Greetings once more Friends! It is Thanksgiving season in the US.
Let’s take it from where we left off in Part One, where I said this in the closing paragraph:
But we know what happened? Let’s look back at this scenario presented to us. Adam failed, and so did Israel. Israel found itself back to where they started as a slave nation carted off by the northern kingdoms. Eden – gone! The Promise Land – gone. The presence of God which brought the miraculous life – gone! Their security and defense with angelic host that stood guard over Israel – gone! Man in the pre-Eden era had failed. Man in the post-Eden era had failed. You can say both sides of Eden was experimented on, our “solitary” self-centered way of life was put to the test, and found wanting. What happens now? God gave man the only answer… Let’s begin Part Two…
Rest and Be Thankful Bench (Wiki Commons)
Jesus the Second Adam
God sent the Second Adam in Jesus Christ, His Son. After seeing a thankless nation flout His covenant, He had the prophet Jeremiah foretell the establishment of a New Covenant in the Second Adam to do what the first Adam and Israel could not do. God said, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”(Jer.31:33-34; Heb.8:10,12) Jesus lived a miraculous life healing all who came to Him with whatever disease and sickness. Not only physical but spiritual disease – He brought a spiritual message of the New Covenant from the Father. (Acts 10:38) Recall, it is sin which separates humans from God’s Presence and His miraculous manifestation. Jesus rectifies the mistake of the first Adam, redeeming man from the sin condition as Savior and Mediator, and takes man to the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is the metaphor for the Holy Spirit who brings to man the “Triune Life” of the “Bula man-river.* The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which we were made to participate through the first Adam, is a metaphor for a life of the self (the “solitary” life) under the influence of the devil. Jesus said, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).
Pentecost – Spirit of the Miraculous Life in Man
Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came, became the birth date of the Church. The main characteristic of its birth was the power of miraculous manifestation God gave it. Prior to that, the disciples and the faithful were cowering in fear for their lives. We know the story in Acts 2. The Spirit gave them faith, conviction, and boldness they never had. They spoke in languages of the different populace that were there for the feast of Pentecost. Three thousand gave their lives to Christ that day. They healed the sick and maimed. With the Spirit’s move the people took the Gospel message back to their countries and homes. What a story to tell. Man is given the Holy Spirit which brings this rebirth from the fallen condition we had in the first Adam, to the new life we have in Christ, the Second Adam. Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God (the “Triune Life”) unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:5-6). This rebirth where, through repentance, we dispose of everything to do with the path of the “solitary” life we inherited from Adam. The Second Adam comes with the Spirit who brings us the “Triune Life,” and the greater promise of eternal life. Paul tells us in 2 Cor.1:22, “He (God) set His seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” It is the Spirit who brings the continuous miraculous manifestation into the life of the believer. Not only in terms of the physical, but more so the spiritual – we have an eternal High Priest in Christ and the Spirit who brings Jesus’ mediatory work in heaven into our lives. Our “Eden,” our “Promise Land,” is a heavenly one in Christ, which the Holy Spirit brings to each of us personally, each and every day.
As humans, we will never stop trespassing, and God will never stop forgiving us in His Son. That’s what the covenant tells us. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray daily for forgiveness. This brings joy and gratitude in us because, as Paul tells us, we are declared “righteous” so we can remain in His Presence, and not be ejected from Him like Adam and Israel. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21). That is the continuous miraculous manifestation we have in Christ – which we will have all the days of our lives, and all the days of our lives to be thankful. Each and every day we are declared righteous to live the miraculous life which brings all blessings physical and spiritual alike.
What the New Covenant Does
We should understand the effect of how the New Covenant is presented and the manner it is brought to work in human life: No human can adequately thank and Love God in the way God expects because God exists outside of our human reality in His most holy state of Being. God exists in all the mystery of His holiness we will never ever know or comprehend, while man, still exists in his fallen state of alienation from Him. The truth is, only another God who is equally holy as the Father, can thank and Love another God adequately, perfectly, and absolutely. That God is Jesus Christ, the Immanuel – fully God and fully man. Jesus existed in the Triune Godhead as the Logos from eternity with the Father and the Spirit in their divine holy existence. But here is the most beautiful picture of humanity God our Father presents to us through the Gospel message Christ brought, and wants us to understand – we are there in their midst, living in the center of their Triune existence – the Immanuel who took our humanity in Himself to the heavenly abode of God – represents and stands for us until the time of change in the resurrection.
Rest and Be Thankful Shelter (Wiki Commons)
It is through Him, who takes our inadequate human responses, our hollow and many times meaningless “thank-you’s,” mollifies and perfects our shortcomings in Himself, and offers our “thanksgiving offering” suitably and perfectly to the Father. That’s the purpose of a Mediator, our High Priest, to take the “thanksgiving offering” of our human existence and offer them on the altar of the perfect sacrifice of Himself to the holy God and our Father. Only Jesus could do that for He is God as His Father. He is holy as His Father.
We recall what God taught the Israelites. No one was permitted into the holiest place of the temple where God was present with the exception of the High Priest. If an Israelite brought a peace offering, a thanksgiving offering, he cannot offer it himself in the holy place. He remained in a designated court within the temple grounds but the priesthood was appointed by God to perform the role of intermediary between God and man. The high priest alone is permitted to go into the Holy of Holies into God’s presence. That is what’s happening in heaven today with Jesus who is our High Priest.
Israel had a human high priest, who mediated for Israel, but this time God Himself in Christ, is our High Priest mediating for all mankind. The human high priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, Jesus has gone back to heaven to be with the Father as He was eternally with the Triune God. We recall, the moment Jesus died on His cross, a violent earthquake shook the land and the veil which cloaked and hid the holiest place in the temple tore from top to bottom. The event signified the holy God Himself had come to open the way for all mankind to continuously enter and live in His holy Presence through Christ out High Priest.
Jesus, by addressing His Father, “Holy Father,” (John 17:11) portrays for us a God whose mystery is beyond our comprehension of Him in His holiness, but, at the same time He is also closer to us than we can imagine – by being our Father. Jesus is our elder Brother. The Holy Spirit is our Friend and Confidante, our Miracle Worker. His holiness does not mean He is distant and untouchable. In fact, it means the exact opposite. He sent His Son so we can enter and live in His holy Presence. Yet He will be the God as He will always be – holy, exalted and sovereign above all creation in the physical and spiritual realms. The holy angels could echo only one refrain, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” (Rev.4:8)
“No Matter What Happens…”
So we read Paul tells believers, “Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, ALWAYS BE THANKFUL… No matter what happens, ALWAYS BE THANKFul…for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18, emphasis added). Life is now lived with a rejoicing and be thankful heart. Paul affirms this condition we have in Jesus, saying, “We are complete in Christ, for He is the head over every power and authority” (Col.2:10). Yes, indeed! We have come one full circle, from the first Adam to the Second Adam, and find ourselves where God has always wanted us to be in the first place: “to enjoy being in His presence” – that’s all the Father wants of His children. We are to be thankful that He is the Mover and Shaker in our lives. If you don’t have thankfulness in your heart, then you’re not living the miraculous life. If you are not living the miraculous life then you can’t generate thankfulness in your heart.
How do we surmise the life of the believer?: All of the believer’s life which subsists in the Triune Being of God, is now an act of gratitude of itself. Every cell in his body, every movement in his muscle, every breadth he takes, every heartbeat in his chest, all marches with a drumroll which voices one chorus: “Thank You, Lord! Thank You Lord.”
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you today and give you strength for authentic Triune Living as a Bula man-river.*
Kiang (Your Servant in Christ)
*Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bula man-river, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise
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