Why we have God as our possession.

The Lord’s jubilee is the age of grace that we are presently in. Christ has returned us to God so God could now be our possession. We are now all his prodigal sons who have lost our possession and have returned to Him. Having sold ourselves to sin because of our poverty, we now have come home. We realize that in our own strength in the flesh, we cannot meet the righteous requirements of the law. It leaves us only in poverty. It is demeaning and senseless, like feeding pigs. However, because we have sold ourselves to sin, we are now under the bondage of sin. Sin had taken us captive. Sin tells us we can hold the book up in the air against gravity ourselves because we have the knowledge of good and evil. (Please refer to the previous blog and blogs for the references. I have deliberately left the common references for this passage out as it could be placed after every phrase in this passage.) Sin tells us we can keep the law by our own strength without God…But we can’t. No matter how hard we try, eventually we fail. That is the law of sin within us all. You see, keeping the law was not something we were supposed to know. The knowledge of what is good and what is evil is something for God to discern in His holiness. It is distinct from us who are made of the flesh. We don’t have the ability to carry it out, to follow the laws in our flesh. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. We need to return to God as our possession.

When God is returned to us as our possession, we have been filled to all His fullness. As Christ comes to dwell in us, He holy nature becomes a part of us. He dwells within us with His divine life and gives us His life so we may have it abundantly. We had all been blinded by sin thinking we could reach holiness ourselves without His divine life dwelling in us. He came “to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (Isa. 42:7) Sin had blinded us to think we could do all things in ourselves. We were enslaved to sin, imprisoned sitting in darkness. We were blind but now we see. For the life in us “is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings of eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.’ (Isa. 40:28-31). When we rely on our flesh, even youths will faint and fall exhausted and drop the book. But when we rest in the Spirit and wait on Him who dwells within us, our strength will be renewed and we shall mount up on wings of eagles and take flight in the resurrection life as the dove flying into the open field. We are freed by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death. We can run and not be weary; we can walk and not faint.

When we walk based on the strength of our flesh, we faint and are powerless against sin. It is a law. In our flesh, realize we are one of “a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed” (John 5:3) who are waiting to be healed (see John 5). We have been here for a long time, lame and unable to walk according to the laws of God based on the efforts of our flesh. Then in the age of the jubilee, Jesus said to us, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6) “Get up, take your bed, and walk.” (John 5:8) When Christ tells us to walk, we walk by his Spirit within us. Jesus equates this ability to freedom from sin. “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” (John 5:16) We were lamed in our ability to keep the law. Christ has set us free when we walk by his power, the power of the Spirit. This is how Christ is working today. “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17)

God is very busy today. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are working to transform us into His image. He is working within us to express Himself out from us. That is why we can all say, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) Realize He came by being incarnated as a man, lived a human life on this earth and went to the cross to die for us so our sins could be forgiven. By dying for us, He met the righteous requirements of the law so He released the life-giving Spirit and returned to us to be our possession. When we possess God in our spirits, He expresses Himself through our bodies (flesh). Just like the bronze serpent lifted up on a cross, He was made like sin, in the form of flesh, yet He had no sin, no poison within Him. We today are like Him, in this body of flesh on the outside, but with God and His holiness on the inside. Realize our lameness and weakness in our flesh has been healed. The lamed man, in his flesh, was healed so he could walk by the Spirit who is the reality of the laws of God. All our deficiencies of our flesh are healed when Christ comes to be our possession. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become like a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water…And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness, and the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way, even if they are fools, they shall not go astray…but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. 35:5-10) We have found the Way of Holiness. It is Christ as our possession. Christ heals the brokenness in our flesh restoring our bodies to holiness. We are on the highway of Holiness. Realize we have been ransomed by the Lord and have return to Zion, to the house of God, singing with everlasting joy upon our heads, obtaining gladness and joy. We have Christ as our possession, our jubilee.

Today, God is building His house through us. Each one of us is a temple containing God, possessing Him. Collectively, we form the house of God. That is why, “In my Father’s house are many abodes; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be. And where I am going you know the way. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:2-6 – Recovery Version) In the Father’s house we are the many abodes. He went to the cross to prepare a way for us so He could abide in us as our possession. In turn, we are His for His possession as He was preparing the place for us to be received into Himself. He is the only way to the Father because we cannot be one with Him unless we are holy. So no one comes to the Father except through Christ.

Through Christ, the Father does His works. “The Father who dwells in Me does His works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:10-14) Realize it is the Father who dwells in the Son that is doing the works. Today, the fullness of God has come to live within our spirits. Christ is no longer limited in time and space. He has multiplied Himself into a vast number of people by entering into man to make those who believe all sons of God because they contain Him. From one Son, God now has many sons like the sand of the sea. “Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it is said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ it will be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’” (Hos. 1:10) The covenant He established with Abraham and the sons of Israel has now reached the Gentiles in His second covenant when Christ returned to us as our possession. Realize though God established the first covenant with Abraham, the Bible refers to the children of Israel, and not the children of Abraham, as God’s chosen people. The reason was that the sons of Hagar, the bondservant of Abraham, was not counted as God’s chosen people. Because Sarah was so old, they thought that she could never conceive and tried to help God out so Abraham would have children through Hagar. Realize man’s efforts to help God through the flesh created immense difficulties for himself…even up to this day. We need to rest in God on His Sabbath and learn to do no labour in our flesh relying solely on His promise. This promise today is the Holy Spirit. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14) The Spirit in us has gone through incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and now has come back to us to be our promise sealing us in Him. He sealed us with the Spirit as a pledge that we will inherit God as our possession. “So much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (Heb. 7:22) We are in this better covenant that is opened to all people including Hagar’s descendants. “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Cor. 5:4-5) While we are in the flesh, in this tent that the Word “tabernacled” in (John 1:14 – Recovery Version), we groan and are stilled burdened. We do not divest ourselves of these mortal burdens, that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed. We need to do all things well still in our bodies through the Spirit, but the desires of the flesh no longer hold us as captives. We no longer have idols. An idol is anything other than God that holds us captive. We are no longer enslaved to the things of the flesh so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by the divine life. Things on this earth no longer enslave us as we rest in Him, taking Christ as our possession. Realize the Spirit has become a guarantee of this.

The Spirit in us lives out God’s holiness in our bodies. When we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we internalized a knowledge that was in the realm of God. We knew what is good, but we were not given the ability to carry out what we knew. With Christ as our possession making a home in our hearts, we have gained the ability to follow our conscience through Christ living in us. That is why we need to do everything to the best of our abilities in this world. His holiness inside makes us righteous outside so we can follow our conscience. We no longer add new laws to our knowledge of good and evil. Knowing better or worse is no longer important, as we have learned to be content, learning the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Phi. 4:11-14) We no longer struggle to obey our conscience. “Pray for us; we are convinced that we have a clear conscience and desire to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.” (Heb. 13:18) That is why the law is spiritual. “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.” (Rom. 7:14) Obeying the law now does not come from us, but from Christ living in us. That is why disobedience is equated with unbelief.

After the children of Israel were delivered out of Egypt, through the many signs God showed Pharaoh, and having crossed the Red Sea in such a miraculous way, they continued to complain and rebel. “For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:16-19) Disobedience is equated with unbelief. If we don’t belief that Christ is now our possession, we will work in our flesh, becoming disobedient so we will not enter into His rest. Realize triumphing over sin is believing He is living inside of us.

In the jubilee, we have gained Christ as our possession and we have been freed from sin so Christ lives out of us. As Christ lives out of us, realize His righteousness will abide by the commandments and follow our conscience. If we sin, realize it is because of our unbelief.

 

“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—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5) Christ in you is the most important reality for man to recognize. It makes Him our possession and us His possessions. That is how the house of God is built.

What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 9) – Why we are living in the age of jubilee?

Humans have the ability to experience a joy that is higher than anything this world can offer. This joy will make you “exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8 – Recovery Version) so that you are beside yourself in joy. Our inner beings hunger for this. The emptiness that we all feel, our thirst for contentment, can finally be fulfilled. We have come to the age of the jubilee.

In the Old Testament, after the children of Israel (God’s people) were delivered by Moses, the deliverer (Christ), out of Egypt (the world), passing them through the Red Sea (baptizing them separating God’s people from the world of sin), they rejoice and sang a song to the Lord (Exo. 15:1-21). The lambs that had shed their blood, painted on their doorposts, had spared them from God’s judgment which passed over them. (Christ became the lamb shedding his blood for us as our Passover.) The bitter water they endured in Egypt became sweet (Exo. 15:22-26) as they were brought into the wilderness (the world, sin, no longer keeps us in bondage as its slaves). In this wilderness, they were fed by God with the bread from heaven (Exo. 16:4) (“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35), transforming them intrinsically so they could enter the good land (the foretaste of heaven itself). While in the wilderness, God gave them his laws defining for them what holiness really is. They needed sacrifices for whatever they did, before they could approach God because in their flesh, they were all unclean. Every expression out of their flesh was unclean. But God was holy. So God purifies them with his burning fire on the altar, burning up the flesh of the offerings, terminating the life of an animal to pay the penalty as a substitute for their own sins. The animals gave their lives for the children of Israel as Christ gave his life for us. They were to rest in God, so every seven days, they had a Sabbath day of complete rest. Every seven years, they had a Sabbath year where they were to do nothing. “For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord.” (Lev. 25:3-4) Then in the fullness of time, “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years…And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all your land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the land.” (Lev. 25:8-12) On the year of the Jubilee, not only did the children of Israel celebrate with ecstatic joy, but two things happened. All the property you had lost, because you were poor and sold it off, was returned to you. If you had even sold yourself because of your poverty, you were freed to return to your own clan. Every fifty years, on the jubilee year, this was to happen. Again during this year, they were to do no work but only enjoy and celebrate. Today, in the fullness of time, realize we have entered his jubilee.

Repeatedly God tells us there is nothing we could do on his Sabbath. Every multiple of seven, we are to rest and do no labour. On the fiftieth year, we are to have a year of jubilee. Fifty is the Pentecostal year. It foreshadows the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the day Christ resurrected when the Spirit came like a mighty rushing wind. “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a 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 on 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) In this Pentecostal year, this year of jubilee, liberty has been proclaimed to all the inhabitants of the land. What they had loss of their possessions, it was returned to them (Lev. 25:13, 23-34). Because of their poverty, if they had sold themselves to another clan, the children of Israel were to return to their own clan again (Lev. 25:35-55). What we have lost, is found (Luke 15:32). What we have been enslaved to, we are freed (John 8:34). In Luke 4:16-19, Jesus refers us to Isa. 61:1-3 which says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus adds, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21) Realize we had been sold to sin as a slave of sin. “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.’” (John 8:24) “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold into the bondage of sin.” (Rom. 7:14) He has come to proclaim the good news to the poor who have sold themselves into the bondage of sin. He has come to proclaim liberty to those oppressed by sin, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, the year of jubilee.

The loss of our possessions was returned to us on the year of jubilee. What is the greatest possession that man lost? Realize man was created with a God-shaped cavity that was supposed to be filled with God. We were created like a cup, an earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7), to contain God on the inside, and to express him on the outside. We were supposed to take from the tree of life so God would be the content filling every human being on this earth. God was supposed to be our possession filling our God-shaped cavity so we would hunger and thirst nevermore. The possession of any earthen vessel is its content. When we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we lost our possession. “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’—therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Gen. 3:22-24) We where driven out to till the ground ourselves, apart from God and not yoked with Him, and guarded from taking God as our content. We could no longer eat him and assimilate him intrinsically into our inner beings as the tree of life. We lost God as our possession.

When Christ died on the cross for us and resurrected as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), He could enter man once more. Meeting the disciple in the upper room, “He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:22) God could enter into man once again providing them with the eternal divine life of God saving them, cleansing them on the inside. Then on the day of Pentecost, He came as a mighty rushing wind and filled the 120 disciples with His Holy Spirit. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) God entered into man as the Spirit of power, expressing Himself through man, becoming man’s expression on the outside. God has come back into man as his life and life supply. We can eat Him and assimilate Him intrinsically into us, transforming us to the same image of Christ. God has returned to us as our possession.

This is jubilee.

When we realize this, our spirit will shout with joy. We will be beside ourselves in ecstasy. “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 Peter 1:8 – Recovery Version) Our joy is so great it is unspeakable, inexpressible. The whole problem of man’s fall has been resolved! God can come back to us to fill our God-shaped cavity! We have been transformed into the same image of God. We no longer hunger and thirst as Christ has become our possession!

Realize the jubilee is mutual.

God is celebrating with us.

In the parable of the prodigal son, we have “squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him any.” (Luke 15:13-16) When we lose our possession of God, there is always a need inside, a hunger and thirst that this world cannot provide. The world today is in a severe famine because it tries to fill us with everything except God. It cannot fill our God-shaped cavity so we begin to be in need. We sell ourselves to sin in an attempt to fill our God-shaped cavity. We even long for the pods that are given to pigs. This is the extent of human depravity. We become its slaves, living in the bondage of sin and without God.

When we came to our senses, we realized that in My Father’s house, “How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!” (Luke 15:17) When we finally say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:18-19), we arose and came to the Father. Then, “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) When we return to our Father and realize we “have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:21), we have realized how empty and worthless we are in this world without God. Once we realize this about ourselves, the Father comes into us, coming back into mankind, to be our possession. So the father said, “’Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:22-24) When we realize our worthlessness within our flesh, that we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5), and seek the Father’s face, we were made alive in Him. “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:5-6) Today, we are celebrating with Christ who has come back into our beings as our jubilee. Not only have we received Christ as our possession, but we have come back to the Father as the lost prodigal son, as his possession. “He was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:24) “Abide in me, and I in you.” (John 5:4) “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23) The prodigal son has returned home. We have God as our possession and God has us as his possession. This is the most momentous occurrence of any event in the history of mankind. Let us “bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate” (Luke 15:24) with God in his jubilee. For today, we who were dead in our flesh have been made alive in God. We who were lost to this world, have been found in Him (Phi. 3:9). This is jubilee.

Jubilee is not just a year as in the Old Testament, it is an age, from the day of Pentecost in Acts, through to the fullness of our celebration of Christ at his wedding feast as his Bride in the millennial kingdom, and likely extending to all of eternity.

Jubilee is not just a celebration, it is Christ in us. Realize God has returned into man, into us, as our possession. When that happens, God has filled our God-shaped cavity with Himself. We are not hungry or thirsty anymore because we have been “filled up to all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19) We are contented because now we possess what we were created for. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6) Realize possessing God within is contentment within which is of great gain to us. It leads us to “Be anxious for nothing…” (Phi. 4:6) in this world. We have God as our possession and He has us as His possession. “For you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” (1 Pet. 2:9) That is why we can “Be anxious for nothing…” (Phi. 4:6) “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phi. 4:11-13) Paul’s secret in living on this earth is Christ in him as his possession. That is Jubilee.

 

At the end of his journey through Egypt, the Passover, the Red Sea, and the wilderness, as Moses reflected on his entire life as he approached the end of his existence on this earth, he said, “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” (Deu. 4:7) Call on Him, and make Christ your possession.

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)