Monthly Archives: June 2013

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

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