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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

What is God? (Part 3 – His holiness)

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

 

God is holy.

What does that mean? How can we be holy?

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

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

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

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

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

Transformation is not a change in behavior, it is a metamorphosis. Just like a caterpillar, in the flesh we crawl around on the ground. When we were reborn, God made us into a beautiful butterfly that can take to the air and fly into the open field. “He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field.” (Lev. 14:7). No matter how beautiful a caterpillar makes himself, he will never be a butterfly and be able to fly. No matter how righteous we are in our flesh, we will never be holy and be truly good. Holiness is of God and not of us. Holiness is of the divine life in the Spirit and not the human life in the flesh. That is why we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” (Rom. 12:1) A living sacrifice is one who is dead in the flesh, but alive in the Spirit. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:10) Only the Christ in us makes us holy and acceptable to God.

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

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

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

Holiness is a noun. It is not a process. There is no such thing as holification. It is God’s distinctness. That is why no matter how righteous we are in our flesh, we are not holy. We are far short of holiness because it is distinctly different. The way God makes us holy is to sanctify us. Sanctification is a process. It is a word that means to set apart to God. God Himself is separating us out from the world so we could be one with Him through Christ. Under the first covenant, men in their flesh tried to set themselves apart. They had so many statutes and ordinances to keep. It never worked because they tried to do them in their flesh, by their own efforts. They just could not be holy because the source of sin in their flesh was not dealt with. So God gave us a second covenant. He came himself. He brought his holiness into men, to reside within men, so that not only is the source of sin in their flesh dealt with, the divine life enlivens men so they could be holy. “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:10) Men could be filled with a distinctness that is not of the flesh, not of this world “…That you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19) He could be holy, set apart to God in righteousness because the Spirit in him is holy. That is why, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honour.” (1 Thes. 4:3) This is such a strange phrase, “For the will of God, your sanctification” because is could be read as ‘for the will of God is to sanctify us’ or ‘for the will of God is your sanctification’. Realize when we allow the Spirit to live freely within us, we have let the will of God take over our will. We have submitted our will in our flesh to the will of the Spirit. This is our sanctification. We simply submit the desires of our flesh to the will of God who resides within us. Through the working of the Spirit, we know how to control our own flesh in holiness and honour. (1 Thes. 4:3) That is why we are his workmanship. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

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

 

God is holy … Christ in us makes us holy.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call on Him. It is that simple.

What is God? (Part 2 – His light)

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

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

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

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

Secondly, fire is a source of light. In fact, in the first century, light is fire. Wherever there is light, there is fire. This light now shines within our spirits to illuminate our minds. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” (John 8:12) “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone on our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6) This verse is one of the most important verses in the Bible because it relays the concept of how God is transforming us by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2). Please read this verse slowly, over and over again, with love in your heart for God, until the Spirit gives you understanding and renews your mind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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