Category Archives: Jesus’ Mediation

THE NEW COVENANT – WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH ME? BY KIANG P LEE

Greeting once more from Dallas, Texas! What is the New Covenant?

The New Covenant is the foundation of the Christian faith and life. If the New Covenant can be encapsulated in a phrase or sentence what would that be? You may have heard it said that the Bible does not need interpreting, it interprets itself. So, the encapsulating phrase of the Covenant can found in this passage of scripture:

“Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Gen1:26-27) So, the New Covenant is a reminder of God’s promise to remake man into His immortal likeness and Love.

The New Covenant is ratified in Jesus blood, as God further promised, “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. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18; also Heb.9:12-15). 

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“National Covenant.” Believed to be the original from which copies were made for distribution of the fifty-two words long Preamble to the Constitution of the United States (1787) echoes phrases in the National Covenant – “We the People…” Photographed in subdued light. (Wiki Commons)

Two Broad Objectives

So, the Covenant has two broad objectives in humanity, the first is God’s Love (God’s character image, 1 John 4:8), and the second is God’s Sovereignty and Rule (God’s image of reign over His creation, Neh.9:6). Man’s stewardship of the earth (rule/dominion) and his relationship with others of his kind (Love), were the principles upon which life was going to be lived on the earth. Man is to rule the earth under God (Love, for “God is Love” – 1John 4:8). Incidentally, the Old Covenant had the same twin objectives, but through a different route by way of the nation of Israel. Israel was not faithful, hence, making the New Covenant necessary. (Heb.8:7-9)

Let’s now read the New Covenant:

“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel* after that time, declares the Lord. 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. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Heb.8:10-12, emphasis added; also Jer.31:31-34)* (Gal.3:26-29; Rom.2:28-29)

The message of the Bible has never been complicated, but simple. Man once lived in perfect union with his Creator in Eden as we saw in Genesis 1:26-27. Then rebellion set in and Adam and Eve were evicted from Eden. (Gen.3) And man’s journey has always been to return to his Eden-like life with his Maker. Until man does return to the life he had with God in Eden, his life and the life of those around him, will remain unfulfilled and empty. Man was made in His Creator’s image, so his well-being and state of existence is forever tied to the One in whose likeness and temperament he was fashioned. It’s about living in harmony with God (Love) in order to obtain harmony in himself and with others, and his domain over the earth under God. It’s that plain, it’s that simple! And because of the absence of man’s covenantal state of existence today, we see evil so prevalent in the world.

Relationship not Rulership 

For humans, rulership or dominion carries with it a proviso. Man’s rule precludes humans. We are to have dominion over all creatures and the earth and its resources under God, but not over another human. The Scripture makes that abundantly clear. (Gen.1:26, 28) Only God has the prerogative to rule humanity whom He created in His image. God ‘rules’ mankind in Love and gave His Son to save humanity. Paul said we are to “owe no man anything except the continuing debt of Love.” (Rom.13:8) Jesus restated the Genesis ‘dominion mandate’ precluding humans, after His own disciples argued about who was greater or more dominant among them (Matt. 20:25-28). He said, “those who exalt themselves will be humbled; those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:8-12). Jesus washed His disciples’ feet to show the humility that ought to govern our relationship with each other. (John 13:12-17) It’s about relationship, not rulership!

Covenant Expounded

So the covenant establishes God’s promise to bring humanity back to “Eden,” not a literal physical Eden, but a spiritual one, for God’s image is ultimately spiritual, not physical.

* By stating, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (V.12), God the Father promises a Savior to make man’s forgiveness, and freedom from the prison of sin possible. That Savior was and is His only Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16)

* By saying, “all will know Me, from the least of them to the greatest” (V.11), He gave man the gift of the Holy Spirit to make this union with Him possible through the Spirit’s work of regeneration. The Spirit also bring man’s gift and calling in life, which provides the way humans rule and communicate with God.  The Holy Spirit brings a new birth into God’s Love-nature. (Rom.5:5; John 3:3-7)

* By declaring, “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts” (V.10a), God the Father has received and accepted the mediatory life of Jesus’ as the vicarious substitute for all human responses. This is what Paul meant when he said, “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30; also Phi.3:9) Paul said further, “For it is God who is at work in you to make you willing and able to obey His purposes.” (Phi.2:13) Then in a sense of finality he told the Colossians, “You are complete in Christ.” (Col.2:10, KJV)

* When God said, “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (V.10), He promises humanity a new birth in the resurrection to immortality to make mankind His eternal children. (1 Cor. 15:51-58) Jesus said, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40) 

In these provisions, we see the fulfillment of the two broad objectives we read earlier in Genesis 1:26-27. The first three show what God does, and how He does it, in order to make man into His image of Love, and the fourth provision shows how He gives humans eternal life so humans can become His children and live in joyous existence with Him forever. Careful read of the Covenant will make us realize that the basis of the Covenant is the miraculous life the believer is privileged to live. Not one of the provisions can be executed successfully to its desired end without the direct immersion of the Trinitarian God in the life of man. The Covenant makes the miraculous life a reality in man. The Covenant is the source of the “Triune Life” believers live in heaven even in this earthly sojourn. Paul said this, “For the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” (1 Cor.4:20)

Man today is still in this journey back to ‘Eden.’ God has handed Jesus reign “over all rule and authority, power and dominion” upon this earth, so it is He who will restitute all things back to God from Adam’s rebellion. (Eph.1:21; 1Cor.15:24-25) Take Jesus’ hands and let’s return to our true roots as humans created after God’s own image of Love and to reign with Him.

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 today and give you strength for authentic creative “Triune Living” as a Bula man-river.*

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

Kiang                                                                                                                                                                  (Your Servant in Christ)  

*The “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. Man is the “riverbed” and the Spirit is the “living waters” that cover him and flows to all in his valley (destiny). (John 7:37-39)

NOTE: All information from this website is copyrighted. Any use of its content should be acknowledged by citing the website, address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship.

JESUS’ FAITH! BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings again friends everywhere! Let’s talk about faith in this post. I think you will enjoy this one. It is not presented in a conventional ‘churchy’ format, but I’m sure you will glean something to your spiritual benefit as a person.

Free Stock Photo of Trust Faith Indicates Believe In And Trustful

Spiritual Faith

What is faith? As a noun it describes one’s belief system. As a verb faith is the lifeblood of the believer’s acts and way of life. One describes who the believer is, and the other describes how he lives. Both elements work in unison to form a singular focus in life. In the same way Love describes God, faith describes man’s spiritual life. Love (God) is a noun because it describes who He is, and as a verb it describes how He lives and acts. (1John 4:8) We were created to become His image of Love. This is spiritual faith.

Human Faith

On the other hand, man displays a faith that’s entirely human and is unrelated to anything religious or spiritual. It deals with his life in the physical realm. For example, when we travel from one destination to another, we display a faith believing we will get to our destination safely and on time. Were it not so, we would not have made the trip in the first place. We travel to an exotic holiday destination believing it will give us an enriching experience. We move to a new job location in another city or state, and even a different country, believing it fulfills a dream and gives us security and a better way of life. Even brewing a cup of coffee requires some measure of faith, or else why choose one brand over another if it isn’t for some benefit we believe it imparts. Atheism is human faith which does not believe in the existence of God. We display this human faith all the time in our mental and physical activities. It is constrained to the human realm of reasoning and activity. The cogs which turn the wheel of human faith are man’s five senses. Anything unhuman and otherworldly it says, “I have to see, smell, taste, touch, or hear, to believe it.” This is human faith.

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The Great Physician at Work by F. Hoffman, 1890. His Medicine? Faith! (Wiki Commons)

The Two Faiths – Never the Twain Shall Meet?

When it comes to matters of the divine, man requires a faith that is not human because God is Spirit. Human faith and spiritual faith comes from two different sources and made of two distinct substances, yet not completely unlike. Whether it is spiritual or human faith, they both require the mind where both faiths are cultivated. Here is the crux of the matter, most Christians are relying heavily on their human faith to get by when it comes to spiritual matters, and that poses a problem. Paul said, “But people who aren’t spiritual (do not have the faith of Jesus) can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to mere human judgments (human faith), for, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’” (1Cor.2:14-15) In other words, spiritual matters are discerned through spiritual faith, not human faith. When it comes to spiritual discernment, human faith is riddled with doubt—always on shaky ground—and lives with double-mindedness.

The Faith OF Jesus

Human faith is incompetent for spiritual matters. So what is the answer to this faith question? It is clear man was not born with this saving faith. Paul makes the answer plain to the Roman Christians, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe.” (Rom.3:22, AKJV) Yes, the answer is Jesus’ very own personified faith! You may have heard it said, “Believe in yourself.” My message to you today is, “Believe in your true self” – in and by Jesus’ faith! So, your faith-scale has to be reversed and tipped in favor of the faith of Jesus. People may and can believe Jesus with human faith alone, but ultimately they will find it incapacitated in situations requiring deeper spiritual discernment, especially as it concerns God’s personal destiny for them. Jesus is not for mere intellectual inquiry, but for a far more deeper spiritual infusion of faith. The human mind is not for cerebral activity alone, it possesses a transcendent quality having infinite capacity. The difference is like night from day. Science today continues to be baffled by the complexities and mysteries of the human mind. We may see Jesus as a historical figure, a great moral teacher who went about doing good. One faith is activated by mere human intellect and physical capacity, while the other is produced by the miraculous life God promises those who receive Jesus as Mediator. Where the divine and physical intersect, miracles happen. Paul said, “For the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” (1Cor.4:20) Faith in the spiritual brings the miraculous activity to life in the believer which the five senses or mere cerebral response has no answer. This is the spiritual aspect of the mind where the Spirit of God moves.

Free Stock Photo of Belief Shows Believe In Yourself And Hope

“The righteousness of God which comes by the Faith of Jesus to all” (Rom.3:22). (pexels)

Be that as it may, human faith is not entirely lacking or hopeless. As inadequate as our human faith in spiritual matters, it is still relevant because God’s work of salvation in man cannot be done without human participation. Through God’s Tri-Personal nature as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, He reveals Himself to be a Loving participatory God. That’s how He desires His Love to work with humans He made in His image. So we use our limited human faith to believe and trust in the spiritually all-competent faith of Jesus to change us in ways man’s faith can ever imagine or think of doing. This is what Paul makes clear in this passage from Romans – “righteousness of God which comes by the faith of Jesus to all and on all that believe (with their human faith).” (Rom.3:22, AKJV) We are not mindless automatons. We are free personalities resembling God’s own Triune Personality. This is how the participatory life works: humanly we express our faith IN Jesus, while in our spirituality we live by the faith OF Jesus’ living Faith. The human and spiritual are fused into one expression of life. As Jesus’ faith grows, we’ll find our faith-scale begin to tip in favor of the faith of Jesus – our limited human faith will have less and less of a role and impact. As John said, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (John 3:30). Why, because the place where Jesus is taking us, our narrow human faith has no scope of reference to maneuver this unknown landscape. We are now traversing in the Spirit’s territory which requires the faith of Jesus to pioneer and forge on forward. It’s effect is we will grow to become a whole person because we are not limited by what our human faith allows. The two faiths, walking side by side, form one life of man in Christ. (Amos 3:3) 

To Believe is to Please God

As an example, when Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life,” how would your faith react to such a claim? (John 11:25) The human faith by itself would dismiss such claim as preposterous. We can ‘believe’ it as part of the ‘faith system’ we were brought up from childhood. It’s a hand-me-down and unproven faith of our parents, therefore still considered human. But it would take the faith of Jesus to believe it unquestionably with your life.This movement of the faith of Jesus in the believer triggers something so powerful in the realm of God. Faith is a powerful spiritual substance, for only Jesus’ faith moves God to act, nothing else does – that’s how awesome Christ’s faith is to man. Whatever gives God pleasure, moves Him to act. We please God by doing His will for us, and it starts with Jesus’ faith. Scriptures says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb.11:6) The purpose of life is to please God so He can move in our lives and be a blessing to others. Everything about His Son is pleasing to the Father, and we become equally pleasing to Him because of our faith in Jesus: “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I Love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matt.3:17) God’s relationship with sinful humans is constantly mediated in the life of His Son.

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Specifics of Jesus’ Faith

The faith of Jesus as a noun is specified in the provisions of God’s New Covenant promise. (Heb.8:8-12; Jer.31:31-34; Matt.26:28; Heb.12:24) As a verb it describes our willingness to live by its provisions, and second to be dedicated to the work of dispensing the New Covenant Gospel message into the whole world. (Matt.28:18-20; Act.10:38) (You can read about the specifics of the New Covenant in my next Blog Post on 8/5/14: http://bulamanriver.net/2993) John 3:16-17 stands prominent in the expression of the faith: “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.” Before his death He said, “Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying,“Drink from it, all of you.This is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt.26:27-28) If you read the provisions of the New Covenant you will find that every step of its fulfillment will require the direct act from the divine hand of God for its execution and success. That means, for man, the covenant requires God’s Loving hand in human life. The covenant makes the miraculous life necessary. This is how the faith of Jesus brings about the miraculous activity of God in the covenant life of the believer.  

The Gift of Faith – Holy Spirit!

The first act of God in blessing man for his faith in Jesus is He gives him His Spirit, the third Person of the Triune Godhead. His Son’s faith signals the turning point in a believer’s life which enables a spiritual Father/Offspring (Son/Daughter) relationship based upon the covenant to be established and nurtured in the Spirit. Jesus prayer was notable when He asked His Father to bless the disciples, and by extension all who believe in Him, “I WILL ASK THE FATHER, AND HE WILL GIVE YOU ANOTHER ADVOCATE TO HELP YOU AND BE WITH YOU FOREVER— THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18) There is no more powerful blessing God could give the faithful than the gift Himself in the Person of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said this of Jesus “I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8) Listen to what Paul said when a person receives the faith of Jesus, “WHEN YOU BELIEVED (JESUS’ FAITH), YOU WERE MARKED IN HIM WITH A SEAL, THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT.” (Eph.1:13).

Did you see that? Do you see what Jesus’ faith does? Faith moves God to perform an exclusive personal miracle upon the person who has the faith of Jesus. He is “marked in Him.” What is this miracle? The miracle is God’s act of sealing the person with the Holy Spirit. To be sealed means you have God’s divine stamp of ownership – you belong to Jesus. (2 Cor.1:22) You are His, you are loved, He is your security, you are a citizen of His Kingdom, His army of angels set up camp around you, He blesses you, you will experience the miraculous way of life, you enjoy being in His presence. (Psa. 91) In other words, man is unified to God’s divine nature through the Spirit. The faith of Jesus becomes our own when the very nature of God in the Spirit’s life dwells in us – “forever.” (John 14:16; 1 Cor.3:16) Paul said, “For by grace are you saved through (Jesus’) faith; and that not of yourselves (human faith): it is the gift of God.” (Eph.2:8, italics mine) This is the “Triune Life”** man is privileged to live and enjoy. The Spirit is the Source of the miraculous life and the personification of Jesus’ Personal faith in the believer. We saw how He worked mightily through the hands of the disciples on Pentecost. (Act. 2) What could be more providential and awe-inspiring than to be a front-seat participant in the work of God’s covenant promise which He carries out through the power of the Spirit in this world and in your life.

Spirit’s Threefold Role

But what is the purpose of the Spirit in the believer? There are three roles the Spirit play, the first is to bring the reality of Jesus’ faith in man, and make it more and more potent as He sanctifies man. Jesus’ faith has to grow to take a person from a spiritual babe to a mature believer. (1Cor.3:1-2) He becomes less dependent on his human faith and more reliant on Jesus’ faith. The second is to guide the believer into the will of the Father and the Son. And the third is He is the power of God that will morph man from mortal into immortality at the return of Christ. These are provisions of the covenant. Listen to how Jesus lays out the Spirit’s work in the believer, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear (still babes, needing maturity). But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth (act of sanctifying man). He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come (reveal the will of God). He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you (enhancing the faith of Jesus). All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you.” (John 16:12-15) Yes, man got his work cut out for him in responding to the Spirit’s move in his life. Remember, God’s work is participatory. That’s what Love does.

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Gentle Dove, Symbol of God’s Love (Wiki Commons)

Paul makes reference to the Spirit’s third role, “who (referring to the Holy Spirit) is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory,” (Eph.1:14) Yes, “glory” means the Spirit sanctifies and unifies man to God, guaranteeing man’s immortality in God’s family. (1Thes. 4:16-17; 1Cor. 15:12-58) That ought to make us see that our human faith is helpless in this activity which God alone can do. Only Christ’s faith can move man to believe and bring immortality to man. What an awesome blessing to have the Spirit in our lives. Jesus said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” (Luk.11:13) All we can do is ask with open hearts believing.

Example of Human Faith

Now I would like us to consider two separate pieces of research material as it deals with human faith in spiritual matters. The Pew Research Group says, “Nearly half (47% of Christians) says that one’s actions are the key to determining eternal fate, with nearly one-third (29%) saying that being a good, moral person is the key to everlasting life.” So, what do you think? Is it about man’s moral code? Is it about the “goodness” of your heart? Or, is it something much deeper? A Barna survey says most Christians don’t believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit, neither do they believe in the existence of the devil, Satan. (www.pewresearch.org ; www.barna.org) How does a believer attain immortality without the Spirit who is God’s pledge of eternal life in humanity? Only the “uncreated” (God) can impart immortality to the created. (John 1:1-4) Man uses his limited human faith to try to discern matters that’s beyond the limits of human comprehension in the spiritual realm. Without the faith of Jesus, man has no alternative but to put Jesus in a box of his own making, and He becomes an extension of man’s powerless human faith.  

“Whether Thrones or Powers or Rulers or Authorities…”

I wonder if our human faith can comprehend what Paul says of Jesus’ position in relation to man’s future, “This secret of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. In him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” (Col.1:16-17; 2:3) Only His personified faith in us, backed by His divine power that holds together all the power in the universe, both in the physical and spiritual realms, can give us the confidence to live the “Triune Life.”**

Free Stock Photo of Faith Word Indicates Believing Faithful And Believe Created by Stuart Miles

“It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Heb.11:6).

Unbelievers

In closing, what of those who do not believe even with their human faith? Their faith is misplaced. They may be atheists, of a different belief altogether, or whatever their persuasion. The Spirit is the ‘divine spark’ at work activating even the human faith as it befits the divine will. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:44) So even our human faith is left to divine prerogative. Does this mean that those who don’t believe are eternally doomed? No, God is the final arbiter of human salvation. Not man, or human interpretation of it. The Bible gives us a peek into the plan of God where each person will be called in His order to salvation. Paul said, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, (then) those who belong to Him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.” (1 Cor. 15:22-24, emphasis added). The underscored words “each in turn” implies that “every person will each have their turn.” Firstly, Christ Himself, then the “firstfruits,” then those “when He comes,” and lastly “those who belong to Him.” And here, the context is referencing the resurrection to immortality.

The Bible show there is more than one resurrection. (Rev.20:5, 11-15) Even the Jews who do not believe Jesus is the Messiah will be saved in the order of God’s timetable and according to His Loving will. (Rom.11:24-28) Remember, the Jews were the people used by God to preserve the Bible down through the centuries to our time. If God has placed His elect (Jews) in ‘disbelief’ to reconcile the whole world, how much more the Gentiles? God could well ‘graft’ anyone in again as He so choose, and when He choose. (Rom.11:14, 20-27) When does all this take place? It is a mystery beyond us, as Paul says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Rom.11:33, AKJV) Jesus told His disciples,”But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt.24:36).

I reiterate what Paul said earlier, when you have the faith of Jesus it makes you a whole person having access to everything God is doing in your life, and more. Your decisions will be based on sound judgments because you’re not relying on your limiting human faith alone. (1Cor.2:15) Paul said, “Look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of your faith.” (Heb.12:2) Go now my friends, use your shaky human faith to ask for and trust in the infinite, limitless, and miracle-working, faith of Jesus, which alone saves!

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 today and give you strength for authentic creative “Triune Living” as a Bula man-river.* 

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

Kiang                                                                                                                                                    (Your Servant in Christ) 

*The “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. Man is the “riverbed” and the Spirit is the “living waters” that cover him and flows to all in his valley (destiny). (John 7:37-39)

** Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. 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)

NOTE: All information from this website is copyrighted. Any use of its content should be acknowledged by citing the website, address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship.

THE ONE-MAN PRINCIPLE OF IMPLIED CONSEQUENCE – BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings, Friends everywhere!

I hope you found my last post on the three mandates God gave man from the beginning useful and constructive. My hope is it has added to your faith and given you confidence to foster healthy interaction and communion with others. As we participate in the Lord’s Life in us, we are helping sow the seed for a better world where His Triune Love unites us together and is the guiding principle in all we do. I hope this post will do likewise and add to your wholeness and joy as a ‘Triune’ person.

Many find it hard to believe that the life and death of one man can be attributed to absolve all of mankind’s sins and wrongs and be given the gift of everlasting life, in place of eternal death. Because of this doubt and suspicion, many in the secular world, have found it hard to fathom how Jesus Christ’s life alone has that implied, substitutionary, outcome upon all mankind. (John 3:16-17) They think it’s the kind of thing that’s born out of religious zeal bordering on superstition and religious fanaticism, and does not measure up to scientific criteria and norms. It’s too far-fetched to be believed. At the same time, there are many things in science, creation, the universe, which, even the best of our educated minds have no answer. Science, for example, has not been able to fully explain how the human mind works. So, if no one can claim to have all the answers, we can at least agree that we all play this game of life on the same level playing field of unfamiliarity, inexperience, and to a greater degree, ignorance. So, keeping an open mind would be the most sensible of options to take. Keeping a closed mind only serves our ignorance and keeps us in the shadows, rather than seeking enlightenment in the evolution of our understanding of ourselves and others. So, let’s answer this question on a more down to earth manner, and make sense of this question.

“One-Man” Attributive Principle in History

This may be an important thought to consider, the one-man substitutionary role of Jesus aside, the Bible is clear about one thing, it is through the one-man act of Adam, that all of mankind is in a state of alienation from God. The effect of Adam’s one-man attributive decision to disobey God, is clearly witnessed in the condition of man’s fallen state of being in the world today – of depravity, decay, man’s inhumanity to man, and death. Many see the dilemma of evil in the world, and have no clue as to the origin of them. God summarily attributed man’s depraved condition to Adam’s disobedience. Paul stated to the Romans, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Rom.5:12, NLT). Man was banished from His presence (Eden) and closed the path to finding enlightenment and the grace for authentic living. Adam chose the way of darkness and ignorance, and the greatest depth of ignorance is to deny the existence of the Creator. So this one-man attribution for all of mankind’s future is not something new or novel. It has happened in history – from the very beginning of man’s existence on earth. This is not something ‘religious’ or fanatical, it is a cause and effect matter that has scientific relevance. When the second Adam (Jesus) came, He taught us the way of Love, service, and self-sacrifice. That is not ‘religious,’ it speaks of a way that produces the opposite effect of the first Adam’s way of rebellion, self-centeredness, confusion, and heartache. Sadly, we continue to live in the reality and consequence of Adam’s rebellious way of life today.

Every one of us has a great responsibility to protect the environment – and climate change is a global issue that is going to require a global solution. Everyone’s action has flow-on, attributive consequences, as the Bible teaches. (Pic:Wiki Commons)

If our state of fallen, depraved, and corrupt condition, is really the result of one-man’s choice to disobey and alienate himself from his Creator, why is it so hard to believe that another Man, the second Adam, whom God foretold and appointed would come to right Adam’s wrong – yes, this one-man implied principle at work – would bring man back to right standing with God and receive His grace for authentic living? (Gen.3:14-15; 1 Cor.15:45-49) Paul taught, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor.15:22). Because Adam took mankind down the path of disobedience, with the deceitful prompting of the devil, God prearranged the coming of the second Adam to save man from the consequence of the first Adam’s sin, and defeating the enemy responsible for Adam’s fall, once for all. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, came and taught man a new way to live. The way of outgoing Love and self-sacrifice, to replace Adam’s way of inner-directed fear and self-destruction. He commanded His disciples, “A new commandment I give you, Love one another. As I have Loved you, Love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus was the personification of the prophesied Immanuel (God/man incarnation), the only perfect human, that could undo what Adam had doomed man into a life of servitude, fear and corruption. (Isa.7:14)

Principle of Attributive Consequence Continues Today

Here’s what we fail to realize, this principle of attribution and implied consequence, continues to undergird man’s relationship with other humans today. Though we may not realize the effect of this principle upon us, for good or bad, it is as real as long as God is Triune and exists in this attributive/imputive/connective spiritually ‘organic’ way fundamentally. We see this played out in history for good in the life of the patriarch Abraham. God stretched His hand to save Israel numerous times because He remembered His word of blessing to Abraham. (Exo.2:24) In our more recent history, we see this principle played out in our world wars with disastrous consequences. The life of Adolf Hitler stands out. Human history is littered with people of like violent disposition.

Man was not made to exist privately and in isolation in himself. He was made after God’s Triune likeness so he can live in Loving communion with his fellow humans, as God does in His Triunity. Yet, sadly, man continues to fail to take responsibility for all his actions which carries this imputive consequence. I’ll come back to our personal responsibility in this one-man attribution principle. But first, the obvious question that comes to mind is why does God permit this one-man attribution/implied principle to be such an overriding determinant in man’s relationship with one another? The short answer is because it reflects His Trinitarian Life as God who lives in Loving communion. He expects man, whom He created in His own Triune image, to live and behave that way, because He IS that way.

Imputive Consequence Is The Essence of The Triniatrian Life

Readers of my blog will know by now, that whenever I have tried to find an explanation for something, I have tried not to deviate from investigating the answer through the prism of the Trinitarian nature of God. It clears the mind off all the cobwebs of the “solitary” self we inherited from Adam. As long as God is Triune, there’s always a Trinitarian undercurrent which carries His authoritative, attributive, and implied, outcome in everything He does and we seek answers for. I said in one of my previous post that life begins where our concept of God takes root. Who is God? What makes Him do what He does? God declares Himself as ONE, yet, exists in Three Persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The act of any Three is the act of ONE God. Not Three Persons with separate outcomes. So, that’s imputive, interdependent, co-dependent living. So God, because He is Love, being Three, automatically act as ONE. Because He is Love, they are indivisible and eternally ONE. In other words, their actions are interconnected and therefore attributive to one another. When God created Adam, He wanted Adam to choose to live this Triune Life with Him. He created Eve to make the Trinitarian life comprehensible at the human level. Eve was not created separately but from Adam himself to depict this Triune inter-relativity by co-dependence. By alienating himself, Adam effectively cut himself off from God’s Triune way of Life. He is now effectively living the “solitary” way of life in himself without the Triune God.

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The Triune God – The Act of One is the Act of All Three, and the Act of Three is the Act of One. This is the Basis of Imputive Principle Man Lives Under. (Wiki Commons)

So this one-man attributive, inter-connective principle, if I may call it that, is founded upon the God who is Triune (three), yet ONE, attributive, and interconnected in all His Loving manifestation. That’s to say, Each of the Persons in the Triune Godhead always acts in ONE-ness, not three-ness. That’s another way of saying, everything God does is interconnected, interrelated, and unified with everything else, and nothing stands alone. The whole universe and the physical law that holds it together, including our earth, are all interconnected for it reflects the Creator who made it all – separate, individual, heavenly bodies, yet ONE, unified universe. So we see this principle of interconnection throughout creation. It begins with God who is three, and yet, interconnected and ONE. Though, through the naked eye, and our “solitary” mindset, we may observe the physical world as existing autonomously, everything is interconnected and finds a single expression. Like the Three Persons of the Trinity, they are ONE unified Being, natured in their single expression of Love. God is Love, so all He does bears his Triune/imputive Love expression.

Man may not realize this, but everything he does brings him in touch with this interactive physical laws of the universe, which like gravity, comes into play and compensates for if what he does is to work at all. See the modern-day exploits in air travel, space exploration, technology, advancement in science and engineering, sea and land travel, etc. All we do has to take into account God’s ‘law of relativity’ which Albert Einstein discovered, because that’s how the world exists – nothing is what it is until you relate it to something. The relational nature of God (Trinitarian) underlies our existence, despite living the “solitary” life which Adam has imputed upon us. Everything in creation has this attributive, implied, and relational resonance which is the signature of the Trinitarian God who sustains His creation in Love. Everything created resonates this Triune, interconnective principle, and man can choose to live by it, or deny it at his own demise.

Jesus Lived the “Trinitarian” Life, and Adam The “Solitary” Life

Listen to the words of Jesus as indicative of the interconnected creation in which we live, He said this about His words and actions, “These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me” (John 12:49-50; 8:28b, 29, 26b; 14:9-10, 24; 17:8; 6:63, 68). He said further, “By Myself I can do nothing” (John 5:30). This is an activity of the Triune Love which binds them together as ONE. Jesus’ actions are not for His private exploits but activities of Love with the Father and the Spirit. He said, “Not my will, but your (the Father) will be done” – even at the point of His death. (John 5:17, 19-20, Luke 22:42 emphasis added). Notice what Jesus said about the role of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune God, “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears” (John 16:13-15).  Jesus was declaring His life of Loving union in His Triunity with God the Father and God the Spirit. He said, “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). Jesus authorized the disciples to bring people into the Loving interconnected Life of the Triune God, and thereby live the one-man attributive, implied, and Trinitarian life in Christ. (Gal.2:20, KJV)

Whatever way we choose to live, whether it’s Adams “solitary” self-centered way, or Jesus’ “Triune” Loving way, it does not preclude nor nullify the one-man attributive consequence of our actions. If it is Adam’s “solitary” way we live by, it will produce fear, depravity, decay and ultimately death. If it is Jesus’ “Triune” way we cling to, it will produce Love, excellence, joy and grace for authentic Trinitarian living.

The ‘One-Man’ Trinitarian/Attributive Principle Affects Us All Regardless

Paul affirms this one-man Triune/attributive principle upon all, saying, “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife (believing), and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy” (1Cor.7:14, emphasis added). This imputive principle starts in your family, where your Triune Life in Christ is implied to those around you, so they also are in good standing with God because of you. Though they may not be in direct union with God, you are that connection which brings grace to them. This is the same principle God applied to save mankind through and in His Son. (John 3:16-19) What happens if a man lives the “solitary” life apart from the Triune God, and his actions are self-willed and evil? Are those around him doomed? Yes, and no! Though a person’s actions bear evil implied consequences, it will not harm those implicated, if, as individuals, they choose to follow God’s Love, and change their ways and follow good in place of evil.

The Death of Jesus – an Substitutive Act (Eugene Delacroix, Wiki Commons)

The whole eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel makes this plain. (Ezek.18) Notice, the Israelite acknowledged this attributive principle, so much in a negative light, it has become a proverb, a buzzword. (V.1). But the Lord tells them, the opposite is also true. Even though this implied principle is true, if the person shall turn from his wicked ways, “he will not die for his father’s sins, he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin” (V.14-18). Note also the warning given to the self-willed Israelites, notwithstanding the promises of blessings God gave Abraham, “But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham and I will remember the land” (Lev.40:40-42).

So, though they were implied recipients of Abraham’s faithfulness, there was an obvious implicit sense of duty to follow the patriarchal example, or their own self-willed attributive actions will nullify the covenant. God is perfectly ONE and indivisible in His Triune Love, we are not. God gave us minds so we can change, even if we have implied consequences which are evil which our fathers attributed and became part of us. God wants us to choose to be joined to His one-man Triune/attributive Loving way of life, and pass on and attribute His Love upon others through our inspired actions in the Spirit. (Rom.5:5)

Watch Over Each Other in Love

God makes this Triune implied consequence principle clearer in relation to our gifts and what we are expected to do with them. Speaking to Ezekiel God says, “If I speak and give them warning from Me… and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways… I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person… and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved” (Ezek.33:7-9). God is elaborating to man, who was made after His image, what is expected when living this Triune Life in Christ. We serve one another with our gifts and talents because God does the same in His Triunity. We are all “watchman,” watching out for each other’s welfare. In Loving Triune union in Christ, we are all made keepers of each other. (Gal.6:1-6; Phi.2:4; 1Cor.10:24) We must take loving responsibility for the gifts we have been endowed with, and let its energy invigorate us to embrace one another in the Spirit’s Love. This is the very essence of the life of the Bula man-river.*  (To read more about the Bula man-river,* go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book)

God’s Sovereignty

In all this, we must not miss the point of God’s sovereignty in everything. It is God who determines what is right and wrong through His character of Love. Therefore, it is God alone who has the power to forgive sins. It is He alone who determines how transgressions are pardoned and forgiven. It is God alone who has the power to grant man the gift of immortality in His Triune existence. (John 3:16) The Bible tells us, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim.2:13) Compassion and mercy is part of who He is in His sovereign Love.

So yes, God attributes the acts of man upon each other, whether for good or evil, and this is what He has done to us in His Son, Jesus Christ, for our deliverance. By giving us His Son, He attributes His one-man attributive perfect life upon all mankind for our redemption, just as Adam’s sin brought us into the shackles of slavery of evil and sin.  In Christ Himself, with His implied deliverance, He brings us the Father’s gift of immortality through the Spirit. Hence, we read this implied statement, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you (all) to God” (1 Pet.3:18, emphasis added). In that, we see the inseparable, eternal Love of God in these immortal words, “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 3:16). Let’s be truly thankful for Jesus’ one-man implied righteousness upon all mankind, and go out and live life as He did, knowing that all our actions have their inherent attributive consequences.

Blessing:

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 attributive Triune living as a Bula man-river.*

Kiang                                                                                                                                                          (Your Servant in Christ) 

* The “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. Thank you for your support.

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

JESUS MEDIATES ALL OUR HUMAN RESPONSES, PART 3 – ABIDING PRINCIPLE OF IMPUTATION, ATTRIBUTION, AND SUBSTITUTION – BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings, friends everywhere. We celebrate our Independence in the United States of America. Yet, the endurance of our liberties relies more than ever on our Interdependence, if we are to survive in any meaningful and lasting way in the world today.

In this third and final installment, we will see how this abiding Triune principle of interdependence, of attributing the baptism, life, and death of Jesus, constitutes and defines the personal faith and life of the believer, and those of his loved ones. The “Trinitarian Life” is motivated by God’s Love for man, while the “solitary life” is motivated by man’s fear of man. Let’s continue…

Day of Atonement – Living the Sacrificial Life

Once a year, on the day known as the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur to the Jews, all the wrongs and offenses of the nation was taken by the high priest into the inner sanctuary of the temple, known as the holiest place. There, in the most sacred place of the temple where God was present, the nation’s wrongs were confessed and absolved through a predetermined ritual played out by the high priest. (Lev.16) The sacrificial system given to Israel was mediated by the Levitical priesthood. It was centered on the high priest appointed by God. An Israelite could not offer a sacrifice for himself. It was the role of the priest who was God’s intermediary with man. The priest was the go-between man and God. Note also, the sacrificial system of Israel was highly regulated as to what sacrificial offering an Israelite can bring for various offenses. (Read Book of Leviticus)

Works

An Israelite may choose to sacrifice as many burnt offerings as he likes upon a mountain of his choice. He thinks God will be impressed with his giving. But it amounts to nothing, if he does not follow the laid-down regulations to the letter. There is nothing man can offer, no matter how big or how valuable, which, by his human estimation, may acquit him of his offences – nothing. There’s no amount of good you and I can do, in our “solitary” expression of self, that we can say is a form of sacrifice, which can be credited against my offences – nothing. This is what religion has imposed upon man – telling people their “obedience” will save them, among many other legalistic demands. It cannot save anyone. We don’t “obey,” we Love God. Love is a ‘willing obedience’ and sacrifice, not a forced ‘legalistic obedience.’ (refer to my earlier post titled, “Bula man-river’s Answer to Obedience,” dated May 11th, 2013).

Performance-Reward Approach

Not only in religion, but this independent “solitary” mindset, based upon fear, is pervasive in all of life, in societies, in human relationships and interactions. We have been swept into the world’s “performance/reward” based approach to life, which has defined relationships as something to be traded, and we have called it “good.” It’s a behavior cloaked in man’s “solitary” expression of himself. The enemy has made this “performance/reward” spirit so invasive and seemingly inescapable, it flows menacingly in the deathly waters of the Bulu man-river.* (Jer. 17:9) We must find cause to extract ourselves from the grips of this self-centered mindset. This deathly waters, flowing in man, has to be “flushed out”** if the Triune Life is to become man’s reality. (see Chapter 1 of my Book which explains this term, and Mission Statement above) It’s a life driven by fear. There’s performance on one hand, and reward on the other. It’s a form of ‘payback,’ if you like. It stems from the independent “solitary” mindset with the ‘self’ at the center of its gravitational influence. This is diametrically opposite from the interdependent Trinitarian mindset of God’s Love given without conditions which is at the center of His activity in man. It runs contrary to the principle of imputing, of attributing, and substitution that’s the essence of God’s Love when He gave us His Son for our absolute and eternal redemption.

There’s nothing wrong with getting paid for a job done: “The worker deserves his wages” (1Tim.5:18b). However, if we presume to make reparation for wrongs with something “good” through this “performance/reward” payback mindset, that is another matter. Man, in his relationship with God, transposes this graceless conduct onto Him, thinking he can “repay” and work his way into His favor. Subconsciously, man wears this “solitary” mantle and applies his fears in all he does. We are to wear and “put on” the cloak of Jesus’ and put on His Triune Love in what we do, in the Spirit. Love is about giving without consideration for reward. “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh (“solitary” fearful mindset)” (Rom.13:14, emphasis added).

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Israel’s Exodus and the Death of the Messiah are Identical Motifs of the Passover God has Chosen as Substitutionary Acts of Grace to Save Man (John 3:16; Act.2:38) (Pics: Wiki Commons) 

It is true God will “reward” His people for their works. But our works does not earn our redemption and salvation. Jesus tells John, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done” (Rev.22:12). The “reward” is only guaranteed if we get there first. Our works can become self-righteous and in vain. Let’s not be caught in the “cart before the horse” syndrome – let’s keep our heads in the right frame of mind. I’ll place lesser emphasis on the “reward” aspect because it is a given, but not so the Work of Christ’s mediation which our works can easily overshadow. Works has to do with our gifts, which comes through Christ’s mediation, in any case. (Eph.4:8) These are not separate entities, they both originate from one Source – Jesus! Jesus does both – He plants and waters. When we understand that, we’ll understand Peter’s admonition, “Make every effort to supplement your faith…” (2 Pet.1:9-11) The human effort and faith are joined and become one life in the power of the Spirit. What I’m expressing in layman’s language here are the doctrinal expressions of justification and sanctification which I have purposefully avoided for the benefit of our secular audience. (Read my Book for an indepth look on the subject of gifts (sanctification))

New Covenant Context – Man is The Temple

So, what does this mean to believers today? What  is the temple, and where is the temple’s most sacred place where sacrifices are offered in the New Covenant context? Why was the sacrificial system so highly regulated that it had to be followed to the letter? An Israelite could not bring an offering of his choice, nor offer it in his own stead. God has decided for him on both counts – what he is to bring for various offences, for thanksgiving, and who makes the offering. This is to convey to man there is no other sacrifice prescribed for man apart from the one prearranged by God to save him – to the letter. He is Jesus, the one and only Messiah given for man’s redemption, and there’s no other. (Acts 4:12) Jesus himself said He came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. In other words, the law, including the sacrifices, all pointed to Jesus who would fulfill all its requirements in our place. (Matt.5:17-19) He is the offering we take into the sanctuary for our reconciliation. He is the High Priest who offers our sacrifice of Himself before God.

It conveys the message of the “Triune” expression of God’s Love which is our covering, and makes and keeps us right with the Father. It replaces our fallen “solitary” nature expressed in man’s “performance/reward” life-style which was buried in the watery grave of baptism. Christ has done it all – He is the one and complete sacrificial Lamb and Savior. There’s nothing that you can bring to the table that can and will redeem you – that is why the sacrificial system of Israel was rigid and unchanging. You either accept what God provides on one hand, or, you come empty-handed on the other, choose. He encourages us to choose His Son. (Deut. 30:19; John 3:16-17)  Make no mistake – this “solitary self,” driven by his fears, is powerful, and cunningly deceptive, so much so that each day, he will be trouble enough to try to put us off-track from the Trinitarian center we have in Christ. (Matt. 6:34; Jer. 17:9)

Man is the Temple, The Heart is the Inner Sanctuary

The sacred place of the temple in Israel is the archetype of the sacred sanctuary in heaven where God dwells. In the New Covenant context, the physical counterpart is mankind. Humanity is the temple, and the inner sanctuary is the heart of man. The most sacred place in heaven constitutes God’s Being and heart. But on earth, God’s presence is localized in the human heart. God’s dwelling is in heaven, not on earth. If He comes to earth, He dwells in His temple that’s not made with hands – the human person. On earth, He dwells in the sanctuary of the human heart. Man is the human temple made with God’s own hands. (Gen.1:26-27) Though all of mankind is saved (John 3:16a), only those who receive and trust Jesus as Savior is made a temple, for the Spirit’s presence is what makes a person God’s temple. (John 3:16b; Rom.8:9) The heart is the seat of human intellect and passion. It is in the sanctuary of God’s own heart that He Loves mankind, and likewise it is in the human’s heart that man Loves God, in Christ. (Jer. 31:3; Luk.10:27) We speak to God from our hearts. So, man is the spiritual temple, the heart is the sacred and holy place where man permits God to dwell through Christ by the power of the Spirit – this is the essence of the collaborative Triune Life. It is here that God helps you to harmonize your life with His. In a more expanded analogy, the earth can be said to be the temple of the whole universe, for mankind dwells in it, and Jerusalem is the center and heart of the earth. It is the eternal city where God will gather and dwell with His people forever. (Rev.21:1-7) The heart is where humans asks God for daily forgiveness – “forgive us as we forgive others” – where the sacrifice of atonement is forever made in Christ so man can be made at ONE (Triune) with God.

The High Priest – Essence of Trinitarian Love by Substitution

The believer has to find a Mediator, the God-appointed “go-between,” for he cannot mediate in his own stead. In Israel, the Levitical priesthood performed that mediatory role. Without the mediator, the sacrifice stands alone, for an Israelite can’t offer the sacrifice for himself. In the New Covenant context, Jesus Christ is the Mediator. He is all three – our High Priest, who mediates our Repentance and our Forgiveness (sacrifice) in Himself. He takes all our human responses and makes us right with God forever. He is the “Go-Between,” appointed by God for man’s redemption and salvation. That is the heart of the Trinitarian Life we have in Jesus.

This act of “substituting,” of “transference,” and “superimposing” one’s existence for another – is at the heart of the interdependent Triune activity of God in His relationship with man. In it, we see the length God would go to save man. Jesus Christ mediates for us by being our repentance (Jordan), our sacrificial Lamb (Golgotha), and our High Priest (Melchizedek). He is the High Priest who takes man into the holiest place in heaven – into the very abode of God with the only acceptable sacrifice of Himself, and eternally vindicates man. So we see how we are complete in Him – repentance and all our human responses requires a sacrifice, and sacrifice becomes complete only when the High Priest offers it in our place. Jesus becomes all three responses for man, and completes man. (Col.2:10) The heart (sanctuary) is not the place for ‘trash,’ but the place for the High Priest to do His mediatory work. The heart (sanctuary) is the place for ongoing self-evaluation (change by repentance), sacrifice (forgiveness), and mediation (High Priest), resulting in the miraculous life and joyous living which the Spirit brings us. Paul said, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col.2:12, emphasis added).

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Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit Who Enters Humans as Temples

Man’s Heart, the Inner Sanctuary

Recall, we repent because Jesus has already repented for us in the Jordan, just as He has absolved us from sin on Calvary, so we don’t have to pay for our sins with our own lives, but instead be given eternal life as a gift from and in Him. (John 3:15-16, 36; 4:14; 6:40; 10:27-30) In the Psalms we read, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise” (Ps.51:16-17; Isa.66:1-2). In the heart, the Spirit is present to help man live the sacrificial life, just as the high priest of Israel went into the inner sanctuary, the heart of the temple, to offer the sacrifice for the sins of the nation on the Day of Atonement.

Man’s Two-Pronged Life Becomes ONE in The Triune Being

Here is the connection of this two-pronged life of your heavenly temple (reborn life) and the earthly temple (mortal life): Your mortal life is the cast replaying your new reborn immortal life in Christ in heaven. (John 3:15, 36) Christ, in His High Priestly role is forever imputing His mediatory work upon your mortal life on earth. Your mortal body and human heart is the mold and copy of the heavenly temple and inner sanctuary where you live in your new reborn life in Christ with God the Father. It is not the reverse. Do you go through times in life when it feels like God is not in your life; or worse that He has abandoned you? Do you go through time when your’re discouraged, depressed and guilty about your failings and mess-ups? The reason is because we have reversed God’s principle of imputation. We see our circumstances through the eyes of our “solitary” fearful mindset and impute our failings upon ourselves. In a true self-centered perspective to life, we have credited all our actions to ourselves, and wonder, regrettably, why they continue to haunt us? The “Trinitarian Life” and mindset imputes Christ mediatory work upon all our circumstances. God stands ready to impart His grace for living by imputing the mediation of His Son for our peace and joy.

If we have confidence in Jesus’ mediatory role, the Father’s grace will help us grow through every situation we encounter – even our failings. But when our failings transmit its staying power in our lives, meaning there’s no real and permanent absolution and resolution for them, then they become a scourge upon us. (Prov.14:34; Col.2:13-15) So if you are feeling guilty, depressed, and rejected, rather than having the Spirit’s joy, peace, and confidence, then most likely, your “solitary” mindset has come back to dominate your life as a believer (Bula man-river). The “Trinitarian” mindset has become ineffective, even non-existent. It’s like a river (Bula man-river) whose “living waters” (Holy Spirit) has subsided to dangerously low level, and dehydration has set in. We are quenching the Spirit’s work in us, which we are clearly admonished to watch and not allow from happening. (1 Thess. 5:19)

Our reborn life in Christ will always remain true to the principle of substitution God has ordained for man in His Son. When the “living waters” (Spirit) in the Bula man-river subsides to a critically low, we can lose touch with, and fail to grasp (unbelief), the enormity of God’s Love which imputes His Son’s perfect and glorious human life upon us for our eternal reconciliation. It is all a matter of God’s Love being manifested in all its sublimity and excellence in us by the power of the Spirit. (Eph. 3:14-19) The Bible states if we believe in Jesus as our Mediator, we are already made right with God – ” …that we might receive God’s approval through Him” (2 Cor.5:21b; Rom.3:22, 24-26). Where is guilt and rejection, who is there to condemn, Paul asks? (Rom.8:31-39) We look at our lives through the loving eyes of the Father who has given His Son to create and manifest a relationship with us that’s authentic as the one He has with Jesus. (Rom. 8:29)

Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63). The spiritual realm is infinitely more real than our physical, material world. Your new life in Christ is what’s reproducing true life in your human body. Through the glorified humanity of our High Priest in heaven, He presents your sacrificial life on earth, on the altar of sacrifice of His own life, before the Father. Your mortal body and human heart is the copy of the heavenly temple and inner sanctuary where your new reborn life in Christ with God the Father now reside. The imputing activity of Jesus mediation is relived in you each time the Spirit helps you offer your life in sacrificial Love from your heart. The two temples (abodes of God) are merged and become one harmonious expression of the Triune Life in Christ. They cannot exist as entities at odds with each other.

Prayer – Man’s Sacrificial Pathway Into the Sanctuary

This connection between our heavenly Triune Life, and the earthly mortal life, is made one (Triune/interdependent) through one of the principal Triune activities – the sacrificial prayers and thanksgiving we offer to God, in the Spirit. For relationships can’t exist without loving Triune communication (prayer). There’s also the study of His Word, meditation, and so on. This is what personal and corporate prayer is all about, and why they are important. The sacrificial system of Israel is a picture of what’s happening behind the scenes today, each time we offer prayers as our sacrifice. In prayer we are vocalizing our relationship in the Trinitarian experience in the power of the Spirit through Christ before the Father. In the New Covenant context, prayer is sacrifice offered to God, as is our praise, and all of life itself – “I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Ps.141:1-2). And, “Therefore by Him [Christ] let us continually offer the sacrifices of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Heb.13:15). Praise can exist only in a heart that is filled with the joy of the Spirit who brings us the Triune Life of the Bula man-river.

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Praying Hands by Albert Duere. Prayer Takes Us into the Presence of God. (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

Role of The Spirit

In prayer and praise, we lay our lives bare on the altar of sacrifice before God. Prayer is a unified Trinitarian activity – the Spirit takes our prayers to Jesus, and in our union with Him, presents them perfect before the Father. (Heb.7:25-26; Rom.8:26-27) The admonition that we remain constant in prayer is for the explicit purpose of remaining in the inner sanctuary in heaven so grace can be dispensed incessantly for authentic Triune living in His earthly temple. (1 Thess. 5:17; Luk.18:1-7; 1 Tim.6:19; 4:8) The Spirit, who is given as a gift to be with us “forever,” is at the same time, present in the Triune Being of God in heaven. (John 14:16) God is omnipresent. So Herald*** is the conductor between this two-pronged, heavenly/earthly, life (temples). He renders the heavenly life in Christ real to us on earth in our mortal bodily temple. For it is in prayer that we are taken into the most Holy place in God’s presence in heaven, where grace is dispensed for Triune Living, transmitted in the power of the Spirit in the earthly temple (human life) and sanctuary ( human heart). This is the reality the Father sees in you, and wants you to see in His Son, by the power of the Spirit. This is Triune Living!

Mistakes – A Springboard for Good, Not Evil

Listen to what Paul says about harmonizing this two-pronged life in Christ, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile” (Rom.3:22). Faith is at the heart of the Triune Life. Jesus is God’s righteousness in man, and man’s righteousness in God. It is from this most sacred place that the grace of God flows abundantly to the believer. We may make mistakes in our mortal bodies as we surely would because we live in this fallen world. But God’s provision for man overpowers any and all wickedness and evil. The heart (sanctuary) is the place where the High Priest does His mediatory work before God, where self-examination, sacrifice and healing takes place, which brings about joyful living and praises. We become better people when we learn from our mistakes. Mistakes should not discourage us, for we have a Mediator who is always taking care of our present by freeing us from our past. Mistakes and failings become a scourge to those who live the “solitary life” where their past never goes away, but follows them wherever they go.

InterDependence not Independence

The reborn Triune existence is about a life of interdependence, not “solitary” independence. In our life in Christ in heaven, we participate in His High Priestly mediation which provides the overpowering means for the eternal reconciliation, forgiveness, and liberty for man. If Jesus mediation is not eternally sustainable and viable, then mankind is doomed. God overpowers any and all sins in His Son. Where there is God’s light, darkness flees. We pray for daily forgiveness because we are in our complete saved condition in Jesus. Paul said, “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ and walk according to the Spirit (saved condition). For the law of the Spirit of life (Love), has made me free from the law of sin and death (sin condition)” (Rom. 8:1-2 emphasis added). The body is the temple for the real reborn life in heaven, which will one day be joined to it, and glorified in the resurrection like Jesus own body. (1 John 3:2-3)

Purpose of Earthly Temple – Using Gifts for Others

How is this earthly temple in our mortal life lived out? God endows us with gifts with which to reach out to those who have not heard or believed this breathtaking and awe-inspiring Gospel of living and existing in the Triune Life of God. (You may read Chapter 8 of my Book, titled, “Destiny and Dreams” for further explanation on the subject of gifts. Check my web site for details about ordering my Book). The Spirit’s work in us is prescribed in Matthew 28:18-20 – go into the world and make believers out of unbelievers – how? – by employing our gifts. God is not asking you to do something for Him that you can conjure up in your fearful “solitary” mindset. We are not living in the old “performance/reward” mindset which we have washed in the blood of the sacrifice. We erroneously think that our gifts and abilities are ‘ours’ which we give to God – as if to say, they exists independently from Him. Yet, we saw that God, in His Triune nature of Love, made all things interconnected and interrelated – nothing exist in isolation. In our vain “solitary” and fearful inclination we like to imagine we have something we can give God, while God invites us into His Triune Life so we recognize that we give back only what He has Loving endowed us with in His Love.

So, our gifts are God’s abilities given us in His Spirit. From the essence of God’s Love springs all gifts and all goodness. The magnanimity of God’s Love is seen in the expression of the incalculable gifts and abilities demonstrated in mankind for the good of all. The Christian faith is about what God has done for man, not what man can do for God. Through Jesus, we live a new reborn life and are given gifts through His Spirit. (Eph. 4:7-8) He’s asking you to embrace what He has done for you – the best thing the Father has done for us is lovingly offer His Son as our repentance, sacrifice, and High Priest. Accepting Jesus in wholehearted faith, is what God expects of us – nothing more, nothing less. All our talents and dreams come from our union with Christ, for Paul says, “that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.1:9; 2:2-3).

Human Mind – Where Dreams & Destinies is Birthed

Through our union with Jesus, we are given the wisdom to understand who we are in our God-given destinies. Think about gifts and abilities from the perspective of the decision-making ability of the human mind. Without the mind and its decision making process, gifts and abilities would be non-existent. We would be mere beast, mere animals limited to inflexible instincts. It’s with the mind, knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration of the Spirit, that the miracle of gifts and abilities come to life through the inspired choices we make. God has chosen to join Himself to us, which is why we have minds, reflecting Him. (Gen.1:26-27) We are not beasts. Jesus specifically said what we are to do with our gifts – to unify those who believe the Gospel to the Triune Life of God – He said, “baptize them (give them this new reborn life) into the Life (Name) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” That is the beginning of man’s life as a “Triune being” in Christ – the Bula man-river.**** (Matt.28:18-20)

Personal Imputation Blessing

Finally, I have left the best for last. I thought if I had this piece inserted somewhere in the middle of this 3-Part installment, you may miss it altogether. It concerns God’s profound Love for you – individually as a person. This principle of imputing Jesus’ Life upon you for your redemption, both spiritual and physical, is something so precious that is passed on to your family because of you – because of your unified reborn life with and in Christ. Listen to what the Bible tells us, “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy” (1Cor.7:14).

Paul confers this encouraging and awesome blessing from the Lord within the context of marriage and family life. I encourage you to always take your marriage and your family, including those who may not be in the faith (yet), into the hallowed sanctuary of heaven in prayer, so your loved ones may also receive the grace for living in the Spirit. My hope is, I have somehow been able to open your eyes to see the awesome Love of God our Father, Who reserves His unfathomable Love just for you in His Son. There’s much to give thanks for, let’s continually praise Him from the depths of our hearts.

Blessing

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. Until the next time, live freely and joyfully in Jesus who constantly mediates all our human responses before our Loving Father. This is the essence of the life of the “Bula man-river.”

Kiang                                                                                                                                                          (Your Servant in Christ) 

* Bulu man-river is the metaphor of the “deathly waters” flowing in the person, instead of the “living waters” of the Spirit.

** “Flush-out” is essentially the point when a man-river (person), believing Christ as Savior and Mediator, activates the life-blood of Jesus and flushes out the “deathly waters,” and replaces it with the “living waters” of the Spirit.

***Herald’  is the name I affectionately call the Holy Spirit.

**** The “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.  Thank you for your support.

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

JESUS MEDIATES ALL OUR HUMAN RESPONSES, PART 2 – ABIDING PRINCIPLE OF IMPUTATION, ATTRIBUTION, AND SUBSTITUTION – BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings again, friends everywhere! 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.

In Part 1 of this post, I explained that the purpose of the Bulamanriver* in the Triune Life** is to harmonize the human life, with all his responses, with the divine will of God. We saw this can happen only through a new life humanity is given in Christ by a new birth in the power of the Spirit. Through this miraculous act, we are “born again,” given a new life, in Christ in heaven. Thus, we live a two-pronged life – the reborn true life in heaven, and the physical life on earth. We saw this new life is inaugurated in the life of the believer through the ritual of “baptism.” Baptism signifies the death and burial of the old self, and the birth of humanity’s new identity in Christ’s own death, resurrection, and ascension. He now lives in heaven in Christ. In the parable of the Bulamanriver*, a person now the riverbed and the Spirit of “living waters” forever flows in him/her. We ended on the matter of ‘sacrifice’ where we saw that it is something that can’t be avoided because humanity face the strife of life universally. ‘Sacrifice’ is not bad but good, for our heavenly Father led the way by ‘sacrificing’ His one and only Son for mankind. “Sacrificial Love” is Trinitarian and divine, whereas “self-centered sacrifice” is “solitary” and human. The “Trinitarian Life” is motivated by God’s Love, while the “solitary life” is motivated by human fear. Let’s continue…

Principle of Imputing

Consider the principle of imputing, of assigning, of superimposing the life of Jesus upon believers. In part one, we saw Paul talks about this in his letters to the Galatians, the Ephesians, and the Colossians. This theme shapes and props the New Testament message all through, and reveals the Love and activity of the Trinitarian God in man. Paul tells the Romans, “For 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! Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people” (Rom.5:17-18).

If Adam’s disobedience in Eden was and continues to be imputed upon all of humanity resulting in human death and alienation from God, then Jesus’ obedience and faithfulness is likewise attributed to the believer and reconciles humanity to God and brings salvation and true life in the Spirit. We can offer our lives as a ‘sacrifice’ only because Jesus has gone before and offered Himself for mankind. We can love God with all our heart, mind and strength, because as a human, Jesus has already loved God perfectly in our place. In of the fallen state of human beings, inhered from Adam, a person cannot Love God as expected of him/her through human effort. Just as God imputes Adam’s fallen state of existence upon earthly humans, so He imputes Jesus’ perfect and risen heavenly life upon believing mankind, thus becoming humanity’s Mediator.

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Jesus Mediates for the Disciples and Believers at the Last Supper (Philippe de Champaigne, Wiki Commons)

Jesus Had No Sin to Repent

Therefore, the baptism we undergo as believers is to personify the reality of the reborn life we now have in Christ in heaven. It is the participation of His baptism of repentance in the Jordan, which we vicariously assume in Him. Jesus did not have to undergo the baptism of repentance of John the Baptist – he had no sin to repent. John himself said this when Jesus approached him to be baptized, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you, so why are you coming to me?” (Matt.3:14) But what Jesus told John further expounds this principle, he said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt.3:15). And John knew what Jesus meant. He was sent to prepare the way for this momentous event Jesus was about to do for mankind by going into the Jordan, repenting for all humanity.

Overarching Principle

This overarching principle of transference, substitution, and collaborative responsibility is the essence of the Triune Love of God. It explains the inestimable value of God’s Love for mankind. However, the “solitary” existence of humanity is influenced by his fears under the influence of the devil. Though humanity choose to live his “solitary” life, nothing exists in isolation or in “solitary” existence apart from God in all His created and ongoing creative works. He does not depend on creation, but creation depends upon Him for its interconnected and interrelated (Triune) mode of survival. Therefore, this Triune image of the Creator undergirds all His creative handiwork, especially so with humans, and man’s interaction with other humans and with all creation – whether we recognize it or not. We ignore it at our own detriment. Everything in the created universe spontaneously harmonizes with God’s Triune character. It’s an unspoken truth that fills our universe, our earth, and speaks to us in silence for it undergirds all of creation. (Ps.19:1-6)

The challenge that humanity can’t seem to get a handle on, springs from his insistence to relate with God on his own “solitary” terms and fearful mindset, instead of God’s unified “Trinitarian” terms of Loving relationship. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship (relate) in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, emphasis added).  We’re misguided when we imagine what we “do” is what earns us His favor. What we are capable of doing for Him in our “solitary” and fearful frame of mind, will never move the dial of His grace in our favor a single notch. Grace is dispensed through Jesus, and Christ alone. Christ has done it all – He is mankind’s complete Savior. The spirit of loving the “self” is at the root of the “solitary” life in humanity. Mankind, who alone possesses a God-like mind, has to make a deliberate choice to recognize and align himself/herself in this Triune environment. In a previous post, I wrote that true life begins where our concept of God takes root. When we think Trinitarianly in the Spirit, our minds take a totally new perspective in life – we’ll see that everything in creation is interconnected, interrelated, and unified and is meant to be that way, for God is Trinitarian. More so in His relationship with man, and man’s relationship with his fellow humans. We experience His Trinitarian expression of His Love in all of life. Nothing in creation has a “solitary” life, or lives in isolation.

Repented for Humanity

So, in true Trinitarian expression of His Love, we see Jesus, though He had no sin to repent of, assumed the “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” of John the Baptist, and repented in the place of humanity (Luke 3:3; Matt.3:13-17; Rom.6:3-4). A person repents because Jesus has already done it for him/her, not because he/she is capable of doing it “solitarily” of himself/herself. Or, a person is able to repent of his/her sins when he/she believes God superimposes Jesus own act of repentance upon the believer in the Spirit’s power. The Spirit is given to inspire and convict humans to repent. (John 16:7-11) The heart to repent comes not from the human heart, but from the Spirit in the person. This is the essence of the divine Triune activity in mankind. Jesus has already mediated for our repentance in Himself when He was baptized in the Jordan. This principle of imputing or crediting Christ’s life upon humanity is how we are made right with God. When we think Trinitarianly, we will realize there’s nothing in the salvation God offers humans he/she can of his/her own human “solitary” effort save himself/herself – it has to be a Triune activity all through. And the Trinitarian activity is one of attributing and imputing Jesus’ life upon mankind. That’s the purpose of Jesus taking up His humanity – the Immanuel, to join mankind to the Triune God – “God with us” (Matt.1:23; Isa.7:14).

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Modern day baptism of believers in the Jordan River. Jesus inaugurated Man’s Baptism of Forgiveness of Sins (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Died for Mankind

Though Jesus was without sin and did not deserve death, (for the Bible states, “the wages of sin is death” – Rom.6:23) He was crucified by taking humanity’s sin upon Himself, so we can be forgiven and redeemed. (John 19:16-18; Rom. 6:6-8; 2 Cor. 5:21) This is the principle of attribution inherent in the Triune Being and Life of God, in whose image man was made to replicate. Repentance stands alone if there is no sacrifice to offer for it. Conversely, a sacrifice is relevant only when genuine repentance accompanies it. The two form one movement in Jesus, who mediates both man’s repentance (Jordan) and forgiveness (Golgotha/Cross). And, equally importantly, Jesus mediates all of our human responses. The first of which was to defeat the devil which Adam failed to do in Eden and brought destruction and death upon man. After His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit to face and defeat Satan once and for all in the most important battle fought for mankind’s deliverance.

Lived for Humanity – Between Jordan and Golgotha

Three momentous events: Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, the defeat of the devil in the Judean wilderness and perfect life of service of Love to all, and His death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension, represents all our human responses to life He took upon Himself and now Mediates as our High Priest, today and forever. Peter’s account of Jesus’ life speaks of Jesus mediation for man’s human responses,  “You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:37-38; also see Isaiah 61:1-3). In other words, in between these three pillar events, He lived a perfect life. When He took the pain and heartaches of all the people who came to him, and healed all their sicknesses and alleviated their sufferings, He was mediating all our human condition and responses in Himself.

Hence, we are given this Triune statement and blessing, “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:4-6, read the remainder of the chapter). Do we sense the essential meaning of Trinitarian expression of God’s Love? Paul says, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Col.2:10 NLT). Our wholeness and completeness as a person comes from our union with and in Jesus. This principle of attributing and assigning is at the heart of the Trinitarian life.

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Jesus death on Cross was Ultimate act of Mediation for Fallen Humanity (Wiki Commons)

“More than Conquerors” in Christ

God, by vicariously superimposing the life of Jesus upon believers, is given the ability to overcome the devil and his schemes because He has already defeated Satan in the wilderness. (Matt.4)  He said, “Take heart (be of good cheer), I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, emphasis added) That is a statement of attributing Jesus’ victory over the devil and the world as embodying our own victory. Paul affirms this victory, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (or, the sacrificial life). No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.8:31-39, emphasis added).

Israel & The Sacrificial System

Now, think about ‘sacrifice’ in the Trinitarian meaning of its application. For the essential meaning of repentance (Jordan), defeating the devil’s temptations, and human forgiveness through His death (Golgotha/Cross), springs from God’s own ‘sacrifice’ of giving His Son upon the cross for man’s repentance and forgiveness. Ancient Israel offered ‘sacrifices’ to their God. It was part of the national life of Israel. Recall what the sacrifices meant – they were offered because of transgressions and offences. The Levitical priesthood was part of the sacrificial system of Israel. The sacrifice was offered in the temple where God dwelt. The sacrifice was intended to create awareness for the need for reconciliation and reparation for the wrongs done in the community of Israel. Sacrifice is therefore an act of Love reflecting God Himself. Its intention is to replace acts of selfishness with acts of selflessness and generosity. By doing this, over time the nation would become God’s own people reflecting Him. When we look at sacrifice in that light, it is not as undesirable as it seems.

For the sacrifice is an act of God’s Love – that’s the essence of sacrifice from the Trinitarian perspective. Nevertheless, sacrifice can be self-centered – that’s how the “solitary” mind of the Bulumanriver*** experiences the strife and trials of life. The spirit of loving the “solitary” self is at the center of the person’s motivation and action. It’s the 1-dimensional “solitary” life of fear and love for self, as opposed to the 3-dimensional “Triune” Love of God, where man’s activity is outgoing and considers the welfare of others. (Refer my Book, Pg.56, 96, 109) It’s unfortunate, but this is still the case in the lives of many who call themselves ‘Christians.’ They have yet to anchor their lives in the Trinitarian values reflecting the Triune mind of God. They are still living “solitary” lives and trying to impose this fearful mindset upon the Triune God. It’s untenable and unsustainable. It disengages the Spirit and limits His influence in man.

New Covenant Sacrifice

With the Old Covenant done away, the New Covenant presents a different set of answers to the matter of ‘sacrifice.’ (Hebrews, chapters 9 & 10) It has now taken a more all-embracing acceptance of life, with the animal sacrifices removed. We read this in Romans. In the Message paraphrase: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life, and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you as the best thing you can do for Him” (Rom.12:1, MSG). God is not asking you to do something for Him that you conjure up in your “solitary self.” The Christian faith is about what God has done for man, not what man can do for God. He’s asking you to embrace what He has done for you – that’s what God, in His Loving Trinitarian Being, has done in giving Hos one and only Son. Then, once you recognize that, in turn, you embrace it as the only best thing you can do for Him. The best thing the Father has done for us is Lovingly offer His Son as our repentance, sacrifice, and High Priest. Accepting that in faith wholeheartedly, is what God expects of us – nothing more, nothing less. God has chosen to join Himself to mankind through Immanuel, His Son. This is a picture of Jesus marriage to the Church, His bride.

You, the Temple

The abolition of sacrifices under the Old Covenant does not necessarily mean the end of sacrifices altogether. It is presented in its New Covenant context in Christ’s sacrificial Love. For the sacrificial system of Israel was all pointing to the reality of the ultimate Loving sacrifice fulfilled in Christ. Here’s the New Covenant application – under the New Covenant, you are the temple. The temple built by Solomon in all its glorious splendor, was a picture of one superlative truth to God – the truth of humanity as God’s living temple! When God gave instruction how the tabernacle was to be built down to the finest detail, He was depicting the human life as the temple in whom He would live, walk, and engender a Triune relationship in His Love. (Exo.chaps. 25-30) Paul affirms this, saying, “We are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people’” (2 Cor.2:16; 1 Cor.3:16). God does not live in a structure made by human hands. If that were true, Solomon’s temple would never have been destroyed. (Acts 7:47-49; Isa. 66:1-2)

The physical temple in Jesus’ day, in its spiritual divine/human depiction under the Old Covenant, was destroyed – we know what happened. The moment Jesus breathed His last on the cross, a great earthquake shook the temple and tore the heavy curtain of the inner sanctuary from top to bottom. This was to signify that the temple, given to Israel to illustrate God’s heavenly abode on earth, ceased to exist from that time forward. (Matt.27:50-53) The temple had translated from a building made with hands, to the living, physical, human believer under the New Covenant. The physical material temple was no longer necessary nor needed, for its reality in Jesus, has come. Jesus takes our humanity in Himself and as mankind’s High Priest into the true inner sanctuary of God’s presence in heaven, once and for eternity. Because of that, all of humanity, from every corner of the globe, now have access to enter the most holy place in heaven through Christ. Our reborn life in Jesus in heaven is replicated in man, God’s very temple on earth. This is the essence of the Triune Life and how it is lived. As to the physical temple in Jerusalem, it was destroyed in A.D. 70, just as Jesus predicted.

In Part 3 of my final installment, I will continue on this subject and see how this principle of attribution and covering affects us personally as Christians and believers. In the mean time, live in the energy of the Lord’s joy in the Bulamanriver.*

Kiang                                                                                                                                                                (Your Servant In Christ) 

** Triune Life means a believer who lives in the Triune Being of God. God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in the “Bula” man-river, and he lives in God’s presence. Man’s union with the Triune God is made possible through Jesus, Himself God who took our humanity into the Triune Godhead.

*** Bulumanriver means the person who lives a life in his “solitary” existence in himself without God, but influenced by the devil. (For detailed exposition read my Book: “Bula” man-river – The Miracle of Triune Living.”)

* The “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. Thank you for your support.

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

JESUS MEDIATES ALL OUR HUMAN RESPONSES IN LIFE, PART 1 – BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings Friends Everywhere,

Thank you for taking the time to share my posts through this Blog site. I hope it has given you encouragement for living, as it did mine in writing it. Life is a joy to live when we follow our Creator’s calling and purpose for life.

In my last post, I have tried to articulate the Triune Life* we have in Jesus through the imagery of the river as articulated in John 7:37-39. In this post, I will continue to draw attention to living the Triune Life we have (exist) in God through Christ in the power of the Spirit. This post is presented in three parts, and explains how Jesus mediates our life and all life’s responses, good and bad, and presents us perfect in Himself as our sacrifice before the Father. This is the essence and heart of what it means to have life, and live it as the Bulamanriver** (Triune Life/Love).

Human Will & Divine Will

The purpose of the Triune life we have in Christ is to harmonize the human life, with all its responses, with the divine will. When Christ came, He made the divine will possible in man, for He was fully God originating from the Triune Godhead, and fully man. It could not have been done before Christ’s coming. So man, by accepting Jesus as Savior becomes like Him, living a unified, two-pronged existence. One is the divine existence which Christ brings to him, and the other is his mortal, physical existence. Man’s divine being exists in heaven, made possible because Christ took our humanity into heaven, having glorified it through His perfect life, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Man was never able to be joined to this divine Triune Life of God until Christ came – and until man expressed faith in Christ’s work. This is the essential meaning of the name Immanuel ascribed to Jesus to reflect His role of unifying “God with us” (Matt.1:22-23; Isa.7:14).

Jesus at Emmaus. Jesus mediates for Man in His High Priestly Role in Heaven (Pic: Matthias Stom, Wiki Commons)

In that moment of faith, he is given a new birth, or a new life. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus by saying man must be “born again” to have this new divine life from God. Nicodemus assumed man would be given another physical birth with a self-centered “solitary” existence. One is enough to cope with, let alone another “solitary” life to further complicate man’s existence. No, he was mistaken, Jesus was talking of a new birth, a new life from and in heaven. (John 3:1-15) Up until that moment of faith in Jesus, man has always been a “solitary” being, and lives a narcissistic “solitary” life. Now with this new birth, he is no longer a “solitary” being, rather, he takes his place in the life of the Trinitarian God, and becomes a “Triune being” – in place of his “solitary” existence.

Karl Barth, regarded as the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century, writes about this aspect of God’s act in his book, “The Humanity of God.” It did not dismantle the Trinity, God did not become four by adding man in Himself, no, man became part of the Trinity through the second Person of the Triune Godhead – Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of Man, took our humanity and glorified it in the very Being of God. The Holy Spirit, because He is One with the Father and Jesus, inherently and automatically became part of us when Jesus glorified our humanity in Himself. Indeed, for God created man for the purpose of joining him to His Triune image and likeness. (Gen.1:26-27)

This difference between the “unbeliever” who has not received Christ, and the “believer” who has Christ, is this new life in Christ which comes to him by a new birth in the power of the Spirit. The guarantee God gives man that his faith in His Son is real – that this new divine birth is reality – is the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will live in the life of the believer “forever.”  “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you FOREVER” (John 14:16). We see how God cannot deviate from His Trinitarian expression in saving man because that’s who He is by nature – Triune. The Father gives His Son to save man, and through the Spirit, power to live Godly lives. The Spirit’s power to work miracles is the testimony and proof that only believers have this new divine life in Christ in heaven. Paul said if we do not have the Spirit we are none of His. (Rom.8:9b) People believe they go to heaven when they die, no they don’t, man’s already in heaven through the new birth and life in Christ – now! We are waiting for His return with all who dwell with and in Him in heaven. (Mark 8:38; Jude 14-15)

Are Unbelievers Condemned?

Are unbelievers condemned? No, they are all saved. Recall, we were at one time, all unbelievers. The famed passage from John tells us, “For God so loved the world,” – that means not just Christians, the whole world, all peoples of all nations and all race and color – “that he gave His One and only Son.” But the passage goes on to say, “…and whosoever believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” All have been saved and waiting for faith to step into their lives and be given the “born again” divine life in Christ. So, all humans live this unbelieving “solitary” life, until in Jesus they are given the believing “Triune Life.” To live this Triune Life in Christ, you are living in heaven, because that is where the Triune God lives. It is in heaven that the “Triune Life” is lived, and made to exist on earth through the believer. God does not live on earth, we do, and He comes and lives His Triune reality in man by and through the Spirit.

The Spirit is what gives us this guarantee of immortality for He constantly takes us into the Triune Life of God in heaven. (2 Cor.5:5) Why did Jesus say of believers, even if they die, they still live – they never die? (John 11:25-26) They never die because their new reborn life in the Spirit they have already taken up residence in heaven – in Christ. Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63). This mortal life is a tent or temple. Paul affirms this for us, “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2Cor.5:4-5).

Baptism

This new life we have in Christ is inaugurated in the believer through the ritual of “baptism.” Why is baptism with its inherent meaning so vitally relevant to the believer? Because it expresses a person’s faith in what God is doing through His Son. Through baptism the believer is inducted into this new “born again” life that makes the believer a “Triune being.” Jesus charged the disciples saying, “Baptize them, (or join them) into the life (name) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matt.28:19-20). When a person is immersed in water, like a river, it signifies his burial and death with Christ on the cross. When he rises from the watery grave, he is raised up with Christ in His resurrection. And when hands are laid on the believer for the gift of the Spirit, it is then that he ascends to be with Christ heaven by the Spirit’s power. You are dead, and your life is now hid in Christ in heaven. (Col.3:3) This is the birthplace of the Bula man-river,** who takes his or her stand in the finished work of Christ. (My Book explains this in greater detail, refer my website, www.bulamanriver.com)

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Baptism Site in the Jordan River, Believers following in the Footsteps of Jesus (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Paul affirms our spiritual death and resurrection in the baptismal act, saying, “…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life in now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Co.2:12; 3:1-3).

Paul confirms our death in Christ telling the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, (alright, I’m dead) but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal.2:20).

Again in another passage, reinforcing the believer’s ascension with Christ, Paul said, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:6-7).

Christ’s Mediation: Death, Resurrection, & Ascension

This is the substance of man’s faith in Jesus, and God’s faith in man – that we believe God imputes and rubberstamps the mediatory life and work of His Son upon the believer – “I am crucified (died) with Christ.” “You have been raised (resurrected) with Christ.” “God raised me up (ascended) with Christ and seated us with Him in heaven.” As we’ll see, the High Priest is the go-between man and God. This is the reality God the Father sees in every human who believes in His Son. The problematic question to answer seems to be – do I see the same reality the Father sees in me in His Son? Your faith in Christ is no trivial matter. It gives you a new life that exists in another dimension – God’s Trinitarian dimension. Hebrews tells us, “Without faith (in Christ) it is impossible to please God” (Heb.11:6, emphasis added). And this is the question we seek to answer – harmonizing the human life with the divine will. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and they who worship Him, must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” The unbelievers with their “solitary” existence cannot exist in this “Trinitarian” dimension.

Looking for “Sacrifice” in All the Wrong Places

Now what happens to this physical mortal body we still have, which Paul calls a “tent?” Elsewhere, he calls it a “temple.” If we exist in heaven in a new life in Christ, then the role of the Spirit is to bring this  Triune Life and unify it with our mortal life. (John 16:13-15) That’s how man is “forever” taken to live this Triune life in Christ, in the power of the Spirit. Let’s see how this plays out. Paul said, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship” (Rom.12:1). Peter said that when we face trials and called upon to live sacrificially, we should not think of it as something strange, it happens to us all. He said, “rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings (or ‘sacrifice’) of Christ.” (1 Pet.4:12-13)

‘Involuntary’ Sacrifice

Here is another problem: we have wrong ideas about ‘sacrifice.’ We think ‘sacrifice’ is something to be avoided at all costs. Generally, our attitude is, “I’ll live a life against my will – it does not fit-in with the vocabulary of my life. It does not register with me.” The trials and strife of life come at us regardless. We think ‘sacrifice’ happens exclusively to Christians, but not unbelievers – they have it good. We fail to understand, that sacrificial living, though it may not be labeled as such, happens across the spectrum of human experience. Whether we are seeking God’s will for us or not, ‘sacrifice’ is normal and personal. We all live sacrificially, though involuntarily, through the trials and tests of life. No one is immune from this sacrificial life. ‘Sacrifice,’ in one form or another, in every shape and size, is the personal challenge we are called upon to face regardless of race, social status, religion, economic class, nationality, or any wall of division we may want to erect for ourselves. It is the level playing field which defines our humanity.

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Dove, Symbol of Holy Spirit (Wiki Commons)

But here is the difference – what matters is the way we choose to respond to the trials and tests of life, and the meaning we assign them in relation to our frame of reference. The greatest teachers in life are wisdom and consequence. Logically, if you have your newborn life in heaven, you will face them differently from those who don’t believe in Christ, who live entirely “solitary” lives. Christ mediates all our human responses. ‘Sacrifice’ now finds meaning and purpose in the believer’s life, for it has become part of the Triune life of God – it’s not something to avoid or regret. It is something to embrace with joy, with your personal calling and life-gift in the Spirit as the attractant and point of reference. (Jam.1:2)  So, the sacrificial life we find in the strife of life teaches us to face them with purpose, faith, and Love. In God’s Triune essence of living, He would not ask us to do something He is not prepared to do Himself. He sacrificed His one and only Son because of His enormous Love for us. By doing so, He expounds the essential sacrificial love which must embody all our sacrificial living and giving. That’s Triune living.

He Who Waters Others…

Anything you give for love’s sake, always comes back and makes you grow and become all the better for it. Proverbs tell us, “He who waters others, will himself be watered” (Pro.11:25, KJV). Loving sacrifice is watering others, and we are watered when it is done in the Love of God, as a true Bula man-river. It is as if God is speaking to humanity through the strife of life of human experience, calling upon man, “Come to Me, come to My Son, and you will find rest to your souls.” Man will fight and struggle and turn all his life’s strife and tribulations into a burden too heavy to carry. It has brought on all kinds of stress, sickness, and diseases. But if a man is objective about life in his search for answers, over time he’ll discover he’s backed himself into a corner from which he cannot turn away. He may not like what he sees. He may want to escape it, rather than facing up to its reality. But the answer is obvious and undeniable, and he knows it. Yes, it is Jesus Christ. God offers us a life of sacrifice that’s lived in His Triune Love, not in man’s “solitary” mode or genre. God’s “sacrificial Love” is Trnitarian and divine, whereas, “self-centered sacrifice” is “solitary” and human.

In Part 2 of my installment, we will continue on this subject and cover the principle of imputation, of assignment, of attributing, Paul mentioned in the passages we saw in this installment.

I’ll see you then, meanwhile, realize God’s Love in His Triune expression for you, is far too great for our limited human mind to comprehend fully and completely yet. So we’re living far short of what He has already done and is doing for us because our “solitary” disposition always gets the better of us. Only when we enter the Triune Being of God in Christ, will we see the full expression of His Love toward us in all its magnanimous expression. This is the place of miracles. (Eph. 3:17-21)

Kiang

* Triune Life means a believer who lives in the Triune Being of God. God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in the “Bula” man-river, and he lives in God’s presence. Man’s union with the Triune God is made possible through Jesus, Himself God who took our humanity into the Triune Godhead.

** The “Bula man-river” 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. Thank you for your support.

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