving the Spirit to us, we inherit God himself. We are internalizing God as the Spirit within our spirit. We are “led by the Spirit of God {and] are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). “The Spirit himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). So “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18). We are the children of God! These are his saints, his called out ones. Our nature has been changed. We no longer just have our humanity, but we are born of God with his divine nature, the Spirit of life. We are “born of God” (John 1:13)! That is why there is a new nature within us, a new way of practice, a new state of our being. We are bound by a new nature, a new law – the law of the Spirit of life.   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). “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). This is how mankind breaks free from sin and realizes the divine life that is dwelling in him.

(What Is The Central Thought of The Bible?)

What is the central theme of the Bible? It is not a conflict between good and evil, as some suppose and talk about all the time. We teach what is the better way, the right way of doing things. But that is still under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of right and wrong. The conflict in the Bible is between (the divine) life and death. The consequences of doing wrong is death, and the consequences of doing right is life. But through Adam, the nature of sin entered into all of us. We were given the knowledge to distinguish good from evil, but not the ability to carry it out. It is not in our human nature. That is why we cannot do right even though we may think we do. This was the thinking of the righteous people. They know right from wrong and they will ‘do the right’. “The man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:22). The punishment for doing evil is death. But God wants to place himself in us to give us his divine nature so we could do what is right, expressing the nature of the invisible God. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). We are the second born and the third born and so on as the sons of God. This invisible God is made known through us, his images, by dwelling in us so we could express his divine life with its divine nature. He can only dwell in something that is pure, freed of sin, something that can contain his divine nature. So God devised a plan for his fallen creations to restore a way of entering into them as the divine life. First, he had to deal with sin and make it powerless. He had to have a divine life wrongfully die to satisfy the righteous requirements of the law. He wanted to abide by his own principles of right and wrong. The loss of life was the only way. In the Old Testament, an animal was sacrificed, to mask out sins. God could only look at man through the propitiation cover on the ark of the covenant. But to accomplish an eternal redemption, the true redemption that takes away sins and deals with the sinful nature, the only way was to have the divine life die. So God came himself as our Lord Jesus. That is why he was incarnated. That is why he went to the cross. His suffering and sacrifice was the ultimate substitute for our sins. But the divine life could not die. He resurrected and released the life-giving Spirit. The Spirit is life-giving because it brought the divine life into man. He formed the bridge between the two natures, divinity and humanity, bringing divinity to humanity, and humanity to divinity. “You will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). He changed man’s human nature that was fallen to the divine nature of the indwelling Christ, giving him the ability to follow his conscience and transforming him to glory. Man, collectively, becomes God’s expression, as his body, and an equal partner to him, as his bride. The expression of the bridegroom and the bride is the ‘agape’ love for each other. This love finally unifies heaven and earth. So Christ is the only way. This is the central thought in the Bible. As you see from all the passages quoted above, God spoke to us this theme over and over again in many, many ways. We need to open our spirit to grasp the Spirit.

God has accomplished everything. He has done everything for us. “Because of the great love with which he loved us…[he has] made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 4-6). We are ‘seated’ with him now and are at rest. So he tells us “I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat. 11:28-29). We just need to fix our eyes on him.

(Why Does God Tell Us To Be Diligent To Enter His Sabbath Rest?)

For those dedicated Christians who think they are doing “hard work for Christ”, realize that it may be the Spirit at work in us, challenging us to do more. Obviously, it is not pride that is motivating us in what we do. “For apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 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. 4:7-12). We do not like it, but it is what the Spirit compels us to do. This is the manifestation of Jesus in our mortal bodies. Faith produces works. But the works are not as important as changing us. He is making us live and behave as his sons, to be an expression of him. That is what is harder to do. This is where the challenge always has been. We have to hunger and allow his filling of our spirit as the bread of life. Trust everything to the Spirit dwelling within us. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat.11:28-30). “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following  the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:7-11).

Why does God want us to be diligent to enter his Sabbath rest? It is because of our disobedience. The children of Israel hardened their hearts. “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 4:7). The Lord repeatedly called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites (Mat. 6:2, 5, 16; 7:5; 15:7; 22:18; 23:13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29; 24:51) as they appeared to follow the law, but their hearts were evil, leading them to do what they did not want to do. The word of God is used to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Heb. 4:12). “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The Lord is more interested in transforming us, in who we are, than in what we can do for him. The greatest challenge is giving the “dog” “human” characteristics, not what the dog can do. The greatest challenge is to give humans divine qualities, not what the humans can do. That is why He has “raised us up, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). We are at rest with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus and not doing anything, not even standing. That is why in Psalm 51, David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you” (Psa. 51:10-13). The Lord needs to create in us a clean heart and renew our spirit within. His Holy Spirit needs to be present in us. He needs to restore the enjoyment of our salvation and give us a willing spirit. Only then can we teach transgressors his ways so that sinners will be turned to him. The primary aspect is our transformation, before he can effectively use us to be his expression. The primary goal is our transformation from human to divine because nothing that we do can ever compare with this. That is why John is asked to “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow with them” (Rev. 14:13). First our inner being must die with Christ, then we rest from our labours in the Spirit, then the deeds we do will follow us. Note that his transformation process is entirely passive for us. He does it all. He creates a clean heart in us, he renews our spirit within, he places his Holy Spirit within us, he restores our joy of salvation, and he gives us a willing spirit. Only then can his Spirit with our spirit be expressed. Only then do we, through the operation of his Spirit within, become active. Only then do we spread his good news to sinners and sinners will turn to him. The transformation of our inner being is most important and the greatest challenge that Christians face today.

When we decide to do something deliberately against our conscience, we have “hardened our hearts”. “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:15; 4:18). That is our free will working. When we harden our hearts, this active decision can move us further and further away from God. When we sin, we hide from God’s presence as Adam and Eve did. We fear to be exposed and God’s presence seem to have left us. The Spirit does not seem to speak within us as we have not confessed our sins to the Father seeking his mercy and forgiveness, applying the blood of the cross. Without the Spirit speaking to us, we can drift further and further away as the divine nature is not teaching us. Without his Spirit, his presence, the divine nature cannot transform us. In fact, in the Old Testament, “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy” (Prov. 29:1). God even hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he would not let the people go from Egypt in order to show his might (Exo. 4:21; 7:3; 14:4, 17; 1 Sam. 6:6). So be careful, let God “put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Eze. 36:26).

We resist being passive, letting him remove our heart of stone and place a new spirit within us containing his nature, because something operates in us saying, “We know better”. We ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Surrender all to Him so He can use you. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Our old selves need to be crucified with Christ so that we can live by the life-giving Spirit based on our faith in the Son of God. That is why “my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Gal. 7:4). We need to be crucified with him in order that we may ‘bear fruit for God’. We need to be passive before God can make us active. That is why, although his disciples had already “Receive[d] the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22) when he breathed on them after his resurrection, and have been instructed with the great commission, they still needed to wait until the day of Pentecost, when they “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon [them]” (Acts 1:8), to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). Then we will begin “to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave [us] utterance” (Acts 2:4). Then the sinners “will hear [us] telling in [their] own tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11). Sinners hear us today because we are speaking in the power of the Holy Spirit, reaching them in their own tongues so they comprehend the mystery of God. So we must be diligent to enter his Sabbath rest because this is how he is expressed through us. So we must “present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). This is how we spiritually worship God. This is how we “worship in Spirit and reality” (John 4:24).

“We speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery; the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory…things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so 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 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. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. ” (1 Cor. 2:7-22).

As we mature in Christ, the line between our decision making and the decision making of the Spirit is blurred. Are we doing it or is Christ doing it? “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). What we say and do is for the Lord. The hardships we bear are bearable because of the Spirit. It may be very uncomfortable according to our human understanding. “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). We now are able to bring into practice our knowledge of good and evil by the constant feeding on the Spirit, transforming us. The repeated practice has honed our senses for what is good or evil. We only see his mercy and feel privileged to be called out by Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Who is doing it? I or Christ? It doesn’t matter. The thinking becomes the same. It is the mind of Christ. “Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). We gain the ability to walk on two legs as a “human” all because of the divine nature flowing into our branches. The life source is now from Christ. We are nourished and supplied with the Spirit so we bear fruit. Apart from him, it is really hard to walk on two legs. He wants us to have the characteristics of the divine. That is why “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We lack the divine element so Christ died for us releasing the divine life to us – the life-giving Spirit. Now we have “the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2), his divine nature which allows us to walk on two legs because of his life supply to the branches. His divine life allows us to keep the law and function in accordance with our conscience. That is why, in maturity, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

The mind of Christ is always in love with his bride, the church. It is an attitude. It is grounded in the word as the word is the power of God. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). It is in “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). Its focus is on saving us. Its focus is the church, the body of Christ. That is why the church becomes the bride of Christ, someone who Christ cherishes as a suitable partner to him. It is only by his mercy that we have been chosen to have Christ dwelling in us. This is what God is well pleased with.

(What Is God Pleased With and Love?)

The only time that God announced that he was well pleased was with Jesus. At his baptism, he said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:17). His Son brings enjoyment for our Father because he is the only “human” that is also fully “divine”. He carried both natures. This is what our Father is well pleased with. He is pleased with only humans that carry the divine life. He is pleased with the combination of humanity and divinity because it allows the invisible God to become visible. It allows the divine nature to be expressed. So Jesus prayed, “The glory that you have given me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:22-23). [Christians need to drop all their rules and ways of practice that cause division, from our families to our churches, so we would be perfectly one. This can only be accomplished by the Spirit.] “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29). This is why God is our Father and we are the brothers of Christ, his sons, because of the life-giving Spirit imparting the divine life, which is just God himself, into us.

[The issue of predestination and free will has confused Christians throughout history. From God’s viewpoint, we are predestined because he is timeless and he sees our life, from beginning to end, in its entirety, all at once. Of course he knows how we will turn out and who will be his children. So for him, he “foreknew” (Rom. 8:29) our futures. From our viewpoint, however, we don’t know how we will turn out. As a creature walking along this timeline, we can turn left or right. So we have free will.

Time to God is simply a dimension. It is a fourth dimension that every molecule in our universe is subjected to, and that we can measure, but cannot see. Perhaps we can consider heaven as existing in as yet another dimension. The mathematics of string theory predicts eleven dimensions which scientists ‘believe’ exists but cannot demonstrate.]

God loves us as a father loves his sons. “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5 – NASB). He “demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). As the good shepherd, he will leave the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep because all are precious to him, even the “little ones” (Matt. 18:10-14). That is why Jesus told us the story of the prodigal son. When an unbeliever makes a decision to turn to God, it is a momentous event for God because he has gained another child. Not only does the Father run towards his son when he is still a long way off, but his tells his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:22-24). We can understand this in a limited imperfect way, as a father, when our own son is born. Everyone that comes to Christ should be seen in this manner and upheld with the highest value. It is God who is in them. We should treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with the greatest of respect because they are all temples of God, regardless of whether they are a child or grown up in maturity. That is how our Father sees us. Our limited human capacity cannot appreciate this concept. God is infinite, so each one of us can be and is of special value to him. “Why, even the hairs of your head are numbered” (Luke 12:7; Mat. 10:30). [To an infinite God, the vast expanse of the universe holds little meaning.] If we see how much he values us, we will see the greatness of His sacrifice. As a Father, He “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). He sacrificed his Son so we could live. It was his Son. We were sinners yet Christ died so he could bring us his divine life. “Because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4-5). The Spirit has made us alive together with Christ, abiding in our beings. For “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). His Spirit is the reality of love. He has made his abode with us through his love. That is why the great commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mat. 22:37). Our minds are transformed by his great love. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). So “if you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:3-6). “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:12-13). By giving his Spirit to us, he has perfected his love in us, demonstrating to us and the world that we abide in Him and he abides in us. This is the fulfillment of the second covenant that “they shall not teach, each one his neighbour and each one his brother, saying, ‘know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (Heb. 8:11-12). Our Lord will not turn us away at his wedding feast saying, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you” (Mat. 25:12) because we have been transformed into the same image of God by the indwelling Spirit, “beholding as in a mirror the glory of Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18 – NASB). “He who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17).

(Why Do We All Need To Read The Bible?)

Read the Bible again, without ritualizing it, but with the theme of God’s eternal plan of placing himself into man in your mind. When you came across the word “life”, describe it with the thought of God’s life, the “divine life” as a reference to the “Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). Pay attention to the phrase “in Christ” or “in him” or “through him” as a reference to God’s eternal plan of placing himself in us. Keep yourselves open to the word ‘Spirit’ or things that are described as ‘spiritual’ as you read. Use the Bible to interpret the Bible, as Paul did with the Old Testament, as all these things that God taught us in the Old Testament were a “shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Col. 2:17 – NIV). Many thoughts may seem tangential at first, so the world will think it is foolishness. But when you apply your Spirit to interpret it, you will realize its spiritual significance. That is how the word remains hidden to the minds of the Pharisees and to the world today. In fact, you must apply your spirit with his Spirit to understand the Bible or else you will miss out on things like the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, predicted over four hundred years before his birth. “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Mic. 5:2). In fact, the chief priest and scribes knew that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, even quoting the scripture when Herod asked, yet missed out on the Messiah’s birth (Mat.2:1-6). We need to use our spirit with his Spirit to understand the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:7-22). “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit” (Rom. 8:16). Think of the spiritual significance behind all his ‘miracles’ and not be too concerned with the miracle itself. [Perhaps God can perform miracles because he is infinite, so he has the capacity to move each molecule at will from his dimension. However, this is not so important.] Open your spirit and prayerfully ask God for his ‘Helper’, the Spirit of reality, to make the meanings behind the words real to you. When the Spirit is “explaining the Scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32), “our hearts [will] burn within us” (Luke 24:32). In His resurrection, Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and “beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27). They did not know it was Jesus until “their eyes were opened and they recognized Him” (Luke 24:31). But “They said to one another, ‘Were our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). When the Spirit is explaining the Scriptures to us, our hearts will be burning. That is because His “words are living and operative” (Heb. 4:12). Let’s look at a few verses in John 1 as an example. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The ‘Word’ in the Bible is the scriptures, and the scriptures are “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), and we have “Received the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22) when God breathed into us when we believed. So all scripture is the Spirit of God breathed out for man to breathe in, to receive as the Spirit. When we “put on the whole armour of God” (Eph. 6:11), the only offensive and defensive weapon is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17). So for us to “be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11) we need the Spirit, which is the word of God. That is why we need to know the Word. When we know the Word, we know the Spirit. We know God. (And God ‘knows’ us.) That is why “the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63) – the words bring in the Spirit, with its divine nature and divine life, so we could stand against the schemes of the devil. The word brings God into man. That is why “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1), because it was the Spirit. That is why in Genesis, it says the “Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2) as the Spirit was there in the beginning with God. This Word was at the same time “with God” and “was God” because it was the Spirit. “He was there in the beginning with God” (John 1:1). Christ was there with God at the creation as well, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created through him and for him” (Col.1:15). This is the trinity with Christ and the Spirit being there with God also. That is why it says “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26) because the Trinity was there and the Trinity is timeless so Christ can be there also. Christ could pre-exist his birth in time because he was God. That is why Christ said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13). “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). “He is before all, and all things subsist together by him” (Col. 1:17 – Darby). It is only through him that everything was made. Not only did the material things come into existence through Christ, but the immaterial things, ‘all things’. Everything including our redemption and salvation was made in Christ. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him” (Col. 1:16). Everything including redemption. That is why God could come to be in a few chosen men in the Old Testament because his salvation is timeless. When Moses gathered the seventy elders of the people, the Spirit could rest upon them due to Christ’s redemptive work so they could ‘speak’ what the Spirit wants to say, they prophesied. “When the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied” (Num. 11:25), they expressed the Spirit. They expressed God’s thoughts to the people. In a very limited way, through the working of the Spirit in them, they were expressing God. The Spirit rested on two men in particular, Eldad and Medad, and they prophesied in the camp, causing Joshua to go to Moses, asking him to restrain them (Num. 11:26-28). Moses’ response spoke of God’s heart. “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29). That is why “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:3, 9; Gen. 15:6; Gal 3:6). Christ accomplished an eternal salvation covering all of time, from eternity past to eternity future. So before Abraham was circumcised and before Moses set up the sacrificial rites for sins, God could approach Abraham, in compliance with the righteous requirements of the law, without Abraham’s circumcision nor the sacrifice of an animal for Abraham’s sins, because Abraham was justified by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.  That’s what Paul was telling us about. That is why Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad…Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56-58). Abraham saw the seed, he saw the day of Jesus. Christ came before Abraham because Christ is timeless for he was God. “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing of faith – just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’” (Gal. 3:5). The supply of the Spirit comes to us when we heard the faith and believed – that is what justified Abraham when he believed, he received God as the Spirit. I get it now. “In him was life, and the life was the light of man” (John 1:4). In him was the divine life and this divine life, entering man as the Spirit and making his home in our hearts, speaking through the scriptures as our reality, bringing to us the divine life, so it is the light of men. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not over come it” (John 1:5). “He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him” (Dan. 2:22). The Lord “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart” (1 Cor. 4:5). God, as the Spirit we have received, shining in our hearts, reveals all the darkness, the nature of sin that is in all men. Light always overcomes darkness. That is why when we rely on the Spirit, our sinful nature is defeated, because his divine nature would always win. I get it now! And so on with the Bible…there is so much more to say. Your own feeding on the Bible is much more important than what I can say. These few pages provide a framework for understanding the Bible – for ‘knowing Him’. Read it again for the many verses it contains and let the verses jump out at you. My words are not important and I’ve tried to minimize them. Your own understanding of the Word, through the Spirit, is much richer and is how Christ will feed you and fill your spirit. That is more important, both to you and to God. That is how we will become “a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Eph. 5:6). “The word that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). “For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure” (John 3:34). The utterance of the words of God conveys the Spirit with its immeasurable riches into us so we will become “the true words of God” (Rev. 19:9). God’s divine revelation will unveil before your eyes.

The entire Bible will become an open book to your indwelling Spirit within. That is why “no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (Jer.31:34). We now all know God. “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things” (John 14:26). It is the Spirit that teaches us all things. “The anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things” (1John 2:27). This is how we feed on Christ. This is how we feed on his words. Don’t intellectualize the word, but enjoy it for the riches it supplies to your inner man. It fills a hunger we all have. It is our heavenly manna. We all need to feed on him on a daily bases. This is the only reason why God died for us, so we could receive the live-giving Spirit, resting in the enjoyment of what our Savior has done, and expressing Him. “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living father sent me, and I live because of my Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me” (John 6:56-57). “This is a hard saying” (John 6:60). But Jesus was referring to “the Spirit who gives life…the words I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).

(Why We Need To “Eat” The Bible?)

The central theme of the Bible is repetitive for this reason. The Bible is used for food for your spirit. You eat food everyday to sustain you. It is repetitive. Like you eating chicken everyday. “And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isa. 28:13). The word of God is revealed to us a little at a time, bit by bit, like you season chicken with different spices. That is what God is doing with the word. That is why we have so many ‘Bible studies’ among the Christians today and never seem to exhaust its bountiful supply. New revelations always seem to appear. You cannot do this with any other book and that is why it is the most printed book in the world. When you are reading, you are eating. When you contemplate on his words in the Bible, different meanings will be revealed to you in your minds through the working of his Spirit, “which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Yet the meanings all revolve around one central theme, the theme of God imparting his life into man as the Spirit. It is still chicken. That is why before entering the good land, God made the children of Israel wander around in the wilderness for forty years until the whole generation of Israelites coming out of Egypt was replaced by their descendants. They needed the heavenly food, the manna. This manna spoiled within a day so they had to depend on God daily to save them as their bread of life. The heavenly supply is the supply of the Spirit. The children born in the desert had only manna to eat. Their very beings were made of manna. Their substance was transformed to be heavenly by their eating. The heavenly substance is the only thing that is well-pleasing to God. That is why the whole generation coming out of Egypt had to die in the wilderness. All the dross of mankind had to be left behind. Then they could enter the good land, which is foreshadowing entering heaven itself, “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exo. 3:8, 17; 13:5, 33; Lev. 20:24; Num. 14:8; 16:13, 14; Due. 6:3; 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3; 31:20; Jos. 5:6; Jer. 11:5; 32:22; Eze, 20:6, 15). In heaven, Christ supplies us with “a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:1-2). The river of the water of life quenches man’s thirst, and the tree of life fills man’s hunger. Unlike the trees on the earth, it is so varied and bountiful that it can bear twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. We would never be “grumbling” (Exo. 16:12) for meat, incurring the Lord’s anger (Num. 11:33), because it is so varied, but we would be satisfied with the true heavenly ‘manna’, the bread of life. “They have eaten and are satisfied” (Deu. 31:20). Man’s hunger is finally satisfied by the real bread of life (John 6:35). “It is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is my Father who give you the true bread out of heaven, For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world” (John 6:32-33). “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). “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). “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink” (John 6:55). We will finally be satisfied and our hunger, our emptiness, will finally be filled. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56). We can finally live in the true good land flowing with milk and honey. If we feel the Father drawing us, we can all enter the good land to enjoy God today. There is no age barrier. Young or old, we can all eat. There is no gender barrier. It is served to males and females alike. There is no race barrier. It is opened to all mankind. But we have to eat the manna in order to grow. This is not a dissertation of theology, but a practical guide to help us all eat, or understand and ‘know’, the unsearchable riches of Christ. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). Use your spirit to discern the Spirit as you read. “For the word of God is living and operative, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and penetrating to the division of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12 – Darby). The word is living and operative. It is alive because the Spirit is alive in you. It will separate those thoughts that are from your soul rather than from your spirit. Some of the passages in the Bible will jump out at you. Use your spirit with the Spirit to know Him. The next time you read the same passage, a new thought might enter your mind, renewing it as the Spirit leads you. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). As sons of God, we all have to eat to grow in Christ. We all need to grow in our spirits to reach maturity.

“For the word of God is living and operative, sharper than any two-edged sword, and penetrating to the division of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12 – Darby). The word of God separated two things we often leave in confusion, the soul and the spirit. These two things are so closely joined that they are like joints and marrow. We often say that God spoke to us about something when in fact, it is our soul speaking. That is why we need the word of God, to separate our soul from our spirit. His Spirit lives within our spirit, telling us what is the thoughts, the mind, of Christ. It transmits God’s thinking into man. That is why “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). Somehow, as Christians, we all know we are the children of God, that God is our Father. How can it be? It is through the Spirit. The Spirit makes it real to us. It brings the reality of our salvation into clarity in our minds. Now that we are believers, we do not doubt that Christ has died for us and cannot deny that we are saved. We are ‘believers’ because of the Spirit that we have received witnessing with our spirit. That is the function of the Spirit that is now indwelling us. That is why the Lord’s disciples were martyred. They died because they could not deny this reality.

For each of us today, in a very practical way, the word transmits God’s Spirit into us, teaching us and correcting us so we can follow our conscience and do good works. “All Scripture in God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16 – NIV). In Greek, the word for God-breathed is “theopneustos”, “theo” for God, and “pneustos” is for breathe, a derivative for “pneuma”, or the Spirit “pneumatos”. All Scripture is God’s Spirit, becoming living and operative within us as we contemplate or commune with it, teaching, rebuking, correcting and training us in righteousness, so that what we think, the thoughts and intents of our heart, will be what we do, equipping us for every good work. When God breaths into man, they become alive. He breathed into Adam the first time and he became a living being (Gen. 2:7) containing a human spirit. He breathed into his disciples a second time, giving them his Holy Spirit (John 20:22) making our spirits alive again that died with Adam’s fall (Gen. 2:17). He continues to supply His Spirit to us today, expressing His thoughts through the word, giving us the mind of Christ, so we do the good works. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The divine life is now in us expressing its divine nature. The thoughts and intents of our heart now expressed out of us are of Christ. “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person” (Mat. 15:10). “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Mat. 15:18). What we think becomes what we do. The mind corresponds to the body because we have been freed from the nature of sin. Our hearts are softened, transformed from stone to flesh, abiding by a higher level of conscience. “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statues and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Eze. 11:19-20). The higher conscience of God become how we live. This is how the Spirit transforms us today.

When we read his Word, the meaning of the words that come to us is the Spirit speaking to us, making it real to us. That is why when Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7), we are. It is intuitive. We do not marvel at it but live in its reality. It is like a wind that blows where it wishes, “you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). That is why when Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15), it becomes real to us through the Spirit of reality. The words convey a reality to us through the Spirit of reality. The meaning is entirely tied and interwoven in his words so that a central thought is produced. It is the Spirit conveying to us the central thought of God, which is just the Spirit Himself. It is simply Christ as the reality of all things. That is why the Spirit is the word of God (Eph. 6:17). It is living and active in us today. “For the word of God is living active and sharper then any two-edged sword, and piecing as far as the division of soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12). The Spirit separates God, Christ and his body, from everything else. That is why what we do is not as important as who we are. The way we practice ‘church’ doesn’t mean much to God, but the “thoughts and intents of [our] heart” (Heb. 4:12) does. One is in the realm of the soul, so there are differences, the other is in the realm of the Spirit, so there is unity. That is how we can all know him, because we can all read his word and receive the Spirit. So we have fellowship with him. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14). Grace is from the Lord Jesus Christ, love is from the Father God, and fellowship occurs through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is transmitted to us through his words, so we have fellowship with Christ and God the Father, receiving his grace and his love. His word is not to be venerated, but to be eaten as our spiritual supply to satisfy our hunger inside, altering the “thoughts and intents of [our] heart” (Heb. 4:12) so “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). By eating the word, we grow in Christ.

For those who find this too intangible, think of the fruit of the Spirit which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22). If our minds are set here, we will live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit. This is how the word will separate our soul from our spirit, as against these things there is no law. Apart from this, let our conscience decide as it has been honed by the Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). We will be able to.

God has deposited everything into us. “He gives the Spirit without measure” (John 3:34). He has put Christ in us. It is completed. It is finished, so He sits down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Heb. 1:3, 10:12) together with us (Eph. 2:6). He has “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). The fulness of his being is already deposited in us. He has given us the Spirit without measure. He has given us God himself. Why does it seem some brothers are more spiritual and others are not? It is not the different amounts of the Spirit that we received, but to grow in Christ, or to be filled with his Spirit, is based on the amount that we realize. He has given us the same payment regardless of how much we realize of him or have worked for him, whether it be a lot or a little (Mat. 20:1-16). That is why it is not the length of time we labour in the field that is important. The child in Christ still carries the same divine life within him. Our growth is determined by how much we realize or trust in God. That is why each brother is so precious to God and (should be) to us, no matter how much he realizes of God. The God in them is the same as yours. The brother just has not realized the fulness of the Spirit yet. Our believe is the same, but our trust differs. This is what Christian growth is. The “grace [that] was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Eph. 4:7) is the same. We are just helping each other realize the God that is in us, to trust him more, growing in faith. Through the words in the Bible and our discussions, He helps us realize the Spirit. We are all growing because we have not fully realized or trusted the God within. We have not surrendered all to Him. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). To realize or grow in God, we need to love him. That is how we will “all attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).

(Why Do We All Need To Express Him?)

We can and should all express Him as this is the purpose of mankind. It is the meaning of life. “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:23). God in us and us in God, that we may be perfected in unity as the expression for the world to see, that is man’s purpose. We are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). By transforming us, each of us became a new creation, and, collectively, we form a new race, a chosen race. This chosen race functions as a royal priesthood, proclaiming the excellencies of him to those who are still in darkness. “We are ambassadors of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). So there is no more a need for the priesthood, because we form the priesthood, his ambassadors. That is why “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from the top to bottom” (Mat. 27:51; Mark 15:38) when Jesus died on the cross. It signified that the entrance to the Holies of Holies was now opened to all mankind when Jesus died for us. “The way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section [of the temple] is still standing” (Heb. 9:8). But God tore the curtain in two when he became the final sacrifice, entering into heaven itself, tearing the curtain “from the top to the bottom” (Mat. 27:51; Mark 15:38). “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Heb. 9:24). To approach God, we no longer need to sacrifice lambs and goats, because the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) has accomplished an eternal salvation for mankind. That is why Melchizedek is a type of Christ. Christ is a “priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 5:6). “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually” (Heb. 7:3). Melchizedek foreshadowed Christ, who is our priest perpetually. That is why Christ is our high priest, interceding for us, for every man who believes, as, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26).   The whole idea of a man interceding for another man is over. “Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds his priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:24-25). The reality of the priesthood is in Christ. That is why the Old Testament is only a shadow of the things to come, “who serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5). “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:16-17). “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in him you have been made complete” (Col. 2:8-10). “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’ (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) – in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:16-3:3). We have to set our minds on things above. This is where our focus is – fixing our eyes on Jesus and not on the rules and regulations of men, on the traditions of men, on ‘things that are on the earth’. That is why the body of Christ is so divided today. “There is one body and one Spirit” (Eph. 4:4). We should not be focused on our organizations but on the organism where Christ is the head and we all, who have received his life, form his body. Jesus prayed, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one” (John 17:23). Our oneness is perfected by each member of his body, with its different functions, expressing the indwelling Spirit. These are the overcomers in our churches.

So “let us approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb. 4:16 – BLB) because “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God” (Heb. 4:14). “Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:11-12). “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). He has become the final high priest for us, forming the bridge between heaven and earth, bringing us into the presence of God, re-establishing the relationship between God and man which was broken since Adam’s fall. He could now dwell in us, the temples of God. “Know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16). There is no longer a separation between the “priesthood” and “the layman” (Num. 3:10). No longer is the statement, “the layman who comes near shall be put to death” (Num. 3:10) true, because Christ has accomplished an eternal redemption for us all. We all need to be his saints, his called out ones who are “holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1) because of the divine life dwelling in us. We all need to approach God, standing before his throne of grace, because the Spirit needs to fill us all, to transform us all, so we all grow to maturity as sons of our living Father. That is why Jesus is “the way, the reality and the life” (John 14:6). We need to enter into the Holies of Holies to be in the Lord’s presence, with him in us and we in him (John 14:20; 17:21,23), and let the Spirit bring into reality the contents of the ark of the covenant: we need to enjoy his “hidden manna” (Rev. 2:17) as our daily life supply; we need to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phi. 3:10), being a part of the priesthood, in Aaron’s dead staff that budded with new life; we need to have the ten commandments become a reality inscribed into our inner beings, put into our minds and written on our hearts (Heb. 8:10). This is the reality of the contents of “the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (Heb. 9:4) foreshadowed in the Old Testament. “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). The sacrifices we now offer are ‘spiritual’, not physical, which are ‘acceptable to God’ because it is ‘through Christ Jesus’. So don’t be afraid of proclaiming God’s Word through the Spirit working in you because we are all his ‘priests’ to convey the message of the good new to all the nations. What qualifies us is the Spirit dwelling within us, speaking through us the message of God. In fact, the church first met as small groups in people’s houses sharing their experiences of Christ. The big gatherings were only for special occasions. God’s desire is that we all express his life. We need to express the Spirit of reality that is living in each one of us. Our experiences of the Spirit are most precious and are what God wants most because it finally is an expression of him. Our nature is finally changed. We need to shout it from the mountaintops what God has done for us.

We need to be “filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:18-21). When we praise the Lord, giving him thanks always and for everything, we are offering the true incense to God as a pleasant aroma to him. In Revelation 5, there are “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5:8). We need to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6:18), communing with him, offering just what He says to us back to him, as the prayers of the saints. When we speak his words, “the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17), will speak through us, transforming us “by the renewal of [our] mind[s]” (Rom. 12:2). We “have received a Spirit of sonship in which we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:15-16 – Recovery Version), [There is no word in Greek to describe the concept of being ‘born again’, as it is not in the concept of man. So Paul used the word for ‘the adoption of sons’. The context of the Bible shows us we were “born again” (John 3:3) as “sons of God” (Rom. 8:14), not ‘adopted’ because that is the only way we can have the life of our Father, the divine life. Adoption leaves us only with our humanity. The simple word ‘sonship’ describes this concept much more accurately and has been used in the NIV as ‘the adoption of sonship’ which is still confusing. In the Recovery Version of the Bible, the translation is ‘the Spirit of sonship’ denoting that we are ‘born again’.] It is the Spirit, bearing witness with our spirit, that makes it a reality to us that we are children of God, by whom we cry ‘Abba! Father!’. This is how the Spirit, or the Word of God (Eph. 6:17), works, transforming us to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). When we are reading his words, praying to God, contemplating or meditating on his words, or singing hymns and spiritual songs to him, our minds are being transformed by the Spirit. That is what “looking to Jesus” (Heb. 12:2) and sitting at his feet “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18) means. As his Word becomes more and more a part of us, we have grown in our spirit with his Spirit and so become “the true words of God” (Rev. 19:9). As the Spirit of God speaks through us, it bring into existence what did not exist before. That was how the world was created. That is why “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rm. 10:9-10). When we believed, we received the Spirit, applying the redemptive work of Christ in us so we are righteous. But when we confess, or rather, the Spirit working together with our spirit speaks, now through our mouths, the Spirit brings into reality, into ‘existence’, the poverty of our situation, how far we are from God, and confers the reality of his redemptive power to us, so we are saved. To clarify, when we speak his words in Spirit, the reality of its meaning alters our minds and hearts, transforming us. That is why we must “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18). That is why we need to call on his name and speak his words. That is why “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

It makes no sense that if we have this treasure in our earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7) that we do not speak about it. This treasure is God within us! That is why he warns us not to bury whatever treasure we have received from our master, even if it is only one talent (Mat. 25:14-30). We need to not just do good to others, but to scatter his seed. “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 scatter no seed” (Mat. 25:26). The Lord want to reap so we need to let him work in us, sowing the seed so there would be new growth in the images of God. Otherwise he will “throw out the worthless slave into other darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat.25:36). Note again the consequence is ‘into outer darkness’, not the lake of fire, missing out on the enjoyment of Christ who is our light. That is why when Joshua asked Moses to restrain Eldad and Medad from prophesying, as he felt only Moses could speak for God and not these unknown men, “Moses said to him. ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!'” (Num. 11:20). Prophesying is simply speaking for God, expressing the Spirit as it grows in you. It is not jealously guarded in our Christian leaders. When the Lord puts his Spirit on us, would that we all speak! Due to the continued separation of the ‘priesthood’ from the ‘layman’ (Num. 3:10), we have loss the concept that we have to speak. Imagine a priest that does not speak. How can the people hear? “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” (Rom. 10:14). On the day of Pentecost, the disciples “were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speaks with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 1:4), so the people will “hear them in [their] own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 1:11). When we are filled with the Spirit, the Spirit gives us utterance. Then people who have not received his Spirit “will call on the name of the Lord [and] be saved” (Rom. 10:13). That is the power of the Spirit speaking through man. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things” (Rom. 10:15).

As you dwell in his Word, it will be the Spirit that is expressed. When you read his Word in the Spirit according to the simple thoughts written above, you will bend your knees at God’s marvelous plan and cry tears of joy. You will be enveloped in the enjoyment of him. You will see, through the Spirit, what “he [has] 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 Jesus as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him” (Eph. 1:8-9). This is “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:17). This is the “fullness [that] we have all received” (John 1:16). This is “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). This is how we lay hold of the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). This is “the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2). “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (Col. 2:9-10).

(Why is His Love So Important?)

Those who have received the divine life are “being joined together, grow[ing] into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21). Christ is the chief cornerstone (Isa. 28:16-17; Eph. 2:19-21; 1 Pet. 2:6). So “he put[s] all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). This is accomplished through each of us, beginning with a “mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints…the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

In its simplest form, this is how God accomplishes his divine plan for mankind. It is the Christ in us who gives mankind the hope of glory. Glory is simply God expressed. “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14). “The glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). Now he wants this glory to shine from all of us, the images of God (Gen. 1:27). “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly” (2 Cor. 15:49). As the “true light, which gives light to everyone” (John 1:9) so they could shine forth his reflected glory (2 Cor. 3:18) as their hope of glory (Col. 1:27). So his glory is “full of grace and reality” (John 1:14). The Christ in you will generate a love of God within that is steadfast and full of enjoyment. Love cannot be intellectualized. You cannot convince anyone of it logically. You cannot force it to be real. The ‘agape’ love, this selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love, can only be transmitted as a ‘truth’, a reality, to you by the Spirit of reality. That is why he is “full of grace and reality” (John 1:14). He gave the reality of the ‘agape’ love to us, “for from his fullness we have all received” (John 1:16). “We love, because he first loved us” (1 John 4;19). So in maturity, we can finally return this selfless, sacrificial and unconditional ‘agape’ love to God when he asks us “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15-17). In his resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15). Three times Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” The first two times, Jesus asked with the ‘agape’ love. Each time Simon, son of John, could only respond with the ‘philia’ love, a brotherly love. So Jesus settled for the ‘philia’ love the third time he asked, rather than the ‘agape’ love he had hoped for (John 21:17). “Simon, son of John” (John 21:15, 16, 17), lacked the ability to “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15), loving his brothers in a genuine ‘agape’ way. He could only love in a human way as the son of John. Only ‘Simon, son of God’, can love his brothers in a genuine, selfless, sacrificial and unconditional ‘agape’ way. That is why we are his sons. The Lord asked Simon three time questioning the genuineness of Simon’s love. Simon thought he loved God and thought the Lord knew it based on what his did as a man. So he “was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?'” (John 21:17). All that he had done, he had done for the Lord, yet Jesus is questioning him ‘Do you love me?’ Do we love God with a selfless, sacrificial and unconditional ‘agape’ love? We cannot do it. As humans, we have the will but not the ability. “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom. 7:18). Only as the ‘sons of God’ can we love in an ‘agape’ way. Then we will be able to “Feed [his] sheep” (John 21:16), his flock, by offering them the heavenly manna that we have received. This is our maturity in Christ. We need him to grow in us so we could love each other with a genuine ‘agape’ love. “The love of Christ controls us…[so] that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

Love’s foundation is grounded in Christ. Love’s growth is in ‘knowing Him’. Love’s expression is for the Lord our God and for all mankind. That is why Jesus says to us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Mat. 22:37-40). The reality of our love of God will fulfill all things. You may not know the Bible well yet, but having the reality of his love, a genuine love of God, is all he needs. Love him.

Our deep love for the Lord will open our spiritual eyes to see him. In his resurrection, the first one to see Jesus was not Peter, the ‘great’ apostle, nor the other disciple who loved God so much that he left Peter behind and ran ahead to the tomb. It was Mary. “The two  were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in” (John 20:4). This other nameless disciple must have loved the Lord so much that he could not wait for Peter and ran ahead, but, on arrival, he felt inferior to Peter in hierarchy so he dare not go into the tomb. He waited for Peter. “So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8). This is our human hierarchy. But it was Mary who had the privilege of seeing the Lord in his resurrection first, before the disciples and even before our Father. “But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb” (John 20:11). She simply loved him. In this most tender of moments that even the angels could see, the two angels asked Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” (John 20:13). Her concern was with the Lord so she did not even recognize that they were angels. “She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him'” (John 20:13). She “did not understand the Scripture” (John 20:9), but she loved him so much that she simply wanted his body. “When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus” (John 20:14). And in the most tender way, “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 20:15). She loved him so deeply, so profoundly, she simply wanted his body. That is when Jesus revealed himself to her. “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!'” (John 20:16). When we love him so deeply and profoundly, he will reveal himself to us. He is producing the first fruits, “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev.14:4). “She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher)” (John 20:16). To have the Lord teach us so that we would “know Him” (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:11) as our Teacher, deep within our beings, we need to turn drastically in our hearts to the Spirit. “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 statues and keep My ordinances and do them” (Eze. 11:19; Eze. 36:26-27). Mary had to turn twice (John 20:14, 16) in order to see the Lord. The poignancy of our love for Christ is most important in turning us, opening our eyes to see Him and his divine revelation. Mary was rewarded with having touched God first before his ascension to present himself in his pure form before the Father. “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17). She was also rewarded with the revelation that the disciples are now the brothers of Christ and that God is now their Father by a connection of rebirth into the divine life. “But go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (John 20:17). He revealed to her that we are now sons of God and he is our Father. We are in God’s family! These are the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:23) revealed to our hearts when we love him. So love Him, regardless of whether we love with an ‘agape’ or a ‘philia’ type of love. Our Lord will settle for either. As his love grows in us day by day, we will return the genuine ‘agape’ love to Him.

When the Lord comes again, it will be marked by a star, like when He was born, by the brightest star in the sky, a morning star that can be seen as the darkness is rolling away. “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19). When God came the first time, in the form of Jesus, a bright star arising in the sky marked his coming (Mat. 2:2-6). When God comes the second time, in the form of Christ, the morning star arising in our hearts will mark his coming. It is in our loving hearts that has been transformed that we will see the morning star. Our eyes need to be opened by Christ, as the Spirit of reality, to recognize Him (Luke 24:31).

As we love him, this love will grow to encompass his brethrens, the family of God. “Kept fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). Love produces genuine oneness. In Jesus’ prayer, he said, “The glory that you had given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and love them even as you love me” (John 17:22-23). The genuineness of our love, the selfless, sacrificial and unconditional ‘agape’ love, for each other, whether it be our wives, our children, our parents, our bothers and sisters, our in-laws, our brothers and sisters in Christ’s family, those that have not received Christ, the poor and downtrodden, the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the in-prisoned, our neighbours, our enemies – the genuineness of our ‘agape’ love is the expression of God. That is the divine nature, the expression of the Spirit of life inside us. All that is mortal, including the laws, is swallowed up by this life (2 Cor. 5:4). Then the reality of “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47) would be in us. There is only one type of people in this world. They are all created in the image of God. We all need his reality to love God and one another with an ‘agape’ love. That is how “the world will know that you sent me” (John 17:23). That is why “If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clinging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3). All the things we do, if we do it as the sons of man, will not have the ‘agape’ love and is nothing. Only in maturity, when we are filled with his Spirit living and working through us, is there the ‘agape’ love. So Jesus said to Simon, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go” (John 21:17-18). When we are young in Christ, we will dress ourselves and walk wherever we want, but in maturity, when we are old, we just stretch out our hands to the Lord and he will dress us and carry us where we do not want to go. We need to be passive before Christ can make us active. Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22), willingly went to the cross for us, even though he did not want to go. Before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Mat. 26:39). This was his inner turmoil as the Son of Man. But as the Son of God, he went to the cross willingly for us. After his last parable to Simon in his resurrection, Jesus said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:19). He is still asking us today “Do we ‘agape’ love him more than these?” The solution being “Follow me!” “God is love” (1 John 4:8), the selfless, sacrificial and unconditional ‘agape’ love. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). We should have the profoundness of this same love for each other. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11) in the very profoundness of the way he loved us. That is expressing his ‘agape’ love in his images. That is Christ, lived out of us.

(What Is God’s Eternal Purpose?)

If we knew God’s will, the ultimate reason for creating us in all of time, the purpose of God for man, then all mankind would want to follow it. We would understand – “Why?” To his saints, God has now been “making known 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 all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:9-10). In the fullness of time, his plan is to unite all things in Christ, uniting differences between things in heaven and things on earth (Mat. 16:19). God’s plan is to unite all things in himself, in Christ. This not only resolves all the problems on earth, with the differences among men [Imagine if all Christians treasured each other as the sons of God and saw “the Gentiles” as all potential sons of God created in His image! What a new world we would have! Christ would want to come back!], and all the problems in heaven, with the differences among angels [Satan, the archangel who rebelled against God, is finally ended!], but is the combination of divinity with humanity, of humanity with divinity, connecting heaven and earth into one. The separation between God and man is gone. That is why Jesus is the key. “You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). He is the central being, the chief cornerstone, that unites all things. “For from him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom. 11:46). How do you unite all things? You love it completely. You love it with Christ’s selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love. To unite all things in Christ, Christ’s ‘agape’ love needs to live through us. Why are we different? Why do we fight for our own righteousness? It seems so meaningless what we fight for when compared with Christ. “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:25). “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). So Christ is the key. He is the way. That is why he has given each of us himself to receive when we believed, when he revealed to each one of us that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mat. 16:16). Christ is the key that opens the world of the divine to us. Believing in Christ transfers us from humanity to divinity and brings Christ’s divinity into humanity so we are sons of God, entering into his kingdom, the kingdom of the divine, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of his Son, the kingdom of God. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). The revelation of Christ to us is the foundation, the cornerstone, the rock, that unites us all into his one body. So, through the indwelling Christ, whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth is loose in heaven (Mat. 16:19). Divinity and humanity are united in one, firstly in Christ, then in us, his “new creation[s]” (Gal. 6:15). All of creation is waiting to “be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom. 8 21-22). We ourselves now have the first fruits of the Spirit and are waiting eagerly for sonship, the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23). Even our bodies will not see corruption. We would be fully saved in spirit, soul and body (1 Thes. 5:23; Rom. 8:1-11). When our physical bodies are redeemed, we will finally be fully transformed through Christ our Lord. God no longer lives hidden in our bodies, the temples of God, in the New Jerusalem, but his glory will be out in the open for all to see, expressed through us. “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev. 21:22). Christ will finally shine forth as our “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) for all to see. “Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together” (Isa. 40:5). So “the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp in the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it” (Rev. 21:23-24). Christians that have been fully transformed will reign as kings of the earth shining forth his glory, a glory that is hidden today within his saints, his called out ones. The Christ in them, as their hope of glory, will now shine forth, manifesting to all his glory. The divine life with its divine nature, which is Christ himself dwelling within his saints, will be manifested so the “kings of the earth will bring their glory into it” (Rev. 21:24). They are those whose reality is, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). “For to me to live is Christ” (Phi. 1:21). They have been crucified with Christ, so Christ can live through them as the expression of glory. That is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of God. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek (humble), for they shall inherit the world. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:3-10). “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates” (Rev. 22:14). In the kingdom of his Son, we are fully in him and he is fully expressed in us. In the fullness of time, we are fully in God and God is fully in us as his expression. Heaven and earth will be combined into one in the Spirit, in Christ, in God, forming a new creation centred on Him. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mat. 24:35). We will enter into his kingdom, the dimension of God that is timeless, and live eternally, freed of our corruptible bodies. “The Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5). Finally mankind fulfils the Lord’s prayer, “I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me” (John 17:23). This is the plan that he has set forth in Christ, a “plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10). At last, heaven and earth will finally be united in one through Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. “For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross” (Col. 1:19-20).”He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:4). His love perfects our oneness (1 John 4:7-21).  “Love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgement; because as He is, so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). That is our ultimate transformation. The great “I am that I am” (Exo. 3:14) is finally expressed as a reality in us through our love. So Christ is the Head and we are his body (Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12:27).

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:1-3). From all the verses quoted above, the entire Bible, as the divine revelation of God, can be summarized with one sentence. God wanted to dispense himself into man, combining humanity with divinity, to form a new creation, who loves him because of his great love for us, expressing his glory in love thereby uniting all things in Him. Think about it. Realize it. Enjoy it.

The Bible is a romance story between God and man. It starts with a couple and it ends with a couple. Have you ever wondered why God spoke and the universe came into being, but with Eve, she had to be made from Adam? God put Adam into a deep sleep and a rib was taken out of him to form Eve. Christ died for us and gave up his body to form the new creation, who collectively are his church, his bride. We are at last the “bone of [his] bone and flesh of [his] flesh” (Gen. 22:23). “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17). “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32). “The Spirit and the Bride say ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come’” (Rev. 33:17).