Greetings again Friends! Faith is the very lifeblood of the Christian life. As a verb and doing word, a human being’s spiritual life rises and falls on the proper understanding and application of faith. What is the purpose of faith in the life of the human believer in Jesus? Faith is about manifesting a person’s status and reality in God’s spiritual realm and how he/she interacts with the divine will in life. We are mortal humans, and God is spirit. What happens when God reaches out from His spiritual realm to offer you His Love, and you wish to respond and reach out to His offer of grace, how do you get in touch, and what do you do? Yes, how do you make contact with God in His spiritual realm?
Realize there is an insurmountable chasm that exist between our mortal human world and God’s divine realm. What can we do to bridge this gap? The answer is revealed in the Bible. The message of the Bible is for all humanity. It is a gross misunderstanding to say the Bible is for “Christians” only. The Bible consist of God’s message of hope and Love for every human who draws breathe given from one divine Source regardless of who we are – the Creator God. So, in this post, we will discuss the subject of the only vehicle given from the Bible by which humans make contact with the divine – faith!
The Bible reveals to us about the important and only vehicle by which humans may navigate the impenetrable divide between mortal humans and the all-powerful unseen Godly realm. That vehicle is called by the name: faith! Yes, faith is the bridge upon which we travel to cross over from our mortal realm into the spiritual realm of God. There is the human faith, and there is the spiritual faith. Both are used differently. The human faith is exercised through the five human senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch. The spiritual faith is explained this way, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor.5:7). In other words, the human faith (sight, etc.) is powerless to transport us into God’s realm, it requires a more powerful faith that’s unseen and spiritual. Paul told the Corinthians, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor.4:18).
The Bible goes further, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Heb.11:6). Notice, this faith is powerful because it convicts humans of the reality of God’s existence – (“anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists”). Faith also assures humans of God’s care and concern for human well-being – (“He rewards those who earnestly seek Him”). Most importantly, this awesome faith creates a Loving relationship with God – (“It’s impossible to please God apart from faith”).
The Bible explains how this enabling faith acts as a bridge into the unseen spirit realm of God, “Faith is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Heb.11:1). What we cannot see is spiritual and cannot be detected by the five physical senses. There are physical things that are unseen but detectable by the senses, like the wind, gravity, human thoughts, etc. But the divine realm where God dwells is totally different. This is the realm of the Creator of all things known and unknown, of things seen and unseen, who holds all power and who chose to have a relationship with humankind whom He created in His image and likeness. (Gen.1:26-27; John 15:16)
Paul speaks of the different species the Creator made and how humans were set apart from other species. He said, “Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form…The (human) body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor.15:39-44). Paul makes us see how God created and differentiated the human species from the rest of creation, with the ultimate destiny of human immortality, as mankind’s lot and destiny. (Gen.3:17; 1 Cor.15:54) And for this reason, humanity is given the gift of faith, the vehicle of faith, to enter into the God’s realm and presence to worship and engender a relationship of Love that’s uniquely exclusive to Him in His Triune Being in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor.13:14; Matt.28:19). This is the Promise of God, “And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life” (1 John 2:25, NKJV).
Humans can only enter into a Loving relationship with the Triune God when they can prove the reality of His existence, and that His care and Love is equally real. So, God has left humans with many Promises as proof of His grace and care. The Bible states unequivocally, “God can be trusted to keep His Promise” (Heb.10:23, NLT). (I will delve deeper into God’s Promises in another aspect of faith later in this post). What pleases God is when humans rely upon Him for their well-being, both spiritual and physical. Peter said this, “And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious Promises. These are the Promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (2 Pet.1:4). All of that begins with faith, for without faith we left with doubt.
Doubt creates disbelief, rift and confusion, and is the opposite of faith. It is the destructive fire which burns and destroys the bridge of faith which provides access into the divine realm. James tell us this, “When you ask, you must believe (have faith) and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (Jam.1:6-8). This is the ploy of the evil one, he seeks to create a divided loyalty in the heart of humans, so we will lose our way into the divine realm.
James informs us what to do when we are faced with a crossroad between faith and doubt in life, “If you need wisdom (to help make right decisions), ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver (doubt).” (Jam.1:5-6, NLT, italics mine). Yes, we require divine wisdom. The Bible says, “The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor.1:25; also, Zech.4:6). You and I must believe Him in His reality as the all-powerful God, and not some figment of the imagination. So, we see how faith explains He is a caring God. The bridge which gives access to all His Promises is the bridge of faith. Faith gives us that sure hope in God’s many Promises for us. (2 Pet.1:4; 3:13)
To enter God’s realm and most especially His presence, there are three profound determinants to keep in mind. First, God is eternally holy in His Being, therefore, nothing short of His like supreme holiness can appear before Him. (Isa.6:3) Second, humanity is required to be clothed in God’s Love, the essence of His holiness, to enter into His holy and Loving presence. (1 John 4:8) Third, since humans don’t have the prerequisite holiness to come before God, there is the absolute necessity for an intermediary to step into the place of fallen humanity to bridge this impassable holiness chasm which exist between fallen mortal man and the holy God. (1 Tim.2:5; Act.4:12)
From the foregoing, we will proceed through the three ascents depicting life in the Triune Life* of God of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:19) That’s to say, the three ascents show humans are inducted into the life of Love in the Father, Son, and Spirit. For that is what “baptizing them (believers) in the name of the Triune God” means, “to be inducted into the life of God in His whole Being” (Matt.28:19). Only through His Triune Being, and no other way, can humans be made to enter His holy presence. Before we get into the ascents, let me add a word about holiness. God is utterly holy in His Being. Sometimes we imagine this to be something that’s untouchable and unreachable, that His holiness is beyond humanity and we can never attain such a state of existence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, mankind has lived a fallen state of existence since Adam’s fall, but that is only temporary, and He has given His Son who saved us for His holy purpose. (John 3:16) Yes, God created humanity for this very holy destiny we are privileged to have with Him in His family. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 Cor.3:17, ESV; Eph.3:17-19)
He revealed His holy act for sinful mankind by giving His Son to die for and save us. The Bible says, “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). They key word in that passage is Love. Love, not only reveals God is holy, but makes us comprehend His holiness on the human level. God, to exist in holiness, means He is totally Loving in His nature. God’s holiness is immeasurable because His Love is unfathomable. (1 John 4:8; Psa.111:9) Being holy means making right choices through the power of His Love. Holy (Love) means to shun evil and embrace the good through the fruits of Love. (1 Cor.13) It means making the necessary change from what is wrong (sin) to what is good (holy). In His holiness and Love, God reached out and touched sinful humanity to save us from rebellion and evil and restore us to His holiness and Love.
We see the three ascents through His Trinitarian life unfolding in the life of humans as follows:
Ascent 1: Holy Spirit – Sin Defeated. The third Person of the Triune Godhead is called Holy Spirit because He enters human life to defeat sin and darkness and sanctify and make humans holy in Christ so that a person can appear before the Father holy.
Ascent 2: Jesus – The Savior and Mediator, the Light of God. Before the Holy Spirit can be given to enter human life, the person must first be cleansed of all sin, for sin and holiness are incompatible and can never coexist. So, the Mediator Jesus was sent by the Father to enter our human existence, live the perfect sinless human life, and die the sacrificial death to become the complete human Savior to release humanity from the bondage of sin and rebellion. (John 3:16: Rom.5:8) Jesus did not remain dead upon His cross. He was buried and on the third day was resurrected and appeared to the disciples and others for forty days. Then He ascended to heaven where He was seated at the right hand of God the Father as humanity’s High Priest, for the purpose of forever mediating on behalf of fallen humanity. (Matt.28:5-6; Heb.4:14-16)
Ascent 3: God The Father – The Gift of New Life through and In His Holy Presence. Paul tells us the all-important role of Jesus as our human High Priest before the Father in heaven, “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” (1 Cor.1:30-31) I emphasize the words, “He made us pure and holy” to stress the vital cleansing role of Jesus as our Savior and High Priest who seats at the Father’s right hand today. Later Paul said, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Cor.5:21). Yes, Jesus is the intermediary that humanity needed to keep us in God’s holy presence forever.
There is another vital picture of the Father’s role which makes all the difference, and that is, in His holy glorious presence everything is renewed and becomes new. His light and glory brings about renewal and rebirth upon all life and everything He touches. And even humans that enter the Father’s presence through Christ is restored and regenerated through the light of His holy renewing energy and presence. The Father’s place is the place of healing and miracles where humanity is cured from all sickness and disease both spiritual and physical. The Bible states, “He (God) does great things that we cannot understand and miracles that we cannot count” (Job 5:9; also Act.10:38; Psa.119:50; Jam.5:15).
Therefore, in the Father’s presence the old fallen self from Adam is forever cast-off and abandoned through repentance for the new person that you are in His Son. Paul affirms this wonderful truth, saying, “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. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him” (Rom.8:29-30). This miraculous act of regenerating humanity through His Son is absolutely crucial concerning how we enter into God’s holy presence.
Humans enter God’s holy presence through and in the glorified body of His Son as High Priest. Listen to what Scriptures tell us, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Spirit)” (Heb.10:19-22, italics for emphasis).
Yes, each of our place in God’s presence was initiated by Jesus Himself when He took our fallen humanity upon Himself as the Immanuel, rescued it by living the perfect human life, then sacrificing Himself for our redemption, and after His resurrection from the dead, ascended and took our now glorified humanity in Himself to heaven and into the Father’s holy presence where Jesus is seated at the His right hand. Humans are not only saved from our Adamic sin-condition by Jesus, but He also glorified our humanity with immortality in Himself by His resurrection and ascension became the first human to receive immortality so we may follow in His footsteps. (Rom.8:29) There is no other way for humans to enter God’s spiritual realm and the Father’s holy presence other than through faith in His Son who has introduced and glorified our humanity by His life, death, resurrection, and ascension to His High Priesthood. (Act.10:38; John 3:16; 11:25-26; Act.1:9-11; Heb.4:14-16) Let’s listen to Paul again, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom.5:1).
Since Jesus is constantly mediating in His High Priestly role for humanity’s right standing with God, the Father fulfills His promise of giving mankind the gift of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) The Spirit is the God’s power to personify the new glorified life of Jesus in humans. The Spirit is the cleansing power of God that renews and regenerate humans. (Tit.3:5-6) Jesus informs us in John of the role of the Spirit, “He (Spirit) will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me. All that belongs to the Father is Mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever He receives from Me’” (John 16:14-15). Note, how God acts in unison as One Tri-Personal God.
In one of the most profound and life-altering passage Paul was inspired to write, he said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal.2:20a). In that brief but powerful statement, Paul reveals the secret of living the Christian life. Christianity is a life of reliving the death and new life (resurrection) in Christ. So, in the Father’s glorious presence, humans undergo this deathlike experience of disrobing the sin-conditioned old self from Adam, and stepping into the new life of being robed in the glorified life of His Son, Jesus. (Rom.8:29) Paul tell us how this rebirth takes place, “We know that our old self was crucified with Him (Jesus) so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Rom.6:6-7, italics mine).
Thus, renewal and transformation emerges and springs from the Father’s holy majestic presence. Yes, that is what happens in the Father’s holy presence – the spiritual death and rebirth of humanity. A complete renewal takes place in the life of humans because the glorified life of Christ now resides in the believer. It’s helpful to recollect that at the last supper before His death, Jesus initiated the communion event of partaking of the bread and wine. These two elements were emblems representing Jesus’ body and blood, or the new life we have in Him, and that He now, symbolically in flesh and blood, walks in and through us. (1 Cor.11:23-26)
John speaks of this rebirth event when he quoted Jesus as saying, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). Note again, no one can enter the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom unless they are reborn by taking on Christ’s very life through the Spirit’s power, in the Father’s holy presence. Yes, every human who appears before God must undergo a rebirth from his/her sin-conditioned self and made to enter into a holy union with Christ’s glorious life who has already taken our humanity in God’s holy presence at His own resurrection, ascension, and High Priestly office. This is the only way a human is made to enter into the presence of our holy and Loving God. (1 John 4:8; Psa.99:3; Lev.19:2)
Through Jesus’ mediation as High Priest, the Father fulfills His promise and sends the Holy Spirit to regenerate humanity. The Spirit is God’s power that personifies the new life of the glorified holy Jesus in humans. Jesus informs us in John the role of the Spirit, “He (Spirit) will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me. All that belongs to the Father is Mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever He receives from Me’” (John 16:14-15). The Spirit is the power who initiates the rebirth into the new life in Jesus.
Recall, we are covering the topic of faith as the bridge into the sanctity of God’s presence. Nothing we have discussed above happens without faith. Beginning with life in the Triune Being of God, nothing spiritual becomes our reality in the human sense without faith – but not any faith, just the Personal living faith of Jesus, as we shall see. We have seen that only through the vehicle of God’s Tri-Personal Being in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (3 Ascents), can humanity be brought into His holy presence, specifically, through the Person of Jesus as the world’s Savior. Yes, it is Jesus’ personal living faith that brings us into the presence of God. Note what Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ (Ascent 2, above): 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, KJV).
Yes, “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.” There is no other way to come before the presence of the holy God except through the faith of Jesus. The glorious life of Jesus as our human High Priest and the living faith of Jesus are one and the same. As High Priest He supplies His extra ordinary faith to trust in His mediation to infuse the power in doing the divine will. Paul told the Ephesians, “I pray that Christ will make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph.3:17). God’s relationship with sinful humans is constantly mediated in the life of His Son as our High Priest.
At the beginning of this post, I asked what ultimately is the purpose of faith in humanity – specifically, Jesus’ living faith? It’s purpose is to bring humanity to the place of sanctification where humans are made holy in the Father’s presence, as we have seen above. At another milestone in God’s appointed plan, He will bring all humanity to glorification by resurrecting mankind and be conferred the promise of immortality at His Son’s coming return to earth. (Act.1:10-11; Rev.19:11-16) The Bible Promises, “And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life” (1 John 2:25, NKJV).
Notice the mechanics of how the Father’s plan to make His children holy. Since Jesus has taken our place with and in Himself in heaven at the Father’s right hand, the Father took the vital step of sending the Holy Spirit to indwell and sanctify humanity and enable us to appear in God’s holy presence in Christ. Jesus said before His crucifixion, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate (Friend) to be with you forever…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:16, 26, italics my emphasis). Before His ascension to the Father’s right hand, Jesus reminded the disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift (of the Holy Spirit) my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about” (Act.1:4, italics mine). With the gift of the Spirit, God now unites Himself in His whole Triune Being with humanity.
Then, when the day of Pentecost came, God poured the Holy Spirit upon those who were gathered as Jesus instructed. (Act.2:1-4) On that day, Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit, spoke to the people and essentially gave them the divine mechanics by which humans are made holy, “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). So, what does “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus” mean? To “repent” means to “change,” or take on the new life of Jesus – this is the act of the Father in the 3rd Ascent we saw above. And to be “baptized” in Christ is a ritual symbolizing death and rebirth, from rebellion to Love, from sin to holiness, from mortal to divine. (1 Cor.1:30-31) Here, we witness the depiction of the 3 Ascents (Love relationships) in the Father, Son, and Spirit, we have covered earlier taking place.
This is how Paul explains what happens when humans undergo repentance and baptism. He told the Romans, “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God” (Rom.6:3-10). Every word in this passage packs so much meaning and how it impacts humanity’s eternal future. I ask you to read it often in your spare time.
So, baptism is the believer’s affirmation to bury the sin-conditioned person from Adam’s fall in the watery grave of the baptismal waters. This baptismal affirmation is equivalent to dying with Christ upon His cross in spirit, as we read earlier of Paul’s words above, and to the Galatians. (Gal.2:20) Then, immediately upon rising from the watery grave, we are portrayed to have risen in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and thereby embrace the new life we have in Christ in heaven and made holy in the Spirit’s power to appear before the Father.
We call to mind when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended from the Father upon Jesus, and this depicts the reality of our own baptism and how the Father extends the gift of the Spirit who spiritually transports humanity into Jesus’ holy presence as High Priest and the Father where mankind is embraced as God’s holy children. Also, we are reminded of what the Father did and said to Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan. The Father sent His Spirit, and says the words He would forever say to all humanity who follow Jesus by undergoing His baptism, “You are My Son, (‘children’ for all humanity) whom I love; with You I am well pleased” (Mark.1:11; Luk.3:22). As children of God, we are always in God’s holy presence through His Son’s constant mediation, and made holy by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. This is the life we are all called to live – in holy union with the Triune God in the Father’s holy presence. (1 Cor.1:30-31)
From the above, we have seen how God has played a prominent and Fatherly role in saving humanity and laying out a hope and future, that in the words of the Bible holds out humanity’s eternal destiny, “It is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who Love Him“ (1 Cor.2:9). But God calls upon humanity to play a vital role in His plan for each of our lives. For such is the nature of God that His Love calls for a participatory life. The Triune Life* is the divine participatory life we are called to share with Him in Love. So, there is the vital collaborative union of the divine life and the mortal human life with each of our input in God’s grand design and purpose.
Therefore, we must ask, and deservedly so, what part does humanity play in God’s purpose for mankind, and in particular as it relates to you as a person that God Loves above Himself? (John 3:16) Up to this point, we have seen the predominant preponderance of the divine will and Love in the human condition. As Paul said perceptively, “But God showed His great Love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Rom.5:8). So, humanity would have been lost were it not for God’s Loving intervention. So, as fallen humans, we must justifiably ask what part do we play, if any, in God’s purpose for humanity? Our walk in this human life is the walk of Jesus in each of us in the Spirit’s power. (John 15:7) But what does that look like as we respond to God in the Love relationship within the 3 Ascents.
Recall, God’s Love calls for a participatory life, just as He is intrinsically participatory in His divine Triune Being in the Father, Son, and Spirit. This human participation with the divine life of God is the 4th Ascent representing the ‘manifestation of renewal’ arising from the three Ascents we have seen above, and in particular the 3rd Ascent in the extension of the Father’s gift of the Spirit upon humanity, in whose power human participation with the divine is made possible.
Ascent 4: Humanity – Rebirth and Renewal. There are three parts to humanity’s participation I will share. The first part of the 4th Ascent concerning human participation calls for our human faith. I said earlier that our human faith alone is inadequate to transport us spiritually into God’s spiritual realm. Be that as it may, our human faith is not entirely lacking or hopeless. As deficient as our human faith in spiritual matters, it is still relevant because God’s work of salvation in man cannot be done without human participation. Through God’s Tri-Personal nature as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we saw in the 3 Ascents, He reveals Himself to be a Loving participatory God. So, the human faith enlists human participation within the Triune Life of God. That’s how He desires His Love to work with humans He made in His image. (Gen.1:26-27)
So we use our limited human faith to believe and trust in the spiritually all-powerful faith of Jesus to change us in ways man’s faith can ever imagine or think of doing. This is what Paul makes clear in this passage to the Romans – “The righteousness of God which comes by the faith of Jesus to all and on all that believe (with their human faith).” (Rom.3:22, AKJV, italics mine for emphasis). As Jesus’ faith grows in our hearts and minds, we’ll find our ‘faith-scale’ begin to tip in favor of the faith of Jesus – our limited human faith will have less and less of a role and impact in matters of both the mortal and the divine realms. As John said succinctly, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (John 3:30).
We live powerless lives when we rely solely on human faith, and many people have fallen into this trap, and deny the powerful Personal faith of Jesus, which comes through the Spirit’s energizing activity in humans. By not recognizing there are two faiths, just as there are two realities, the physical and the spiritual; there are two spirits, the fallen human spirit and God’s Holy Spirit. So, people have naturally stood upon and lived entirely through their inadequate human faith, and denied the Faith of Jesus. Both must compliment each other.
Just as the Bible says that “faith without works is dead,” it is just as true that, “works without faith is equally dead.” What do I mean? It means unless our works become the temple for Jesus’ living faith…unless Jesus’ faith become the power behind our works, all we do is just a hot air of human arrogance of meaningless bragging. The wise King Solomon affirms this, saying, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Eccl.1:2). In other words, human activity is completely meaningless and pointless unless we do with our lives what God guides us in His love to do with it. And He has given us His Son as our example. (Eccl.12:8, 13-14; John 13:15; 1 John 2:6)
When I deny the spiritual Personal faith of Jesus, then my work, which spring up and emerge completely out of my human faith, is just a smokescreen and distraction, despite the fact that it may appear ‘successful’ before the human eyes. (Psa.37:7) The Psalmist said, “You are my Lord; all the good things I have come from You” (Psa.16:2, GNT). Yes, apart from God we are bereft of His divine goodness without the powerful faith of Jesus. God blesses our lives with good when we are, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of Faith” (Heb. 12:2, NASB)
James tells us, “Faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone” (Jam.2:17). It is also true in the reverse, “Works without faith is dead.” What do I mean? How is one different from the other? The difference is the living faith of Jesus. Our works must become the temple for the Jesus’ living faith. In other words, the mover of our works must be the living faith of Jesus. The faith that is ‘alone’ and dead is the human faith. (You can read more about “Jesus’ Faith” at: http://bulamanriver.net/2811)
The second part is the act of ‘repentance and baptism’ we have covered earlier. It depicts the ‘surrender’ of the fallen human will and spirit on our part whereby we crucify the false self upon Jesus’ cross, and receive Him, His new life in the Spirit, who now lives in and occupies the human heart. (Gal.2:20; 1 Cor.3:16) Freedom is intrinsic to the divine nature of God, and springs from and is part of His Triune Love. You cannot have Love without freedom, nor freedom without Love, for they are one and the same. Thus, human freewill is unified with and integrated into God’s Love.
Therefore, the act of surrender is given freely, just as the Father freely surrendered His only Son out of His Love to save humanity. (John 3:16) Hence, we are made to live the surrendered life. The positive expression of human life through personal freedoms was intended to manifest the unique personal gifts conferred by the Creator in each person at birth, which manifests our individual human freewill. (Matt.7:9-11) (You may read my post about divine freedom at: http://bulamanriver.net/16956)
The third part in our human participation (4th Ascent) has to do with the interaction with the Holy Spirit whose role is to empower and humanize Jesus’ glorified new life in humanity. (John 16:14-15) Here, humans utilize the tool of meditation and visualization principally upon the precious Promises God has given humanity out of His great Love for us. (2 Pet.1:4) The role of meditation and visualization relates to the Spirit’s occupation of our human hearts, who is depicted as a “Friend” (Advocate) and Helper in every human He indwells. (John 14:26; 1 Cor.3:16; John 16:14-15) The fallen human heart and spirit from Adam’s fall has been replaced by the Holy Spirit who now occupies the human heart and mind. (1 Cor.3:16; 6:19)
Meditation is really about mediation where a person seeks to solidify the divine mindset in one’s life through the Spirit’s help. The Spirit is our Friend. (John 14:26) As a Friend, how does the Spirit help, what exactly does He do? Paul makes an astounding statement in this regard, he said, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (Rom.8:26, NLT). Did you notice that? Mediation is the Spirit’s act of praying for us before the Father. He also gives us power to defeat our weakness.
Paul goes on to tell us about the outcome of the Spirit’s prayerful mediation on our behalf, “And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who Love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son” (Rom.8:27-29). God’s will and purposes for humanity are revealed in His Promises. (2 Pet.1:4)
Yes, the Father makes circumstances to work in our favor because of the Spirit’s prayerful mediation to fulfill His divine will in each of us. How awesome is that, where mostly we don’t know how to pray to the Father, our Friend Herald* (Spirit) steps into our place and prays for us. Herald lives in our hearts, so He knows everything about our lives, and how to present us before the Father. Through the Triune Life* in the 3 Ascents, humans exists in the midst of God’s Loving power. The Psalmist said, “Because Your steadfast Love is better than life” (Psa.63:3, ESV). Yes, how do we value human life if it were not for God’s Loving kindness. (*Herald is the Spirit’s name I have given and call my personal Friend).
It is vital to understand why this tool is crucial to our spiritual life and the vitality of Christ’s personal faith in humanity. The tool of meditation reflects the divine providential means by which the Spirit enhances Jesus’ reality in the human heart and life. (Rom.8:9) We must recognize that as humans we grow up and quickly learn to shape and reinforce values and culture (personal and collective) through our human experiences and circumstances. Thereby, in our fallen humanity, coupled with the deception and sway of the devil, we naturally attach human values upon things that are worldly and ungodly. Many of these values were instilled by the enemy, the devil, through the world’s system. John affirmed this, saying, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s” (1 John 2:16). Note, how these worldly values were framed and planted into our lives – principally through the lust of the flesh and eyes, and the pride of life.
Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting our own way, wanting everything for ourselves, wanting to appear important—is all about self-worship which is instigated by the devil, and has nothing to do with the Father. It destroys our relationship with the Tri-Personal God, and countermands the divine participatory life we are given to share in the 3 Ascents we have covered above. John gives how our victory over the world comes about, “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith (in Christ’s Faith) (1 John 5:4; Rom.3:22, KJV; Italics mine for emphasis).
But through the second step of baptism we have surrendered and repented of the old fallen self and have changed the status quo so that we can now establish new values based upon God’s Promises made possible through Christ’s faith. However, we must be circumspect and careful about the values we allow to accept and influence us. We must now choose God’s values through His precious Promises for us, and not the worldly false values and culture that were disposed and abandoned at baptism (repentance and change). (2 Cor.6:17)
Nevertheless, we ought to be mindful about living circumspectly because the worldly values we once treasured does not just evaporate and disappear magically at baptism, granted that we are given the Spirit’s ‘first Love’ impetus at the time. (Rev.2:4, KJV) The years of practice and assimilation before conversion (baptism) have formed stubborn habits which can be difficult to eradicate at once. These fixed habits will take time and experience to remove, with the help of the Spirit who sanctifies us, while we shift our allegiance to the values that God calls upon us to uphold in His Promises in Christ. (2 Pet.1:4)
And meditation and visualization in the Spirit’s power is about establishing God’s values (Christ’s mindset), while uprooting and eradicating the false values we once upheld and possibly cherished. In biblical meditation, the meditator fills his/her mind with the purpose and dreams God desires to share with mankind through His Promises, and made possible in Christ and by His faith in the Spirit’s move. We articulate the Promises over in our hearts because they are true and point us to our destiny. Paul shows us the way to meditate, he said, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts (meditate) on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think (meditate) about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Phi.4:8-9).
The honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable things are contained in God’s Promises, not in worldly things. One of the ways the Spirit sanctify us is by infusing us with the right mindset to “know thine enemy” and how he works through the false and futile values he promotes. (2 Cor.2:11; 4:4; 1 Pet.5:8) Paul goes further and speaks about destroying the false values that once influenced our decision-making, and recapturing the true values which define our true and glorious humanity in God’s Promises, saying, “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Cor.10:5). Yes, the ‘proud obstacles’ are the false values that once influenced our lives, must be ‘destroyed’ upon the cross of Jesus. As God has promised, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who Love Him” (1 Cor.2:9, NKJV).
Hence, it is important for humans to be well versed with God’s Promises, for all that God has prepared for humanity are revealed in His Promises, and more. It must be upon these Promises that we define our values in the new life on this earth which we have in Christ. You can read my post titled, “Standing On The Promises” to read more about God’s encouraging promises for humanity at: http://bulamanriver.net/15209. You can read about God’s Promises to protect us from Satan, at: http://bulamanriver.net/11339. For additional information on God’s many precious Promises you may visit the following web site: https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/bible-promises. You can also explore YouTube sites which have videos and recordings where God’s promises are presented and spoken eloquently, like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imJZlhOsPKM .
It is upon these many sure Promises of God which form the basis of our true and lasting values. (2 Pet.1:4) We are to meditate upon these precious Promises to create a new mindset in Christ, and thereby replace the false values we once upheld. The human brain is regulated and directed by the subconscious mind which in turn directs the numerous conscious thoughts that enter the brain for processing and action. God’s Promise must take up its place in our subconscious mind to form and become the ‘sponsoring thought’ which acts as a filter in our thinking process, thus remove any opposing thought which confront God’s Love and purpose as reflected in His Promises. All our activities must be sponsored by the words of His Promises. In this process, we are immersed in the mind and Love of Christ. (2 Cor.10:5; 1 Cor.2:16)
So, where does faith play its part in this new foundational values of life? The living faith we have in Jesus must take possession of our lives and works “being fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises” (Romans 4:21). So, there we see the Love relationship we have with God in His Triune Being through the 3 Ascents, and our human response in the 4th Ascent, and how the Saving Living Faith of Jesus become reality in each of us as we live the surrendered life in Him.
Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who has enabled us to live the Triune Life* through the 3 Ascents. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious humanity made children of God forever. You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination – into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for God’s dwelling:
Prayer: “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 celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me and all humanity. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net. You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love,* be with you and your Loved ones always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you in God’s Promises possible as you live the Triune Life.* Be strong in the Lord’s joy, and Love Him completely.
Farewell for now,
Kiang P. Lee, (Your Servant In Christ)
*Triune Life: “Triune Life” speaks of the process of theosis or deification of humanity. What is theosis or deification? “It refers to apotheosis, meaning “making divine.” Theosis or deification is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God (as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Church).” (Wikipedia.org) The belief in the process of ‘deification’ is understood in accordance with Jesus’ teaching, when He said, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If He called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside (cannot be broken)” (John 10:34-35; Psa.82:6). (You can read about the Triune Life at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199, and other posts)
I have written about this subject of ‘deification’ in my blogs under the theme ‘substitution’ and ‘attribution’ (see, http://bulamanriver.net/564), where I showed how Jesus came as God incarnate (Immanuel) to assume our sinful humanity in order to save mankind from sin and death for the express purpose of human deification. (Matt.1:23; Rom.3:10-12, 18, 23; John 3:16; 1 Cor.15:50-55; Rom.8:29) Further, we read the following, “As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of catharsis (purification of mind and body) and theoria (‘illumination’ with the ‘vision’ of God). According to Eastern Christian teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy (or cooperation) between human activity and God’s uncreated energies.” (Wikipedia.org)
So, the “Triune Life” reveals the intersection of human life and activity and the uncreated divine energy flowing from the Tri-Personal Being of God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a way of life which explains that process of theosis whereby humans are transformed in body, mind, and spirit by the Love of God. God’s uncreated energy is His Love. So, the foundational tenet of the “Triune Life” is based upon the Love of God, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Thereby, it can also be called aptly, the “Triune Love.”
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. (Matt.28:19) This is opposed to the one-dimensional human way of life influenced by the devil. We see God’s Tri-Personal Love move in an inward, outward, and upward trajectory, in this process of theosis which I have called the ‘three ascents.’ The three ascents are three steps which dovetails into one another showing how all three Persons of the Godhead are in the relationship of Love with humanity – where God reveals the fullness of Himself to humanity, both individually and collectively. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2) That’s to say, the act of one is the act of all three, and the act of three is the act of one, making them unified in Love. (Mar.12:29; Deut.6:4)
Every aspect of human living follows this three-step format revealing the three-dimensional aspect of how the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit, directly and collectively involved in the life of human believers, individually and collectively to bring humanity to salvation. These three steps move in an ascending order, so I will call them ‘ascents.’ Each ‘ascent’ dovetails into the next and finally reveals the ‘manifestation’ of the topic, which we will call the fourth step, in this case, Love!
Hence, all my articles are framed within this three-step format, or ascents. The subject of the article dovetails into each ascent and spontaneously lead to the manifestation of the divine Love and reveals how humanity is enlightened by God, and cleansed in mind, body, and spirit. The ascents reveal three doors one must enter to attain the manifestation of God’s Love relationship with humanity. The ascents are not to be misconstrued as some ‘secret knowledge’ or mystical activity. Rather, each ascent represents the relationship of Love a human enjoys with the Triune God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, throughout a person’s life. In fact, the ascents are actually three Love relationships the believer encounters with the Tri-Personal God. This three-way relationship is what I have called by the term, “Triune Life” or “Triune Love.” These ascents represent the movement of God’s Love in an inward, outward, and upward, trajectory to bring God’s enlightenment in a person. The fourth step reveals how the article is made to manifest in the life of the person, both individually and then collectively in humanity.
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 Bible states, “He (God) does great things that we cannot understand and miracles that we cannot count” (Job 5:9). 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. For additional information about the Triune Life: 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
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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