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.