SPRING IS TIME FOR RENEWAL, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings friends everywhere! As the season of Spring welcomes us in the Northern hemisphere, it is uplifting and inspiring to see renewal in nature all around us.

Spring time brings on new life which greets us everywhere. How things change in a few short weeks, Take our family peach and apple trees, it was not long ago when they were just messy unruly twigs and long dried branches. Now, with pruning, they are bright leafy green trees and full of life with golf-size fruits. The avenues and sidewalks are already heralding Spring-time with their magnificent blooms and inspiring colors and tones. 

Like the Spring in nature, there is likewise a spiritual Spring. It is almost as if God created the four seasons to depict His activity in humanity. We have a spiritual Spring when renewal takes place and we gain fresh perspectives and sow its seeds. Then there’s summer when we tend to the fruits of renewed purpose and energy. Then autumn brings on the joyous harvest season to prepare us for the winter when we can reflect on what God has done in the past year, before He brings us to another refreshing start next Spring. And so the cycle of life goes.

How does this portray our spiritual Spring? In what way does He make it truly refreshing as well as renewing?   File:Peach Tree,Bar,Nishapur.JPG

 Peach Tree in Late Spring/Summer (Wiki Commons)

God is Creator, therefore, the basis of all He does is to create, restore, and renew. He sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue and regenerate mankind. God’s creation, as it relates to man, simply means to impart true life! Life is opposite of death. Adam brought on death to man through rebellion and sin, but Jesus brought life through righteousness and Love. We read, “So it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being;’ the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor.15:45; also, Rom.5:12, 14-15). God is the God of the living, not of the dead. (Mark 12:27) The Spring season points to life, not death. What is this life God desires to give man, whom He has created after His own image? (Gen.1:26-27). Jesus answers, “God so Loved the world and gave His only Son that whoever believes shall have eternal life” (John 3:16). Adam gave us a living physical being, sold to sin, but Jesus (second Adam) gives us eternal life, through the life-giving Spirit. Jesus is man’s spiritual Spring, for He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:16).

Freedom to Choose

Immortality is God’s image, He’s not human like us. But He made us for immortality. He made us humans first so we can freely choose His way of Love, as opposed to the way of bondage and fear of the devil. Love and freedom are opposite sides of God’s Triune nature. God is a God of Love, He is Love, and where Love is, there is freedom. The freedom of choice God gave Israel millennias ago, still rings true today, “Today I have given you a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you may choose life, so that you and your descendants might live” (Deut.30:19, NLT). Yes, we will live a blessed life humanly speaking, and eternally live in His Triune presence.

God encourages us to freely choose the life He dearly Loves to give us, “Oh that you may choose life.” So, it’s a way of life which produces true life. He does not offer us eternal life of and by itself, but immortal life in God’s way of Love and freedom. Because we are made for His image of Love and freedom, God gives us a mind capable of making choices. He did not make us like beasts that’re controlled by instincts. He gives us the freedom to rebel if we so choose, like He gave Adam, but He encourages us to choose life instead.

But the truth of the matter is, since Adam, we have been held in bondage to the devil’s deception where we have had no choice. This form of bondage is called sin. Sin is an insurmountable wall between man and God. Sin simply means to be in a state or condition of rebellion against God. The wall has to be removed to give man the freedom of choice, for as it is, he has no option but serve the devil in a deceived state of existence. But Christ came, and removed the wall of separation of sin, and for the first time, we are given a choice between the way of bondage in the devil, and the way of freedom in the Spirit. Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (bondage)” (Gal.5:1). We have lived all our lives under the devil’s influence that we cannot decipher the difference between true and false freedoms. Jesus came and lived a perfect sinless life, was crucified as the human Savior, He was resurrected and ascended to heaven, and became for us the eternal Mediator between man and God.

File:Damiano Mascagni Joseph Sold Into Slavery by His Brothers.jpg

Joseph Sold Into Slavery by His Brothers by Damiano Mascagni1, (1579-1636) (Wiki Commons) 

Before He was crucified, Jesus made a promise to His followers, He said, “I will ask my Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:16). Jesus told the disciples what the Holy Spirit (Helper) will do, “He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you” (John 16:14). In other words, the Spirit will reveal to man all that Jesus means to each one of us on an individual and personal basis, and collectively as a church. The Spirit takes away the scale from our eyes so we can see and receive true freedom.

What will the Spirit reveal to each of us? Jesus answers: first, He will expose sin for what sin truly is (John 16:8). Second, He will teach us what righteousness truly means (V.8). And third, He will reveal what is the ultimatum of judgment. (V.8). Then He explains what each means to us: firstly, sin is simply man’s refusal to believe in Jesus the Messiah through whom all sins are pardoned, past present, and future (V.9). Sin is a spiritual diseased condition from which we can never be cured except through a permanent Mediator (Jesus Christ, our High Priest), and the Spirit who sanctifies us. Secondly, righteousness means Jesus has gone to be with the Father (V.10). (I will explain this in detail in the next paragraph). And thirdly, judgment means the instigator of sin, Satan, has been judged and convicted because Jesus has overcome him by His perfect life, and His sacrificial death on the cross (V.11).

Righteousness Is Life (Spring)

The Spring season depicts life, let’s answer the question, what is righteousness? Proverbs tells us, “In the way of the righteous, there is life” (Pro.12:28). So, primarily the fruits of righteousness produce true life. But Jesus goes further and provides a revolutionary, yet all-inclusive, definition of righteousness (life) never heard by man, He said, “Righteousness (life) is available because I go to the Father” (John 16:10). In other words, true life is made possible only through Jesus. By saying His ascension to the Father in heaven is the whole meaning and implication of righteousness, He was saying a lot more than meets the eye. Think about it, by returning to the Father now in His glorified human/divine form, Jesus not only took our humanity and glorified it in Himself as the only perfect human who ever lived, and died as Savior of mankind, but He broke down the wall of division of sin which separated man from God since Adam. Finally, man can enter the very presence of God once and for all eternity through His Son. He continues to play that role as our High Priest in heaven. One has to be righteous to be in the presence of God. Thus, we read this, “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness (receive true life) of God” (2 Cor.5:21). Paul says further, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (righteous)” (1 Cor. 15:22). It means we can spiritually step into Jesus’ glorified life in faith, and enter into the Loving presence of our heavenly Father, and fellowship with the Triune God. Listen: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:6). This is not just dogma, this is spiritual reality. It takes the living faith of Jesus to enter and live this spiritual reality.

File:Hillview Farms peaches on a peach tree.jpg

Spring Brings Life & Fruits Synonymous with Spiritual Righteousness (Wiki Commons)

Now, listen to how Jesus explains this reality we have in Him. This is a portion of Jesus’ prayer to His Father,  “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with Me where I am. Then they can see all the glory You gave Me because You loved Me even before the world began!” (John 17:24) Did you see that, or have you read right over it? From eternity, before any physical matter was, before time and space came into being, God’s only activity was Loving His Son. God is Love – that’s all He does. It is difficult for us to wrap our minds around this because we have lived all our lives under bondage to our fallen state of existence. Listen again to Jesus, .”I have made Your very Being (the Father) known to them—who You are and what You do—and continue to make it known, so that Your Love for Me might be in them, exactly as I am in them” (John 17:26, MSG, emphasis mine).This eternal activity of Love the Father has for Jesus in the Spirit’s fellowship, we now become privileged to share and experience forever in Jesus. This is the essence of the Gospel and the “Triune Life” the Spirit brings to each one of us. It is hard for such a reality to sink into our limited human minds, but this is the Gospel’s truth.

“I’m A Self-Made Person” 

Many believe righteousness (life) is the good things we do for our families, neighbors, and the greater community. Nothing could be further from the truth. God calls human goodness “filthy rags” (Isa.64:6). Self-righteousness is condemned throughout the Bible. (Ezek.33:13; Rom.3:27; Titus 3:5) Self-righteousness means human goodness which claims to give life, and man has no power to impart life because he is part of the created. The fact that man eventually dies, proves that. He can only receive life from the true Source of life. Only God is uncreated and is the Source of life as Creator, the giver of true life (righteousness). Only the Spirit, the Source of true life, can produce authentic good through our deeds. (Eph.2:10) Keep in mind, humans have been doing good and evil in this world under bondage to Satan’s influence. This life is the product of self-righteousness begotten of the forbidden fruit from the “tree of good and evil” which Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat. (Gen.2:16-17) The devil has craftily deceived humans making them think their good deeds will produce life and save them. It’s disingenuous good that’s hollow and have no lasting value. But Jesus reveals to us the divine goodness in His Love (true life), and how our heavenly Father had planned to bring His human children back to Himself through His Son, and in the power of the Spirit. In other words, living the “Triune Life” in the Spirit activates this life in Jesus which brings genuine renewal and authentic goodness (righteousness/life), the physical counterpart of Spring. As I said, God is Creator, therefore all of life in its authentic lasting expression springs from a source that’s spiritual, not physical which is part of the created realm.

“By Myself I Can Do Nothing”

We don’t often realize one vital principle Jesus lived by when He walked this earth: He never relied upon Himself to do the work His Father gave Him to do. Frequently, we imagine Jesus to be like some super hero from the movies, but in truth He never fits that mold, even though He was God’s Son. For He said, “By Myself I can do nothing” (John 5:30). Isn’t that disconcerting for many. The miracles He performed in the backwaters of the Palestinian landscape was not entirely His own doing. The scriptures tell us clearly He had the anointing of the Holy Spirit’s power, the third Person of the Triune Godhead, who worked collaboratively with Jesus to fulfill His Father’s mission. (Acts 10:38; Matt.3:16-17) Why am I emphasizing this point? Because Jesus never lived the “solitary life” which the devil deceived Adam and Eve into accepting. The solitary, self-centered life of humans is the basis of the rebellious life of the devil. Jesus lived the collaborative “Triune Life.” He was never a “lone wolf” doing His own thing. As the second Person of the Trinity, He could never act alone except in complete Oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit, with whom He is indivisibly of One Substance in the Trinity. Peter said, “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet.2:21). Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor.11:1). We too follow His example and say, “I can do nothing on my own” (John 5:30, NLT). If we follow this motto, then the only way to live is the collaborative “Triune Life” where we trust in stepping into the life of Jesus in the Spirit’s power. The “Triune Life” is not lived entirely earth, but derive its energy and life by living in Christ in heaven.

I hope you can see where we are going with this – if the Spirit “dwells in us forever” as His earthly temple as the scripture attests to this truth (John 14:16; 1 Cor.6:19), and He is homousiosly of One substance with, and inseparably unified in the Trinitarian Godhead, then His presence in us automatically connects us to Christ with the Father in heaven. So, when we come back to Jesus’ definition of righteousness in John 16:10, we find ourselves living in its message, being transported by the Spirit and made righteous in Christ to be with the Father so we can receive renewal and life here and now, and ultimately immortality. (John 16:14-15)

This is the Spring of Life which flows into us like a “river of living waters” (John 7:37-38). It comes from living the “Triune Life” in the Spirit’s move in our lives. We are the riverbed into which the “living waters” of the Spirit ever flows.

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

Blessing:

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 always. May the Spirit enliven you and make all things concerning you possible in Triune Living as a Bulamanriver.*

Kiang,                      

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 Bulamanriver, 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.

Note: Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information

 

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