Friday, December 18, 2009

The Unshaken Consolation of a True Christian

From the writings of Gerhard Tersteegen – (1697-1769)

The following material was extracted from two books published by Harvey Publications and printed by Old Paths Tract Society. Should someone wish to read them in their entirety, here are the links to them: Gerhard Tersteegen's Life and Letters, Gerhard Tersteegen's Sermons and Hymns

How miserable it is to live with a disturbed and ever accusing conscience in this world! Let the individual do what he pleases in order to deliver himself from the pungent accusations of conscience; let him hasten for this purpose from one amusement to another, from one society to another—all will nevertheless be in vain…

As long as we do not give ourselves sincerely, fully and thoroughly to Christ, the devil, the world, and the corrupt flesh seek to draw the soul first one way and then another and to disturb it in a variety of ways. Happy, yea, thrice happy, therefore, is he who has thoroughly and sincerely given himself to Christ and by an undissembled [open and unfeigned] consent has betrothed himself to Him in eternal fidelity…

Further, as a virgin when betrothed has no longer need to care for her support, but leaves her bridegroom to provide for her, so likewise those souls who by true conversion and presentation have become Christ’s own, need no longer care for themselves, either as it respects body or soul… They now stand under the peculiar oversight and protection of their heavenly Father, so that, according to the letter of Scripture, without the will of their Father in heaven not a hair of their head shall fall to the ground.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) {people who do not have faith in God} for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:31-33)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

They have only a single thing to observe and carefully to attend to, and with this one, everything is accomplished. “Give me, my son, thy heart.” Inasmuch as they sincerely resign this, and eternally yield it up to Christ, they may divest themselves entirely of all other cares… The Holy Spirit intends to say by this, “Thou needest take no more thought concerning what thou shall eat and drink and wherewithal thou shalt be clothed, in what manner, and howsoever it may fair with thee in future respect to body and soul. No, I will provide for everything. I will do all things well. Only let My ways please thee, however I may act or ordain concerning thee… Be ever pleased with My ways, and thou shalt know that all things shall serve for thy good…

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (Jam. 1:2-4)

He that belongs to Christ need not be afraid of his enemies, nor of their power and subtlety. Ah! I can scarcely bear that men make Satan so omnipotent, as if he could do what he pleased… This is by no means the case. Christ has taken from him all power and all right over us. On which account those who have sincerely yielded themselves up to Christ and are really His property, have nothing more to fear from the devil. [If you have held back your will in any matter, you still belong to the devil and he will play havoc with your life.]… Let us only thoroughly and without any reserve resign our hearts to Christ [for His safekeeping] Who has so dearly bought us, and then the devil and the world will be afraid of us… Those souls that have devoted themselves to God can say with David, “The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear…” (Ps. 27:1) “God is our refuge and strength…therefore will we not fear…” (Ps. 46: 1-2)

[Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:37-39 NKJV)]

But if I am no longer my own but God’s, and belong to Christ, I therefore need not worry, nor be afraid, nor apprehensive of an evil result. [If we ever choose to take back some portion of our will and begin to direct our own steps, we come out from under His protection. In that state of self-will there is no protection at all.] If I belong to Christ, He will not permit that which is His to be lost, nor let it be taken from Him, but He will know how to preserve me after giving and presenting myself to Him…

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me {those who no longer have an independent will of their own but whose will has been joined to the Lord’s will}: And I give unto them eternal life {the divine life from above}; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)

He has continually preserved them as the apple of His eye. And though the body may moulder in the ground and become a putrefying carcass and millions of atoms, this does not trouble me. It is not my body, but is become God’s. Therefore I am unconcerned about it. Christ is Lord both of life and death. He will eventually again bring forth the body, which is equally His, and make it like unto His glorious body. In short, it is impossible to find a more complete consolation than this, that we are God’s and not our own…

I ought now, in conclusion, to make an application of the great and much implying expression, “Know ye not?”… Know ye not, that if the Holy Spirit does not dwell in your heart, another spirit inhabits there, namely a corrupt spirit, and that you consequently belong to it?” O what an unhappy and dreadful state!…

Know ye not that a day will come in which each will take his own to himself? Christ shall appear in His glory and place those that belong to Him [those who have truly died to self-will and served Him alone] on His right hand as sheep, but those that belong to the prince of hell [those who have continued to live by self-will and serve themselves] as goats on His left hand! What a dreadful thought!

Know ye not that this is now the time of grace, a time in which the precious Gospel is still preached and offered to you? Know ye not that you are really not your own, that you are brought with a price? (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Ye may even now become happy men and children of God. Are you well aware of this?… O reflect with true seriousness whether it is possible for you to have a single quiet hour as long as you do not seriously give yourselves to God…

Know ye not to what a high and superlative dignity ye are created?… Are you aware what grace has been bestowed upon us, what God, even our God purposed respecting us and to what we may attain even here in this present time of grace?…

Know ye not that this is your most imperative duty and obligation? Yes, we know it when we read of it occasionally, when we are sometimes reminded of it, but scarcely is this done, scarcely is the book closed, the word of admonition over, than we afterwards think little of that which we have heard. Ah, my dear friends, do not let it be a passing sound. Let it not continue mere head knowledge. Let the word at this time penetrate deeply into your heart…

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Three Kingdom Stages

by G. D. Watson

… Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14)

A perfect kingdom will need to have subjects who serve the king out of personal love. If the kingdom is to be perfect, each member will need to have the mind of the king and the principles of his life so inwrought within their own nature that there is no need for either the outward machinery of government or the coercion that is typically needed to produce obedience. These loyal members will be in such harmony with the king that his reign becomes the brightest jewel of their existence. Their every affection and choice is in union with him because they have his mind. There is no need for intermediate officers since the people are governed directly through their heart by the king’s own spirit.

This ideal king would also carry all the members of his kingdom within his own heart. Again, if the kingdom is to be perfect, he would need to love each of the members in a way that leads him to spontaneously live for their good.

We are speaking of a kingdom where the government is personal and the king remains in close and intimate contact with each individual subject. The lines of communication and the messages of the king are never corrupted by others.

No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. (Jer. 31:34)

A search of the Scriptures will reveal how this ideal King and kingdom is now in place. We can now become “one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17) This heavenly harmony takes place when we permit the King to establish His undivided kingdom within our heart. When we can truly say with Paul, “I no longer live,” we will have “the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16) The Messiah has come to reveal His heavenly Kingdom-life within our heart so He may make Himself known through our lives.

Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

The kingdom of God does not come with {outward} observation; nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the kingdom of God is {to be fully established} within you. (Luke 17:20-21)

The kingdom of God is a heavenly way of life that needs to be established within the control center of our eternal soul. When the old life dies and God has complete freedom to express Himself, His Kingdom-life begins to spread itself outward from the heart into the mental faculties and the outward life of the senses, the emotions and the expressions of the body. It is a heavenly life that enables each of the members of His kingdom to joyously walk in His ways. “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17)

We must not fail to recognize this inward kingdom “in the Holy Spirit.” It is in connection with this hidden stage of the kingdom that Jesus provides a marvelous statement in the fourteenth chapter of John. He speaks about the indwelling of the three Divine persons of the Godhead.

He first says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper.” (v. 15 and16) The Helper is also referred to as the Comforter. He both helps and comforts the soul through the difficulties we face in this fallen world. This is the level of spiritual life that most Christians now possess. They receive the gift of the Spirit when they are born again.

A few verses later, however, Jesus promises a higher state of grace to those who continue to obey Him. He says, “I will love him, and manifest Myself to him.” (v. 21) This is a reference to the day when He reveals His Kingdom-life within our inner being. “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (v. 20) He comes to enable us to live for Him with joy in our heart.

He then goes on to promise something even greater to those who continue to press forward in their obedient faith. He says, “My Father will love him, and we {Father and Son} will come to him and make our home with him.” (v. 23) This greater manifestation is received by those who have gone on to conquer the fullness of the land of promise. These are the overcoming saints who have fully exchanged their source of life and have entered into the heavenly Presence of God in a way that many sanctified Christians have never even envisioned.

To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)

These advancing promises are given to those who continue to respond to Christ’s teachings to the fullest extent. He says that if we love God {which He connects to ongoing obedience} we are to receive the abiding presence of the Comforter—the Holy Spirit. Next, if we will continue to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the Son will reveal Himself within our inner being. And finally, if we will keep pressing forward in our faith, we will enter into an enjoyment of the eternal life that was in the beginning.

I have written to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. (1 John 2:12)

I have written to you, young men, because you are strong {you know the Son’s overcoming life}, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:14)

I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him {the eternal life} who is from the beginning. (1 John 2:14)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called… (1 Tim. 6:12)

These matchless promises are to be fulfilled in this current age of fulfillment. Christian biography throughout the centuries has provided some clear examples of men and women who have pressed forward in their faith until they have entered into the highest of these promises. They have testified to the fact that they had come to a personal knowledge of God’s life of heavenly love.

And the glory which You {the Father} gave Me {the Son} I have given them…that the love with which You loved Me {perfect love} may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:22, 26)

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder…and also a {current} partaker of the glory that will be revealed. (1 Pet. 5:1)

Christ wants us to become partakers with Him in His glory today. Yes, He will come again in His full glory to the whole world. But it is during this current age of fulfillment that we must become a part of His heavenly kingdom by permitting Him to establish the glory of His eternal Kingdom-life within our heart.

Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste {physical} death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. {He came back on the day of Pentecost to reveal His Kingdom-life within His first disciples.} (Matt. 16:28)

I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live {in the eternal Kingdom-life}, you will live also {in the same life}. (John 14:18-19)

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. 1:10-11)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


John 12:20:27

All scriptures NKJV unless otherwise stated.

The setting is Jerusalem. Jesus has come with His disciples to
celebrate Passover with them for the last time. Certain Greeks,
possibly Greek gentiles (proselytes), have also travelled to Jerusalem
to worship the God of the Jews, and they wish to have an audience with Jesus. They approach Philip who approaches Andrew and together the two disciples have come to Jesus on behalf of the Greeks. The potential for Jesus ministry to spread beyond Israel is, at that moment, enormous. His gospel and teachings could be about to be taken by these Greeks far beyond the boundaries of the small geographical area Jesus and His disciples have so far been able to cover. As they approached Jesus, Philip and Andrew must have at least had in mind the possibilities such a meeting between Jesus and the Greeks could bring about.

But Jesus’ response is unexpected to say the least. There will be no
meeting with the Greeks. Jesus has something else on His mind that
eliminates all previous assumptions about Him. Totally in touch with
His Father, fully led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus has discerned a
dramatic change in the spiritual hour.

“The hour has come”, He tells them, “that the Son of Man should be
glorified.” On two previous occasions, according to John’s gospel,
authorities could not lay hands on Jesus because “his hour had not yet
come” (John 7:30, John 8:20), but in John 13:1 we suddenly read “Now
before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had
come.....”. He goes on to state “If anyone serves me let Him follow
Me, and where I am, there My servant will be also” (John:12:26).
Yesterday He had received people. Yesterday He had spoken privately
with people. Yesterday He had patiently shared Who He was and why He had come. Today, however, He will not be doing such things. Today the hour has changed and the option to stand on the sidelines considering Jesus and His words has suddenly been removed. Today, in this new hour, the only option is to follow.

We see the same spiritual principle at work when we look into the
lives of some of Jesus best known disciples. Mark 1:16-20 details the
calling of Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. We are told that when Jesus called them, Simon and Andrew ‘immediately left their nets and followed Him”. James and John also “immediately.... left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went after Him.” Similarly, Levi, (also known as Matthew) “left all, rose up and followed Him” immediately Jesus passed by and called him (Mark 2:14). Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John had no doubt been trained as fishermen from when they were very young boys. The fishing business was not only their family’s lifestyle but also their livelihood. Levi was a wealthy tax collector with his own office and thesupport of both Herod and the Romans. Yet the Bible tells us each of them immediately “left all” to follow Jesus.

Yesterday they were a fisherman or a tax collector with a steady
income, good reputation, a well established future and family
support. But today they have ‘left all’ to follow an itinerant Jewish
rabbi of disputable birth, questionable reputation and unknown
future. It’s one thing to ‘leave all’ and follow when ordinary life
is difficult and every day brings new uncertainties and serious
challenges. It’s quite another thing to ‘leave all’ and follow when
life is going smoothly and the future looks bright and certain. We
don’t know how many people Jesus called to follow Him as He walked
along the shores and through the towns of Galilee. We have assumed He only called those who are recorded, yet elsewhere He clearly stated “many are called, few are chosen.” One thing we can know for sure, these ones who left all to follow Him sensed a new hour was upon them.

There is , prophetically speaking, a deep sense within many in the
Bride of Christ that the hour has changed. “What now Lord?” is a
phrase I am hearing spoken more and more frequently in various forms. A growing spiritual restlessness is birthing within us a sense of anticipation for something we are not yet sure of. We are sensing change. A radical new hour is rising on us that will bring excitement and fulfilment, but also unexpected and unknown challenges. Like riding the rapids of a wild river never sure what’s going to be around the next bend, we have committed to the ride and there’s no turning

Is this changing in the spiritual hour merely a sign we are drawing
close to the end of another year and entering a new decade? Can it be
due to the immense historical and environmental upheavals we can see happening all around us in politics, weather and religion? Possibly in part, but I believe these tremendous external changes are simply the manifestations on earth of a new hour already decreed in Heaven.

Interestingly, timepieces have taken on a new significance for me
lately. I have a watch I purchased only two months ago but it keeps
telling me the wrong time. A brand new battery has been inserted to
no avail. Habitually I continue to put this watch on my wrist every
morning, but half way through the day I will invariably look down at
it and discover it’s giving me the wrong hour. If I want to know the
real time I need to go look at our electric clock that will give me
the precise hour and minute. I have another little clock that was a
gift from my sister several years ago and I have always treasured it.
Some time ago it stopped altogether and, again assuming the battery
had run out, I inserted a new one. The clock still didn’t go. Two
days ago my husband asked me what was wrong with my clock and I told him it no longer works even though it has a new battery. Deciding to investigate, he found I had simply inserted the battery the wrong way round. He fixed it and it now gives the right time. These stories may seem irrelevant and even humorous, but to me they prophetically illustrate how very easy it is for us to rely on things that have always worked for us in the past, when in reality God is moving in a totally new and different direction.

Are we aware of the hour we are entering? Are we discerning that
great changes are at hand and are we prepared to make the life-
changing decisions this new hour will demand of us? When the King
says “no more business as usual”, who of us will see and hear? When
the Spirit suddenly changes direction midstream, who will be wise
enough to discern? And how many will be courageous enough to

We read in Matthew 19:27 of a day when Simon Peter cried out to Jesus “See, we have left all and followed You! Therefore what shall we have?” History tells us Simon Peter was crucified in Rome. History also tells us the Apostle John was the only one of the twelve who did not suffer martyrdom but died a natural death. Each of them equally followed Jesus to the end. The outcome of our individual journeys cannot always be known to us. What is paramount is not the individual
pathway we follow, but the following. But if we are not already following close enough to discern the shifting of the hour, how then will we follow further?

The hour is indeed changing.....rapidly. This is not a comfortable
time. Nor is it a time to stand on the sidelines considering our
options. If we have not yet decided to ‘leave all and follow’,
whatever the cost, then perhaps we have made our decision. We are
either of those who stand and watch or those who follow. There is no
more middle ground.

Discerning the hour is no longer something to leave to the prophets;
it is a vital responsibility of every disciple who has determined to
follow Jesus sincerely and wholeheartedly. It is quite possible,
likely even, that where we are going will not look like what we want
or imagine it to look like. Any assumptions we are still carrying
about our King, His Kingdom, or each other will most certainly be
stripped from us along the way. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,
today and forever, but methods, ministries and priorities change
according to Heaven’s agenda and timetable. And surely that, for us,
is the only agenda and timetable we dare trust as we continue this
ever narrowing journey?

“Where I am there My servant will be also.”

Cheryl McGrath

Great South Land Ministries

This article may be freely copied or forwarded in full without
omission or alteration.
Copyright Great South Land Ministries, Australia

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Let Me See Thy Face and Die

by Christ Our Life

Play Song (right click and select "save target as...")

1) To Thee, great God of love! I bow,
And prostrate in Thy sight adore;
By faith I see Thee passing now;
I have, but still I ask for more,
A glimpse of love cannot suffice,
My soul for all Thy presence cries.
I cannot see Thy face, and live,
Then let me see Thy face, and die!

2) Moses Thy backward parts might view,
But not a perfect sight obtain;
The gospel doth Thy fulness show
To us, by the commandment slain;
The dead to sin shall find the grace
The pure in heart shall see Thy face.
I cannot see Thy face, and live,
Then let me see Thy face, and die!

3) Surrounded by the saints of old,
We now by faith approach to Thee
Shall all with open face behold
In Christ the glorious Deity;
Shall see, and put the Godhead on,
The nature of Thy sinless Son.
I cannot see Thy face, and live,
Then let me see Thy face, and die!

"A Great People and a Strong"

© B. Keith Chadwell, December, 2009

To the people of Israel who came out of Egyptian bondage, through the sea and into the wilderness, was God's promise of a land flowing with milk and honey, a "promised land". It was a promise which could not be appropriated without trusting in God's word and following God's directions.

With our modern "Google Earth" or a good map, it is easy for us to see that it's not thafar from the North East borders of Egypt, across country and then on into modern day Israel. We can see, now, this would be a journey of just a few hundred miles and by a direct route, could be traversed fairly easily by such a company as the Children of Israel in a matter of days or at most, weeks. The Bible tells us, however, that, instead of weeks, it was a journey that lasted some forty years, with an entire generation of the Children of Israel dying in the wilderness along the way. Why?

Num 32:13 And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was consumed.

By the Holy Spirit, we may have been given to see something of the mysteries of the Kingdom that are hidden in the "Old Testament" in parables, types, metaphors, similitudes and dark sayings.

Look diligently for further revelation in these types and shadows in the Bible and especially in "the Prophets". Look for further revelation of what God has purposed to conceal from all but those with "eyes to see and ears to hear". We should also keep in mind what Peter has written for us:

"...not every prophetic writing is made clear in its own book". (2Peter 1:19-20)

To be open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit is humility before God. For "we know in part" and like an incomplete jig saw puzzle, we therefore can not yet see the totality of the completed picture. Beware, because our eschatology has been leavened. Force fit nothing. Traditions have bound us, in many ways, for a long time. Peter suffered from such binding traditions;

Act 10:13-15

...And there came a voice to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

But Peter said, "Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is

common or unclean. "And the voice spoke unto him again the second time,

"What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."

Forget tradition and leavened doctrine. Learn from the mistakes

of the Jewish religious leadership of 30AD. With all of their

amassed knowledge of scripture, they still missed...."the day of

their visitation".

For God, through Jesus Christ, has purposed that a people will be

manifest in the earth, through "Christ" and the work of the Holy Spirit in them. This people, who hear and obey His words will manifest to a wicked and perverse generation; His divine nature. They will be Sons of God without need of further correction. This company of His servants and handmaids, through "Christ in them", will judge and convict the nations and will judge principalities and powers. His conviction and judgments through this company will shake both the heavens and the earth, for these are "a great people and a strong".

Once, there were a small number of such a people who were in one accord, clothed with the Spirit and the power of God. They lived in the first century. Those like Stephen, Peter, John, Paul and others. Perhaps they were the "first fruits" of a "former rain"; forerunners of a company that was to come. God knows.

Peter, quoting the Prophet Joel on the day of Pentecost said;

Acts 2: 15-21 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord comes:

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord

shall be saved.

(Much could be said here of God's offers to all and the few responders who fully obey)

However, this was only the beginning of what Joel prophesied. It was not its total fulfillment. And...what of the "great people and a strong" that Joel described in detail in the same chapter (2) Verses (1) through (11). We have only to look; the prophets ore full of confirmation of this people whom God will raise up and fill with His power and in who He will be glorified in the earth "In That Day".

There have been others like those in the first century on down through the centuries since. However, there has not been the likes of those in notable numbers, in one accord.... "even to the years of many generations".

Without laboring this issue, the church since its beginnings, and ever since, has had everything "at hand", for every generation, to choose, by way of the cross, to come to full maturity in Christ. Through Christ, by God's design and purpose, they would then have whatever would be needed to fully possess their promised land by kicking out all of the aliens forever and fully manifesting the knowledge and glory of God, first within them and then in the earth.

Nope, like the Children of Israel who came out of Egypt, we grumbled and complained, refused to hear directly from God or pay close attention to His will. We generally have sought to satisfy our fleshly lusts instead. We said; "no, we know how to pray in our own tongue and we can pretty well figure out God's will without much tongue talking". Oh, we said; we can prophesy out our flesh and no one will say anything and yes we make mistakes, but we are growing and learning, we won't ever be perfected, this side of heaven. Without a vision, we remained; babes on milk, in division and generally a derision. Having not been weaned from the breast, the meat we desired choked us and we puked all over the tables and there was no place clean for anyone else to eat (see Is 28:).

We, generally, have fouled up the grace faith stuff and did it our own way, rule after rule after rule, grit our teeth, gut it out and fail, then try again righteousness. We clung to liturgy, and leavened doctrines with a death grip. Generally, we have dressed, talked, walked, raised families, entertained ourselves, done business and recreated, just like all the other Babylonians for over 2,000 years now. We, followed false teachers, let ourselves get divided and we became for the most part as; "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" were when Jesus was revealed to Israel.

Generally, we followed a course, as our Natural Jewish fellows in the wilderness did. Our course, like theirs included all the ups and downs while trying to take their and our promised lands.

When Jesus finally was revealed to them, after being hid out amongst them, as it were, the majority of them couldn't or wouldn't recognize Him as "the Messiah" and therefore rejected Him. How sad, they didn't know or recognize their time of visitation. Will we also continue to follow in their foot steps in this regard?

Jesus has already told us, not to look for His kingdom here or there. It is within us, ready to move with all of the power and presence of His divine nature from hearts cleansed and filled to overflowing with HIM. Then, from our hearts His life and nature and works are to be manifest to neighborhoods and nations, filling the earth with His glory and the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven. Only doing; His will in His strength. It is His work, we are NOTHING without Him.

This has been so available to us since Peter said; "This is that". His hand is stretched out still........"This is that.....This is that......This is that.".....It is still at hand.....the Kingdom.....His dominion in us...where the King has dominion..... "Christ in you", the hope of glorifying the Father in the Earth again, as Jesus did.

God, through Joel, described this people as; "a great people and a strong".

Joe 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand--

Joe 2:2 a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains. A great people and a strong, there hath not been ever the like; neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

These people, described by Joel as; "a great people and a strong" will be "Servants and Handmaidens of God" who have chosen to submit their fleshly lusts to the work of the cross, and by the work of the Holy Spirit in them, will be dead to self interests of the flesh and alive only unto Him.

These will be fully mature and manifest Sons of God. These, who when He appears in them, will be like Him; Jesus the Christ. When these "Sons of God" are manifest, or Christ is fully manifest in them, they will glorify God again in the earth. These will be wholly in one accord, united and committed to Jesus as were David's mighty men of valor. Through this company, God will do as Enoch and others have prophesied;

Jude 1:15-16 ...Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaks great swelling words, holding men in admiration for the sake of advantage.

Then shall the powers of heaven and of earth be shaken before His mighty Army; a great people and a strong.

Joe 2: 30 "And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath -- blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before that great and notable Day of the Lord come".

Joe 3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

Joe 3:16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Joe 3:17 "So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. Then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

When? How will this happen?

Hold steady, do not force fit what we think we know. For we still only know in part. Rest in Him, He must do this work, we must totally surrender, NO MORE STRIVING. Enter His REST, for without Him, we can accomplish nothing.

(see the teaching; "I thank my God I speak in tongues more than you all " and "Whatever We Ask " 2009 teachings, this web site.)

Rev 10:7 but that in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.

Joe 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand--

Rom 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you

through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you shall


Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons

of God.

Rom 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, Abba, Father.

Rom 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, so that we may be also glorified together.

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for

the manifestation of the sons of God.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Promise of Zoe Life

The Scriptures use the Greek word “zoe” when referring to the unique form of life that Jesus gives to His followers. Spiros Zodhiates, in his Greek Word Study defines “zoe” as follows: “life; referring to the principle of life in the spirit and soul. Distinguished from bios, [the Greek word for] physical life…of which zoe is the nobler word, expressing all of the highest and best which Christ is and which He gives to the saints. The highest blessedness of the creature.”

In contrast to the “zoe” life that comes from above, the Greek word “psuche” is used to express the form of life that is developed by living for our personal desires. While these desires may be legitimate and God-given, permitting them to direct our steps produces a self-originated form of life—a life of sin. This choice to live by the flesh is what separated Adam from the eternal life.

We are told that the Son was sent into the world “in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin.” (Rom. 8:3) As a man, He had natural human desires. These desires, when permitted to control the choices of man become sin. But Jesus “condemned sin in the flesh” by choosing to always be led by the Spirit. He never permitted the desires of the flesh to direct His steps.

When Jesus spoke of laying down His “life” it is generally assumed that He was referring to laying down His “bios” {the Greek word representing physical life} at the cross. But He spoke of laying down His “psuche.” It implies that He chose not to live for Himself. He lived for the good of others as He was directed by His Father through the Spirit. He then promised to share His eternal “zoe” life with those who would lay down their “psuche” life for the same purpose.

John 5:26 As the Father has life {zoe} in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life {zoe} in Himself.

John 1:4 In Him was life {zoe}, and the life {zoe} was the light of men.

1 John 1:2 The life {zoe} was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life {aiόnios zoe} which was with the Father and was manifested to us.

Jesus revealed the eternal life in bodily form. Also referred to as the “light of life,” this divine life reveals the nature of holy love that God intended for His children to possess.
A. B. Simpson said, “The word ‘eternal’ here [1 John 1:2] does not merely convey the idea of existence that has neither beginning nor ending, but speaks of a higher sphere of life. It is life that belongs to a loftier plane than the things that are seen and temporal.”
The Greek word for eternal is “aiόnios.” It has the meaning of “constant, abiding and everlasting.” God intended for this everlasting life to consistently flow through our soul both in this world and throughout eternity. “Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a {consistent} spring of water welling up to eternal life {aiόnios zoe}.” (John 4:14)
It is by sharing with Christ in His “aiόnios zoe” that it becomes possible to display His “light of life” in this world.

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me {in the way of the cross} shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life {zoe}.”

Eph 4:17-18

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life {zoe} of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.

The people of this world are separated from the zoe life because they walk “according to the course of this world” conducting themselves “in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” (Eph. 2:2-3) They choose to live by the desires that come from their own body and mind. This is the form of life that Jesus condemned. (Rom. 8:3-4)
We must take Christ’s way of the cross and live by the Spirit if we hope to share with Him in His “aiόnios zoe.” “Whoever loses his life {psuche} for My sake will find it {aiόnios zoe}.” (Matt. 16:25)

John 10:11, 17-18

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life {psuche} for the sheep… 17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life {psuche}… 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again…

1 John 3:16
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life {psuche} for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives {psuche} for the brethren.

John 15:12-13
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life {psuche} for his friends.

Man has an opportunity to live for himself. He can live by his own desires. The devil also tempted Jesus to acquire the great kingdoms of this world and to live for His own pleasure. But He chose to lay down this “psuche” form of life in order to live for the good of others.
The Son received “aiόnios zoe” from His Father because of the way He chose to live.

John 14:6I am the way, the truth, and the life {zoe}. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 John 5:11
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life {aiόnios zoe}, and this life {zoe} is in His Son.

1 John 2:25
And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life {aiόnios zoe}.

Those who truly follow Jesus in His way of laying down the “psuche” form of life will begin to share with Him in His “aiόnios zoe.”
The “aiόnios zoe” originates in the Father. We enter into this life through the Son. “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9) “I will come to you… At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:18, 20)
Christians must press beyond the wilderness testing period with its periodic wells of refreshment into the life of promise where there are rivers of “aiόnios zoe.” (John 7:38)

John 10:10 NIV
I have come that they may have life {zoe}, and have it to the full.

John 4:14
But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life {aiόnios zoe}.

John 6:35, 57-58

35 …I am the bread of life {zoe}. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst… 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live {in “aiόnios zoe”} because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live {in the same “zoe” life} because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from haven… He who eats this bread will live forever.

John 6:66-69
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life {aiόnios zoe}. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

These earnest disciples had heard Jesus speak about this promised “aiόnios zoe.” They wanted this life that would keep their soul from ever hungering and thirsting again.
The gospel of the kingdom of God is an offer of life from heaven. The rich young ruler, after hearing this message, asked Jesus how He might enter into this “aiόnios zoe.” Although he turned back, as did many of Christ’s disciples, the twelve continued to cling to Jesus because they knew He had the words that would lead them into the eternal life.
The true disciples of Jesus hear His voice and live by His Spirit. He therefore provides them with a constant supply of His eternal life.

John 10:27-28
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me {by laying down their “psuche” life}. 28 And I give them eternal life {aiόnios zoe}…

John 10:15
As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life {psuche} for the sheep.

John 17:3
And this is eternal life {aiόnios zoe}, that they may know You {the life and nature of the Father}, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Jesus has given everyone access to the “glory” that has its source in the Father so we too may share with Him in His life of holy love, “that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”(John 17:22-23, 26)
Many Christians do not know this heavenly life that comes from above because they have not yet died to their “psuche” life so they may live through Jesus and feed on Him alone.

John 5:39-40
39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life {aiόnios zoe}; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life {zoe}.

The Pharisees attempted to live by God’s laws without meeting the conditions for receiving life from above. Living by law does not provide “aiόnios zoe.” “Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.” (Gal. 3:21)
The Scriptures point to Christ. He is the One who has come to enable us to fulfill all the righteous requirements of the law by perfecting our heart in His life of holy love. (Rom. 8:3-4)

Heb 7:15-16, 19
15 …there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life {zoe}… 19 For the law made nothing perfect…

John 6:27
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life {aiόnios zoe}, which the Son of Man will give you…

People labor for the food that perishes when they attempt to find their life from this world. We must choose to lay down this form of life before we can receive “zoe” life.
We are to sustain ourselves spiritually by feeding on Jesus. He is the Tree of Life. “To him who overcomes {the psuche} I will give to eat from the tree of life {zoe}….” (Rev. 2:7) “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” (Rom. 6:5)

John 12:24-26
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone {separated from the “zoe” life of God}. 25 He who loves his life {psuche} will lose it, and he who hates his life {psuche} in this world will keep it {the soul} for eternal life {aiόnios zoe}. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me {through the cross}; and where I am {in the heavenly realms in the aiόnios zoe}, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Those who follow Jesus by serving God in the Spirit will share with Him in the fullness of His divine life. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life {psuche} for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives {psuche} for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16-17)
There is a need to press into this heavenly Kingdom-life of promise in this world.

Gal 6:8-9
8 For he who sows to his flesh {lives for his own pleasures} will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life {aiόnios zoe}. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap {the life of promise} if we do not lose heart.

Rom 5:10
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life {zoe}.

Rom 5:17
For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life {zoe} through the One, Jesus Christ.

Matt 16:24-26
24 If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life {psuche} will lose it, but whoever loses his life {psuche} for My sake will find it {the “zoe” life of promise}. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life {psuche} also, he cannot be My disciple.

The extent to which we must stop trying to find our spiritual support from this world includes even laying the members of our family on the altar. God intends to be our only source of life—our all in all. The psuche form of life must die if we hope to be raised into the eternal life that comes directly from God.
Those who are living through the Lord’s life of divine love will find that it never fails. Human love, because it is sustained by temporal circumstances, fails whenever it is not treated well.

Luke 17:32-33
32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life {psuche} will lose it, and whoever loses his life {psuche} will preserve it {save his soul for the “aiόnios zoe”}.

Matt 18:8
If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life {zoe} lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.

Matt 7:14
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life {zoe}, and there are few who find it.

1 Tim 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life {aiόnios zoe}, to which you were also called…

1 John 5:11
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life {aiόnios zoe}, and this life {zoe} is in His Son.

Authentic Christianity

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Inadequacy of Law

The Inadequacy of Law

* The following article is from “The Way to Eternal Life”- Steve Bray

The Pharisees are an example of how it is possible to practice conservative holiness standards without actually being “right” in the heart. They were zealous for God’s laws, gave a tithe on all their income, regularly fasted and prayed, consistently practiced their special standards of dress and became dedicated leaders, without ever knowing the righteousness that comes from God by faith. As Paul would say, “They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness {His life of holy love}, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10: 2-3)

We were created as vessels that God could use to display His glory. There is a righteousness in His nature that needs to become a part of our nature. The righteousness that is in Him and was revealed through Jesus can now be received by faith. Jesus also assures us that that those who hunger and thirst after this heavenly righteousness will be “filled.” (Matt. 5: 6) And yet, there are many who fall short of this life of promise.

Christians receive the gift of the Spirit at their new birth. But they are still like a seed. There is divine life planted within them, but there is still a covering that prevents it from being revealed. The life of God cannot rise up into a display of the Son’s heavenly righteousness until after the seed has been planted in the ground and the old covering has been lost.

This covering is made up of many things. But it is fundamentally the image that each individual develops through his own works. It includes self-produced righteousness. This old life continues to surround the new divine life and keep it hidden deep within the seed. It is only after the seed has been planted in the ground, and there has been a breaking down and loss of the old image, that God’s life of true righteousness is able to come forth in its full glory. In other words, the Lord cannot display His glory through those who are still living for their own glory.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone {it cannot share with Christ in the fullness of His divine life}; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his {self-originated psuche} life will lose it, and he who hates his life {psuche} in this world will keep it {will keep his soul} for eternal life {zoe}. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me {through this death, burial, and resurrection}; and where I am {in the heavenly zoe life}, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me {through the Spirit}, him My Father will honor. (John 12: 24-26)

When Adam separated himself from God, he was separated from the eternal life. It left him with an empty soul. Being separated from the life and identity that He had in God, he experienced an inner sense of nakedness. This feeling of nothingness is what has led to the natural inclination to put on a false covering. Because of the Fall, man now has a self-exalting form of life that naturally seeks to build up its self-image. It is this false image that needs to be removed before God can turn the vessel into a display of His life and glory.

Before God was able to give Adam a new covering, He had to remove the old covering that Adam had been put on. Similarly, it is required for Him to come to each one of us for the purpose of removing our old self-originated image. Only after this false covering has been removed can He cover us with His life of true righteousness. We are now speaking of the heavenly Kingdom-life of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17) This heavenly life comes directly from God through a supernatural work of His Spirit, once there has been a loss of the psuche life.

The instructions that tell us to “put off the old man” are referring to this matter of putting off this old self-developed form of life—the psuche life. Only when everything that is self-originated has been removed, can we put on the heavenly life of Jesus Christ. “Whoever loses his life {psuche} will find it.” (Matt. 16: 25) That is, we will find His Kingdom-life of perfect love, which enables us to fulfill all the righteous requirements found in His Sermon on the Mount. We can then do by nature what the law requires.

If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off…the old man {with his self-image}…and that you put on the new man {the divine life of Christ in bodily form} which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4: 21-24)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity {the divine life that is shared within the Triune God} lives in bodily form, and you have been given {access to} fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Col. 2: 9-10 NIV)

God gives His Spirit to His children so they may “put to death” the old self-originated form of life that has its source in the works of the flesh. (Rom. 8: 13) And until we have come to the place were we can honestly say, “I no longer live,” we cannot expect to have Christ living through us with His heavenly zoe life. (Gal. 2: 20) Once there is no longer an “I” to glory in the flesh, Christ will begin manifesting His Kingdom-life of righteousness and peace and joy through the vessel.

King Saul is still living in the hearts of many Christians. They do not believe that everything from their self-life is as bad as God makes it out to be. They recognize the need for doing away with their outwards sins, but they insist that King Agag himself has some useful resources. And this is why the bleating of the old carnal nature continues to be heard in the background. Yes, these individuals can work hard through their own efforts to conform to high moral standards, as did the Pharisees, but there is still something within their inner nature that prevents Christ’s life of perfect love from being displayed.

Jesus requires His disciples to follow Him. It entails being emptied of everything that originates in self. And we need to say again, with emphasis, it includes being emptied of self-originated righteousness. The righteousness that man produces is like filthy rags in God’s sight. It will inevitably fall short of the glory He intended to reveal through His children. God created man to be a mere vessel that He could fill with His own glory. But He will not reveal His glory through the vessel until we have been emptied of the self-originated righteousness that man naturally glories in.

Jesus emptied Himself of His own glory when He came to live as Man. He did not do anything “out from” Himself. (John 5: 30; 8: 28) There was nothing self-originated in Him. He was living as the Last Adam, as God had originally intended for man to live. He lived as a mere vessel that His Father could use to display the righteousness that comes from heaven through a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. And it is in this sense that He asks us to follow Him. Once we have been emptied of our own glory, we will be in a place where He can fill the vessel with His life of true righteousness and holiness.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing {becoming nothing in Himself}…he humbled himself and became obedient to death… Therefore God exalted him to the highest place… (Phil. 2: 5-7, 9 NIV)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time… But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus {to be a vessel of His glory}, after you have suffered a while {in dying out to your old self-originated form of life}, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Pet. 5: 6, 10-11)

We are lifted into the life of heaven in direct proportion to how far we have sunk down into our nothingness and permitted God to become “all in all.” God cannot be everything in our life while we are still trying to be something. If He is to receive all the glory, He must be permitted to be the source of everything we do.

Jesus chose to live as a simple instrument in His Father’s hands. It permitted the Father to manifest His life and will through the Son. And we must choose to follow Him along this same course if we also want to be “honored” by the Father and lifted spiritually into the heavenly realms.

The apostle Paul, after learning about Jesus’ way of life, decided to follow Him. He wanted to participate with God in the life that comes from heaven. He therefore chose to count “as loss” everything that had once made him great in the eyes of man—those human accomplishments that man naturally glories in. Because he wanted to be lifted by the power of the Spirit into the Presence of God, he fully submitted to the economy of God’s kingdom. He knew that “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1 Cor. 1: 27-29) Once Paul became “nothing” in himself, he was in a position to be lifted into Christ’s Kingdom-life and be filled with the righteousness that comes from God by faith.

For we are the circumcision {the ones who have had the self-originated flesh-life removed}, who worship God in the Spirit {live by the Spirit}, rejoice in Christ Jesus {for what He is doing}, and have no confidence in the flesh, although I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh {in the works that it can do}, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But what things were gain to me {the things that could be worked out in the flesh and look good in the eyes of man}, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord {for an inward and experiential knowledge of His divine life}, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ {His heavenly life}…not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection… (Phil. 3: 3-10)

Paul has shown us how to find the righteousness that comes from God by faith. Following the perfect example set by Jesus, he gave up everything that had once made him great. Once this covering was lost and he had become nothing in himself, he was in a position to be honored by God and raised by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit into the heavenly life of the Son.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live {the self-originated form of life had died}, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh {in a mortal body} I live by faith in the Son of God…for if righteousness comes through the law {by merely trying to keep laws}, then Christ died in vain. (Gal. 2: 20-21)

In contrast to following the examples of both Jesus and Paul, Christians in general develop their own reputation through a self-produced form of righteousness. While each denomination ends up with a slightly different set of standards, they still tend to hold up their own standard as the real “righteousness.” And while this self-produced righteousness enables them to receive honor from the people of their denomination, God does not honor them by lifting them spiritually into the conscious presence of His heavenly life. Consequently, they fall short of the true glory of God.

Friday, November 06, 2009

God’s Spirit of Love

The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21)

For the kingdom of God is…righteousness {divine love} and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 14:17)

Oh, sir {or madam}, would you like to know the blessing of all blessings? It is God coming to share His Spirit with you. God wants to bless you with His life so that you may be a vessel of His divine love and be a blessing to others. “I will bless you… And you shall be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:2)

The Son is now prepared to fill you with His Spirit and satisfy your soul. He wants to set you free from the old self-centered nature that has caused you so much trouble. It will deliver you from all the inward strife that comes from not getting your way. Life is no longer a burden when His satisfying Presence is dwelling within you and He is directing all your steps. While difficulties will continue to come, His is able to keep your heart filled to overflowing with an everlasting supply of His love and peace and joy.

But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him {life from the Spirit} will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14)

The Son of God has come as the Messiah to establish His kingdom-life of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” within your heart. He wants to give you a new divine nature so you may display His life of holy love in everything you do. Because divine love does by nature what is right in relationship to both God and others, this sharing with the Son in His life of love will enable you to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. “Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom. 13:10) His Spirit of Love, as He fills your heart and purges away your old selfish and self-seeking nature, moves you to live for the good of others without the need of being rewarded, or honored, or esteemed.

The Son, through His Spirit, comes to give you an abundantly full measure of His life. (John 10:10) This divine life, being sufficient in itself, lives for the one purpose of propagating itself. It meets wrath, evil, hatred and opposition as light meets darkness, only to overcome it with its own blessings. For the wrath of an enemy, the treachery of a friend, or any other form of evil, only helps the Spirit of Love to more clearly reveal God’s true glory. This love, as it was expressed by Jesus on the Cross, is always prepared to lay down its rights and to seek the good of others in order to lead them into the same heavenly life.

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this…because as He is {as the Son revealed this divine love}, so are we {to be} in this world. (1 John 4:16-17)

Many of those who are born of the Spirit of God have discovered in their own Bibles the wonderful teachings about becoming like Jesus in love. They try their best to respond to His teachings because they want to become like Him. But in time, after continuing to find a contrary spirit in their heart, they begin to doubt and question the possibility of such a state. In a world that has so much strife and division and misery, it will appear to be a doctrine that is too refined and imaginary to be reached. But this objection will begin to fall away once it is seen from the right perspective.

As you have perceived, we are speaking of a form of love that is beyond the capacity of natural man to produce. It is not something that can be worked up or developed through human efforts. It is a supernatural life that God has promised to supply to His children when they present themselves to Him to be used as vessels of His life and works. We must come to Him with a dependent and yielded faith that expects Him to reveal His divine life of love through our mortal bodies.

For this reason I bow my knees {in prayer} to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… {that you may} know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14-19)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels {weak mortal bodies}, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4:7, 10)

You may indeed do many works of love and find enjoyment in doing them when they are convenient for you, or when they are not contrary to your current feelings. But this does not mean you are revealing God’s Spirit of Love. There is a form of love that even carnal people are willing to express as long as it receives its reward and contributes to their self-esteem. But we are now speaking of being filled with God’s Spirit so that His divine love can be naturally, universally and freely poured out even in unfavorable circumstances. Yes, this is a love that truly surpasses human understanding. And yet, it can be revealed within your inner being as a new divine nature by the Spirit of God.

God wants His Spirit of Love to become your life. His life of love knows no difference, regardless of time or place or persons involved. It naturally gives and forgives, bears and forbears. For the Spirit of Love, wherever it is, is its own blessing and happiness. In truth, it is the reality of God in the soul. Since this divine love is not something you are required to work up, but flows directly from God, it can be revealed everywhere and on every occasion. It becomes the natural fruit of a Spirit-filled life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…”

Since every Christian does not consistently reveal this overflowing life of the Spirit, we can know there is something that each individual must do. God requires His children to surrender their whole being to the life that was in Jesus. You put on the life of Christ by offering your body to Him to be used by Him for the display of His life and works. Those who will learn of Him and surrender their whole being to the light of truth that was displayed through Him, will be taken into the life of promise where they are enabled to partake of every spiritual blessing found in His heavenly life.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies {each and every moment of the day}, a living sacrifice,

holy {set apart for God’s exclusive use}, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in Him {to live through Him} before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. (Eph. 1:3-4)

We can now begin to see what it truly means to believe in Christ and to receive Him into our life. Jesus did not come to merely forgive our sins. He came to share His life of holy love with us. And while we enter into a reconciled state by trusting in His shed blood, we also need to look to Him in faith to manifest His divine life within our inner being. This is the much more of salvation that makes us like Him in His nature of love and enables us to reveal God’s glory in everything we do.

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9)

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His {indwelling} life. (Rom 5:10)

If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus…put on the new man {the Second Adam} which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:21, 24)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another… But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection {yield to the life and nature of Jesus}. (Col. 3:12-14)

But as many as received Him {by choosing to receive His life and nature into their heart}, to them He gave the right to become children of God {bearing His image}, to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

Authentic Christianity

Friday, October 16, 2009

Examining Our Plane of Life

{Chapter 10, From the Book – The Way to Eternal Life – Steve Bray}

Can you begin to see how we are expected to live on a heavenly plane of life far above what anyone can achieve through their own efforts? Jesus was serious when He said that we cannot do anything apart from Him. The branch can only bear the fruit that originates in the genetic makeup of the plant. (John 15:5) It is His Presence within us that lifts our spirit into this heavenly life on the highest plane.

The branch never strains to make the fruit develop into maturity. There is something placed inside a plant by the Creator that naturally produces the fruit. The fruit is to naturally flow out of the inner nature. While man can train himself to produce a crude facsimile of the Spirit’s fruit, a close examination will reveal how it does not have its source in the ever-flowing life of Jesus Christ.

We know that certain traits can be developed by people who do not profess to be Christians. The people of the world, as they seek to display their own glory, will go to great lengths to make themselves look good in the eyes of others. An Olympic athlete will “flee youthful lusts” and even “keep himself unspotted” from sinful conduct so he may win the prize. A businessman will “control” his temper to improve his business. You can expect a society lady to remain outwardly “sweet” in order to maintain her image, even when you spill tea on her lovely dress. It is in this sense that many Christians have learned to “school” themselves in religion. But these efforts to be “right” will never result in a nature that naturally and consistently produces God’s life of holy love in every situation.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (Jam. 3:17)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)

We all start out trying to imitate Christ by conforming ourselves to God’s Word. We might refer to it as “The Promising Way.” It looks so attractive and right; and it appears so likely to succeed. Surely it is a splendid thing to imitate Christ. But can it be done? You say, “I can try.” But let us reply with Paul’s response to the Galatians: “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect {in love} by the flesh {your own human strength and efforts}?” (Gal. 3:3)

Jesus promised to come and dwell in our hearts by faith. Surely this is much better than having Christ as my helper while I strive to make myself like Him. We are to abide in Him, and He in us.

You may be saying to yourself, “There is nothing new in this.” No, indeed; but have you acted upon it? Many have known these truths for years without fully responding to the conditions. There must be a day when we die to the independent and self-sufficient ways of the world. God’s way for insuring that each of His children would be enabled to live on the highest plane of spiritual life regardless of their own abilities, was by making the life available through faith.

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all… (Rom. 4:16)

When God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,”(Gen. 1:26) He knew that it would be necessary to have the Living Word residing within the heart of man. He did not give Adam an instruction book to follow. God supplied Adam with life from heaven. The Living Word—the Son—was in him, manifesting God’s image through Adam’s human body. The Son has always been the “light of life” and the “light of men.” (John 8:12; John 1:4) It was only after man lost the eternal zoe life of God out of his soul that he needed an instruction book to teach him how to live. But today we have access to the eternal life that Adam lost. And so we can get by without a teacher or an instruction book if we will truly abide in Christ by responding to every leading of His Spirit.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth… He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine {the eternal zoe life} and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father {the life that originates in Him} is mine… (John 16:13-15 NIV)

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true…you will abide in Him {share with Christ in His eternal life}. (1 John 2:27)

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life {zoe}, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11)

There are people in the church who think they have made themselves right by conforming to certain outward standards as the Pharisees did. But it requires a great deal of rationalization to come to this conclusion. There will inevitably be discrepancies between what the Word requires and what is taking place in their life.

The real trouble is that so many people who deplore “higher criticism,” tend to indulge in what might be called the “highest criticism.” They do not deny the truth found in God’s Word, but they are always toning it down to levels that will permit them to remain comfortable with their current Christian experience. They do not honestly search the Scriptures to see if they are meeting every mark that God requires of them.

Even when they see something amiss, instead of acknowledging the discrepancies in their life, which would eventually turn everyone to Christ for His heavenly life, there is a tendency to rationalize why certain commands do not apply. Oh, if we could only take Christ at His word and recognize the need for complete conformity!

At this point, we want to remind every earnest soul of the need for confessing everything coming out of them that is not in complete agreement with the light of life as revealed through Jesus. People who have built their spiritual life on a foundation of self-effort do not like to confess what is wrong in their life. The pride of life keeps them from acknowledging their faults because it would continually tear down the psuche life they are attempting to build. But once we understand how we cannot produce our own righteousness and that nothing from the self-originated form of life is any good, it becomes easy to confess the corruption that God exposes. This is what prepares us to count everything from ourselves as loss, so that we may come to a knowledge of the life of Christ and receive His gift of righteousness by faith. (Phil. 3:8-10; Rom. 5:17)

The key to entering into this heavenly life is the confession of everything that is contrary to the life that Jesus revealed. If we will confess the discrepancies, yield to the light of truth, and look to Christ to make His life a part of our very nature, He will save us from all unrighteousness.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Our responsibility is to confess everything that is wrong. It is Christ’s responsibility to cleanse us from “all unrighteousness.”

Holiness people tend to rationalize why the “wrong” is not sin. Since they believe they are sanctified wholly and cannot sin, they must call their inappropriate behavior something other than sin. This is what has prevented many of them from being turned into a true display of Christ’s life of perfect love. In spite of their high religious standards, many of them continue to have attitudes and carnal traits that have turned many away from Christ. The children are being lost at a very high rate because they do not necessarily want what they have seen in the nature of their parents. They see the hypocrisy between their profession and what frequently comes out of them.

We should also acknowledge that the rich young ruler was able to see the eternal life in Jesus. There was something very special in Christ’s nature that he wanted to possess. Everyone would like to be consistently filled with God’s eternal life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. But this young ruler was unwilling to give up the psuche life he had developed from the things of the world in order to receive it. Jesus can only give His eternal life to those who die to self-will so they may follow the leading of His Spirit. “My sheep hear My voice…and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life…”

The point being, that if people turned away from the eternal life that could be seen through Jesus, we can expect some children to turn away from the eternal life no matter what. They will choose to live by their own will and develop their own psuche life from the things of this world. But the problem today is that they are seeing religion without the eternal life. And mere religion has little drawing power in comparison to living for self in the world.

We definitely need more people revealing the eternal life. And if we are to have them, it will be necessary to confess everything in the nature that is contrary to the fruit of Christ’s Spirit. Those who truly die to everything that is self-originated and begin looking to Christ alone to be the source of their life, have nothing to fear when they confess these discrepancies to Him. If they can see that their hope is in Christ rather than in themselves, they will be willing to confess everything He reveals so that He may cleanse them from all unrighteousness.

There are many examples that could be used in considering this matter of fully conforming to God’s requirements. His command to love “as He loved” would be high on the list. But we have attended enough Bible classes to know that most Christians believe they do love God and others. Even though we have previously discussed how Paul defined love to the Corinthians, the English word remains so nebulous and adaptable to so many different opinions that it is difficult to use it as a marker of life on the highest spiritual plane.

We will therefore consider God’s command not to be anxious. This is a hard one to get around. “Be anxious for nothing…” (Phil. 4:6) Those who have been empowered by the Spirit to consistently obey this command can know they are now living on the highest spiritual plane.

It does not take us long to discover how the flesh-life becomes anxious about many things. At the same time, we need to realize that the Spirit does not become anxious because there is in God’s very nature a deep sense of heavenly peace.

Even earnest Christians will find themselves coming up against situations they believe gives them a right to disobey God by being anxious. They will insist that obeying this command is beyond their power. And while in once sense this is true, it is within the grasp of faith to be filled with Christ’s Spirit. And since the flesh-life can be crucified {the source of anxiety can be “done away with” – (Rom. 6:6)} and the Spirit is available to fill our soul, we can potentially be set free from this sin. For the Kingdom-life of our Lord is a consistent display of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

The only way we will ever obey this law is by sharing with God in His heavenly life. It is the “peace of God” filling our soul that keeps us from ever being anxious about the things of this world. His conscious Presence within us makes us fully aware of His absolute sovereignty. And so regardless of the apparent difficulties taking place around us, we know that everything is working together for our eternal good and God’s glory.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…to be conformed to the image of His Son… (Rom. 8:28-29)

People who live by their own strength and try to control the providences of their life will naturally have many things to worry about. The more a person attempts to dominate and control his environment, the more he can expect to have anxious moments. These self-sufficient Christians will also have a very difficult time trying to display Christ’s nature of love when their will has been crossed and things are interfering with their plans. It will be obvious to those who are close to them how they are not sharing fully with Christ in His divine love.

While anxious thoughts can rise up without the consent of our will and not be sin, they become sin if we permit them to go on. The real sin comes from not seeking out the remedy that God has provided to do away with this carnal trait.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled {fully met – NIV} in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:3-4)

Many Christians will admit they are anxious about many things. A physician once said, “May I make a remark about you clergy? Many people consult me, but I find that you leaders of religion are just as anxious about your bodies as men who profess no religion at all.” What a rebuke! If our spiritual leaders do not obey this command, how are we to ever lead the multitudes into a faith that will look to Christ to enable them to fulfill all the righteous requirements of the law?

Paul had learned the secret to being content in every situation. Contentment excludes anxiety and worry. He did not care if the Lord kept him in this world to spend more time suffering for the work of God’s kingdom or if the Lord chose to take him from the world. He left all those decisions to the Lord. He had died to his own will and had entered into a deep rest in God’s will. His one purpose in life was to respond to the leading of the Spirit. Because He had complete faith in His Sovereign God, he could keep His mind on things above and remain hidden with Christ in the heavenly realms. (Col. 3:1-3)

Do you remember when Paul and Silas were in the inner prison locked in stocks after receiving a severe beating? We do not find them either anxious about their future or complaining about their unfair treatment. They did not lose their spiritual life when they had a “bad day.” Because they were receiving their “life” from another realm, they were in a spiritual state that permitted them to sing praises to the Lord in spite of their painful situation. We are not surprised that the jailer and all his family sought out the salvation that both Paul and Silas revealed before their eyes.

Paul never tired of speaking about the peace and joy he received from the Lord. And if anyone might have a reason for being anxious about each new day, it was Paul. But regardless of his hardships, he spoke of rejoicing always. He had found the secret for being content. The secret was the Presence of Christ’s heavenly life dwelling within his soul. “It pleased God…to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.” (Gal 1:15-16)

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked…in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen…in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things… (2 Cor 11:24-28)

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content {there is no anxiety in contentment}… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:11, 13)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Phil. 4:4)

The fact that earnest Christians become anxious about certain things does not mean they do not have a saving relationship with Christ. But it is something that needs to be confessed and acknowledged as wrong. It is a sinful trait that prevents others from seeing the true salvation of the Lord. And the fact that it still rises out of the heart also reveals how there is a higher plane of salvation available through faith. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit…” (Matt. 7:18)

Read again the earlier statement about what divine love does and what it eliminates {in Chapter 3 – New Testament Salvation}. Included in the list of things it expels are impatience, unkindness, jealousy, envy, boasting, self-assertion, pride, foolishness, selfishness, self-seeking, selfish anger, irritability, bad temper, fretfulness, uncharitable remarks, complaining, despair and despondency. We cannot consistently reveal Christ’s life of holy love when some of these traits are a part of our nature. It results in a carnal darkness that prevents others from seeing the Saving Life of Jesus. But praise the Lord, we have a Savior who can deliver us from everything that is contrary to His divine nature!

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him… (Heb. 7:25)

“We may be quite sure of three things,” says Francis Ridley Havergal. “First, that whatever our Lord commands us, He really means us to do. Secondly, that whatever He commands us is ‘for our good always.’ And thirdly, that whatever He commands He is able and willing to enable us to do, for ‘all God’s biddings are enablings.’ ” Let us therefore submit to His full salvation so that as His church body, we may begin displaying to the world the true glory of our God.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christ Our Life-Steve Bray

Christ Our Life

{Chapter 9, From the Book – The Way to Eternal Life – Steve Bray}

In our service of making God’s truth known, we have purposely drawn on the spiritual insight of a number of different writers. This chapter uses some of the lessons provided by Ruth Paxson in Rivers of Living Water.

Our great desire is to open up the real meaning of Christianity. The church in general is not making people aware of what Christ has come to do. The implications of this can be seen in the following example. It refers to young people raised in “Christian families,” some of which had ordained ministers as fathers, and who have attended Bible college without ever learning what it means to be saved by Jesus Christ.

A small Bible college has former students who owe money to the school. Attempts to collect the fees are rejected. And yet the majority of these individuals profess to be Christians while spending money that is owed to the school for their own pleasures. Some of them honestly think they have a good relationship with the Lord, even while choosing in self-will not to pay their debt. And yet the Scripture says, “Owe no one anything…” (Rom. 13:8) This speaks of people who are expected to repay a debt and can repay it. Paul would say to them, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived…” (1 Cor. 6:9) And he includes thieves among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. We are amazed at how people can be raised in the church, and even attend Bible college, and never learn how sin separates people from Christ unless they repent.

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord… (Heb. 10:26-30)

Now if we were to stop at merely revealing how God’s Word will one day judge sinners for not keeping the laws of God, we would be describing Old Testament standards. But the New Testament teachings raise the standard much higher. When Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and gave His Sermon on the Mount, He went beyond the requirement of obeying outward laws. He insisted that the heart also be right. That being the case, if someone else were to pay the debt owed by these students, or even if they were to pay it under compulsion, they would not gain anything when it comes to being right with God. If the heart is still willing to do something wrong without confession and repentance, it has not been saved from sin by the grace that Jesus supplies. While the law was designed to constrain this kind of sin, the grace and truth that comes through Jesus Christ changes the very nature.

There are many so-called “good people” who do not rob banks. Of course, many of them would take the money if it was somehow put in their hands without anyone knowing it. But they avoid being an outright thief because of a concern for their reputation. They resist this sin without even professing to be a Christian. But when Jesus puts His Spirit within our heart, He changes our nature so we cannot go on sinning.

If people are ever to be saved from sin, they must be taught what Jesus has come to do. And they must not be permitted to think they have become Christians until they have fully submitted to the salvation He offers.

…You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21)

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned {lived by his own will and out from his own resources} from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin {go on resisting the teachings in God’s Word}, for His seed {the Son’s submissive nature} remains in him; and he cannot sin {he cannot rebel against the light of truth}, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:8-9)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you {with His submissive nature}—unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Cor. 13:5 NIV)

We have already described the various stages in God’s work of saving a soul from sin. The new Christian, who has truly surrendered their will to walk by the Spirit, will still lack light on many matters. And we should not be loading them down with unnecessary burdens that come from our personal convictions. The Holy Spirit can be counted upon to lead them into all truth if we will continue to encourage them to remain in this Spirit-directed way of life. But there are fundamental issues of obedience they must be taught if we are ever to keep them from being deceived by the devil when he masquerades as an “angel of light” and by his so-called “ministers of righteousness” he now has working in the church. (2 Cor. 11:14-15)

There is only one Christian life. Receiving into our heart, through faith, the “light of life” that is in the Son is what makes us a Christian. (John 8:12) We receive New Testament justifying grace and the gift of the Spirit when we lay down our will so that Christ may begin to live through us and reveal the same divine nature that He revealed through His mortal body. While there will be some preparation work that needs to be worked out through the power of the Spirit before we are “filled” with His “light of life,” we can only remain justified by walking in all revealed light.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another {with God – what an awesome privilege!}, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)

…If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom. 8:13)

God in heaven is invisible. But He wants to reveal Himself in this world. Our choice to live through Christ in the heavenly realms provides Him with an opportunity to walk again on this earth. The spiritual blessings that are now residing in the Son—His love, joy, peace, victory, spiritual power, holiness and others—can now be revealed through us when we give Him an opportunity to fill the temple of our body with His Spirit. (Eph. 1:3; 1 John 4:9)

So what does it mean to be a Christian? It means we must submit ourselves in a way that permits the Son to reveal Himself through our mortal body. To be a Christian is to have Christ become for us our wisdom, our righteousness and our holiness. It is a life of faith where we continually look to Him to manifest His rivers of Living Water through us so we can do by nature what the law requires.

It is not unusual to hear a modern Nicodemus say, “How can these things be? How can I live such a life in my home where I receive ridicule rather than help and where I have experienced so much spiritual defeat? How can I live this kind of spiritual life in a place of business where everyone around me is living for self? How can I find the highest plane of Christian living when I remain unfed in a church filled with worldly-minded people?” But Jesus still has an answer for every Nicodemus. He has an overcoming life that makes human beings in this world “more than conquerors,” regardless of their circumstances.

Let us remember that the life is in Christ. We should not be thinking in terms of what we can and cannot do. “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son {through His shed blood}, much more, having been reconciled {a past event}, we shall be saved {from our self-willed nature} by His {indwelling} life.” (Rom. 5:10) We also know that Christ has previous experience in manifesting this very life in a world where evil surrounded Him. He continued to reveal the divine nature, even when He was misunderstood and maligned. The people ridiculed, scoffed, opposed and finally crucified Him. But His spiritual life held up. The heavenly “light of life” continued to shine.

Christ has a spiritual life that is able to reign over the most difficult conditions. If you find yourself failing to manifest His righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit in any situation, it simply means that you are not currently filled with His Spirit. “Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17)

Christ’s first disciples were also perplexed about how they would get along after Jesus was no longer with them in the physical realm. But He insisted that their spiritual life would be improved when He came back in the power of His Spirit to dwell within them. His indwelling Presence within the soul is better than having Him physically present in the room.

It is now possible to come into a far more vital and real relationship with God than the greatest saints of the Old Testament. The Life of the Vine can now become the very essence of the life of the branches if we will choose to live through the Son. We can now become “perfect in one” as we share with Him in His life. (John 17:22-23, 26)

And all these {the greatest saints of the Old Testament}, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Heb. 11:39-40)

These truths about living through Christ were the center of Paul’s teachings. He wanted everyone to understand the riches of the glory that was now available to the saints. He had but one aim in everything he did—that Christ might be formed in every believer. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19) His whole being was given over to the work of furthering this eternal Kingdom-life in the hearts of those who would listen to him. “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present ever man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Col. 1:28)

Christ is in the heavenlies. While He is the Head and the Source of what His Spirit-led disciples are doing, He is the invisible part of the church. His followers here on earth are to be the visible part of His body. This is a staggering thought. It plainly implies that you and I are to bring Christ down from heaven to earth so that others may see His eternal life.

The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us {by sharing in the same life}; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:2-3)

True Christianity involves entering into this fellowship that takes place within the Trinity by sharing in the eternal life. It was this sharing with the Father and the Son in their life of love that led to such a rapid spread of Christianity in the first century. And if we are to continue drawing others into this true Christian life, we too will need to become vessels of the same “light of life.”

Perhaps you are saying, “The truth regarding this life on the highest plane is Biblical, but it does not match my experience or the experience of most other Christians. It therefore seems to be impractical and beyond the realm of possibility.” But our response is to exhort you to take your eyes off people and begin looking to the Word of God and His teachings. The fact that only two of all the Jews that came out of Egypt were prepared to enter the life of promise does not mean that it was impractical and beyond the realm of possibility for the multitude. It is unbelief that prevents God from fulfilling His promises. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:19) “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

In the same way that refusing to come to Christ to be justified is the great sin of every unbeliever, refusing to look to Christ for His abundantly full spiritual life is the great sin of those who are in the church. God does not hold us accountable for our inability. He will however hold us accountable for not using the provision He has provided. Christ shed His blood so that we could live through His sanctified life. He has provided a salvation that makes it possible to consistently live in true righteousness and holiness all the days of our life.

{The Messiah came} To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies {everything that causes sin}, might serve Him without fear {of the carnal nature}, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. (Luke 1:74-75)

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. (Eph. 1:4)

The Father and the Son are now prepared to come and make their home within our eternal soul. They have prepared a banquet feast that is to take place within us forever. “All things are now ready.” Since the provisions are now ready, we can expect to be held accountable for refusing their invitation.

…If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev. 3:20)

Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.'{His property was more important.} "And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.'{His business was more important} "Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come {His wife was more important to him than the will of the Lord.}…For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.” (Luke 14:16-20, 24)

God has set a feast before you, but He cannot compel you to eat. He has opened the door into His life in the heavenly realms, but He cannot compel you to enter. Do not permit the things you have invested your money in, or your plans for a career, or the house you have planned, or even your family to keep you from entering into this heavenly life today. “But seek first the kingdom of God {His heavenly Kingdom-life} and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33) If you make excuses and put it off today, you can expect to be turned away from His Presence in the day of the Great Feast.

The basic principle that governs whether or not we will share with Christ in His spiritual life is control. The Holy Spirit must bring each one of us to the place where Christ is given sovereign control over everything we do. Those who will yield unconditionally to Him, which entails permitting Him to be the Head who directs their every step, will become filled with His Spirit.

It is not enough to simply believe in some Bible truths. Andrew Murray said, “We are too easily content with the thoughts suggested by the words of the Bible.” For example, Christ’s Sermon on the Mount sounds good in theory. But these words often remain in the abstract and never become an innate part of the Christian’s life. We do not mind having Christ as our hero and thinking highly of His teachings as long as we can remain in control of our own life. But we will one day learn that singing praises to the Lord on Sunday and living for self the rest of the week will result in being turned away from heaven.

We are now coming to the fundamental reason for so much confusion within the Christian church. We have developed hundreds of individual religions that consist of varying beliefs in mere words. Each one has a little different emphasis on which “words” it stresses. And because there is so much confusion about who has the correct words, everyone seems to think they have a right to believe whatever they want. No one seems to realize that the kingdom of God—the Kingdom-life that needs to be established within the heart—“is not in word but in power.” (1 Cor. 4:20) It does not matter what words we believe if Christ does not come to us in “the power of an endless life.” (Heb. 7:16) He is the One who determines if we have truly submitted ourselves to be a vessel of His life.

Jesus has provided an exact pattern of how His true disciples are to walk. “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) True Christianity comes from studying the spiritual image that Jesus revealed through His mortal body, and fully yielding ourselves to the same divine life. This is the only way to enter into the full salvation of the Lord. He will manifest within us whatever we truly yield to with our whole heart.

Once we begin to understand these truths, it becomes easier to see why people are not being saved from sin. What keeps Christ from revealing His heavenly life through the multitude of people now filling our churches is their unwillingness to fully yield to the light that Jesus revealed. Since He is the source, it has nothing to do with inability. Of course, we also need to realize that most of them have never received these teachings. They do not know that Christ is waiting to reveal His eternal zoe life within their mortal bodies.

Our greatest need today is not more preachers. What we need to see is Jesus Christ walking up and down our streets and living in our homes. How will He do it? – By individual believers choosing to walk by His Spirit! There must be a real death to the old self-originated form of life {the independent and self-sufficient nature that Satan fostered on the world}. “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:24-25)

This is where many of Christ’s disciples turn back and follow Him no more. The devil convinces them that their life is their own and the requirement to die to their psuche life is too much to ask of them. They say to themselves, “Do we not have an inalienable ‘right’ to have freedom to do as we please? Is that not what freedom is all about – to provide personal liberty to pursue life and happiness from the world as we desire?”

What?! “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price…” (1 Cor 6:19-20) The kind of freedom that is in your mind – the kind that gives you a “right” to find life from the world – comes from the spirit of this world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15 KJV) And if you do not renew your mind and choose to be a vessel that Christ can use as He pleases to display His life and works, you will end up separating yourself from Him forever. Jesus only gives His eternal zoe life to those who listen to His voice and continue to follow Him wherever He leads. (John 10:27-28)

We pray that “the many” will begin to see the hypocrisy of trying to be a Christian while living by self-will. “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. Correct me, Lord, but only with justice – not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.” (Jer. 10:23-24 NIV) We must be converted from the lawlessness of a self-directed life to a Spirit-directed life before leaving this world.

Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:22-23)

If we are to separate from lawlessness, there needs to be a crisis point where there is a definite, voluntary transference of the control of our life to Christ. Even though Christ has already purchased the vessel to be used for the display of His glory, each individual believer is required to deliver the property to Him. Purchase gives title to property, but it requires delivery to provide possession. Let us therefore fear coming before the Lord on the Day of Judgment as a thief who refused to give Him full possession of the property that He had purchased with His own blood.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)

This absolute yielding to God includes everything within—intellect, heart, will; and everything without—home, children, business, possessions, friendships, time, money and every future plan. Let it be clearly understood that God is able to see into the heart. And He will not accept a blemished offering. He will not fill the temple with His glory while anything is being held back. Whether the refusal is little or great, it is still an act of rebellion against God. If Christ is to be Lord, He must be Lord of all.

Again, the banquet feast has already been prepared. We can now live in the Presence of God and dine with Him. But He will not make Himself known within our inner being until the door has been opened through absolute surrender. It is impossible to be a true follower of Jesus if we are refusing to follow Him in His way of the cross.

The devil has deceived many into thinking they can direct their own steps through life. It has cut them off from the life of promise. As Jesus has said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Only the few are now enjoying the banquet feast that Jesus has prepared.

Some may say at this point, “As far as I know I have yielded my whole life to Christ, yet I still seem to be living on the natural plane.” We will find that yielding alone is not enough. Many have failed to begin looking to Christ with the kind of expectant faith that believes He will do what He has promised.

Full surrender says, “Lord, I am no longer my own. I present my body a living sacrifice for your exclusive use.” Faith says, “Christ is my life.”

Faith is what enables us to rely on Christ to reveal Himself through us. Whatever we see in Him, whatever light He opens up to our understanding, we must then look to Him in expectant faith to reveal the reality of that life within our inner being. In other words, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” (Gal. 2:20)

Many seem to think they must make themselves right after presenting their body to Christ. Like Abraham of old, they attempt to help God produce the life of promise. But these efforts will never produce anything more than another Ishmael life. It always falls short of the life of promise. We cannot develop the eternal zoe life through our human efforts. The life of true righteousness comes from Christ. He is our righteousness. As Paul went on to say, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law {trying to obey written commandments through our own efforts and strength}, then Christ died in vain.” (Gal. 2:21)

We all have access to a life of consistent spirituality. But this heavenly life must be appropriated by faith. Grace supplies the life, but faith must receive the life. Faith makes real what grace has made available to every believer. “According to your faith will it be done to you.” (Matt. 9:29)

Andrew Murray says, “Abiding in Him is to consent with our whole soul to His being our life, to depend on Him to inspire us in all that we do, and to absolutely surrender everything for Him to rule and work in us. We rest in the full assurance that He works in us what we are to be and He enables us to maintain that perfect surrender in which He is free to do all His will.”

Mr. Murray helps us to see how our part is in the surrendering and in the looking in faith for Christ to do what He has purposed to do. Everyone who remains in this kind of yielded walk of faith will find that Jesus is able to begin manifesting Himself through their mortal body. The power truly comes from God.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4:7, 10)