Greetings again, Friends around the World!
It is that time of year when we pause to reflect on the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, who entered our sin-conditioned humanity, and death-conditioned world, in order to save us and bring true life and immortality to humanity. (John 3:16-17) It is a spiritual process called, “Incarnation.” Today, I will discuss the term, “Reverse Incarnation.” First, let me explain what “Incarnation” mean. Literally, incarnation means “in-fleshing,” or the “taking on human flesh.” It means God came down and dwelt among humans by taking on human flesh. The incarnation is the central biblical teaching that God assumed the human fleshly form and became man in the form of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinitarian God. That is the essence of the story of Christmas.
Christ was truly God and truly human. The divine and human natures of Jesus do not exist beside one another in an unconnected way but rather are joined in Him in a personal unity that has traditionally been referred to as the hypostatic union. The union of the two natures has not resulted in the diminishing of either, rather the identity of each have been preserved in the Person of Christ. (Eph.2:14-18) Thereby, all of humanity is identified in Christ and the divine life. Hence, Jesus messianic name, Immanuel, means “God with us,” or the Triune God has united Himself with humanity, and vice versa. In so doing, Jesus brought into being a new heritage in the nature of humans – the “Immanuel humanity” of Jesus. Paul expounds on the truth about Jesus’ new humanity, saying, “For He (Jesus) Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Eph.2:14-18). Here, Paul uses the division of the Jew and Gentile as the difference between the old humanity of fallen Adam, and the glorified new humanity in the risen Christ. He said, “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms” (Eph.2:4, 6). All humanity is made one new human species in Christ.
Therefore, the reverse incarnation is the incarnation of sinful humans into the image of Jesus’ divine/human form. If Jesus’ incarnation means “taking on human flesh” from His divine form and existence, then human reverse incarnation means “taking on the divine Spirit” from our human fleshly existence. Paul explains the human reverse incarnation in his letter to the Romans, “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (reverse incarnation), so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” Rom.8:29, CSB, italics mine). The Son stands as the firstborn in the line of humanity He restored to the new human species in Christ.
Yes, God predestined humanity to be conformed to the image of His Son. It is a process by which fallen humans take on the new nature of Christ, and by so doing attain the hypostatic union of the divine and the human flesh, and be preserved for human immortality which Jesus inaugurated in His own human resurrection to immortality, or as Paul affirmed, “Jesus might be the firstborn (of new humanity with inherent immortality) among many brothers and sisters” (Rom.8:29, italics mine). The reverse incarnation of humans is not possible without the primary and central incarnation of Jesus Himself that we read the Bible about Jesus’ birth, declaring, “So the Word (Jesus) became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing Love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:14, italics mine).
Thomas F. Torrance said, “Everything would be emptied of evangelical and saving import if Jesus Christ were not fully, completely, entirely man, as well as God” (The Trinitarian Faith, Pg.146). Yes, Jesus was fully God and fully human, a completely new human to appear upon earth. The writer of Hebrews tell us this, “Since the children have flesh and blood, He (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For this reason, He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb.2:14-18). How precious is the Father’s grace and how magnanimous Jesus’ selfless sacrifice toward all humans. And that brings us to the wonderful story of the birth of Jesus, the season traditionally celebrated at this time of year called Christmas.
God had created only two humans from whom all human families have descended. The first Adam and the second Adam. (1 Cor.15:45) The first Adam was created from the dust of the earth by God’s Spirit as recorded in the Book of Genesis, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen.2:7). Eve was taken out from Adam’s side so all humanity flowed from the first Adam. (Gen.2:21-23) The second Adam came through the birth of Jesus by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, as announced to Joseph and Mary His human parents by an angel, “An angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit” (Matt.1:20). Jesus proceeded from God the Father and the Triune Godhead. He said, “I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28; 10:29). This birth of Jesus is called the incarnation.
All humans are born into the sin-condition of the devil through the first Adam. For reference, we will call the first fallen Adam, the ‘Adamic human.’ When Jesus appeared as the second Adam, He appeared and came in His messianic nature called, Immanuel, which means, “God with us,” or the union of the divine and the human flesh or His incarnation. (Matt.1:23; Isa.7:14). We will name the second Adam, the ‘Immanuel human.’ Since Jesus appearance, humanity has taken on the manifestation of the ‘Immanuel human’ by faith. He made one new humanity in Himself. (Eph.2:15) The Immanuel humanity*** of Jesus reveals the primary stage of reverse incarnation a human undergoes upon earth, then culminates in the resurrection to immortality at Jesus’ second coming. (Read 1 Cor.15; esp. Vs: 50-58).
Paul said, “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who Love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored (‘Immanuel human’)” (Rom.8:29). By saying, “The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored,” affirms Jesus was firstborn of the new humanity God created that is conformed to Jesus’ new ‘Immanuel humanity’ who carries the seed of immortality inherent in the person. The first ‘Adamic human’ carried the seed of death through the sin-condition of the devil.
This is the simple message of Christmas: whereas the first Adam gave us the ‘fallen Adamic humanity’ and death through sin, Jesus came to bring mankind’s reverse incarnation into His ‘Immanuel humanity’*** so we can be saved in this earthly life, and be given human immortality like Him in the next life through Jesus’ resurrection and become part of God’s eternal offspring. The Scriptures affirms, “For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Rom.8:29). By saying, “chose them to be like His Son,” it affirms the rebirth into Jesus’ new ‘Immanuel humanity.’ Whereas humanity was on a one-trek path to death and oblivion through the first fallen Adam, now mankind can look forward in hope to the new purpose through the second Adam in Christ with eternal life as the promise of human destiny. Jesus took our humanity, cleanse and made it holy, and led the way to immortality through His own perfect life, His sacrificial death upon His cross, His human resurrection, and ascension to His High Priestly Office today. (Matt.28:2-7; John 3:16-17; Act.10:38; Heb.4:14-16) Satan will be put away and deceive and tempt humanity no more. (Rev.20:10)
This is the heart and core of the message of Christmas, and it is a message of hope and glory for all humanity regardless of our station in life. The message of Christmas of human reverse incarnation is not just for Christians, but for all humanity. The word ‘Christian’ ought not to elucidate an organized religion, rather, it simply means a ‘follower of Jesus Christ,’ which can apply to any human being regardless of our different backgrounds, origins, and history. One can be a Christian and not be part of an organized religion or denomination. Christianity is actually a personal relationship between a person and God through Jesus.
The ultimate goal of the reverse incarnation is the gift of eternal life from God, as John states, “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 (immortality)” (John 3:16, italics mine). We have read Paul’s commentary in 1 Corinthians 15: “The perishable shall have put on the imperishable, and the mortal shall have put on immortality” (1 Cor.15:54, BLB). But how is the reverse incarnation made to happen and actually manifested in human beings? It begins on the human level, then progresses through a person’s human lifetime, before attaining the resurrection to immortality as its ultimate destiny. (John 3:16; 36; 11:25)
Jesus spoke about this reverse incarnation in the most solemn and seminal moment when He said, “You must be born again of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8). Yes, reverse incarnation involves a ‘rebirth.’ It is not a physical rebirth but a spiritual one, as Jesus clarified Nicodemus’s question. (John 3:4-7) For it is the spiritual side of our humanity (Human mind) which controls the bodily functions. How wonderfully ironic that as we remember the birth of Jesus at Christmas, it actually pictures the rebirth of humans into Jesus’ new ‘Immanuel humanity’ in the reverse incarnation.
To be “born again” means to put to death the fallen old self that is inherited from the first Adam, the ‘Adamic humanity,’ and be give the new birth to the new self in the second Adam, the ‘Immanuel humanity’ of Jesus. This death and rebirth convey the essence of human reverse incarnation and takes place in the human mind. (Rom.12:2; 2 Cor.10:5, NASB) It is inaugurated through the ritual of baptism. Baptism is the induction ceremony that initiates the ‘reverse incarnation’ (new birth) of the Immanuel human. Paul said, “You were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with Him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities” (Col.2:12-15, NLT). The Father’s purpose was for Jesus to enter our sin-conditioned humanity was to rescue mankind from the sin-condition, and transform humans through the ‘reverse incarnation’ and make human immortality a reality. (1 Cor.15:50-54)
Let us now take the three-step process called the Ascents which we have used in previous posts, to depict the work of the Triune God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in this process of the reverse incarnation of humanity. The 1st Ascent relates to the work of God through His Spirit, called “Repentance.” The 2nd Ascent brings us to the work of the Son, called “Forgiveness, the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah.” The 3rd Ascent is a person’s relationship with the Father is called “Faith in the Gospel.” The 4th Ascent is the manifestation of the Gospel, which is the “Reverse Incarnation of humans.” The word “Gospel” literally means “Good News.” The good news Jesus brought from the Father to humanity is God’s work of saving humanity by destroying the sin-condition in the ‘Adamic humanity’ (first Adam), and give humans new life in the Love-condition of the ‘Immanuel humanity’ through a rebirth of reverse incarnation in Christ (second Adam).
First Ascent, Repentance – Spirit. The 1st Ascent reveals the human relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. The 1st Ascent speaks of Repentance. The Bible reveals the three-pronged role of the Spirit (John 16:7-15). The first one is the consciousness of sin in the world. With the consciousness of sin comes repentance or change. The Spirit leads humans to repentence. What does repentance and reverse incarnation have in common? In its simplest form, repentance means a person acknowledges his/her place in the fallen ‘Adamic humanity’ from the first Adam who sinned in Eden. (Gen.3:1-6) Yes, humanity must repent of the sin-condition into which he was incarcerated by the evil one through Adam, and desires above all else to receive forgiveness through Jesus’ mediation. (Act.2:38) By receiving Jesus, a person receives the new nature of Jesus – the ‘Immanuel humanity’*** in the Spirit’s power. (***- read footnote)
So, repentance is about entering and becoming part of God’s ministry of reconciliation where humanity is reunited back to God from his/her fallen state of existence in the ‘Adamic humanity’ into the saved-condition in Jesus’ ‘Immanuel humanity.’*** We read Paul’s words concerning God’s ministry of reconciliation, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come (Immanuel humanity): The old has gone (Adamic humanity), the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:17-21, italics mine). The essence and heart of the ministry of reconciliation and thereby the reverse incarnation is stated clearly by John, “For God so Love the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believed in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So, the work of the Spirit in the 1st Ascent is to lead humanity through repentance to Jesus in the 2nd Ascent where mankind obtains forgiveness, in order to receive the gift of immortality from the Father. (1 John 5:11-12; 3:36)
Salient feature: Here, we see the first step in the process of reverse incarnation through the three-pronged intercessory work of the Spirit of the conviction of sin and leading humans to repentance. Then follows the act of Love for God and humanity. The third is the judgment of the instigator of all sin, the devil. (John 16:8-11) 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; also John 14:26). Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit as the “power from on high.” Jesus and the Spirit work hand-in-hand as one with the Father to bring salvation to humanity. It is the Spirit who leads humanity to repentance by leading us to our need for forgiveness and reconciliation through the Savior, Jesus.
Second Ascent: Forgiveness, Gospel (Good News) of The Messiah – Jesus. The second step in the human reverse incarnation is the relationship with Jesus whose work is to save humanity by cleansing humanity of all sin and saving us from the sin-condition through forgiveness and present mankind perfect to the Father. The essence of the good news or Gospel of the Messiah is revealed in the Person of Jesus Himself. He was tasked by His Father to bring to humanity God’s forgiveness through repentance (Ascent 1/Spirit). One of the most memorable passage of the Bible is, “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). Forgiveness is the state of absolution from the fallen sin-condition of humanity through the devil, and entering the saved risen Love-condition of Jesus’ new humanity through the Spirit.
In this passage we see the essence of the Christmas story, and the story of human reverse incarnation. The Gospel or Good News is none other than the Person of Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Good News of God the Father He gave mankind when He was born in Bethlehem. The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS the very Person of Jesus who gave Himself to humanity by conferring His new ‘Immanuel humanity’ we now take upon ourselves by a reverse incarnation through faith! This is a rebirth from the fallen humanity of Adam to the new risen humanity of Christ.
Jesus is the personification of the Good News to humanity as a whole. He is the prophesied Immanuel, the promised Messiah from God Almighty who came and lived a perfect life, died for mankind’s sins, was resurrected and ascended to His former glory, only this time glorifying our humanity in Himself, and was made mankind’s High Priest forever. (Isa.7:14; Act.10:38; Mar.16:6; Heb.2:17; 3:1) In John’s Gospel, Jesus revealed three life-saving truths the Spirit will bring to the human consciousness. (John 16:8-11) One of them reveals how humanity will be saved from the incarceration in the sin-condition the devil has imposed upon humanity, God’s arch enemy. Jesus said, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:9, RSV). In other words, there is only one way of defeating sin and be rescued from the prison of the fallen ‘Adamic humanity’: to have faith in the Messiah God has provided for our forgiveness, the new ‘Immanuel humanity.’
Sin is not the human failure to be obedient to a set of laws and regulations, or any other definition of sin we may espouse. Rather, sin is simply the human denial, either by ignorance and/or rejection, of the Messiah God has mercifully provided for our forgiveness and sealed in the saved-condition in the Spirit’s Love. We can be obedient all we want humanly, but without Jesus’ work of mediation on our behalf, we remain unsaved still. The Spirit gives humans the power to obey Lovingly rather than legalistically. So, we see how faith becomes the centerpiece of God’s work in the reverse incarnation made possible through Jesus’ mediation as Savior and High Priest. Through Jesus we are given the divine life through the Spirit to empower us to do the will of God through Love (not the law). The ‘law’ is simply the limited legalistic expression of God’s Love. However, divine Love is manifested more deeply and intimately in the spiritual sense than the legalistic law ever could. As Paul said, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace (Love). (Rom.6:14, NLT, italic mine). Humans encounter a relationship with the divine Godhead through Love, not the law. The law defines sin, and sin condemns. Sin can’t tell you how to live, only Love can do that. Paul says after all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer (old covenant/legalism). You’re living in the freedom of God’s Love (new covenant/grace). The difference between law and grace (Love) is like night from day.
Let’s get down to the brass tacks of why Jesus is the Personification of the Gospel, for He is the Gospel (good news) in reality. Our faith in the Good News (Gospel) affirms the following truths about Jesus:
• Unlike Adam who was created from the soil of the earth, Jesus was fully human and fully God who proceeded from the Trinitarian Being of God. (Gen.2:7; John 1:1-2; 14) There are only two humans God created: the first Adam (Adamic humanity), and the second Adam. (Immanuel humanity***) (1 Cor.15:45; Eph.2:13-18).
• By naming Jesus “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us,” God assimilated Himself with humanity through Mary, and equally unified humans with the Triune God. (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:18-23)
• Only Jesus’ birth ushered in the new “Immanuel (God with us) humanity” which substitutes the fallen, depraved “Adamic humanity” of Adam. (2 Cor.5:17-18; John 3:3) (You read about the “New Humanity of Jesus” at: http://bulamanriver.net/9718)
• Only Jesus, through His perfect sinless life, His death upon His cross, His resurrection and ascension back to the Father, and by taking up His role as humanity’s eternal High Priest in heaven, could give Himself as the means by which humans can put to death our ‘beyond cure’ corrupt “Adamic humanity.” (Jer.17:9; Mar.7:21-23; Heb.4:5) Humans will not become perfect after the new birth, we have residual weaknesses inherited from the Adamic humanity. But we have Jesus mediating for us in His High Priestly Office so we can “have the mind of Christ,” and be “clothed in Jesus’ (“Immanuel humanity)” for this is how God the Father “reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (1 Cor.2:16; Gal.3:27; Rom.3:14; 2 Cor.5:18). There is no other way to put the fallen Adamic corrupt humanity to death, and be given the new birth in His “Immanuel humanity” except through the Holy Spirit and His eternal mediation as humanity’s High Priest. (1 Cor.1:30; 2 Cor.5:21) Thus, God the Father imputes Jesus’ glorified life upon humanity making salvation possible by blessing and clothing mankind in Jesus’ glorified “Immanuel humanity.” (Read about Jesus’ High Priestly Role at: http://bulamanriver.net/11230)
• Only Jesus makes the new birth in the “Immanuel humanity” experience possible by sending the Holy Spirit to enter and make God’s temple out of human life. The Spirit sanctifies human believers by Personifying Jesus’ “Immanuel humanity” in place of the fallen corrupt “Adamic humanity” of Adam. (John 3:3-7; Act.2:38; 1 Cor.3:16; 2 Cor.6:16)
• Only through Jesus’ “Immanuel humanity” has mankind been finally given to stand in his/her own right to repent and be forgiven. It is impossible for the fallen “Adamic humanity” to repent on his/her won. (Jer.17:9; 30:15)
• Only Jesus can bring humans to immortality through the Spirit. (John 11:25; Rom.8:11)
Third Ascent: Faith in the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ, the Messiah – Father. The Third Ascent belongs to the Father, and represents the work of the Father in the Trinitarian Love activity. More than simply believing, Faith in the Gospel of Jesus means to take ownership of salvation afforded and set up in the Messiah God has provided to make possible the process of reverse incarnation. To take ownership of Jesus’ messiahship (Good News) and all that Jesus means to our human salvation as shown in detail above in the 2nd Ascent are realities in Jesus the Father has given humanity when He gave His Son for us. The role of the Father in the third ascent is to supply the ‘living faith of Jesus’ necessary to take ownership of Jesus’ work of Savior and Mediator in heaven today and the work of the Spirit in human life upon earth (repentance/Love, 1st Ascent). The famed passage from John, says, “…and whosoever believe in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). All have been saved and waiting for Faith to step in to fully manifest and actualize human salvation in Jesus. The Bible speaks of the gift of Faith as worth its weight in gold. (1 Pet.1:7) So, we see two vital divine components that are compared to ‘gold’ – Faith and human gifting, as we’ll see ‘gifts’ expounded in the 4th ascent, and they are both bound to and proceed from God through Jesus. (Matt.25:14-30; 1 Pet.1:7)
Let me extrapolate on the sin-condition of the arch enemy, Satan. Humanity exist today in the devil’s sin-condition in the world. The sooner we understand that, the truth about sin will become clearer to us. It is not possible for fallen humans (‘Adamic human’) to defeat sin and remain perfect in such an existence. How can sin defeat itself, as Jesus aptly said, “A house divided against itself will fall” (Luk.11:17). It is the “condition” that spawns the kind of action that “condition” will allow. The opposite of the sin-condition is God’s Love-condition. For example, the ocean is the “condition” which enables marine life to exist and live in the seven seas. No other species can exist in its oceanic environment. Neither the beasts of the forest, nor the birds of the air, except the fish of the sea, can live in such a watery condition and surrounding.
We realize sin and rebellion became part of humanity’s lot and way of life by default at Adam’s behest. (Gen.3:1-6) It is a way of life which breeds all kinds of negativism and evil in the world, springing from the very source of wickedness itself – the devil, Satan! (Ezek.28:11-19; Isa.14:12-14) Human history is littered with all forms of atrocities of man’s inhumanity to man where it embarrasses our sensibilities to even mention. No proper thinking human being goes out of his/her way to hurt himself/herself (commit sin deliberately). That is what sin does – sin is inflicting the slow but sure death upon oneself. (Gen.2:17) The Bible tells us, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom.3:23). To live in sin is to live in self-torture and self-denial where we suffer all kinds of stress, pain, trauma, tribulation, and eventually death. Disastrously, this has become a way of life. It seems like humans are ‘experts’ at getting himself/herself into harm’s way that we appear to be ‘programmed’ to live rebelliously in sin. Humanity is conditioned this way because we exist in the devil’s sin-condition through our fallen ‘Adamic humanity.’
Humans are in this never-ending logjam with sin, and the only way out is to have a permanent and ongoing Mediator and Savior. God knew this in advance, so when Adam fell He provided the way out through His Son, Jesus Christ; the second Adam. (John 3:16-18; 6:40; 1 Cor.15:47; Gen.3:14-15) Today, Jesus is humanity’s Savior and High Priest in heaven, seated at His Father’s right hand, doing exactly as the Father predestined for all of humanity: to permanently mediate for mankind so we may remain in right standing with the Father and the Triune God always and for eternity. Yes, God imputes His Son’s mediation upon humanity so we can experience the reverse incarnation in this life and take mankind into the next life of immortality with Him. (Read about How God Imputes His Son’s Work to Save Fallen Humanity at: http://bulamanriver.net/564). There is one vital ingredient which comes with the ‘Immanuel human’ which makes this scenario a reality: the living “Faith of Jesus.” (Read about the ‘sin-condition’ and the ‘Love-condition’ explained in the Parable of the Ocean, at: http://bulamanriver.net/5437).
There is a faith that is entirely human and powerless in the spirit realm, however in this instance, we are speaking of the ‘Personal Faith of Jesus.’ Listen to how Paul explains the ‘Faith of Jesus.’: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who Loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, italics for emphasis, KJV). In another passage Paul reminds us, “Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe.” (Rom.3:22, italics for emphasis, AKJV) (You can read about “Jesus’ Personal Faith” at http://bulamanriver.net/2811)
The ‘Faith of Jesus’ is empowered by the presence of the Spirit in the human heart and mind. The human faith, on the other hand, is powered by the five physical senses and swayed by Satan, that is, of seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching, and hearing. People will say, “I have to see, smell, taste, touch, or hear, in order to believe,” this is human faith. The human faith is unworkable in the spirit realm. When humans take up the new humanity of Jesus, they live the ‘miraculous life’ that is powered by the Spirit and God’s angelic realm, made reality by Jesus’ living faith. (Rom.8:26; 2 Tim.1:7; Psa.91:11) (You can read about my own personal miracle at: http://bulamanriver.net/2634)
Salient feature: There is always a battle under way between the human faith and Jesus’ Personal Faith. It is important to recognize the difference, and know what to do. Human faith is not entirely inadequate, when used properly, it is utilized to trust in Jesus’ living faith. God requires human participation in the work of reverse incarnation, so human faith is a person’s role in it by trusting in the true ‘Faith of Jesus.’ Sadly, too many of us are trying to follow Christ with the human faith alone and it is an impossible task. The ‘faith of Jesus’ is the personal gift from the Father in this 3rd Ascent. It is what empowers the life of the ‘Immanuel humanity’ who is the manifestation of the reverse incarnation. Hence, we read, “And it is impossible to please God without Faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Heb.11:6).
Fourth Ascent: Reverse Incarnation, Humanity. This Ascent reveals the human relationship with God. The 4th Ascent is about the reverse incarnation in humanity through the Triune Life*. Very simply the reverse incarnation is manifested in humans through the three relationships we have seen in the 3 Ascents above. The Spirit (1st Ascent) imparts knowledge and understanding of sin, inspires repentance and change by leading humans to the foot of the cross of Jesus (2nd Ascent) to obtain forgiveness. (John 3:16; John 16:7-15) The Father (3rd Ascent) reveals and confers the gift of the living ‘faith of Jesus’ for the purpose of activating the reverse incarnation. (Heb.4:2, 6; 11:6)
The story of Christmas carries this magnificent and beloved promise from the Father through His Son, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The 4-step process expounded in the Ascents above reveals what the story of Christmas means, and how its message is accomplished. Since the fall of Adam, humanity has lived under Satan’s rule and adopted his nature and his way of life which diametrically opposes God’s way of Love. Humanity, through deception and sin has existed in this satanic bubble (world) where the ego-centric self is the magnet to life and everything around him. Be that as it may, the enemy knows humanity can never detach himself from the underlying spark which connects mankind to his Creator by virtue of being created in God’s Triune Love-image. (Gen.1:26-27) No one can erase that divine connection, not even the enemy.
Yes, the ultimate purpose of Christmas is the Father’s Loving act of saving humanity from the devil through the act the reverse incarnation and thereby gifting humanity with immortality so mankind can live forever with Him, His Son Jesus, and the Spirit. Paul affirms this awesome promise where God is taking humanity to His desired conclusion, when he said, “This is true because He already knew His people and had already appointed them to have the same form as the image of His Son (Immanuel humans). Therefore, His Son is the firstborn (into immortality) among many children” (Rom.8:29, italics mine, GWT). What a truly marvelous future humanity has in store, and to look forward to with hope.
Here is the beautiful truth about how Jesus’ ‘Immanuel humanity’ is manifested in humans, upon earth and into eternity. The Scriptures says this about Jesus, Paul writes to the Colossians, “I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ Himself. In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:2-3). Yes, the knowledge of who you truly are in your personhood (wholeness as humans) as a divinely gifted human being is hidden in Jesus as you take on His new ‘Immanuel humanity.’ All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery of Christ in you – “the hope of glory,” as you live out as ‘Immanuel humans.’ (Col.1:27) Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. He that follow Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) The word “light” is symbolic of a person’s purpose in his/her gifting. To live a life without a purpose and destiny is to live in “darkness.” It is through the Light of Jesus (‘Immanuel humanity’) shining in our lives that we are made to see the “false-self” in the ‘Adamic humanity’ and given the light to see and receive the “true self” in Jesus’ ‘Immanuel humanity.’ Yes, we will live out who we are in our gifts, both now and into eternity. The Bible quotes Jesus saying, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to what he has done” (Rev.22:12). Each person is the keeper and custodian of the gift conferred upon him/her by the Creator.
Consider, when Paul was inspired to write that humanity will be conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus, it primarily means we will take upon us all that He is in His Sonship so humans become God’s sons and daughters; His gifts and abilities so we can live with purpose in each of our talents; His generosity so humans are influenced and guided by His unfathomable Love; His powers through His Spirit so we are equipped and strengthened in this life and for eternity. That is what it means when Scripture says that “all our treasures (wholeness as persons) lie hidden in Him” (Col.2:2-3, italics mine; Rom.8:29). God has conferred total fullness of the “Immanuel humanity” in Christ, and a measure of that fullness is given by the grace of God to every human believer. As Paul wrote, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col.2:9). The first gift we receive from God is the gift of the Holy Spirit who was given on Pentecost and continues to empower humans today. (Act.2:1-4; 1:8) Jesus said the Spirit will manifest His gifts in humans, “The Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you” (John 16:15; Act.1:8).
Life and gifts (gold) comes fused together and are inseparable. No human can claim to be without a gift given him or her by the Creator. It is a matter of having the light of Jesus to see who we are and being true to ourselves. A gift is like a magnet. That’s to say, a person’s “life-gift” is the magnet in the person’s life. We have heard the adage, “Life is a gift.” Indeed, for the gift that comes with life is what makes life a gift. Think about this: A musician does not find his music, his music finds him. An author does not find his subject to write about, his subject finds him. An entrepreneur does not find his business niche, his niche finds him. In other words, in the life of the ‘Immanuel human’ the divinely conferred gift will manifest itself. Do we go around allowing various motivations to influence our actions that is not true to our gifts? When that happens, it is evidence of living in the sin-condition of the ‘Adamic humanity’ from the enemy. When we live in the Love-condition of the Spirit in Jesus’ new humanity, He gives us the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus (God’s Word) to guide us to our gifts. (John 1:1-3, 14) Hence, the ‘living faith of Jesus’ plays a vital role. When all is said and done, gifts are the manifestation of Jesus’ Himself in His fullness in each and every human. Paul tells us, “Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you” (1 Cor.14:1, MSG).
(Read my post on Jesus’ parable about human gifts, titled, “Invest In Gold–True Gold!” at: http://bulamanriver.net/3145)
Many people experience life as square-pegs-in-round-holes, or being misfits, because they are blind to and not living their ordained gifts. They live a life that is not true to themselves. To live a life without one’s true destiny is a life of abject failure – although one may have the impression of “success,” it is really a guise and hollow at its core where people find no true meaning and joy. What is your measure of “success?” Is it money, power, prestige and pride, material stuff? The parable of the gold Jesus gave to His hearers affirms that every person is born with a unique gift conferred upon him/her at birth for the purpose of living his/her purpose in life, be happy doing it, and bringing glory to God as a result. (Matt.25:14-30) You can read the story of Joseph in the Bible which provides an excellent template for how God endows humans with gifts as He gave Joseph his gift through his dream. (Gen.Chap:37; 39-47)
Just because gifts are from God does not mean that gifts ought to be ecclesiastical or religious in nature, which many have wrongly assumed. A person can be a plumber, or engineer, a doctor or gardener, an architect or builder, a marine biologist or fisherman, a scientist or truck driver, or whatever the gift. Gifts evolve as the Spirit supplies the faith. Peter was a fisherman. Jesus turned his gift to become a fisher of men instead of fish. God has blessed each and every one of His children with variety of gifts, from being a home-maker to a business executive, from a painter to a programmer, from an pilot to a sailor, from and student to a teacher, God made us all beautiful in our diversity. We are all cut out to be something unique before the Creator, however small it may seem, they all fit into a larger scheme of things that may not be evident immediately. To live with a defined purpose through our gifts is to live a life of freedom and joy. Jesus supplies the faith which gives us eyes to see our purpose in the bigger scheme of things in God’s grand plan for each and every person.
And here is the purpose about the diverse gifts given to us all. God gave them to be used to build bridges of Love with God first on a personal level, and with our fellow humans. (Mar.12:30-31) Yes, we are bridge-builders! Whatever the gift, it is given as platforms to build bridges and proclaim this wonderful message of God’s Love incarnated in His Son and manifested in humans through His new humanity. We are given the platform of our gifts to proclaim His Love in the service of humanity. For example, we are not all experts at fixing a leaking roof, so we turn to a roofer or handyman to do the work for us. An electrician helps out with issues that has to do with problems of electrical power which we may know nothing about. We turn to a teacher to educate us about a subject we would like to be more proficient at. No one could enlighten our knowledge about plants better than a botanist. There are countless things in life we will discover, sooner rather than later, that we need people who are experts in their field (gifted) who can lend a helping hand. That is how God created humans to live and care for one another utilizing their respective gifts in Love, just as God does in His Triune Being.
Some may be tempted to despise and have little respect for what they possess and do. But however small it may seem, it contributes to a larger picture we must always visualize and not be blind to. The Bible warns us about a negative attitude towards our God-given talents, when God asked, “Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!” (Zech.4:8-10, MSG). Yes, your gift may seem like a “small and insignificant thing,” but all out gifts are like the “last stone” that makes the capstone (finishing stone) of God’s temple possible. Peter said that your are all “living stones” being built into a spiritual house for God’s dwelling. (1 Pet.2:5)
Your gift is like the rudder of a ship, it may seem small compared to the size of a ship, but it is not insignificant by any measure for it turns the huge vessel in the direction the pilot chooses, even in the face of strong winds. We must never look down upon what is divinely endowed in us. Every gift is sacredly conferred, as Paul said of Christ, “Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift” (Eph.4:8, MSG). But this is the person who will be scorned and shamed, the one who lives ignorant of his/her purpose – like a rudderless vessel he/she will be buffeted about by every wind that blows and travels aimlessly in all directions. For surely, that ship will end as a wreckage and headed nowhere.
But here is the main takeaway concerning human gifts: sadly, humans have traded their gifts for money, selfish gain, and for self-centered reasons, whereas, God intended His gifts to be utilized for Love, and to promote His Love-nature in human relationships. (Read the fruits of God’s Love explained at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199) Am I saying we ought to provide services through our gifts without gratuity and generous response for services rendered? No, the Scripture says, “Don’t muzzle a working ox, (i.e.) a worker deserves his pay” (1 Tim.5:18, italics mine). It is really a matter of perspective, what is our primary motivation? Is it expressly for monetary and/or forms of unethical gain? Greed is insidious and possesses the cunning and subtlety which quietly takes over and turn our lives for the worse. Our primary motivation is of utmost importance, for that is what drives our thoughts and actions. God wants each of us to utilize our gifts for Love first, above and before all else. He created humans to be reflections of His Love-image. (Gen.1:26-27)
When money becomes our sole objective we turn our gifts into a mercenary tool that breeds greed and covetousness, rather than a tool for God’s Love to promote generosity and goodwill. Don’t allow your gift to become an object for inward and selfish gain and allow fear to rule your life. When we let His Love guide us, we will know how to use our gifts properly and wisely. We are admonished not to let greed become our motivation, as Paul told Timothy, “not greedy for dishonest gain” (1 Tim.3:8). On the other hand, Jesus admonishes us, “Seek the Kingdom of God (Love) above all else, and live righteously (as ‘Immanuel humans’), and He will give you everything you need” (Mat..6:33, NLT, italics mine).
God is able to be all things to everyone through the numerous collage of gifts He confers upon humanity revealing the greatness of His majesty. All our gifts are woven into the tapestry of God’s Love-Being, so that we are in touch with everything there is to know about God’s purpose for each of us as persons with unique gifts. Then we will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ and walking in His ‘Immanuel humanity.’ As John said, “God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
Peter said “You are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple” (1 Pet.2:5). That is how important you are to God for you are in His service, you are part of His temple. Paul said, “Surely you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you! God will destroy anyone who destroys God’s temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you yourselves are His temple” (1 Cor.3:16-17). He said, you are “God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God who called you out of darkness (fallen ‘Adamic humanity’) into His own marvelous light (‘Immanuel humanity’)” (1 Pet.2:9, italics mine). What a privilege to live out our lives in service to the Creator’s grand purpose for humanity.
Again, when considering human gifts, reflect on the metaphor of God’s Love with the ocean’s reef system teeming with all kinds of marine life, I shared earlier. When people are reborn ‘Immanuel humans’ they are wrapped up and sealed in God’s unseen spiritual ocean of Love which gives them the enabling power to live as reborn humans so the negativity that sin propagates cannot touch them as Jesus always mediates for humanity in heaven: “Therefore He (Jesus) is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf” (Heb.7:25; 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 10:14). Because of Jesus’ mediation we utilize our gifts as platforms for good and keeps us in the bond of His unfathomable Love. Paul said this, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph.2:10; Tit.2:14).
Petition: Friends, thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus’ birth, His life, death, resurrection, and High Priesthood, with you today. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Jesus as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of a gloriously magnificent future for humanity. You can privately and quietly pray this prayer in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human Christ died for, not as a member of any religious sect or denomination: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised rebirth into Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me. May Your Love guide and protect me and my loved ones always, and bring us and all humanity into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.” Welcome to the Life of Love in God’s eternal Triune Being and Family.
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
Blessing: We wish you all a joyous Christmas, and may you experience the new birth into Jesus’ new humanity, as He came to unite mankind into the divine life of God by His birth. 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 in Christ as you live the Triune Love of the Father. Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Kiang P. Lee (Your Servant In Christ)
*Triune Life or Triune Love: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. Its foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because Love is the nature of God. (1 John 4:8; Rom.5:5) I had coined the term “Triune Love” and “Triune Life,” to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the three-dimensional life, the human experience of God’s Love is always moving in an inward, outward, and upward motion where all the three Persons of the Godhead are in relational oneness with humanity. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2)
Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living/Loving,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune Godhead. (John 1:1-2) He took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead by cleansing it of all sin and rebellion. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit (Love) in humans. (Rom.5:5) 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) The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
***Immanuel Humanity: There were only two humans that God had a direct hand at creating for human procreation and posterity upon earth – the first Adam and the second Adam, Jesus. (1 Cor.15:22, 45-47; Eph.2:14-16; Gen.1:27; 2:7; Luk.1:26-35) Eve was taken from Adam’s rib so all humanity flow from the first Adam. (Gen.2:21-23) Jesus is the firstborn Immanuel Human (the second Adam). The Immanuel Human was introduced to mankind through Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Paul makes the truth of Jesus’ new ‘Immanuel humanity’ quite clear, “For He (Jesus) Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Eph.2:14-18). Here, Paul uses the division of the Jew and Gentile as analogous of the difference between the old humanity of fallen Adam, and the glorified new humanity in the risen Christ.
The night Jesus was taken to be crucified, He shared what is commonly called the Last Supper with His disciples. More than just a mere supper, Jesus was about to make an astounding revelation and inaugurate a powerful ritual concerning the new birth into His new Immanuel Humanity. All of mankind has descended from the first fallen Adam and needs saving from the sin-condition by a rebirth through Jesus, the second Adam. (John 3:16-17; John 3:5-7; Act.2:38; John 6:53-58; Eph.2:15-16)
He introduced a divinely ordained ritual with two powerful emblems concerning the truth of the spiritual human rebirth. Commonly called the Communion in the Christian community today, the ritual consists of the two emblems of the bread and wine. In regard to the bread, the scriptures says, “Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Matt.26:26). With respect to the wine, the passage says, “Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt.28:27-28). Earlier in His ministry, Jesus told His followers, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). Jesus was speaking metaphorically concerning His new Immanuel Humanity. (Isa.7:14) This is not a physical rebirth but spiritual one as Jesus explained to Nicodemus. (John 3:4-6) Paul said, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor.15:45).
The bread represents Jesus’ body, and the wine symbolize His blood. The two emblems adds up to the whole new humanity of Jesus. Jesus continued in the passage quoted earlier, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me” (John 6:54-57). So, whenever humans take the emblems they are manifesting belief of conforming to the image of Jesus’ new glorious Immanuel Humanity. (Rom.8:29; Eph.1:5) Jesus said His followers were to keep this ritual until His return to earth at His second coming. (Matt.26:29, ISV). In other words, humanity is called to adopt Jesus’ new humanity in this human earthly life until His return, when at the resurrection of the dead mankind will be given to inherit everlasting life in a glorious immortal body like His. (Rom.8:29; 1 Cor.15; 1 Thess.4:13-18)
Jesus unmistakably reveals that being baptized into God’s Spirit is what gives birth into Jesus’ new humanity, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:5-7). John the Baptist told the people this about Jesus, “I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mar.1:8). At His baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus was setting the example of repentance and forgiveness with the Spirit descending upon Him showing how a person is reborn into the Immanuel human. (Matt.3:16-17; Act.2:38; Eph.1:13-14) Jesus told his followers, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (Spirit) to you” (John 16:7).
Humans will not become perfect at once after the new birth, mankind possesses residual weaknesses inherited from the Adamic humanity. But we have Jesus mediating for us in His High Priestly Office so we can “have the mind of Christ,” and be “clothed in Jesus” (‘Immanuel humanity’). This is the manner by which God the Father “reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (1 Cor.2:16; Gal.3:27; Rom.3:14; 2 Cor.5:18).
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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