Greetings once more Friends everywhere!
This is the final of a three-part series on good health through sound spiritual principles. I hope you can find this blog site as a place where you can find rest and peace from a stressful and sometimes excessively demanding world out there.
The Surgeon General of America says this about emotional well-being, “Mental and emotional well-being is essential to overall health. Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to their communities.” (http://www.surgeongeneral.gov) The World Health Organization (WHO), reported in 2012, “Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide results in an estimated 1 million deaths every year. The burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally.” In May 2012, WHO called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at country level. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre)
Pardon me for flogging a dead horse on this matter about emotionally-induced illnesses. Yet, I would like to emphasize that when the three human relationships are functioning effectively in a person’s life, it produces therapeutic emotions which in turn induce homeostasis (balance) in the body. With the body functioning optimally at the emotional level, our diet and physical conditioning can be utilized to boost our overall wellbeing. Or else, we’ll be fighting a self-defeating battle with a body devoid of emotional balance and harmony.
As reminders, let us recap the points we covered in the previous two posts:
Part 1: “Is Good Health Part of God’s Plan for Us?” (http://bulamanriver.net/12475)
- We asked if God is concerned about human health and physical well-being? We saw scriptures which answers with an emphatic, yes!
- We saw that humanity was created after God’s image of “Love” (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8, 16), and that Love is fundamentally emotive, so humans are emotional beings by nature fashioned after God’s Love likeness.
- We saw that a human being is intrinsically holistic with three basic emotional needs, which he/she is naturally compelled to relate with and can’t escape: Love for God (spiritual man), Love for community (social man), and Love for the world at large (physical man). This triangular emotional life-expression forms the foundation to physical health.
- We concluded that no matter what our success in life maybe, “Without Love we are nothing” (1 Cor.13:1-3).
Part 2: “Then Your Light Shall Break Forth Like a Dawn and Your Healing Will Quickly Appear” (http://bulamanriver.net/12517)
- We read medical reports which indisputably show the link between human emotions and physical health.
- We saw the source of human emotions which began in the Garden of Eden. God planted two trees representing two ways of life: the tree of life or Love, and the tree of good and evil or fear and rebellion.
- Through the two trees we are given another aspect of God’s nature: freedom of choice.
- Freedom comes through our thought and emotional process where we are given to choose between moral decency (Love), and rebellion and corruption (fear).
- We saw the analogy of the prism and comparing its rainbow beam to the three human relationships we are involuntarily compelled to live by on a daily basis.
- We saw the various fruits of Love depicting the distinctive tones of God’s Love. The fruits act as filters in the mind to sanitize our thought process, identifying good information to feed and care for the three human relationships.
- We saw that human beings are blessed by the Creator with gifts and talents inherited at birth, and that all our abilities are transported upon the backs of the Spirit’s Love-fruits. (In Part 2 I itemized the various Love-fruits of God’s nature. You can see that repeated in the appendix below, titled, “Love-Fruits”).
Let’s begin. In this third segment, the core message will be based on the answer to a question I raised in the middle of Part 2, which went like this, “But how does a person immerse his good thoughts and intentions with positive emotional discipline so they can be mobilized around the three-pronged relationship in life? To think good thoughts is one thing, but to give it the emotion-filled life it deserves is another matter altogether. How does one get passionate about God, community, and the physical world at large?” I answered it partially, and hopefully answer in its entirety now.
Yes, how do we charge our thoughts with the positive emotional response with the Love-fruits of the Spirit. (1 Cor.13; Rom.5:5) Can we naturally muster and mobilize these Love-fruits and apply them to our gifts and talents by sheer human will? The answer is yes and no! What I mean by that is clarified by the words of Jesus, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit…Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matt.7:18, 16, ESV). Jesus is talking about a person’s underlying motivation towards life. He is taking us back to the two trees of Eden and what they represent. They depict two ways of life. A person’s ‘way of life’ can be said to be governed by his/her attitude or motivation to life. Motivation determines choices which brings freedom or fear. Love or legalism. The Spirit or the Law.
God Is Love and Freedom. Stature of Liberty, Symbol of Freedom 1 John 4:8 (Wiki Commons)
We saw God is Love and Freedom in His divine nature. It’s a kind of yin and yang complementary energies so that one cannot be complete without the other. So, humanly speaking, we can’t ordinarily call up this energy (Love-fruits) and apply them to our gifts and abilities. Not by sheer human will alone – not unless we become the actual personification of Love and Freedom ourselves in the depths of our being. First, why can’t we call upon the Love-fruits with our human energy? Simply because we are fallen humans from Adam’s seed, born in and to sin. (Rom.5:12) Since the fall, we have been following a life of fear as we ate from the fruit of the “tree of good and evil.” On the other hand, Love (God) is sinless and incorruptible (holy/perfect). Jesus told His followers, “But you are to be perfect (Love), even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Love)” (Matt.5:48, Italics mine). Jesus’ citation from the Scriptures is repeated by the apostle Peter, “For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy (upright) because I am holy (upright)” (1 Pet.1:16; also Lev.11:44-45, Italics mine).
Jesus counsels humans on what to do, “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’m about to call each conqueror to dinner. I’m spreading a banquet of “Tree-of-Life” fruit, a supper plucked from God’s orchard” (Rev.2:7, The Message). The “conqueror” refers to those who have resisted the temptation to eat from the tree of good and evil, or actually the ‘tree of fear.’ People who use fear use force to manipulate others, whether physically, psychologically, or through other means. This leads to the arrogance of the mind and the many unintended consequences it brings on ending ultimately in death. Paul comforts us with this victorious phrase, “In all these things we are more than conquerors (over fear and death) through Him who Loved us” (Rom.8:37, italics mine, also, Rom.8:38-39). The fruits of the tree of life is the incorruptible Love-fruits of God’s divine nature. If peace, one of the Love-fruits, is our objective, how can we be pleased about any ‘victory’ that is won by fear and the use of force? Humans were created to eat and be sustained from the tree of life, just as herbivores like cows and giraffes feed on grass and plants. Then there are carnivores, omnivores, and granivores that are adapted to their specific sustenance regime. The Creator made each life form to exist in this web of life to sustain the earth’s ecological balance for human habitation and to ultimately serve God’s divine purpose.
These Love-fruits are not laws we legalistically obey, but rather they spring from the depths of our innermost heart and being in Christ. (Rom.8:12-13) They are not knowledge that puffs up the ego, but gems to inspire creativity for the greater good. (1 Cor.8:1) They are not nuggets of wisdom to promote man’s self-righteous image, but seeds to sow and gather unimaginable blessings shaped by self-sacrifice. (Eccl.1:16-18) They are not tools for exploiting others, quite the contrary they reflect the personal obligation we owe our common humanity because we all bear the likeness of the divine nature (Love). (Rom.13:8; Luk.12:15; Gen.1:26-27) They are not ‘instincts’ which control us like the animal kingdom is governed by its inflexible instinct, no, humans must make up their minds and choose. (Gen.1:25) Without Love we will live like people with empty superficial lives whose designs will come to nought. (1 Cor.13:1-3; Eccl.2:22-23) We dare reflect and ask, what has been the motive for our lives, conduct and actions? These Love-fruits tells us how God, in His Tri-Personal Being as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have lived eternally in One unified shared experience in the Triune Godhead. These Love-fruits spring out from their innermost Being of God. God lives this way spontaneously without any compulsion nor compunction whatsoever. But how can humans live this way?
The Two Trees of Eden with Their Respective Fruits Represent Two Ways of Life: Love and Fear (Wiki Commons)
Paul further explains our human emptiness and lostness through Adam’s fall to the sin condition and our restoration to fullness and upright condition through Jesus mediation, saying to the Roman Christians, “Therefore, just as one trespass (Adam) brought condemnation for all men, so also one act of righteousness (Jesus) brought justification and life for all men. (Rom.5:18, Italics mine). Yes, because of the sin condition man inherited from Adam, he is consigned to death. With sin comes all the affliction of human sickness and disease and ultimately death. He said further, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23). From Adam, we are by nature born with the motivation to life that is biased towards Love. We lived life based upon fear and sin which ends in death both physically and spiritually.
If man is a fallen being from Adam and cannot muster and mobilize Love and true freedom that’s needed to make him/her a whole person unbroken by sin, how can he be called upon to live a life that bears the Love-image of the divine? (Gen.1:26-27). Jesus answers: “You must be born again!” (John 3:7) Yes, man must undergo a rebirth from his fallen state of being, to a new risen state of existence, a new human modeled after Jesus, the Son of God. Paul was inspired to write, “For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn (rebirth) among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory (Love)” (see Rom.8:29-30, NLT, Italics mine).
Our First Parent’s Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Thomas Cole, Wiki Commons)
I will call the fallen state of human existence inherited from Adam the “Adamic Human,” while man’s new humanity in Jesus Christ (reborn), the “Immanuel Human” after His Messianic title given to Him by the prophet Isaiah. (see Isa.7:14). The name “Immanuel” means “God with us,” or God who took our humanity unto Himself through His Son. Paul said, “For we are members of His body (new humanity)” (Eph.5:30, italics mine). For the newborn human, it means God is with him/her and he/she lives to God; as opposed to the “Adamic Human” who lives to himself/herself under the influence of the devil. (see 1 John 3:8; Heb.2:14-15) Whenever believers partake of the bread and wine in a “communion service,” they are ritualizing the reality of Jesus’ new humanity in them, insomuch as the bread and wine are emblems of His body and blood. (Matt.26:26-28; 1 Cor.10:16-17)
“Born again” or to experience the new birth, does not mean to undergo a second physical birth, that would not be possible, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus who made this absurd observation. (see John 3:4) It is not a physical but a spiritual birth. Jesus said you and I must be “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8) The physical body is merely a shell, a casing, held together by human cells, connective tissues, nerves, organs, bones and the blood flowing in the veins give it physical life. (Lev.17:11) In fact, the human body is constantly undergoing metamorphosis (change) through cell regeneration as a consequence of our thought life, our diet, environment, and other factors which affect us epigenetically. The human body was created by God to be a temple in which His Spirit can take up residence for the purpose of sanctifying His human children. (Rom.15:16; Rom.5:5)
Paul said this about the human body, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price (by sacrificing His Son). So, you must honor God with your body” (1 Cor.6:19-20, NLT, Italics mine). This tells us that to be born anew means the demise of the rebellious spirit of fear (“tree of good and evil”), and a new birth through the Holy Spirit (“tree of life”). (Rom.6:6-7; 8:10) He told the disciples to wait for the gift of the Spirit, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Act.1:4-5). Baptism by immersion is a ritual symbolizing burial (death) in the watery grave and rebirth by spiritual resurrection. (see Rom.6:4; Matt.28:19)
Water Baptism Symbolize Our Death and Resurrection (Rebirth) (Wiki Commons)
God made humans with a knowledge-based existence. That is, our motivation to life is determined by how we process knowledge and information and vice versa. Our thoughts are verbalized with our words, then charged with emotional energy (Love or fear) to give them life through our actions. To that end, I shared the analogy of the prism to human life in Part 2 (http://bulamanriver.net/12517). We are human prisms. The prism receives natural white light like humans receive information and knowledge. When light enters the prism at the proper incline, it emits a rainbow beam. On the human level, there is an energy source which converts light or information into the tri-colored rainbow beam representing the three human relationships: Love for God (spiritual man), Love for community (social man), and Love for the world at large (physical) man. Therefore, to possess that energy source, humans must be Love, as “God is Love,” in order to convert light (knowledge) into the three human relationship God had predestined for us to live by. (1 John 4:16) The key to physical and spiritual well-being is to live at a higher level of consciousness the Spirit (Love) brings thus creating form in our thought life we would not otherwise manifest.
In her book, Who Switched Off My Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology, says that an average person has over thirty thousand thoughts a day. Others have given higher estimates. She goes on to say that “75% to 95% of the illnesses that plaque us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It’s an epidemic of toxic emotions.” An uncontrolled thought life can mean trouble for our health because they can create the conditions for illness. So how do we control all thirty thousand thoughts which bombard us each and every day? It boggles the mind to even think about it. But thoughts don’t come in text format we process line by line. But the brain’s mechanism for processing thoughts is done at the neuro-sensory level through a network of electrochemical signals acting as stimuli.
Consider that thoughts are invisible and exist in the realm of the unseen, though their effects are on open display for all to see. And it’s not so much the quantity of thoughts that count. Rather, it is the quality of the thoughts we allow to influence us which the mind synthesizes to create form on which to base our decisions and actions. This happens at such blinding speed in the brain’s neuro-sensory level that this cerebral task is over within seconds. Science can’t explain it, for it’s all happening at a dimension that is unseen but acted out and felt in the three relationships – for Love or fear remains to be seen. The question is what is the quality of decision that was played out in real life? Was it generous and outgoing (Love), or malevolent and self-centered (fear)? Was it kindness or meanness? Was it honesty or dishonesty? Was it to make friends or enemies? That is what we will clarify going forward.
Science has yet to discover fully the complexity of the human mind and how it works. Author Ambrose Bierce has made a naive observation of the mind as “a mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain.” Science continues to be surprised and even baffled by fresh discoveries of this phenomena of the brain’s potential that’s beyond the scope of scientific explanation. It will remain so as long as science deny divine revelation about human destiny. God, in order to facilitate man’s relationship with Him, made the human mind to serve as a counterpart to His own spiritual mastermind. For that reason, the mind lives its creative and intellectual life in the unseen spiritual realm. (Gen.1:26-27) Despite doubts, science has made advances and has for example discovered the mind as having three levels of consciousness. To be sure, science has merely discovered (and continues to) how God created the human mind to integrate and work with His own mind. (Pro.25:2) The Psalmist said, “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.” (Psa.139:14, NLT) Solomon’s wisdom instructs us on how God interfaces the human mind with His own, “The spirit of man (mind) is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his (man’s) being” (Prov.20:27, Italics mine).
At the first level there is the conscious mind, then the subconscious mind, and thirdly the unconscious mind. These three facets of the human mind act in unison as a filtering device to manage knowledge and information with all its nuances so as to propel in a positive direction the empirical personhood of human life. The subconscious mind performs the most vital role of the brain by acting as the controlling mechanism for all our conscious thoughts. Because of its overarching role I have called it the sponsoring thought. It is the mastermind which governs all the thoughts that comes through the conscious mind. The unconscious mind is the storehouse for all memories and past experiences which the subconscious may draw upon if there is a need. For the mind to process large amounts of information in a divine holistic manner, the only logical way is for the three functional levels of the mind to subsist at the unseen spiritual level.
The Thinker (Wiki Commons)
Hence, when a Christian undergoes the new birth or conversion, the primary site where this new birth takes place is in the cerebral activity of the person’s mind. It is here that fear is put to death and replaced by Love in the new birth process. (Gal.2:20; Rom.6:6, 8:10) In Christian thought, this activity of a changed life is referred to as “carrying one’s cross” (Matt.16:24). It depicts a state of ongoing forgiveness and freedom from fear and sin, and the presence of Jesus sinless glorified humanity with a Spirit-led mind. As Paul affirms, “For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach Him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor.2:16). To have the “mind of Christ” means the imperfect mind of man has once and for all been united to the mind of God through Jesus’ mediation and in the Spirit’s power. It means that mortal man can now be given to comprehend the divine thoughts of the Creator. This is nothing short of the miraculous, where a human is living the miraculous life in the spiritual realm through the Spirit’s power. This is the logical and primary phase of the birth of the new humanity of Jesus in the mind and thought-process of the human believer.
But Love is not only spiritual power and influence, but first and foremost, Love is a Person! The Person and His power (Love) are one, and can’t be separated. The Bibles states, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). It also says, “God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to You (Psa.62:11). God is not made of Love, He IS Love. He is not made of power, He IS power. This means when we speak of Love having replaced fear in man, it means God has come to Personally live and walk in humans to manifest His power (Love). John makes this abundantly clear, “God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
But how does God actually personify Himself in a human being? Paul answers, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). So, it is the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, who is the manifestation of the divine Love in humans. Before His death, Jesus told His followers about the gift of the Spirit, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you… And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever” (John 14:16; 26). “Forever” means to inhabit humans for eternity. After His resurrection, Jesus, “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Act.1:4-5, NASB). We read Paul’s statement earlier, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” (1 Cor.6:19-20). This is what experiencing the new birth means when Jesus said you must be “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
“There is No Fear in Love. But Perfect Love Drives Out Fear…The One Who Fears is Not Made Perfect in Love” – 1 John 4:18. (Wiki Commons)
The role of the Spirit is to personify Christ in us. Jesus said this about the work of the Spirit in humans, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you” (John 16:13-15, my emphasis). The Spirit will not promote Himself but Christ in us. For the new humanity is Christ’s very life in us who has displaced the fallen Adamic spirit. Here, we see how all three Persons of the Godhead working as One, each having a hands-on involvement with the believer’s salvation. (2 Cor.13:14) The Father sends His Son (John 3:16), and the Son sends the Spirit (John 16:7). The Spirit sanctifies the believer by manifesting Christ’s new humanity in mankind. (Rom.15:16). Paul said, “Now you are the body of Christ (new humanity), and each one of you is a part of It” (1 Cor.12:27, Italics mine).
When we live life in the Spirit, Love will flow into our lives like a river of living water. Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:38-39). The Spirit is the fountain from which God’s Love springs forth. (Tit.3:6) The ‘living water’ signify our sanctification by the Spirit’s power through Love. The Bible further promises, “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God” (Rev.2:7, NLT). This shows that Paradise or the Garden of Eden means to live in God’s presence where sharing in the ‘fruits of the tree of life’ (Spirit’s Love-fruits) is a way of life as it has been with the three Persons of the triune Godhead from eternity. That is another role of the Spirit, He helps us live the victorious life in Christ for only He has defeated Satan on His cross upon Calvary, and His temptation in the Judean wilderness. (John 16:11; 1 Cor.15:17; Matt.4:1-11; Heb.4:15) The victorious life means to defeat the devil’s work of darkness (sin) through Christ who has led the way in triumphant march for our ultimate victory into immortality.
Dove, Symbol for the Holy Spirit and God’s Love – Rom.5:5 ( Wiki Commons)
Here is the bottom line about the new birth and how it ushers a new way of processing information. With the Spirit dwelling in us, God’s Love becomes the mold which frames the subconscious mind. Love gives the subconscious mind its frame of reference that I call the “sponsoring thought.” Only the thoughts that fits our frame of reference passes through to the next stage where thoughts are synthesized into a form based upon the divine Love which the person acts out in life. The sponsoring thought (Love) is the sterilizer of the human mind and the sieve that sanitizes all our thoughts and convert neutral light (information) to the tri-colored rainbow beam – the spiritual man, the social man, and the physical man. The sponsoring thought is the underwriter and guarantor of the thirty thousand thoughts our conscious mind encounter each and every day. Love is the eye salve which bathes and purifies our thoughts and gives our mind’s eye a healthy perception of the world.
Where does this process of Love begin? Paul answers, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (Love)” (2 Cor.10:5, Italics mine). It begins in the mind. It is launched from the subconscious where Love (Spirit) is the sponsoring thought. Yes, all our fearful thoughts and arguments must be put to death here – they must not be allowed to materialize into a person’s activity, in particular the three human relationships. (Rom.8:35-39, note esp. V. 36-37) That is the role of the Spirit (Love) – He sanctifies the mind’s thought-process to help us make right choices by convicting our minds of what sin truly is. (John 16:8) That’s to say, any knowledge which stand up against Love or whatever information is not Love-oriented. The foundation upon which sin makes its stands is the human disbelief and/or rejection of God’s provision of the Savior He has anointed whose role is to deliver mankind from the sin condition and the ravages it brings on, both physical and spiritual. As such, we see how profound and life-changing is the power of belief. (Act.10:38-39; Heb.11:6; Rom.1:17)
We are still humans and imperfect, and unquestionably we all make mistakes despite our best efforts to confront sin and do good. Consequently, only Jesus can save man from the sin condition which is relentlessly driving humanity to ultimate death. (Rom.6:23) Yes, one sin is enough to trigger the death penalty, were it not for Jesus’ unbroken mediation for humanity as our eternal High Priest in heaven. And yes, He also took all our sicknesses and diseases upon His cross, and brought healing and comfort. (Jam.2:10; Heb.5:5-6; Heb.4:15; Isa.53:4-6) That is how Herald* the Spirit sanctifies man by manifesting Christ in humans. (John 16:8-9) Paul said this of the new humanity we have in Christ, “God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church (you and I) is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ’s (new humanity), who fills all things everywhere with Himself” (Eph.1:22-23, NLT, Italics mine). Since Christ is in heaven in His glory, His walk in our lives makes us equally perfect for we exist under His High Priestly mediatory function. (Heb.2:17; also 1 Cor.1:30) Paul affirmed our own perfection in Christ, “God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21; also Rom.8:3). For such is the splendor and majesty of God’s immeasurable Love for sinful humanity. And that is how God makes humans perfect and holy in and through His Son’s mediation so He can caress us as His very own children.
But the role of the Spirit is not to bring mere human physical and spiritual well-being. The ultimate reward for our right standing with God through His Son and in the Spirit’s power, is His promise of immortality. (John 3:16). Thus, immortality is conferred upon the sinless and perfect in Christ. Listen, 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). The Spirit is the One who brought Jesus’ dead human body back to life and gave it immortality. John said this, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21). Jesus has glorified our humanity in Himself by giving it immortality, and as the second Person of the Godhead, He is God who has the power to bestow eternal life to humans.
Let’s be truly rational about life in its empirical sense: if human life is about a legacy we leave behind about a long and healthy life, with prosperity, security, and influence to go with it, which our children and grandchildren, and great grandchildren can leave as a lasting monument on our gravestone, then we must ask: is that all there is to human life? Paul himself asked the same question, “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Cor.15:9). Yes, Paul says, “What a pity!” The human body was created to have physical life no different from animals having temporary existence. The only distinction between man and other life forms on earth is that man was made in the Creator’s image and given a divine destiny. (Gen.1:26-27; Phil.3:21) The Bible reveals man’s mortality like this, “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature… for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen.2:7; 3:19; also Rom.8:29; 1 Cor.15:49). So, unequivocally the final answer to health and longevity has to be nothing less than human immortality. Even if you and I were to live to a blissful and healthy 120 years, life would nonetheless be pointless and hollow if the epitaph on our gravestone marks our end as personalities who walked and made a mark on this earth. But though man is mortal, his potential and destiny is inherently immortality – that is God’s idea, not man’s.
The Prism with Beam of Three Relationships: Spiritual Man, Social Man, Physical Man (Wiki Commons)
So, our search for answers to health and longevity has led us to the unmatchable quest for immortality. Anything less would be our final resting place six feet underground, and that is not even an answer for it spells our eternal demise. And here is the beautiful truth, immortality is the Creator’s ultimate plan for mankind. It is God’s end-game for human existence on earth. God alone has the power to bestow immortality upon humans. And immortality is a gift the Creator God promises His human children. This is not some Greek philosophy or mythology, not even some human concept. I am quoting from the Bible which we believe to be God’s infallible Word. If I am misinterpreting the Scriptures, then you are free to call me out. Divine revelation are just that – divine, not human. The Scripture is as clear as day about our eternal destiny, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, Italics mine). Nothing can be more unmistakable and absolute than that.
Today, many believe human life to have mere animal existence and the grave is the final answer to physical life as we know it. What I present in this post is something we can rest our hope in – divine revelation because there is nothing else that this world or anyone else offers that comes even close. So, we are speaking of crossing over from the mortal into the immortal as the ultimate answer to the essence of human life and existence. Yes, from the muted memorial stone to the eternal White Stone (Rev.2:17). From the crypt headstone epitaph to the everlasting Morning Star. (Rev.2:26-28) In fact, more than mere health and longevity, herein rests all the answers to our incomparable human potential: purpose, creativity, security, health, abundance, influence, and ultimately, eternity through immortal life. Paul uses a profound expression to describe the hope of humanity, “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who Love Him. These are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Cor.2:9-10). Paul was quoting the prophet Isaiah.
Fountain of Eternal Life, Cleveland Ohio, (Wiki Commons)
But here is the mind-blowing question for us, when God promised humans immortal life, did He reveal what man must do to attain it? The answer is, absolutely yes. It is: nothing and everything! What do I mean? First and foremost immortality is a gift, therefore by nothing I mean there is absolutely nothing you and I can do to deserve it or earn it. (2 Tim.1:9; Eph.2:8-9) The Epistle of Titus records this, “When the kindness and Love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Tit.3:5-7) If you can earn something, then it ceases to be a gift, it becomes a trade that you must work for and earn. Paul was inspired by God to utter His promise this way, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom.6:23).
By everything I mean since we are made in God’s Love likeness of three Persons united in Freedom, then His gift of immortality can be received or rejected by a matter of choice. That is a divine attribute we are all given to exercise. Everything depends on you because you have the freedom of choice in the matter. But who in his/her right mind would freely choose to reject the gift of immortality and choose eternal death instead? Of course we have to agree only the insane would choose that path. God’s advice to us as clear as day, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deut.30:19). God desires that we use our liberties to freely choose to Love Him by accepting His eternal purpose for us: to choose eternal life with Him!
So, we have answered what a person must do to receive eternal life as a gift from God. Let us answer how this is done? Assuming you have answered ‘yes’ to the what question, then, how did God propose to make this gift of immortality become reality in humans? Is there a road map man must follow to arrive at the destination? This is the primary Bible answer: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, also V.15, italics my emphasis). So, the answer to how is made abundantly clear: God has given us His Son Jesus, and made Him the gateway into immortality. Jesus Himself affirmed His Father’s promise, saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even though he dies” (John 11:25). He further said, “I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through Me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9, The Message). The first road sign in the map to immortality is our heavenly Father’s promise. (Rom.6:23) Here, we see the second road sign is the gift of His Son as Savior and through faith in His mediatory role of High Priest in heaven. (1 Tim.2:5) The third road sign is the gift of the Holy Spirit which gives us the new birth into the new humanity of Jesus that we have covered earlier. (John 3:5-7)
We have answered the what and how questions of human immortality, let us now answer why did God chose Jesus to be the doorway into human immortality? Why not another human? The Bible is filled with passages about Jesus’ qualifications which will make amply clear why it could not be any other human, but Him. Let us see the answers as to why Jesus is the only One who can and will bring humanity to immortality.
The Crucifixion of Jesus (Wiki Commons)
- First and foremost, Jesus Christ is the second Person of the triune Godhead which reveals His divine heritage and origin. (John 1:1-5) Isaiah declared His Messianic identity as “Immanuel,” meaning, “God with us” (Isa.7:14). That is to say, God the Word or the Logos, became man, therefore Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. (John 1:1) As Creator who took our humanity upon Himself, Jesus qualifies to act in all matters concerning mankind, especially in matters of deliverance from sin and corruption to salvation, grace, and immortality. (2 Tim.1:10; Rom.2:7; John 1:3)
- The Bible, from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation, is about the Messiah who was prophesied to come and save humanity from sin, and unite mankind back with God. From the very beginning when Adam fell, Jesus was foretold to appear and save humanity from the sin-condition man was sold at the behest of the devil’s deception. (Gen.3:14-15) In the end, when restitution is complete, Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev.22:13). That is to say, Jesus is the final answer to mankind’s salvation, both physically and spiritually. (Col.2:10; Act.3:21)
- At the inaugural ceremony of Jesus’ ministry in the Jordan River, Jesus was baptized by John. Since Jesus was sinless, He was baptized and repented on behalf of mankind. Thus, He was responsible for introducing the gift of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, to mankind. Later, at Pentecost the Spirit was poured out upon all humanity. (Matt.3:13-17; Act.2:1-4; Act.2:38)
- During Jesus’ life and ministry He did what Adam failed to do – defeating Satan in His temptation in the Judean wilderness. Jesus defeated the enemy in the four areas of human life that the devil provokes a person to sin, so that we can live the victorious life vicariously through Him. (Matt.4:1-11; John 16:33) (read about the four temptations at: http://bulamanriver.net/11339 “The Four Temptations and God’s Promises”)
- Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, and was crucified upon Calvary as the unblemished human sacrifice for the forgiveness of human sin and brought healing of physical sickness and disease. (Matt.27:32-61; Act.10:38)
- He was raised from the dead, and by His resurrection He glorified and raised His, and by extension our, mortal body to immortality. Thus, Jesus opens the door to eternal life for all humanity. (Luk.24:1-8) Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins” (1 Cor.15:17).
- Jesus continues to perform His Ministry of Reconciliation as High Priest in heaven today and through those God calls to freely participate in the work of His Son. (2 Cor.5:17-21; Heb.4:14-16; Matt.28:19)
- At God’s appointed time, He will send His Son Jesus the second time bearing the gift of immortality by raising the dead back to eternal life. (1 Cor.15:35-54; Act.3:20; Phil.3:21; 1 Thess.4:16-17)
Now, when will this event of the resurrection to immortality take place? Jesus Himself answers, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40). Jesus further clarified this when He was asked about His second return, “But about that day (of My return) or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mar.13:32, Italics mine). So, we know when immortality is given to humans – at Jesus’ second coming. But no one knows the day or hour except our heavenly Father. John was given a vision of the resurrection, “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever” (Rev.11:15; also Matt.24:31; Dan.7:13-14) Another aspect of the when question is immortality will occur at the seventh angel’s trumpet sound.
Fountain of Eternal Life, Cleveland Ohio, (Wiki Commons)
Paul said this about the resurrection, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Cor.15:50). Then, he reveals how humans “inherit” immortality, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor.15:51-54). Yes, Jesus’ return will be heralded by the trumpet sound of the seventh angel on the last day and our change will come in a blink of an eye – from mortal to immortality. What a marvelous future humanity has in store with the realization that the grave is not our ultimate destiny, but the gift of eternal life from God our heavenly Father.
Yes, we will continue to live the three relationships, but this time not as mortal beings subject to death, but as the new human race made immortal and sharing eternity in the presence of our Loving Heavenly Father, our Brother Jesus, and dear Friend Herald the Spirit, with the holy angels.
My parting words for you, my readers, is this: If the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then you already have the seed of immortality in you. John said this, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). So, in living faith…LIVE JOYFULLY, LIVE FOREVER!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or you may email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. You may read many other helpful and uplifting articles at http://bulamanriver.net/. 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”** in the person of Jesus’ “Immanuel humanity.” Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
(Your Servant In Christ)
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“Love-Fruits” – Here is a summary of God’s Love-fruits from the Bible: *patience, *kindness, *contentedness, *the fruit of being modest and unboastful, *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, *joy, *peace, *goodness, *faith, *gentleness, *self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *The fruit of gratitude and thankfulness, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal.5:22-23; Rom.12:9-21; Col.3:12-15)
*Herald: the name I have affectionately call the Holy Spirit
**“Triune Life” means to inherit human personhood identifying us as true persons with gifts in Christ and living according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27; Rom.8:29) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional attributing life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life in himself (“Adamic humanity”). It means to live in relationship with God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who lives and walks in you (“Immanuel humanity”). 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) This is a life of divine power. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092, also at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036)
>>> Read about my true-life miracle I shared in my book and post, titled, “Miracle Living-No Ordinary Life!” I hope you find it inspiring and encourages you to receive Jesus and live the “Triune Life.” Go to: http://bulamanriver.net/2634
***Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.net, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, xulonpress.com, and other book store sites where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living”
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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