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October 2005

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"Let the same inherent qualities of mind and character be in you which were in Christ Jesus. Although from the beginning he had the nature of God, he did not reckon his equality with God a treasure to be tightly grasped. Nay, he stripped himself of his glory, and took on him the nature of a bond-servant by becoming a man like other men. And being recognized as truly human, he humbled himself and even stooped to die; yes, to die on a cross. It is in consequence of this that God has also so highly exalted him, and has conferred on him the name which is supreme above every other, in order that in the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of beings in the celestial, the terrestrial, and the subterranean realms, and that every tongue should confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil.2:5-11).

We know of no other name, given under heaven, than the name of Jesus Christ, that legally binds humanity to be saved. (Ac. 4:12). Before the foundation of the ordered arrangement had been disrupted, God determined to deliver all creation from the disappointment and misery of the corrupting sin and death, which he foreknew would result from the Adamic creation. (Ro. 8:19-23; 1Pe. 1:19-20). The contract was manifestly signed with the blood of Jesus at Calvary. It was there that God reconciled the world to himself in Christ, for he was not counting humanities intentional or unintentional sins against them. (2Co. 5:19-21).

That is, through the shed blood of Jesus, God adjusted the difference brought upon all humanity through Adam's transgression. Since, Adam was the "federal head" of the entire human race, his transgression brought "the sin" into the whole human race that resulted in condemnation and guilt. The consequence or effect of "sin" is death. (Ge. 2:17; Ro. 5:12, 6:23). Thus, this one transgression separated the entire human race from the conscious awareness of God's love and acceptance. Moreover, every undertaking of the human race became full of labors, annoyances and hardships. (Ge. 2:15-17, 3:17-20; Ro. 8:19-23; Col 1:21) Therefore, in the thinking of humanity they became alienated and enemies of God through the "wicked" acts that they performed, yet God has reconciled ALL with himself. That is, by one righteous act God restored all humanity into favor with himself. (Ro. 5:6-12). For the death of Jesus Christ established and guaranteed the reconciliation and redemption of all humanity, even if they continue in sin. (Ro. 5:10; He. 9:26). Furthermore, his resurrection established the formal assurance of salvation, or deliverance of all humanity from the groan of sin and death. (Ro. 5:10; 1Co. 15:20-28; 2Co. 5:14-21; 1Ti. 2:1-6; 4:9-11).

We rejoice because God included us in the administration of his plan by giving us the ministry and word of reconciliation to share with all. (2Co. 5:17-21). That is, God enables us to bring this Good News of reconciliation and salvation to our generation. This is done because God purposed to set all humanity free from the bondage to sin and death into the glorious liberty of recognizing their godly inheritance. (Ro. 8:19-23; Phil. 2:12-16).

Moreover, the apostle Paul, wrote in Ephesians, that the mystery or sacred secret of God's will has been made known to us. (Eph. 1:8-12; Phil. 2:12-16). It is clear, however, that for many believers, God's will still remains a mystery. That is, the will of God is something difficult or impossible to understand or explain. However, understanding the sacred secret of God's will is of utmost importance, for this understanding identifies the true church and also marks the religious Babylonian mind. So if God's desire for you, as well as the whole creation, is still something impossible to understand and explain, pay attention, because we are going attempt to unravel it for you in this series of articles.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN PREDESTINED?

The God and Father of our Lord Christ Jesus deserves all blessing, honor, and glory, for he invoked an all spiritual blessing upon us in the heavenly Christ. More literally, God eulogized us with an all spiritual eulogy in heavenly realms in Christ. (Eph. 1:3). That is, he highly praised us, because he could see the death and burial of our sinful nature long before we comprehended the crucified state of our "old man." Before our earthen embodiment, God looked at all he had created and declared, "It is very good." (Ge. 1:31). He then chose us out of himself in Christ before the foundation of the world, or prior to the disruption of the ordered arrangement. He did it this way so we would be holy and without fault, before him in Christ. (Ge. 1:26-28, 31, 2:7; Eph. 1:4). Yes, we were chosen out of God in Christ, even BEFORE Adam's transgression. Clearly, we are God's own workmanship, created in Christ Jesus upon the good works of God's accomplishments. It is within the work of Christ Jesus that God predestines us to walk. (Eph. 2:10). Moreover, God predestined our placement, as his sons, through Christ Jesus.

Predestination is a subject that is often greatly misunderstood and misused. It is not an excuse to live in the flesh and say, "God predestined my life's experience." In the Greek Testament the word, "proorizo," which literally means predetermines, or to limit in advance, consists of the prefix "pro," meaning "before, in front of," or "prior to" and "hordizo," meaning "to mark out" or "form a boundary." We get our English word "horizon" from this word. The word "proorizo" is used a total of six times in the Greek Bible. (Acts 4:28; Romans 8:29; Romans 8:30; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:11) One way to express Paul's use of this word, in Ephesians chapter one is, "God set our horizon in front of us." It was God who lowered the first Adam into the dusty mortal form and said, "Return, sons of Adam." (Ge. 2:7; Ps. 8:1-9, 90:3). That is, he predetermined the time in which each persons' earthen soulish existence and thinking would raise up and meet with their true spiritual state of being and heavenly thinking. (Ps. 90:3; Col. 3:1-4).

At the dawning of the Light on the "horizon" of life's experience, knowledge breaks forth and reveals God's gracious will and pleasure toward us. It is here that God decided to enrich us by grace through the principle of his love. It is in this principle of his love, first demonstrated through the shed blood of Jesus, that we find our deliverance, the forgiveness of both our intentional and unintentional errors or rebellions. So abundant is the grace of God that he makes known the sacred secret of his will. That is, when we experience"son placement" our understanding is opened to grasp what he purposed in the administration of the fullness of time, which was first manifested at Calvary. Yes, the end of the "ages" came with Jesus, when he appeared once for all and "cancelled sin." (Heb. 9:26). Now, in the administration of the fullness of times, God gathers all that is in heaven and in earth together into the headship of Christ. That is, God is summing all up into himself. The end of the matter being, God all in all! It will not be God all in some, or some in all, but God everything in everyone. (1Co. 15:22-8; Eph. 1:3-11).

THE GRACIOUSNESS OF GOD

God's plan reveals his gracious will and pleasure toward humanity. Some teach that grace is unique to the New Testament experience. However, a study of the whole Bible very quickly alleviates that thinking. In the Bible there are two words, one Hebrew and one Greek, translated "grace." Both words have very similar meanings. The Hebrew word"chên," (Strong's number 2603), is used 69 times and means graciousness. That is, kindness, favor, or even beauty. The Greek word is "charis," (Strong's number 5485), is used 156 times and also means graciousness, such as gratifying in manner or act.

In the Old Covenant a number of people found God's grace affecting their lives. Noah, in his evil generation, is one who found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Ge. 6:6). Abraham, with his heathen upbringing in Babylon, also found grace in God's eyes. (Ge. 18:3). The rebellious nation of Israel even found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Jer. 31:2; Zech. 12:10). (Lot - Ge. 19:19; Moses - Ex. 33:17, 34:9; Gideon - Jdg. 6:17) However, it was not until the blood was shed at Calvary that anyone truly understood the working of grace. It is through the cross that God demonstrated his grace toward us through the principle of his love. That is, God clearly revealed his love for all humanity by designating One to die for and as all.

Grace is often a misunderstood principle. This was true even in Paul's day. He shared that sin and death came upon the whole human race through the disobedience of one individual, Adam. That is, sin increased and exercised a kingly sway in inflicting death upon the entire human race. Likewise, through the obedience of the One Individual, Jesus Christ, the mass of humanity has been constituted righteous. So grace now exercises a kingly sway in bestowing righteousness, which results in the life of the ages, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Thus, where sin had abounded through Adam's single transgression, grace supper-abounded through the one righteous act of Jesus. This is a glorious truth, but Paul was concerned for the conclusion the believer might reach with such an all-inclusive thought concerning "grace" and its effectiveness. He continued writing, "What then shall we conclude? Are we to persist in sinning in order that the grace extended to us may be the greater?" Some still need to be reminded, "No, indeed; may that never become the out working of grace. How shall we who have died to sin live in it any longer?" (Ro. 5:19-21; 6:1-2). The dictionary in the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance gives one of the best additions to the definition of grace I have ever found. It says grace is, "graciousness; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; (including gratitude)." Let me say this again in my own words. Grace is God's kind and generous influence upon the heart that brings change, which is reflected within the life.

Moreover, this principle of grace operates through love. God did not wait for mankind to show their love for him, but demonstrated his love to us through the shed blood of Jesus. (1Jo. 4:19). It was through the obedience of Jesus at Calvary that we received our deliverance, even the forgiveness of both our intentional and unintentional errors or rebellions. (1Co. 15:22-8; Eph. 1:3-11).

Why Was the Blood of Jesus Necessary?

It has been said that God required blood for the "appeasement" of sin. In the Mosaic covenant it is clear that God instituted the blood sacrifice for sin. (Ex. 30:10; Le. 4:23-26, 16:14-15, 27). Was this because only blood would satisfy God for the sins of humanity? Or was it because man could only be "appeased" through blood sacrifice. The first blood sacrifice, clearly recorded in the Bible, was given by Able, before God gave instruction to do so. (Ge. 4:4; Heb. 11:4). Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all offered sacrificed upon an altar, before God gave the commandment to do so. (Ge. 8:20, 22:9, 31:54). History shows us that blood was offered throughout the entire pagan world to "appease" their gods. It was a common belief a life was to be offered for a life to make reparation for any wrongs committed. Nearly 500 years after Moses instituted the law of sacrifice David, a prophet and man after God's own heart, wrote, "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire; my ears you have opened; burnt offering and sin offering you have not asked." (Ps. 40:5-8; Ac. 2:29-30, 13:22). The apostle echos this in the book of Hebrews saying, "Sacrifice and offering, and burnt offerings and offering for sin you did not desire, neither did you have pleasure in them, (which are offered according to the Law)." (He. 10:8). This was good news, for the blood sacrifice for sin offered under the law only served to recall sin to memory year after year. It was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away or remove sin consciousness. (Heb. 10:2-4). It is not God who is sin conscious. Moreover, the Bible teaches us that God neither desired sacrifice nor required and offering for sin. So who did require the blood? Blood was required by the human conscience and what greater sacrifice could be offered than the life of a human without fault or sin? (1Pe. 1:19). God made Jesus, who knew nothing of sin, to be sin for and as us, in order that in him we may become the righteousness of God. (2Co. 5:21). What an appeasement! For while we were helpless, Christ at the right moment died for the ungodly. That is, God gave proof of his love for us in Jesus Christ dying for us while we were yet sinners. Therefore, since we have been pronounced free from guilt through his blood, much more we are delivered from God's anger through him. For if while we were hostile enemies to God we were reconciled to him through the shedding of the blood of Jesus, it is even more certain that we are now reconciled and we will obtain salvation through the life of Christ. (Ro. 5:6-10).

WHAT DID JESUS MEAN, "IT IS FINISHED?"

Many put a lot of importance on the last words of Jesus, on the cross, when he said, "It is finished." (Joh. 19:30). What was he signifying by using the word, "finished?" He certainly could have been referring to his life on earth, because with this statement he gave up his spirit and took his last breath. However, if we understand "the plan," we know that not only was Jesus' life filled with purpose, but so was his death at Calvary. The cross was his "goal" or destiny, as he walked out the Father's purpose in earth. (Joh. 10:15-18, 12:23-33). Thus, his last words also stated, "The debt of sin is paid in full," "I have completed my portion of the plan and the contract is signed." In modern vernacular he said, "It's a done deal."

The plan of the ages begins and ends with Jesus, who is the Firstborn or Head Christ. (Ro. 8:29; Eph. 1:20-23, 4:15; Col. 1:15-18). He is also the Author and Perfecter of the faith. (He. 12:2). However, the work that carries "the Plan" to manifestation concludes in the many members of the body, which is called Christ. (Gal. 3:16-29; Eph. 1:22-23). Remember. You, are the church, which is the body of Christ. (Col. 1:24). More accurately, individually you are members of the church, which is the body of Christ. (1Co. 12:12, 27). Let us not lose sight of the corporateness, or balance, of this glorious revelation. We understand that Jesus, as Head of this body, had something to finish in his generation. Jesus obviously understood that he came with a purpose and was set on accomplishing his purpose, which he satisfied at Calvary. Now we must recognize, as his risen body, we have something to finish in our generation. (Joh. 5:36, 19:30; 2Ti. 4:7).

WHAT IS SIN?

Sin entered the world through the first Adam, and death resulted as the penalty for sin. When the Bible speaks of death it not only referring to the loss of earthen life that ends with burial in a grave. First and foremost, death speaks of the separation from one's spiritual awareness and state of being. Moreover, it is the separation from the recognition of God's unconditional love and acceptance. It took place when Adam's focus became centered upon his psychological state of being instead of his spiritual existence. That is, through Adam's violation, or transgression, sin entered into God's orderly arrangement and death, the loss of our spiritual awareness, was the result. There was a loss of humanities true identity of having been created in the image and likeness of God. (Ge. 2:17; Ro. 3:23; 5:12).

The best New Testament definition I have found for "sin" is found in Romans, when Paul says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Ro. 3:23). Thus, sin is coming short of God's glory. The Greek word, "hamartanō" that is translated "sinned" in this passage literally means "to miss the mark, so as to not share in or partake of the prize." Now in this verse we see the prize is "the glory or substance of God." Thus, sin is most literally to miss the mark. The mark or prize that we are reaching for, is the glory or divine substance of God. That is, we are to become godlike, as God's children we are to become imitators of him and not imitators of the world. (Ro. 12:1-3; Eph. 5:1; 1Jo. 2:15-17). Now, some would say "sin" is breaking the law of God. This is often thought to be the definition, because of what the apostle John wrote in his epistle, when he said, "sin is the violation of Law." (1Jo. 3:4). Thus, Christians have a tendency to label sin by the acts of the flesh, rather than by the absence of God likeness. Sin is described with such fleshly actions as, fornication, impurity, indecency, idol-worship, sorcery; enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of passion, intrigues, dissensions, factions, envying; hard drinking, riotous feasting, to name a few. (Gal 5:19-21). However, it is interesting to note, sin existed without the law. (Ro. 5:13; Ga. 3:19). The law did not produce sin, but it was given to identify the missing of the mark, or the sin that already existed within the mistaken identity. Therefore, everyone who is guilty of sin, or missing the mark of the glory, is also guilty of violating Law. (1Jo. 3:4).

JESUS' DEATH WAS IN GOD'S PLAN

Jesus taught that the Father knew him, and that he knew the Father. Therefore, he knew from whence and for what purpose he came into the world. He said, "I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must also lead those, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one Shepherd. Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I might take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment from my Father." This teaching caused division among the Jews and many of them said, "He has a demon and is insane. Why are you listening to him?" (John 10:15-20). On the other hand, Caiaphas, the high priest in Israel, understood it was necessary for Jesus to die for the salvation of the nation of Israel. (Jer. 9:23-24; Joh. 11:49-51).

In preparing his disciples for his death Jesus said, "I, if I am lifted up, I will draw ALL humanity along side of me." (Joh. 12:24, 32-34). The apostle Paul, understanding what Jesus accomplished through death, wrote, "The love of Christ constrains us, so we arrive at this conclusion – that One died for all, thus his death was their death, and he died for all so the living may no longer live to themselves, but to him who died for them and rose again." (2Co. 5:14-15). Both of these passages paint a picture for us showing that when Jesus died, he took every man, woman and child to the cross with him. He did not leave it to humanity to choose the cross, but dragged everyone upon the cross with himself, thus all died, as it was appointed to man "once to die." The judgment of sin was exacted or completed at Calvary once and for all. (He. 9:26).

WHAT THEN IS THE FINAL JUDGMENT?

For Christ has not entered into the Holy of Holies made with hands, which is the figure of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, even as the high priest enters into the Holy of Holies every year with the blood of others (for then he must have suffered often since the foundation of the world), but now once in the end of the world he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. And to those who look for Him He will appear the second time without sin to salvation." (He. 9:24-28). In the book of Hebrews we read, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." (He. 9:27). The penalty or ration of sin was death and Jesus Christ paid the full price of sin for all humanity, for his death was our death. (Ro. 5:18, 6:23). Thus, "sin" is no longer the concern. What is the issue? All that remains is the "final judgment," at which time Christ appears, separate from sin, bringing salvation. (He. 9:27-28). The death of Jesus Christ was not the full end of the matter, for judgment still remains for everyone individually. The word judgment, used here in Hebrews, chapter nine, is the Greek word "krisis," or crisis. Thus, it is appointed to everyone to come to a "crisis" in their life prior to the "second appearing" of Christ Jesus. There are two things that need to be understood in this thought.

First, what is a crisis? A crisis is a separating point, or a decisive turning point. This is the "final judgement" appointed to all humanity. Each individual is brought to a decisive turning point, a time of becoming separated from sin and the Adamic earthen identity to become enlivened with their "heavenly" identity in Christ. The end of the matter is everyone being made alive in their own order, rank or classification, at which time they are raised, and seated with Christ in the heavens. (1Co. 15:22-24).

The second matter that needs clarification is the "second appearing" of Christ Jesus. Taking this in context truly helps with the understanding. The "first appearing" of Jesus was when he came to die on the cross of Calvary. The context of Hebrews chapter nine is reflecting back to the annual sacrifice for sin on the Day of Atonement. On that day the High Priest took the blood of sacrifice and carried into the Most Holy Place, to sprinkle it before the presence of God, on the earthen floor and the Mercyseat. This shows the blood covering for all that is in heaven and upon the earth. (Col. 1:20). While the high priest was in the Most Holy Place, all Israel waited on tip toes, looking for the High Priest to appear a second time without sin, thus declaring the sacrifice had been accepted.

An old wives' tale told by many, about the high priest's annual trip into the Most Holy Place, said, Israel would tie a rope around the ankle of the high priest, so if the sacrifice was not accepted and he died inside this chamber, they could pull him back out and bury him. However, in all the years of tabernacle and temple worship, with all the intentional and unintentional rebellions of the nation, there is not one record of a high priest dying behind the veil. Moreover, I can find no legitimate record of a rope being tied about the high priest's ankle. This shows me the amazing grace of God at work even in the time of the Law.

So when does this "second appearing" of Jesus take place? It takes place during the time of each individual's judgment or crisis, for he appears to those who are looking for him revealing that sin is no longer the issue, because he dealt with it at Calvary, once and for all. This appearing can happen through the reading of a Bible, a tract, or article. It can come by way of an audio or preached message. The appearing of Jesus, our High Priest, can be communicated to humanity in so many different ways that I do not have room to list them all.

WHAT IS OUR PART IN THE PLAN?

I believe it is important for us to understand what our calling in Christ entails. This is because it is time for us to get on with our part of "the plan." We can accept when Jesus said, "it is finished," that he finished the death process, and cancelled the power of sin. (Heb. 9:26). We also understand when he was buried, we were buried with him. That is, we know that all have died in Christ and there is a "new creation." The old or former state of being has passed away and we are not to estimate and regard anyone from a purely human point of view, or in terms of natural standards or values. (Ro. 6:6; 1Co. 15:22-24; 2Co.5:16). A new state of being exists, but not everyone perceives it. However, those who recognize they have been enlivened, raised and seated in the heavens with Christ, need to also understand all is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ. Moreover, God appointed us to serve in the ministry of reconciliation. We are to tell, all those who lack understanding, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not charging their conscious or unconscious transgressions against them. That is, God does not hold humanity blameable for sin. Moreover, he made us ambassadors on Christ's behalf, entrusting us with the message of reconciliation through which we invite mankind to be reconciled to God, because God made Jesus, who knew nothing of sin to be the sin sacrifice for us, in order that in him we may become the righteousness of God. (2Co. 5:17-19).

Jesus died for all and his death was humanities' death. Those who are now enlivened together with Christ may no longer live to themselves, but to him who died for them and rose again. (2Co. 5:15). How many of you recognize that all are not yet alive in Christ? This is because even though all died in Christ through his righteous act at Calvary, everyone has an appointed time to be enlivened. Everyone is enlivened in their proper order, rank or classification. (1Co. 15:23). This presents us with what I call a narrowing point in the funnel of God's truth. That is, God has a way of bringing everybody into life. Let it be understood, "We are the gathers or harvesters of God's field that is now ripe for harvest." We are the Ark of the Covenant, the promise of God to creation. We are the body of Christ that administers what God is doing in our generation. "The harvest is abundant, but the reapers are few; therefore, entreat the Owner of the Harvest to send out reapers into his fields." (Mt. 9:37-38).

LEARNING THROUGH TESTING

Let us go to Psalms chapter sixteen. The reason I am going to this particular psalm is because the Father continues to speak to me through this psalm. Specifically, he has spoken through some of the testings I have been going through and this psalm has comforted me. Hopefully you recognize we are to learn through our testings. We are to discover, in every situation and circumstance of life, what Father is revealing, and not just what he is unveiling to us, but for the whole creation.

As you know, each one of us is a member in particular of the greater body of Christ. Paul compares the body of Christ to the natural physical body. I realize this natural body is made up of many different parts, some that we can easily see and some we cannot see at all. However, each member plays a role or has a purpose in respect to the whole body. It is amazing how if one member of my physical body hurts, it all hurts. It can be the most exterior, unimportant part, like the skin on my little finger, and if I prick it with a needle, the whole body goes into a rescue mode. Immediately, what is needed to clot or plug the puncture and stop the bleeding kicks into gear and the healing process begins. My feet even get in on the healing process, as they take me to the hydrogen peroxide bottle. Then my other hand administers the ointment and gets into the healing ministry. Every organ of my body reaches out to that wounded member. Not one member is accusing, condemning or refusing to participate with the wounded member, even if it was at fault. Whether we understand this analogy, or not, this is exactly how we are created to respond as the body of Christ. We need to become sensitive to what is going on, in the vastness of earthen body of Christ. (Ro. 12:4-5). It is necessary so we can become a healthy, whole body that will complete the work given to us. Remember. If one member hurts, the whole body hurts. If one of us is sick, we are all sick. If one of us is weak, we are all weakened. (1Co. 12:24-25).

Now, let me share from my personal physical experience for a moment. You probably are aware that I am having kidney problems at this time. The medical profession tells me I am in "chronic" or "end stage renal failure." When they first tested my kidneys, I was told they were functioning at 30% capacity. A year later, I was told that they working at 18% capacity and we will put you on dialysis, when they reach 10%. I was told that could be tomorrow and it could be the rest of your life, however, your body will be affected by the loss that you presently have suffered. That is, the whole body suffers loss from the lack of kidney function.

I find this to be interesting in light of the body of Christ. If we have a member that is sick among us, it is going to weaken the whole body of the Christ. This brought me into a brand-new stage of prayer for the brethren. I began to ask the Father to show me the spiritual reason for my kidney problems. The medical profession could not give me an answer as to why my kidneys failed. They have blamed the black gangrene I got in Romania, then high iron, then anemia, congestive heart failure, sugar diabetes, and also high blood pressure. Most of which never showed up until I was diagnosed with renal failure. I believe it has to do with more than my physical condition, especially since the doctors have not been able to pin down the cause. We are going to look into the Bible and see what it has to say about the kidneys. I believe, we can do this with every condition that exists. This is because through our physical lives God is speaking to each of us and ultimately the body of Christ.

Do you realize the kidneys are mentioned thirty-one times in the Scripture? They are first mentioned with the sacrifices in Exodus. They are considered God's portion of the sacrifice. Nobody gets the kidneys and that tells me they are very important to God.

EXPERIENCING GOD

We all start out with a basic understanding of God and his purpose. But as we continue to grow into a deeper and more intimate relationship with the One, who loves us, we begin to learn his true nature and character. This is when we move from learning "about" God, to experiencing God. Remember. The entire nation of Israel knew God by his works, but Moses knew the ways of God. (Ps. 103:7). As our understanding expands, we are to grow and change with it, learning there is only One we can trust. This is the One who is unchangeable and forever the same in character. As we learn this our life becomes one with Christ and demonstrating Jesus is the same yesterday, today and for all ages. (Heb. 13:8). This declares his character never changes. His principles are always the same. It does not mean he does everything the same way all the time. So, what he did today, tomorrow he may do totally opposite. But he will always do it in love, for his character never changes. What he says today, may not be said in the same way tomorrow, but it always takes faith to please him. (Lk. 18:8; Heb. 11:6). It is faith that moves all the mountains of circumstance, enabling us to go through life victoriously.

We need to learn to put our trust in the Lord. Now when I say, "Trust in the Lord," I am not talking about trusting in an imagination of God, or some projected figure that comes from the human mind. If this is the only God you know, you have not known him yet. Let us ask ourselves, "What agreement has the temple of God with idols (real or imaginary)? For you are the temple of the living God; and as God said, 'I will dwell in them, and I will walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'" (2Co. 6:16). Notice the principle of the New Covenant that is revealed here. Jesus taught his disciples that he was going away from them to a place they knew about, but they could not now follow him. However, he was careful to add that he would not leave them bereaved or orphaned. He went on to explain, "I will come again and I will take up abode in you; and in that day, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." (Joh. 14:18-20). Verses like this have been used in the church to create an image of the human Jesus coming someday to sweep us off of the earth and carry us all away to a planet called heaven. Thus, it becomes a hope of the soon, futuristic coming of the Lord. All who embrace such thinking are always looking for "someday" coming into union with God and his people.

However, Jesus was speaking of something much nearer and dearer to the life of the hearer. He was speaking of the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. A day in which the holy anointed spirit of God would take up residence within his "house," a temple made without human hands. (Mk 14:58; Ac. 7:48). Now, God has always dwelled in the human life, but few ever realized this truth. (1Pe 1:11). Jesus came to make it clear to all who come to know him intimately. He clearly demonstrates that God is not just out there, somewhere, on a far off planet called heaven. For God dwelled in the human, Jesus, and to see him was to see the Father. (Joh. 14:6-11). This is so clearly expressed in the Bible that the human mind debates about God and Jesus being the same being. However, it is also clearly seen that the human, Jesus, was dwelling in the Father and looked to the One that lived outside of himself. (Joh. 14:20; 17:1).

Thus, in the day the Holy Spirit comes into our life we should no longer say, "We will be in God and God will be us, someday." Moreover, we can no longer say, "All the saints will be one someday." So, when I say, "Trust the Lord," I am saying, "We must learn to know and trust the Lord where he is." Where is he? He is in the human life! This was a mystery hidden from the human understanding for ages and generation, but now is made known to his saints. (Col. 1:26-27).

KNOWING GOD'S WILL

A question often asked by people is, "How can I know the will of God?" The apostle Paul says, "Not only when I am present with you, but even when I am no longer present, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil. 2:12). Many teach this as if we must do something to get our salvation, but that is not all what the apostle is saying. "Work out your own salvation" does not mean to do something to get your salvation; but it means live out of this salvation you now possess. Remember. The Lord is our salvation and he lives within us. Now, this knowledge does require something of those who realize it. That is, there's a respect and reverence that goes with the work of salvation. We are to work with "fear and trembling," not becoming presumptuous or haphazard with this salvation that dwells within us. God is in us by his spirit and we are to work out from him, "because it is God who energizes in you, both to will and to do his good purpose." (Phil. 2:13). Now that is Good News! You can quit asking others or looking for a prophecy that comes from outside of you to express God's will for your life. He is within you. He is writing his will within your heart. You just need to get to know him, as he is in you.

This is where some have thrown the Bible away and have no more need for the body of Christ. However, that is so far from what I am teaching. We need the Bible to learn and further establish within our lives the true and proven character of God that never changes. Moreover, we need an active connection with other saints in this body to find balance and life from the Christ.

The Bible, the ministry and the body all play a part in bringing our lives to maturity. Each is uniquely important in our development. They each help us come to an understanding of the character of God and it is our interconnection with the whole that enables us to move into the framework of God likeness (Eph. 4:11-16).


More To Come . . .

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