CHRISTMAS 2018: WHAT CHRISTMAS TEACHES US ABOUT GOD’S GIFTS FOR HUMANITY, BY KIANG P LEE

 Jesus, our resurrected Lord and Savior, was born a human on Christmas Day, so we can have our day to be born into His immortal image by a resurrection. (1 Cor.15:35-58)

I greet you all with a joyful and peaceful Christmas 2018!Valentines Day - Gift Box 2.svg

God’s Threefold Gift For Humanity (Wiki Commons)

At Christmas, we give careful thought about the gifts for our loved ones. God have gifts for His Loved Ones also – us, His human children! There are three gifts God our Father has guaranteed for each and every human alive. As we think about those we love most, in this post I want to share God’s best Love gifts for each of us. His gifts are timeless, magnificent beyond words, unmatched, and comes with an eternal destiny.

Because Christmas has become so heavily commercialized, let us be judicious about not tripping into that pitfall, but instead spare a moment to think about the origin of gift-giving, and who is the greatest Giver of all. Yes, let’s not omit the vital spiritual aspect of Christmas and God’s gifts to His human children, most especially the gift of His Son.

Travelling from Afar to Bethlehem, The Wise Men Bear Gifts for The Baby Jesus (Wiki Commons)

At creation God gave humanity the gift of life. The Bible records, “Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” (Gen.2:7, NLT). Yes, from the very beginning of human existence, God has always existed in His giving nature – giving us the gift of life. God uttered these now famous and never-to-be-forgotten words about human creation and existence, “Let Us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Gen.1:26-27).

All was well with humans at creation, until Adam chose to rebel against God’s clear directive and ate the forbidden fruit. Realizing what he and his wife had done they hid from God. God called out, “Where are you?” Appearing before their Creator, God asked, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Gen.3:11). So, the purpose of Christmas goes back in time when Adam took humanity down the path of alienation from God, into a life of emptiness and futility, and reveals God’s plan to bring humanity back into fellowship with Him and be recipients of His Love and His wonderful blessings. Adam’s path was, and continues to bring all kinds of human suffering and pain, emptiness and vanity, broken dreams and promises, which are evident all around us to see. And regrettably, the ultimate reward for sin and rebellion is eternal death. (Rom.3:23 & Rom.6:23)

So, we saw God’s original purpose is to fashion humans to become like Him in His divine Love image and character by giving us His Spirit. (Rom.5:5) It’s very simple, yet deeply profound. And He intends to finish what He sets out to accomplish. He said, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'” (Isa.46:10; also Isa.14:24).

Let us see the three timeless gifts God our heavenly Father reminds us every Christmas so we will never forget His great Love for us. These are three foundational gifts necessary for life in God’s Kingdom – they are pillars upon which humanity’s eternal destiny rests. There are other promises God has given His people which help us live our lives with purpose and conviction. (2 Pet.1:3-4)

First, God is Spirit and existed from eternity, without a beginning nor end. That is His basic and primary image – He is Spirit and eternal, and we are mortal with temporary, earthly existence. For we are dust existing in chemical form and will return to dust. (Gen.3:19) So, His purpose is to eventually make humans like Him in His immortal image and likeness. The Scripture says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:161 Cor.15:50-56). Immortality is the heart and core of the Gospel message. So, immortality is the first of man’s three-fold gift. (To read more on this topic, go to my post titled, “Immortality – Fact or Fiction” at:  http://bulamanriver.net/2677

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  “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Cor.15:52-53). (Pic: Fountain of Eternal Life, Downtown Ohio, Cleveland – Wiki Commons)

Second, Scripture also tells us, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). Love is His nature and character. God is not made of Love – He IS Love! God IS forever “giving,” it is what Love does. Love is both His Name (noun) and His nature and occupation (verb). It is not our human narrative of love, which is mostly ulterior in its motives, but a Love so pure springing from His divine Being, with never a trace of spoof in it. God and Love are one and the same, there can never be separation of the two. Paul wrote to the Romans, “We know how dearly God Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love” (Rom.5:5). So, God is at work making man into the likeness of His divine nature of Love. The Bible states “Without Love we are nothing.” (1 Cor.13:1-4). Of course, we cease to be who we truly are as humans if we deny the divine Love-likeness of our Creator in whose image we were created. Can a riverbed find meaning and purpose without the living waters which flow through it? No, the brush and jungle would overtake the riverbed and it would soon disappear without a trace. A human being is a riverbed, and the living water which flow through it is God’s Love. (John 7:38-39)

So, we can become successful at what we do in life, but if we fail at Love, then we are nothing. Even if we give the ultimate sacrifice for some ‘worthy’ cause, but if Love is not its underlying motivation, our sacrifice would amount to nothing. John was inspired to write, “No one has ever seen God; but if we Love one another, God lives in us and His Love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12). In other words, to Love one another is to see the face of God. But it is not human love, but God’s divine Love He imbues within us with His Spirit. (1 Cor.13) So, making us into His divine Love, as He is Love, is the second of the three-fold gift from our heavenly Father. (To read more in depth on this topic you may go to my post titled, “The Command to Love God First,” at:  http://bulamanriver.net/11833)

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Love is profoundly deep and can never be fathomed in its grace and integrity, neither can it be constraint in its influence nor compass, therefore Love eternally exists in infinite freedom. “God is Love” – 1 John 4:8 (Wiki Commons)

Third – Relationship has no meaning without Love, and vice versa. By its very nature, Love cannot endure in solitary existence. So, when God said “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” He was revealing Himself as existing in His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26Matt.28:19John 14:101616:7) The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in the creation account is “Elohim.” It describes God as uniplural – a Tri-Personal Godhead, which other scriptures attests. So, God is Trinitarian in His Love nature. Love by its nature is relational as God is. Hence, man was created a relational being. Adam was solitary and incomplete until God made Eve. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (solitary). I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18, italics mine). So, God gave Adam a family to raise composed of a father, mother, and offspring, to reflect Himself in His plural Being. The Bible states that the Church’s (humanity) destiny is to marry Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, in the new age to come. (2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:23-27, 32; Rev.19:7) The Bible is abundantly clear about God’s nature and declaration of Himself in His relational Triune Being from the past, the present, and the future. God has never lived in solitary confinement. So, God’s third gift is He gives us to enter His divine Being and live the relational “Triune Life”** with Him in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Spare me a few moments to explain this Trinitarian aspect further. It’s noteworthy to realize that Eve was not an individual creation, that is, she was not created apart from Adam as a individualized being with isolated existence. Instead, she was taken out from Adam’s side to show she was biologically One and indivisibly part of Adam, not detached (solitary) from him. Similarly, when Jesus (God the Son) became human, He finally united humanity spiritually to God’s deity and made mankind part of the God-kind (Immanuel). (Isa.7:14) All this shows is humans were created to be indivisibly one to reflect God’s Tri-Personal image of Oneness, not separateness. This applies to all of humanity for we come from one parent, as one inseparable and relational species from Adam. We are relational because God is relational in His Triune Being.

Adam saw the most beautiful woman ever created and said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen.2:21-23). Each one of us was created as an indivisible relational human being incubated and given birth from Adam’s mold as one species fashioned in God’s image. We are born for relationships with the divine Love as our guiding principle. Hence, when we exhibit all forms of narcissistic behaviors like hatred in all its guise, we are living against the grain of who we are created to become – God’s relational Love-likeness. So humans exists in the very spiritual template of God’s One Loving relational Triune Being.

Most religions believe God is “solitary.” Yes, God is One, not three, but He is not solitary by any means. (Deut.6:4) The three exist in One hypostatic union – of One substance like Eve was biologically part of and never physically separate nor solitary from Adam. Is it possible for God who IS Love to exist in isolation, in solitude – unaccompanied, secluded, alone in self-absorbed existence? No, He created a whole host of angelic beings before He created humans upon this earth to reflect His plural Being. If God were one solitary person, with no one to Love and share His divine Being, then the Scriptural affirmation that “God is Love” would be meaningless. (1 John 4:8) By stating He IS Love in His Triune Being, He is not vague about revealing Himself to us as a relational Being. God has always been a Trinity in relationship from eternity. God exists in His One Tri-Personal Being through the power of their Love for each other, and embraces humans through His Son. Jesus instructed His disciples to induct believers into the “Triune Life”** of God, saying, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt.28:19). We are inducted into their Loving relationship to fellowship with and in each other for eternity. So let me reiterate, the third gift is the invitation to participate in His relational Tri-Personal Love-Being for all eternity.

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God, A Tri-Personal Being in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Rublev’s famous Icon of the Trinity – Wiki Commons)

How Does God make this three-fold gift a reality in the life of each and every human? Because the gifts are essentially spiritual, there is only one way they are received and made real. We must be reunited with God in a sinless state of existence as Adam was before the fall. From the outset when Adam fell and alienated mankind from God, God promised to send His Son to save us from enslavement to the sin-condition and reunite us to Him. (Gen.3:15; John 3:16) In other words, humans have no spiritual power on their own to accomplish this task involving reconciliation with God. This is God’s work, not man’s. God is redeeming mankind from the sin-condition. This is God’s gift to mankind, which no other can give but God. Only He knows how to reconcile fallen humanity back to Himself, and only He can accomplish what this undertaking requires in the way He sets out to save fallen man.

But God will need to enlist human participation and cooperation if He is to successfully carry out His purpose in mankind. Hence, when He created humans He gave the necessary spiritual capacity to enter into relationship with Him through the human mind. His Love is immeasurably deep and can never be fathomed in its grace, integrity, and truth; neither can it be constraint in its influence nor compass. Therefore, Love has eternally existed in infinite freedom. Thereby, the mind is the only place in the universe which God has made as a receptacle and fountain for His divine nature of Love and freedom. (Gen.1;26-27; 1 John 4:8; Rom.8:2; Gal.5:1) Hence, throughout the ages humans have fought for freedom because it is the life force of humanity’s very existence shaped in God’s likeness. Mankind has resisted bondage in whatever shape and form. The old adage, “Give me freedom or give me death,” rings true over the length and breadth of our human history and experience. Love (God) will not and cannot exist without freedom.

So, humans are given the freedom to choose, just as Adam and Eve were free to choose between the two trees. Freedom works in the human mind where decisions are made and acted upon with the help of the sanctifying Spirit. Yes, with freedom comes great responsibility with presumptive blessings or curses. By enlisting our participation in His plans, He is exercising His own mode of doing things the “Triune” (collaborative/relational) Love-way. There can be no other way for God to relate with us but in the template of His Triune life through Love and freedom. So, freedom must come with a sense of duty and trust and must be applied with Love, not selfishness, which is the face of bondage (sin). So, the flip side of God’s Love is freedom.

Now, we know Adam and Eve chose to follow the path of rebellion albeit by means if the devil’s devious seduction, and so has mankind since. (Gen.3:1-6) They were banished from Eden and God’s presence, “After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen.3:24). Leaving Eden behind them meant they no longer had access to the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life symbolized the Holy Spirit which gave them power to relate with God and follow His way of life (“Triune Life”*). The “Tree of Good and Evil” represented man’s solitary self-centered way under the influence of the arch-deceiver, Satan. God is the source of all life, especially spiritual life which connects God with man. So when man alienated himself from God, he was uncoupling himself from the source of God-life itself. The only other alternative, outside of Eden, is where the enemy and death reigned.

Adam and Eve Banished from Eden (Wiki Commons)

It is vital to understand what God said to our first parents about what would happen if they disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit He said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Gen.2:16-17). Love and freedom motivated and drove their relationship. We know when God spoke of death to our first parents, He was not speaking of instantaneous physical death once they ate the forbidden fruit, because Adam and Eve continued to live for many, many, years thereafter. (Gen.5:5) So, God was referring to a different kind of death. It was a spiritual death, where God’s Spirit (Tree of Life) had once indwelt Adam and Eve, now the Spirit had totally withdrawn Himself because they were controlled by sin. Love and true life was no longer present with them in the Person of the Spirit. (1 Cor.3:16)

Eden was their perfect home on earth. God did not charge Adam to plant a garden home in the jungle somewhere, no, God planted the most beautiful garden for their home. It was His gift to our first parent. Their relationship with God was an intrinsic part of life in Eden and they lived in total Loving harmony with God where only good, joy, and everything magnificently beautiful was their only experience in life. But now everything had changed, “So the Lord God banished him (Adam) from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen.3:23-24). With their banishment, Adam and Eve lost their home and were compelled to build one with their own hands, and toiled for their livelihood. (Gen.3:19) With Eden gone, the “tree of life” (Holy Spirit) which our first parents imbibed upon daily to fill them with God’s Loving nature and thus relate fittingly with God was no more, instead, the sin-condition took charge and dominated their lives.

Adam and Eve walked out of Eden as fallen humans, cloaked in the sin-condition and burdened by fear, they no longer had God’s Spirit in them to guide and keep them. More tragically they severed and abandoned their relationship of Love with God. Their separation from God, the very source of life, meant only one thing, they now existed in a condition opposite from life itself – death! (Rom.6:23) Sadly, this was and is true for all of humanity. Adam’s eviction from Eden placed man on a path of self-centered fear in place of God’s outgoing Love. It left a trail of destruction as evident in our human history, and will end ultimately with our total demise, were it not for God’s grace. However, humans were given the freedom to change if they choose to do so. God’s desire is for man to freely choose Him so He can impart His three-fold gift which ultimately ends in immortality and the blessings of paradise. (2 Pet.3:9)

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A Depiction of “Tree of Life” (Wiki Commons)

What is the answer to man’s dilemma concerning sin and the sin-condition? What will come of this standoff with sin which alienated humanity from his Creator? Simple, bring back the Holy Spirit, bring back the “tree of life” so we can be sustained by its divine Love-fruits on a continual basis. But the Spirit cannot enter into a space where sin is dominant and controlling – in the case of the fallen human life. So, sin must first be removed before the Spirit can occupy the human space as a home for His dwelling. (1 Cor.6:19; Rom.8:9) It must be understood without a shadow of doubt that this three-fold gift of God: Immortality, Love, and living the relational “Triune Life,” are made real in the life of a human solely by the power and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

How will sin be removed once for all so the Spirit can reenter the life of humans and be made into a temple for God’s dwelling? (1 Cor.3:16) Enter the Savior: Jesus Christ! Yes, Jesus the second Person of the Godhead came as a promise from the Father, was born a human for the purpose of living a perfect life and die as the only worthy sacrifice for human sins. This attributing act of Jesus from His divine origin to take up His mortal humanity is commonly called the “incarnation.” Jesus came to save humanity from sin and bring us immortality, God’s Love, and eternal relationship in God’s Trinitarian realm. John gives us that immortal passage from his gospel, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16-17).

Then Jesus said this about the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune Godhead, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you…And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever” (John 16:7; John 14:6). From this we understand how the three Persons of the Trinity are unified harmoniously, and are inseparable relationally, so they work as One: the Father sends His Son, and the Son sends the Spirit. The Spirit then unites humans back to God and bring to reality the divine threefold gift and destiny of man. (To read more on the topic of sin, go to my post titled, “Sin is a Conditional Response, So is Love” at”: http://bulamanriver.net/13942)

Jesus explains to us how the Spirit is made to come and occupy a person making him/her a temple for God’s habitation. He said, “You must be born again of the Spirit” (John 3:6-7). Peter added how this new birth takes place, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38). To be ‘born again’ speaks of the act of repentance and forgiveness of sins by receiving Jesus as Savior – only then will the Spirit return and enter into human fellowship once more as it was from the creation. In the Bible rebirth springs out death itself – death of the old fallen self (fallen “Adamic human”), and the birth of the new self in Christ (reborn “Immanuel human”). Death always precipitates rebirth, and conforms with Christ’s own death on the cross and rebirth by His resurrection to life, paving the way to human immortality. (Rom.6:6, 8-9)  We listen to Paul’s words about this new birth, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live (death), but Christ lives in me (rebirth). The (new) life I now live in the body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, italics mine). To the Roman believers, Paul said, “But if Christ is in you (new life), you body is dead to sin, yet the Spirit gives you life because of righteousness” (Rom.8:10, italics mine).

So, Jesus role as Savior and Mediator makes it possible for the Spirit to reenter humanity’s space since Adam’s fall, and indwell human life as it was in Eden. This comes about through the spiritual death of the fallen human person born to sin from Adam, and take up the risen new life in Christ through the Spirit. (Rom.6:6; 1 Cor. 6:17; Gal.2:20) Once this death and rebirth takes place, we are back to square one, a clean slate, a fresh start, where God has always predestined for us to be at, like Adam was before the fall. With Jesus as the second Adam, humanity will face a even even greater and more magnificent future. (1 Cor.15:45; 1 Cor.2:9; Jam.1:12)

Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit will be our friend “forever” doing His sanctifying work of conviction in our sojourn on this earth. (John 14:16; John 16:7-11). Our “forever” friendship with the Spirit is made possible solely because of Jesus’ role as mankind’s eternal Savior and High Priest in heaven where He is “forever” mediating on our behalf to keep us in right standing with God. His eternal ongoing mediation sanctions the Spirit’s continuous sanctifying work in humans – this is what Jesus meant when He told the disciples, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). This means, there is a once-off inaugural giving of the Spirit at a person’s conversion by faith at baptism, then there follows a constant “filling” of the Spirit during the whole of the person’s life. (Eph.5:18; John 7:37-39) The Bible tells us, “Because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Such a High Priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Heb.7:24-26; also, 1 Tim.2:5; Rom.8:1; 1 Cor.1:30).  Yes, Jesus must pave the way for forgiveness and reconciliation so God can bless humanity with His Spirit and become recipients of the sacred threefold gift. (To read my post titled “Born For His High Priestly Role and Function,” go to: http://bulamanriver.net/11230)

Christmas reminds us about God’s Love and His promise to send His Son to enter our human realm and save us from our sins and join us forever to Himself. On that memorable first Christmas day when the Savior was born in Bethlehem, the angel who announced Jesus’ birth said to His mother, Mary, “You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (Luk.1:31-32). The name Jesus means “Savior” or deliverer. Jesus was no mere human, He is the Son of God. According to the revelation given to and spoken by the prophet Isaiah, prophesying the birth of Jesus, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Isa.7:14). Jesus’ messianic title, “Immanuel” means “God with us.” Jesus is both God and man. His divine origin from the Triune Godhead qualifies Him to be our Savior, for no human could be found to save mankind. Peter told the people in his day, “Salvation is found in no One else, for there is no other Name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Indeed, this is the essence of Christmas, it is the day God chose to unite Himself with mankind, keeping His promise to send the Savior in His Son, and His Spirit to fulfill His three-fold  gift and destiny for humanity. God has never deviated from His purpose and promise to mankind.

The account of Jesus birth is recorded by Luke in Luk. 2:1-20. I encourage you to read this passage – no need for a Bible, just click on the scripture reference above and the text will appear. This is the most beautiful and inspiring account about Christmas. For in it we witness the humblest of manner God chose His Son to enter our human world, in a manger, and in the most unlikeliest place for a Savior and King to be born, in a little nondescript town called Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)

Adoration of the Shepherds at The Birth of Jesus – The Immanuel,  “God with Us” (Wiki Commons)

How does this three-fold gift and promise of God begin to take shape in the life of man? It starts with the person freely exercising his/her faith to believe in the Savior given by God at Christmas. Faith is the primary spiritual vehicle which activates God’s miraculous activity in man. Faith activates repentance and forgiveness and the conferring of the Spirit in humans. (Act.2:38) You see, to carry out His three-fold purpose and gift in man will take a miraculous act. How will man attain immortality except by the miracle of resurrection from God. (1 Cor. 15:52-53) So it goes with the other two gifts of Love and divine relationship (“Triune Life”). God’s gifts are spiritual and faith gives us the pair of eyes to see and experience spiritual realities. Regrettably, we take faith for granted to our own detriment. The opposite of faith is to doubt – James tells us, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (Jam.1:6-7)

Faith comes from the Spirit as part of His sanctifying work in humans. With God, faith is the turning point in human life. Listen to the promise God makes us, and realize the power of faith, “WHEN YOU BELIEVED, YOU WERE MARKED IN HIM WITH A SEAL, THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory” (Eph.1:13-14, emphasis mine ). Because we had faith (believed) in the Savior Jesus, you and I were specially and personally marked by God our Father as His own CHILDREN with His own seal of adoption in His Spirit. He is the power who will resurrect humans to immortal children of God. (Rom.8:11) Hence we read, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Heb.11:6).

We have human faith, but it is limited to this material life validated by our five physical senses. Divine faith can be likened to a ‘bridge’ that connects humans across the impassable chasm of the physical realm of man into the spiritual realm of God. Think for a moment about Adam’s sin. He believed (had faith in) Satan’s word over God’s word and the spiritual realm reacted to his faith – he died spiritually because of sin flowing from his misplaced faith. Events in Adam’s physical world vibrated and turned in line with his faith resulting in his eviction from paradise (Eden). It shows how powerful and far-reaching we ever imagine faith can possibly be. Adam’s descendants (mankind) experienced all the human sufferings and man’s inhumanity to man as a consequence of his faith and continues to our day. As sure as the Scriptures tell us, faith is a living, dynamic thing, listen, “faith is the reality of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). Faith is real in the divine realm. In other words, you don’t have to see it physically through the 5 senses to believe its effect in the spiritual realm. As long as God says it (Spirit), then faith makes it true both physically and spiritually.

In God’s spiritual realm, faith has the power to activate both life and death – the ordinary or the miraculous. Faith provides divine protection, as Peter said, “And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation” (1 Pet.1:5, NIV). Paul said, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh (human faith) but are in the realm of the Spirit (Jesus’ faith), if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you” (Rom.8:9, italics mine). That’s to say, faith is the ‘doorway’ into the spiritual realm and all things about God, and the enemy too. Only through Jesus’ personal faith manifested as a gift in humans can bring man back to Eden (God’s presence), just as he was ejected when Adam’s faith was misplaced. (Eph.2:8) (To read more on this vital topic of Faith, go to: http://bulamanriver.net/8382)

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 Dove, Symbol of Holy Spirit and God’s Love & Comes to Man by Faith (Wiki Commons)

Here’s where Jesus’ birth and God’s three-fold gift through the power of the Spirit in man comes together. The Scripture says an angel appeared to Joseph and said, “What is conceived in Mary is from the Holy Spirit” (Matt.1:18-24; V.20). What we see in Jesus’ miraculous birth through Mary was God’s way of taking our humanity and joined it permanently to His Triune Being and Godhead. Thus, in a literal sense God takes on our sin-laden humanity through Christ’s birth on Christmas Day so we may be renewed by His role as the Messiah. But Christmas was not intended to be ‘one-way’ affair with just God entering the human realm. Now, humanity must have a similar miraculous birth by the same Spirit who made Jesus’ human birth possible, and enter God’s realm and take up His three-fold image as His gift to mankind. Jesus told Nicodemus about this spiritual birth, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). John the Baptist told his listeners, “I baptize you with water, but He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8, italics mine)

Jesus has conformed to our human image by becoming fully man while being fully God (Immanuel), now God the Father wants us to reciprocate and freely choose to conform to His divine likeness by becoming perfect like Jesus in the Spirit’s power. Thus, we read in Romans, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (into immortality). And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified” Rom.8:29-30, italics mine). This is God’s work made possible by faith.

So, we see Jesus was born a human and entered our physical realm through God’s Spirit, and the self-same Spirit gives man a spiritual birth to enter God’s spiritual realm. In both instances, there is a birthing process. Jesus was born a human on Christmas Day, in order that we can have our day to be born into His divine image into immortality by a resurrection. (1 Cor.15:35-58) Jesus promised the disciples, “Very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7, italics mine). The promised Holy Spirit lives in man “forever” and He is man’s ‘security deposit’ and guarantee of immortality. (John 14:16; Rom.8:11; Eph.1:13-14) Just as Jesus has a birthday in His human birth, so do we in our spiritual birth. That is the essence of the Christmas message.

As we saw, death always means a rebirth into new life in the Spirit. Paul tells us the reality of the Spirit’s work today, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Gal.2:6). What we see here, at long last, the once fallen “Adamic human” inherited from Adam is crucified and put to death on Jesus’ cross, and the new life in Christ resurrected and alive as the “Immanuel human,” through the Holy Spirit. Man can once more commune with God in the very presence of God’s heaven where He dwells. Man is put back on track in his journey to fulfill his divine purpose of conforming to the image of our Loving Triune God. (To read more about the fallen “Adamic Human” and the risen “Immanuel Human,” go to: http://bulamanriver.net/9718, entitled, “Jesus’ New Humanity”).

Now, what was God’s purpose for creating man in His three-fold image which God has given as gifts to humanity? I have left the best for last. Let me complete the passage of man’s creation: “And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over all the earth…” (Gen.1:26). God’s sovereignty over all creation is unquestionable and absolute. He possesses all power and authority for He is Creator and Ruler, that’s the personification of His divine Triune image. Therefore, as His three-fold image explains how He rules and creates by His power, thereby, the identical threefold gift to mankind is ultimately the gift of dominion and rulership with Christ upon this earth. (see Rev.20:6; Rev.3:21) The Bible states clearly, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Rev.5:10).

Today, man has limited creative abilities, which proves he is made in God’s likeness as Creator. Earth is man’s eternal home as Revelation 21 says clearly. God will remake a new universe with a new earth and new heavens, and He encourages us, “He that overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My sons/daughters” (Rev.21:7). His desire is we become like Him and inherit the recreated “new heaven and new earth” in the new age to come. (Rev.21:1) Yes, in the manner of Christmas, God will produce a newborn earth and universe where humanity is destined to rule in Love and Freedom over all creation with Christ. (2 Pet.3:10-13) This is all made possible only through Jesus and the Spirit working through us to bring about the three-fold gift of immortality, the divine Love-nature, and relationship with the Trinitarian God. (2 Tim.2:11-13Rev.20:6)

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“Then I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth” (Rev.21:1). (Wiki Commons- First Image Taken by Humans of the Whole Earth. Photographed by the Crew of Apollo 8)

Christmas Blessing:

As Christmas approaches, I encourage you to think about this threefold gift God our heavenly Father has given to humanity. It is truly mind-blowing when you imagine what it means to you and your loved ones this Christmas. Only Jesus through the Spirit’s work in us will give us the eyes through faith to see His unfathomable Love and conviction in His three-fold gift and purpose. May I wish you my readers the joys of Christmas and to your loved ones!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life.” Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,
(Your Servant In Christ)  

**“Triune Life” means to inherit human personhood identifying us as true persons with gifts in Christ and living according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27Rom.8:29) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional Love relationship with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life in himself (“Adamic humanity”). It means to experience the attributing relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who lives and walks in you (“Immanuel humanity”). Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) This is a life of divine power. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092, also at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036)

>>> Read about my true-life miracle I shared in my book and post, titled, “Miracle Living-No Ordinary Life!” I hope you find it inspiring and encourages you to receive Jesus and live the “Triune Life.” Go to: http://bulamanriver.net/2634

***Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.net, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, xulonpress.com, and other book store sites where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living” 

Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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