Thursday, August 27, 2009

Liturgy, BC and AD

Some years ago the Lord showed me some things about our "New Testament" rituals such as communion and baptisms, I wrote a little bit about it in the article The First Principles of Christ. I was blessed to read Keith Chadwell's article today where he has shared some of the history of these rituals and delved more deeply into the subject. It has confirmed in my spirit much of what the Lord has shown me.

Liturgy, BC and AD © B.K. Chadwell, August, 2009

Jer 8:7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

The Essenes were apparently an ancient Jewish sect of Dead Sea covenant community dwellers from About 200 BC to AD 68. According to historical evidence, they moved out of their Dead Sea community, perhaps coinciding with an earth quake about 31 BC and did not return until somewhere around the time of the birth of Christ, about 30 years later. Archaeologists have found that they identified themselves, as “the Congregation of the Poor” and with the "meek who shall inherit the earth.

This Dead Sea scroll community called themselves "the people of the New Covenant or New Testament". Although some of them may have become Christians after the Romans finally scattered them prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD., scholars believe that they were generally in no sense Christian.

Historical evidence indicates that twice a day they celebrated a solemn communion meal, with the blessing of bread and wine. This, say Scholars, was "a liturgical anticipation of the Messianic banquet in the coming kingdom". This apparently was a concept that was a common theme in the Judaism of the time.

Another regular practice of the Essenes was baptism. On entering the community, individuals received a baptism upon their repentance of sins. However, unlike the later Christian practice, the Essenes baptism was renewed each year and supplemented by other continued daily rituals, all purposed to make them spiritually pure by means of these liturgies.

liturgy (plural liturgies):

A predetermined or prescribed set of rituals that are performed, usually by a religion.

The Essenes were zealous for the law and arguably, to a fault. However, they were a dedicated people, a religious people, who no doubt played some part in God's overall plan. Perhaps, among other things, they were a part of helping to preserve and or validate some parts of the ancient texts of the Bible and perhaps other information. Never the less, they were a people who came to a time of change, and failed, without notable exceptions, to make the transition.

"Liturgies" or literal religious ritual adherence to established religious practices, whether passed on in writing or by oral tradition, were central to the Jewish religion before Christ. Examples include; animal sacrifices, circumcision, observance of certain days and feasts such as the Passover feast, ritual cleansings of clothing, the body, and the list goes on.

These "old testament" literal practices are known by most Christians, and well documented in the pages of the books of the law, and referenced in other parts of the "old testament" of the bible. The genuine liturgies or practices of the Jewish law were ordained of God, with purpose. The purposes can be summed up simply but not completely as; "types and shadows" described and practiced in natural terms. These were liturgies which flesh and blood could relate to during the times before Christ (BC), yet which pointed, mysteriously, to things to come in the Spirit (AD.)

No wonder, the Pharisees and Sadducees were at odds with Jesus, His message and His works. Everything Jesus said and did was contrary to the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They knew it all. Who was this vagabond, this carpenter's son from Nazareth? He had no seminary credentials, no formal instruction or degree, and the way He talked was even more maddening to them. Nothing He said made any sense from their legalistic, liturgical, or natural mind paradigms. And yet he confounded them with His wisdom at every turn.

Joh 7:46…, Never man spake like this man.

Let's look at a few examples of Jesus' use of their then common literal liturgical language with which He confounded and incensed them:

Joh 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

Mar 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Joh 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

Joh 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

Joh 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst", let him come unto me, and drink.

Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Joh 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Mar 4:33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, (his followers) as they were able to hear it.

Psa 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

Pro 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Pro 1:6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What then had a liturgical washing of the outer flesh (baptism) to do with the new covenant except to point to things to come?

What then had a liturgical cutting away of the flesh (circumcision) to do with the new covenant except to point to things to come?

What then had a liturgical observation of a day of the week (the Sabbath) to do with the new covenant except to point to things to come?

What then had the liturgical eating and drinking of a communion meal of bread and wine to do with the new covenant except to point to things to come?

Heb 9:9-10 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Col 2:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

With the coming of Jesus, the Christ, came a new creation, all things are become new, in Christ we are a new creation, old things have passed, a new covenant arrived over two thousand years ago. Why then do we still continue to cling to the old? We came to a time of change over two thousand years ago, will we ever let go of the old religious traditions and finally, fully and completely embrace the new?

Jer 8:19-22 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her?

Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black;
Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Life in the Spirit

*The following article is from the book – The Mystery of Godliness

“…As the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this He meant the Spirit… (John 7:38-39)

…Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)

The Holy Spirit produced a never-ending river of life from within the spirit of the first Adam before the Fall. The Son’s Living Water welled up and overflowed from the fountain of his soul into a manifestation of God’s eternal life. The nature of this life from heaven kept his mind and emotions under the control of God. Everything he did and every attitude he expressed was inspired by the Spirit of God.

God literally expressed Himself through Adam. In the same way that Christ {the Second Adam} displayed the Father’s life and works, the first Adam was also the “radiance {or “outshining” – BBE} of God’s glory.” (Heb. 1:3)

Adam’s responsibility as a free moral agent was to offer himself to God in faith to be an instrument of His righteousness. The mystery of his godliness was simply a matter of a conscious choice to walk under the control and power of the Holy Spirit. As he yielded to the Spirit, God would use His power to display His life and works through Adam.

It is quite obvious that if this process had been purely mechanical, and Adam had possessed no capacity to exercise his own choice, he would have been no more than a robot. But God created man with a free will. Through an active choice of his own will, Adam would be required to live by faith in God, continually walking by the Spirit.

We need to see how man was created to be a mere instrument of God’s life of righteousness. This principle for living still applies to God’s children today. Because of what Jesus Christ has done at the cross, God’s called-out children can now enter into the life of promise and begin walking by the Spirit as Adam did before the Fall, and as Jesus did after the Fall. They can enter into the Holiest of All and receive divine spiritual life from God.

…Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed…even the righteousness of God, through faith… (Rom. 3:21-22)

And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin {self-will}, but present yourselves to God…as instruments of righteousness to God. (Rom. 6:13)

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection {or completion in the life of love}… This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil. (Heb. 6:1, 19)

Man was made by God to be an instrument through which God expressed the power and authority of His Kingdom. As man received his life from God, he would also share with God in a dominion over this world. But this authority could only be expressed through man by virtue of his “faith-love” relationship with God. As man lovingly submitted to all the leadings of God’s Spirit, God would supply him with the needed power to accomplish everything he was assigned to do.

God has a plan for each of His creation. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10 Emphasis added) Man is therefore expected to enter into God’s plan. And he is expected to carry out his assigned work through the power of God’s Spirit.

The dominion that man received over his appointed sphere of work was derived from God. He could only exercise God’s power in the world while he responded to the divine will and lived by the Spirit through dependent faith.

God intends to remain sovereign over His universe. And yet, He would accomplish the work He wanted to do in the world through the dominion given to His spiritual children. In response to His revealed will, they would depend on Him to use the power of His Spirit in all their assigned activities.

In effect, God chose to display a unique form of sovereignty. He would first reveal His will to His sons and daughters, and then depend on them to carry out the work through their prayers of faith. This is how God has planned for all His sanctified children to live.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire {My will as revealed to you}, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing… And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so the Son may bring glory to the Father. (John 14:12-13)

Again, man was designed to be God’s highest expression of His power and glory. God’s dominion over the world would be visibly expressed through the work of His children. Without this visible expression of Himself {the “light of life” from heaven}, the world would remain lost in darkness.

When man turned from this walk of faith and ate from the forbidden fruit of self-will and self-sufficiency, God departed from his soul. This left him empty, in darkness, and on his own.

He also forfeited his right to express God’s dominion and power through prayer.

We can see that Adam was converted from the life of God. Every “conversion” occurs when there has been a change of mind. Adam changed his mind about how he wanted to live. He allowed the devil to poison his understanding. Believing the lie that he could improve his spiritual life by walking in the strength of his own flesh, he separated himself from the life of God. The Holy Spirit then withdrew from the human spirit, and man’s soul was plunged into the darkness of fallen humanity.

Something else also occurred at the Fall. When the Spirit of God was no longer filling man’s {mankind’s} soul with the Living Water that naturally wells up to eternal life, he was left empty and unfulfilled. He then became self-centered, or egocentric in all that he did. His life-purpose then became centered around his own efforts to find a means of spiritual fulfillment.

This self-centered nature, which naturally lives for its own desires, is called “the flesh.”
Referred to in the Bible as “sin” in its singular form, it involves the evil principle of living by self-will and self-sufficiency. This life of “sin” is what produces a multitude of “sins.” (Rom. 7:14, 20; John 16:9)

The Bible therefore distinguishes between “sin” and “sins.” Everyone who lives according to their own personal desires is living by the “sin” nature. This flesh-life or “old man” has a self-centered nature that will naturally produce a multitude of sins. (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9)

The depravity that every person inherits from Adam is an empty soul. As long as there is an emptiness within, the individual will naturally turn to the self-seeking ways of this world to find his spiritual fulfillment. This is the essence of sin.

“Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the Lord. “My people have committed two sins {two all-encompassing evils}: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jer. 2:12-13)

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters… Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy. Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good {eat from the Tree of Life}, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live {in the Kingdom-life}. (Isa. 55:1-3)

God uses His Word of Truth to help people understand why they experience a returning sense of spiritual emptiness within their soul. He wants them to recognize the hopelessness of ever experiencing a lasting fulfillment by following the self-seeking ways of this world. “God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’ To those…who are self-seeking…there will be wrath and anger.” (Rom. 2:6-8) They can never expect God to manifest His divine life through them while living as “self-seekers.”

When man’s soul was left empty by the departure of the Spirit, Satan was permitted to enter in and introduce the self-elevating principle of pride. This pride naturally leads to self-will and self-sufficiency. Man will remain hopelessly lost {in this fallen state} until he turns to the Lord and permits the Son to lead him into the life of faith. The Messiah, who has come to establish the lost Kingdom-life within the hearts of His followers, is the only hope that mankind has of being saved from his fallen nature.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The First Adam

*The following article is from the book – The Mystery of Godliness

In his innocency and before the Fall, the first man acted consistently under the gracious and exclusive influence of God’s Spirit. The Spirit of God dwelled within Adam. God was working in him “both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13) This inward action of God lifted Adam spiritually out of mere animal status and into the life of godliness. While animals would live by the flesh {and be without the spiritual life of God}, Adam would live by the Spirit of God in union with God’s eternal life.

The thing that separated Adam from the animal kingdom was his human spirit. His spirit was the “lamp of the Lord.” (Prov. 20:27) The lamp, when fueled by the oil of the Holy Spirit, enabled him to display God’s “light of life” in this world. Because everything he did was motivated by the life and will of God, he was enabled to display the image and glory of God.

God gave a warning when He provided Adam with an eternal access to the Tree of Life. It was a warning that carries over to all mankind: “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) If man turned from a life of living by faith in God’s power to an independent life of walking in his own will and sufficiency, he would separate himself from the spiritual life of God. And that is exactly what happened in the Fall.

Our Creator never gave man the right to decide good and evil on his own. And if he acted like a mere animal by choosing to live by his own fleshly desires {living as he saw fit or – “right in his own eyes” (Deut 12:8)}, he would become separated from the eternal life of God and exist in spiritual death. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die.” (Rom. 8:13)

Man’s choice to live by an independent and self-sufficient spirit is the essence of evil and darkness. It is the source of every sinful action. This path of choosing for ourselves how we will direct our steps {sin} is what keeps fallen man separated from the life of God. We can therefore see why true repentance must include a real turning back to a dependence on God.

…Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted {turned} and become as {dependent} little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven {the Kingdom-life of God}. (Matt. 18:3)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Adam would not need laws to control his activities as long as he lived by the Spirit. The fruit of God’s Spirit – His divine nature – would enable Adam to always have right actions. “Against such things {the fruit of God’s Spirit} there is no law.” (Gal. 5:23)

There was only one spiritual principle that Adam was required to remember: He would need to continue to live by the Spirit of God. In other words, eating from the Tree of Life meant that he would need to live continually by faith, under the control and power of the Holy Spirit.

When Adam turned from this walk of faith, choosing to walk in his own strength and by his own will, he fell from the “light of life.” He was then cast out of the Garden into carnal darkness. Not only did he lose the fulfilling spiritual life he had received from God, but he also became deeply corrupted by a self-centered nature. This fallen nature became another source of iniquity in the world.

Adam did not die physically when he turned to “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and began directing his own affairs. He did, however, lose the power that had enabled him to be a lamp of the Lord’s “light of life.” (John 8:12). When he turned from the Tree of Life {when he stopped living by the Spirit of God}, the Spirit stopped manifesting the eternal life through his spirit. He lost the spiritual life of God, and the light went out!

Redemption involves restoring the lamp to its original purpose. The Christian is a lamp of the Lord. But God cannot display the light of His glory through the lamp until it has been set apart and fully sanctified for His exclusive use.

There must be a real presenting of the body to God and a complete turning from the independent and self-sufficient ways of the world before it is possible to display the “light of life” from heaven. The followers of Jesus who are willing to take this narrow path, will have an opportunity to return to the spiritual paradise of God and eat from the Tree of Life.

…For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them {a life that Adam shared with God in the Garden of Eden}…” Therefore “Come out from among them {the independent and self-sufficient ways of the world} and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” {into the Kingdom-life}… Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor. 6:16-17, 7:1 Emphasis added)

…To him who overcomes {the independent and self-sufficient ways of the world} I will give to eat from the tree of life {the Kingdom-life of God}, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)

While this spiritual Paradise of God, which can now be established within the eternal soul, is only a dim reflection of the life we will enjoy when we receive our glorified bodies, we can still enjoy an abundant fullness of the Son’s spiritual life in this world. (John 10:10) We can walk in holiness with God and enjoy His life from heaven, as the Son did when He walked in a mortal body. (1 John 2:5-6)

Our Lord has made it possible to follow Him through the cross and into the firstfruits of His resurrection life. (Matt. 16:24-25) If we will enter this path and permit Him to establish His Kingdom-life within our hearts, we will be enabled to “put on the new man, which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:24) In other words, we can now be recreated into the spiritual image of God by returning to the “tree of life” through Jesus Christ. “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life.” (Rev. 2:7)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you… Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn… Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy… The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isa. 60:1, 3, 5, 19 Emphasis added)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Life From Above

*The following article is from the book – The Mystery of Godliness

God originally created man in His own image. (Gen. 1:26-27) It was God’s purpose to have human children He could use for the purpose of displaying the splendor of His life of love. Even though God’s love can be seen in all of His creation, which is an expression of His glory, His spiritual children were to be the highest expression of His life of love in the world.

When the Son came into the world as the Second Adam, He displayed God’s spiritual image in the same way that man was originally created to live. He was “the image of the invisible God.” (Col. 1:15) We can therefore learn from the record of His life what it means to display God’s spiritual image – His life of love.

The Son of God was sent into the world to save man from his fallen state by restoring the spiritual image that was lost in the Fall. “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) The “light of life,” a life the Father shares with the Son, is intended to be displayed by the Son through each of God’s children.

Mature Christian character is therefore intended to be a form of the “brightness,” “radiance,” or “out-shining” of the Father’s glory. (Heb. 1:3) And even though we cannot expect to display the life as flawlessly as the Son did, we can enter into a real participation with God in His divine nature and become like Him in love in this world. (2 Pet. 1:3-4; 1 John 4:17)

I {the Son} have given them {access to} the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one {in life and nature}: I in them and You in Me…in order that the love You have for Me {divine love} may be in them and that I Myself may be in them. (John 17:22-23, 26)

God did not intend for His children to use their own efforts to imitate His life and nature. They were to manifest His glory – His life of love – by receiving their life from the Son by dependent faith. If they believed in Him, and were therefore willing to deny themselves and take up their own cross, they would find His spiritual life in an abundantly full measure.

…If anyone would come after Me {into the Kingdom-life}, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me… Whoever loses his life for Me will find it. (Matt. 16:24-25)

…I have come that they may have life {the Kingdom-life}, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

…Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life {the Kingdom-life of perfect love}. (John 4:14)

We know there are many people in the church who say it is impossible for the Son to display His life of perfect love through His disciples in this world. But we must say to them, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Rom. 3:4) “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17) It is our willingness to become like God in His life of love while we remain in this world that will enable us to have a real sense of boldness when we stand in His presence on the “day of judgment.” (v. 17)

Again, God does not expect us to produce His life of love through our human efforts. The life is to be received as a gift of promise. The only limiting factor is our unwillingness to yield in faith to all that our Lord teaches.

In an attempt to illustrate how Christians are to receive the “light of life” from heaven, we will compare this principle to how electricity produces light through a light bulb. In the same sense that electricity is invisible, so is the power of God. Even though electricity cannot be seen, the power is displayed when it enters a device that has been created to display light. The light bulb, of course, is not the source of the light. When left on its own, it remains without any real intrinsic value. It cannot do what it was designed to do without the power of electricity. On its own, it can “do nothing.”

Similarly, you were designed and created to be an expression of God’s divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:3-4) Even though you do not have the needed power to produce this “light of life” from heaven, the Spirit can supply an invisible power that lights up your life with God’s nature of love.

The whole purpose for creating human children was for God to have a means of displaying His life of love – His glory – in this world. As we begin to understand this spiritual principle, we will also see why we have little value while we remain separated from the power of God. Our value comes from fulfilling our Creator’s purpose. We are here for the purpose of displaying His “light of life” from heaven.

All your strivings to manifest this life through human effort will only leave you hopelessly exhausted. “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Gal. 3:3)

In the same sense that Jesus did not do anything in His own strength, He tells us, “Without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) This life from heaven, and the godly character we are to display, is dependent on God’s divine power.

When God stopped using His power to display the “light of life” through Adam, God’s lamp in the world went out. The body was no longer able to display God’s spiritual image. There is nothing man can do through his own efforts to reproduce God’s nature of divine love. This is why carnal darkness will naturally prevail until fallen man has begun to live by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our heavenly Father therefore sent His Son into the world to first reconcile man to God, and to then become a source of light to the world. He has promised to provide His “light of life” to everyone who will follow Him through the cross. (John 8:12; Matt. 16:24-25; 1 John 4:9) Whoever loses their flesh-life will find the Son’s abundantly full spiritual life. (John 10:10) “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

The Bible declares emphatically that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6) No matter what we try to do for Him, we cannot please Him until we are willing to walk in a moment by moment reliance on Him to supply us with His life and godliness from above. And, glory be to God, whoever earnestly seeks Him through a responsive walk of faith will be rewarded – they will find His Kingdom-life.

Christians are therefore expected to depend on God for everything. They are not to do anything that does not include a reliance on God, “for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23)

Faith involves something more than an academic nod! The children of God are expected to rely on the power of the Spirit to display the life of the Son through them. Since we were created for this very purpose, we cannot neglect this great life of faith without being morally irresponsible. The life of God is not optional! We must not remain like a light bulb without electricity!

Man has only two alternatives: He can either continue living by faith in his own strength {live by the flesh}, or he can turn to God and begin living by faith in His enabling power {live by the Spirit}. Living by human self-sufficiency is the essence of sin. (Rom. 14:23) Therefore, as the Scripture so clearly teaches, “if you live according to the flesh you will die.” (Rom. 8:13)

Once you recognize this spiritual principle you can better understand why Satan will keep opening up reasonable alternatives to faith. He knows that if he can keep you living by the strength of your flesh {the self-sufficient ways of the fallen world}, which is diametrically opposed to the way of faith, he will cause you to defy your Creator. And everyone who lives this way will find they are continually dying in a spiritual sense. They do not experience the Living Water that continually satisfies the soul and wells up to a manifestation of God’s eternal life of love. (John 4:14)

No matter how lofty your motives or otherwise commendable your actions, if they come from your own sufficiency {the pride of life} they are sin. God expects His children to depend on Him in everything they do.

When Jesus walked in a mortal body as a man, He too was required to live by faith. He remained without sin simply because He always relied on His Father. He did nothing in His own strength. He did not produce a sinless life through any other means than by continually relying on the working of His Father. To have acted in His own independent strength would have resulted in sin. In essence, all sin comes from acting by self-will and self-sufficiency.

This is why Satan’s attacks on the Son were designed to lead Him into acting on His own initiative. He was tempted again and again, and in all points as we are. But He never departed from a life of living under the control and power of the Holy Spirit. He did not sin because He never once stopped relying on His Father. This is the Mystery of Godliness.

If Christians are to ever walk as Jesus did, which they are required to do (1 John 2:5-6), they will need to go through a complete renewing of their mind. Everyone who is still thinking in terms of what they must do in their own strength, still needs to press forward in their walk of faith. They must die to all forms of self-sufficiency before they will be in a position to be raised by the power of God into the life of promise.

When people tend to think of the Christian walk in terms of what must be worked out by human effort, they will naturally believe that it is impossible for anyone to walk as Jesus did. Their lack of faith will prevent them from receiving the life of promise. These Christians will therefore need to be built up in their faith so they can rest from their own works and begin depending on the Lord to establish His Kingdom-life within their hearts by the resurrection power of His Spirit.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the {regenerate} people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work… Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest… (Heb. 4:9-11)

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it… (Ps. 127:1)

Again, the Christian life is intended to have a supernatural quality about it. “Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:21) Only the Spirit of Christ has the needed power to manifest the “light of life” through a human body.