Greetings Friends! I hope my last post has prepped you to some extent on how to face the new year with a positive frame of mind. You may read my post at: http://bulamanriver.net/9339 But let’s dive in-depth into this theme of Love and see it as the very divine essence of our being throbbing in us with every heartbeat.
The Scriptures reveal that God’s Spirit is the “Giver of life.” (Psa.104:30; Job 27:3) It was God’s Spirit who breathed life into a shapeless and uninhabitable world, and vitalized creation with life, form and character. (Gen.1:1-3; 2:1-3) It was the same Spirit who breathed the “breathe of life” into Adam and gave humanity physical existence with the power of the human mind to make choices. (Gen.2:7) Later, Jesus would say this self-same Spirit would bring us another life-form, the divine life of God. He said, “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to (divine) spiritual life” (John 3:6, NLT, also John 7:37-39, my emphasis).
Much Like our Uninhabitable Moon, God’s Spirit Made Earth the Blue Marble we See Today Giving It Life, Form, and Character. Thus, God declares, “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Isa. 23:24. Pic. by NASA/JPL – Great Images in NASA Description, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/)
This divine life consists of the essence of God’s very Being for the Holy Spirit springs from the singular identical nature of the One Triune Godhead of the Father, Son (Logos/The Word), and Spirit. John was inspired to reveal what this essence of God essential is: “God is LOVE” (1 John 4:8,16). So, the apostle Paul tells us what the Spirit brings and infuses us with through our spiritual birth, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5).
It is vital to realize this divine Love was what inspired and kept the relationship between God and our first parents in perfect personal union in the Garden of Eden. Humans were made in God’s Love likeness, that is what it means when the Bible says humans were created in His “image and likeness” (Gen.1:27). Created with the freedom of choice (mind), Adam and Eve had to continuously eat from the “tree of life” God gave them, much like we would turn to the holy Scriptures (Bible) today to receive guidance and continuous inspiration. (Gen.2:9; Psa.119:105) The “tree of life” represented the work and move of the Spirit in Adam and Eve. They were fed with God’s Love from the fruits of the “tree of life” which kept their relationship with God aglow and responsive. They were made humans not Spirit as God is from eternity, so as humans they needed to feed the Love God had planted deep in the essence of their beings and hearts (God’s Love-likeness).
As humans, they also had physical and material proclivities, like human interests and stimulations, worldly and sensual desires which run counter to God’s purpose for them. They were made to Love God above all else, that was the purpose why man was created in His Love-likeness. And in turn God Loved humans unreservedly. But as freedom cannot be divorced from Love, but is necessarily part and parcel of Love, humans had to make the constant decision to Love God above everything and everyone until at such time when man is given immortality and become fully and completely Love like He is. Until then, fallen humans was subjected to the devil he chose to obey which he has to contend with as he respond to God and his fellow humans.
A Depiction of the “Tree of Life” which Is Symbolic of the Move of the Holy Spirit (By Beth Erez – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/)
God planted another tree in Eden called the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen.2:9). God told our first parents, “Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die” (Gen.3:3, The Message). Together with the “tree of life,” the two trees represented the freedom of choice man makes throughout life: to choose God’s purpose for him, or to turn from Him and choose his own purpose. You can say the two trees has always depicted which way man will choose to turn the Love God has deposited deep in his heart and being.
So, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit it was not so much “sin” as it was “turning” their Love away from God to the “self.” For what is sin but an act of separation. To turn means to be separated from God. That’s all sin was: it was an act of “turning.” We have not stopped Loving, we have simply turned our Love toward God to the “self.” We can get all legalistic about sin, and we miss the point about Love and why we are made in His Love-likeness – to Love Him above all else. The term “sin” in its legalistic sense entered human consciousness after the law was given. While sin is legalistic with do’s and don’ts, Love is relational and familial. So, obedience is about Loving God, and disobedience is an act of turning our Love away from God. Lovers we remain, because we are made in God’s Love-image.
No human was made in the image of a sinner, but in the likeness of a ‘Lover God.’ No one was created in the similitude of sin, not even the devil. The devil was created the archangel Lucifer, a ‘light bringer.’ (Isa.14:12) God is Love and nothing but Love in all its gregarious grandeur and generosity exudes from His Person and holy presence. But man has “turned” Love from Loving God to loving self. Love has been reduced to a mere humanistic expression without the Holy Spirit (divine Love). Note the Genesis account after Eve succumbed to the temptation of Satan, “When the woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate” (Gen.3:6).
Having turned their love from God, from here on it was human earthly desires and interests that inspired and drove man’s love. A lover man remained, but no longer a lover of God but the self. What was good or evil, what was right or wrong, how Adam and Eve and subsequently mankind would live life, was now all a matter of self-determination as seen through the lens of self-love. From the fall of Adam God had no input in human life because of the nonexistence of the Spirit (tree of life) in mankind. That was man’s choice. Mankind was cut off from access to His Spirit, however, His Love remain intact and unquestionable for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).
We must understand without a shadow of doubt that humanity was given God’s Love so man will Love God first and above all else. (see Mark 12:28-31) Genesis records the account after our first parents turned their Love from God, “After He drove the man out, (after Adam ate the forbidden fruit) He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen.3:24, my emphasis). The spiritual Love of God in His Spirit stopped flowing to Adam because he had turned away from God and from His Love (Spirit).
The Gentle Dove, Symbol of Holy Spirit and Content Of God’s Divine Love (By Sh1019 – File: Gezi.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/)
They had turned their Love for God to Love for the self. Hence, we read Paul say, “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money,… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God… For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim.3:2, EST; 2 Tim.3:4; Phi.2:21). Lovers we remain for we were made in His likeness, but love has been turned inward and became a mere human expression, no longer divine but humanistic. God’s indictment upon humanity is clear-cut, “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psa.14:2-3). Yes, we all have “turned” our love away from God to love of the self.
God will not force His Spirit (Love) upon humans since His Love comes with the freedom of choice. We have chosen to reject His Spirit in Eden. God says to Israel and mankind, “You have abandoned Me and turned your back on Me’ says the LORD” (Jer.15:6). But God promised to rectify the situation by sending His Son as the Messiah and restore His Spirit and so turn our hearts back to Him and His Love. (Gen.3:15; Heb.8:10-12) Jesus was abundantly clear about His role as Savior, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Holy Spirit/Love) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7; also Rom.5:5). At last, since Adam’s sin in Eden, the Holy Spirit can now be made available to mankind once again.
When Jesus gave His followers the new ‘Love command’ saying, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” it was ‘new’ in its literal sense. The ‘new Love’ enters the human life only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who has not been present with humans since Adam’s fall. (Gen.3:23-24; Rom.5:5; 1 Cor.6:19-20) By saying, “As I have Loved you,” Jesus speaks of the Spirit as the prime mover of the ‘new divine Love.’ Jesus gave us the model by which the Spirit enters humans life when He Himself was baptized in the Jordan River, then the heavens opened and the Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. (Matt.3:16-17) Jesus inaugurated the arrival of the gift of the Spirit to mankind in the post-Adamic era and later poured out upon all believers on Pentecost. (Act.2:1-4) John the Baptist baptized Jesus under his ministry of repentance and forgiveness to prepare the way for the Messiah. (Mar.1:1-4)
We do not become true children of God until the Spirit indwells us as His temple where He does the work of manifesting God’s Love in and through us. (1 Cor.3:16) The Spirit is the seed of the divine Love nature impregnating humanity much like Mary was supernaturally ‘inseminated’ by the Spirit’s power to carry the baby Jesus in her womb. (Matt.1:18; Eph.1:13; 4:30)
Sin, by its simplest definition, means separation from God and His Spirit, and Jesus came to give Himself as a ransom to remove the wall of separation through His blood and provide access to the Spirit and restore man’s relationship with God and His Love. The Holy Spirit sanctifies man by living in humans as His very own temple, and conforms us to be like Jesus. (1 Cor.3:16-17; Rom.8:29). A temple is a place where God and man meet and fellowship in Love. That temple is your human body. The Spirit inhales and exhales the divine Love in a moment by moment nourishing of the body-temple He now indwells.
Some have asked if God is self-centered even narcissistic because He commands us to Love Him first before all else, even ourselves? But how can Love, a giving and outgoing medium and way of life, be narcissistic? The two contradict each other and cannot go together. Think about this, to Love an Entity that is made in your own likeness is in reality an expression of Love for yourself. (Gen.1:27) It is like family, you can’t deny your flesh and blood, you are part of them. It is in your DNA. We don’t think of it like that. When God commands us to Love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul, He is commanding us to Love ourselves for we reflect Him. (Matt.22:37) To Love the Triune God above everything, is the only way to Love ourselves best. Only the Spirit can open our hearts to surrender to God’s Love just as He has yielded Himself to us by giving us His eternal Son to be sacrificed as our Savior. Theologian Thomas Torrance said, “…For in refusing to spare His Son whom He delivered up for us all, God has revealed that He Loves us more than He Loves Himself.” (The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons by T. F. Torrance).
So, there is a legitimate ‘love for self’ in God’s purpose, but it is not done through man’s rebellious mode of loving self first, but by Loving God first. The way to Love the self perfectly is to Love God our Father perfectly which humans can do only through the Spirit’s Love in them. When God sees you, it’s like looking at Himself in the mirror because He made you in His likeness. With the Father, each of us is His child as His eternal Son, for Jesus lives in us: “For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.'” (Act.17:28). Though we have turned from Him, He remains faithful, and the Scriptures affirm His Love like this, “If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is (in us)” (2Tim.2:13, my emphasis). God is Love, thereby, by Loving Him first we are truly Loving our self in the most exceptional and divine way. We are living the “Triune Life” in Christ by the Spirit’s power, not the “solitary life” in the self under the devil’s influence. So, when God commands us to Love Him above everything and everyone He is placing the focus of attention on us, not Him, because we are one with Him in His Triune Being. (Deut.6:5)
“Where Love Is, God Is” (Pic.1: By böhringer friedrich – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/ Pic.2: By Priyansha kesharwani – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/)
The Scriptures say that “Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow” (Jam.1:17). It says every perfect gift is from above, there is nothing imperfect with God, why is this so? Because God is Love and He oozes with noble generosity. Are we seeing this? We will never know in a million lifetimes all that is truly good for us – only God can manifest them because we are made of Love as He is Love. We are in our place of superabundance in His Love from which every good and perfect gift flows. But Adam took us down the path of self-love and self-determination in place of the Spirit and His divine outflowing Love, and look what it has brought us – the pages of history is full of human suffering, pain, and man’s unimaginable inhumanity to man with one deathly act of atrocity after another.
The Spirit will give us eyes to see and the heart to believe that every desirable and beneficial gift that’s tailored for our personal and individual wholeness of being in His Love, comes from no other source but our heavenly Father. These gifts, according to James, are like rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. (John 7:38-39) Light means there is no deceitfulness with God (Love), He is never two-faced, never fickle or untrustworthy but consistently dependable and steadfast. The Bible then encourages believers to “live as children of light” (Eph.5:8). Walk, knowing fully His Love and grace never leaves our side.
As we step into another year, we have the choice to make 2017 a truly refreshing and memorable one. Let us consider that since God created us in His Love-image, He did so primarily for the purpose of Loving Him above anything and everything so we can learn to Love ourselves in the best possible way in the process. We must be aware that we can only live life fully, totally, and perfectly when we share in the life of the Tri-Personal Being of God (Love) by living it ourselves. That is what living the “Triune Life”* means. It means to allow the Spirit to sanctify us, by uniting us to Jesus in heaven who in turn mediates all our inadequate human responses so we may obtain mercy and divine unity (Love) with the Father. (Heb.4:14-16) This is the heart and soul of what living the “Triune life”* and what living in His Love-image and likeness entails.
I end with an assuring passage from the Bible about God’s Love which He has locked into our human DNA. This ought to guide us in 2017, His “Love will never fail” us if we focus on Loving Him first through and in His Son. (1Cor.13:8).
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or you may email me on bulamanriver.com. Thank you for visiting.
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, (Your Servant In Christ)
* Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/8036:
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website at: http://bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living.” Or, you may go to the directory banner at top and click “Mission” where you will find more information.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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