Monthly Archives: July 2016

HOW TO LIVE THE “TRIUNE LIFE,” BY KIANG P LEE

“No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the Vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me” John 15:6

Greetings Friends! What does the “Triune Life” or “Triune Love” mean in practical, livable terms? I hope my participation with you in this blog will enlighten you to the Christian life as it ought to be lived according to Scripture.

The most basic and pivotal knowledge a person can have is to understand God is Trinitarian. For the Christian, the mention of the name of God, must always convey His Tri-Personal Being in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is not “solitary” as some religions espouse, no, He is a Trinitarian God. If a person’s concept of God is inaccurate and untrue, then there will always be something lacking and amiss in his relationship with God. No matter how much knowledge a person may claim to have of God, his dedication is misplaced and it does take its toll in the appeal and subtlety of Love’s nuances which will make all the difference. Even a person’s prayer can be amiss because his concept of God is flawed.

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Rublev’s Famous Icon of the Trinity (Wiki Commons)

In this blog site I have always advocated living the “Triune Life,” or “Triune Love.” The “Triune Life” as a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional Love-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 the believer. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living” (“Triune Loving”),  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; Heb.8:10-12). Only a blessed life can result from such an obedient life made possible by the Spirit.” (Unquote)

But how does man, how does the believer, live the “Triune Life” (“Triune Love”) on a day-to-day practical sense? I will share a passage from Scripture showing how the “Triune Life” is lived in the real-world sense. This is taken from John 15 in Jesus’ explanation of the vine and branches. Jesus, the second Person of the Triune Godhead said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. You are the branches. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples” (John 15:1, 4-8). What a beautiful metaphor of the “Triune Life” we have in the Tri-Personal Being of God that’s depicted here. And Jesus warns us the Gardner (Father) will “cut off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (V.2).

In this metaphor we see the Father and the Son mentioned clearly. The Father is the Gardener, and the Son is the Vine or Tree. But how about the Holy Spirit, since this is the “Triune Life” involving all three Persons of the Trinity. In fact, the role of the Spirit takes the major portion of the passage, from John verses 9 to 17. Jesus made the Spirit’s involvement plain in Verse 26, “When the Advocate (Holy Spirit) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about Me.” Jesus continues to attest to this in Chapter 16, where He further vouch for the Spirit and promises, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you,” and “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (V.7 & V.13).In Verses 9 through 17, Jesus speaks of the Spirit’s work in the believer, “As the Father has Loved Me, so have I Loved you. Now, remain in My Love” (v.9). The work of Loving entails the work of the Spirit. (Rom.5:5)

How does a believer remain in Jesus’ Love? Jesus said “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My Love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His Love.” (V.10) We read the covenant promise earlier where the Spirit empowers us to obey God’s commands. (Ezek.36:27; Heb.8:10-12) Is Loving God and keeping His commands something we can do with our own human power and effort? Of course not! We were not born with this kind of divine Love in us to Love God in return as Jesus does the Father. This is where the Spirit enters the scene for He is the embodiment of God’s Love in man. Paul makes this clear, saying, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). That is the only way to Love God back and be true to His calling (command). There is no other way but through the Spirit’s presence and power (Love). The fruits produced and seen hanging off the branch (man) are the fruits of Love which reveal the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in the believer.

Paul explained to the Corinthians what these fruits are in detail, revealing the distinctive shades of God’s Love (1 Cor.13): the fruit of patience, the fruit of kindness, the fruit of contentedness, the fruit of being modest and unboastful, the fruit of humility, the fruit of honor, the fruit of unselfishness, the fruit of calmness and dignity, the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, the fruit of tolerance, the fruit of responsibility, the fruit of enduring hope, the fruit of steadfast perseverance, the fruit of joy, the fruit of peace, the fruit of goodness, the fruit of faith, the fruit of gentleness, the fruit of self-control, the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, the fruit of friendship, the fruit of sharing and generosity, the fruit of prayerfulness, the fruit of hospitality, etc. The Bible’s claim of God’s nature is made abundantly clear by John, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). He is not made of Love, He IS Love!

The fruits of Love amplified above tells us how the three Persons of the Trinity conduct Themselves towards each other from eternity. And now man (branch) is grafted into Jesus (vine) making the Love relationship with the Triune God and with his neighbors (other branches) possible.

Of course, it has to start with man receiving Jesus as personal Savior through repentance and forgiveness. On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up in the Spirit’s anointing and said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38).

Jesus Role in the “Triune Life”

Let us see Jesus’ role in the “Triune Life.” Jesus said, No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). To remain in the Son means to never stop believing in Him as our permanent and ongoing Mediator. It means to experience the Love of the Father for the Son which has been from eternity. (John 17:24). It means to be showered with the Father’s Love through the Son  and become a blessing. This is how the “Triune Life” is lived out with the Son’s participation in the life of the believer. Paul affirms, “In Christ you are made complete” (Col.2:10).

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Jesus is the Vine with Branch offshoots extending (Man) where Fruits Hang off (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

Father’s Role in the “Triune Life”

Let us see the Father’s role in the “Triune Life.” Jesus said, “My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples” (V.1-2, 8). This is how the “Triune Life” is lived with the Father’s commitment in the believer’s life. The Bible says, “we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness” (Heb.12:9-10). All blessings comes ultimately from the Father of lights, James tells us. (Jam.1:17).

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The Gardener Pruning The Branches to Make it more Fruitful (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

Spirit’s Role in the “Triune Life”

What about the Spirit’s role? As we have seen, although it is not explicit in this passage, it is implicit through the fruits hanging from the branches. The Spirit supplies the sap (Love) which flows like a river from the good soil the Gardner (Father) tends through the Vine (Son) and into the branch (man) which bears the Spirit’s fruits of Love. Jesus said“Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ (When He said “living water,” He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him.)” (John 7:38-39). So, this is the “Triune Life” where we see the Spirit supplying the flow of God’s Love in the believer. Paul further enlightens us about the Spirit’s work, saying, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16 NASB, also 6:19).

Jesus said you can see the presence of the Spirit, or conversely His absence, by the fruits of people’s actions, “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (Matt.7:16-20). You can say that if a believer is bearing the fruits of the Spirit then he can be likened to the “Tree of Life” that sustained Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, for it represented the Holy Spirit.

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Fruits, Evidence of the Work of the Spirit in the Believer (Pic: Wiki Commons)

There was another tree in Eden which our first parents were forbidden to go near: the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” (Gen.2:17) This tree bore fruits that were of exact reverse to the Tree of Life. Here we see two trees, one representing the “solitary life” (the Tree of Good and Evil), and the other represents the “Triune Life” (the Tree of Life). The “solitary life” is the life of self-determination where one does what seems right in his own eyes without the guidance or participation of the Tri-Personal God. It is the life of a person who is cut-off (branch) from the “Tree of Life.” The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represent Satan and the fruits of this worldly way of life which leads people ultimately to their own demise.

We must now ask this relevant question, what is the purpose of producing much fruit, for this is how the Father is glorified through man. (John 15:8)  In my book, “Bulamanriver, The Miracle of Triune Living,” I said on page 111, “Think about the fruit trees lining the riverbanks. Do we see the trees feasting upon their own fruits? That would make the trees self-destructive. In his fallen self, man thinks inwardly like that. He thinks what he has received from God is for his own “cannibalistic” appetite. No, the fruits are the imaginative life of God’s Love, sown as seeds that take root in the lives of others. We give, not clasp onto the Spirit’s fruits, so the “creative life” is always ready to regenerate new life through giving. The fruits are for the valley people (where the river flows), for their sustenance, and for others who come and “see and taste the goodness of the Lord,” the Creator flowing in you (Ps. 34:8 emphasis added). (End of quote) Love is always outgoing, it is never inward and self-indulgent.

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Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit (Wiki Commons)

Many see the Christian life like a fully paid never-ending vacation cruise where they will indulge in the blessed life of plenty. The Bible says no such thing, although the blessed life comes to man through a route that’s altogether different from what he imagines. The Spirit’s fruits is not for man’s selfish appetite, fruits are for the benefit of others so people are drawn to the Father by them. This is how we glorify God in our lives – by bearing more and more fruits for others to experience God. Jesus said, “My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). Yes, the believer lives a disciplined life in order to produce more fruits for the sustenance of the people God wants to show and give His Love.

The disciplined life brings its own blessing. The Bible states, “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.” (Prov.10:22) In other words, God’s blessing comes without the harmful stress of our human solitary efforts without His input and favor. The Lord’s blessing comes as the outgrowth of His and our calling, not because we are seeking to be blessed selfishly through greed and/or covetousness.

We live in an overtly self-indulgent world, which is diametrically opposite to the type of mindset needed to bear much spiritual fruit. The church at Corinth taught us that the mere presence of the Spirit does not equate to bearing much fruit in the believer. Paul said to the believers in Corinth, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18). Man’s free will (freedom) is a divine prerogative originating from God’s nature of Love. Humans can only be trained to Love through  freedom, not coercion. In all facets of the Christian life, fruit-bearing is the aim and purpose of life which requires deliberate (free) and conscious reliance on the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus’ metaphor of the vine and branches teaches and depicts the  authentic Christian life. It is regrettable that the reason many Christians do not live fulfilled lives is because they have lost the true concept of God and His triune activity in man, and how to have a Loving relationship is cultivated through the “Triune Life.”

What else does the fruits of the Spirit represent besides the different shades of God’s Love which demonstrates to us how to live the “Triune Life?”  The fruits are also metaphor for each of our gifts, talents, skills, abilities, and virtuous flair we are called to manifest God’s Love for and to others. Paul testifies to the end result of what Jesus did as our Savior after dying for human sins, “When He (Jesus) ascended on high, He took many captives and gave gifts to His people” (Eph.4:8). What Paul says here about gifts answers to Jesus’ promise of the Spirit, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you” (John 16:13). So, first and foremost, the primary gift is the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes and dwells in the believer as His temple. (1 Cor.3:16) God’s concept of a temple in which He dwells is not some brick and mortar edifice which can be destroyed by hands, but it has always been the heart and soul of man, as we read, “For 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.6:16).  After a sinful life is washed clean by Jesus’ blood, the human life becomes the temple where God and man meet and communicate.

From this vantage point where man becomes God’s temple, the Spirit distributes various material gifts (art) that is needed to feed people with God’s Love (fruits). So we read the work of the Spirit in believers, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines” (1 Cor.12:7-11). Paul further says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph.2:10).

But gifts are not necessarily ecclesiastical or religious in nature. For the majority of Christians the gifts they have are of a ‘secular’ nature, but it is the same Spirit working in all to bring glory to the Father. Paul said, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to each of us…in proportion to our faith, let us use them” (Rom. 12:6, ESV). Paul again said, “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Phil.2:13, AMP)

We are given the freedom to be whoever we want to become in our hearts. A person can be a plumber, or engineer, a doctor or gardener, an architect or builder, a marine biologist or fisherman, a basketball player or botanist, an entrepreneur or employee, or whatever the gift may be. Gifts may evolve as the Spirit supplies the faith according to a need. None of us is a superhuman who possesses all gifts. God has distributed gifts in every single human so that all of humanity reflect God’s image through the myriads of talents we see in people. It’s obvious that we all need each other because we all lack something in our lives which somebody else may have the gift to fill our needs and wants. That is how God made humans to need and help one another and show His Love to all mankind.

We use our gifts primarily for the sake of the gospel to glorify God. We desist from using our gifts for self-centered objectives just as nature teaches us that a tree cannot feed “cannibalistically” of its own fruits. Too many trade their gifts for motives of selfish mercenary gain instead of glorifying God. We can use our gifts for our own self-centered ends, or we can use them to serve others for God’s glory. The fruits of our gifts are given to others out of Love to fulfill a need as we willingly follow the direction of the Spirit. Whatever we do, Paul say we do “as if you are serving the Lord (first), not people” (Eph.6:7, my emphasis).

I hope this answers the meaning of the “Triune Life” as revealed in Scripture. It means to remain in Christ so we can experience firsthand the Love of the Father for the Son, and vice versa the Son for the Father. Remaining in the Son’s Love will afford us the  Father’s Love and we become more blessed and fruitful in the process. And the Spirit carries out the Love activity of the Father and Son as He sanctifies us. (John 16:13; 2 Thess.2:13)

The underpinning of the “Triune Life” is living a miraculous life, for to be in the hands of the living Triune God is nothing short of miraculous. And we see this openly displayed and experienced by the people who lived in Jesus’ day when He walked this earth. Yes, lepers were made whole again, the blind see, the lame walk, even the dead raised to life, and all manner of disease of the body, mind, and soul. (Act.10:38) The miraculous life is really the essence of the “Triune Life.” The final miracle is our resurrection into immortality where we will live the “Triune Life” forever.

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

Blessing:

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

Kiang,  

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life.” To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book outlets. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel around the world.

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

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MAN IS A “TRIUNE” BEING, BY KIANG P LEE

 

Greetings Friends! What do I mean by “man is a “triune” being?” It means that man as a whole person is composed of three elementary substances in his makeup. First, he is physical and material (that ought to be obvious to all). Second, man has a spiritual component which gives his brain mind-power; and thirdly, man is destined for immortality, and therefore forever united to his Creator and Sustainer, who is the Author and Finisher of his eternal destiny. Man is also a triune being because he draws his existence from the God who is Trinitarian by nature: God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

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Man, Standing in the Shadow of God His Creator (Pic: Wiki Commons)

These three basic makeup are revealed in the Bible. Let us begin with the third element as this is the Creator’s chief purpose for creating man: ‘man is destined for immortality and forever unified to his Creator.’ Humans are made in God’s immortal image and therefore has the potential for immortality as his birthright. Thereby, man holds a unique place in creation and the created order. In the book of Genesis, the Bible states, “When God created mankind, He made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And He named them “Mankind” when they were created” (Gen.5:1-2; also Gen.1:26-27). Hence, man’s entire destiny is forever tied to who God is in His immortal Being. Also, besides being immortal God’s image and likeness reveal who He IS. God, in His divine Being, is Trinitarian, meaning, He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God is not solitary as other religions espouse about their deities, God is three Persons in One Triune Godhead. (Matt.28:18-20) He is One but He is not solitary, He is Trinitarian. If God is Triune, then it follows that God is Love, for Love cannot exists in a solitary form of existence. (1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16) Love can only thrive in communion where there is more than one person. All of creation has the Creator’s underlying interconnected Triune Being – there is no other way God can create.

Therefore, nothing exists on its own (solitary), but mutually dependent and interconnected to reflect God who is identical in His Triune Being. Science has discovered how the universe works through Einstein’s theory of relativity, or in other words, we are part of one ginormous interconnected universe. Love is not defined by our human narrative of it, but by a wholly divine meaning, for Love is the means by which our interdependent world exists, beginning with man who is made in God’s Triune image and likeness.

Consequently, the Bible speaks repeatedly about man’s responsibility to behave relationally in God’s Triune image and likewise show Love (integration and fellowship) with his fellow human. One such passage says, “owe nothing to anyone except the debt to Love one another” (Rom.13:8, NLT). So, man’s destiny on this earth and beyond is forever tied to God’s divine Triune Personage of Love. God’s image is Love and He is immortal. He is not made of Love, He IS Love from eternity to eternity. (1 John 4:8, 16)     

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Man, Made in God’s Interconnected Triune Image (Reblev’s Icon of Trinity, Wiki Commons)

On the first element of man’s makeup of material existence, the Bibles says, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being… You will return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen.2:7; 3:19b). Though man has this temporary physical existence, he has this potential to become an immortal being, for therein lies his destiny. He is forever tied to the immortal image of His Creator. The Bible states, “For God Loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). So, in man’s physical existence man was headed to return to the dust from which he was taken because of sin, but by sacrificing His Son as the payment for human sins, God has secured man’s future of immortality with Him (third element).

On the second substance of man’s makeup, ‘man has a spiritual component which gives his brain mind-power,’ the Bible says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7a). In other words, though man’s physical makeup differentiates him from all other species of creation on earth, that is not what really sets him apart. What sets man apart is the freedom with which man uses his mind to think thoughts and thought-forms independently from one another, and how he wants to live his/her life. In other words, you are what you think!

You are set apart by your thinking not your physical appearance. It is your mind which decides who you are by the actions you take in life. The Bible tells us that we renew ourselves through our thought-processes, “Be you transformed by the renewing of your mind (your thoughts)” (Rom. 12:2).

Animals and other created species don’t think, they have preset instincts, but humans do because they are made in God’s image. To have mind power is the potential of humans replicated after the God-kind. When we see the great advances of human ingenuity in history and particularly in recent history, it’s truly mind-boggling to ponder and reflect upon. In areas of sciences, the arts, astronomy, technology, engineering, medicine, design and creativity, artificial intelligence, aeronautics and space exploration, etc, etc. All these and more reveal primarily the genius-mind of the Creator God after whom the human mind was fashioned.

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Man, Made to Reflect God with Human Mind (Pic: Wiki Commons)

So we know man got his ‘creative juices’ from the Creator God, but how does He channel it to man to do feats of such marvelous wonder? The Bible says that God “discerns thoughts from afar” (Psa.139:2). The Bible says further that “He knows the secrets of every heart” (Psa.44:21, NLB). How is it possible for God to know our thoughts? The Bible reveals God as omniscient (all-knowing/all-seeing), saying, “How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is infinite (beyond comprehension!)” (Psa.147:5).

Jesus walked this earth as God and man (Immanuel – God with us). The Bible shows He was able to read people’s thoughts, like, “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them…” (Matt.12:25). Another passage says, “But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man…(Luk.6:8) John declares, “He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25, NASB). While Jesus walked this earth as Immanuel He voluntarily suspended the use of certain divine prerogatives, but obviously these passages and others show He utilized His all-knowing powers.

Teacher of homiletics at the Dallas Regional Seminary, Reg Grant, said, “God has breathed into humans the breath of life, and in that breath we have absorbed the image of God in the immaterial essence of soul, spirit, mind, heart, and conscience, each contributing to the development of intellect, emotion, and will. Among all the animals that inhabit the planet, we humans possess the unique ability to think God’s thoughts.” (The Holy Spirit and Arts: www.bible.org) From the Trinitarian perspective Jesus is the Word (Logos) who speaks, and the Spirit is the Artist who produces, which the Genesis account of creation makes clear. Grant goes on, “The degree to which we yield to His appeal is the degree to which we will enjoy blessing and reward. Conversely, the degree to which we resist His appeal to conscience is the degree to which, among all creation, we will suffer loss and shame.”

What Grant says supports the biblical narrative about the human mind, “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his being” (Prov.20:27). Man was made and exists in God’s image, therefore, He has created the fund of knowledge to which man must live and appeal to His plans for humanity. Man’s spirit when united with God’s Spirit makes the human mind possible.

The Spirit lies ‘dormant’ giving man the prowess and genius of the human mind, waiting until as such time as a person becomes a believer by receiving Jesus, at which juncture the Spirit becomes ‘active’ in His primary role of sanctifying man, thus, making the third element of immortality possible. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Now, the Spirit lives in the man (believer) as a temple where God comes to reside and take up residence, making the “triune life” of God livable, and will resurrect man to immortality at God’s appointed time. (1 Cor.3:16; 6:19; Rom.15:16; 2 Thess.2:13; John 15:1-17; 1 Cor.15) Paul said, “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you” (Rom.8:11).

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Man’s Destiny – Human Made Immortal Like Jesus (Pic: Wiki Commons)

These are the three elements which unites man to God so he can exist in His Triune likeness. And throughout man’s life, he will have the sure hands of the Father, Son, and Spirit at his side to bring him to his purpose and destiny as a person made in God’s very likeness.

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

Blessings, 

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

Kiang,

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.

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

Note: All information is copy-write. 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.

“SALVATION IS FROM THE JEWS (ISRAEL)” BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings Friends everywhere!

Can the Christian faith be fully understood and achieved without Israel? Is Israel an intrinsic part of salvation for the Christian? Many don’t think so. Many have discarded Israel as irrelevant to the Christian faith. They say Israel was part of the Old Covenant that was done away and been replaced by the New Covenant. They quote passages from Romans which says, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are no longer under the law (Old Covenant – the basis of the OC was the law or 10 Commandments), but under grace (New Covenant -the basis of the NC is Jesus Christ)” (Rom.6:14). Or, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor.5:17). Yet another says, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear” (Heb.8:13). 

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Israel, Led by a Pillar of Fire to Freedom from Egyptian Bondage and to Lead all Humanity to the True God (Pic: Wiki Commons)

All these passages and others must be understood within the framework of God’s overall plan of salvation for mankind from start to finish, including Israel. So, how does Israel fit into God’s plan of salvation for Christians today, and by extension all humanity? Israel’s role under the Old Covenant was to inculcate into humanity the proper “human instinct” that ought to guide the human mind to God’s purpose for humanity. The basis of the “human instinct” is the law or the 10 Commandments. The law has two broad applications as it relates to Love for God and Love for fellowman. (Mar.12:30-31) Much like “animal instinct” the Creator equipped in non-human creatures to depict their own kind, the “human instinct” reflects the God-kind in humans – “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). We recognize God through the “Love-kind,” that is His divine nature.

Think for a moment that prior to Israel’s nationhood, all the nations around Israel and for that matter in the world, had developed their own way of life or their choice of “human instinct” and communicated principally through their religious practices. The true God was unknown to them, leave alone His ways. Now God steps in through the nation of Israel and reveals His way of life through the law (10 Commandments). This “human instinct” is to guide man’s every thought, word, and deed, which will lead him finally to the true God and His purpose for creating mankind.

It is worthwhile to note that no nation was converted to God by Israel, that was not their purpose. Their calling was to inculcate and drum into humanity beginning with Israel the basic “human instinct” of God’s nature of Love He wanted mankind to understand and live by. Rather than changing the nations around, Israel was on a continuous war-footing with them. Israel’s war-mongering neighbors was a depiction of man’s natural revulsion against everything about the true God and His way of life.

It was a heavy responsibility to shoulder for Israel, so much so there was constant conflict and tension between Israel and God.  Karl Barth called it a “Love/hate” relationship. Israel desired the freedom they saw in the other nations around them who did what seemed right in their own eyes where they chose their own pattern of “human instinct.” In many instances Israel defied God and followed other nations. God corrected and brought them back and reminded them of their purpose and calling. But the pagan form of “human instinct” did not bring them the freedom they sought after, because true freedom would come by way of the prophesied Messiah which Israel played out in their ritualistic observances like the Passover and the day of atonement. Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ (the Messiah) came to set us free” (Gal.5:1). Instead, many of Israel’s neighbor-nations took the most horrendous form of living like sacrificing their own children to their gods.

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Moses with The Ten Commandments Written with God’s Hands (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Today, we can say the basic revelation of the “human instinct” (law/10 Commandments) has been sufficiently and indelibly imprinted in the human psyche that man cannot deny or dismiss it. Much of the laws of democratic nations finds its basis upon the 10 Commandments. And Israel’s existence today continues to remind mankind of the basic “human instinct” God wants to instill in humanity. That is Israel’s purpose which continues to this day. However, we ought to be guarded as our moral decline seems to slide at an alarming speed. Jonathan Sacks, the recent recipient of the coveted Templeton Prize, said in his acceptance speech that “inner directed” individuals with discipline are needed who are not fazed by moral reversal which have spelled the fall of every other empire and superpower in history. You may read Lord Templeton’s acceptance speech titled “Rediscovering Our Moral Purpose” at www.standpointmag.co.uk  

But true freedom, which Israel yearned for, would come by way of the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. In other words, freedom was the essential message of the New Covenant. True freedom’s means to be free from sin which is violation against the law. Freedom is not the right to choose your way that seems right to you. Ultimate freedom is where a person is living the Love of God in his or her life. Freedom from sin basically means the provision of a Savior in Jesus who absolves all infractions against the law. Hence, the New Covenant was ratified and sealed in Jesus’ blood that was shed for the forgiveness of human sin. As humans we can never be perfect in keeping the law because we sin by commission or omission. In other words, because we will stumble in staying true to God’s basic “human instinct,” He has provided a permanent Mediator in heaven who intercedes and absolves us from all infraction.

So in the final analysis, it is more about staying true to what Israel was called to teach humanity about the “human instinct” formed in God’s likeness than each infraction of the law because we have Jesus as a permanent Mediator at the Father’s right hand. Many times we focus on the infraction but miss the big picture. Israel’s purpose was not to keep reminding people of their infraction, although it is a fact which cannot be denied. But it was to reveal the basic “human instinct” God wants mankind to have, and His provision of a Mediator when there is infraction, thus bringing freedom.

Now, the New Covenant is expressed through the Holy Spirit, just as the expression of the Old Covenant is the law. The Spirit dwells in the believer and makes the person a temple for God, ushering freedom in Christ. (1 Cor.3:16-17) Both, the Spirit and the law are Love expressions, one inculcates our “human instinct” while the second brings “human freedom” through the provision of a Savior and Mediator. The Love expression of the Spirit is further broken down into the “fruits of the Spirit” which expounds God’s Love in greater detail. (1 Cor.13)

While the law brings death through sin, the Spirit brings freedom through Jesus and His cross. When the scripture say the Old Covenant “is obsolete and outdated,” It is not saying the law (“human instinct”) is no longer applicable or done away with, rather, it is stating the obvious truth that it’s death blow (sin) has been negated permanently in Christ who brings everlasting absolution to humans so the “human instinct” (Love) can be part of our nature in this life until we are made one with God in the resurrection to immortality in the next life.  Once immortal, man will have shed his sin-susceptible humanity and clothed in God’s holy spirit nature. (Rev.21-22)   

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For Centuries Sofers (Jewish Scribes) Have been Faithful to Their Mission of Proclaiming the Oracles of God for Mankind (Spaceboyjosh, Wiki Commons) 

Freedom is a double edged sword. Because man is naturally garbed in his God-given freedom to freely express himself or herself, it goes without saying that man is ignorant of, or can be misled, or both, about the “human instinct” we ought to adopt based upon God’s Love. Human history proves man has no conception of God’s “human instinct” based upon His law and His Love. So, why give man this double edged sword of freedom which history proves he constantly falls upon to his own demise. The reason for freedom must become obvious to man – in order to create children made in His own image and likeness, man must freely choose to Love God, just as He chose to freely Love us. Freedom is part of God’s divine nature and because we are made in His image we inherit freedom from God as His children. The Bible tells us “God is Love,” and the flip side of Love is freedom. Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ came to set us free.” (Gal.5:1). True freedom is to be free from the shackles of sin, not the right to do what one likes and fall into all kinds of harmful pitfalls. People today have many ideas and concepts of freedom, much of which are erroneous and damaging. True freedom is to be clothed in Love, and that can only happen when man is immortal like His Creator. There is no Love without divine freedom and no freedom without Love. They both go hand in hand, and you cannot have one without the other. Love and freedom is who God is in His divine nature. 

When a rich young man asked Jesus what he must do to attain eternal life (salvation), He quoted the Commandments to him. (Matt.19:16-19) The man answered, “All these I have kept since I was a boy, what do I still lack?” (Matt.19:20; Luk.18:21). Jesus then responded, “You still lack one thing. If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matt.19:21-22). In other words, the one thing the law lacks is its ability to  give one a free heart to truly Love God. And history proved that is what Israel lacked and needed most in its relationship with God. Jesus acknowledged this saying, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Matt.15:8). That is what the New Covenant brings through the Spirit’s power (Love). Jesus was referring to a person’s freedom to give his or her heart to God. His encounter with a ‘rich young man’ was incidental, he is talking of a principle which affects us all in every station of life – the freedom to be able to give one’s heart to the Lord’s purpose and man’s ultimate destiny (“come follow Me”).   

So, is Israel irrelevant to the Christian’s salvation? How would we know sin without the law? If it were not for the law (10 Commandments) which defines sin, how would we know what Jesus died to save us from? So Israel points us to the law and sin so we stand condemned under the Old Covenant, but that does not mean the law and the Old Covenant is bad and evil, as I said, it’s main purpose is to drum and instill into man the basic “human instinct” which guides our lives to God’s nature of Love. (Rom.7) So while the law condemns us, Christ appeared with the New Covenant of grace in the Spirit which brings us absolution, grace, peace, and freedom.  Paul said it this way, “God demonstrated  His own Love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8). So, both the old and new is now fused into a single expression of God’s salvation for man. Hence, Jesus said, “Salvation is from the Jews (Israel)” for the part they play in preserving the law to our day. The law does not save us, Christ does, and that’s how the two are blended into one, so we do not live under the old but New Covenant. Of course, the most vital reason “salvation is from the Jews” is because Jesus Himself is a Jew descended from the tribe of Judah. (Heb.7:14) So, we see that the law and the Messiah are from the same source. The two are made one in Jesus. 

So, when we see creatures of all kinds living and behaving through their built-in instincts the Creator has endowed in them, it reminds us that man also is endowed with his “human instinct,” but unlike creatures of non-human species, man has a mind fashioned in God’s image to freely choose to follow Him. That’s the huge difference. God’s desire above all else is that man choose to freely Love Him. That is why Love and freedom are prerogatives which man alone can exercise.

Israel do not believe Jesus was or is their prophesied Messiah. They look to a yet future Messiah that will come in glorious triumphant appearance to deliver and free them. However, it will turn out to be an utter shock and amazement for them to discover the Messiah and Jesus are one and the same Person. Paul said that God has brought this blindness upon Israel in order to bring the whole world (Gentiles) into the faith so all may be saved. (Rom.11 read all, esp. 25-29)  

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

Blessing:

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

Kiang,  

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.

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

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