Archive for the ‘Biblical insight’ Category

Does a Christian continue to have a sinful nature?

When someone teaches a Christian doesn’t have a sinful nature they will inevitably be met with the question, “If we don’t have a sinful nature anymore why do we still sin?” This question presupposes the need of a sinful nature in order to commit a sin, but what about the first Adam? When Adam was created he didn’t have a sinful nature. Yet we know he partook of the forbidden tree which was a direct violation of God’s one and only prohibition. In other words, Adam committed a sin even though his nature wasn’t sinful.

There is no question in my mind that we are all born sinners in Adam. If someone wants to make the argument we are born with a sinful nature I wouldn’t disagree. The problem occurs when people think we carry that nature with us even after being born again.

In the New Testament there are really only two places where the word “nature” is used in this sense. The first one tells us we used to be “dead in our trespasses and sins.” We use to walk according to the “Prince of the power of the air”, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. We were by nature “Children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3). In other words, we are not only born sinners we are indwelt by the “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6), hence the sinful nature.

Upon being born again the spirit of error has been replaced by the Holy Spirit. According to 2 Peter we “become a partaker of his divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, isn’t going to be a roommate with the spirit of error. Jesus told us we can’t serve two masters. He also told the Pharisees they were of “their father the devil” (John 8:44). Jesus had clearly come from the Heavenly Father, but those religious leaders had another father and it was his lusts they were doing. You’ve heard the old saying, “You act just like your father” haven’t you? It’s true and we can only have one either God or Satan.

God created human beings to be expressions of him. Don’t you remember? He said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). We were designed to have the Spirit of God living in us so we would be an expression of his character (nature) manifested for all of creation to see. At the cross He accomplished all that was required for us to fulfill this original purpose.

According to Romans six we were “crucified with Christ and our old man, or self, died with him, in order that our old body of sin might be done away with, and we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Did you catch that? Our old self died. Wouldn’t this mean our old “sinful” nature died?

If we need a few more verses to show us our old man has died lets look at Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The Apostle Paul tells us plainly it is no longer I but Christ! What part of Christ has a sinful nature? Another tells us, in Christ we have “put off the body of the sins of the flesh…” (Colossians 2:11) The old man really is dead!

Okay, you say that sounds pretty good, but let’s get back to why we still sin then. Fair enough. My answer is twofold. One reason I believe born again people sin is because they are living with an unrenewed mind. The other reason is simply because of outside temptations. If we are living with an unrenewed mind, in a world full of temptations, we are bound to fall. In Romans 12:2 we are told “Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” When I was born again I was 31yrs old. Believe me God had to rearrange a few things in my thinking. If we are born again in our spirit but our minds haven’t quite caught on yet we may discover parts of our lives to be the same as before. This is, I believe, why people come to the conclusion we still have a sinful nature.

The conclusion then is our nature is determined by the spirit we are in union with. Either we are in union with the spirit of error, and have a sinful nature, or we are joined to the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth), and we are partaking of his divine nature.

The biggest part of renewing our minds involves learning to see ourselves from God’s perspective. When we look at ourselves, or listen to what others say, we will start to believe it. If we determine we have a sinful nature based on our past experience, or how we have always thought of ourselves, it is no wonder we continue in sin. Part of what the Bible does for us is to describe God’s viewpoint on his children. He tells us “In Christ” we are whole, blameless, holy, righteous, sanctified, and justified dare I say perfect? He doesn’t look at us through the same lens the world uses.

Taken from my booklet “Some Things You Need to Know”

Louie

I’ve noticed lately how frustration comes when we see ourselves as independent from God. When I say, “Independent” I mean we think we are in charge of doing good and avoiding evil, as if we have the ability in and of ourselves to do that. If we think we should have done better or shouldn’t have done something what we’re really saying is “WE” ought to be able to perform better because “WE” have the ability within ourselves. Upon a more thorough reading of the scriptures though we discover we, meaning human beings, were never created to “Do Better” we were designed to be the Temple but not the deity within, the vessel rather than the contents and the branch instead of the vine. I suppose what I’m saying is the sooner we embrace our Temple/vessel/ branch-hood and let God be God the sooner the frustration will subside.

In the 32nd chapter of Exodus we read the story of the golden calf. The scene is Moses is on top of the mountain communing with God and Aaron his brother is at the foot of the mountain with the Children of Israel. Moses had been gone for a long time so everyone began to get antsy wondering where he went and whether or not He would ever return. So Aaron devised a plan wherein He had them to give him their jewelry, He melted it down and created a golden calf. The golden calf was declared to be their god so they began dancing and partying. They had been set free from bondage in Egypt and shown the way yet they didn’t really know God and grew impatient waiting for Moses to return. Even though they weren’t in Egypt any longer they still had plenty of Egypt in them.

Meanwhile back on the top of the mountain God says to Moses “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’ ” Then the Lord told Moses to leave him alone so He could destroy them in order to start over and make a new nation from Moses himself.

Here’s where it struck me. Moses’ response to God was “O Lord, why does your anger burn against Your people whom you have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Moses then went on to remind God about his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob so the Bible says “the Lord changed his mind.”

Now, what I wanted you to see in this is how God gave Moses the perfect opportunity to get upset and attempt to take charge over the people but He didn’t. God called the Children of Israel “Your people whom you brought out of Egypt” and gave Moses the chance to make it all about him by destroying Israel and starting a new nation through Him. Moses, on the other hand, turned it around and said they are “Your people whom you brought out.” You see Moses understood, whether the Children of Israel were disobeying or acting out or not, ultimately He had to trust God to get them where He wanted them to be. Yes Moses was called to do a job, but if God “in Moses” wasn’t the real doer, frustration and failure was the only thing He could expect.

This story reminded me of so many church leaders and their never ending task of soothing all of the problems between church members. Attempting to make church members do one thing and stop doing another is futile. While sound Biblical teaching can go a long way; if they are God’s people in the end we have to trust Him to get them where He wants them. Carrying a burden for the well-being of others is part of the normal Christian life because we are called to intercede on their behalf. At some point though we have to let God do what only He can do and stop trying to do it for Him. In the end we, like Moses, have to remember “They” are His people not ours. A friend of mine says, “We are to share the gospel in the power of the Spirit and leave the results to God.”

Louie

The lineGod’s plan has always been to have his Son, Jesus, to be preeminent in all things. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:16-18).

Even before the fall of Adam God’s plan has been in place. We are told Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). In other words the fall didn’t take God by surprise and His plan has not been changed. It’s as if God started this whole thing with Adam, knowing He would fall into sin, so He made provision long before in the death of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. While this may be a bit difficult to get our minds around we understand there is an invisible realm just as there is a visible one and we’re talking about God who is Spirit.

Dan Stone, the author of the book “The Rest of The Gospel”, defines this using a line. He shows how everything above the line is in the Eternal, invisible, Spirit realm and everything below the line is the Temporal, visible, matter realm. While we live in both realms here on Earth we are called to walk by faith rather than sight, so once we discover who God is, and what he has provided for us in Christ in the eternal, invisible, Spirit realm, we look there to understand the reality of what is going on in our lives rather than being conformed to the temporal, visible realm.

Once you start to see the truth behind Dan’s line illustration you will understand what the fall and salvation of man really means. You see when Adam fell he fell from above the line living into below the line living. The fall means He no longer lived according to the unseen but started living by what he saw and felt. Notice how immediately after eating the forbidden fruit “They” saw that they were naked. They became body conscious and lost sight of the Spirit realm. It was true when the Serpent told them if they ate the fruit their eyes would be opened, but He didn’t tell them they would also be closed to the Spirit. They literally fell below the line.

With all this being said, think with me for a minute about what God did in order to rescue the now spiritually blind, and in fact dead, human race. You see the day Adam ate of the tree he really did die. His spirit was deadened to God’s Spirit so God didn’t just have to forgive us of our sins He had to resurrect our dead human spirit. How would this be accomplished? Well, He would have to take on flesh and descend below the line in order to save us. He had to come where we were in order to lift us back to where we were always meant to be; so God became man. The Eternal put on the temporal, the invisible became visible and Spirit manifested in matter.

Since Adam’s fall meant mankind’s death, or separation from God, He had to initiate the rescue effort. I mean there isn’t anything a dead man can do to give himself life, right? God became a man, lived a perfect sinless life, died a sinners death, God raised him back and He ascended to the right hand of the Throne on High. Wow! God, Jesus fully human and fully God, willingly became a human in order to bring us back to our rightful place. Not only did he become man “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus took upon himself what killed us in order to give us His Eternal life. “He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Colossians 1:22). God’s Spirit can now reside in us: His Eternal life dwelling in our temporal bodies. We now have a resurrected human spirit joined to God’s Spirit in a fallen body but we live looking forward to the day when our new heavenly bodies will manifest.

The Apostle Paul tells us this message of the Gospel was a mystery but it is now revealed, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. You see the mystery of God is Christ Himself (Colossians 2:2) who is in the believer (Colossians 1:26-27) and He is their life (Colossians 3:4). The mystery of God is Christ but there’s more. The mystery of Christ is His body which is made up of the many believers who have been born again of His Spirit and just as Jesus Christ was the full expression of God in human form we the body are the expression of Christ (Ephesians 3:4-6), (Ephesians 1:22-23). Therefore, Christ and the church–His body– are the great mystery (Ephesians 5:32).

Louie

If you were to ask the average person walking down the street, “What do you think a church is?” Most would allude to a building possibly with stained glass windows or steeple on it where religious people gather on Sunday. Others may even say, “It’s the body of believers in Jesus Christ.” There is a sense both of these answers are correct but what specifically does the term “Church” mean in the Bible? The word “Church” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “Ekklesia” which is defined as “The Called out ones.”

Way back in Deuteronomy 4:20 we read, “The Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today.” So the idea of being “called out ones” didn’t originate with the New Testament rather it is a continuation. You see since the fall of man God has been seeking for those that would simply hear his voice and obey him.

In Genesis 12:1 we see where God called Abraham out and said, “Now the Lord said to Abram, Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you…” The letter to the Hebrews reminds us of this in 11:8 “And by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”

Even when Jesus walked with his disciples his plan seemed to be for them to go out. He told them in Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” He sent them out with the instructions “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” He even told them He was going away but it was best for them. He said, “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” So it seems God’s plan all along is for his people to be a people on the move.

While the world, and some Christians, may think the “Church” is a building Christians go to on a Sunday morning God sees the Church as a body of His people called out for His purposes. In the letter to the Ephesians Paul wrote God gave the church “Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service…” What exactly is the goal of this equipping then? I believe it is to prepare the “Church, or body of Christ” to go. You see once we come to maturity in Christ as individuals and as a body we will no longer need a man between us and God. Once we have been taught, or equipped, we will find our place in the body and move into our role of one of the “Called Out Ones.” It is true not all are meant to be “Goers” some are stayers in order to prepare the goers but that will be made clear as our understanding is broadened.

In Acts 13:2-3 we read where the church was gathered and “While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work to which I have called them. Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Did you catch that? The Holy Spirit called out Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for His particular work for them. Do you think the rest of the saints there were jealous or felt left out because they didn’t get to go? Of course I can’t answer that because it wasn’t specifically addressed in the scriptures but it seems likely there may have been some who felt passed up but what if God simply didn’t think they were ready yet. What if they still had a bit of maturing to do? Either way when it comes right down to it all that call themselves Christians have been called out of the world.

1 Peter 2:9 & 10 tells us “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a Holy Nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” So you see whether we stay in a traditional church setting or we are called to go out our job is to declare the excellencies of Him who has called us.

Louie

Most would admit before coming to Christ they were “in” the dark. What many probably haven’t thought of, or simply don’t want to think of, is they actually “were” darkness. While reading through Ephesians during our weekly Bible study we came across 5:8 which reads “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” If we take this for exactly what it says we see we “were darkness” but now we “are Light.” This is something more than just coming out of darkness into the Light. This is telling us we were in union with the darkness and now we are in union with the Light.

Colossians 1:13 says, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” We have been rescued! We were prisoners held captive with no hope of release until God himself came and set us free. How did he set us free you might ask? He rescued us by way of the cross joining us to Jesus Christ, co-crucifying us, burying us and raising us back again in union with Christ who is the Light of the world. In Him there is no darkness or shadow of turning. “In Him was the life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5). My Bible has a note that says the word “comprehend” means the darkness did not overpower it. In other words the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against it! That’s grounds for shouting right there!

Sadly there are many who refuse to come to the light; but Jesus told us the reason is, “Men loved darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-20). He also said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). The offer of a life in the Light is still on the table for all who will simply come to Jesus Christ.

Looking back on my own B.C. days I would have to agree I was darkness. I always wore black clothes, dark sunglasses, had the blinds pulled on my windows and my car windows were tinted too. I would have just as soon slept during the day and been awake all night. When the Bible talks about us being in or of the darkness it isn’t just some word picture or metaphor.

Let me take a minute to share something with you about the Apostle Paul’s writing’s. If you read carefully you will notice a pattern in how he writes. In Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians etc. He starts by telling us who we are in Christ. He tells us we are a new creature, Holy, blameless, beyond reproach and complete in Him. He then moves on to tell us some very practical things about how we, this new creature, is expected to behave. You see it wouldn’t make any sense to tell us to love each other, forgive each other, stop lying to each other and stealing if we were still the old creature. We first have to become aware and convinced we have truly been transferred from darkness to light, we have been crucified, dead, buried and raised back to walk in newness of life in Christ or else telling us to behave in a Godly manner is pointless. On the other hand since we have been transferred out of darkness and brought into the Light, Paul is telling us to start living like it. All of these things we read like in Ephesians 4 and 5 is describing for us how the new man behaves. In other words how Christ in us behaves for we know the only reason we are holy, blameless, complete, etc. is because we are joined to him.

Louie

 

 

The letter to the Philippians has a theme throughout it’s four chapters which is Paul’s admonishment to be of One Mind. In the very first chapter he tells them to “conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the ‘faith of the gospel.’

You see according to the scriptures all who have been born again are of the same Spirit and have been given the mind of Christ but we aren’t always operating from His mind. My friend Sylvia Pearce says, “Even though we Christians all have the heart of God we may still be operating with the mind of Satan.”

Well, how do we begin to operate from the mind of Christ then? Thankfully Paul doesn’t leave us to wonder but describes the mind of Christ in Philippians 2 saying, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Of course this is the very mind of Christ. Jesus Christ’s whole life was a life lived for another. He only did what His Father sent Him here to do and it was all for us. Even though by Him, through Him and for Him all things were created, He still gave up His own rights in order to set us free from our bondage of self-centered living. It truly takes the mind of Christ to do this in our lives. “The Servant” living in “the servant” is the only way.

In chapter two we also read about a couple of men that had the same mind and attitude as Paul so he trusted them to be his representative. He sent Timothy to Philippi in order to check on them. He said, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit (like minded) who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” So we see that the mind of Christ is defined by putting others first therefore the mind of Satan would be the opposite which is thinking of ourselves first. Doesn’t this sound like some of our Mothers? I grew up with two older sisters; and when you have siblings you have to learn how to see things from others perspective and how to share. This, I think, is some pretty good evidence we are all born with the Satanic mind. Hence the reason Paul admonishes us to “Let” this mind be in you. We have to let the mind of Christ operate in us or we will never come to the unity of the faith.

In Philippians three Paul tells a brief testimony of how he finally came to see his accomplishments and heritage as worthless compared to knowing Christ and gives them, and us, a warning about those that are earthly minded and self-seeking. He said, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” For those living only for earthly things there is no end to the cravings. If our appetites and earthly desires are the only thing driving us we will never be content. There truly is only one thing that brings human beings fulfillment and that is Christ himself.

As Paul finishes up his letter to the Philippians in chapter four he urges a couple women there to live in harmony or be of one mind in the Lord. Thankfully once again Paul doesn’t leave us wondering how to do this he gives us some very practical advice. He tells us to rejoice, be anxious for nothing but rather pray and be thankful as we let God know what we need. He then spells out for us what to let into our minds. He tells us to think only on things that are “True, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.” These are the secrets of the Apostle Paul’s thought life. By these things he has “learned to be content in whatever circumstances He’s in.”

While there are many, many troubles in this life there is one thing that is for sure. While we may have little or no ability to control the things that happen we do have the gift of the Mind of Christ and with that a choice in how to respond when these things find their way into our world.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Louie

 

Spirit, soul and body seem to always make their way into my thinking. I have come to see how important it is to make the distinction between soul and spirit so now I see it throughout the whole of the Bible. Today though I’ve been thinking about the body, and not just any body but what our heavenly body will be like.

In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul spends a great deal of time discussing the subject of our resurrected bodies and what that might be like. While Paul admits he doesn’t really know exactly what our new bodies will be like permit me if you will to ponder these things for a moment.

When God created the first man Adam he used dust. We read where it says, “the Lord god formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” In other words our bodies are created not just for our environment but actually from our environment Earth. Remember this because it will play an important part in the point I’m hoping to make; but first let’s look at a few other instances in the scriptures to build the case for our new bodies.

There is an instance in the gospels when Jesus took his inner circle of disciples Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain. While there “He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” To me this is a glimpse of what our new bodies will be like. If this is true then we are really, at our core, light beings living in a veiled body at present. The word transfigured used hear is the same word used in Romans 12:2 when we are told to have our minds “transformed”. It comes from the same word as metamorphosis meaning to change or transform. It is the same as when a caterpillar is changed or transformed into a butterfly. The one body is completely different from the other.

Paul even said in 1 Corinthians 15 “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be…” What if the transfiguration of Jesus is a glimpse for us of what our heavenly bodies will be? Let’s look at another glimpse God gives us in the design of the Priestly clothing.

In Exodus 28 we read where God instructed Moses to design the clothing to be worn by the priest as he did his duties in the Holy of Holies. He was to wear an ephod of gold with shoulder pieces with onyx stones for each shoulder representing six sons of Israel on each. He also had a breast-piece with four rows of stones equaling twelve altogether to represent each tribe of Israel. So they are to be covered in jewels when they go into the Holy of Holies. To me this is a picture of what we will look like one day as we enter the true Holy of Holies in our new bodies. Do you see what I see?

While there are probably many other places we can point to in the scripture let me just finish with one more found in the book of Revelation. Remember the first man Adam was formed from the dust of the ground right? He was designed from his environment to live in that environment so it is only reasonable our new bodies will have to coincide with our new environment, right? If we look in Revelation 21 we discover the New Jerusalem to be made out of costly stone, as crystal-clear jasper. It has gates of pearl, jasper walls and the city is pure gold, like clear glass. Wow! It has twelve foundation stones of all types of precious jewels, and the streets were pure gold like glass.

In conclusion let me say if the first Adam was created from the dust of this earth in order to be compatible to his environment it only makes sense we too will be re-created to live in our new environment. If our new home is made up of precious stones, and gold as clear as glass, it only stands to reason that we will be transfigured in our bodies one day and it will be conformed with the body of his glory! “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.”

On the day we are born-again our dead human spirit is resurrected and joined to the Holy Spirit. From that day forward we are learning what it means to live with the mind of Christ calling the shots or to be transformed in our minds; and one day we will be given a brand new body that corresponds to our new home where we will live for all eternity in the city which needs no sun because the Lamb is it’s light. He will shine and shine for all eternity in and through his chosen vessels fully transformed with their pure, clear, jeweled bodies with nothing to hinder his full expression to anyone gazing upon his Glory forever and forever.

Louie

While watching the news and seeing the things that go on around us everyday may sometimes be discouraging I say, “Don’t lose hope yet.” The Apostle Paul told us of a mystery that had been hidden in God before but is now revealed. Christ in you, the hope of glory is our answer. While the world may run after politics, money, religion and power we know Christ is the only lasting solution to our problems.

The Bible is divided primarily into two covenants, what we might call the Old and New. The old one of course didn’t work and it couldn’t because it depended on us and we simply couldn’t hold up our end of the deal. Therefore God declared even to Jeremiah He would make a brand new covenant, one that included putting His law in the hearts of the worshiper. He said, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Wow! Did you hear that? There is coming a day when everyone will know the Lord.

For those of us who have already received Christ we have been given a glimpse of the glory of this coming time and if you’re like me you are anxiously awaiting for this to be fulfilled in our neighbors and brothers too. Jesus did tell us just before His arrest and crucifixion, He would send the Comforter; and He would remind them/us what He had told them, lead them/us into the whole truth and be their teacher. The Apostle John reiterated this in his first epistle saying, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

You see God’s plan all along has been to live in each of us and have one on one time with all of us all the time. While the Apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers have their roles they aren’t meant to be forever. In Ephesians Paul tells us why God gave us these offices and it’s so the rest of the saints might grow up into their specific roles in the body. God’s intention is for each member of the body or “Church” to do their part in ministry until everyone that will enter has entered. At some point, just like the Arc with Noah, the door will be shut. Until then The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”

Louie

Mankind was created in God’s image so we would be compatible with him. In other words just as God is Spirit we are too. Like God we have a personality, we feel and desire, think, have a will and speak and act. Could it be the invisible God wanted to make himself visible? What if humanity’s purpose all along has been to be the means by which the invisible God manifest himself in the material world? What if the fall didn’t change his goals at all and we’re still on track to fulfill them?

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 we are made up of spirit, soul and body. As far as the spirit is concerned Jesus told us we must be born-again which means born from above. You see when Adam fell man died, just as God had warned, so we are all born dead in sin hence the need to be born-again by the Spirit of God. Once that happens we are joined again to God and regain our God-consciousness. Jesus did tell the woman at the well “God is Spirit and those that worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” The Apostle Paul told us “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” So we see this is what God has been after all along. He wants us to be in union with him, “The Father of spirits.”

Our soul-level is basically what you might call our personality primarily made up of our emotions and intellect. I guess you could say our soul is how we are self-conscious. The soul was meant to be the means by which God’s Spirit, joined to our human spirit, could express his self. In the fall mankind’s spirit was deadened so we became outwardly focused. We began to be led around by how we felt and thought rather than by the Spirit of God. So our personality, originally meant to be an expression of God, became the expression of another. The Bible tells us we, not only have to be born again we have to have our minds, ie. souls, transformed. We’ve spent way too much time thinking and behaving as the world if we really have become a new creature in Christ why not operate in his mind?

Someone might ask, well how do we obtain this renewed mind? Well first of all of course we have to have the Spirit of God living in us but then we have to let him reteach us. The Apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 2 “The natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit but the Spiritual man appraises or judges all things because they have the mind of Christ.” Ultimately the renewing of our minds is also the work of God. He is the one that changes us “from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” You see it is the Lord who does the transforming as we behold him. So our job is to behold him and let him have his way. As we fix our eyes on him we will find ourselves being transformed.

The last but not least part of us is our body which is world-conscious. We live in a material world therefore we need to have a material body in order to be in contact with it. I have come to see our situation as being one where we are born-again, resurrected spirits living in a fallen body. This, I believe, is the cause of many of our troubles even as believers. We are reading the Bible and it’s telling us we’re whole, blameless, perfect, righteous, justified, sanctified and on and on. When we look at ourselves, meaning our thoughts and feelings or our bodies it seems to be untrue sometimes doesn’t it? Well what if our spirit has been perfected, our soul/minds are being transformed and we are still waiting for the new bodies? Maybe we’re already complete and we are simply awaiting the manifestation of the new body. What if our new body is already present within awaiting for the time when it will be seen sort of like how a single seed really has a whole forest within waiting to push through the soil. Maybe we’re in transition between two worlds and our spirit is complete, our souls are being renewed and our new body is yet to come. I’m not sure about all these details, but “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

In the letter to the Ephesians it tells us we are seated in heavenly places in Christ, we should walk “on the earth” mind you, in a manner worthy of our calling and stand against the enemy. Isn’t this telling us we are really Spirit people seated in eternity, which means no time, and yet living out our calling on the earth in time?

According to Philippians 3:21 the Lord “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to himself.” In other words one day our bodies will be glorified bodies just as Christ has even now and it will come about by his power. The way John says it is “Beloved, we are now children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see him just as he is.”

One day we will be transformed completely. Even though now it may seem unfinished if you go back and read 1 Thessalonians 5:24 you will see “Faithful is he who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” God always finishes what he starts. We can trust He will complete us spirit, soul and body.

Louie