The Crossroads of Life and Death

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

We have discussed how Adam’s sin and fall brought all of mankind into a state of spiritual death and separation from God and the tree of Life. Not only was it manifested in spiritual separation, but also the spirit of death worked to bring corruption and decay to all of creation. That spirit of death is at work in every creature from the time that they are born till the time that it consummates in the cessation of physical life.
When we come to the cross of Jesus Christ, we come to a crossroad and intersection of Life and Death. It is a place and a valley of decision that leads us to a turning point in our lives where we believe in Christ and pass from death to Life or we continue down the road to spiritual death. Jesus Christ stands as a doorway to Life and faith is the key to enter in. When we make the choice to enter into Him a couple of things should happen. When we enter the Master’s door and come into His house we need to remove our outer garment of the body of sin. We hang it there on the cross where Jesus died, as we identify with His death. Where we have now come too, that outer garment of self is but a hindrance and unacceptable apparel in the house where we now abide. Not only do we take off the outer garment or our former self-centered ways, but also we remove our shoes, for now we are standing on Holy ground. We no longer walk in those former ways that we walked in when we walked down the pathway of death. Now, instead we have shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel wherein we carry and communicate the life of God to all men. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15).”
When we come into the Father’s house through our faith in Christ, the blood of Jesus has washed us from the filth and stain of sin and death. In the place of our garment of sinful flesh, we are given the spiritual garments of the righteousness of Christ. In these garments we now have right standing and restored fellowship with the Father. When He now beholds us, He no longer sees the sinful man or woman that we were. He sees the righteousness of His Son, because His blood has washed us clean of all unrighteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Also at the door we are given a white turban upon our heads called the mind of Christ. Along with this cleansed body we are given a new mind as it exhorts us in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Clothed with spiritual apparel and now abiding in the place Christ has prepared for us we begin living in the Life He has given us. Formerly we did not discern between life and death. All we knew was the natural dimension of life and death. Now at the juncture where we have made a right turn into the way of Life we begin to choose the ways of Life. More than a right and wrong issue of our moral choosing, our life in Christ becomes choices of life and death. We know that His Word and His Spirit are Life. The spirit of the world is selling death and calling it life. In as much as our eyes are open to the Spirit of Life and godliness we perceive the lie, rejecting it and make our choices for Life. Proverbs 23:7 warns us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he.” It is warning us that things and people are not always as they appear on the surface. The truth is in their heart. What is in our hearts today? Are we feeding from the tree of Life? Many of us are still planting the seeds of death and bearing it’s fruit in our lives because we are not choosing and living in the Life we proclaim to have. We are experiencing spiritual defeat and we wonder why? What are we continually abiding in? What is the focus of our lives? Which tree are we feeding off of, the tree of Life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? The Lord doesn’t want us to be double minded in our living and our choices. He has called us to abide in the Spirit of Life and to choose Life and not death. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)”

Blessings,
kent

Two Adams

June 20, 2013

Romans 5:12-20
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Two Adams

What this passage in Romans 5 speaks to is spiritual principles and acts that have global and eternal impact upon all of creation and in particular, humanity. Verse 14 says that “Adam was a pattern of the One to come.” Now a pattern is a prototype after which all things that are made from that pattern look like. Adam was the example of what God intended from the beginning to have in His relationship with man. Adam is like us, in Christ and perfected with one exception. His righteousness was in his obedience, but not out of faith in Christ as ours is now. Adam was allowed to partake of all of the trees of the Garden, but two trees in the midst of the Garden or we might say the “heart” of the garden had far reaching eternal spiritual weight and ramifications. There was no prohibition from partaking of the “Tree of Life” because it would only perpetuate the state of godly relationship Adam enjoyed with God in the Garden. It was that other tree that was the Pandora’s box to a spiritual dimension that even Adam could not have imagined.
It was obedience that kept Adam in his perpetual state of bliss. The principle we see here is that obedience that is not tried and tested is not obedience that is of proven character.
Jesus was the last Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:45 declares, So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Adam may have represented the best of man, but it was outside the life-giving Spirit that could only come through Christ. He no doubt did well for an indeterminate amount of time, but there came a day of testing, trial and temptation and this living soul, the pattern of the one to come, gave place to disobedience. When he partook of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he brought death and condemnation spiritually and physically, not only to himself, but to all of mankind and creation.
What made Jesus different? Well, first and foremost, He was the Son of God and yet clothed in the frailty of a human body with like passions and weaknesses. Jesus Christ came in the midst of a sinful and perverse world wrapped in the body of a fallen creation man. There was only one way this Christ man could bring all of creation out of the bondage that had been released upon it through Adam’s one disobedient act. It was now the act of unfaltering obedience that would be needed to bring creation back out of its bondage and into the eventual fullness of restoration that God had purposed from the beginning. It was the act of obedience on the part of Jesus that would determine the fate of creation. If He failed then all hope of creation would fail with Him and the destruction of creation would be inevitable.
Praise God in the highest and His Son Christ Jesus; He didn’t fail, but was obedient even unto the death of the cross. The difference between Adam and Christ is brought out in Hebrews 5:8, “Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.” Jesus is now that pattern Son for us. If He learned obedience through sufferings, then we will learn the same way. The proof of what is in the character of a person is not fully seen until it is tried and tested.
Just as the many were made sinners through one man’s act of disobedience, many will be made righteous through one man’s act of obedience. It is our faith in Him who is our obedience that appropriates that righteousness to us. When the sinful nature of Adam was crucified on the cross in the mortal body of Jesus, the last Adam, Christ, became a quickening, life-giving spirit through the resurrection power of the Spirit of God.
As we have comprehended in our spirits this truth we now, by faith put off the old man, identifying it with the death of Jesus on the cross. We now, by faith, put on the new resurrection Man that is a life-giving Spirit that has set us free from our former curse of condemnation inherited in our first man Adam. We are now after the order of a new pattern and prototype that is Christ Jesus. Even though we still live in a world that is plagued by the state of the first fallen Adam we have risen in our spirits into the state of the resurrected last Adam. In Christ is the hope that is being manifested through us.
Romans 8 speaks to the purpose that is now in us who have acted by faith in partaking of the obedience of Christ. Romans 8:12-25 declares, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
It is in the this hope and patience that we press into the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus. It is in that faith, hope and patience that we exercise ourselves in godly faith, so that as many of us as are being led by the Spirit of God, we are the sons of God. The body of Christ is the key to completion, reconciliation and restoration for creation through what Jesus finished upon the cross.
“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19)”

Blessings,
kent

Kingdom of Heaven-3
A Matter of the Heart


Mathew 13:19
While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

“Our mind must bring our mortal man into agreement with who we are as a spiritual being.”  Jesus likens the gospel of the kingdom unto a seed planted in the ground.  The type of soil that it falls into has everything to do with its success in taking root, growing up and bearing fruit.  This has to do with the condition of our hearts.  In this parable from Mathew 13 Jesus describes a number of conditions in which the seed doesn’t take root or if it does, why it doesn’t remain and become fruitful.
Our hearts, spiritually speaking, are made up of our soul and spirit.  We have already discussed how Christ came to reside in our spirits when we asked him into our hearts.  Our souls are made up or our mind, will and emotions.  These constitute how we relate to the Lord both initially and throughout our relationship with Christ.  It is the realm of the soul wherein lies the battle for the kingdom of heaven.  A person who has received Christ and given themselves to God, has the desire to press in with their soul and possess what they already possess in the spirit.  This is what the Bible terms walking in the Spirit.  What was not possible before, is now made possible because of the power of Christ in us.  Romans 8:2-5 puts it in this perspective, “2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. 5For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and  seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.”  Self has been dethroned and Christ has been enthroned in our hearts.  We now operate under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  What we could not do in ourselves, Christ has done for us, so it is now a matter of bringing the soul into alignment with the law that has been written upon our hearts.  It is the law of the kingdom and the Holy Spirit is its administrator.
In this lower realm of heaven where the souls of natural men abide we find that there is still a war going on for our souls.  In this realm we find principalities, powers and rulers of darkness still in operation and launching assaults first to keep us from coming into the kingdom of God, but then once we have, there is still the assaults to rob it from us.  It is our soul that is caught between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.  The difference is that now that we are in Christ we are equipped with spiritual armor, the Word of God and the power of God to do battle with this enemy of our soul.  Still there is a responsibility that lies with each of God’s children to utilize what God has provided us.  There is the need for continual vigilance to align our minds and our thinking with mind of Christ and the Word of God.  If satan can deceive or get a hold of our minds then he can pull us down from our relationship and intimacy with Christ.  He can pervert and pollute our walk and put us again under the bondage of the flesh.  He desires to bring us back again under the mindset of the law of sin and death.  On one hand he seeks to corrupt us and on the other he seeks to condemn us when we step in his corruption.  The more condemnation we feel and give place too the less faith we have to lay hold of God’s promises and His Word.  There is a war in the heavenlies of our soul.  In this realm of the kingdom of heaven the battle is still going on.  We are in it and we must be mindful of it.  Ephesians 6:10-18 exhorts us, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace, 16Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”  Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”
The soul is the spiritual battleground where the war must be won and the kingdom of God established.  Christ has given us the victory and He has sat down at the right hand of the Father till His enemies be made His footstool.  We are the feet and the body that must carry out the victory and establish the kingdom of heaven in this earth through the power of Christ within.

Blessings,
kent

Lay down the Law

March 14, 2012

Lay down the Law


Romans 8:3-4
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Have you ever laid down the law to your household, your children or employees?  Have you demanded that they be and act a certain way?  What is the reaction and response we see to this kind of dominance?  We may obtain obedience and submission out of fear and intimidation, but in their hearts we have only fostered resentment and anger.  No matter how good laws may be, unless we can embrace them in our hearts that they are for our benefit and safety, we are probably going to resent them.  We can see then that laws and rules are only as strong and effective as the people who are willing to follow them.
God gave us laws through Moses that were fundamentals for life, health and righteousness.   It wasn’t that God’s laws weren’t good enough, it was our hearts; which, at some point or another, were in rebellion to the laws of God.  Even if we agreed with the laws of God, embraced them and loved them, at some point or another we have broken them.  The law has served to show us our own weaknesses, the flaws and the cracks in these earthly pots.  Our sin has been our perpetual weakness and flaw in serving God and living up to His standards.  All of us can relate that no matter how much we love God and want to please and serve Him we have all stumbled over sin in our lives.
God says, “Here is the way we are going to fix that.  I will send my only begotten Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, only without sin.  Through His sinless life and because He is the only one qualified to take and pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world, He will take all of your sin upon Himself.  He will pay the price and die the death, so that you may, in exchange have His life and righteousness through faith.
God wants our hearts.  He wants our obedience and submission to His will, but because He gave each of us a will of our own, it is a personal decision that each of us must make.  Will I submit my will to Christ or will I keep it for myself.  If I keep it for myself, I can live and do as I please, but then I have rejected the sacrifice Christ paid for me and then I must pay the price for my own sins.
If I ask Christ into my heart, because I accept and believe what He has done for me, will I not sin anymore?  No, we are not already made perfect, except in our spirit, but we begin down a road of transformation.  The Spirit of God comes within us and alongside us to help in our journey of surrender and submission to Him.  The blood of Jesus ever stands as our fountain of washing and cleansing when we do fail.  His Word is a lamp unto feet and light unto our path to show His ways and the Spirit inside us is the strength and help we need to walk the walk of righteousness.   We are not righteous in our own merit, but we have been clothed upon, through faith, with the garments of righteousness and salvation through the blood of Jesus.
Every day we need to be humbled and submitted before Him as we ask for life, strength and guidance to grow and walk in our new nature and identity.  We identified that old former man of sin as crucified with Christ upon the cross and now our heart, our mind, our focus and our faith is set in Christ, to be conformed to Him in all of our ways.
It is no longer a chore, or burden or a mandate to keep the law that compels us.  It is the love of God in us.  We love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us.  We understand that it is only God and His life in us that completes us and helps us to fulfill our destiny and our reason for being.  If we choose to live outside of that, then we only deceive ourselves and choose only the path of death and an unfulfilled destiny that God had for us.
Yes, we become discouraged at all of the times and ways that we still fall so short, but it is important that our eyes and our heart remained fixed on the One who is greater than all of our sins. He is the One who is delivering us out of death into life as we endeavor to walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  We have laid down the written law of sin and death and we have taken up the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  This law is leading us into the liberty and freedom of all that we have been purposed for in God.  He is the fulfillment of who we are and who and what we are destined to become

Blessings,
kent

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