“The World’s SIN Is That It Refuses To Believe In Me” – John 16:9
Greetings Friends! Do you want something to lift you up and be truly thankful this Thanksgiving? I hope when you have finished this post and see God’s unfathomable grace to take us beyond our wildest imagination, you will agree with me it is something we will not find the words to show our deepest appreciation.
Did you know that sin, in the true sense of the word, is not what most people think it is? It may surprise you what the Bible truly says about the subject of sin. If you were to look up the dictionary for the definition of sin, you would find the following, “an offense against religious or moral law,” or, “transgression of the law of God.” (Merriam-Websters) The late Billy Graham gave a more elaborate biblical version, “A sin is any thought or action that falls short of God’s will. God is perfect, and anything we do that falls short of His perfection is sin.” (http://billygraham.org/)
If you look closer at these definitions, you’ll note that sin is seen as individual thoughts and acts which are religiously and morally wrong. Though this may sound right, but is sin merely individual acts of sin or something more? It is correct but not an entirely correct definition of sin. How so? Because every individual act, be it good or bad, right or wrong, virtuous or sinful, arise out of a first cause. We were taught that there is a cause to every effect. That first cause is what I call the sin-condition which triggers individual sins. The same happens with good, it is generated by the Love-condition. The sin-condition and man’s fallen nature are synonymous. It is the spiritual prison in which mankind is held captive to the sinful nature. The fallen nature of man originated with Adam’s fall to sin which mankind has inherited since. (Gen.3:6)
So, individual sins do not happen randomly out of the blue, no, we are creatures of conditional response! What a person does, whether good or evil, stems from the condition which triggered that specific action. So, sin or Love (virtue), is a condition – not an individual act! Don’t get me wrong, sin is an individual act, but it is generated by the sin-condition. Another word for sin is fear. The sin-condition generates fear which begets individual sins. It is an evil cycle within man’s fallen nature (sin-condition). We are all products of our fearful environment which conditions us this way or that. Sin and Love are conditional responses depending on our environment.
Sin is a Condition, Not Individual Acts (Wiki Commons)
If sin is more than an individual act, a condition, what does the Bible tell us about it, and how can we better understand and deal with it? Paul made it quite clear, and calls it “the law of sin”: “I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me” (Rom.7:23). So, the “the law of sin” and the sin-condition are the same. We can say the sin-condition operates like inertia with its gravitational pull. So is the Love-condition. Then Paul ask the important question, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body (fallen nature/prison) that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom.7:24-25, parenthesis mine). Yes, this passage tells us that God has given us His Son, Jesus, to free us from the sin-condition which generates all individual sins.
Jesus explains the sin-condition, and reveals the Holy Spirit’s work in humans in this fashion, “And when He (Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment” (John 16:8, NLT, parenthesis mine). Here, Jesus specifies the three areas the Spirit convicts the human mind concerning: sin, righteousness, and judgment. And all three are related as we will see each expounded. Jesus unambiguously explains the Spirit’s work as it relates to the sin-condition, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me” (John 16:9, NLT). So, clearly all sins and the sin-condition which generates them has to do with faith – faith in Jesus’ mediation as Savior who takes away mankind’s sins, and the sin-condition which holds people imprisoned as slaves to sin. (John 3:16) In other words, sin is a person’s refusal, by either denial or defiance to believe (trust) in the Messiah God the Father has provided for our forgiveness and freedom from human confinement to the sin-condition (Gal.3:22, NLT). Very simple, very clear!
Let me explain this further to make it even clearer, individual sins will not cease because man exists in this spiritual cocoon called the sin-condition the devil created. The sin-condition generates individual sins. The Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one…there is no one who seeks God” (Rom.3:10-11). This world is held in bondage to the sin-condition ever since Adam’s fall in Eden. So, the Messiah Jesus becomes the hand of God to exterminate and remove totally the sin-condition and introduce the Love-condition through Jesus who brings righteousness now and forever. In fact, to deny Jesus as personal Savior is the unforgivable sin, for the Spirit’s work is to provide personal conviction of faith in Jesus’ role as the Savior from our incarceration to sin. (Matt.12:31-32; Eph.2:8; Gal.3:22) Righteousness is the second conviction the Spirit brings, which springs from the Love-condition. (John 16:8; Rom.8:2) The Love-condition generates right living. Jesus explains how righteousness through the Love-condition comes to humans, “Righteousness is available because I go to the Father.” We will get to that point in detail a little later.
Crucifixion of Jesus by Tissot (Wiki Commons)
From the foregoing we see a simple truth, the Love-condition which destroys and nullifies all sins and brings forth righteousness, is housed in the Person of Jesus Himself. So, as Savior He saves humans not only from past sins, but He is the complete Messiah who takes care of present and future sins in His role as our Mediator High Priest in heaven. (John 3:16; Heb.4:15-16) Jesus did not remain a dead Savior on the cross. By His resurrection from the dead and ascension to His glorified role as eternal High Priest in heaven, He revealed Himself to be the true Messiah. (1 Cor.15:14) What does this picture of the Father giving His Son, and the Son sending the Spirit, tell us? (John 3:16; John 16:7) It portrays a relationship of Love which God brings humanity into His Triune fellowship. Yes, that is the key word, in all this God ensures we will never be without this Love-relationship we will forever share with the Triune Godhead in this earthly life and forever into eternity.
One may say, “I can understand past sins, but how does God save us from present and future sins?” Fair question, since throughout life a person’s wrestle with sins and many failed responses in life can be discouraging enough. This has been the outcome of legalism because people have accepted the legalist’s definition of sin through the law. True, the Bible says that “sin is the transgression of the law,” but we are not called to have a relationship with the law, we are called to have a one-on-one relationship with the Law-Giver through Love. There is a difference. Our relationship is with God not the law. Although the law finds its basis upon God’s Love for God (Love) gave them at Mt. Sinai through Moses hands, our interaction is with the Law-Giver, not an impersonal code written on stone (legalism). We cannot Love God out of the law, but out of the Spirit who manifests God’s Love in us. We can’t Love God by duress and coercion through the law, but by free choice through Love.
It is much like the law of the land where we live. Does the government institute laws so you can love your elected representatives? No, they created the law to send you and I to jail or pay a fine whenever we break them. That is how we fill up our jails. It’s true the law forces us to be law-abiding citizens, but it was never intended to create a benevolent relationship, but conformity through fear and intimidation. Anything which orders you to behave in a rigid lawful fashion does not come with freedom but legalism. Only Love can make us freely choose – even the most disagreeable activity through glad surrender and sacrifice. (Rom.12:1; 1 Pet.4:12-13) Most human laws are good, others can be autocratic and even draconian. The point is the law was never anticipated to create a friendly and loving environment, rather inherently they are catalysts for our jails where people are incarcerated. That’s what human laws ultimately do. The spiritual laws are no different. So, if you are guilty of breaking the law, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the only way out is for someone who is generous enough to stand in between you and the courts who hands out your sentence and punishment. For some offence a fine is adequate, for others some imprisonment time is mandatory. It is your faith in that someone who will come and rescue you from punishment that is now your only hope for deliverance and freedom from the law.
But we are not talking about human laws, but the divine laws of God which brings on the punishment of eternal death. (Rom.6:23) With human laws, sometimes you may not get caught and escape its punishment, but not so the spiritual laws. No one escapes, no one gets away. (Rom.3:23; 5:12) But here is the human impasse and breakthrough, where the enemy has deceptively created a spiritual environment (sin-condition/law of sin) through the spirit of rebellion to imprison humanity with the death sentence, our heavenly Father has provided the way out to freedom through His Son (Love-condition/law of the Spirit). Jesus, not only rescues and frees humanity from spiritual incarceration, but He Lovingly extends the gift of immortality to all who receive Him as Savior and Mediator. (John 3:16-17; John 11:25-26) Yes, Jesus is that Someone who stands ready to redeem us from our sins and the punishment we deserve. All it requires is faith, His mediation is free,
The law has no energizing power to enable us to Love God but to only condemn us. Not for a second in time is the law capable of instilling Love in us. The Bible says, “For if any kind of rule-keeping (law) had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time” (Gal.3:21-22, MSG). The “power to create life in us” requires the gift of life from the Spirit (Love), (Rom.5:5). The law only holds the power of condemnation over us each time we break it. Then why did God give the law? Paul said “The purpose of the law was to keep a sinful people in the way of salvation until Christ (Abraham’s descendant) came, inheriting the promises and distributing them to us. Obviously this law was not a firsthand encounter with God. It was arranged by angelic messengers through a middleman, Moses. But if there is a middleman as there was at Sinai, then the people are not dealing directly with God, are they? But the original promise is the direct blessing of God, received by faith.” (Gal.3:19-20, MSG) So, originally there was no law but just faith alone, then the law was added as stated above, and now we are returning to the first principle of faith which Abraham has established the example to follow. (Gen.15:6; Heb.11:8)
The greatest example of faith was Abraham who is called “the father of the faithful.” The Bible says this about faith and righteousness, “Abraham believed (had faith in) God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Gal.3:6, 29, parenthesis mine) So, Abraham was esteemed righteous by God because of his faith in God, not by way of the law. The law was our teacher which cannot justify us (make righteous) until the Spirit (Love) came to return us to faith, he said, “Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the law. For the law merely brings awareness of sin” (Rom.3:20). (To read more about the topic of faith, go to my blog entitled, “Jesus’ Faith” at: http://bulamanriver.net/2811)
From this we see how the law can be utilized for ulterior motives as the devil cunningly used the law to create the sin-condition by imparting the rebellious heart in humans when Adam gave in to the devil’s temptation. That was the original sin – rebellion! It was rebellion that made Adam eat the forbidden fruit. Rebellion is sin. The opposite of rebellion is Love. Adam and Eve lived by faith in the Spirit’s Love-condition pictured in the Tree of Life, until rebellion entered their hearts through the Tree of Good and Evil at the hand of the devil. (Gen.2:8-9; Gen.3) So, the only way out of sin is for a person to be extricated from the bondage of rebellion in the sin-condition (Tree of Good and Evil) which produces sins, and be installed into freedom in the Love-condition (Tree of Life) which generates righteousness. Paul said, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were (possible) through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (Gal.2:21, parenthesis mine). Faith is the ground where Love sprouts and grows. Jesus gave His life out of Love trusting (faith) in His Father. Law is the ground where sin grows and kills.
In the Trinitarian Godhead, the Triune relationship does not exist upon the law but upon the unqualified nature of God – their relationship of Love and faith in each other! Their faith in each other stems from their Love which unifies them as One undivided Godhead. That is why the Bible tells us “God is Love,” not law. (1 John 4:8) Jesus does not use the law, instead He utilizes the Spirit (Love) to bring us to God’s Love-condition. He said, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). It is from within the Love-condition in the Spirit that all the demands of the law are met and realized, for the Bible states, “Whoever Loves others has fulfilled the law” (Rom.13:8). What this passage is saying is: when we live in God’s divine Love through the Spirit we automatically fulfill all the laws without living under the legal demands of the law (legalism). How so? Through the fruits of Love as detailed in the Bible. (see a summary of the Love-fruits in the appendix below)
Although there are 10 Commandments, Love is much more overarching than the law’s capacity and reach. For example, there is no command to be patient and responsible, kind and humble, tolerant and honorable, forgiving and joyful, generous and thankful, all fruits of Love, and much more. They all stem from and is a matter of the heart, not the law. (Matt.15:19) God is after our hearts. (Matt.15:8; 5:8; 1 Pet.1:22; 2 Tim.2:22; 1 Tim.1:5) When our heart is right with God everything else will fall into its proper place, including the matter of the law. The Spirit puts us on the divine Love-mode as opposed to the law’s physical legalistic-mode. So, the Love-fruits springs from the heart of the Spirit to give us the power to go well above the demands of the law into the underlying spirit and divine intent of Love itself. (read Matt.5:27-28) For that reason, it’s not about actually stealing what does not belong to you, but by merely coveting in your heart what belongs to another already gets you the guilty verdict. Thus, we see how the law in its legalistic form of application becomes irrelevant and inconsequential. In other words, Love (Spirit) makes us live above and beyond the law’s reach. We shall see later how God instills His divine Love nature in humans to this new way of life in the Spirit.
In the final analysis, the law is merely a reflection of God’s Love. We err when we separate the two and try to relate with God through the law (legalism) instead of through faith in Jesus’ mediation and the power of His Love through the Spirit. Paul said, “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good…But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind (spirit of rebellion). This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin” (Rom.7:12, 23-25, parenthesis mine).
The Love-Condition, Antithesis of The Sin-Condition (Wiki Commons)
How do we get inducted into the Love-condition that brings every blessing from God? Paul answers and give us a clear distinction between the two conditions: “For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom.8:2). Note, the “law of the Spirit of life” frees us from the “law of sin.” The “law of sin” (rebellion) is the sin-condition which generates sins, and the “law of the Spirit” is the Love-condition” that begets righteousness. Paul gave us the purpose of the law, “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith” (Gal.3:24). So, while the law condemns us, Jesus’ faith saves us. (Rom.3:20-24; Eph.2:8) Paul said, “We have been released from the law (sin-condition) so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit (Love-condition), and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom.7:6, italics mine). The law cannot save us, it condemns us – only Jesus can save. Paul said, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom.8:1). We enter the Love-condition of the Spirit in order to live a life of joy and immortality in the Lord, not a life of discouragement, depression, and ultimately death, in the sin-condition (rebellion).
From Paul’s explanation, the Love-condition requires the presence of the Holy Spirit: the “law of the Spirit.” Paul explains to the Romans what the presence of the Spirit does, “We know how dearly God Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love” (Rom.5:5). So, the Spirit is the personification of God’s Love-condition in mankind. It is very simple, no Holy Spirit, no Love-condition. No Love-condition, no righteousness. Paul explains that the Spirit indwelling a believer is part of God’s plan, “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). A temple is where humans enter into the presence of God to behold and bask in the radiance of His Love and righteousness. In this passage, God says the temple is actually the individual and collective human life of all mankind. The temple is the dwelling structure for His abode which He created in His own likeness: humans (Gen.1:26-27). The temple God had instructed Israel to build and erect in the wilderness was to portray the true temple of the heart and mind of humankind God sought to reside and live in which He created to be molded and fashioned in His Love-image. You and I are that temple. Therefore, there is no sin but only righteousness in God’s temple.
Paul told the Romans, “You, however, are controlled not by the flesh (sin-condition), but by the Spirit (Love-condition), if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Rom.8:9, italics mine). The term “Spirit of Christ” reveals the trinitarian activity of the three Persons of the Godhead acting as one through the divine Love-nature and never in isolation from each other. The next logical step would be, how is the Spirit made to come and indwell human believers? Jesus answers, “You must be born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8).
Before His crucifixion, Jesus reminded the disciples of a vital promise from the Father, “I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luk.24:49; John 14:26) Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit as the “power from on high.” After Jesus’ resurrection and before His ascension to heaven He again reminded the disciples of the Father’s promise, “And when they were gathered together, He commanded them: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father promised, which you have heard Me discuss” (Act.1:4). Yes, man must undergo a rebirth from his fallen state of being, and be freed from the prison called the sin-condition, and take on a new risen state of being (Love-condition) living in freedom from sin. In my other blog posts I have called a human born in the sin-condition as the “Adamic human” after the fallen Adam, and the reborn human in the Love-condition as the “Immanuel human” after Jesus’ messianic title, the new human modeled after the risen Jesus, the Son of God. (you can read more about this topic, titled, “New Humanity of Jesus,” at http://bulamanriver.net/9718)
Dove – Symbol of The Holy Spirit and the Divine Love-Condition – Matt.3:16-17. (Wiki Commons)
As Paul was inspired to write, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Rom.8:29). We are not being conformed in the image of the law, but in the image of Jesus Christ who is “For the Lord is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; it is He who will save us” (Isa.33:22). Yes, by being the “firstborn” means Jesus was the first human who was given the new birth through the Holy Spirit whom He introduced to humanity at His baptism in the Jordan. (Matt.3:16-17) He set the stage for mankind to follow Him on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured upon all who believed. (Matt.3:11, 16-17; Act.2:1-4; Joel 2:28) Paul goes on, “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-condition/Spirit)” (see Rom.8:30, NLT, Italics mine).
How do we experience this rebirth in the Spirit (Love-condition)? Peter told his listeners on that memorable day of Pentecost, “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). Yes, faith in Jesus’ mediation as Savior of mankind is the prerequisite to being given birth in the Spirit as the Father’s gift. (John 3:16) We have discovered sin as a person’s unbelief and rejection of Jesus as the Deliverer from sins and the sin-conditon. The same faith does more, it opens the door so the Spirit now enters the believer’s life wherein He abides forever. (John 16:14) Repentance and baptism symbolizes the believer’s affirmation to terminate and bury in the watery grave of baptism the fallen self that was reared in the sin-condition, and rise up like Jesus did from the dead to live a reborn new self in Christ and be nurtured in the Love-condition of the Spirit. The person is taken out of prison (sin-condition) and given freedom (Love-condition) for the very first time. Paul said to the Ephesians, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph.1:13). Here, we are told of being marked and sealed in the Love-condition in the Spirit. A seal is a mark of ownership where the believer is given to enter God’s Loving filial relationship. Sin no longer owns you, Love and righteousness is now your domain. The Love-condition can be likened to an ocean of “living waters” that propagate Love and right living. (John 7:37-39).
The “Love-Condition” Can be Compared to an Ocean in which Marine Life is Likened to Believers Sustained by Its “Living Waters” (Wiki Commons)
The spiritual ocean with its “living waters” depicted in the above picture is a portrayal of believers living in the realm of the Holy Spirit. The various species of marine life is compared to the people of faith who have accepted Jesus as Savior, and received the gift of the Spirit to enter this spiritual aquatic world of Jesus Christ. The Spirit is the ocean of God’s Love in which all humanity (marine life) swim and draws life from its life-giving waters. (John 7:37-39) Empty out the ocean and all life will cease to exist and die. No other life-form can live in this oceanic realm, except for marine species (believers). All other species that are not adapted to living in the ocean, like the birds of the air, the beasts of the forest, etc, cannot survive in this aquatic kingdom. In like manner, only humans who have believed and received Jesus have been given the gift of living faith which enables them to live and swim in the divine ocean of the Love-condition in the Spirit. Here, we see humanity on a collective level.
On a personal individual level, the Bible compares the believer to a riverbed filled with the Spirit pictured by the living waters which cover the person creating the Love-condition. (John 7:37-39; Isa.55:1; John 4:14) The marine life represents the people with whom the believer will have various contacts and develop relationships in the journey of life. The winding course of the riverbed (picture below) with its living waters (Love-condition), is determined by God who confers gifts and utilizes them to water, refresh, and fill the people where the believer flows in life’s sojourn on this earth. Then all the riverbeds (believers) ends in the Ocean which represents Jesus Christ. There’s the “deathly waters” depicting the “sin-condition” of the devil from which we were plucked out portrayed in the baptismal waters and reborn into the “living waters” representing the “Love-condition” in the Spirit. (If you wish to read more on this topic, go to my post titled, “The Source of The Living Waters” at: http://bulamanriver.net/1846)
On the Individual Level, the Winding Riverbed (Person) with its Living Waters (Love-condition) Reveals God’s Purpose to Water and Refresh People Wherever He Calls Us to Flow. (Wiki Commons)
Try to think of yourself as a container filled with the Spirit’s Love. Immersed in the “living waters” of the Spirit, this Love-condition is intrinsically the catalyst for the miraculous life the believer is brought into and can lay claim upon. This ensures all situations the person encounters is always working together for good regardless of the circumstances. (Rom.8:28) How can it not be since we are wholly immersed in the very nature of God in the Spirit’s Love-condition? We ought to be aware though, the container’s water can deplete through activity and heat and can run dangerously low, just like a riverbed’s water can run dry from use and drought. (1 Thess.5:19; Eph.4:30; Act.4:31) We hear the term ‘burnout’ often, meaning loss of interest and energy. So, it’s incumbent upon us to ensure Love is not stymied and/or quenched and the riverbed (believer) never suffers from spiritual dehydration. But instead we take care and being watchful so that we’re filled continuously with “living waters” through prayerful contact with Jesus and being energized by and in the Love-condition in the Spirit. In so doing, we are always watering, replenishing, and filling the people of our valleys with the same miraculous “living waters” (Gal.5:16-17). Yes, we are speaking of the Source of all energy and power in the universe both physical and spiritual.
Paul affirms this truth, saying, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh (sin-condition) but are in the realm of the Spirit (Love-condition), if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Rom.8:9). Paul admonished the Ephesians, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph.5:18). Man’s fallen nature (sin-condition) entices him to sin, but in Jesus (Love-condition) we live vicariously in His victorious triumph over over sin in His temptation and His cross. (Matt.4:1-12; Matt.27:26) The role of the Spirit is to articulate the life of Jesus and His glorious victory over the sin-condition. (John 16:13-15)
Whenever believers are told to overcome every single sin in their lives, it discourages them to no end because they know it’s an impossible task to do as a human. And, God our Father knows this well and paves the way to remove sins once for all time and make us perfect – it’s called righteousness. Righteousness is the antithesis of sin. So, the second aspect of the Spirit’s work concerns the human conviction about righteousness – what is that? Jesus answers, “Righteousness is available because I go to the Father” (John 16:10, NLT) Jesus had just defined sin as, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me” (John 16:9). Now He defines righteousness.
Here again, the Bible’s definition of righteousness is not what most people think it is. Most think of righteousness as obedience to the law because sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4) Thereby, the law condemns us whenever we break it (sin). But we are not bound to the law, we are bound to Christ who covers us with God’s Love that “covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet.4:8). Jesus is the only human ever who lived a perfect sinless life before God. Therefore, the Father imputes Jesus’ righteousness upon all humanity. (read 2 Cor.5:21) It’s left for us to apprehend it through faith in Christ, for the Bible says, “The righteous will live by faith” (in God’s imputing Love) (Rom.1:17). The Bible encourages us with these words, “Whoever pursues (Christ’s) righteousness and (God’s imputing) unfailing Love will find life, righteousness, and honor” (Prov.21:21, parenthesis mine).
The Beatitude of Righteousness of Jesus Teaching – Matt. 5:6 (Wiki Commons)
So, we see how sins are forgiven and removed through Jesus’ sacrifice, and then the person is reinstated by a rebirth into righteousness through the Spirit’s power, no longer sinful. That is God’s answer to sin: Jesus’ righteousness! This is a life of faith which breeds attribution and Loving relationship, not obedience to a code whose only power is to condemn which can never save. God has decided what we are to obey in order to put us in right standing with Him – Jesus! So, the personification of the Love-condition that produces perfection is Jesus Christ’s mediation. Paul provides further insight, “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness” (Rom.8:10). Paul underscores the centrality of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in the believer, “We know that our old self (sin-condition) was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom.6:6, italics mine; Gal.2:20). Yes, Jesus has defeated sin once for all time, and the Spirit keeps us that way through His continual sanctification. Paul states unreservedly, “In Him you have been made complete” (Col.2:10, NASB).
But what has Jesus “going to the Father” to do with righteousness? Jesus gives the answer in the same passage, saying, “Unless I go away (to the Father), the Advocate (Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, parenthesis mine). The Spirit is the personification of the Love-condition who brings Jesus’ righteousness to mankind. He (Spirit) cannot come and establish righteousness until Jesus returns to the Father in heaven. Recall when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and the Father introduced the Holy Spirit to humanity through His Son? (read, Matt.3:16-17) In His dialog with John the Baptist, there was a specific function Jesus associated with the Spirit? He told John after he hesitated baptizing Him, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented” (Matt.3:15). Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to humanity in His baptism in the Jordan. Yes, the Spirit is the one who sanctifies and brings “all righteousness” in the believer. The believer is the temple in whom the Spirit dwells, “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.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Cor.6:16-17; 1 Cor.6:19-20).
There is something else that’s equally important about Jesus’ return to His Father in heaven which interfaces with the Spirit’s role of coming and sanctifying human believers on earth. (1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13) In the Father’s presence in heaven, Jesus is installed as mankind’s High Priest. As the perfect and glorified human He is qualified to be mankind’s High Priest forever. That is, He can perpetually mediate on our behalf, as Hebrews says, “God qualified Him (Jesus) as a perfect High Priest…Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Heb.5:9-10; Heb.7:23-25). Paul said, “There is one Mediator between God and man, the Word of God who is Himself a man, Jesus Christ” (1 Tim 2:5). The role of the Spirit in believers is to sanctify believers in righteousness, as Peter said, “God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with His blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1 Pet.1:2; also 2 Thess.2:13).
The work of the Spirit is to take humans with all their imperfect human responses in life (past, present, future sins) to Christ the High Priest in heaven to mediate on their behalf before the Father, and bring Christ’s righteousness to humans. Hebrews again informs us how this takes place, “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God (by and through the Spirit in us). There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Heb.4:14-16, NLT, parenthesis mine). Paul said Christ is “our righteousness” because of His Messianic role as High Priest who lives forever to intercede for humanity continually. (Jer.23:6; 33:16; 1 Cor.1:30) This is the only way for humans to defeat sin and the sin-condition forever and enter the pathway to Love and righteousness in God’s presence – there is no other way!
All this work of perpetual mediation in Christ is happening within the Love-condition of the Spirit, as Hebrews informs us, “Every high priest is chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins” (Heb.5:1). To what end? “He entered the Most Holy Place (God’s throne in heaven) once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption” (Heb.9:12; parenthesis mine). Paul further elaborates, “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Cor.1:30; 1 Cor.6:11; 2 Cor.5:21). Yes, Jesus’ High Priestly mediation brings forgiveness, righteousness, holiness and redemption which is occurring as the reality of the Spirit’s sanctifying work in believers. So, Jesus’ return and ascension to heaven has to be for us – humanity’s forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, and redemption, thus uniting us to the Father. Here, sin is alien and unknown, and at best like being awoken from a bad dream before an eternity of Love we now share with the Triune God and His angelic hosts.
All of Jesus’ multidimensional mediation that’s materializing within the Spirit’s Love-condition now answers to the aspect of “judgment” which the Spirit brings to our awareness and conviction. Jesus explained judgment saying, “And about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11). Now, Jesus help us identify the originator and instigator of all sin – “the prince of this world,” or Satan, the devil who holds mankind prisoner in the sin-condition. God is the Author of the Love-condition, who brings true freedom, while Satan is the founder of the sin-condition who imprisons humans as slaves to all manner of sins. By stating Satan “now stands condemned” means his sin-condition which propagates sin and his wicked and deathly rule over the people on earth, is at an end, it has ceased to exist since Jesus came, for Jesus is the gateway into the realm and habitation of righteousness and immortality – the Love-condition in the Spirit. (John 10:9, 1-7; John 11:25) Through Jesus as Savior and High Priest, God has made all things new again by establishing the Love-condition that destroys all human sins forever. This passage from John focuses on how “the prince of this world now stands condemned”: “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8, ESV, also Heb.2:14; Heb.9:26).
Yes, sin originated with Satan when he rebelled against God’s divine order of creation by defying God’s rule and authority. (Isa.14:12-15) The original sin was rebellion that was committed by Satan, not man. He deceived and manipulated Adam to believe and take ownership of the same rebellious spirit which has passed down to his descendants. He is the architect and father of the sin-condition to continue his wicked rule by which he imprisons the people of this earth. (John 8:44) Satan’s depraved plan is to ultimately wipe humanity from the face of the earth by way of the sin-condition. (John 10:10-11) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). The gift of immortality and Jesus’ righteousness go hand-in-hand and are inseparable. Satan knew God’s mind about sin and the death penalty it generates. But God’s Love is greater than the enemy’s sin-condition with its death penalty, and paves the way to save humanity through His Son. (John 3:16-17)
Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” – Luk.10:18. (Paradise Lost, Wiki Commons)
The Bible says of the devil, “How you have fallen from heaven, O Morning Star, son of the dawn!” (Isa.14:12) Yes, once a Morning Star, now a fallen angel who controls the dark world of rebellion and sin. Paul tells us what we are up against, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph.6:12). The devil’s wicked plan came to a grinding halt and was defeated utterly when Jesus appeared as the Messiah. Jesus became the perfect human to stand in for sinful humanity and restore righteousness lost through Adam’s fall. He took on the role of Savior and Mediatory High Priest in heaven, so Satan’s wicked scheme is defeated forever. In so doing, Jesus destroys the sin-condition of the devil, and restores His Love-condition of the Spirit.
The Spirit is mightier than any enemy and gives us powerful weapons to defeat the devil’s temptation and cunning as He did with Jesus’ humanity. (Matt.4:1-12) Yes, the Christian life is not just smooth sailing into immortality, but our participation in the life of faith is vital in Jesus’ Ministry of Reconciliation for which we are ambassadors. (2 Cor.5:17-21; Col.1:19-23; Rom.5:10-11). Paul gives us insight as to what the battle we face incurs with the Spirit’s help, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph.6:13-17). ( Read about the faith we need for spiritual battle at: http://bulamanriver.net/8382)
Yes, it is from within the Love-condition in the Spirit that we are given the spiritual weapons to fight this spiritual warfare and keep and not lose our place of freedom in God’s ‘promise land.’ Yes, the enemy is always trying to drag us back into bondage of the sin-condition. Jesus taught us to pray, “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one” (Matt.6:13). Paul stresses our prayers as a vital aspect of our spiritual warfare, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Eph.6:18). In Paul’s testimony about his Christian journey, he told Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim.4:7).
“Pray Without Ceasing” – An Essential Weapon in Our Spiritual Warfare (Pic: Wiki Commons)
In that day of judgment believers who exist under cover of the Spirit’s Love-condition will not be condemned because they have no sin to answer for. Remember, they were continuously sanctified by the Spirit under Jesus’ High Priestly perpetual work of mediation. But not so for unbelievers who doubted, disbelieved, and spoke against Jesus’ role as the prophesied Messiah. (Isa.9:6-7) The Spirit speaks to us through the divinely written Word, “Whoever believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s One and only Son” (John 3:18). The Bible says of the judgment day, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, along with every hidden thing, whether good or evil… “This will come to pass on that day when God will judge men’s secrets through Christ Jesus, as proclaimed by my gospel” (Eccl.12:14; Rom.2:16). Paul said this about the day of judgment, “Therefore, judge nothing before the proper time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God” (1 Cor.4:5; also 1 Cor.3:13).
We must resist passing judgment upon others, nor should we take matters into our own hands as self-driven avengers. Instead, we leave all judgment to the true Judge who said, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Rom.12:19). Even Jesus who will eventually judge all of humanity (John 5:22), said this in His relationship with other humans, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world,” and so must we follow His example and do our part by participating in His Ministry of Reconciliation. (John 12:47; 2 Cor.5:17-21; Rom.13:8). Rather, be clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, for at the judgment God will reward His people with His invitation, “Well done, Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matt.25:21; also 2 Tim.4:8).
Lady Justice with Her Scale – All Will be Brought to Account Before God’s Last Judgment (Wiki Commons)
As for the devil and his cohorts, since he is the embodiment of the rebellious sin-condition, the Bible reveals he will be put away forever and deceive humanity no more. It is a new world of jubilee and release and humanity can now experience true freedom. God will have brought mankind into His own divine family made immortal and living in God’s Loving Trinitarian presence. (Rev.20:1-3, 10) This Love-condition becomes the nucleus for what will eventually become the Kingdom of God, where Jesus is King and Lord. (Rev.19:16) There will be a new heaven and new earth where the people are clothed in righteousness, and Love will be the culture of the God’s new civilization that will rule over the universe. Concerning this time of restitution, John records, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev.21:1-8)
What a wonderful, beautiful, new world, and joyous life beyond our wildest dreams, which God our Father has lavishly bless humanity. Paul affirms humanity’s blessed future through these words, “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). We have every reason to be deeply thankful and filled with profound appreciation for our heavenly Father’s Love for making us sinless and righteous and joyful in triumphant celebration before Him! And what more fitting time to be grateful and give our profound gratitude than now as we approach Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving, A Time For Family Get-Together and to Give Thanks (Wiki Commons)
Friends, as we enter the 2018 season of Christmas when we pause to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us not be unmindful of this momentous event in all human history and give it the devout attention it justly deserves. For Jesus’ birth commemorates the end of our human incarceration in the sin-condition, and the profound, freedom, hope, joy, and triumph Jesus brings in the divine Love-condition. (2 Cor. 2:14) May God bless you, your family and loved ones.
Thank you very much for visiting!
The Adoration of the Magi before the Baby Jesus (Wiki Commons, By Jan de Bray,)
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
(Your Servant In Christ)
Appendix 1: 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)
**“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.