LIVING THE ‘SURRENDERED LIFE’ DAY-BY-DAY, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings to all my readers around the world. If you are new to this site, I welcome you and we are so happy you could join us. I hope that your time with us will be one that is well invested. Basically, what this site is about is to make sense of life on a daily basis from the spiritual foundation of life, which sadly most humans have no clue, much less know its truth and benefits. I am not talking about religion as we know it with all its legalistic and hypnotizing rituals. This is about coming to terms with a part of our humanity that is real and has been passed over through ignorance and plain superstition. We have neglected this awesome truth to our own dire detriment. Whether you believe it, or not, does not change the fact that humans are spiritual beings. Incidentally, humans once believed the world was flat, but that did not alter the truth our earth is an orb and sphere. So, we are not just physical mortal beings like the animal kingdom, rather humanity was created by an all-knowing God who says He is Love by nature and substance and made us to be come like Him in His Love likeness. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:16)

“God Is Love” 1 John 4:16. (Wiki Commons)

In my posts, I have used the Bible as the basis for proving this claim that humans are basically spiritual beings. This claim is not just because I am a Christian, and granted I am, but crucially because it is the most reliable source humanity can have access and utilize outside of himself/herself to decipher the spiritual aspect of our humanity, which we would not otherwise have a clue about. You see, anything of a spiritual nature cannot be detected by the human senses, so it has to come by revelation through the human mind. The Bible is the source of that revelation.

I ask you to keep an open mind and view the Bible not as a Christian or Jewish book, but a guide for all humanity from God the Creator, irrespective of religious beliefs, culture, race, nationality, or from whatever station in life we embrace. Many of the issues we face together today as humans on the world stage are of a spiritual nature and underpinning. They are not just physical issues that can be explained away wholly by physical reasoning alone. Paul said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (contending only with physical matters and human reasoning), but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this (present) darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God” (Eph.6:12-13). Yes, the human struggle for meaning and survival upon this planet earth has always been spiritual at its core and fabric.

Whether it is in time of peace or war, in circumstance of good or adversity, it is all driven by unseen spiritual forces working to contrive the mind, human energy and dynamics, in the spirit of Love and fear. This spiritual component is the underlying cause and motivator of human activity. And yes, even in our individual lives with our own families and loved ones, this spiritual component spares no one, and is the underlying determinant to the kind of life one lives. Once mankind acknowledges this basic truth about our humanity, we can begin to turn the corner for the better as far our common heritage and history and begin to face a future with hope and promise. So, it is my hope that as longtime readers and visitors that you keep an inquisitive and open mind. I write to you not as Christian (though I am), but as one human being to another.

You can read about the many subjects covered since 2013 by going to the blog monthly index at right of the website, and clicking on the topic displayed therein. In recent months I have touched upon the undermentioned subjects in a methodical way I have called, the “Triune Love”* or “Triune Life.”* You can go to the list below to get the title of each post:

With that said, this month I will cover a topic that is related to and goes hand-in-hand with the subject of regeneration I covered last month. The topic this month is the “Surrendered Life.” This dovetails well with regeneration. Both these acts reflect God’s redemptive activity in humanity. Without the surrendered life, God’s redemptive activity in regenerating humanity (salvation) will not be possible. The surrendered life is like the lifeblood of the life of regeneration we saw in last month’s discussion. For that matter, the surrendered life is what energizes and activates all the topics we have covered so far as itemized in the four subjects shown above. Every step or ascent in the four-step process in each activity shown above is driven and wrought through the surrendered life.

Surrender is Not About ‘Giving Up’ But ‘Owning Up’ to Our Fallen Nature And Morph Into a Totally New Person in Christ. (Pic: Butterfly Going Through Morphing Stages of Its Life)

What is the surrendered life? Essentially, it means we have a pliable heart and attitude toward God so as to allow Him to have His way of Love with us. And God’s way is defined with one word, LOVE! The Bible states categorically, “God is Love” (1 John 4:16). Because God is Love, it is impossible for Him to conjure any evil intent for us because it would be against His nature to do so. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God declares His Love for humanity with these promising words, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jer.29:11-12). Yes, it is to our Loving God and Father that we surrender our lives to His care and providence.

Why is the surrendered life necessary for human salvation? It is necessary because the fallen Adamic Human from whom we all are descended is born with this rebellious heart which cannot submit its will to the Loving will of God. Rebellion was inherited from Satan when Adam fell in Eden to his temptation and sin. The surrendered life empowered by God’s Spirit helps change the status quo and defeat the power which energizes sin – rebellion! Because of this fallen Adamic Humanity inherited from the first Adam, God sent His Son to bring the new humanity in Jesus, the Immanuel Humanity.***

In Jesus’ new humanity, a person is made to live the surrendered life. The surrendered human life was inaugurated by Jesus Himself when He appeared as the Immanuel (“God with us”) to carry out His Father’s purpose for Him, “I’m here to do Your will, O God, the way it’s described in your Book” (Heb.10:7, The Message). Yes, that is how Jesus ushered the surrendered life for humanity with the words, “I am here to do Your will, O God.” To do God’s will and live the surrendered life is to live a life of miraculous proportion, and be part of and become recipient in the divine sanctuary. (1 Cor.3:16)  

Love, Water, Blue, Clouds, Light
Love & Freedom Are Flip Side Of God’s Nature (Pixabay)
Pay, Web, Advert, Debt, Tax, Finance
Freedom is Love and Love is Freedom (Pixabay)

Unfortunately, for many people the word ‘surrender’ conveys a negative connotation and meaning. For some it indicates the negative portrayal of “giving up” one’s rights and freedoms, like the freedom of expression or worship. Many people who live in nations that have authoritarian systems of governance see surrender as a form of subjugation where the people’s rights are trampled upon. They don’t have the freedom to choose how to live. However, we are not speaking about surrender in the context of human relationships, but the spiritual relationship with the Triune God who said, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jer.29:11). Yes, truly the Godly surrendered life is the doorway to the life of true freedom. The enemy (Satan) wants you to surrender to him and live a life of incarceration, pain, suffering, and ultimately death. That is the difference about surrender, it is about who we surrender our lives to – the spirit of fear (devil) or Love (God)?

In the spiritual sense, to live by God’s will and grace (Love) is what the surrendered life is all about. It means “owning up,” not “giving up.” “Owning up” means we acknowledge the human shortcoming and inadequacy at doing God’s will in human life because of the rebellious spirit in the fallen Adamic Human inherited from the first Adam. The surrendered life is not about “giving up” one’s freedom. “Owning up” is about true freedom and means mankind can now live the new reborn human person, the surrendered life, through the finished work of Christ our Savior, the second Adam and Immanuel Human.*** Paul said it like this, “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” (Rom.8:29, The Message). Yes, the surrendered life is a life conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus – humanity restored! Jesus introduced mankind to the new gloriously magnificent humanity that is conformed to the divine image of Love.

Jesus is the firstborn Immanuel Human, the only human who blazed the trail for humanity by living the surrendered life for us. (Rom.8:29; Eph.1:11) Jesus said this about the whole objective of His life, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (John 4:34). In another instance, He said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Jesus inaugurated the surrendered life, and through Him humans are made to live a life surrendered where the will of our Loving Father and Creator can be done in mankind.

Through the Triune Life and Love*, humanity is made to live the surrendered life. Living the Triune Life* means to live the three-step process called the ascents. The three-steps process depict the surrendered life humans live through the Tri-Personal Being of God. The first ascent represents the human relationship with the Holy Spirit. The second ascent depicts our relationship with the Son of God, the resurrected and glorified Jesus. And the third ascent portray the human relationship with our heavenly Father. These three ascents automatically dovetail into the fourth ascent called the manifestation. In this case, the manifestation is the surrendered life made reality in human life.

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me” – John 6:38. (Pixabay)

We will see how every aspect of the surrendered life is framed within the Tri-Personal Godhead. The three ascents which lead to the surrendered life are as follows: first, the ‘fruits of Love;’ second, ‘responsibility;’ third, ‘judgment.’ Remember, the eternal and inherent trinitarian Love principle: the act of One is the act of Three, and the act of Three is the act of One. Through the Tri-Personal Being of God, the divine Love moves in an inward, outward, and upward motion in humanity. Thus, whenever a person lives the Triune Life*, the surrendered life in the divine Love-life is manifested in humanity. Let us begin:

First Ascent: Fruits of Love – Holy Spirit. The 1st Ascent reveals the human relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. The ascent speaks of the Fruits of Love because the Spirit is the manifestation of the divine Love in humans. Paul said, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). Now, we see the connection between the Love God has deposited in the human heart and the surrendered life. So, the very essence of the surrendered life is the expression of God’s Love in human life. The Spirit is the power of God’s Love in humans which makes the surrendered life possible. Love is not some vague, indefinable, mystical, substance we imagine comes upon and fill us with good impulses and conviction, no! Love’s reality is seen and experienced in the fruits which identify the divine Love, hence, the ascent’s title: “Fruits of Love!” So, the fruits of Love and the surrendered life go hand-in-hand. In other words, the surrendered life has a face, an appearance, by which it is identified: the Fruits of Love! This raises the obvious question, what does the fruits of Love mean? What does Love look like? This is vital since the Love-fruit is the key to living the surrendered life?

God The Holy Spirit, Symbolized by the Dove-Friend of Humanity and Personification of God’s Nature and Love (Wiki Commons)

Paul tells us clearly in the Bible what the Spirit’s Love-fruits are. 1 Corinthians 13 is the most recognizable place in the Bible to start, besides others. God’s Love-fruits flows peaceably in the Spirit’s “living waters” who occupies humans in the surrendered life. (John 7:38-39; 1 Cor.6:19) These fruits, which Paul reveal to us are: *the fruit of patience, *the fruit of kindness, *the fruit of contentedness,  *the fruit of modesty (unboastful), *the fruit of humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *the fruit of joy, *the fruit of peace, *the fruit of goodness, *the fruit of faith, *the fruit of gentleness, *the fruit of self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal. 5:22-23; Rom. 12:9-21). These Love-fruits are not part of God’s Person like accessories. No, they tell us who God IS, for God is Love. (1 John 4:8)

The Love-fruits of the Spirit reveals to humanity the broad spectrum of God’s Loving nature. Living by the principles of Love means to live by the fruits of the Spirit (Love/Rom.5:5). The fruits reveal God’s holy emotions He displays as He relates within His Tri-Personal Being and with humanity through His Spirit. Essentially, the Love-fruits tell us how God’s mind and thought-process works, and how our human minds ought to and must be inclined as we live in Jesus’ new redeemed humanity,’ “Immanuel humanity”*** in every way, shape, and form. In the Bible God shows him displaying these fruits in His relationship with humanity. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, and His mercy endures forever” (read all of Psa.136). Speaking of God’s compassion and faithfulness, the Bible states, “Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lam.3:23). Humans ought to pray thus, “O LORD, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in time of trouble” (Isa.33:2). Then, “Lord, You are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in Love and faithfulness” (Psa.86:15). His profound Love for humanity is revealed by John, “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). How awesome and beautiful is God’s Love for humanity.

Valentines, Valentine, Heart, Love
“God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them” 1 John 4:16. (Pixabay)

God’s purpose in the surrendered life is so humans may become Love as God is Love. (1 John 4:8, 16) To make this possible God has made a promise to give humans His very Love-nature through the presence of the Holy Spirit. (Act.1:4; John 16:7; Rom.5:5) Through Jesus God promises, “And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But remain in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luk.24:49). Jesus further added, “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 have said to you” (John 14:26). By saying the “Father will send the Spirit in My Name,” it means the Spirit comes through the mediation of Jesus as Savior and High Priest. (Heb.2:17; 3:1; 6:20)

Essence of Relationship: The Holy Spirit is the life and power of God who makes possible the divine life of Love in mankind. The apostle Peter gives us the way the Spirit is made to come and indwell humans and make the surrendered life in God’s Love possible. Peter told the people who inquired, “What shall we do?”: “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.2:37-38). And this brings us to the next ascent…

Second Ascent: Responsibility – Jesus. The 2nd Ascent reveals the human relationship with God through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Ascent speaks of responsibility. What does responsibility mean in the relationship between Jesus and humanity and the surrendered life? Firstly, it means that Jesus came as the Immanuel, the “God-with-us” human, or the Immanuel Human, for the purpose of taking our fallen humanity, and rescuing mankind from sin and death. (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23; John 3:18; Rom.6:23) So, Jesus is responsible for human salvation as the Savior and Mediator of mankind.  Through Jesus, God the Father removes the curse of eternal death and substitute it with the promise of immortality. (John 3:16-18; 3:36; Rom.5:12) In other words, Jesus has taken responsibility for humanity by living the surrendered life in our place so we can do the same. Paul said this, “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor.5:15). Further he affirmed this, “He (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom.4:25; also Isa.53:5; Rom.5:8; 2 Cor.5:21).

God The Son-Savior and Mediator of Mankind (Wiki Commons)

Secondly, by cleansing and saving humanity from the sin-condition, in the same breadth He opens the way for the Father to send His Spirit (1st Ascent) to enter and make human life into the very temple of God where His nature and Love is manifested, and in that…the surrendered life. Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, NASB; 14:26). So, Jesus is responsible for opening the door for the Spirit to enter human life. Jesus said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture (Spirit/Love)” (John 10:9). Paul explains what Jesus’ responsibility does, “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16, BSB). So, Jesus is responsible for turning humanity into a temple where the Spirit empowers the surrendered life so God can dwell in humans through His Spirit.

Third, Jesus is responsible for the “new birth” humanity undergoes so humans can become children of the divine who are “Love-beings” through the indwelling of the Spirit (Love), like God is Love. By dying upon His cross, Jesus took our fallen Adamic Humanity from Adam and put it to death, so the body of sin will no longer rule over humanity and human life. Through Jesus’ resurrection three days later, humans are given the new birth in the glorified Immanuel Humanity*** of Jesus. The spirit of rebellion and sin that was nailed to the cross is now replaced with God’s Spirit of Love and divine life making the surrendered life possible. Listen to how God imputes His Son’s mediatory work as Savior and High Priest to bring about this new birth. Paul articulates this miraculous and most fascinating work of Love of the Father, to the Galatians, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, the life I now live in this earthly body, I live by faith of the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20). The Bible makes clear about the rebellious sinful self who was crucified on Jesus’ cross and no longer live, and the reborn new Loving self in the Spirit who manifests Jesus’ new surrendered humanity.

Statue of Liberty, New York
Statue of Liberty, Symbol of Freedom. “It is for Freedom that Christ has set us Free” (Gal.5:1).

So, we see how God imputes the death of His Son upon humans so that we too are now dead to the fallen Adamic human, but alive in Jesus’ reborn Immanuel Humanity*** through His resurrection. Only Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity*** alive and living in a person can live the divine surrendered life. Jesus affirmed this new birth we are given as a gift from the Father, when He said, “Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom” (John 3:3, MSG). Jesus repeats this amazing truth, “Unless a person is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5, RSV). This new birth in the Spirit brings to life Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity.*** Immanuel means Jesus’ “God with us” humanity who makes the surrendered life in the divine will possible. (Matt.1:23)

Fourth, Jesus took responsibility for humanity by being the first human to live this reborn Immanuel Humanity*** who was a complete Love-Being like God His Father is Love. (1 John 4:8; Rom.8:29). The Bibles says Jesus life of Love in this way, “Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with Him” (Act.10:38, MSG). Today, every person who receives Jesus as Savior, God imputes Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension upon them, thus initiating the new birth into the surrendered life.

This is Jesus’ responsibility – to Personify the divine Love in each human by living and walking the surrendered life of Love. Through Jesus’ new humanity in the human person can Love the Father as He Loves humanity, and to extend the Love relationship to fellow humans. Remember, responsibility is not about you trying to do something for the Lord, but it is about letting the Lord living in us in His redeemed Immanuel Humanity*** to live the surrendered life.

Essence of Relationship: From the foregoing we see the essence of responsibility undertaken by Jesus on behalf of humanity to bring about the surrendered life: Jesus cleanses humanity from all sin thus opening the door for the Father to freely give the Spirit and bring about the new birth in humans. Jesus has taken responsibility for the divine Love-life of God to become part of the new humanity in Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity. *Just as the Father imputes Jesus’ cross to forgive humanity from all sins, He similarly imputes Jesus’ now glorified life as High Priest in Heaven to continue saving us by living the surrendered life of Love through us in the Spirit’s power. (Heb.2:17; 3:1; 6:20)

Jesus’ surrendered life through His self-sacrificial work now brings humanity to the Father of humanity in the 3rd Ascent…

Third Ascent, Judgment – Father. The 3rd Ascent depicts the human relationship with God the Father made possible through the mediation of the Son and the Spirit. (Rom.8:34, 26). The Father’s role in the surrendered life is Judgment! What is Judgment? What does it mean, and what has it to do with the surrendered life?  

God the Father-God of Creation and Giver of Life (Wiki Commons)

Judgment is about making choices on how to live the earthly life. Life can be lived that’s surrendered to the will of God, or to the will of the enemy, rebellion against God. The Bible gives us advise about making good decisions, “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion” (Prov.3:21). We have heard that knowledge is power, but knowledge is powerless without wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to discern good knowledge from evil ones, and act upon what is good and reject evil. God says, “Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight and strength” (Prov.8:14). Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible, said this, “For wisdom (discernment/judgment) is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her” (Pro.8:11, read all of cap.8). From the above we see that good judgment springs out from divine wisdom. God tells us “For the LORD gives wisdom: out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding” (Prov.2:6,7). So, God gives humans the wisdom to make sound judgments in life. And the ultimate sound judgment a person can make is one where in every circumstance he/she is surrendering the human will to the divine will of God’s Love.

The Trinitarian Godhead (Rublev’s Icon, Wiki Commons)

The Bible warns that God is especially displeased with people whose judgments are not surrendered to His Loving will, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth (Love)” (Rom.1:18-32, ESV). So, what has Godly wisdom to do with the surrendered life? The surrendered life is the result of the choices we make in life, and choices are either wise or unwise. True wisdom is when every situation in life is judged and carried out in relation to the surrender of the human will to God’s Loving will and purpose.

God, Lord, Creator, Almighty, Holy
God Is Love” (Pixabay)

Paul speaks above of “all ungodliness and unrighteousness” which are the works of God’s adversary, the devil. Jesus speaks of God’s judgment as the end of Satan’s work of deception and the sin-condition he holds humanity incarcerated and slaves. Listen, “About judgment because the prince of this world (Satan) stands condemned” (John 16:11). Jesus was referring to three aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit in humans. Jesus was laying out the promise of the Father to send the Holy Spirit. Then He lays out the three aspects of the work of God which the Spirit was responsible for carrying out. Jesus said, “Unless I go away, the Advocate (Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8-9)

So, the three aspects of the Spirit’s work is revealed to humanity and represent the true definition of sin. Second, He was to show the true meaning of righteousness. And third, He was to show humanity what judgment means. Then Jesus continues to explain what these three aspects mean, “About sin, because people do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:8-11).

Each aspect dovetails into the next and finally tells us how judgment is made to connect with human reality. The first perspective is about sin. It says the Spirit will “prove the world to be in the wrong about sin” (John 16:8-9). It means God wants the world to know the true definition of sin. People have many definitions about sin, and the Spirit was sent to correct all our wrong notions about sin. The Spirit is teaching humans that sin is simply the human refusal, whether through ignorance or disbelief, to trust in the Savior God has provided for our redemption and forgiveness – Jesus the Messiah! (John 3:16-17) That is the meaning of what Jesus is conveying concerning role of the Spirit, “About sin, because people do not believe in Me” (John 16:9). Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (Rom.8:24). When it comes to human sin there is only one important thing that truly matters – the One who saves humanity from the punishment of sin and death – Jesus! Jesus was emphatic about His purpose in the Father’s plan of salvation for humanity, “Unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Satan will cause people to commit sin through temptation, deception, and lies, by living in the devil’s sin-condition. Humans will sin. Humans can have endless human legalistic definition of sin, but all that knowledge will not save us, except one that was revealed by John, “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). Here, we see the Spirit’s work is to leading humans to their Savior Jesus, so they can be saved.

Board, Learn, Note, Skills, Career
Knowledge is Power (Pixabay)

Concerning the second aspect, Jesus said, “About righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see Me no longer” (John 16:10). Although people will no longer see Jesus physically, He remains present with them through the Spirit’ power and presence. Here, the Spirit teaches humanity about the truth about Jesus heredity in the Triune Godhead and His work of being the everlasting Mediator for humanity in heaven – Jesus said, “I am going to the Father.” Today, Jesus is mankind’s High Priest in heaven who forever mediates for humans so they may remain in God’s Loving presence forever. The Bible states, “Therefore, since we have such a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess… He had to be made like His brothers in every way, so that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, set your focus on Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest whom we confess.” (Heb.4:14; 2:17; 3:17).

Jesus did not remain a dead Savior upon His cross, He was resurrected and ascended to His glorious High Priestly Office in heaven, so He became humanity’s eternal Savior and Mediator. Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain” (1 Cor.15:14). That’s to say, if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then there is no ascension to the Father in Heaven, and there is no High Priest. And if there is no High Priest, there is no everlasting mediation going on today for human salvation. Peter replied, “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). The work of Jesus as our eternal High Priest who eternally mediates for humanity before God the Father is the only definition of righteousness – the human righteous condition in Christ which opens the door for the Spirit to enter human life! Righteousness is not the human attempt to live righteously, but the mediation of Jesus on behalf of humanity in heaven today so we remain righteous before the Father.

What we see here is that through the work of the Holy Spirit of leading and bringing humanity to Jesus, and consecutively Jesus’ role of being the sacrificial Lamb, and the resurrected and ascended High Priest, humanity has been unified with the Father and the Triune Godhead forever. Mankind stands forever saved in the Loving arms of God as Father of all humanity. It is in this saved condition of mankind, that Jesus uttered these words, “About judgment, because the prince of this world (Satan) now stands condemned” (John 16:11). Here, we see the devil condemned because he no longer holds humanity incarcerated in his sin-condition. Satan’s adversarial stand with God was to prevent God’s plan in humans from coming to fruition. That plan was to make humanity God’s very own children. Now, mankind stands saved in Jesus’ righteous-condition in the Father’s arms. It means since the fulfillment of this three-pronged work of the Spirit, Jesus, and the Father, God’s judgment of condemnation is upon the devil, not humanity. Humanity has been saved, and continues to be saved in Jesus’ High Priestly Office and role in heaven, and the Spirit’s power upon earth.

Here, judgment is spoken in respect of the final judgment of condemnation. (John 16:9). If we do not receive Jesus, then Satan’s sin-condition stands as testimony for our condemnation before the Father. As long as humanity stand saved in Jesus’ righteous-condition, then human judgment is about redemption, not condemnation. John explained, “Whoever believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemn already” (John 3:18). Also, we see here that judgment in the third ascent is assigned to the Father who has judged Satan the devil.

Essence of Relationship (salient feature): So, we see that the essence of the Father’s Judgment is that in His Son Jesus, humans has passed from eternal death to eternal life. (John 3:16) With the devil’s power over humanity through the sin-condition abrogated, the surrendered life in Love can be lived through our saved-condition in Christ. This takes us to the 4th Ascent…

Fourth Ascent, Manifestation of Surrendered Life – Humanity. So, we see in the three ascents in the Tri-Personal Being of God has led to the manifestation of the surrendered life in humanity. In other words, the surrendered life is the spontaneous outgrowth of living the Triune Love and Life.** So, I will highlight its inherent mechanics, this is the handiwork of God in human life. Humanly speaking, it is impossible for a person in his fallen state of existence (Adamic Humanity/first Adam) to surrender to the Spirit (ascent 1, Fruits of Love), whose role is to lead humans to, and personify Jesus’ glorified Immanuel Humanity*** in mankind. Jesus, in turn takes responsibility (ascent 2) for the divine Love through His mediation as Savior and High Priest so the Spirit’s power may rest in humanity continually.

The embodiment of the Jesus’ responsibility is characterized by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, “We always carrying around the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus also should be manifested in our body” (2 Cor.4:10). In other words, the demise of the fallen Adamic Humanity is an ongoing activity in the incarnate life of Christ, the Immanuel Human*** (second Adam). This redemptive activity of Jesus is ongoing in His High Priestly role carried out before the presence of Father (Ascent 3, Judgment), who in turn fills humanity with His divine wisdom and understanding through the Spirit who inspires sound judgment so discretion and integrity constitute the spiritual backbone of the person’s life.

The Work of Redemption in the ‘Surrendered Life’ is the Inward, Outward, and Upward Activity of Love of the Divine Triune Godhead. (Wiki Commons)

Remember, 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; Gen.1:27, 2:7; Luk.1:26-35) In my previous posts I have made reference to the two humans as, the Adamic Human and the Immanuel Human.*** The first Adam fell through disobedience at the hands of the devil’s temptation, while the second Adam (Jesus) defeated Satan in His temptation and saved humanity through His perfect sacrifice upon the cross. (Gen.3:1-6; Matt.4:1-12; Heb.2:9) (You can read about Jesus’ temptation at: http://bulamanriver.net/11339 )

As followers of Jesus by faith, humanity have been given a rebirth into Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity*** (second Adam) through the Holy Spirit. (John 3:5-7) Remember, the Spirit was responsible for the creation of the second Adam, and it is no different with believing humans. (Luk.1:26-35; John 3:5-7) This rebirth constitutes the rationale for why human life is now centered in the life of Jesus Christ. (Read my post on Jesus’ New Humanity at: http://bulamanriver.net/9718). So, when we speak of the ‘Christ-centered life’ it relates to a person’s spiritual new birth and subsequent lineage to the second Adam (Immanuel Human) by the Spirit’s power. (John 3:5-7; Eph.1:13-14) That being said, let me illuminate further upon Paul’s words we read earlier about Christ’s life in humans. (1 Cor.4:10). The surrendered life is a life of true victory where a human being is forever living vicariously in the present perfect glorified life of Jesus Christ (Immanuel Human/2nd Adam). (John 15:4; 1 John 2:6).

You see, there is a basic truth about human life we often overlook – that is, human life is imprisoned and subjugated to many human vulnerabilities due to our human mortality expressed through pain, suffering, and finally death. That’s to say, humans are conditioned to the curse of sin in the various forms of debilitation, attrition, and eventually death. And this can occur to anyone at a whim. Death can overtake human life in many ways and at any time. According to Worldmeters.info, 48,315,800 humans have died so far this year in the world today, and counting. Mankind’s vulnerability is further articulated in human pain, suffering, trials, and all forms of torment and affliction, physical, psychological, and spiritual. In addition, people die of natural causes as well. All these are reflections of one thing – the curse of the sin-condition of the devil, for the Bible states, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23). Satan rules this world under the sin-condition for a short time until God’s appointed time. Ultimately, “The devil who deceived was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev.20:10; see also 2 Cor.4:4; 1 Pet.5:8; Rev.12:7-12; 20:1-2, 10) Yes, there we see the Bible’s revelation concerning the devil’s work of deception coming to its deserving end.

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Earth-Humanity’s Home in the Universe. Mankind was Created To Live In God’s Love-Likeness. Love is Eternal and Infinite. (Wiki Commons)

The surrendered life changes the status quo concerning human vulnerabilities where mankind has bypass death and enter the new life in Christ. (Rom.6:4; Col.3:1; 1 Cor.5:17; 1 Pet.1:3) In the surrendered life humans experience the reality of the exchanged life in Jesus’ glorified Immanuel Humanity.*** Now, Paul is saying that even though the sin-condition surrounds and instigates all our vulnerabilities with its negative consequences, they are copies of Jesus’ own passion when He took human sins and crucified them to His cross. But Jesus did not remain dead on His cross, He was resurrected and glorified our humanity in His now glorified Immanuel Humanity*** in the Spirit’s power. So, today humanity stands glorified in Jesus’ glorious place as the second Person of the Godhead and mankind’s eternal High Priest.

Therefore, just as He was raised from the dead by His resurrection, we too are given new life in Him. Paul asserts this truth, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor.5:17). That is the essential meaning of Jesus’ resurrection – that humanity can live a new life in the new humanity of Jesus. So, what does this new life in Christ do for humans? It mitigates all the repercussions of the sin-condition through Jesus’ now glorified Immanuel Human*** High Priestly role in heaven today. (Heb.4:14-16) Humanity live in Satan’s world that is bound in his sin-condition we cannot escape. But humans are not part of his sin-conditioning because of the new-birth in the Spirit’s Love-condition in Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity. (2 Cor.6:17; Rev.18:4)

Here, we are seeing the Father’s Love openly displayed in what He does. He is assigning and imputing Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, upon mankind for human peace and salvation from the enemy’s sin-condition. (Gal.2:20; Rom.4:25; Rom.5:6, 8; Rom.6:5-10) Paul said, “Rather, be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when His glory is revealed” (1 Pet.4:13, GNT). God’s glory is revealed first by the presence of the Spirit and God’s Love to defeat sin. The Bible says, “Love (Spirit) covers a multitude of sins…for God is Love” (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:16; Rom.5:5). He empowers us in His Spirit so we can be enveloped in His Love and joy so we be not discouraged by the world driven in the devil’s sin-condition, but to be lifted by our experiences through His Son. How wonderful to know that all our human responses, good and bad, are constantly mediated in Jesus High Priestly mediation so we can stand perfect in the Father’s presence. As Paul said “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phi.4:13).

The Bible gives us the reason why the surrendered life is vital to God our Father, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation” (2 Corinthians: 3-7). Paul concludes, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). God’s comfort stems from His inestimable grace and is something so inexplicable in its sublimity one cannot express in words.

Essence of Relationship (salient feature): Yes, the reason we live Christ-centered lives is because humans are reborn and clothed in His redeemed Immanuel Humanity, and living as He would live here and now in each of us and in this world. That is the essence of the surrendered life.

Butterfly Going Through Morphing Stages of Its Life as Humans Do Through Jesus’ Death and Resurrection in the Spirit’s Power (Wiki Commons)
Depiction of the Resurrection of Jesus to His Role Of Mediator and High Priest in Heaven Today (Wiki Commons

Friends, thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of God’s good news 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 amazing 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. May Your Love guide and protect me and my loved ones always, and bring us and all humanity into Your divine realm. 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 bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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God Calls All Humanity to be Reborn a New Human In His Son Jesus and Live in The Power of His Spirit. (Unsplash)

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the Triune Love. 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.

"Bula" Man-River
Bulamanriver Book Cover

Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life 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.15:2245-47; Gen.1:27; 2:7; Luk.1:26-35) Jesus is the firstborn Immanuel Human (the second Adam). The Immanuel Human was introduced to mankind through Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. 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)

Last Supper, Wafers, Communion Wafers
“Take and eat; this is My Body.. Then He took a cup drink from it, all of you. This is My Blood of the Covenant” (Matt.26:26-28).

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 Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci
The Last Supper (Pixabay)

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 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)

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The Second Adam God Created is Descended From Jesus’ Lineage, The “Immanuel Human” (Wiki Commons)

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. (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).

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The Resurrection to Immortality – The Ultimate Destiny of the Immanuel Human (Wiki Commons)

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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LIVING UNDER GOD’S REGERATION DAY-BY-DAY, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings Friends around the world! If you are new, I hope this blog site will give you a much-needed lift and reason to hope today and every other day. Today’s post is about regeneration, but you can read about many other topics via the monthly index at the right of the page. Once again, I welcome you, and am most happy to share this journey of life with you.

Let me share the topic about regeneration today. I am sure we will all benefit from this vital subject when we understand it better and how it impacts us day-to-day. The word itself may sound like something from the world of science fiction. What does regeneration mean in spiritual terms? In practical terms, it means to renew and recreate, to remodel and rebuild, to reverse and restore, to cleanse and purify, to uplift and magnify. It is the opposite of degeneration.

The word regeneration reveals God’s work in humanity since the fall of humanity at the heels of Adam’s disobedience in Eden. (Gen.3:1-6, hover computer mouse, or click, on Bible passage to read) Humans were created perfect in God’s divine Love-likeness, until Satan took humanity on the path of degeneration. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8; Gen.3:1-6) Since then, God’s work has been one of regeneration. (John 3:16-17) After the fall of Adam, humanity has not been able to replicate that perfect union between the divine life and mortal human life. Hence, we see God’s Love in His work of regeneration.

Mankind has no clue whatsoever that life was like living in perfect harmony with the divine. So, humans have no precedent or prototype to go back on and attempt to reproduce what Eden was truly like. Although Adam and Eve were the only humans who experienced that perfect life with the divine before their fall, and regrettably they had taken their knowledge and experience with them to their graves. Be that as it may, we have God’s Spirt to teach and help us. So, we see how regeneration becomes a vital aspect of God’s work of bringing humanity back to Himself and to Paradise in Eden. (Eden is metaphor for the perfect union of the divine life with human life, not necessarily a physical location.)

Eden Taught Us About Using Our Human Freedom In The Choices We Make (Pic: Wikicommons)

(A word on God’s steadfastness and authenticity: Many today reasonably ask why God could not have stopped Adam from falling into the hands of Satan’s lies, deception, temptation, and sin? (Gen.3:1-6) The reason is because humans were created in God’s image. My readers have read about my oft-quoted passage from the Bible that says “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). So, God’s image is Love, and humanity was created with God’s Love DNA in them. However, Love does not stand alone – Love has an identical twin, so to speak. Love’s twin is… Freedom!

(These are the two divine forces that energizes the divine nature of God. So, Freedom is also God’s divine image embedded in the human genetic makeup. The two forces are opposite sides of the same substance and reality of who God is in His divine nature. You cannot have one without the other. You can’t have Love without Freedom, nor Freedom without Love. They are one and the same spiritual substance of God’s divine nature. Today, humans walk this earth, oblivious to this awesome truth and reality concerning their divine heritage and the onus of living in the Creator’s eternal likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) Many are in need of coming out of the darkness of the enemy’s deception and receive the light of God’s work of reconciling humanity through regeneration and to bring about mankind’s awesome destiny.

(So, God cannot take away Adam’s freedom without impairing His Love-image in him. In truth, you cannot betray freedom without betraying Love as well, for both intuitively exist for each other. To abandon one would be a suicidal act, but God is never dysfunctional nor self-destructive. While God promises to protect His human children from harm and ruin, He cannot undercut Himself by waiving His divine freedom even in the face of human trials. What should Adam have done? Adam must realize that freedom comes with the responsibility to Love. Freedom must always be expressed and lived through Love. Freedom cannot stand alone without Love as its twin and helpmate. Freedom becomes disrobed and naked without Love, and vice versa. The two energies are complementary because they are the identical twins of God’s divine nature.

(God is Life and the Source of true life, and freedom is Love’s identical twin which energizes true life. Human life as a whole can be surmised as a life of making choices. Humans make decisions all the time, and central to its dynamic is human freedom. Whether a choice will bring good or bad consequences depends upon how humans use their freedom. God’s plan for humans is that a person would freely choose to Love Him. But Satan instilled fear (the opposite of Love) in our first parents. Love and fear are two opposing emotions with distinct ways of life. The two energies are always present where humans find themselves in a fork in the road where freedom is made to come to the fore to play its part. Which path will a person freely choose to follow? God gave our first parents all the fruits in the Garden to eat, with the exception of one, the tree of the fruit of good and evil. Chief among the fruits they were given the freedom to eat was the fruits of the “Tree of Life,” which symbolically represent the Holy Spirit and the divine Love. (Rom.5:5) God wanted to see our first parents exercise their freedom responsibly in Love. They chose fear in place of Love. It is a lesson humanity is still learning today. Freedom must be passionately defended with Love.

(Remember, the devil can never force a person to do his bidding. God’s divine freedom and Love protects the person from the evil one. Satan knows this, so he uses craft, cunning, lies and deception, as he did with Adam and Eve where they surrendered their freedom to him. Yes, only you can give the devil that power by surrendering your freedom to him. But God has called us to surrender our freedoms to His Love, and by doing so, defeat the enemy and fulfill the purpose for human destiny. (Gen.1:26-27))

Life is About Freedom and Making Choices (Wiki Commons)

But because God’s nature and substance is Love, and He created humans in His Love-likeness, it was impossible for God to deny Himself and leave humanity into the hands of the enemy, Satan. God made humans to become Love as He is Love, but Satan the devil was responsible for trying to thwart God’s plans for humanity. (Gen.1:26-27; 3:1-6; 1 John 4:16) So, in His unfathomable Love, He freely promised to send the ‘second Adam’ in the Person of His Son, in order to regenerate humanity and announce the good news of what Eden (the harmonious existence of the divine and the mortal) was like.

“God Is Love” 1 John 4:8 (Pic: Wiki Commons)

After the fall, Eve had told God what happened when questioned about their act of rebellion by eating the forbidden fruit, “The serpent deceived me, that’s why I ate it (forbidden fruit)” (Gen.3:11, 13). God then uttered a prophecy upon Satan concerning the woman, “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen.3:15). This was a prophecy about the coming of the ‘second Adam,’ or Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who would regenerate and reconcile humanity back to God’s Love. Fear has become a way of life for humanity, that must change.

purple Freedom lighted freestanding letters on brown surface
Freedom is Love’s Lifeblood and Vice Versa – “It Is For Freedom That Christ Has Set Us Free” – Galatians 5:1.

Later, through the prophet Isaiah, God identified the ‘second Adam’ more precisely through His messianic title and name. The prophet wrote, “Behold, the virgin will be with Child and will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means, “God with us”) (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23). Paul said, “The first Adam, made of earth, came from the earth; the second Adam came from heaven” (1 Cor.15:47, GNT). Paul added, “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” (1 Cor.15:22, NIV). So, Immanuel came out from heaven and is God’s Son, Jesus, who lived with Him (the Father) from eternity. He is God, eternally One with the Father and the Spirit. (John 1:1; 2 Cor.13:14)

Jesus was the ‘Immanuel’ who brought and united the divine life with humanity (“God with us”). He was born through Mary His human mother. (Luk.1:30-35) God’s purpose for Jesus was and continues to be about taking our humanity upon Himself, thus uniting the divine with the mortal. And by calling Jesus, Immanuel, He was responsible for bringing to reality of the beautiful truth, “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Now, mankind can say we have with us a human being who knew what it was like to live in perfect harmony with the divine as Adam did in Eden before the fall because He was there, and now He is here to take our humanity upon Himself, regenerate us, and return mankind to Paradise (Eden).

More than two thousand years ago Jesus was born, fully God and fully human, lived and walked this earth for the purpose of carrying out His Father’s plan of human redemption and regeneration. Even as a child, He informed His human parents, Joseph and Mary, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Luk.2:49). He lived a perfect human life doing good. (Act.10:38) There was a vital difference between the two “Adams” which we should take note. Whereas the first Adam lived in Eden perfectly in the light of God’s presence, prior to his fall; the second Adam (Jesus), being the manifest light of God, had to live and work in an environment darkened by sin in Satan’s world. Jesus came as God’s light in Satan’s dark world. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). He said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt.5:16).

Immanuel, The ‘Second Adam’ 1 Corinthians 15:47, GNT (Wiki Commons)

It must be said that be a light while being surrounded by light is vastly different when you are the sole flicker of light enclosed by darkness. But such was the life of Jesus, and He defeated the darkness of sin, and set the example for humans on how to do the same. But it comes with certain sacrifices, hence, Paul told Timothy, “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim.3:12). Paul told the Romans, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship” (Rom.12:1). Sacrifice is needed when humans live as lights in a darkened world of the sin-condition. Persecution springs from darkness because light is invading the dark world of evil of sin with all forms of corruption. But Jesus encourages us with the words, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

So, we see how God’s work of regeneration emerged out of the utopian paradise of Eden that was followed by Adam’s fall. These are the three ascents in the work of divine regeneration in the Triune Godhead: Ascent 1: Grace; Ascent 2: Weakness; Ascent 3: Father’s Perfection. The manifestation which spontaneously spring from these 3 Ascents is: Ascent 4: Regeneration. The three ascents reveal the Triune Love of God being manifested in humans on a daily basis.

The Three Ascents Depict The Triune Love of God Moving In Unison, Inward, Outward, and Upward. (Wiki Commons, Rublev’s Icon of The Trinity)

My readers will recall from my previous posts that the three-ascents represent the relationship of the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and how each work harmoniously with one another and Lovingly with humans. The 1st Ascent always reveals the Love-relationship with the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead. It is God’s ‘inward act of Love’ for mankind where the Spirit is actively working from within human life. The 2nd Ascent is the human Love-relationship with Jesus. It reveals God’s ‘outward act of Love’ for mankind by surrendering His Son to save humans from the sin-condition through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension to His present High Priestly Office in heaven. And the 3rd Ascent is the Love-relationship with God the Father, which is the ‘upward act of Love’ where God brings humans to have a one-on-one relationship with Him as our eternal Loving Father. So, each ascent harmoniously dovetails into the next, then spontaneously manifests the fourth ascent in humans of Living the ‘Regenerated Life’ upon this earth now and for eternity. 

What a person experiences through the three ascents is what I have called the Triune Love* or Triune Life.* It is a Love relationship with the Tri-Personal Being of God. I had coined the above term to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the three-dimensional life, a human is given the privilege to experience God’s Love and freedom which is always in motion in an inward, outward, and upward trajectory where all three Persons of the Godhead are in relationship with human life, and with others. The three-dimensional life is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen human inherited from Satan through Adam’s fall. When a person lives the three-dimensional life, he/she experiences God’s divine life. And when humans connect with the divine, miracles inevitably take place. Yes, humans can experience the miraculous life. The ‘miraculous life,’ simply explained, is the crossroad where the divine life and mortal life intersect. 

I have laid out the four fundamental steps in God’s work of regeneration in which humanity is privileged to experience the divine nature through the miraculous life. We can give another word for this four-step process: redemption! At the end of each ascent, I will wrap-up with the “Essence of Relationship” which recaps the ascent’s salient features. Let is begin:

First Ascent: Grace – Holy Spirit.  God’s work of regeneration must begin inevitably with His unequaled grace. What does grace mean in relation to regeneration? Paul explained God’s grace in humanity when he was inspired to write, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Cor.3:16). So, God’s grace begins when God turns humans into temples for His Spirit to indwell humanity. That is the meaning of grace in God’s work of regeneration and redemption. This is the first step in regenerating humans: grace through the inward presence of the Holy Spirit in a person!

Just as Jesus began His ministry through the grace of the Spirit at His baptism in the Jordan River, so humanity follow in His footsteps. (Mar.1:9-11) We read Jesus own words in this regard, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate (Holy Spirit) to help you and be with you forever…He will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me” (John 16:14). He repeated what He said earlier, but being more specific, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:16). By saying the Spirit “will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you,” reveals His role of sanctifying humans, illuminating God’s grace upon mankind.

The Dove, Symbol of The Holy Spirit, Inaugurated in Humanity By Jesus When He Was Baptized in The Jordan River. (Pic: Wiki Commons)

We see the work of God’s grace through the Spirit has a twofold role: first, He does the Father’s work of leading humans to Jesus. (John 3:16; John 16:14-15) Then after personally receiving Jesus as Savior He sends the Spirit, only now as a Friend to Personally indwell humans and make them God’s very temple. (2 Cor.6:16) Second, the Spirit now becomes an intimate and Personable Friend who resides in humans manifesting His role of sanctifying the person by personifying Jesus’ very life and faith in them. He becomes the “still assuring voice” who guides humans in the way of Love and freedom. (Isa.30:21)

Grace is not an empty word, the very Personal presence of the Spirit in humans and His sanctifying role and work constitutes God’s grace in the most Loving sense. The Spirit will articulate the life of Jesus just as He did with Jesus who fulfilled the Father’s purpose when He walked this earth. The Bible quoted Peter saying, “You know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we apostles are witnesses of all He did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem” (Act.10-38-39). Yes, this is what grace looks like: humans imbued with God’s power through His Spirit who is in the process of sanctifying and renewing the very human temple that God lives through.

Essence of Relationship: Without God’s grace where the Spirit is articulating the life of Christ, humans cannot experience the life of regeneration. It is unfortunate that most Christians view and apply grace narrowly in relation to human needs and material ambitions. However, we have seen here that the first meaning of grace, and its only meaning is the presence of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of sanctifying humans before God in Christ. God is regenerating humans spiritually to become His children. Grace is not for material or any physical mundane reason we may have or desire, and wants through our human perception. If God sees fit to bless us materially, then He will unequivocally intervene out of His generosity to bless His children. The Bible promises “God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:19). God told Israel and to His people in every age and time, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jer.29:11-12).

Second Ascent: Weakness – Jesus Christ. What does weakness mean in relation to regeneration and Jesus? Before answering the connection between weakness and Jesus, let me explain the necessary introduction leading up to it. Jesus is the Door which gives passage for the divine nature to indwell human life and vice versa.  Jesus’ messianic name, “Immanuel,” was explained earlier. The divine nature is expressed and manifested in humans through the Holy Spirit. So Jesus, through His mediatory role as Savior of mankind, is the way that morphs human life now cleansed and made into the spiritual temple in which God could live and openly display His Love through the Spirit. 

Paul told the Galatians, “Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing He promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith” (Gal.3:14). To the Corinthians he said, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” (1 Cor.6:19). Paul added further, “For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: ‘I will live in them and walk among them’” (2 Cor.6:16). So, we see here that the grace of God expressed through the Holy Spirit is made possible by Jesus’ mediation as the One who rescued humanity from the sin-condition, thus giving passage for the Spirit to enter human life now made right with God, and to continue His sanctifying role.

Yet, no one can come to Jesus on his/her own volition, for it is by the grace of the Spirit who leads humans to receive Christ. So, like Love and freedom, Jesus and the Spirit complement each other and brings wholeness to the human life. (Rom.5:5; Gal.3:14) Both, Jesus and the Spirit are the outcome of the Father’s promise to mankind.

“And if Christ wasn’t raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is your faith” 1 Corinthians 15:14. (Wiki Commons).

The Bible reveals the Father’s role in saving humanity. John wrote, “For this is how God Loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT). Genesis records how the Spirit was separated from humanity through Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, “So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and He sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And He placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen.3:23-24, NLT).

The ‘tree of life’ with its life-giving fruits was symbolic of the Holy Spirit role in the life of our first parents. Jesus is the ‘second Adam’ who came to undo the separation done at the hands of Satan through the ‘first Adam’ and reconcile humanity back with God. (Gen.3:1-6; John 3:16) Paul said, “The first Adam, made of earth, came from the earth; the second Adam came from heaven” (1 Cor.15:47, GNT). In other words, the first Adam was mortal, but the second Adam was also Spirit from the divine Triune Godhead. John, speaking of Jesus, said this as introduction to his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). So, we see Jesus’ origin in the Triune Godhead. He came for the purpose of reconciling fallen humanity with God.

Having said the above, what has weakness to do with regeneration, and what is Jesus’ role in it? Jesus is not only the doorway to the Spirit’s life of power and regeneration, but He is the manifestation of the human life that has defeated all human weakness that was spawned through the sin-condition of the devil from the ‘first Adam.’ By defeating the devil in His temptations, and dying on His cross, Jesus has once for all eternity defeated all human weakness and sin as the ultimate human Savior. (Matt.4:1-12; John 3:36) (For further reading, you can read my post about Jesus’ temptations at: http://bulamanriver.net/11339).

To be weak spiritually means humans are absolutely powerless over sin. God sent Jesus to supply all the power required to defeat the sin-condition in which the devil has held humanity incarcerated since the ‘first Adam’s fall. Jesus has broken the power of sin once for all time through the mediation of His perfect life and death on His cross. He was resurrected and is humanity’s everlasting Savior in His eternal High Priestly Office today. Remember, Jesus did not remain a dead Savior upon His cross, He was resurrected and ascended to His High Priestly role in heaven today. Paul said, “And if Christ wasn’t raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is your faith” (1 Cor.15:14, CEV).

Essence of Relationship: So, the role of the Spirit is to transport humans to Jesus as Savior and more exponentially to His mediatory office of High Priest in heaven, where humanity is sanctified and received by the Father. God the Father in turn imputes the Son’s victorious life upon humanity through the Spirit’s power, thus, defeating all human weakness which arise from Satan’s sin-condition.

Here is the prinicple of imputation which exists within the Tri-Personal Being of God that we must not forget: “The act of One is the act of Three; and the act of Three is the act of One.” Author Jon T. Murphree explains this beautiful truth in an incisive manner when he wrote, “From eternity past, Love has characterized the Triune God. Each Person of the Trinity identifies with the others. Each One transposes Himself into the others without confusing His own personality with the others. Through Love, diversity and unity are so inextricably interwoven that the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist as persons alongside each other as much as they exist in and through each other” (Book: “The Trinity and Human Personality”). This principle of imputation is at the heart of the Trinitarian life of God, where humans become privileged recipients by living the “Triune Love/Life.”* (Rom.4:6, 11, 22, KJV; Rom.3:22-24; 1 Cor.1:30; 6:11; 2 Cor.5:21)

This work of imputing and ascribing Jesus’ glorified life upon humans is the ongoing sanctifying work of the Spirit who lives daily in the human temple. Jesus is continuously doing His mediatory work and propels humans to enter the ‘Father’s Perfection’ we now see in the Third Ascent…

Third Ascent: Father’s Perfection – God the Father. What is the “Father’s Perfection?” The “Father’s Perfection” is a statement of ongoing redemption which is happening in human life bringing the reality of the human saved condition in Christ through the Spirit’s power. God is utterly and absolutely holy in His divine Being. It tells us that after undergoing the preceding ascents in the Son and the Spirit, a perfect holy union can now be accomplished and established between the divine and the mortal with the Father in the Triune Godhead. Holiness is often misunderstood. There is the erroneous perception that holiness means to be totally disconnected from the mundane reality of life. We have the imagery of a monk sitting on the mountaintop meditating, or other hermitic and self-mortification lifestyles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Holiness means to be passionately connected and identified with our reborn Immanuel Humanity in Christ, while having the capacity to express the reborn self through a life of regeneration in the real world of human relationships. The Father’s Perfection mean to live in the aura of God’s Tri-Personal Love and Presence. (1 John 4:8) What does this union do? Paul informs us, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom.8:16). (To read more about the Immanuel Humanity of Jesus go to: http://bulamanriver.net/9718 ).

Holistically speaking, this family union with our heavenly Father evolves into the ‘miraculous regenerated human life’ of the Immanuel Human. The outcome of humans being wholly immersed in the Triune Love* of God by way of the 3-Ascents is the life of regeneration in perfect Loving union with the Tri-Personal Being of God. God’s Loving work of redeeming humans as His children is a life-long process of Love whereby His ever present grace through the power of His Spirit is being manifested in Jesus’ glorious Immanuel humanity in heaven. Jesus’ mediation role as High Priest today is what undergirds God’s redemptive Love in humanity. Our heavenly Father, as the sovereign Authority in the Godhead, is the Author of human regeneration and redemption. (Luk.2:48-49, KJV; John 4:34; 5:36)

Today, Most People Associate Paradise with A Beautiful Beach in the South Pacific, and other exotic tropical locations. Every Uplifting Experience to The Human Senses is Intended to Give the Human Mind a Foretaste of God’s Perfection In His Loving Presence – True Paradise!

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed the Father’s Perfection this way. He quotes God as saying, “Come now, let’s settle this, Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow. Though they are crimson, I will make them white as wool” (Isa.1:18). The Psalmist proclaimed, “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness” (Psa.4:1a). He is our Father who proclaims our innocence by declaring us righteous and perfect before Him each and every day. The Father’s mercy is new every day through the mediatory work of His Son and His Spirit. The Psalmist said, “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity” (Psa.32:2). Humanity is actively living Christ’s glorified humanity because the Father imputes Jesus’ mediation for our spiritual wholeness every day and every night. It means all our human inadequacies in whatever shape and form is eternally mediated for and by our Elder Brother Jesus in heaven. It is a mediation Jesus performs eternally as High Priest on behalf of humanity.

That is the essence of this ascent with the Father’s perfection. If it were not for man’s unconditional liberated state of existence through a person’s ongoing renewal through Christ and the Spirit, mankind’s state of perfection with the Father would not be possible. This redemptive work of the Father began with the gift of grace in the Holy Spirit, mediated in turn by Jesus as Savior and High Priest, whereby humans can be brought into perfect union with the Father, and ends with the renewal and the redemption of humanity.

Essence of Relationship: The essence of the Father’s Perfection is He imputes and ascribes His Son’s glorious divine/human life (Immanuel Humanity) upon humanity by His grace through His Spirit so we may remain in His holy Presence and Love forever. As Murphree says, “It is a oneness of harmonious relationship.” Paul makes clear to us what this principle of imputation does, “Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the Promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (regeneration)” (Rom.4:20-25, italics mine).

So, we see how faith in God’s power of imputation of Jesus’ glorious life upon humanity plays a major role in the work of regeneration through the Spirit’s power under the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was founded upon the law (legalism), while the New Covenant is founded upon faith (Father’s Love/Jesus/Spirit). Jesus said this of this imputation principle, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, my emphasis). Humans can never overcome the world were it not for the Father imputing Jesus’ victorious life upon humanity through the Spirit’s power. Think about this for a moment, if we believe and trust the Father has imputed Jesus’ sacrifice upon humanity for our forgiveness, then it’s logical to say that He also imputes His victorious life for our ultimate salvation. Much like Love and freedom, you cannot have one without the other. At no point in this life of human regeneration is a person left to himself/herself to work out his/her own salvation. It is completely the work of the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit. We must believe it utterly, our salvation depends upon it. Paul said, “We have been justified through faith” (Rom.5:1). (You can read more about the “Faith of Jesus” at: http://bulamanriver.net/2811).

While Jesus our High Priest eternally mediates for all our imperfect human responses so humans may remain Immanuel Humans through His glorified life, mankind is thus perfectly redeemed before the Father. Hence, we get the title of the ascent, “Father’s Perfection.” This is what humans must believe and have faith in as Abraham believed God’s promise for him, and it was “credited to him as righteousness” (Rom.4:20-25). This is God’s only way for salvation for mankind under the New Covenant. There is nothing that can thwart God’s powerful Love of bringing humanity to His fellowship, His eternal family and Kingdom. He says, “Surely, as I have planned, so will it be; as I have purposed, so will it stand… This is the plan devised for the whole earth, and this is the Hand stretched out over all the nations. The LORD of Hosts has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is outstretched, so who can turn it back?” (Isa.14:24, 26-27, BSP). How does humanity respond? “We confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” (Heb.13:6, ASAB). God has given this sure promise through His Son, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU” (Heb.13:5). Believe it!

Fourth Ascent: Manifestation in Humanity – The Regenerating Life. Through the ‘Father’s Perfection’ humans are made to experience God’s regenerative action on a personal level in this manifestation phase? We experience regeneration through the expression of His Tri-Personal Being by way of the three ascents we have covered. John declares, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). The ‘Father’s Perfection’ speaks of the Father’s Love for humanity. We are not speaking of love that’s defined by our human narrative of it. No, this is God’s very substance and nature of which He is composed in His divine Being. Jesus said we will recognize true Love by its fruits. The word ‘fruits’ simply means a person’s ‘actions.’ A person’s actions can be either inspired by divine Love or human fear.

Love and fear, both stand opposed to each other, just as Satan is God’s adversary. After Satan tempted Eve, he instilled fear in her and she saw the tree of good and evil in a complete different complexion – through the eyes of fear of the enemy. Remember, the fruits of the tree of good and evil was not bad of itself. Through it God taught our first parents what is good and evil. It was their disobedience that was disastrous, not the tree. God had forbade them from eating its fruits for a period of time. We all forbade our children from doing certain things from time to time for legitimate reasons. Somehow Eve had broken loose from and forsook God’s Love, and hearkened to the devil’s fear. Adam followed suit. Humans still do the same today, albeit subconsciously. And God’s Love changed all that through the Immanuel Human of Jesus in us. That is how regeneration starts. God wants His Love to control the human subconscious so that a person’s thoughts and actions are filtered through and influenced by His Love which leads to regeneration, not the enemy’s fear which leads to rebellion.

Fear, the Devil’s Force for Evil, the Antithesis of Love, God’s Force for Good (Wiki Commons)

There is a love that is entirely human and bears no semblance to, nor correlation with, God’s divine Love. The Bible speaks of this flawed human love in this way, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov.14:12; 16:25). In other words, it appears genuine to the human eyes, but it is not God’s flawless Love. Then the Bible gives a more dire picture of this flawed love by identifying its origin, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jer.17:9). This “human heart that’s most deceitful of all things” was inherited from Satan’s heart of fear and rebellion through Adam’s fall. (Gen.3:1-6; Rom.5:12) Jesus told the people of His day, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you” (Mar.7:20-23).

No matter how much effort for good a human may devote himself/herself in life to accomplish, all their effort comes to naught because the underlying sin-controlled human heart with its evil bent is always present to sabotage every good intention. And this happens spontaneously because humanity is cloaked in the enemy’s sin/fear-condition.

There is no other way to overpower this evil propensity, except one offered by Jesus: a rebirth! Yes, what is needed is a totally reborn human – a person who is cloaked in Christ’s glorified Immanuel Humanity. “You must be born again,” Jesus tells humanity. (John 3:3-7) Paul speaks of this rebirth, saying, “And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes” (Gal.3:27, NLT). The truth about human rebirth and the principle of imputing Jesus’ glorified life (Immanuel Human) in humans are one and the same.

There are only two humans God had a direct hand in creating through whom human posterity and destiny is framed within the Creator’s divine plan. There is the ‘first Adam’ from whom all humanity have descended. We saw how the ‘first Adam’ fell to sin at the hands of Satan’s temptations in the Garden of Eden. (Gen.3:1-6) And there is the ‘second Adam’ who was conceived by God’s Spirit and was born through Mary His mother. (Matt.1:20) The angel told Mary, “You are to call Him Jesus” (Luk.1:31). So, the ‘second Adam’ is Jesus Christ. The ‘second Adam,’ Jesus, unlike the ‘first Adam,’ had defeated all Satan’s temptations and brought victory to mankind. (Matt.4:1-11) Through the prophet Isaiah, Jesus was foretold to appear and given a prophetic messianic identity, “Immanuel,” (Isa.7:14Matt.1:23). (You can read about how Jesus defeated Satan in the temptations at: http://bulamanriver.net/11339 ).

Now, for the purpose of distinguishing between the only two humans God created, we shall call the ‘first Adam’ the Adamic Human, and the ‘second Adam,’ the Immanuel Human, after Jesus messianic title. Paul said about the two humans, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor.15:45). He added, “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” (1 Cor.15:22). God sent Jesus, the Immanuel Human, to save mankind from the fallen, sinful, Adamic Human who was fathered by the devil. (Luk.1:31) The Immanuel Human is the “God with us” human, where God is our Father, Jesus is our elder Brother, and the Spirit is our Friend and Comforter. (Matt.6:9Heb.2:11John 16:7) Whereas, the Adamic Human is the “God without us” human.

All humanity was born into the fallen Adamic Humanity of the ‘first Adam.’ But God calls all humans to come out of our weak and fallen Adamic Humanity, and be given the new birth into the risen and powerful Immanuel Humanity in Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. (Act.17:30Luk.24:47Matt.28:192 Cor.6:17

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Depiction of The Tree of Life…The New Born Human in The Spirit (Wiki Commoms)

This is how Jesus introduced the rebirth into Jesus’ Immanuel Humanity to His followers. The night before His death, Jesus shared what is commonly called the Last Supper with His twelve disciples. More than just a mere supper, Jesus was about to make an astounding revelation and inaugurate a powerful ritual concerning the new birth. He introduced the powerful ritual with its dual emblem about this all-important truth about human rebirth. The ritual, commonly called the Communion today, embodies the two emblems of bread and wine. His followers were to keep this ritual until His return. He said, “I tell all of you I will never again drink the product of the vine until that day when I drink it with you once again in My Father’s Kingdom” (Matt.26:29, ISV). Jesus revealed the two emblems and the connection to the new birth in the Passover meal with His disciples.

The Bible records the account in this fashion, “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.” Then, “And He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many” (Matt.26:26-28). The wine represent Jesus’ blood that was shed upon Calvary for human forgiveness, and reveals the life of a person. The Bible states, “For the life of the body is in its blood” (Lev.17:11). The bread was symbolic of Jesus’ body that was wounded for us. (Isa.53:5) So, we have Jesus’ body (bread), and His lifeblood (wine) which gives true life to the believer. Each time we partake of the bread and wine we are in Communion with and living in Jesus’ glorified Immanuel Humanity.

Today, Jesus’ followers are still partaking of the two emblems when they participate in the ‘Communion.’ Paul said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor.11:26). To “proclaim the Lord’s death” means that we undergo His death and resurrection, or, rebirth in Jesus’ glorified life. For Paul adds, “My old self (Adamic Human) has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Immanuel Human). So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, italics mine). So, Jesus’ followers continue to take the two emblems to remind humanity of the death old life and rebirth to the new life we are given in Christ.

The ritual of the Passover or Communion is a picture representing the newborn human whose destiny is God’s eternal Kingdom. At the human resurrection to come, the reality of this new birth will be fully realized when immortal life is conferred upon humanity. (Rom.8:29; 1 Cor.15:50-58) In fact, the Communion is foreshadowing that reality of human immortality which is the ultimate human destiny. Paul said, “For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death]. (1 Cor.15:53, AMP). So, here Paul explains clearly what the new birth today (in human form) will ultimately lead to – immortality like Christ’s own resurrection to immortality. (Rom.8:29) Concerning the Kingdom of God, the Bible states, “The kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High. His Kingdom will be an everlasting Kingdom, (Dan.7:27, HCSB).

The Two Emblems of The Bread (Body) and Wine (Blood) Symbolizing The New “Immanuel Humanity” of Christ. (Wiki Commons)

What exactly is this new human body and what does it look like. Jesus corrected the misconception of His day, even those of the most learned who inquired, “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus answered, “So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life” (John 3:4, 6). So, Jesus was speaking about spiritual life, not mortal life. He said further, “Life is spiritual. Your physical existence doesn’t contribute to that life. The words that I have spoken to you are spiritual. They are life” (John 6:63, God’s Word T.) So, the two emblems of the Communion or Passover picture the spiritual life which now controls the mortal life of humans – the Immanuel Humanity.

So, based upon the two passages above, we are clear about two things, the new human is powered by the Holy Spirit, and fed by Jesus’ words. Now, to get more precise about the new human rebirth we ask, which part of the human body was created with a spiritual transmitter which broadcasts spiritual signals and communication with the divine realm? Yes, it is simply the human mind! God created the human mind to be the means by which the divine relates and communicates with the mortal realm. No other species upon this earth possess a mind like humans that gives humans that interactive ability with the divine realm.

Only the Human Species were Imbued with The Human Spirit and Mind to Receive the Divine Nature (Wiki Commons)

Paul tells us the human body was created to be a temple in which God resides through His Spirit. Paul said, “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Cor.6:16; also Lev.26:12; Ezek.37:27). Jesus said His Words are spiritual which feeds the Spirit who dwells in humans, who in turn manifest Jesus’ words in human life. That is how a person lives his/her reborn humanity day-by-day which brings about regeneration. Jesus said that the role of the Spirit is “He (Spirit) will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you” (John 16:14). The human mind is now occupied by God’s Spirit where the Jesus’ Words is received with the Spirit empowering the person to live by them. So, we see how Jesus’ Words is spiritual food which feeds the real newborn person who is spiritual through the indwelling Spirit of God. The human body is manipulated by its deeds through the decisions made in the human mind. The mind is manipulated either by the rebellious spirit inherited from Satan through Adam, or by the Holy Spirit inherited through Jesus Christ. (John 8:44; Act.2:38)  

There are only two humans God had a direct hand in creating through whom human posterity and destiny is framed within the Creator’s divine plan. There is the ‘first Adam’ from whom all humanity have descended. We saw how the ‘first Adam’ fell to sin at the hands of Satan’s temptations in the Garden of Eden. (Gen.3:1-6) And there is the ‘second Adam’ who was conceived by God’s Spirit and was born through Mary His mother. (Matt.1:20) The angel told Mary, “You are to call Him Jesus” (Luk.1:31). So, the ‘second Adam’ is Jesus Christ. The ‘second Adam,’ Jesus, unlike the ‘first Adam,’ had defeated all Satan’s temptations and brought victory to mankind. (Matt.4:1-11) Through the prophet Isaiah, Jesus was foretold to appear and given a prophetic messianic identity, “Immanuel,” (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23).

Now, for the purpose of distinguishing between the only two humans God created, we shall call the ‘first Adam’ the Adamic Human, and the ‘second Adam,’ the Immanuel Human, after Jesus messianic title. Paul said about the two humans, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor.15:45). He added, “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” (1 Cor.15:22). God sent Jesus, the Immanuel Human, to save mankind from the fallen, sinful, Adamic Human who was fathered by the devil. (Luk.1:31) The Immanuel Human is the “God with us” human, where God is our Father, Jesus is our elder Brother, and the Spirit is our Friend and Comforter. (Matt.6:9; Heb.2:11; John 16:7) Whereas, the Adamic Human is the “God without us” human.

My prayer is that we will all come to fully appreciate the greatness of such a moment as this in a person’s life, and realize the wonderful future of being reborn into the divine trinitarian family of God. (You can read more about this vital topic of the two humans created by God and their importance to human destiny, by reading my post, entitled, “The New Humanity of Jesus” at – http://bulamanriver.net/9718

Here is the crux of the matter of regeneration. Jesus said, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). The Kingdom of God comprise of humanity who have been made citizens of that Kingdom who have undergone regeneration through the rebirth by the Spirit’s power and reborn as Immanuel Humans. Jesus Himself, who was fully God and fully human, had to undergo the rebirth when He was baptized in the waters of the Jordan River water by John the Baptist. Upon rising from the Jordan, heaven opened up and the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove descended upon Jesus and empowered His humanity. He was setting the example for all humans to undergo a baptism in water to indicate the death and burial of the rebellious and fallen Adamic Human, and upon rising from the watery grave be given new birth in the Holy Spirit, thus becoming the newborn Immanuel Humans. The truth about our human rebirth, the principle of imputing and the incarnation of Jesus’ glorious Immanuel Human in mankind is the only solution to all of humanity’s ills instigated by the devil through rebellion in the sin-condition.

Jesus, Born the “Immanuel Human” to Save Mankind from Sin. Here Shown Being Presented Gifts by the Maggi (Wiki Commons)

What is the definition of the Kingdom of God? The Bible informs us that, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). So, His Kingdom is the Kingdom of Love. God and Love is interchangeable and means the same. Love is both the nounized and verbalized form of God. In its active, verbalized, and energized form Love is articulated in the fruits of Love. Paul gives us an inventory of these fruits in his letter to the Corinthians. Here is a cursory list, patience, kindness, compassion, honor, humility, tolerance, hope, faith, goodness, joy, gentleness, self-control, generosity, gratitude, friendship, hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal.5:22-23) I encourage you to visit my post titled, “Our Human Response In The Triune Life – LOVE!” at http://bulamanriver.net/9199). Therefore, the citizens of God’s Kingdom are regenerated in and by God’s Love-fruits. Love is the regenerating energy of God’s Kingdom.

These Love-fruits speaks volumes and gives us a peek into the different tones of God’s nature and emotions of Love. They tell us how God in His Tri-Personal Being in the Father, Son, and Spirit, have lived in One unified shared Love-experience from eternity as God, and desires to share His “Triune Love” with humanity. The Love-fruits reveal the holy emotions of the Tri-Personal God. These are not human emotions, they reveal the divine passion and desire of how God lives in an intuitive and spontaneous fashion in their Love-Being as One God. When the Spirit empowers these fruits in humans, they reflect the divine Love, for the Spirit is the deposit of God’s Love in humans. (Rom.5:5)

Hence, the new birth in the Spirit is vital to living this way of life. Humans may try to emulate these fruits, but only the Spirit can inspire the authentic divine Love in humans. The imitation of these fruits by the fallen human will always be found wanting and hollow. We know this to be true because Jesus said, “Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (Matt.7:16-20). In God’s Kingdom of Love there will be no diseased trees with bad fruits.   

Like The Divine Love-Fruits, Humans Share God’s Love with God and Fellow Humans (Wiki Commons)

 Essence of Relationship:  The manifestation of regeneration in humans means the application of the divine Love is a two-way street between the Tri-Personal God and humanity. This application we have seen depicted in the three ascents. Having understood how Love is made to enter human life through rebirth in the Spirit, the life of regeneration will always be a life of battle against the evil spirit which gives fallen Adamic Humans a life of rebellion! Yes, because there will be this constant battle between Love and rebellion, Jesus tells us, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me” (Luk.9:23). (To read more about God’s Love go to: http://bulamanriver.net/16467)

Jesus knows all too well the environment humans will live and face each and every day, because He has already lived it by encountering and defeating the devil. Jesus was the personification of the divine Love as God’s only Son who brought the Immanuel Humanity. (John 1:1-2) Jesus took our humanity upon Himself and became the only human who lived a life in perfect Love. Being Jesus’ disciple means to become Love as God is Love. In this passage, Jesus gives us two fundamental hallmarks about Love – self-denial and taking up our cross daily. Self-denial or self-discipline is the primary motivating force in the application of Love. And the Father imputes His Son’s glorified life upon humanity to make the regenerated life possible. Yes, this battle between Love and rebellion is the reason why Jesus’ life of self-denial in humanity becomes the indispensable part of living in the Spirit’s power of Love. (Rom.5:5)

Friends, thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of God’s good news 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 amazing future for humanity. You can privately and quietly pray this prayer in your heart: “Father, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant my promised rebirth through Your Holy Spirit. May Your Love guide and protect me and my loved ones always. 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 bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the Triune Love. 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 it 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 relationship with humans. (2 Cor.13:141 Pet.1:1-2) The three-dimensional life is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life in in humanity’s fallen self that was inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion.

Love is both a noun and a verb. We are called to Love because we were created in God’s Love-likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) It means as children of God we live the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as they live and walk in their inward, outward, and upward functions in humans. (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. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. (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) 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.

"Bula" Man-River

“Bula” Man-River Book Cover

Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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THE NEW COVENANT – LIVING GOD’S “LOVE-COVENANT” DAY-BY-DAY, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings once again Friends wherever you are around the globe! Welcome to you, if this is your first visit, and for my regular readers, blessings! Today, let’s touch on something foundational about God and His Love for the whole world regardless of race, creed, nationality, culture, or beliefs.

The foundation of Christianity was established upon God’s Covenant to save all humanity. The Covenant or promise grew out of the Covenant (promise) God made with Abraham, the ancient patriarch. God had called Abraham to leave his home in ancient Haran in the land of Ur of the Chaldeans. Abraham left behind his tribe and kinsfolk, took his wife, close relatives, and servants, his possessions, and in childlike faith believed God’s promise and traveled in the direction of Canaan, not knowing fully how his journey would transpire and unfold. (Gen.12:1-5; Heb.11:8-10)

Then God told Abraham that because of his faith in His promise, the Messiah will be sent and born through his descendants, saying, “And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed Me.” (Gen.22:18; NLT; 12:3). The prophetic promise was repeated for emphasis later, “All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him (Abraham)” (Gen.18:18). Thus, Jesus Christ the Messiah was born the Savior by way of the Abrahamic Covenant, and through whom the whole world finds salvation. (John 3:16; 1 Cor.15:1-4) It is a misunderstanding to say that Christianity is a religion founded by Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a religion nor a religious sect, but it espouses a “way of life.” And all of humanity is called by the Creator to enter into His Covenant in Christ and be saved from the wrath of the sin-condition of Satan in which mankind is incarcerated. The term Christian actually means to be a “follower of Jesus Christ” in the way of life He has taught and espouses. Hence, the Bible states that “God so Loved the whole world (Not just Christians) He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone (not just Christians) who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT, italics mine).

The genealogy of Jesus can be traced back to Abraham and to Adam is found in the Gospel of Matthew. (Matt.1:1-17) Without God’s Covenant to save mankind, humans would have remained lost and condemned under the sin-condition of the devil.

Ark of the Covenant
Ark of The Old Covenant, Given to Ancient Israel Through Moses. The Most Sacred Object in Israel Containing the 10 Commandments (unsplash.com)

There are fundamental steps in the making of a Covenant. First, there is the wording of the Covenant which expresses the desires and plans of the Maker of the Covenant. Then the Covenant has to be ratified, sealed, and delivered, in order to make it authentic and real. A Covenant or promise has two parties, where a promise is undertaken by the Maker of the Covenant, and the other party is the beneficiary of the Covenant under a loyalty compact. We will see and experience various aspects of the Covenant as we go over it through the framework of the ‘Triune Life three-step format’ I will lay out. I called these three steps: ascents, with each dove-tailing into the next and spontaneously expressing its manifestation in the fourth ascent. At the end of each ascent, I will recap the ascent’s salient feature called, “Essence of Relationship.”

Admittedly, we will see that the provision of the Covenant is such that its application requires a daily holistic approach and navigation making the “Triune Life”* indispensable through the three ascents. Only then, can a person satisfactorily interpret, engage with, and discover the intrinsic and intimate value of God’s Love that is expressed in His Covenant with humanity.

But first, let’s start with the text of the Covenant. The whole text of the New Covenant can be found in the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 8. The author was quoting from the 33rd Chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. So the Covenant was the prophetic utterance by God to humanity. In its entirety, the Covenant contains God’s own words. He is the Creator and Initiator of the Covenant. Mankind has no input in its wording since its tenor was to elicit response to the human cry for help: “Save me!” God says through the prophet Isaiah, “You will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I” (Isa.58:9; also Matt.5:4; John 10:10) You can say humanity’s cry for help is mankind’s unsaid words in the Covenant. (Rev.21:4)

Recall how man found himself in this dilemma of needing to be saved. It started in the Garden of Eden when Adam ushered in the way of rebellion against God by obeying the voice of the devil and eating the forbidden fruit with his wife, Eve. In his fallen state of existence (sin-condition) humanity was cut-off from God, the source of true life and Love in His Spirit (Love-condition). Mankind continues on his single-track course to oblivion – that is where sin ultimately leads – death! (Rom.6:23) So, humanity needs rescuing, hence, in God’s unfathomable Love, He Covenants with mankind to provide the Messiah in His only Son whom He will send to save humanity. (John 3:16-18) The Covenant is the response to mankind’s call for help. So, the Covenant is all about rescuing mankind from his fallen state of existence (sin-condition) and putting mankind back on the path of God’s original promise to fashion humanity in His Loving Triune Love-image (Love-condition). (Gen1:26-27) 

The Covenant text begins with an introduction on why there was a need for a New Covenant to replace the Old Covenant. The Book of Hebrews states, “For if that first Covenant had been without fault, no place would have been sought for a second. But God found fault with the people and said, ‘“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant…” (Heb.8:7-8). So, God says there was fault found in the Old Covenant which made it necessary to introduce the New Covenant. What or who was exactly was at fault? God answers, “Because they (Israel and Judah) did not abide by My Covenant” (Heb.8:9, italics mine).

The New Covenant Finds its Origin in the Tri-Personal Being of God (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, Wiki Commons)

As we saw, a Covenant has two parties, the Covenanter or Upholder, and the covenantee or beneficiary. God’s desire and plan was to right the ship of humanity which sailed the wrong course through Adam’s fall. Through Israel, God wanted to bring the whole world back from the path of destruction. God remembered His promise to Abraham, and here stood the twelve tribes, the nation of Israel, his descendants. (Gen.22:18; 26:4; Act.3:25) The Old Covenant spells out Israel’s destiny to be God’s own nation and He would bless, protect, and uphold them, while Israel agreed to live by God’s way of life as specified in the Ten Commandments. (Exo.24:7-8)

The Covenant between God and Israel was ratified and made binding at Mount Sinai, after God freed Israel from a life of slavery in Egypt. The two parties must have faith in each other’s commitment to the provisions of the Covenant, for that is how the Covenant is made to work. Israel replied, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Exo.19:8) Israel journeyed to the Promise Land and became a nation of the twelve tribes of Israel under God. (Num.34:1-29; 1 Sam.8:7; Ezek.47:21) The Promise Land was to Israel their Eden, a land “filled with milk and honey” (Deut.26:9; Jer.32:21-23). Later, Israel wanted a king like the nations around them, so they replaced God as their King and chose Saul. God told the prophet Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King” (1 Sam.8:7). That foreshadowed the trouble times that was to come for Israel.

Israel’s history was cluttered with events and incidents relating to their unfaithfulness to God and the Covenant. High on the list of their betrayal had to do with the worship of the false gods of other nations around them. One of the false gods had brought Israel to the point of committing the most egregious act of child sacrifice. That certainly ranked among the most heinous acts in Israel. (Jer. 7:30–31; Deut. 12:29–31) Even so, God delivered Israel time and again when their enemies tried to destroy them. But like one who suffers from amnesia, Israel forgot God’s loyalty to His side of their Covenant. (Judg.3:7; 1 Sam.12:9) Israel failed again and again to keep their side of the Covenant. Being the aggrieved party, God agonizingly but reluctantly, ended His Covenant with Israel. However, in God’s eternal and undying Love for humanity, He will never forsake mankind He created in His own likeness. And His divine image is hardwired into the consciousness of human beings that it can never be erased.

So, in the same breadth, while ending one, He spoke about the New Covenant, where His Son as the Messiah will be at its helm to bring humanity back to “Eden” and God’s Loving presence. This New Covenant was subsequently inducted and sanctioned through His Son’s mediation as Savior and eternal High Priest. (John 3:16; Heb.3:1; 5:5) At the same time, the Covenant is made universal which encompassed the whole world and all humanity, including Israel and Judah. Such was God’s unfailing Love for mankind, and His staunch faithfulness to His original purpose for creating humans in His Love-image. (Gen.1:26-27; Matt.28:19) So, we see God’s rationale for establishing the New Covenant and ending the old one.   

Ancient Israel and Judah were Exiled from Their Land as Consequence of Forsaking Their Covenant With God. Israel Forgot that Through The Covenant, God Protected Them as His Own people. Through Jesus, God will Once More Bless Israel and Judah. (Wiki Commons)

Here is the text establishing the New Covenant, “This is the Covenant I will establish with the people of Israel+ after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Heb.8:10-12, emphasis added; also Jer.31:31-34)* (Gal.3:26-29; Rom.2:28-29)

Paul was quoting from the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament. The mention of “Israel and Judah” is seen primarily in the context of the Old Covenant. Since Christ came, the New Covenant was introduced superseding the Old Covenant. (Heb.8:13) Therefore, all scripture must be understood from the perspective of the New Covenant. Therefore, God’s New Covenant is extended universally to the whole world, which includes Israel. Jesus gave His disciples their mission, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:18-20; Rom.11:11-31).

The Covenant’s power rests upon God’s Word. As the uncreated Creator God, His Word exudes and manifest His eternal power. (Heb.4:12; 2 Pet.3:5) When humans believe God’s Word, like Abraham did when God called Him to leave his kinsmen and country to a land He will give him, Abraham’s faith in God’s promise set off the ‘event-switch’ which made God’s Word materialize to reality. When Jesus miraculously made the blind person see again, He said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matt.9:29). The Words of the Covenant is consummated in reality by faith. Faith is the miraculous switch that turns on the power of God. (Heb.11:1; 2 Cor.5:7; 4:18) Paul wrote, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous” (Rom.4:3). We are warned, “But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him” (Heb.11:6, AMP).

The word “righteous” has been heavily religionized, however, in modern terms, it means simply the opposite of living in the sin-condition which brings on suffering, pain, false hopes, lack, corruption, and eventually death. On the other hand, “righteous” means everything good, joyous, abundant, and uplifting. Because the Covenant is about saving humans from the negative consequences of sin, humans are supposed to experience the promise of God’s Love on a daily basis through faith in His Covenant. We need saving on a daily basis because Satan has permeated this world with his sin-condition that we cannot escape its effects except through God’s grace by His promises contained in the Covenant. Hence, the title of this post, “Living God’s Covenant Day-By-Day.”

God’s Covenant Founded Upon His Eternal Love (Wiki Commons)

The wording of the Covenant is bound inevitably to the purpose for which mankind was created in the first place. (Gen.1:26-27) Humanity was created in God’s Love-likeness. Adam and Eve existed in a place of complete grace in the Garden of Eden. However, they fell from grace when they ate the forbidden fruit by believing and following Satan’s lies. (Gen.3:1-6) This unspeakable event of man’s fall was the catalyst which led to the formulation of the Old and the New Covenants. 

Before we ride our train and fathom God’s Love in the three ascents, let us get out at the earlier station and make an important observation about the Old and New Covenants. According to the Old Covenant, Israel’s function and duty was to obey the laws, specifically, the ten commandments. (Exo.19:8; 24:7) Now, this is not the case with the New Covenant. I am not saying the commandments are not binding… stay with me. The terms of the New Covenant requires faith in what God says He will do. That is all, simple child-like faith.

For example, when God said in the New Covenant, “I will put My laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts” (Heb.8:10a), the Covenant nowhere says that obedience was its centerpiece via the terms of the Old Covenant as it use to be with Ancient Israel. (Exo.19:8) No, we are not bound to the terms of the Old Covenant which is no longer in force. We are under the terms of the New Covenant that is different from the old. Hence, Paul say, “Therefore we conclude that a person is justified by faith apart from the actions prescribed by the Law” (Rom.3:28). You see, the provision God utters above is an unmistakable and absolute statement about what He intends and will do in humanity. That means the Covenant requires that we simply take God at His word by faith! In other words, the terms humans keep in their relationship with God under the New Covenant is faith! Yes, it is simply to believe in child-like faith that what God says He will do, He will bring about and make happen by His power.

He goes on in the text of the Covenant, “I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people” (Heb.8:10b). Does the text say that we are to follow some specific rules about becoming His children? No, God simply said that He will do what He says He will do. And we simply believe His words for us! So, the terms of the New Covenant is faith! For Ancient Israel it was obedience. (Exo.19:8) I am in no way espousing disobedience, I am just stating the principle under which the two Covenants were established: one is legalistic, and the other is by faith, grace, and Love.

In any event, no matter how perfect a person may live, he/she will randomly make mistakes and disobey, whether by ignorance or through weakness, or both. Be that as it may, the absolute masterpiece of God’s plan for humanity is that He provides a Savior who will never stop mediating for mankind night and day as High Priest before Him in heaven. That is how much God our Father Loves us and keeps humanity in right standing before Him forever. (Read Romans 5) He gives us His Spirit who sanctifies us so we will not willfully rebel in His sight. The terms require that we believe everything that God says He will do in the Covenant, are already accomplished facts by faith. As Hebrews states, “Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see” (Heb.11:1) So, we know them to be true because we have faith His words are truth.

God’s plan is to right the ship of humanity which took a wrong course when Adam was at the wheel. So, God’s objective of restoring humanity is identical in relation to the objectives of the two Covenants. The Bible states that Ancient Israel heard the Gospel as much as we have under the New Covenant today. However, here was the difference, for Israel “the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not united with faith in God by those who heard” (Heb.4:2, italicized for emphasis). Israel’s terms was one of obedience to the law. Israel’s lesson was to show that the best human effort could not defeat the enemy, nor save humanity. So, what they lacked, God makes available by faith under the New Covenant. The old was legalistic, and the new is by faith. One reveals life that was lived in legalism under the law, and the other is lived in faith under Christ in the Spirit’s power and Love. (Rom.5:5)

Paul said, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor.5:7). The writer of Hebrews goes further, “And 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). To believe “God exists” is to believe in His power to do what God says He will do in the Covenant. Paul told the Romans, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Rom.3:28, italicized for emphasis).

The Bible speaks of this faith as the very personal ‘faith of Jesus,’ not our half-hearted human faith. Paul said to the Romans, “Even the righteousness of God which is the faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe” (Rom.3:22, italicized for emphasis). (You can read my post on the “Faith of Jesus” at: http://bulamanriver.net/2811.) So, the application of the New Covenant through the three ascents are activities of faith and by faith.

Here are the three ascents (steps) of the New Covenant with its manifestation: 1 The Departure; 2 The Redemption; 3 The Offspring; and the manifestation, 4 The Covenant Life. The three ascents reveal to humans the inward, outward, and upward acts of God’s Love in a person’s life. Recall how the Three-Ascent Format works: the first ascent always reveals the Love-relationship with the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead. It is God’s ‘inward act’ of Love for mankind where the Spirit is active at sanctifying God’s will in a person’s life. The second ascent is the human Love-relationship with Jesus who saves humans from the sin-condition, through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. This reveals the Father’s ‘outward act’ of Love for mankind. And the third ascent is the Love-relationship with God the Father, which is the ‘upward act’ of Love where He brings humans to have a one-on-one relationship with Him as our eternal Loving Father. So, each ascent dovetails into the next, then spontaneously manifests the fourth ascent in humans of Living the Covenant Life upon earth.  

(I had coined the term “Triune Love” and/or “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. This is depicted in the three ascents we saw above and will cover in detail. 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 relationship with humans. The three-dimensional life is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life in humanity’s fallen self that was inherited from Satan through Adam’s fall).  

Before we begin with the ascents, let us read the text of the New Covenant as given in the Book of Hebrews. “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will draw up a New Covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the Covenant that I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. They were not faithful to the Covenant I made with them, and so I paid no attention to them. Now, this is the Covenant that I will make with the people of Israel in the days to come, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. None of them will have to teach their friends or tell their neighbors, ‘Know the Lord.’ For they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs. None of the, will have to teach their friends or tell their neighbors, ‘Know the Lord.’ For they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs.” (Heb.8:8-12, GNT).

A perceptive examination of the Covenant’s text will make us realize without any shadow of a doubt that the prescribed provisions contained in it can never be satisfactorily achieved through any human effort, nor does mankind have the wherewithal to bring the Covenant’s aims to its satisfactory end. God unreservedly makes statements about what He plans to do with humanity. Therefore, the New Covenant unequivocally requires the input of God’s supernatural intervention in human life. So, the manifestation of the Covenant in humans is underpinned by the miraculous life which humans are privileged to live and experience through the three ascents in a life of faith.

Miracles can be simply explained as the meeting point of the divine and the physical, where God meets mortal humans. Wherever the two intersect, miracles emerge. Hence, we are given to enter the three ascents where humans can experience the miraculous life through a relationship of Love with each of the three Persons of the Triune Godhead in relation to their roles and interaction with the provisions of the Covenant. We remember Paul’s inspired words, “For the Kingdom of God (Covenant) is not in word but in power” (1 Cor.4:20; 2:4). So, the Covenant are not mere words, but is backed by the Almighty’s divine Word of power. Yes, it is a life of pure faith, for it will take God’s miraculous intervention in a person’s life to bring the provisions of the New Covenant to completion. (Heb.4:12; Jer.23:29)

From the Covenant passage we saw in the Book of Hebrews above, we will be able to decipher which provision each Person in the Godhead activates through Loving relationship with each and every human who choose to participate in the Covenant. Before getting into the actual three ascents, let us summarize the Covenant text as it is presented in Hebrews. There are three areas laid out in a descending order from the God the Father, who is the Author of the Covenant. The three provisions/aspects are: the preamble, the redemption and the temple. When we get to the Three Ascents, we will move in an ascending format, hence, the term “ascent.” The reason is obvious since humans exist in their fallen state of existence where a person seeks reconciliation with God through an ascending movement to fulfill each person’s divinely ordained destiny by living and functioning within God’s Love-condition via the Covenant through the ascents. So, here is the descending order of the Covenant as it is presented in the text:

Act 1: Father – Offspring: First Part, a) Preamble: “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will draw up a New Covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the Covenant that I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. They were not faithful to the Covenant I made with them, and so I paid no attention to them. Now, this is the Covenant that I will make with the people of Israel in the days to come, says the Lord” (V.8-10).

Second Part, b) Fatherhood: “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (V.12).

Act 2: Jesus – The Redemption: “I will forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs” (V.12).

Act 3: Spirit – The Departure: First Part, a) The Temple: (a) “I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. (Spirit) (V.10)

Second Part, (b) The Teacher/Guide/Help: None of them will have to teach their friends or tell their neighbors, ‘Know the Lord.’ For they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.” (Spirit) (V.11)

From the foregoing, we have laid out the different aspects of the Covenant and assigned its various provisions to the three Persons of the Triune Godhead. We begin with the Father in the preamble (Act 1). The preamble shows the Father’s function and authority in abrogating the Old Covenant and instituting the New Living Covenant. He reveals Himself as our Loving Father.

The redemption (Act 2) reveals Jesus Christ’s role as the Messiah who came, lived the perfect human life, died as the only worthy sacrifice to save mankind, introduced immortality to humanity through His resurrection, and ascended to His High Priestly role at the right hand of the Father in heaven. (John 3:16; 1 Pet.1:19; Heb.4:14)

The departure (Act 3) tells us about the role of the power of the Holy Spirit in helping mankind depart the sin-condition and enter the new world of God’s Love-condition, where humans can now live in freedom. (Rom.5:5) The Spirit now lives in humans as God’s temple, making this new world of God’s Love-condition a reality for every person. He enters the human heart and mind for the purpose of sanctifying human life. (1 Cor.3:16; 2 Thes.2:13; 1 Pet.1:2; Gal.5:16-17)

We are reminded of the the Trinitarian principle: “The act of One is the the act of all Three, and the act of all Three is the act of One.” God is Love, therefore the substance which unifies Them as One God is Love! In Their Love there is never a trace of autonomy, coercion, or guile in their relationship.

I have outlined above the text of the New Covenant in the order it is presented in the text beginning with the Father in a descending order. Now, we will cover the role of each Person in the Trinity as they relate with humans following the 3-Ascent Triune Format, in an ascending motion starting with the Holy Spirit. In our fallen state, the Spirit launches God’s activity of Love in the Departure, then ascends to Jesus in the Redemption, then to the Father with the Offspring.

What we will see is how every aspect of the Covenant is framed within God’s Tri-Personal Being to give it structure and cohesion in the eternal Trinity. We are again reminded of the eternal and inherent trinitarian Love principle: the act of One is the act of Three, and the act of Three is the act of One. Author Jon Tal Murphree says this of the nature of God and the divine pattern of the Triune Life,* “Each Person of the Trinity transposes Himself into the others without confusing His own personality with the others…the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist as persons alongside each other as much as they exist in and through each other.” (Pg,29, The Trinity and Human Personality). Peter elaborates on this Triune principle, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Pet.1:1-2, underscored for emphasis). Let us begin…

First Ascent: The Departure – Holy Spirit. The 1st Ascent is all about the human relationship with the Holy Spirit. What does departure mean in the context of the Covenant and the Spirit’s role of manifesting it to humans? Departure indicates withdrawal and separation. It finds its origin in the story of mankind. We have heard of our first parents who existed in a place of grace in Paradise called the Garden of Eden. But sadly and painfully, they evicted themselves from Eden through their rebellion by eating the forbidden fruit and following Satan’s way of self-centeredness and sin. (Gen.3:1-6) Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, as recorded in Genesis, “So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and He sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And He placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life” (Gen3:23-24).

Eden was Paradise because it was conceivably the most unique environment where both spiritual and physical realities could exist side-by-side in God’s Love-condition. It was the closest to divine reality any human being could exist and experience. The Tree of Life represented the Holy Spirit which sustained our first parents spiritually in God’s Love-condition. So, our first parents may have existed in a form of celestial/human existence, until their fall from grace when suddenly their celestial cloak was taken, and their human “eyes were opened” to the naked truth of their mortality. (Gen.3:7; 3:22) So, humanity closed himself from having any access to the Holy Spirit (Tree of Life) and the celestial form they once enjoyed in Paradise due to the fall of mankind through Adam’s sin. Now Adam had made the choice for humanity to live under Satan’s sin-condition.

Dove, Symbol for the Holy Spirit (Wiki Commons)

Humans had freely chosen to depart from Eden, leaving behind the Love-condition for the sin-condition, albeit by the devil’s deception and cunning. However, in the New Covenant God our Father is calling humanity to return to their place of grace He always wanted for them. Now, humans are called to exercise the ‘reverse departure’ by leaving behind Satan’s sin-condition, his world of lies, corruption and sin, depravity and death, and return to God’s spiritual Eden of joy, unity, perfection, and Love.

Eden was symbolic of living in the presence of God and His Love-condition as Adam and Eve did in the Garden. So, in the same way Adam chose to depart Eden, God now calls upon all Adam’s children (humanity) to depart from Satan’s world and way of life of fear, sin, corruption, suffering, and death, and return to Paradise. God speaks this reality to the human conscience since the underlying human essence can never deny the mold of God’s eternal image of Love in which mankind was created. And this can be done only with the help of God’s power in the work of the Spirit who is the personification of the Love-condition where freedom lives and reigns. Paul was inspired to write, “Come out from among them and be separate (from Satan’s world), says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor.6:17-18, italics mine).

God is calling humanity to return to Eden (God) because He has opened and made possible the way to return to Paradise. Now, humans can once more participate in eating the fruits of the Tree of Life (Holy Spirit) and once more enter the celestial form. Jesus alluded to the return to this spiritual life when He said, “You must be born again of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8). The Spirit is the personification of God’s Love in God’s world where His Love-condition reigns and inspires and sanctifies humans. (Rom.5:5; Rom.1:4; 1 Pet.1:2) God made the way back to Eden possible by sacrificing His only Son Jesus who came and took our sinful humanity upon Himself as the Messiah to save humanity. (John 3:16; Isa.7:14) We will leave this aspect for now, and cover it in detail in the Second Ascent (Redemption).

Suffice to say that no one human was found worthy, to reopen the pathway to return to Eden. This was the role of the Father in giving His Son. Jesus said this, “I AM THE WAY the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (Eden) except through Me” (John 14:6, emphasis and italics mine). Again, He said, “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through Me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures (Spirit)” (John 10:9, NLT). Yes, Jesus, the second Adam, was the only human found worthy to open THE WAY back to Eden. (1 Cor.15:22, 47) The essence of God’s Covenant is: LOVE!

selective focus photography of You Are Loved book
The Essence of The New Covenant is God’s Message to Humanity: “You Are Loved” (Unsplash)

What Israel underwent before they departed Egypt and entered into their Covenant with God is the type of what humanity experience in their spiritual exodus today before entering into the New Covenant with God. If we were to spend a few moments reading the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt from the Book of Exodus in the Bible, we will understand that if God had not performed His ten supernatural acts, Pharaoh would not have relented from his adamant refusal to let Israel free. Likewise, as the exact copy of Israel’s dreadful experience as slaves in Egypt, and their subsequent exodus from slavery to freedom by God’s power under the hand of Moses, humans today undergo the identical experience in the spiritual realm, under the hand of Jesus through the Spirit’s power. What Israel underwent physically in Egypt we now undergo spiritually in Satan’s world as slaves to the sin-condition today. The devil holds humans slaves to sin in this world, as Pharaoh held the Israelite slaves in Egypt.

So, Egypt was the forerunner of the reality of Jesus’ battle with Satan (Pharaoh) in His temptation in the wilderness of Judea. Just as there were ten supernatural miracles which freed Israel, likewise Jesus defeated Satan in His temptations in the Judean wilderness to free humanity from the evil forces of Satan’s world. (Matt.4:1-11) What Israel underwent under Moses in the Old Covenant, and what humanity experienced in Jesus’ temptation in the New Covenant are parallels. So, God recorded the example of Israel in the Bible so humanity can understand the hand of God in our lives, and realize the truth behind our own deliverance and departure from Satan’s incarceration through Jesus’ victory. Paul said this about Israel’s experience under the Old Covenant, “Now these things happened to them (Israel) as types and were written for our admonition, to whom the ends of the ages are arrived” (1 Cor.10:11, italics mine; Psa.102:18).

So, our position today and their story are types, parallels – they at the beginning, and we at the end. Then Paul warns us that we are capable of messing up as they did when God abrogated His Covenant with them. We are not exempt, but the beautiful part of the story is we are given to return to our spiritual Eden where we can partake of the Tree of Life under the New Covenant and obtain power of His Love to defeat the devil through Jesus’ eternal mediation as humanity’s High Priest in heaven today.

Referring to the 10 miraculous “signs and wonders” through Moses’ hand, commonly known as the 10 plagues upon Egypt, Henry Alexander White, in his book, “The Origin of the Pentateuch in the Light of the Ancient Monuments” (Pg,190), asks, “Were these sun-deities of Egypt real spiritual beings? John Milton in Comus and Paradise Lost has stated his opinion that all these deities were the fallen angels, cast out of heaven along with Satan. In our time, Dr. Charles Robinson, with others, has accepted virtually the same view. Against the gods of Egypt as veritable spiritual powers did Jehovah exercise His power” (Deut.32:16; Jer.32:20-22).

These gods of ancient Egypt still exist today but by other names and in different forms. They are fallen angels and cannot die. Humans are mortal and consigned to death because of sin. (Rom.6:23) The Egyptians died, so did the Israelites, and every human ever born have died and will die, for we are human and mortal. Here is the beautiful truth about what God has done for us to defeat these gods of Egypt under the new Covenant today. What happened to Egypt after the ten calamitous but liberating events for Israel in Egypt which happened in a period of about 10 months, is a copy of what happened to the devil’s dark kingdom in the spiritual world under the new Covenant when Jesus won the gargantuan spiritual battle after His baptism in Jordan and finally His death upon Calvary, in order to free humanity once for all. As the 10th plague pointed to the Messiah to come (Lamb’s Blood), it pointed to the reality of Jesus overcoming all the ten false gods Egypt worshiped.

As it was when Pharaoh released Israel under the Old Covenant, likewise today with the spiritual power structure of the devil’s dark kingdom over mankind under the New Covenant. The firstborn, which in ancient times signified rights and authority, portrayed for us physically what happened spiritually, when Jesus defeated Satan and relented and let mankind go once for all. The ten miracles give us an insight into the power structure in the devil’s dark kingdom: (Exodus 7:20 – 8, 9, 10, 11, 9 – 12:30)

Speaking in our present context, Paul said this about this self-same evil powers, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph.6:12). God declared, “Against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute my judgment; I am Jehovah” (Exo.12:12b). God did this again under the New Covenant defeating Satan’s power structure through His Son, Jesus. Having being infused with the Spirit’s power in the Jordan River, and faced and defeated Satan in the Judean wilderness, Jesus sealed Satan’s fate when He gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for human sin upon Calvary’s cross. (Matt.4:1-11; John 19:16-21)

Focus Photography of Flying Hummingbird
Pretty Bird Flying Freely – A Depiction Of Divine Freedom in God’s Love (Pexels)

What we see happening under the New Covenant is something no human could do except Jesus, the second person of the Triune Godhead. He reached down from His preeminent divinity and took upon Himself our fallen humanity, becoming fully human and fully God, and did for mankind what no human can ever do – save humanity from the sin-condition by defeating Satan! Satan is the personification of the sin-condition by which mankind is held bondage. The Spirit came upon Jesus in the Jordan River, empowering Him to defeat Satan, and thereby setting the model for humans to follow Jesus’ script for victory today. Today, as we fellowship and surrender in faith to the Spirit, God the Father imputes upon us Jesus’ own personal victory over the devil and his evil kingdom. This is where the faith of Jesus come to its own and bring on His victory. (Rom.4:20-25) Paul said this to the Romans, “Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe” (Rom.3:22).

So, God has not left humans to themselves to fight Satan…how can they defeat an insurmountable enemy? It’s a task only Jesus could do, for He said, “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world” (John 16:33). That means Jesus’ victory is abiding as we relive His triumph vicariously in the Spirit’s power. (Rev.12:9-11) When we believe, God imputes Christ’s victory over our lives just as God imputes righteousness upon Abraham for his faith in God’s promise. (Rom.4:20-25) So, we see how the Spirit empowers humans by manifesting Jesus’ victory in us. Jesus said so, “Unless I go away, the Advocate (Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you…He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine (my victory) and declare it to you” (John 16:14, italics mine). Yes, Jesus’ victory over Satan is the paradigm and prototype for every human spiritual victory in the Spirit’s power. The Spirit will impute Jesus’ victory over the devil’s kingdom in each and every human being through faith. But before we spiritually depart our “Egypt,” humans must first be empowered by the Spirit. That leads us to the essential aspect of our relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Essence of Relationship: – The human relationship in the 1st Ascent with the Spirit fills us with gratitude for bringing God’s power to bear upon the evil forces which has held humanity captive from Adam and bring mankind to freedom. (Luk.4:8) Herald+ (Spirit) leads us to understand and accept that the Covenant of this magnitude and substance has to be ratified in order for it to be made binding. Unless the Covenant is ratified, the Covenant is of no value. Ratification of the Covenant means that it has God’s seal of approval and authority. God’s seal of authority which ratifies the New Covenant is the life and blood of Jesus that was shed upon His cross to save mankind from the sin-condition. (John 3:16; 1:29)

The Spirit’s role is to deliver humanity from captivity to sin and the evil forces by leading mankind to Jesus, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Yes, when we receive Jesus as Savior by faith, we enter into the New Covenant ratified in His blood. Under cover of Jesus’ sacrifice, His resurrection and ascension to heaven, humans are led back into the spiritual Paradise of Eden and the Tree of Life (Spirit). We remember Peter’s words to the people of his day, “The powerful name of Jesus Christ…There is salvation in no One else! God has given no other Name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Act.4:10, 12, NLT). This leads us to the second ascent of redemption…

Second Ascent: The Redemption – Jesus Christ. The 2nd Ascent always depict the human relationship with Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead. The Covenant states, “They’ll get to know Me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean” (Heb.8:12). The Father had given Jesus the task of the promised Messiah to save humanity. But while Jesus was about His work, He did the equally important task of revealing the Father and the Holy Spirit clearly. By doing this, humans would understand the breadth and meaning of the Covenant as originating from the Tri-Personal Being of God.

So we read John’s statement about Jesus revealing the Father, “No one has ever seen God, but the One and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father’s side, has made Him known” (John 1:18). Then He told the disciples about the Holy Spirit, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads you into all truth” (John 14:16, NLT). Further Jesus continues, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26, NLT). And concerning Himself as the Messiah, John was inspired to write, “In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2, NLT).

Jesus revealed that His work involved reopening the pathway to the Spirit of life and power (Tree of Life). Then the Spirit’s work is to point humanity to Jesus, who in turn points mankind to the Father. He said, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). Recall, it was sin that ended the human communion with God through His Spirit. (Gen.3:23-24) Now, through Jesus’ mediation as Savior, He defeated Satan in the temptations, lived a sinless life by doing good, was crucified for our forgiveness and atonement, resurrected our humanity from the dead, and ascended back to the Father’s right hand, where He continues in His mediatory work of our glorified human High Priest forever. (John 16:7-11; Act.10:38) Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant, as the Book of Hebrews inform us, “For this reason Christ is the Mediator of a New Covenant” (Heb.9:15; also read, Heb.1:3; 6:20; 7:28; 10:12).

Cross, Christ, Faith, God, Jesus, Clouds, Sun, Light
The Death Of Jesus Ratified the Covenant and Become High Priest in Heaven Forever Mediating for Humanity. Jesus’ Death was Not Solitary, But Trinitarian in Every Sense. (Pic: Pixabay)

Yes, Jesus has paved the way back to the Tree of Life (Spirit), and we witness what happened on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured upon humanity. We read the account in the Book of Acts in the Bible, “On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (Act.2:1-4). Not only were the disciples given miraculous power to speak fluently to the people in their own language, but numerous miracles of healing were performed upon the people. (Act.2:43; 3:7-11; 5:12-16; 8:5-8. You can read the accounts for yourself by hovering your cursor over the passages of Scripture).

But the greatest miracle of all was uttered by Peter who stood up and told the people what they saw happening was the fulfillment of God’s promise of the gift of the Spirit which in effect fulfilled the provision of the New Covenant to bring humanity back Eden and God’s presence. Peter told the people after they inquired of the meaning of what they witnessed, “What you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people” (Act.2:16-17). And so, Jesus promise to the disciples that the Father will send the Spirit had come to pass. (John 16:7; 14:26)

Peter went further and told the people how they too can be imbued with the same power of the Spirit, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38). That is the message of human redemption Jesus brought from the Father to humanity. (Act.17:30) Redemption means that humans have been given to find the way back to Eden (God), made possible through change (repentance) and baptism. Baptism is a ritual which conveys an outward sign of a person’s inward commitment to bury the old fallen self (in Adam) in the watery grave of baptism, and rise a new person in Christ empowered by the Spirit. Paul explained the meaning of baptism to the Romans, “Have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined Him in His death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives” (Rom.6:3-4).

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Baptism, The Outward Sign of inner Commitment to The Covenant Promise (Unsplash.com)

When Jesus hung upon His cross and was about to breathe His last, His final words were, “It is finished.” The words meant Jesus has completed what His Father had sent Him to accomplish as the Messiah. His subsequent resurrection and ascension back to His Father were formalities in God’s divine protocol. Jesus assured the disciples that the Spirit cannot come until He has accomplished His work of redemption that includes all of the above. When Jesus said, “Unless I go away, the Advocate (Spirit) will not come to you,” means the way back to the Spirit is conditional upon Jesus completing His work of Messiah given Him by the Father, and upon humans receiving Jesus as Savior in faith. Jesus can only “go away” after having completed His work of mediation on behalf of mankind. Then, the gift of the Spirit upon the people was conditional upon humanity receiving Jesus as Savior by changing their way from one of sin to God’s way of Love.  

Let us get back to the account of Israel in Egypt momentarily. The nine plagues God wrought upon Egypt, despite the anguish, misery, and distress upon the people of Egypt, Pharaoh stubbornly held on to Israel and would not free them from slavery. Then God said He was about to bring one final plague that will break Pharaoh’s obstinacy and resistance. In the tenth and last plague, God was going to take the life of the firstborn male in Egypt, both humans and animals. (Exo.12:12) As we saw the plagues was actually God’s judgment against the gods the Egyptian worshiped. So, the death of the firstborn males, was a judgment on the god Isis, who poses as the protector of children, God said, “I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the LORD!” (Exo.12:12). Only God can protect and provide security.

In this plague, God was teaching the Israelites a deep spiritual lesson that pointed to Christ. Unlike the other plagues, which the Israelites survived by virtue of their identity as God’s people, this plague required an act of faith by them. God commanded each family to take an unblemished male lamb and kill it. The blood of the lamb was to be smeared on the top and sides of their doorways, and the lamb was to be roasted and eaten that night. Any family that did not follow God’s instructions would suffer in the last plague. God described how He would send the death angel through the land of Egypt, with orders to slay the firstborn male in every household, whether human or animal. The only protection was the blood of the lamb on the door. When the angel saw the blood, he would pass over that house and leave it untouched (Exodus 12:23). Hence, the day of Passover has been commemorated by Israel throughout their sojourn. God told the Israelites, “This is the Lord’s Passover” (Exo.12:11).

The death that came upon the firstborn of Egypt, both humans and animals, was the death of all the Egyptian gods (1-9) and marks the complete triumph of God over the gods worshipped by Egypt. Finally, with Pharaoh shattered by the great cry of death over all Egypt, including his own household, he relented and let Israel go free. (Exo.4:23;11:5; 12:29-33) Henry A. White states, “These imagined deities, who had their being in the crude superstitions of the people of the Nile, were sealed unto everlasting contempt. Jehovah Himself had come in person and “smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. There was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.” (Pg.205) 

The Passover held a bigger picture which foretold the coming and death of the Messiah Jesus upon His cross. Just as the Passover was the sign of freedom for Israel under the Old Covenant, the cross is the sign of freedom under the New Covenant for all humanity. The cross of Jesus stands alone across the breadth of human history as the greatest act of Love by the Creator God who did not spare even His only Son, to save our sin-laden humanity.

Essence of Relationship: We are thankful to the Father for surrendering His only Son, and to Jesus for sacrificing Himself, so all the provisions of New Covenant can be made binding upon humans. Jesus’ blood that was spilled upon Calvary’s cross was and continues to be the seal of ratification which makes it possible for humans to enter into the presence of God the Father. Jesus explains what it all means, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father” (John 14:12). Yes, Jesus’ return to the Father fulfilled the Father’s promise of sending His Spirit of power to do greater works. This brings us to the third ascent…

Third Ascent: The Offspring – God the Father. The Third Ascent signify the human relationship with our heavenly Father. Offspring means to become children of God. Jesus sacrifice, His blood, has sealed and ratified the Covenant which now opens the door for humans to come before the Loving presence of our heavenly Father in heaven. We have returned to Eden, this is Paradise.

God Almighty, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. (Montage of Planetary Images, Wiki Commons)

Out of the depth of their Tri-Personal Love, this one single act of God in saving humanity from his sinful state through His Son (2nd Ascent, Redemption), and keeping humans sanctified through His Spirit (1st Ascent, Freedom), has resulted in a singular obvious outcome and consolation: any person, regardless of race, nationality, language, ethnicity, belief, culture, can now be made a divine child of God. It is a spiritual birth to a newborn spiritual life in Christ that’s inaugurated through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. This sanctified life is continuously manifested by the power of God through the Spirit. The Bible speaks of it in terms of the new birth. (John 3:5-8)

Hence, we read John’s revelation, “See what great Love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). The New Covenant states, “I’ll be their God, they’ll be My people” (Heb.8:10). In other words, humanity has now become God’s very Offspring. Through the Spirit’s power to sanctify humanity, and Jesus’ role as mankind’s eternal High Priest and Mediator, humans are made His holy children. Paul said this, “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).

In this ascent our thoughts ought to dwell squarely upon these words of truth about human salvation: “But God demonstrated His Love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8). In other words, a person who is lost does not know he or she is lost unless and until someone points out the person’s aimless and wasteful state of existence. Until such time the lost “knows” his lostness and emptiness, he remains lost still. In the same way, a deceived person does not know his/her deception until the awareness of deception dawns upon him/her. Albert Einstein, the famed mathematician and physicist, and Nobel Prize winner, said, “No Problem Can be Solved From the Same Level of Consciousness That Created It.” You can say that is the present human dilemma, but for God’s immeasurable Love. Only God’s Love, which He utters in His Covenant can save humanity.

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Albert Einstein said, “No Problem Can be Solved From the Same Level of Consciousness That Created It” (Wiki Commons)

Humanity was of no benefit to God in any way. He could have lived well without mankind, instead of being burdened by human weakness and sinfulness. God could have lived well in His Tri-Personal Being as He had from eternity. Our input would not have made a speck of difference, except for His Love for mankind. That was all there was, it was all about His Love over and over again and nothing more or less. And so His Love for humanity flows unabated. It has nothing to do with you, me, or any other human, no matter how substantial a person may think he or she is – you and I were totally deceived and we never had the slightest clue of our lost state of existence. In our deceived state we could never lift a finger to save ourselves, not until we are ‘undeceived.’ God overlooked our ignorance and now calls each and every human being to understand that he or she is eternally Loved, and our Father has set His heart to free us. (Act.17:30) Paul admonishes us, “Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work He began…We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom.13:11, MSG, BSB).

The Bible speaks of Jesus’ appearance on earth in this way, “The people living in darkness (spiritually lost and incarcerated as slaves) have seen a great light (Jesus); and on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light (free and joyful) has dawned.” (Matt.4:16; Isa. 9:2) Light enters in and removes the scales of deception and made to see what was, up to now, unseen and unknowable. If our heavenly Father had not stepped forward, in spite of us, we would have remained helpless and lost forever. But our heavenly Father Loves us beyond what we can ever imagine, and sees our potential to become His eternal offspring. But the greater aspect of God’s Love is yet to come in its manifestation of His Covenant with humanity in the fourth ascent.

Essence of Relationship: Our human response with the Father in the 3rd Ascent is to accept and receive His magnificent grace through His Covenant of Love with the heartfelt thankfulness it deserves. His Love is expressed in His desire to make humans His divine Offspring. And we are invited to accept His Fatherhood because He has ratified the Covenant in the blood of His Son which gives passage to our birth in His Spirit to become His eternal children. We are to believe, trust, and receive our adoption as His Offspring in faith. Paul give us this truly inspiring passage from the Book of Romans, “And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us (immortal life)” (Rom.8:23). Yes, Our Father gives humanity the ultimate gift of becoming immortal humans like Jesus His Son. (Rom.8:29) We have so much to be grateful for that there are no words in any language that is capable of expressing them.   

Fourth Ascent: The Manifestation – Humanity The 4th Ascent is about the manifestation of the New Covenant in the lives of humans, and reveals the relationship of humans with the Triune God. This relationship is expressed in the preceding three ascents, which shows how each Person of the Triune God is directly involved with every human person.

We saw that humans have been made God’s immortal Offspring by the Father in the third ascent. No one can become an offspring of God if the person has not been given a new birth from the fallen self in Adam, and reborn the risen self in Christ, under the auspices of the New Covenant, ratified by His life that was sacrificed upon Calvary. We saw this beautiful picture explained in the meaning of baptism. (Rom.6:3-4) It means the person is now always sanctified in the Spirit through Jesus’ eternal mediation as High Priest in heaven. Jesus is sitting next to His Father performing His Loving mediatory role so we can remain God’s divine offspring. And arising out of humanity’s sanctified condition, we see the most beautiful expression of the Covenant: the ultimate design by and desire of the Father to give humanity as the affianced bride of His Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, the ultimate meaning of the New Covenant is that it is a Marriage Covenant between Jesus as bridegroom, and humanity as His bride. There is no more beautiful picture of the marriage union that the whole universe waits eagerly to witness.

Jesus Appeared as A Great Light to The People. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12) (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Paul said that the human marriage between a man and woman is really a pretext and appeal couched in the mystery of the marriage between Jesus and humanity (Church). Paul said that in a marriage “a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh. This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church” (Eph.5:31-32, MSG). Jesus’ Love for humanity (Church) is marked by giving, not getting. Paul goes on, “Christ Loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant Church (bride), without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless… We are members of His Body, I am talking about Christ and the Church (humanity)” (Eph.5:26-27, 30, 32).  

There are two things to remember, the New Covenant, in its present form, shows that humanity is betrothed to marry Christ. Then, when Jesus’ returns, the Covenant will be consummated in the marriage between Christ and His Bride the Church or all humanity. (Rev.19:6-8) This will take place when immortality will have been bestowed upon humanity in the resurrection. Paul said, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Cor.15:50-53). In a future post I will write about the three-ascent process about immortality. For now, we understand the New Covenant in our human form to be at the betrothal stage where mankind is in the process of preparing herself in the engagement period until the marriage takes place.

Jesus tells us this about God and His future marriage, “God’s kingdom is like a King who threw a wedding banquet for His Son” (Matt.22:2, MSG). Jesus alludes to this marriage scenario in a parable saying, He was going away and would return. (Mar.13:32-37) In this passage, humanity is told to be “watchful,” or be alert and of a sound mind and prepare for His return. He warned that some can get caught in their lack of preparation. (Matt.25:1-13)

In the Book of Revelation, we read this account of the great universal wedding, “Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder: Hallelujah! The Master reigns, our God, the Sovereign-Strong! Let us celebrate, let us rejoice, let us give Him the glory! The Marriage of the Lamb has come; his Wife has made herself ready. She was given a bridal gown of bright and shining linen. The linen is the righteousness of the saints. The Angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.’” He added, “These are the true words of God!”” (Rev.19:6-9, underscored for emphasis). Here, we see mankind has made herself ready and given the most beautiful gleaming white gown for the wedding of the universe.

Then we read about the wedding gift the Father prepared for His Son and His Bride. John wrote, “One of the seven angels…said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Rev.21:9-11). The New Jerusalem is described by John with such glowing manner as other-worldly, “The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass” (Rev.21:15-21). Yes, the wedding gift is the greatest eternal city of Jerusalem coming down from heaven down upon earth.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared… And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev.21:1-2). (Wiki Commons)

So here we see the marvelously beautiful destiny for mankind in God’s realm and Kingdom. This is the true “Eden,” His eternal Kingdom, God had in mind when He first created mankind and placed Adam and Eve in His Garden. A loud thundering voice came from God’s throne in heaven which said, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev.21:3-4). What a magnificent and breathtaking everlasting future to look forward to: to spend all of eternity with our Loving Father, our Elder Brother Jesus, and our dearest Friend Herald the Spirit, with all humanity. What a glorious future humanity has to look forward in hope to an existence of being eternally fused into and unified in the one Family of God!

Essence of Relationship: Our task today in the manifestation phase (4th Ascent) is to respond with a thankful heart to our our Loving Father, His Son, and His Spirit. We respond in Loving relationship by returning their Love through the 3 Ascents we covered above. Briefly, the 1st Ascent shows our relationship with the Spirit, where we see how He initiates the New Covenant promise by delivering humanity from the many evil forces where humanity have been held captives. He leads us to Jesus, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The 2nd Ascent reveals how a person receives Jesus’ sacrifice that was shed upon Calvary’s cross to deliver mankind from the sin-condition, thus, opening the way for the Spirit to come and sanctify human life, and ratify the New Covenant by God’s authority. (John 3:16). Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (sin)” (Gal.5:1). The 3rd Ascent shows how we respond with heartfelt thankfulness to our heavenly Father for His Covenant of Love with humanity. His Love is expressed in His desire to make humans His divine immortalized Offspring by surrendering His only Son, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bible informs us, “See how very much our Father Loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1, NLT). Then, we live in the much anticipated hope of the great, transcendent, universal wedding banquet the Father has prepared for His Son and His Bride (humanity). Yes, there is so much to be thankful about as we respond in profound gratefulness to our Heavenly Father.

Friends, thank you for investing your precious time with me today. I hope that in your heart of heart you can hold out and receive Jesus, and be part of a gloriously amazing future for humanity. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the Triune Love. 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. It’s foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because it is the nature of God. 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 relationship with humans. The three-dimensional life is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life in in humanity’s fallen self that was inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion.

Love is both a noun and a verb. We are called to Love because we were created in God’s Love-likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) It means as children of God we live the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as they live and walk in their inward, outward, and upward functions in humans. 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, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092

+Herald: The Name I personally call the Spirit in my relationship with Him.

**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 outlets. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

"Bula" Man-River
Book Cover

Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise. Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information. Thank you.

FREEDOM…LIVING FREE DAY-BY-DAY, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings once again Friends around the world!

In my last post, I started a new series where I proposed sharing a topic from the Bible that is relevant to our human spiritual life, and frame it within the ‘Triune Life three-step format.’ I called these three steps: “ascents,” with each step dove-tailing into the next step and spontaneously expressing its manifestation. As I explained, I coined the term “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, as opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life in himself/herself in the fallen self that is inherited from Adam’s rebellion. Humans were created to personify God’s Triune Love-life, which includes His divine freedom. (Gen.1:26-27; 2 Cor.13:14; Gal.5:1) Man was made to be a free “triune being” in Christ, the second Adam, in place of the “solitary being” from fallen Adam exploited and manipulated by Satan. (1 Cor.15:22, 45) You may read the footnote below, titled, “Triune Life” for detail explanation of the term.

Statue of Liberty, Symbol of Freedom. New York. (Wiki Commons)

In this post, I will discuss the topic of Freedom. Why freedom? Because freedom is the flip side of the divine nature of God’s Love. Last month, we saw the topic of God’s divine Love. If you have not read it, you may access that post at: http://bulamanriver.net/16467. Love and freedom are two aspects of the same nature of God. In other words, you cannot have Love without freedom, nor freedom without Love. One cannot be forced to Love someone or something. But Love is genuine when given freely without coercion.

Where did the human free-will (freedom) originate from? The source of freedom is God’s Tri-Personal Being. Humans were created in God’s likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) The three Persons of the Trinity are three distinct and free Persons in the Godhead. The Triune Godhead consist of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Triune God freely chose to create the vast universe, including this wondrously beautiful earth, and placed humans upon it as the pinnacle of His creation. When all is said and done, it is the testimony of Scripture which undergird our confession of the Trinity: You may read Matthew 28:18-20Jude1:20-212 Corinthians 13:14Ephesians 4:4-6Matthew 3:16-17John 14:16-17Romans 14:17-181 Peter 1:1-22 Corinthians 1:21-22Luke 3:21-22.) They are three free Persons who freely Love One Another and mankind. They are not three Gods, but One God. They consist in their one substance of Love. In their Love they are free yet undivided in One Substance and Godhead.

So, human freedom is based upon the divine freedom of the three unique Persons of the Trinitarian Godhead. If you wish to read the “Athanasian Creed” concerning the Trinity, you may go to: https://carm.org/athanasian-creed-500-ad.

Each human being is a unique and free personality created in God’s Triune likeness. Humans were created in the image of the Creator, thereby predestined to live in the likeness of the divine Love and freedom and as one united humanity. Thus, in order for humans to live as one united humanity as the Tri-Personal Godhead, humans are called to live with and within the divine life of God – I call this the “Triune Life.”* It is a life of collaborative union and oneness where humans are never left to themselves, they are never alone from God, for He promises never to leave humanity. (Heb.13:5; Deut.31:8)    

purple Freedom lighted freestanding letters on brown surface
Every Human Is Born A Free Spirit From The Creator

Every human ever born possesses his/her divinely conferred gift and personality from which the person’s freedom is founded. It begins with the gift of Jesus as Savior, and the gift of the Holy Spirit who is the personification of God’s Love. (John 3:16; Rom.5:5) The Bible tells us this about Jesus and human gifts, “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him (Jesus)” (Col.2:3). In other words, it is through Christ that God reveals the knowledge about human gifts and personalities. How so, and why Jesus? Because He is the second Person of the Godhead who came and took our humanity upon Himself (Immanuel-Isa.7:14), died to save mankind from rebellion and the sin-condition of Satan, and was resurrected and ascended to heaven into His High Priestly role today. If each of our gifts originate in the divine will, then it would be correct to conclude that they are all part of the tapestry of God’s Love fused together as free-standing persons modeled after the image of the Triune God. Gifts and talent from Christ are manifested in us through the Spirit’s power in Humans. (1 Cor.3:16; Act.2:38) The Bible says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them…each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor.12:4,7).

Every form of expression of human life is intended to manifest the divine gift conferred by the Creator in each person at birth. So, whenever we express our own unique gift, that is the expression of divine freedom in God’s Love. In other words, we will remain in bondage until we discover who we are in our gifts and express them in life in relationships with the Creator God first, and then with our fellow humans “for the common good.” (Mark 12:30-31) Since Adam’s fall, Satan has cast a great web of deception upon humanity. It is his attempt to keep humans blind to their personal gifts, and especially the gifts of His Son and His Spirit. So, freedom is expressed and lived through a person’s gifting influenced and motivated by the divine Love “for the common good” of humanity. (1 Cor.12:4, 7)

Human Freedom Originate From Divine Freedom in the Tri-Personal Godhead (Wiki Commons)

From the beginning, humans were given the “dominion mandate” or rulership over God’s creation by exercising their gifts under the motivation of God’s Love. (Gen.1:26, ESV; 1 John 4:8) Adam and Eve were given to “dress and take care” of their home, Eden, and by extension the whole earth. Lamentably, they surrendered the earth’s dominion to the enemy by rebelling against God when they submitted themselves to the devil’s evil schemes. (Gen.2:15; 3:1-6) Since Adam’s fall, humanity have used the dominion mandate to exercise fear, greed, self-love and narcissism, corruption and sin, and became human-domineering predators, under the influence of Satan. But thank God, for He freely gave us the second Adam, Jesus His Son, who defeated Satan and restored the rightful heirdom of this earth to Jesus and humanity. (1 Cor.15:45; Rev.11:15; 19:6, 16; Dan.7:14, 27)

Jesus called His disciples and admonished them, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord (dominate) it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt.20:25-28). Before Jesus was taken to be crucified, He washed the disciples’ feet demonstrating humility (Love/service) over superiority (dominion/malevolence). (John 13:3-5) Even though He was their Lord, Jesus stooped down and washed the feet of His disciples.

Man, Silhouette, Pear, Light, Idea, Igniting, Invention
Ideas Set Them Apart from Creation
Grayscale Photography of Boy Playing Violin
Human Talent and…

Because each person is created with unique gifts, humans are not a subservient species. Through unique gifts, humans became creators in God’s image, unlike the animal kingdom and other species which behave predictably because they are led by their fixed inherent instincts. Think about all that mankind has done through the creative geniuses of people. We see their impact upon humanity, especially since the industrial revolution and beyond. Technology, health advances and various sciences, engineering marvels, jet flights, space exploration, etc. Humans use their God-given minds to exercise their divinely conferred rulership through their gifts over creation. Knowledge seems to have exploded in all direction of human endeavors. Thereby, humans resent domination of any form because it suppresses the free expression of gifts through creativity of the human mind. Human freedom and gifts are mutually dependent. Later, we’ll see how God brings us all together into a united humanity under the Spirit’s power.

Dominion was given to humans over all creation with the exception of other humans, don’t forget that. In other words, humans exercise Love with their fellow humans, not a domineering spirit. God never commands a person to exercise dominion over another human, except to Love one another. Whenever and wherever humans dominate other humans for their own ends, they are betraying their divine purpose for human existence – to Love. Paul told the Romans, “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to Love one another. If you Love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law” (Rom.13:8). That ought to be apparent enough that the ‘dominion mandate’ never included another human. Only God has the prerogative to rule man for humans were created in His image. The life of every human and every creature is in His hands. And God inherently and inevitably rules in Love, for “God is Love.” (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8; Act.17:28)

Yes, we are to be helpers of one another in the exercise of each of our unique gifts in a Loving way, where “the good of all” is always uppermost in our minds. Jesus commanded His disciples, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: “Love each other. Just as I have Loved you, you should Love each other” (John 13:34, NLT). Paul said, “So encourage each other and build each other up (in their gifts), just as you are already doing” (1 Thes.5:11, italics mine, NLT). Together with our fellow humans, we are given equal dominion over creation under the auspices of Jesus’ overall divine authority, and Love. (Matt.28:18-20; 1 John 4:8, 16) Yes, similarly with all creation, humans are to exercise the ‘dominion mandate’ with Love.

The three ascents which leads to Freedom are: Victory, Bondage, and Faith. Freedom is the fourth ascent which manifests itself spontaneously within humanity from the preceding three ascents. You may recall from my previous post, that the first ascent always reveal the relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is God’s inward act of Love for humanity. The second ascent is the relationship with Jesus, and reveals the Father’s outward act of Love for mankind. And the third is the relationship with God the Father, which is the upward act of Love where He brings humanity in relationship with Him as our eternal Father. So, each ascent dovetails into the next and spontaneously manifests the fourth ascent in humans, in this case: freedom. Let us begin with the first ascent.

First Ascent: Victory – Holy Spirit. What is victory? What has it to do with freedom? Recall, this ascent is always about the human relationship with the Spirit. What has victory to do with the human relationship with God through the Holy Spirit? Victory means that life, with all its human responses in whatever circumstance, are working together for the single purpose of living victoriously with success and joy fulfilling the person’s divine destiny in Christ through the Spirit’s power. (Rom.8:28; 5:5) We have established that freedom is about a person living out his/her gift freely. Only then, the person is made to live victoriously as a free-standing person in this first ascent.

So, it is obvious that victory and freedom are realities that are in sync with each other. That is to say, there can be no freedom without victory, neither can there be victory without freedom. But first, the Spirit must be made to come and make the victorious life a reality in humans. Humans can make their own ‘victory,’ but they will always be found hollow and wanting. You see, human history is littered with people who have fought for causes under the pretext of freedom, but they fail at experiencing victory for it is not true freedom.

Some have served humanity ‘good’ and others have felled by the way. There have been notable ones which can be considered to be divinely-inspired. Much has been based upon human rights (freedom), like the universal declaration of human rights that was sanctioned by the United Nations. Before that was the Magna Carta, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Emancipation Proclamation which paved the way for African-American freedom from slavery in America. There are non-governmental organizations focusing upon subsequent human rights issues, like racial discrimination, women’s rights, the environment, torture and genocide, etc. There’s the International Labor Organization (ILO) which oversees treatises protecting workers around the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is dedicated to universal health and the control and spread of epidemics. In biblical history, we remember the exodus of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt.

These and others have brought the end to much human misery  and suffering and brought about human freedom to a large measure. Then there are many, many others. But the underlying question will always be, are they promoting the essence of true freedom that liberates humanity and bring victory? Many causes have been found wanting and have amounted to naught and fallen by the wayside. Why, because they could not stand the test of time and human experiment, and most of all, God’s Spirit of freedom based upon His Love.

"Victory" spelled by men in training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Ill. Committee on Public Inform - NARA - 530723.tif
1st Ascent – Victory, Role of The Spirit with Humanity (Pic: Wiki Commons)

The very existence of gifts unique to each human personality, ought to illicit personal responsibility to use the gift to enhance freedom, not only for the self, but for others. Remember the true test of freedom we read earlier, it must be “for the common good,” or, “for the good of all” (1 Cor.12:4, 7) Freedom is not for the good of the few, but for all! Only then, can victory be truly liberating. No human knows the answer to the cause of true freedom that can be accepted by every human except God Himself. It must be the freedom that liberates humanity as a whole. How does God know the answer to this human dilemma? Because He has lived that way of life in His Tri-Personal Being from eternity, and desires to share His freedom with humans. It is for this very purpose that humanity was brought into being: to live like God does in His free and unified Trinitarian Love-Being. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8, 16) When He conferred gifts in each human, He also knew how human talents all identify with and fuse together into one another to form a united Loving humanity. (1 Pet.2:5, NLT; 1 Cor.3:9) Human gifts find their source from God’s unified Triune Being, so it’s obvious only He knows how to bring humans into one common united humanity. (Eph.2:19-22)

How does God make the victorious life happen in your life and mine so we can experience the freedom from God that is real and tangible, and most of all, that will never fail God and humanity? This victorious life must start on a personal level first before we can make a difference in those we come into contact with on a daily basis. Hence, in this victory ascent the relationship with the Holy Spirit must irrefutably be the first human goal. In the human relationship with the Spirit, He must come and make His home in the person’s life. This is the first step. For He alone is the One who empowers humans to live in genuine freedom and experience the victorious life in Christ. Paul said this about human relationship with the Spirit, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16). Becoming temples for the Holy Spirit is the vital first step to experiencing true victory as God desired the gift of freedom to be given to humanity. Paul said further, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). So, the Spirit is the power of God’s Love who unifies humanity.

In the history of ancient Israel, the temple building with all its associated rituals and activities was central to the national life of the nation. Yet, for all that Israel was given and taught concerning the temple, beginning with its establishment under Moses’ hand in the wilderness after Israel was freed from Egyptian slavery, the temple was immensely more than just regulations and rituals. The temple was intended to teach humanity this vital connection between that physical temple and the true temple God desired – the spiritual temple (life) of human beings, individually and collectively. Subsequently, Solomon built a permanent structure in Jerusalem which will remain the most impressive edifice in Israel’s history. But God makes it abundantly clear, “This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken! I show special favor to the humble and contrite, who respect what I have to say” (Isa.66:1-2). (You may read more about the Human Temple at http://bulamanriver.net/10700 )

1st Ascent: Role of The Spirit-Sanctify Humans For A Life of Victory

All along God was presenting a picture of the true temple made of people who are penitent and responsive to His Words. In the temple plans God was revealing the true spiritual temple of humanity – both individually and collectively. Collectively, humanity is called the Church. Jesus said this to Peter, the first human leader of the New Testament Church, “I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this Rock (Jesus) I will build my church (temple), and the gates of hell (death) will not prevail against it” (Matt.16:18, NHEB, emphasis mine).

Later, the apostle Peter revealed this beautiful truth about humanity and the Church, “And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple” (1 Pet.2:5, NLT; 1 Cor.3:9). The apostle Paul says this, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit” (Eph.2:19-22). Through the indwelling Spirit in humans, Paul affirms, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). The Spirit brings power, meaning, purpose, and divine destiny into the human life. The ultimate human destiny is to become part of the temple of God where He takes up residence with humanity for all eternity. (To read more on the Temple of God, go to my post at: http://bulamanriver.net/11230)

But first things first, how can the Spirit can be made to come and turn human life into a temple for God’s dwelling, and bring the victorious life? The Bible gives this truth about God’s ardent desire to give humans the gift of the Spirit, “So I say to you: Keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you, because everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened. So, if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking him!”(Luk.11:9-10, 13, NASB) I want to emphasize God’s desire to give His Spirit to those who ask Him by giving this fuller version of the passage, “If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in Love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask Him?” (Luk.11:10-13, MSG). God waits eagerly upon every human to respond to His Fatherly call.

When the original Church was founded on the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter gave humans God’s process by which the Holy Spirit is given to enter human life, “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). This is what humans do in order to receive the gift of the Spirit who brings freedom and defeat all forms of bondage in Christ. The process stated above requires the input of Jesus, which takes us to the second ascent.

Second Ascent: Bondage – Jesus Christ. The second ascent is always about the human relationship with Jesus. The Spirit cannot enter humanity and bring the victorious life, without Jesus role as Savior who introduces the victorious life by defeating Satan and freeing humanity from the bondage of sin. What is bondage and what has it to do with Jesus? The connection with Jesus has to do with freedom, the subject of this post. Paul said this about freedom, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be encumbered once more by a yoke of slavery (bondage)” (Gal.5:1, italics mine). Yes, when it comes to humans, true freedom comes when their lives are founded upon the rock of Christ Himself. (Matt.16:18) Where there is all forms of bondage, especially to the sin-condition of rebellion, there is no freedom.

John tells us, “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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18). With the freedom Jesus brings, humans are no longer held in bondage to rebellion and sin. Then He makes way for the Spirit to enter human existence, saying, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7) That promise was fulfilled on the feast of Pentecost around AD 33. In God’s eyes, the ultimate form of bondage is rebellion. Satan’s rebellion is the sin-condition which generates sin in humans. Just as Satan is the personification of rebellion in humans, so Jesus is the Personification of freedom through God’s grace that saves humans from the sin-condition. (Rom.6:14)

2nd Ascent – Role of Jesus to Free Humanity From Bondage to Sin (Pic: Wiki Commons)
Martinique, Le Prêcheur, Hands, Freedom
Freed From Bondage to Sin Through Jesus

Rebellion is the first universal sin that started with Satan, God’s adversary. (Isa.14:12-15) Then, rebellion was passed to humanity through Adam and Eve at the hands of the devil. Our first parents ate the forbidden fruit through the devil’s temptation, cunning, and evil plot to destroy humanity. (Gen.3:1-6) Rebellion is the ultimate curse the devil has foisted upon humanity to keep humans in bondage and blind to the freedom to the glorious destiny God has in store for humanity. But God’s purpose for humanity will stand and cannot fail, for God’s voice is heard across eternity, “To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?” says the Holy One” (Isa.40:25). He assures humanity, “The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.” (Isa.14:24; 46:10).  

Though the enemy will not thwart God’s plan for humanity, he does not let up on his evil work of rebellion through deception and evil. How does the devil attempts to keep humanity in bondage? If we know the devil’s devices on how he keeps people in bondage, then we can search for answers to counter them and live in freedom and victory. The answers can be found in the temptations of Jesus Christ by the devil in the Judean wilderness. (Matt.4:1-11) Let us see what area of life the devil tempts humans and cause them to sin, and keep them in bondage. Paul said that as believers who are led by the Spirit, we ought not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices, saying, “Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” ( 2 Cor.2:11) The question is, are we familiar with the devil’s devices? (You may read more about Jesus defeating Satan’s temptations in my post at http://bulamanriver.net/11339 ).

People are all different through the gifts God has conferred upon them. We refer to these differences as personalities or one’s personhood. The devil has been making it his business to deceive humanity and knows us better than we know ourselves. So, he tailors his evil craft to suit our different personalities. So, we must understand ourselves first, before we can come to know his devices. The enemy has this whole world under his deception. (2 Cor.4:4) His deception is so far-reaching that it would be wise for people to question their own inclinations that has now become part of their psyche as a person. People have been unknowingly molded according to the pattern of this world, its philosophy, and way of life. Things like concepts, beliefs, ideas, causes, theories, and so forth ought to be questioned when compared with the true values of God.

People can say they are “free” with their brand of freedom, but the fruits of their actions says otherwise, and they are still held in bondage. Jesus said, “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (Matt.7:20, NLT). He said, “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit” (Matt.7:18, NLT). Surprisingly, the devil has been studying us for a long time, and he knows what makes us tick, so to speak, and so adapts his temptations accordingly. Hence, it is so vital we take Jesus’ charge seriously about undergoing a rebirth into God’s Spirit so we can crucify the old person who was reared in the rebellious spirit of the enemy, and accepting the new personhood in Christ as the Spirit empowers us. (1 John 5:18-19) Jesus set the example for humanity when He was baptized and given the Spirit in the Jordan River. This is the freedom God desires to give humanity. And through His Son, Jesus, He is accomplishing His plans to save His human children.

There are four areas of life the enemy tempts humans to sin. And each of us must assess our strengths and weaknesses in these areas. How did we come to know about these four areas? Because Satan tempted Jesus in these very areas of human life. Hence, we have come to the knowledge of the enemy’s plan of attack through Jesus’ temptations. Did the devil succeed? No, he failed. Jesus, the second Adam, overcame Satan where the first Adam failed in his temptation in Eden. (Matt.4:1-11; Gen.3:1-6; ) Jesus also gave humans His plan on how to mount our offense and defeat the enemy. Humanity has been kept deceived about Satan’s wiles and evil intent, so most humans are kept unaware of these four areas humanity is kept in bondage, albeit unknowingly, to his way of rebellion against God. Therefore, through Jesus He enlightens us about Satan and his way of keeping the world in his web of deception and rebellion. But God has provided the answer through His Son. As Paul said, “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” (1 Cor.15:22).

What this passage means is, we cannot defeat the devil in our own strength, but we certainly can be victorious through Christ’s Personal knowledge and power in us. In other words, we can live triumphantly in freedom not because we can, but because Jesus has gone on before us and defeated the devil for us, once for all. And the reason Jesus continues to bring this victory in us is because He did not remain a Savior dead on His cross, but He is alive and powerful today for He was resurrected from the dead, ascended to His Father in heaven, and continues His saving work today in His High Priestly role of interceding for mankind, and come and live in us Personally in the Spirit’s power and defeat Satan all over again as He did when He walked this earth over two thousand years ago. There is no other way to defeat the devil except vicariously through Jesus’ victorious life.

Recall how Jesus defeated the devil in His temptations. He was baptized in the Jordan, and the Spirit of power came upon Him from the Father, and only then, He confronted and defeated Satan. (Matt.3:13-17; 4:1-11) Jesus was setting the example for humans to follow and do the same in each of our personal strategy to overcome the devil’s temptation. This is a spiritual conflict, not a physical one. We are going to face this opposition every day of our lives with the evil enemy of God and humanity. We will require the spiritual means and spiritual weapons if humans are ever going to succeed. Remember, freedom is never free, it always carries a price in personal sacrifice. (Rom.12:1-2)

Here are the four areas of life Satan tempted Jesus which reveals the tactics used by the devil to defeat God’s plans and hold mankind in bondage through his devious temptations:

  1. True Knowledge vs False Knowledge
  2. Independence vs Inter-Dependence
  3. Worldliness vs Love-liness
  4. Power and Influence vs
macro photography of footprint
2 Independence
pathway in the middle of piled books
1 Knowledge
U.S. dollar banknote collection
3 Worldliness
adult lion on grass field
4 Power & Influence

Later, in the fourth step or the manifestation ascent, we will see Jesus’ strategy for defeating every one of the devil’s evil schemes. These temptations are actually four spiritual addictions humans are robustly fixated on, from which people find it impossible to free themselves. They are vice-like addictions much like people who are hooked on illicit narcotics such as cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and other hard drugs. Through the drug’s paralyzing grip, humans are involuntarily driven to pursue false realities where they are trapped and held in bondage to the spirit of rebellion in the devil’s world.

The addiction of false knowledge; the addiction of the world’s false promises; the addiction of the world’s allure and drive; the addiction of the world’s power and influence. Only Jesus can free humanity out of this false realities and bring them into the Spirit’s authentic freedom in God’s Love-reality. (Gal.5:1)

But before we can embark on this battle for freedom in the fourth ascent, we need something that is going to be indispensable for our ultimate victory. Yes, we require the new birth in the Spirit following Jesus’ example in the Jordan before He faced the devil. (Matt.3:13-17) This is the first and most important strategy of all in Jesus’ blueprint to defeat the enemy and the four addictive temptations. We already saw how the Spirit is made to come and indwell human believers in the first ascent called Victory. As a reminder, I repeat Peter’s words, “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). Receiving the Spirit’s power is a vital weapon for facing the enemy, then there is another powerful arsenal which only the Father gives humans to defeat these addictions that have a vice-like grip upon us. Now, we have come to the Father’s function in the third ascent to receive a vital ingredient which the Father alone gives humans. Let us proceed to the third ascent.

Ascent Three: Faith – God The Father. The third ascent always depict for us the human Loving relationship with the Father. In the Father’s function He gives us that vital ingredient called Faith! If the Father gives something, then it is considered a gift. The gift is nothing less than…wait for it… the Personal Faith of Jesus. Humans cannot defeat the devil’s addictive temptations with mere human faith. It has to take the saving Personal Faith of Jesus. So, we now have two equipment in our arsenal – The Spirit’s victorious power, and the Personal faith of Jesus. Paul said this to the Romans, “Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe” (Rom.3:22, AKJ, italics mine; also Gal.2:20; Eph.2:4-8). The faith of Jesus possesses the power to breakaway from this world’s addictions.

3rd Ascent: Role of the Father-Provide the Personal “Faith of Jesus”

What is faith anyway? Faith is the expression of two realities: the spiritual awareness of the environment in which we confront the enemy, and second Jesus’ Personal faith is a weapon used to fight and defeat the enemy. As a matter of our spiritual environment, the Bible states, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). In other words, faith makes the spiritual realm we cannot see nor sense physically come real so we can see the enemy and his evil ploys with spiritual eyes. Paul said, “For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor.4:18, HCS). 

Faith helps us to see the unseen enemy so we can launch our defensive and offensive maneuvers against the devil’s addictive spiritual drugs (temptations). As a weapon, faith is used in conflicts with the devil in the spiritual realm we can now see with our spiritual eyes. It is the weapon of choice Jesus used to defeat Satan in his drug-like addictive temptations. If we cannot see the enemy, then we cannot start much less embark on a battle to defeat his schemes and be victorious. Faith gives us the eyes to see and given the will to fight. Faith can be utilized for many other purposes other than as a weapon. It can be used as an instrument for God’s grace in accordance with the divine will, such as Love, healing, and blessings.

Keep in mind, the four drug-like addictive way of life (temptations) which humans will face from the devil will take place in the spiritual realm. It does not happen in the physical world that is detectable with the five human senses, although we sense the effects of the conflict because the enemy is waging war against humans, and we suffer physically from his attacks. The Bible warns us, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet.5:8). Whatever pain and negative effects that happens to humans in the physical realm is the end-result and aftermath of the spiritual conflict happening behind the scenes.

We ought to be thankful God limits Satan’s work of destruction, or humanity would have been wiped out before now. We know this divine intervention is true from the example of Job’s life and his encounter with the devil, where God limits the enemy’s powers over Job and thereby over humans. (Job 1, esp. V.12) So, whatever the enemy does has to have God’s authority and according to His divine will and sanction. Listen to God’s promise about the temptations humans encounter, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Cor.10:13, NLT). So, be encouraged, God never leaves us to fight on our own, but is always by our side.

So, we are facing a spiritual enemy, in an equally spiritual battle, not a physical one. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, not physical weapons. Physical weaponry cannot defeat the devil who is an unseen fallen angel, nor his addictive temptations. However, we sense them because they assault our physical well-being. Satan tries to inflict pain and suffering to tempt humanity to follow him. Although there may be relief, it is not permanent but short-lived, where we continue to suffer in his cycle of evil. His ultimate goal is total demise of humanity. We see the evidence in the world’s suffering, pain, and death today. Christians don’t use guns, warheads, missiles, and other material weaponry to fight a spiritual enemy. But the devil will tempt humans to use these weapons upon themselves. 

It is vital to point out a distinction in terms of the word, faith. The term, “faith of Jesus,” is different from the oft-quoted term, “faith in Jesus.” The preposition “of” indicates Jesus’ personal faith, whereas, the preposition “in” shows the exercise of the person’s human faith in someone or something. One is spiritual and holds God’s power, while the other is human and powerless in the spiritual realm.

Jesus’ Living Faith” Cures the Sick (Pic: Wiki Commons)

There is another vital distinction in this subject of faith. The fact that the faith of Jesus is a gift from the Father should tell us that humans were not born with Jesus’ saving faith. By asking for the Son’s faith in our relationship with the Father in the third ascent, it makes it obvious that Jesus’ faith is an external substance that’s given as a gift to enter human life. It enters human life through the indwelling of Jesus’ Person in the Spirit’s power. (John 16:13-14) Mankind was born with human faith, but not Jesus’ saving faith. Jesus faith is personified in humanity through the power of the Spirit (Ascent 1) who indwells human believers. Jesus said this about the Spirit, “He (Spirit) will glorify Me, for He will take what is mine (in this case Jesus’ faith) and declare it to you” (John 16:14, italics mine). Ordinarily, human faith is restricted to the physical world through the human fives senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. Humans exercise their gifts through the human faith, however, the faith of Jesus lifts us to a higher level of consciousness. Paul said, “For we walk by (Jesus’) faith, not by sight (human faith)” (2 Cor.5:7, italics mine).

We may have heard people say, “I will believe it (have faith) when I see it” – that is an example of human faith that’s limited by the sense of sight. The human faith is incapable of believing in the existence of the spiritual realm, much less know about the invisible devil and his devious and evil craft. However, ignorance is no excuse, neither will it spare anyone from the devil’s work of keeping humanity in bondage through his deceptive temptations. Hence, through the absence of true faith, the whole world is held in bondage through deceit. The faith of Jesus liberates humans and brings freedom, through knowledge of the spiritual realm, and through the act of fighting for our freedoms.

To give an example, Jesus said that people “may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.” (Mar.4:12) That’s to say, something unseen is happening behind the scenes we cannot see with our human faith through human sight and hearing. Seeing with the human eye is not enough, for it is the spiritual sight that gives us the true meaning of all that’s happening behind the scenes which we cannot see physically. So it is with our hearing, without the spiritual ear we will not fully understand all there is to know. Paul said, “For what is seen is temporary (present at this moment), but what is unseen is eternal (the bigger picture)” (2 Cor.4:18, italics mine).

Jesus’ faith is the primary weapon that can do the job of liberating humans from Satan’s evil clutches. And the role of the Father is to give His Son’s faith as a free gift to all who ask Him. Listen to Paul’s words, “For it is by His (Father’s) grace that we have been saved through faith, and this faith was not from you, but it is the gift of God” (Eph.2:8, AB). Note the passage says two things, first, faith is a gift (grace) from God the Father, and second, humans were not born with it (“this faith is not from you”).

Paul likens Jesus’ faith to the shield which protects humans from the temptations (“flaming arrows”) of the devil. (Eph.6:16) A shield is an armor used for defensive purpose. Then Paul says the Spirit fights for us by using our sword. (Eph.6:17) The sword is actually the Word of God the Spirit uses as an offensive weapon. The Word of God is both literal and Personified. Jesus is the Personified Word of God, and the Bible is the literal Word of God. (Rev.19:13; John 1:1) Paul further gives us the full armory God gives humans to prepare for spiritual battle with the devil. (Eph.6:10-18) Paul speaks of the environment in which humans exist and see through the spiritual eyes today, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God” (Eph.6:12-13). Yes, humans have a spiritual realm in which they exist, often times without realizing its reality.

I would like to point to an important distinction concerning the human faith and Jesus’ faith. As inadequate as our human faith is in spiritual matters, it is still relevant because God’s work of salvation in humanity cannot be done without human participation. Through God’s Tri-Personal nature, He reveals Himself to be a participatory God of Love. That’s how He desires to work with humans He made in His image – a participatory life in His Triune Love. And so, we use our limited human faith to believe and trust in the spiritually all-powerful faith of Jesus to change us in ways the human faith can ever imagine or ever do. This is what Paul makes clear in this passage from 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, emphasis mine)

So, there are two faiths, both working together and complimenting each other. Be that as it may, we must cognizant of which faith carries the real power to defeat the enemy’s evil plans. Many don’t know the existence of both faiths, and much less how to use them. You can’t have one without the other. People can and usually believe Jesus with the human faith alone, even unbelievers. But ultimately, they will find that human faith alone is incapacitated in situations requiring deeper spiritual experience like facing the devil’s works of deception in the addictive temptations which requires the faith of Jesus.

Many people ‘believe’ in the existence of Jesus only as a great teacher who went about doing good, and nothing more. Jesus is not for mere intellectual inquiry through the human faith, but for a far deeper spiritual infusion of His living, powerful, and saving faith which introduces the Creator God’s purpose into a higher level of human consciousness. Sadly, too many Christians today are trying to fight this spiritual struggle with mere human faith alone, which is an impossible task. So, they live powerless lives, and wonder. Yes, the Bible tells us this, “For the Kingdom of God is not in word (intellect/human faith only) but in power” (1 Cor.4:20, italics mine). God’s power comes to humans through Jesus’ faith. The Bible states, “It is impossible to please God without faith (both human and Jesus’ faith). Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe (with Jesus’ faith) that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Heb.11:6, NLT, italics mine). We now enter the fourth human ascent…

Ascent Four: Manifestation – Freedom, Humanity. Manifestation means the application of freedom in the life of humans. People pursue various interests, education, vocation, and experiences with the goal of attaining freedom in the way they think fit. (Pro.14:12) But the fruits of their actions doesn’t vindicate their cause for freedom, instead in many cases they fall into deeper bondage. True freedom is related to and connected with a person’s inherent gift conferred upon him/her at birth by God. (Psa.139:13) If gifts are different with each human being, as indeed they are, then freedom is exhibited in myriads of forms and expressions. But with all the innumerable gifts, what holds mankind as one united humanity is God’s Love. All of humanity’s gifts ultimately form into the tapestry of God’s Love, for all gifts reflect God Himself. This is the same way with the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit. They consist in one substance and reality in their Love for one another. Hence, the Bible states, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). God is not made of Love, for He is the uncreated God who has lived eternally without a beginning nor end in His one substance of Love and freedom. However, we will discuss the topic of gifting in another post.

Human Mind-Seat of Divine Freedom
person molding vase
Freedom-Divine Birthright Expressed Through Human Gifts (Wiki Commons)

Freedom comes from the divine source because mankind was created in God’s likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) By virtue of God’s Triune nature all humans are entitled by birth to live free without oppression, much less intimidation. Freedom is a basic human right because God the Creator is the personification of Freedom and Love.

The fourth ascent always depicts the free-flowing divine relationship of humanity with the Triune Godhead through the three preceding ascents which now manifests freedom in humans in the fourth ascent. This is manifested individually in the matter of living out the larger Freedom which binds us as one humanity with God in His divine Love day in and day out. Freedom is the flip side of God’s nature of Love. Armed with Jesus’ Faith from the Father (3rd Ascent), and living free from the bondage of sin in Jesus’ saving work (2nd Ascent), and experiencing the victorious life in the Spirit’s power (1st Ascent), we are given to tackle each of the four areas of the devil’s temptations so freedom is protected and championed in human life.

We must always be cognizant of the fact that we still live in Satan’s world that is dominated and camouflaged by the sin-condition. (Rom.8:2) And as we said earlier that freedom is never free, but comes with a price in personal sacrifices in our battle against the common enemy of the devil and his evil devices to keep humanity in bondage . (Rom.12:1-2) These four addictive temptations show us how freedom must be constantly fought for and upheld. Freedom is never neglected but maintained, never abandoned but defended. We are called upon to sacrifice, and never give up our freedom in Christ. (1 Cor.16:13; Gal.5:1) Paul said this about sacrifice, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom.12:1-2). Yes, the outcome of living with such a mindset will bring nothing but God’s freedom, grace, and blessing.

This sacrificial way of life comes as a natural outcome of living in such a world of conflict with the unseen enemy – it comes with the territory, as the expression goes. In Jesus’ final prayer to the Father before He was taken to be crucified, He prayed for the disciples and all who will become His followers, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:15-16). God wants us to remain in the world and be His witnesses in defeating our common enemy in the devil himself. Recall the four areas Satan holds humans in his spiritual addictive bondage: knowledge, independence, worldliness, and power and influence. Recall what these temptations are likened with, they are the hard spiritual drugs Satan has humanity hallucinated and numbed. Let’s begin…

1 Knowledge: the Addiction of False Knowledge. The first place to begin with freedom is knowledge. It means to know about the enemy we are facing who seeks to destroy us and all humanity through empty knowledge. This is the most powerful spiritual drug since knowledge controls the mind and is the basis for human decision-making. Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and military strategist of the 6th century, said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” So, the first and primary tactic of warfare is to “know thine enemy, and know thyself.” The enemy seeks to concoct confusion with his false knowledge from which he creates false realities. Paul says the same, “Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Cor.2:11). We have covered the point about knowing ourselves when we entered the first and second ascents in the human relationship with Jesus and the Spirit, concerning being saved in Jesus, repentance and the new birth in the Spirit. Now, let us get to know about the enemy and his evil plan.

pathway in the middle of piled books
True Knowledge & False Knowledge – Which?

Secondly, knowledge is what distinguishes one person from another. Knowledge is about understanding the gift or talent each person was born with. It identifies the person through the way he/she lives out his/her life through that gift. Based upon a person’s gift, he/she develops a core knowledge and know-how at enhancing and sharpening one’s gift and talent. Many view and seek freedom in various ways, but the most powerful and satisfying form of freedom God wants humans to have is where a person is living a life that is significant and self-fulfilling in every way, with the distinct gift which identifies him/her as a personality, and a destiny to be a child of the living God. God has created us for freedom, as Paul told the Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal.5:1). God is free, and desires nothing less for His human children. The flip side of His nature is Love. This is the knowledge that satisfies, and the only one that frees.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil, knowledge was presented to Him in the form of sustenance, in this case, as ‘bread.’ (Matt.4:1-4) Bread sustains us physically, as knowledge does intellectually and spiritually. Jesus had just fasted for forty days and was physically famished. Jesus fasted for spiritual enrichment and strength from God through the Spirit who came upon Him in His baptism in the Jordan, before entering the wilderness of Judea to face the devil in the temptations.

pathway in the middle of piled books
Knowledge Synonymous with Bread and Sustenance
Bread Synonymous With Knowledge (Pic: Wiki Commons)

In Jesus first temptation, Satan said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Satan knew Jesus had the power to change stones into bread and satisfy His physical hunger and bring relief to His famished body due to His extended fast. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matt.4;4).

In other words, Jesus was saying in essence, “Man does not live by human knowledge alone, but by the knowledge of God’s Word.” Bread is symbolic, and regarded as the “staff of life” in Jesus’ day, much like human knowledge and education is the “staff of life” today. A staff means a rod, a scepter, which identifies a person’s profession and role in life. It is a prop that holds the person up so he/she does not fall to the ground. In ancient times, ‘bread’ is the metaphor for work which sustains a person and his family, just as knowledge and education has the same meaning today.

By tempting Jesus to turn stone into bread, Satan symbolically reveals his evil craft to deceive humans into receiving his false and evil knowledge in place of God’s true knowledge. The devil’s knowledge does not satisfy, for it is actually stone and not bread. Hence, Jesus answered that humans shall live by true knowledge from God (“every word that comes from the mouth of God”). Here, we see Jesus words come to reality where a person “may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.” (Mar.4:12). It is about perceiving the reality behind the scenes. Jesus was not blind to what Satan was actually trying to do. This is what Paul says about the ability of the devil to present evil as good, and good as evil, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor.11:14, NLT; Isa.5:20). Yes, Satan presents himself as light to mankind, but in truth he is the depth of darkness.

On the other hand, Jesus said this, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” ((John 8:12). The Spirit is the One who manifest Christ in us and brings true light through true spiritual knowledge. (John 16:14) The “the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God” which represents the true knowledge we utilize to decipher the enemy’s ploy and defeat his cunning. The “Word of God” is Jesus Christ. (John 1 :1, 14; Rev.19:13 ) We must never abandon but imbibe upon the Spirit’s guidance and follow His lead for our daily spiritual sustenance and well-being. (Eph.6:17)

Jesus said “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. I am the bread that came down from heaven. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty” (John 6: 33, 35, 41). That “bread” is the Word of God, Jesus. He brings understanding to God’s Word that is the sword the Spirit uses against the enemy. The Spirit’s role is to sanctify humans by infusing them with the right spiritual knowledge and mindset (sustenance) to know the enemy and how he does his work of deception. Yes, the knowledge about the Word of God for each of us is given the spiritual sword given to the Spirit to fight with and for us. To each person the Word of God is applied relative to the gift in him/her.

Jesus was hungry for God’s Word. Millions upon millions of people today still have lives where they are led by human knowledge alone, never knowing about, let alone seek God’s knowledge for them. We educate ourselves and give our children the best education in human knowledge, but overlook the most basic knowledge about God and His purpose for humanity. It is not wrong to pursue a good education, remember, Jesus said “not by bread alone,” to mean human knowledge is fine, but we also require the all-important spiritual knowledge from God which takes a person to a higher level of consciousness and make the person whole. Of what good is human ingenuity if there is no spiritual knowledge to direct our lives for “the good of all.”

Paul gives us God’s purpose in the knowledge of our gifts and talents, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor.12:4-7). So, we know that gifts (knowledge) are conferred by divine prerogative. The Bible states, “This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer and the One who formed you in the womb: ‘I am the LORD, who has made everything, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth” (Isa.44:24: Psa.139:13-14). So, we see that gifts and its development through human knowledge, are given for one purpose: “for the common good” (1 Cor.12:7). Or, as others may say, “For the good of all.” What turns a gift so it’s used “for the good of all” is the foundational knowledge from God.

So, the first step to freedom is about acquiring the knowledge of the true God. It is about giving yourself to God and letting His Word, the Bible, be the foundational knowledge that guides every other knowledge, especially knowledge through your work by which human gift is manifested in life. The most basic knowledge the Bible teaches is to give your life and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. This calls for repentance and change in your past life, and making the commitment to follow God’s way of Love and His principles of living. By receiving Jesus, the Father gives you the gift of His Spirit to live with you and guide and protect you. (Act.2:38) Listen to the words of the Bible concerning your agreement to receive Jesus, “And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him” (Eph.1:13-14; also 1 Cor. 2:9-10). Yes, the ultimate goal of the Father is to bring humanity to immortality, that is the human “inheritance He promised.”

Yes, we look to God our Father and His Son who promote the knowledge of His Love and true life, even immortality. Paul speaks of this life when He wrote to Timothy, “Treasuring up for themselves a firm foundation for the future (Godly knowledge), so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Tim.6:19). But not so with Satan, he promotes his knowledge of evil, hatred, and death. The Bible says, “There is a path before each person that seems right (Satanic knowledge), but it ends in death” (Prov.16:16:25, 14:12).

2 Independence vs Reliance: the Addiction of False Assurance /Promises. Human life can be said to exist in two widely accepted truths, you can live it independently on your own, or you can live it inter-dependently with others. One is solitary and reclusive, while the other is interpersonal and collaborative. God is not a solitary Being, He is the trinitarian, Tri-Personal God who exist in one substance of Love in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. As a believer, we follow the way of life of reliance through inter-dependence, not independence. He gave us the human family to teach us how to live inter-dependently with others, and transposes to the larger family of our communities. This the second ingredient about the freedom we are given as humans created in God’s likeness.

Independence
foot prints on brown sands
Inter-Dependence

In the second temptation, we read, “The devil led Him (Jesus) to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You carefully; they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Luk.4:9-12). The devil quoted one of God’s promise to provide security and safety. Ironic isn’t it, that Satan knows about God’s promises than most humans for whom these promises were given.

God has made many promises (right knowledge) in His Word, the Bible, that are given for mankind’s welfare, happiness, and future hope and destiny. Many are unaware of the many, many positive promises God has laid out for humanity in His Word. The one above quoted by the devil is one of them, and is related to human safety and security through angelic intervention. This is where inter-dependence with our heavenly Father is critical through His promises. God’s promises was His way of expressing His desire to live inter-dependently with humans. When we accept Jesus as personal Savior, God brings His promises online (so to speak) so you and I can live inter-dependently with Him by calling upon His promises. Do we know and rely upon them as a way of life? I ask that question because it reveals the second way to live with freedom through our Loving Father’s promises. Of course the devil, like he did with Jesus, have nothing to offer but will tempt us to be self-destructive. But just as Jesus cast him off with the sword of the Spirit by quoting God’s Word of Power – His Promises, so must we.

I have a site you can visit to start you on your journey to get to know and build a foundation with God’s many promises. Or, you can visit a good Christian bookstore and find a helpful book on the subject. Here is the site: http://scripturepromises.com/. Also, you may go to my post, titled, “Standing on the Promises,” to learn more. Click the following link: http://bulamanriver.net/15209

Jesus Walks With and In Humans In Spirit in An Inter-Dependent Life With All God’s Promises as the Backbone to Human Existence. (Pic: Wiki Commons)

The Scriptures tell us about God’s many promises so humans can purposefully and intentionally turn to Him in time of need and want. The Bible states, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Pet.1:3-4; also 2 Cor.1:20). Yes, His promises are precious indeed, and they show how much He Loves and cares for humanity, and desires above all to live inter-dependently with us. I would like to share my own encounter about experiencing God’s promise of security and safety which I shared with my readers, which you may read at: http://bulamanriver.net/2634. God’s promises form the backbone of our defense against Satan’s temptations.

So, freedom starts with the foundation of the divine knowledge for human purpose, and dovetails into the second point about knowledge of His promises which God gave for security from the enemy, and miracles and blessings from our heavenly Father. Here we called upon to trust His Word, and most of all, His Promises. And Satan will test our faith in God’s promises as He did with Jesus.  

3 Worldliness: the Addiction of the World’s Allure. In the third temptation, the Bibles records, “Again, the devil took Him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said. (Matt.4:8) In this section there are two obvious temptations which fall into the third and fourth temptation. The first part quoted above relates to worldliness, or as the passage states, “the world and their splendor.” The second part relate to power and influence which we will discuss under the fourth temptation.

The third temptation is one where the devil has subdued most of humanity in deception and held bondage. This is where humans are most vulnerable and the enemy knows this well. Because human weakness shows itself most conspicuously in the temptation of worldliness, obviously, this is where our awareness and defense require most attention. The statement “the world and its splendor” speak of the spirit of worldliness. Worldliness can be viewed as a cocoon the devil has encircled this world in systemic deception through materialism. Worldliness is a term which tells us of the devil’s total deception over mankind through a way of life steeped in materialistic pursuits. Worldliness is a philosophy of life that is guided ultimately by the worship of the self above everything else. It is operated by the fuel of excessive behavior of greed, exploitation of people, coveting what does not belong to you, self-loving and narcissistic, vain and egotistical. This openly uncovers and display the very spirit of rebellion – Satan’s original sin. (Isa.14:12-15) Paul speaks of what this spirit makes humans become, “People are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people” (2 Tim.3:5, MSG). Worldliness drains the power of God’s Love in humanity because it is fueled by pride and self-centeredness. Only God’s knowledge and promises saves us from such a dysfunctional and self-sabotaging life.

Worldliness/Materialism (Pic: Wiki Commons)

All these behaviors can be traced back to the way Jesus defines worldliness. He puts it across in the context of what humans treasure most in life. He said a person can devote his/her life to stock-piling treasures on earth, or to store treasures in heaven. Jesus said, “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars” (Matt.6:19-21) The behaviors Paul speaks about above relates to the people who dedicate their earthly life to storing treasures upon earth, with no faith in God or the treasures God promises for the faithful. Paul said, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor.2:9, BSB)

With God’s treasures safely in store in heaven for humanity, He calls upon all to extricate and free themselves from such a world where they are held hostage and in bondage to Satan, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers (worldliness).” Jesus said unbelievers “fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion.” He goes on, “There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds” (Matt.6:25-26, MSG). He continues on, “Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you?” (Matt.6:28-31, MSG) Then He finishes with these words, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously (through your gift), and He will give you everything you need. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt.6:33-34, italics mine).

God calls upon each person to “Come out from them and be separate. For what fellowship can light have with darkness? Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to Me.” (2 Cor.6:14,17-18). To be God’s children requires we come out of Satan’s prison of worldliness, and enter into the freedom of God’s world where His Love is a way of life. We ought to be self-reflective and ask, am I remotely if not overtly materialistic in my attitude towards life? Jesus told His disciples, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luk.12:15).

God is free in His Tri-Personal Being, so are we who belong to God’s world – His eternal Kingdom where people live in freedom. There is nothing wrong with having material possessions which are not worshiped as idols. As the Scriptures states, “He will give you everything you need” (Matt.6:33). There is a basic principle by which God blesses His children materially. It comes within the scope and ambit of the person’s gift, not outside of it. Or, as the Bible puts it across, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously (through your divine-conferred gift), and He will give you everything you need” (Matt.6:33, italics mine).

There are two very potent weaponry against the deception of worldliness God gives humans. The first is a defensive armor – our shield, or, the personal faith of Jesus, as we saw earlier. This reality comes through the manifestation of Jesus in humans by the Spirit’s power. (John 16:14, ESV) Paul was inspired to say, “Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires” (Rom.13:14). You can read more about Jesus’ faith at: http://bulamanriver.net/8382

The second weapon is the sword of God’s Word. The Spirit uses God’s Word as sword to defeat the enemy. Paul said, “Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Eph.6:17; Heb.4:12). Yes, the Word of God gives us the understanding of the enemy’s heart and intent, and the use of God’s Word of Power to be victorious – that is why it is a sharp two-edged sword.

Jesus showed us how to use our sword. In each temptation Jesus encountered with Satan, He defeated him using God’s sword – God’s Word. He quotes God’s Word in every one of His defense, saying, “It is written…” (Matt.4:4, 7, 10). God’s Word is the only way we are given to defeat the enemy. God’s powerful Word is our spiritual sword. There is no other way. God’s Word is the expression of His power and grace. In the beginning, God spoke and His creation came into existence. (Gen.1 & 2) This is a spiritual battle, and spiritual weapons are utilized to gain victory. Paul said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full spiritual armor of God” (Eph.6:12-13).

Paul mentions the other armor we have for the battle like the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, and our feet fitted with the gospel of peace. (Eph.6:13-17) These are ancillary but nonetheless indispensable armament we require to defeat the enemy. We are covering only two armor today – the shield and sword.

4 Worldly Power and Influence: the Drug of worldly power. In the fourth temptation Satan “Showed Him (Jesus) all the kingdoms of the world… I will give it all to You, if You will kneel down and worship me” (Matt.4:8-9). By tempting Jesus with the words, “I will give it all to You, if You will kneel down and worship me” Satan was offering Jesus his world with all its power and influence. The devious devil wanted Jesus to bow to him and not to God, to forsake His Father. Satan failed, for Jesus replied, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.'” (Matt.4:10, CEV). Yes, Jesus again used the sword of the Spirit, the Scriptures, and the shield of His divine faith to trust God’s Word and promises.

adult lion on grass field
Power & Influence

Matthew Henry, is his commentary, said this, “The glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon.” So much so, people can become drunk with power, whether it is in politics, in military domination, in business empires, in family legacies, in many human talents like music and athletic prowess, satanism and mystical affiliations, the accumulation of money and possessions, in personal dreams and projects, etc. When power is idolized, be it personal or shared, then Satan is the one who is worshiped. Christ rejected this proposal with abhorrence and declared, “Away from Me, Satan!”

The Scriptures tells us plainly the truth about power, “Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God” (Psa.62:11, NASB). The Bible explains how this divine power can be made to inhabit human life. Jesus said, “All authority (power) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matt.28:18). The divine power of God is channeled to mankind only through Jesus, the Personified Word of God. Jesus took our humanity unto Himself as Immanuel and glorified it in the Triune Godhead of the Father, Son, and Spirit, through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Thus, God and man become one in Christ. The power Satan exercises in this fallen world is given under God’s suffrage until His divine purpose is completed. (Rom.13:1-2John 19:11) Satan was allowed to create a worldly system that’s based on lies and deception, beginning with Adam, from which he has created pseudo and artificial power bases which has no basis in reality to God’s sovereign power by which He creates and sustains the universe and all in it, both in the spiritual and physical realms.

Humanly speaking, all of creation from which power proceeds, ultimately originates with God, not the devil. God alone is uncreated and has existed eternally in His divine power. The enemy was a holy angel and fell through his rebellion was part of the created order and possesses no power to create nor is given free hand to do with humanity as he pleases, or else we would have been destroyed long ago. As we saw, his power is given under constraint and under proviso. In other words, God limits all his evil intents and actions for His own divine purpose for humanity. If Satan’s power is artificial and temporary, why do people invest their lives in something that’s fabricated and based upon lies and deception? Jesus asked, “What profit will a person have if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life (soul)?” (Mar.8:36, ISV). Yes, that is the end-result – it’s nothing more than a smokescreen, a mirage and empty pipe dream which has no power in reality, and anyone who bets his life on it will most certainly lose out.

The “whole world” means the devil’s world. Though worldly power may seem real and tantalizing in the physical sense, we are reminded by Jesus’ guidance to keep our eyes on the reality of the true power behind the scenes. The servant of Elisha, the prophet of God, was afraid of the approaching army set on destroying Israel. He was given to see the true power behind the scenes when Elisha asked God to give the servant a vision to see the armies of God standing ready to do battle against the seeming mighty enemy of Israel. He said, “Don’t be afraid. We have more forces on our side than they have on theirs. And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 King 6:15-17, GWT).

Aerial View Of City Buildings At Night
Jesus Was Given a Vision to See The Kingdoms of This World Ruled by Satan

Consider the various world-ruling empires that have existed upon this earth and have eventually disappeared for one reason or other. These were world-dominant empires like Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Rome, the Mongol Empire, the Russian Empire; the Spanish and British empires, and others. History has taught us about the Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, the Ceasers, Genghis Khan, the Czars, the rulers of many Royal dynasties, etc. Why? Because it is power that exist in a vacuum (world) controlled by Satan. This applies to all kinds of power bases, not just political. By contrast, God says this about His own Kingdom, “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever” (Dan.2:44) An angel appeared to Mary and revealed Jesus as the King in God’s Kingdom, “You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.” (Luk.1:31-33; Matt.3:2).

Why not invest your life in the real thing, in true power? Why not invest in God’s world – the Kingdom of God in which Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords. (Rev.19:16) To lose your true self in Christ to a power that cannot stand the test of time and reality (eternity) is nothing short of absurd and ludicrous. It ought not to be worthy of our consideration. It is a shameful proposition to even consider losing your divine destiny as a person made in the Creator’s image for a hollow promise for a power that is equally impotent.

Here is a promise of God’s power He gives to support and defend us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa.41:10, ESV). Here’s another similar promise, “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me, declares the LORD” (Isa. 54:17). We saw the promise about angelic protection which Satan quoted to Jesus,  “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psa.91:11). Here’s an all-important one from Jesus Himself, “For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:40).

Yes, God gives us power, but it is all about vindicating His purpose in each of us where He is making humanity into a temple of Love for His dwelling with mankind into eternity. (Eph.2:19-22; 1 Cor.3:16) It usually starts small – overcoming the bondage in the false-self inherited from Adam’s fallen humanity, and living the reborn true-self (Christ’s new glorified humanity) in the Spirit’s power, through the framework where life is lived overcoming the four temptations of the enemy. (Col.3:10) It is the expression of a Love relationship with our God, His Son, Jesus, and the Spirit, in the preceding three ascents. When we will have grown to genuinely live the “Triune Life,”* His power will manifest itself in our lives. For divine power proceeds forth from no other place but His Trinitarian Godhead. When we find our place in His Triune Being, we will receive gifts with divine power in the Spirit to carry out His divine will for us in our faith walk with Jesus.

The Scriptures utters God’s promise for those who wait upon Him, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor.2:9). Yes, it is beyond what our limited human mind can fathom, but in a restrained way, much like squinting in a fog and peering through a mist as Eugene Peterson states aptly, we are made to understand for the Spirit reveals to us the hidden things of God, “These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor.2:9-10, ESV). This is the miraculous life believers are privileged to live supernaturally in the Spirit.

Jesus Defeating the Devil in the Temptations, “The Devil left Him, and immediately Angels came and began to serve Him” (Matt.4:11) (Wiki Commons)

The enemy’s role is to promote his lies and deceptions and create schism and division in our Love relationship with the Triune God, and if possible, to totally sever this Love relationsip altogether. And these are four of his main arsenals with which he attacks us, and if possible, destroy our Love relationship with God our Father, His Son, Jesus, and our Friend, His Spirit. But Satan will not succeed because God’s plan to create mankind in His Triune image and likeness will never be thwarted. God created man to Love God above all else,  and secondarily to Love his neighbor as he Loves himself. (Mar.12:29-31) Jesus said “there is no greater commandment than these” two, therefore, all of creation is merely the vehicle and means by which to accomplish that singular end. Everything in the created universe was never intended to be taken as end in themselves much less worshiped and idolized. That divine end is very simply to fulfill our purpose as humans living life in God’s likeness and image of Love, for the Scriptures says, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8,16).

All the temptations we will confront will come under one of these four sub-headings which encompass all the nuances of life’s expression in one form or another. As we saw, they are the spiritual hard drugs Satan has concocted for human consumption. We are not perfect by any means, but that’s just the point – the temptations are intended to expose our spiritual flaws and weaknesses which the devil had ingrained in humans before coming to Christ. If we follow Jesus’ example, instead of the enemy exploiting our vulnerabilities, we will turn the table on the devil by metamorphosizing his temptations from negatives into positives in the Spirit’s power. Thus, we see these experiences as a framework by which we are being conformed to Jesus’ likeness as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. (Rom.8:28-30) As we read from Peter’s passage, “this is a spiritual process” (1 Pet.4:12-13, The Message).

White Mortar and Pestle
The Four Temptations Are Spiritual Hard Drugs Concocted By The Devil and Foistered Upon Humanity

We will have successful lives on earth and ultimately becoming glorified humans following Jesus’ example who introduced immortality to humanity through His resurrection. (Rom.8:29; Col.1:18; John 6:47; 1 Cor.15:50-53) The vital point is that we are experiencing maturing repentant lives in the Spirit, so that Christ our High Priest is ceaselessly mediating for our salvation in His temple in heaven and here on earth in the human temple of humanity that’s empowered by the Spirit to live the “Triune Life”* experiencing the divine Freedom as we relate with the Tri-Personal Being of God in the three ascents and its manifestation we discussed in this post. (You may read my post about Jesus, “Born for His High Priestly Role” at: http://bulamanriver.net/11230).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

 Kiang P. Lee (Your Servant In Christ)                                                                                                      

* Triune Life: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. It’s foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because it is the nature of God. Love is both a noun and a verb. We are called Love because we live by Love as God’s own children. It means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means as children of God we live the 3-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself under the influence of the devil. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?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 from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book outlets. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

"Bula" Man-River by [Lee, Kiang P.]
Book Cover

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All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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LIVING GOD’S LOVE DAY-BY-DAY, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings Friends. In previous posts, I have written about the “Triune Life.*” I have coined the term to mean simply a human being who lives by and in the three-dimensional spiritual life of the Triune Godhead, as opposite from the one-dimensional solitary life of a person in his/her fallen self from Adam. You may read the footnote below under “Triune Life” at the end of this post to get a fuller explanation of the term. What I am proposing to do in this post, and future posts, is pick on a topic that is relevant to the human spiritual life and expound it from the perspective of the “Triune Life.”* Humanity was created to reflect God’s divine Tri-Personal image, hence, the term, “Triune Life.”* (Gen.1:26-27)

Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity. Living The “Triune Life” (Wiki Commons)

Let us begin with the most basic subject of LOVE! Why Love? Because the Bible states, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). Love is God’s nature. Love is the substance of which He is composed. Love is God’s inherent reality. Humans were created to live by and in His image to reflect Him in His Love through His Tri-Personal Being in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26-27; Matt.28:19) God did not create Adam a rebellious being. Adam acquired rebellion from someone apart from God. Be that as it may, because humanity was created in God’s Love-image, the underlying image of God’s Love can never be eradicated, but lies dormant deep in the heart of humans as their very essence of being, waiting to be awakened from the dark cloud of deception, rebellion, and sin.

Each topic I will write about will follow the “Triune Life” format, starting with Love. The format follows three steps revealing the three-dimensional aspect of how the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit, are 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!

Heart, Flags, Countries, United, Unity
LOVE – The Spirit Nature and Substance The Triune Godhead Exist In (pixabay)

The three ascents spontaneously leads to the manifestation of the divine Love! The ascents reveals three doors one must enter to attain the manifestation – Love! The ascents are not to be misconstrued as some ‘secret knowledge’ or mystical activity, no. Rather, each ascent represent the relationship a human has and 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”*.

The three ascents which leads to Love are: rebellion, deliverance, and rest. These ascents represent the movement of God’s Love in an inward, outward, and upward, trajectory. The fourth step is the divine Triune Love being manifested in the life of humanity. I will expound each ascent and how they lead to Love.

First Ascent – Rebellion: The first ascent of Rebellion reveals the energy that is opposite from Love. So, we see two conflicting energies: Love and rebellion. (Gal.5:16-17) Why is this, what does the two opposing energies teach us? This first ascent is intended to remind and teach us that before embarking on this journey of Love, we must first understand who we are and where we came from. We cannot understand our road to Love without the knowledge of our past. Our past shapes our future. It has been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The important point about this first ascent is it reveals a person’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, because He is the personification of the divine Love, the opposing energy of rebellion, in humans. Paul informs us masterfully how the Love of God is made to manifest in the life of humans, “For we know how dearly God Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love” (Rom.5:5, NLT).

This is the inward act of God’s Love upon humanity. Why the Holy Spirit? Because in the Person of the Spirit is the manifest power of God’s Love in humans – the reverse of the spirit of rebellion. He (Spirit) enters the human life to replace the evil spirit of rebellion which causes humans to commit sin and bring on all the negative consequences leading to suffering, unhappiness, pain, loss, and ultimately death. We read in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, “We know how dearly God Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love” (Rom.5:5). Yes, by filling humans with God’s Love, the Spirit empowers humans with Love to defeat rebellion and sin.

This first step calls for an answer to the obvious question, how did rebellion first invaded and entered and became part of the human character and psyche? For one thing is clear, when God first created humans He made us in His Love-image. (Gen.1:26-27) God did not create humans to rebel and sin, but to Love and goodness. Yet, Paul said, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23). The “Glory of God” means the source and sum of all that He is in nature and substance by which He has eternally existed in Love. If God created humans in the likeness of His Love, how did sin and rebellion became an intrinsic part of mankind? The Bible points us to the answer, “You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death” (Rom.5:12, MSG).

Rebellion, sin, and death became part of mankind’s lot through Adam’s fall at the hands of the devil. (Gen.3:1-12) Paul gives us the ultimate punishment for rebellion and sin, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). Here, we see God’s Love for mankind is to save humanity from sin and death and bless humans with immortality. The path to Love ultimately leads humans to God’s gift of immortality. (John 3:16)

Through Christ’s Death the Holy Spirit and The Divine Love Enters Humanity

Adam had succumbed to the wiles and deception of the devil’s temptation in the Garden of Eden and rebelled against God by eating the forbidden fruit. (Gen.3:1-6, 11, 23) So, rebellion and sin began with Adam and Eve, our first parents, and came upon all humanity. (Rom.5:12) Later, Jesus the second Adam, who came from God, entered our humanity and defeated the devil in His own temptation and through His cross rescued humanity from sin and rebellion. Thus, He opened the way to receive the Holy Spirit and the divine Love. (Matt.4:1-17; 1 Cor.15:45; John 16:7; Rom.5:17, 5) This first ascent of rebellion is really the ascent showing how Love defeats rebellion for it reveals the human relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Second Ascent – Deliverance: The second obvious question is, what must humanity do in order to change this self-evident truth about human rebellion, and how can the Holy Spirit (Love) be made to come and enter the human life and remove this evil curse? (2 Tim.1:7; Rom.5:5) The answer brings us to the second ascent of Deliverance! This second step reveals the human relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us continue with Paul’s words to the Romans we read earlier, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith” (Rom.3:23-25).

God gave His Son Jesus to become human, defeat Satan in His temptation and die on His cross as the perfect human sacrifice to atone for human sin and rebellion. (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:21) This is the outward act of God’s Love to humanity. (John 3:16-17) Jesus was resurrected from the dead, ascended to the Father and became our eternal High Priest, where He forever mediates for sinners before the Father. (Mark 9:31; Act.1:9-11; Heb.2:17)

On that memorable Pentecost day in Jerusalem, the Spirit was poured upon humanity as Jesus promised. (Act.2:1-12; John 16:7-11). Peter stood before the people and gave the means by which the Spirit (Love) of God is made to enter human life and defeat rebellion and sin, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (rebellion). And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38, italics mine).

Yes, it requires personal change through an act of acknowledgement that we harbor the spirit of rebellion and sin by receiving Jesus as personal Savior, and be given the divine Spirit of God’s Love in exchange for the curse of the rebellious spirit. Jesus explained the scriptures as it relates to human deliverance to His followers, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk.24:45-46).

What exactly does deliverance through repentance mean? Jesus explained it this way, “You must be born again” (John 3:5-7). If Jesus speaks of a rebirth, then death must precede it first, for He said this when He foretold His own death, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over” (John 12:22-24). Jesus was foretelling His own death and resurrection, portraying what a believer must undergo – to die first, spiritually speaking, before he /she can be reborn or resurrected to a new spiritual life in the Spirit. Paul expounds this further when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ (death) and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (rebirth). The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, italics mine). Paul further said to the Colossians about the new life in Christ, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives” (Col.3:16).

What Paul says is Jesus came for the purpose of dying for human sin and rebellion and then be resurrected so we too can die and be reborn spiritually through God’s Spirit. (John 3:5-7) Yes, God the Father surrendered His Son, and through His life, death, resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven, He (the Father) imputed all that His Son had done to save us from rebellion and sin and experience the spiritual death (cross) where humans are reborn (resurrection) in God’s Love nature in the Spirit through Christ. Paul attest to this act of attributing Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension for human salvation, saying, “For He (God the Father) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor.5:21). The three-step act of the Tri-Personal God attests to their eternal Love for humanity by imputing their Love upon sinful humanity and making us God’s children who reflect Him in the likeness of His Love.

Too often people erroneously stress the legalistic provision of obedience to the law as the definition of repentance and change. They forget that the law has no power to remove the spirit of rebellion. Instead, the law was given to define what sin and rebellion is, so the law is the power of sin which condemns, but it is powerless to save us from its consequences. (Rom.3:20; 4:15; Gal.2:16) Only the Holy Spirit or Love has the power to defeat rebellion. (Rom.5:5; Tit.3:6; 1 Cor.6:11) There is nothing wrong with the law, but we must understand it cannot save us, no matter how much we try to obey it. (Rom.7:9-12)

Only through Love, the antithesis of rebellion, can sin and rebellion be overcome. This takes place when a person dies and is given a new birth in the Spirit or God’s Love. (John 3:7-8; Rom.5:5) We don’t “obey” the law, we Love God and through Love the law is powerless over us. Hence, we read the inspiring words of Paul, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to Love one another, for whoever Loves others has fulfilled the law” (Rom.13:8). When we Love God, Loving “obedience” comes as a natural outgrowth of the “Triune Life” relationship. Peter said, “Love each other deeply, because Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet.4:8). In other words, any person who is controlled by Love is above the law (sin), and those who are led by fear and rebellion live under and condemned by the law.

Humans are given the power to Love God and his fellow humans in the Spirit’s Love through Christ’s mediation. Human relationship with God is made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit (Love), not the law. The only power the law holds is to condemn humans whenever the laws are broken. (Rom.4:15; 6:14; 7:1-13) The law is not bad, but good. (Rom.7:12) The Bible says that “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Obedience to the law has become a loaded term that’s presented by religion who demand obedience through a legalistic life. But we are not called to have a relationship with the law, we are called to have a one-on-one relationship with God through His Son. The law is legalistic and impersonal, Jesus is personable who exudes Love with whom humans can develop a person-to-person relationship. Jesus saves through the Spirit (Love), the law condemns.

Human believers are under God’s grace in Christ, not the law which condemns. The Bible states, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Paul taught the Roman Christians, “For sin (breaking of the law) shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom.6:14, italics mine). God’s grace is manifested in the presence of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:12-15) Sin is actually a condition. The sin-condition is called rebellion. God’s grace is a condition. That grace-condition is called Jesus and Love (Holy Spirit). (Rom.5:5) Too often, we mistakenly look at our lives through the legalistic lens of the laws and commandments instead of the condition which saves us through the Holy Spirit in Christ. (To read more on this topic of the Love-condition vs the sin-condition, you may go to: http://bulamanriver.net/13942)

Laws Define What Is Sin & Rebellion (Pic: Wiki Commons)

The Holy Spirit’s role is to enter and take up residence in a person’s life for the purpose of empowering him/her with the power of God’s Love to defeat the curse of sin and rebellion. (1 Cor.3:16; Rom.8:9) The human becomes God’s very temple. But the Spirit cannot indwell a person as long as rebellion and sin is very much part of a person’s nature which was inherited from the devil through Adam. (Rom.5:12) God’s temple is holy and sanctified for His purpose. We will recall the reason and cause for the Holy Spirit’s separation from humans in the first place. It happened in Eden after Adam and Eve rebelled and ate the forbidden fruit.

This is how the Bible records the event. After they ate the forbidden fruit, God asked them, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Gen.3:11). Adam’s answer was typical of humans when crushed by guilt, he played the blame game. (Gen.3:12-13) Then the Bible records how the relationship between God and humanity was severed, “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life” (Gen.3:23-24). Here, the “Tree of Life” represents the Holy Spirit. By placing a powerful angel with sword to guard the way to the “Tree of Life,” it showed plainly how man separated himself from God.

Recall, our first parents were able to eat from all the trees in the Garden except one. God told our first parents, “And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Gen.2:16-17). As long as Adam and Eve ate the fruits from the “Tree of Life” (Holy Spirit) which they had been consuming until the day of their fall, they had divine life and Love in them which gave them the stature and capacity to relate with the holy God. Without the Spirit’s power and Love they were “naked” spiritually and could not appear before nor relate with God. (Gen.3:7)

The tree of good and evil was not an evil or sinful tree. It was Adam’s rebellion and disobedience that was sin. God taught our first parents what is right and wrong symbolically from the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The thirst for knowledge continues unabated. Humanity’s sin is it continues to take upon themselves the prerogative to decide what is good and what is evil without regard for God and Love. We have heard that knowledge is power, but what humanity needs is something greater than knowledge – wisdom! Knowledge is powerless without wisdom (Love). Divine wisdom gives humans the insight how to use knowledge properly (Lovingly). The word wisdom (חכם) is mentioned 222 times in the Hebrew Bible. (Pro.4:6-7) It was regarded as one of the highest virtues. Instead, since the fall of Adam and Eve, humanity has continued to feed from the knowledge of the tree of good and evil, but without the wisdom how to use it appropriately. This activity signified that humanity have taken upon themselves the prerogative to decide what is good and evil, without regard for divine revelation.

In other words, instead of relying upon God who is the final arbiter of good and evil, humanity has lived a life of rebellion against God by usurping the role of arbiter which belongs in the divine will and realm. Hence, mankind continues to live in spiritual nakedness before the Creator for deciding to do what he/she thinks is right or wrong in his/her own eyes. (Prov.16:25) God gave His Son so humanity can cover their spiritual nakedness by freely choosing to receive Jesus as Savior and through Him receive and be clothed with the Spirit of God’s Love. God had covered our first parent’s nakedness with animal skin in Eden (presumably a lamb). This was to symbolize the future atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the Savior of mankind, who came and reopened the way so the Spirit can reenter human life and be clothed in divine Love. (Gen.3:21; John 1:29; Act.2:1-12) Living the “Triune Life”* is to default to the divine will in matters of right and wrong, and good and evil.

Let’s understand what the Bible says about the spiritual clothing humans require to cover their spiritual nakedness before the Father, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment” (Gal.3:27; Rev.19:7-8, emphasis mine). In the Book of Revelation, Jesus counselled the church, “So I advise you to buy gold from Me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from Me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see” (Rev.3:18, emphasis mine). Yes, by receiving Jesus as personal Savior in faith, humans have covered their spiritual nakedness in the cloak of Jesus glorified life in heaven through the power of the Spirit. (Eph.2:6, 13)

Adam and Eve Expelled From Paradise to Perdition; From Love to Torment and Fear; From Joy to Misery (Wiki Commans)

Years later, at God’s appointed time, Jesus Christ appeared as the Messiah upon earth, and reopened the pathway to the Spirit so humans can relate with God in Love as Adam and Eve did before the fall. (John 3:16-17; Rom.5:5; Gal.4:6; Tit.3:6) This is what Jesus said about how He will reunite the Spirit with humanity. “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see Me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:7-11). Jesus was referring to His death, resurrection, and ascension as the pathway to the Holy Spirit. How so? Because Jesus is the promised Messiah who came to remove rebellion and human sin and reopen the way to receiving the Holy Spirit (“Tree of Life”/Love).

Remember how Jesus defined sin in the passage above: “About sin because people do not believe in Me” (John 16:9). So, sin is really to deny, disbelieve, and reject the Messiah God has made available and supplied for our forgiveness and restoration. Humans, due to the human fallen state rooted in Adam, are predisposed at failing to keep the law and invariably sin. But rebellion and sin is not only about breaking the law and commandments, but more so about receiving and trusting the Messiah Jesus, whom God gave so that humanity can be saved from sin’s punishment of death, and give us access to the Spirit (Love) who defeats the spirit of rebellion and bring immortality. Through Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, He reopened the pathway to the Holy Spirit as symbolized by the “Tree of Life”. (John 3:16-17; 1 Cor.15:2-3; Eph.1:18-23) So, one of the role of the Spirit is to supply the required faith to a human where a relationship with Jesus as Savior is made possible.

Because of the rebellious spirit, mankind is predisposed to sin, hence, what humanity needs is a Savior who alone can come to our rescue and introduce the empowering Holy Spirit. Paul said, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit (Love) who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom.8:1-2, italics mine). The keeping of the law through legalism will not save us. As we saw earlier, the law is not bad but good, but its power to condemn is real and cannot be nullified except through Jesus. Only Christ’s mediation as Savior neutralizes the power of death demanded by the law.

In His unfathomable Love for humanity, God the Father decreed that His Son Jesus is the only One who saves humans from condemnation under the law, and bring salvation through immortality. (John 3:16, 18) If Jesus mediation sets up the condition where a person is “uncondemned,” then logically those who are not born anew in the Spirit through Jesus, stands condemned. (John 3:18) The condition of condemnation automatically brings on a life of separation from God into a life where the curse of sin, fear, and torment is the rule of the day. This separation has robbed humans of the blessed life that is the human birthright God gives humans out of His immeasurable Love. Humanity’s fallen state of mind cannot conceptualize the unequaled splendor and fascination of living in total captivation and magnetism of God’s Love. (1 Cor.2:9)

Third Ascent – Rest: Now, with the Messiah Jesus having opened the way for the Spirit as recorded in the Book of Acts, humans enter the third ascent of Rest! (Act.1:4-5; 2:1-4). This ascent reveals the human relationship with the God the Father, and thereby the Triune Godhead. This Triune union has been severed since the fall of Adam. What does rest mean? It means peace and the eradication of human condemnation and unity with the Godhead. It is God’s upward act of Love for humanity in bringing humanity to Himself in divine completeness. Paul said this about how peace and rest is attained with the Godhead through God the Father, “And through Him (Jesus) God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” (Col.1:20).

So, rest means reconciliation and oneness with the Triune God has been achieved with the Father when He surrendered His Son and gave us the gift of His Spirit to make human union with the Triune God a reality since Adam’s fall. Thus, this union shows the Father caresses humanity in His Love, thereby, spontaneously channeling the divine Love to flow from the Triune Godhead to humanity, accomplishing the fourth ascent of the manifestation. Consequently, it is God’s Love shed abundantly in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which empowers the divine relationship with the Tri-Personal Godhead that brings peace and reconciliation with God the Father in Christ. (Rom.5:5; 2 Cor.13:14)

Jesus, Shown Defeating Satan in the Temptations. (Matt.4:1-17) He is the Immanuel and Second Adam, Who Defeated Satan in The Temptation and The Cross for Humanity’s Salvation (Wiki Commons)

So, there you have it. That is how the divine Love enters human life to replace the devil’s rebellious spirit through the three ascents and the manifestation through the Father, Son, and Spirit. It has to take a personal relationship with the Tri-Personal God to remove the cause of separation between God and humanity. Sin brings on evil, human suffering and pain upon mankind. My hope is you will receive Jesus in your hearts before our heavenly Father in prayer, and entreat Him through faith to fill your heart with His Love (Spirit) by receiving Jesus as your personal Savior.

Fourth Ascent – Manifestion: Manifestation means the application of the divine Love in human life. Having understood how Love is made to enter human life, let us now answer the vital question about Love: when Love enters the human life, how do we recognize it? What does the Spirit (Love) do to us? Yes, what does Love look like in a typical day in a person’s life as he/she is being led and inspired by the Holy Spirit? How do we identify the Spirit’s work of Love on a day-by-day basis? Jesus gives us the answer, and He does not babble around and waste words, but gives a pointed answer, saying, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me” (Luk.9:23). Jesus was the personification of Love as God’s only Son in the Triune Godhead. Jesus took our humanity upon Himself and became the only human who lived a life in perfect Love. Being Jesus’ disciple means to become Love as God is Love. In this passage, Jesus gives us two fundamental hallmarks about Love – self-denial and taking up our cross daily. Self-denial or self-discipline is the primary motivating force in the application of Love. Why is self-denial an indispensable part of living in the Spirit’s power of Love? (Rom.5:5)

When we consider Love’s opposing energy, we can have a clearer picture and answer as to why self-denial is paramount and mandatory? Rebellion, Love’s opposing nature, shows itself in selfishness, greed, lust, self-worship, idolatry, etc. Self-indulgence, depravity, and corruption are the footprints of the fallen humanity inherited from the rebellion of Adam. These and such fruits stand up against God’s nature of Love. Humans acquired this self-centered rebellious nature from Adam’s fall at the hands of the devil in Eden. After Adam rebelled, the pathway to the “Tree of Life” (Spirit) was blocked. He was forbidden access to the “Tree of Life” or Spirit because of rebellion and sin. The “Tree of Life” and its fruits symbolized the presence and work of the Holy Spirit and the divine Love-fruits our first parents displayed in their relationship with God. (Gen.3:21-24; 1 Cor.13:1-12) Jesus opened the path to the Spirit (“Tree of Life”) as we read earlier. (John 16:7-11)

Exercising self-denial and self-discipline is necessary and central to Love because self-centeredness and selfishness is the natural human response of the rebellious human heart and mind handed down from Adam. We are naturally disposed to living in the fallen self-centered nature and require the Spirit to instill God’s Love to counteract and defeat it. (Rom.5:5)

What does the second perspective, “taking up our cross daily,” mean? Or, as another passage says, “And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple” (Luk.14:27). The “cross” is synonymous with “death,” for it was upon the cross that Jesus was crucified and put to death as Savior to rescue humanity from sin and the devil. This is Jesus’ second point about following Him in God’s way of life of Love. This represents the second activity of the Spirit in human believers. Peter explains what carrying our cross means, “Christ himself carried our sins in His body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness” (1 Pet.2:24).

So, personally “carrying our cross daily” means we are crucifying our sins and sin-nature with Christ on His cross on a daily basis because we still live in Satan’s world that’s plagued and dominated by sin. Paul makes this abundantly clear, “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal.2:20). Here, Paul correlates “death” with the “cross.” It is a spiritual death, just as our rebirth is a spiritual one, not physical. (John 3:3-8) At first glance, we may think this is an impossible burden to carry, when it is the exact opposite. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt.11:29). The rest that the Father desires to give humanity is found in none other but in His Son, Jesus. We have been made to carry our cross because Jesus has already done it for us, and God imputes His Son’s life upon us through the Spirit’s power. Just as He died for us to obtain forgiveness, He also lived for us through the Spirit of power and Love. (2 Cor.5:21)

Remember this trinitarian Love principle, ‘the act of on is the act of three, and the act of three is the act of one.’ Whenever a person lives the “Triune Life*” this is the formula, the modus operandi, that kicks in and take charge of our lives and activity. So, by putting this principle into action, we can say that just as Christ died for us, so we are called to die for Him.

Fear and Torment, the Opposite of Love and Joy (Wiki Commons)

But this is not physical death, for Paul goes on to say, “I no longer live, but Christ live in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20). So, it is death and rebirth happening simultaneously. It is death (cross) of the rebellious spirit which led Adam to sin, and just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead, we are given a rebirth in the Spirit. (John 3:7)

Paul again weighs in on this aspect of the cross, “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 (rebellious) 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” (Rom.6:2, 5-8, italics mine). Jesus was the only perfect human who was glorified by God and given immortality, therefore, it is He who now lives in us to bring us to glory as He was glorified. Paul affirms this, “For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn (into immortality) among many brothers and sisters” (Rom.8:29, NLT, italics mine). Yes, the Holy Spirit is God’s deposit of immortality in humanity. Hence, Paul said, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies (immortality) by this same Spirit living within you” (Rom.8:11, NLT).

The rebellious spirit from the devil through Adam is substituted by the Holy Spirit of Love and power from God through Christ, the second Adam. (Matt.28:19; 1 Cor.15:45) The Spirit of God now makes the human body (person) His temple. Paul said this, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Cor.3:16-17). Through the power of the Spirit, He manifests all the qualities of Christ’s Love in the person (temple). You are now a human vessel that is filled to the brim with the divine Love by the Spirit’s indwelling. (Rom.5:5) You no longer live in fear and torment, but filled with grace and joy.

True life is not physical but spiritual. Jesus speaks of our new birth as being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8). The physical body is merely a shell, a casing, held together by human cells, connective tissues, nerves, organs, bones and the blood flowing in the veins give it physical life. (Lev.17:11) The Spirit living within the person who manipulates the body’s activities. In fact, the human body is constantly undergoing metamorphosis (change) naturally through cell regeneration as a consequence of our spiritual life, our thought life, our emotional life, our diet, environment, and other factors such as lifestyle, which affect us epigenetically. The human body was created by God to be a temple in which His Spirit can take up residence for the purpose of sanctifying us into His spiritual children. (Rom.15:16Rom.5:5)

Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead Pictures Our Rebirth into The Divine Nature of God’s Love and Ultimately Immortality (Wiki Commons)

Love is the nature of God. In His Tri-Personal Being we can witness the various Love-tones by which the Godhead lived from eternity and into eternity. He revealed these Love-tones or Love-fruits to the apostle Paul who taught the Corinthians. (1 Cor.13) Since the 13th chapter of Corinthians is rather exhaustive to describe suitably here, I encourage you to visit my post titled, “Our Human Response In The Triune Life – LOVE!” at http://bulamanriver.net/9199 where you can read at your leisure.

Right away, we can see the fruits of Love that can be applied in a person’s relationship with God in the three ascents, and with his/her human neighbor. (Mark 12:30-31) We see such fruits as, patience, respect, humility, responsibility, delighting in good instead of evil, gentleness, faith, perseverance, joy, hope, to name some from the above post. God promises to bless and secure our lives when we dedicate ourselves to Him in Love.

God’s Love-Fruits Is For Sharing and Relationship (Wiki Commons)

We must all recognize that we still live in a world that is influenced by Satan and the sins that dominate people’s lives are all around us to see. Hence, “taking up our cross daily” and “self-denial” are two sides of the same coin that’s necessary to live victoriously through the “Triune Life.*” We cannot have one without the other. Listen to the entire words of Jesus from our earlier passage, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matt.16:24-27). Jesus said further, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt.11:29). The rest that the Father desires to give humanity is found in none other but in His Son, Jesus.

Yes, humans will never experience their true potential as humans until they crucify the false rebellious self upon Jesus’ cross, and find their true self by conforming to the image of Jesus’ resurrection in the Spirit’s power, for only in Jesus we will discover our true selves. (Rom.8:29) The Bible states, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Col.2:10). Yes, when we come to Jesus, the depth of richness in who we are in our gifts and personalities all comes together, for His power extends over everything. It begins by surrendering the false self that was sired in rebellion by denying its power and putting it to death on the cross of Jesus we carry daily.

Let me encourage you today: I hope you will receive Jesus as your Savior in your hearts before our heavenly Father. All it takes is a simple heartfelt and sincere prayer and entreat Him through faith to fill your hearts with His Love so you will defeat the rebellious nature that has controlled life always to our detriment, hurt, and disappointment. God is always ready to receive and make you His child and bless you abundantly through His Love. It is time to change your life for something the human mind can never compare. (1 Cor.2:9) His Love will bring you deliverance and rest. Study your Bible. Visit this web site often to see the various aspects of living by God’s Love as taught in the Bible. Write to me on the email address provided below with any question or prayer you need.

Remember, receiving Jesus as Personal Savior is a necessary part of experiencing the three-step process for humans to receive the divine blessings. In this post, we have covered the topic of Love. I will cover another subject from the Bible following this “Triune Life” three-step format in my next post.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

 Kiang P. Lee
(Your Servant In Christ)                                                                                                                 

 * Triune Life: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. It’s foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because it is the nature of God. Love is both a noun and a verb. We are called Love because we live by Love as God’s own children. It means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means as children of God we live the 3-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself under the influence of the devil. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?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 from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book outlets. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

"Bula" Man-River
Book Cover

Mssion Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information. Thank you.

WOMAN AND MOTHERHOOD, BY KIANG P LEE

THE ROSE, SYMBOL OF ETERNAL LOVE OF MOTHERS (Wiki Commons)

Greetings Friends! We have just celebrated Mother’s day. What does the day mean to most people? What does the Bible say about woman and motherhood? The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. This is not (directly) related to the many traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have existed throughout the world over thousands of years. Although the nature of the holiday seems as if it had its roots in prehistoric times, students of folklore have claimed to find the source in ancient spring festivals to the mother goddess, particularly to the worship of Cybele. However, in some countries motherhood is still synonymous with older traditions. The U.S.-derived modern version of Mother’s Day has been criticized for having become too commercialized. Founder Jarvis herself regretted this commercialism and expressed views on how that was never her intention. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day)

However, in Biblical teaching and tradition, do mothers, motherhood, and maternal bonds, have any significance? The answer is a resounding yes! What was God’s idea of woman and motherhood? In the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul was inspired to write, “Husbands, go all out in your Love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the Church—a Love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s Love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness” (read Eph.5:25-32).

Yellow Rose (Wiki Commons)

Here, we see that womanhood and motherhood is compared to the “Church.” Her husband is Jesus Christ. Who and what is the church? The church is made up of people from all walks of life who have turned and received Jesus as their Savior, and therefore espoused spiritually. So, the Church represents all of humanity, for the scripture 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17) The Church is the representation of mankind. Therefore, womanhood and motherhood is a picture of humanity. Many today deride womanhood and motherhood in ignorance and without forethought fail to realize they are in truth denigrating humanity, because with God mankind and womanhood are synonymous.

Paul said to the Corinthian Church, “For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God Himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one Husband—Christ” (2 Cor.11:2). That makes it abundantly clear that womanhood is the representation of humanity (Church) as a whole. To the Ephesian Christians, Paul spoke of God’s activity in human life, “Husbands, Love your wives, just as Christ Loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph.5:25-27). Because of this, the stated position of womanhood and motherhood sits at the top echelon of human society with the position of fathers and fatherhood. The scriptural admonition to fathers is crystal clear, “As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (Eph.5:31-33).

Purple Rose (Wiki Commons)

In God’s plan, when humanity has been saved through Jesus, the wedding ceremony between Christ and His bride (Church/humanity) will take place, as recorded in the book of Revelation, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory. For the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear” (Rev.19:7-8). The statement, “His bride has made herself ready,” reveals the stated objective of the Father to present to His Son a woman who is a “radiant church (wife), without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” Eph.5:27). And like any good and responsible father would, God the Father presents the most amazing, spectacular, and awe-inspiring wedding gift to His Son and His holy bride the Church: the spectacular jewel city of New Jerusalem coming out from heaven. More wonderfully, God gives a new heaven and a new earth on which the new gleaming city of Jerusalem descending from heaven to rest upon, “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”  for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev.21:1-5). New Jerusalem will become the abode of the Christ and His bride (Church/humanity) for eternity.

What an eye-opening and amazing revelation of womanhood and motherhood from our Great God and Father in heaven. We are all part of the greater humanity of earth, and to live our destiny as humans we are called upon to freely choose and receive Jesus Christ to keep our ties to this earth and the New Jerusalem. The Bible calls the Church or New Jerusalem, the Mother of us all, for she is our spiritual Mother especially to new converts who are spiritual children in the faith. (Gal.4:26, NASB)

Pink Rose (Wiki Commons)

So, we see the purpose and role of the female gender in creation. In God’s perspective, the woman is the picture of and synonymous with humanity. How did God create Eve, the first woman and mother of humanity? We read how it all happened from the book of Genesis. After creating Adam, “God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” God put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept, He removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. God then used the rib that He had taken from the man to make woman and presented her to the Man. The Man said, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.” Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh” (Gen.2:18, 21-24).

Eve was not created separate individually like Adam was, instead, Eve was taken out of Adam’s side. She was part of the human species through the original creation of humanity through Adam. Adam said, “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, and name her Woman, for she was made from Man.” Adam’s words were prophetic for humanity and human destiny. It speaks of the perpetuation and preservation of the human species upon this earth physically through Adam, and eternally through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the second Adam who brings eternal salvation to humanity. The first Adam had fallen at the hands of the enemy by eating the forbidden fruit in Eden. (1 Cor.15:45; Gen.3:1-24) Paul was inspired to write, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor.15:45). Through Jesus, mankind will be made one with God in the power of the Spirit and live eternally upon the new earth in the Kingdom of God.

Adam did not become a living being on his own, but was the first and only human created individually. The woman was taken out of man and the human species followed through them as one created being, not two. Hence, the Bible says clearly, “Male and female created He them, and blessed them and called their name Adam in the day when they were created” (Gen.5:2, KJV). The Creator said they were “one flesh” just as they were given one name, “Adam.” They were of one substance like the Father, Son, and Spirit are of one substance in the Triune God. (Gen.2:18, 21-24; 5:2; 1:26-27). It was only after the fall of Adam that the woman was called by the name “Eve” (Gen.3:20).

Their rebellion and sin had altered their makeup in God’s divine likeness – sin had caused this separation so they were no longer united as one. Their divorce from God revealed their spiritual ‘nakedness’ (Gen.3:7) Thus, when God clothed them, He did so in animal skin as a prophetic symbol of Jesus’ mediation as the sacrificial lamb who will cover the nakedness of humanity and uniting humanity to God as one. (Gen.3:21) Human genealogy can be traced back to a single human – Adam, the first human. (Luk.3:23-38) Likewise, mankind’s spiritual/eternal genealogy can be traced back to one Person, Jesus, the second “Immanuel” human. (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:22-23) When God took upon Himself our humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ, He united mankind (woman) with God forming one being. (John 3:16-17)

Jesus was given His messianic name, “Immanuel,” meaning, “God with us,” or “oneness with God.” (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23). Jesus, the second Adam, ended the human separation from God through the rebellion and fall of the first Adam, by reuniting humanity back with God through His ‘Immanuel humanity.’ Thus, we know there were only two human creations. The first human creation was through Adam, made from the soil of the earth, and fell at the hands of the devil’s temptation, or the ‘Adamic human.’ And the second human creation came through Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, through divine birth and creation from God the Father, or the ‘Immanuel human.’ (You may read more about Jesus’ New Humanity at: http://bulamanriver.net/9718). Mankind becomes united to Jesus and made one with the Triune God* through the Spirit upon receiving Jesus as Savior. (Gal.2:20; John 17:22-23, NLT)

The Scriptures reveal the preeminence of Jesus in His ‘Immanuel humanity’ as it concerns humanity (Church), and the destiny of the human species, saying, “God raised Him from death and set Him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from His rule… At the center of all this, Christ rules the Church. The Church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the Church. The Church is Christ’s body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His presence” (Eph.1:20-23, The Message). Hence, to interface this eternal truth with humanity today, Paul addressed husbands accordingly, “In this same way, husbands ought to Love their wives as their own bodies. He who Loves his wife Loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the Church—for we are members of His body” (Eph.5:28-30). Husbands must “Love their wives as their own bodies” because she is not separate from him, but literally and spiritually one with him, as the creation of Eve informs us in the passage we read earlier. (Gen.2:18, 21-24).

White Rose (Wiki Commons)

Paul speaks of this life of oneness in being with and in Jesus when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal.2:20; also John 17:22-23, NLT). This is the process of rebirth in the Spirit Jesus spoke of through John’s Gospel. (John 3:5-8) Paul further speaks of what the activity of faith does to humans, “But whoever unites himself/herself (belief/faith) with the Lord is one with Him in Spirit” (1 Cor.6:17, italics mine). Paul encouraged the Ephesian Church saying, “It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life” (Eph.1:13-14, The Message).   

Such is the divine perspective of womanhood and motherhood and the lofty ideals given it in Scripture in relation to its eternal relevance to upholding humanity’s place in God’s scheme of things in the wonderful future He holds out for mankind.

It is woefully unfortunate that the world’s view of the female gender has been grossly misrepresented through the lens of Hollywood and other popular media with its various rendition that’s made to appeal to the baser human instinct that’s totally at variance with the divine perspective. Hollywood’s portrayal of women is shallow and vain.

However, God is in the process of beautifying the woman (humanity/church) who will marry His Son, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation” (Prov. 149:4). Meekness, among other virtuous characteristics, is a beauty that’s internal, not external. At present, the Church (woman/humanity) is betrothed to Jesus. The apostle Peter has more to add about the beauty of the woman Christ will marry, “Wives…your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear” (1 Pet.3:1, 3-6). This does not forbid a woman from making herself presentable, but rather any natural and proper outward beauty is supposed to convey the inner divine beauty which God created woman (humanity) to become for marriage with His Son, Jesus the Christ. 

Orange Rose1.jpg
Orange Rose By Fcb981 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wiki Commons)

With what we have covered from the Bible about the female gender, let us hold women and motherhood in the highest esteem as God our Father would have us do, realizing that the female gender is the reflection of our own human reality, and more so our awesome destiny upon earth and for all eternity into the future.  

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* as a Bulamanriver.**  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

 Kiang
(Your Servant In Christ)                                                                                                                  

* Triune Life: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. It’s foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because it is the nature of God. Love is both a noun and a verb. We are called Love because we live by Love as God’s own children. It means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means as children of God we live the 3-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself under the influence of the devil. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?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 from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book outlets. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel around the world.

Book Cover

Mssion Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information. Thank you.

AFTER THE CROSS, WHAT THEN? … THE HIGH PRIESTHOOD & LIVING THE “TRIUNE LIFE!” BY KIANG P LEE

“May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” – 2 Cor.13:14

Greetings Friends! My hope is that you and your family observed a truly happy, wonderfully renewing and beneficial Easter/Passover season this year. In the Hebrew calendar, the Passover marks a new beginning in a new year. It depicts new life for it falls in the spring season. Everything in nature complements with its spiritual counterpart where we see life regenerate and comes into bloom. Flowers are in full-blossom, the trees bring forth new leaves, fruit trees abound, with birds chirping and singing their melodious tunes in the branches. Butterflies and bees fill the air and hum away with their pollinating activities. Life is all around and surrounds us in a panorama of colors, sounds, and nature’s myriads of activities. Spring is intended to have both its physical and spiritual equals. In nature, we see the natural world “die” in winter, then experience a “resurrection” in spring. Easter is Spring’s spiritual equivalent which brings forth fresh beginnings in spiritual renewal. Summer is just around the corner bringing its own hive of activities.   

As my readers will recall, in the month of March, 2019 I shared with you the message of Jesus’ Cross – see http://bulamanriver.net/15813. In April, my message was about Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension – see http://bulamanriver.net/15948. Needless to say, we do not discount Jesus’ life as the embracing foundation and support which the scriptures assert: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him” (Act.10:38). In other words, as a human He led a sinless life and made and willingly gave Himself as the worthy sacrifice for human sin. (1 Pet.2:221 Pet.1:18-20Heb.4:152 Cor.5:21)

So, what was this four-fold event in Jesus’ life mean? Does it impact upon our human reality in the outcome of life here and now, and for eternity? What exactly was God’s purpose which brings about our spiritual spring renewal and growth? In other words, what was the Father’s intent and purpose in His Son’s Life, Death (Cross), and subsequent Resurrection and Ascension? We know God the Father gave up His Son Jesus to save humanity from the curse of the sin-condition. (2 Cor.5:21) Therefore, humanity is the ultimate benefactor of this four-fold event in Jesus. So, the answer to that question is the subject of this month’s post: “After The Cross, Then What?”

What was the primary revitalizing benefit arising from the four-fold activity which undergirded Jesus’ life and death? I will answer in two words from the outset, and then set out a detail meaning – it was to bring the: “Triune Life.” What do I mean when I say, “Triune Life?” The answer is the subject of this month’s post. Many have missed this vital point of Jesus’ mission, but it is the most important aspect of His calling as foretold in His name, “Immanuel” (Isa.7:14). The “Triune Life” forms the backbone to our walk as Christian believers. I consider this as very basic to the Christian faith. For this reason, I have explained its meaning in every post I have written as an appendage (“Triune Life”) at the end of each post. But let me explain in greater detail here as it relates to the four-fold event of Jesus’ life, our Savior and Mediator.

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Icon of the Trinity By Rublev (Wiki Commons)

Up to the time of this four-fold event of Jesus’ life, only the Father and Son were revealed to, and interacted with, mankind. John revealed this clearly, “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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17). In another passage from Romans, Paul said, “God showed His great Love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Rom.5:8, NLT). The Spirit is not mentioned. This does not mean that the Spirit was totally absent and/or disengaged, that would be impossible, for the three Persons of the Triune Godhead (Trinity) are homoousios (
https://www.britannica.com/topic/homoousios: “of the same substance”) and will always act collectively as One. I am making reference to the Spirit in the context of human rebellion in Eden, and its aftermath of being cut-off from the Spirit. This absence of the Spirit in human life resulted in human emptiness and futility, senseless pride and pursuit of vain glory, suffering, and hopelessness. Historically, the treacherous result of the work of the enemy, was Adam’s grievous act of disobedience disconnected and severed all human ties to the Holy Spirit, for they were forbidden access to the Tree of Life which represented the Spirit. (Gen.3:24)

However, it was determined from creation that Jesus, the second Person of the Godhead, would empty Himself of His divinity, become human and live a sinless life, and open the way for man to be reunited to the Spirit once more, which was undone by Adam. God introduced to humanity the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, in this fashion. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He told His disciples, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-8).

Human relationship with God has to be a “complete” one, where all three Persons of the Trinitarian Godhead are involved in human salvation. Hence, Jesus’ messianic name, Immanuel (meaning, “God with us” – Isa.7:14), revealed His mission to manifest God’s fullness to mankind. The Scripture states how humans are made God’s own children where God Himself said, “I will put my Spirit within you, I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Eze.36:26Heb.8:10) But the Holy Spirit could not enter human life and bring God’s whole Being (“God with us”), until the fulfillment of the four-fold event of Jesus’ life – His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Then, when the Day of Pentecost came, the Spirit was poured out upon humanity beginning from Jerusalem. (Act.1:4-5; 2:1-4). Jesus was and is our Mediator, who lived a perfect life for us, took our body of sin to the cross and put it to death, raised it righteous in His resurrection, and brought it to the presence of the Father in His ascension, so we can live with and experience God in His Tri-Personal completeness. So, all of humanity was embraced and taken up in Jesus’ now glorified humanity. (Rom.4:25; 2 Cor.5:15)

From that moment when the Spirit came and joined Himself with humanity on Pentecost, only then the whole Being of God in His Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, Son, and Spirit was joined to and with mankind. It was then, that Jesus had completed His mission as revealed in His messianic name by the prophet Isaiah – “Immanuel” meaning “God with us” (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23). This was God’s plan for sending His Son and continues to this day with every person who is called to accept Jesus, following Peter’s inspired words on Pentecost. This union between the Trinitarian God and humans is what I call the “Triune Life.” Peter explains how a person can be unified to the Triune God and begin living the “Triune Life”: “Therefore…be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do? Peter replied, “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.2:36-38).

The sin-condition entered the human race through Adam’s fall, and it is the second Adam, Jesus Christ, by defeating the devil in the temptation, living His sinless life, and dying at His cross upon Calvary, who brings the sinless-condition by bringing back the Holy Spirit who sanctifies humans before God the Father through Jesus. Paul said, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor.15:22). Of course, “…be made alive” means to be given immortality, for sin brings eternal death. (John 3:16, 18; Rom.6:23) Human immortality (like Jesus) is God’s ultimate goal for mankind.

What Peter said to his listeners was clarified by Jesus earlier where He calls the “Triune Life” a born-again event in the human life. He said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5, 8). Yes, the Father has given His Son to save humanity from sin (John 3:16), the Son has given His life as the only worthy sacrifice for sin (John 10:18; Phi.2:8), and now the Spirit gives of Himself and comes and indwell the human life to make humans God’s holy temple. (1 Cor.6:19) Listen to the inspired words of the apostle Paul, “So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit” (Eph.2:19-22). For the first time since Adam’s fall, God has fully manifested Himself in His Tri-Personal Being to humanity through the Father, Son, and Spirit, making the “Triune Life” possible since Eden.

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Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit…Third Person Of the Trinity (Pic: Wiki Commons)

For humans, living the “Triune Life” is the underlying purpose for their creation from the beginning when God uttered the immortal words, “Let US (Father, Son, and Spirit, and the holy angelic hosts) make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule…” (Gen.1:26-27, parenthesis and italics my emphasis). Why is it vital for humans to live the “Triune Life?” Because in a nutshell, that was what God gave humanity at creation, it is the human birthright gift conferred by God Himself upon mankind. However, by deception and lies, the devil stole it from our first parents. Adam and Eve followed the enemy, and disobeyed God. So, God’s purpose has always been to restore humanity’s divine birthright He gave at creation, which was restored by Jesus in the four-fold event of His Mission: His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension to His heavenly High Priestly office. There is a fifth activity of Jesus that must never go unmentioned and is all-encompassing in its importance – Jesus’ ‘inauguration’ as the glorified human High Priest in heaven, who forever makes intercession for humanity before the Father in perpetuity. (Heb.6:18-20; 7:21-22; Psa.110:4)

At creation, the Father created our first parents from the soil of the earth (Gen.3:19). Jesus was the “the Word” or Spokesman who communed and related with our first parents, and the Spirit was the Love of God that was represented in the “Tree of Life” who made the Love-relationship possible. (Rom.5:5) Adam and Eve rebelled against God by choosing to eat the fruits of the “Tree of Good and Evil” and rejecting the fruits of the “Tree of Life.” (Gen.3:1-7) By rejecting the “Tree of Life” humanity shunned and was shut-off from the Holy Spirit, but Jesus subsequently brought the Spirit back to humanity on the day of Pentecost.

So, man has been living without the Spirit (Tree of Life) since sin entered human life after Adam’s fall. (Gen.3:23-24) Since Adam was banished from Eden and God’s presence, mankind was left with no option but to eat solely from the fruits of good and evil. That is what consist of the human spiritual diet since the fall. The consequences has seen nothing but ruin and waste for mankind. Our dark human history display this truth for all to see. How is that? Because the “Tree of Good and Evil” represented mankind’s solitary life in himself/herself based upon fear and sin. It is the opposite of the outgoing collaborative divine “Triune Life” of God based upon Love and outgoing concern for another. Since the fall, humans have been deciding for themselves what is good and bad, what is right and evil, what is honorable and corrupt. God has been left out. God is not solitary as other religions espouse about their own deities. In the Christian faith, God is three Persons in One Triune Godhead whose only motivation is Love. (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13; 1 John 4:8, 16) 

God is One but He is not solitary, He is a Loving, collaborative, Trinity. He is not independent, but interdependent in the Father, Son, and Spirit. Because they are codependent they are One, not three. They consist in their singular substance of Love. (1 John 4:8) If God is One Tri-Personal Being, then it follows that “God is Love,” for Love cannot exists in solitary existence. (1 John 4:816John 3:16) We can see how the “Triune Life” works with God: when the Father expressed His Love for sinful humanity, He gave up His Son as an expression of that Love. The Son also Loved humans and freely gave Himself up to become the Immanuel and become the sacrifice to save humanity. The Spirit empowered Jesus’ humanity at His baptism in the Jordan River. That is the collaborative “Triune Life” and Love in action. Love can only thrive in communion where there is more than one person. All of creation has the stamp of Creator’s underlying interconnected Triune Being – there is no other way God could create the physical world and all matter aside from the impression of His Triune Being and lens.

The collaborative “Triune Life” founded upon Love that Adam forsook for the self-centered life in himself from the devil, was the only weight of reality concerning human destiny that is of utter value going back to man’s creation and continues to this day. And this was the sole purpose of Jesus’ mission and the four-fold mediatory events in His life: to bring back the “Triune Life” that was lost in Eden. His followers continue the same mission and is no different today. (Matt.28:18-20) The “Triune Life” speaks of the communion of the three Persons of the Triune Godhead where the divine Love is the underlying motivation from eternity. It inspired all their thoughts, energy, and actions. God is uncreated, without beginning nor end, and has existed eternally in His Tri-Personal Being of Love before He created the universe and this earth, and all living things in creation, both seen and unseen. Their Love for each other was and is their only motivation, and is the glue which holds them together as One indivisible God. (Deut.6:4)

Book Cover

Jon Tal Murphree, in his book titled, “The Trinity And Human Personality,” gives us a thought-provoking insight into the nature of God in His Tri-Personal Being. He describes the Trinity as Persons who “occupy” the others’ personalities in one substance, hence, exists forever in their indivisible Oneness. The three act as One. Each One transposes Himself into the others without confusing His personality with the others. Through Love their diversity and unity are so inextricably interwoven that the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist as persons alongside each other. Each One constantly has perfect access to the other’s complete thoughts and feelings. Each is utterly transparent to the others with no secretiveness – each reflecting the others. In this unity, the act of three is the act of one, and the act of one is the act of three. We witness the manifestation of God’s singular nature in Their Love for and in each other! This occupation in each other explains how Love works and brings about a relational Oneness which Adam shared with the divine, which through Jesus, we can now share with the Triune Godhead in Christ.

When Jesus prayed to the Father, “Not My will, but Yours be done,” it was the only way Jesus could have responded in His relationship with His Father because they both intrinsically occupy each other in one divine substance of Love. Of course, Jesus was not locked into blind compliance, but He was free and made the choice to freely and gladly obey His Father. He was free to choose like any human would, for where Love is, there must of necessity be freedom. Jesus freely chose to joyfully obey the Father. Love and freedom are opposite sides of God’s divine nature. Paul makes this clear, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor.3:17). God created humans with individual personality accompanied with gifts bestowed out of His great Love. Humans do not lose their individual personality when they enter into a relationship with God and His Love. Transposing oneself to another person does not mean we confuse our God-given unique individual personality. This act of occupation of one another is a call to unity in our diversity. It’s a life of collaborative living. It’s a life of transparency, integrity, and honor. In truth, the divine Love is the very essence which liberates us to the point of discovery of our fullest potential as we grow and flourish in each of our unique gift and personality, and how each completes the other as we relate with one another.

So, when the gift of the Spirit came upon humanity on Pentecost, man was made to enter the most vital phase of his relationship with God: experience God in His fullness where we are made to live the “Triune Life,” just like Jesus did when He walked this earth. Jesus was given the Spirit at His baptism in the Jordan to set the example for mankind that human relationship with God is incomplete without the Spirit. Living the “Triune Life” means to live the “miraculous life.” The Spirit is the provocateur of divine miracles, and ultimately human resurrection. (Act.10:38; Rom.8:2, 9, 11) God is divine and humans are mortal, but when the two are bound as one, miracles occur. This has been God’s plan from creation, and continues after Adam took humanity down the path of rebellion, fear, and sin – to restore the “Triune Life” and therefore the “miraculous life” that is the human birthright. Embodied in that life is the promise of immortality. ((John 3:16; Rom.8:11) Humanity has come a full circle from where he started in Eden. From here on, the “Triune Life” means humans have become benefactors of God’s grace and receive the complete support of God in His complete Being and Love. Remember, God as our Father from eternity, cannot live nor act solitarily in Himself, because it is not in His nature to do so. He can only live and act collaboratively in Love and freedom with the Son and the Spirit – always! And now, through Jesus He invites humans to share this divine “Triune Life” with Him. Love is the substance they are made of, for the Scripture tell us, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).

One of the reasons humans find the concept of the Trinity teaching hard to grasp is because ever since the fall of Adam, man has never known any other way to live but the “solitary” self-centered mode of thinking and behavior which is diametrically opposed to the free collective Triune way of God’s outgoing Love. Man has been living this ‘solitary’ self-centered way since Adam’s fall. So, it is man’s natural and only inclination. It will decidedly take the presence of the Spirit, time, effort, motivation and change and experience to have the “Triune Life” grasped by the human spirit and consciousness. But with the help of the Spirit’s power defusing the “solitary life” humans will adapt to and adopt the “Triune Life.” (Gal.5:22-26)

Man has never seen this Triune way of life manifested in human experience since the fall. It was not until Jesus came on the scene and revealed the Father and the Spirit openly more than two thousand years ago that it entered human consciousness. Jesus’ miracle-working and sacrificial life was a summary of this Trinitarian way of life. Only One who emanates from the Trinity could live the “Triune Life” and thus impart the same to man, and that was Jesus’ mission given Him by the Father. Today, humans are invited to live that life in Christ’s glorious life, and through the Spirit’s sanctifying power before the Father.

When Christ came, He made the “Triune Life” possible to mankind, for He was fully God originating from the Triune Godhead, and fully man now glorified by His resurrection and ascension. It could not have been done before Christ came and completed His four-fold messianic role. So, when man is called by God, He imputes Jesus’ four-fold saving activity upon the believer. By accepting Jesus as Savior we become Him, living a unified, two-pronged existence – one is the divine existence which Christ brings to humans, and the other is his mortal, physical existence in the Spirit’s power. (1 Cor.3:16; Gal.2:20) Upon receiving Jesus, man’s divine being exists in heaven under His High Priesthood where we exist under His continuous mediation. Man was never able to be joined to this divine “Triune Life” of God until Christ came – and until man expressed faith in Christ’s work, and reborn spiritually in the Spirit’s power. This is the essential meaning of the name Immanuel ascribed to Jesus, for it reflects His role of unifying “God with us” (Matt.1:22-23Isa.7:14).

For the Christian, the mention of the name of God, must always convey His Tri-Personal Being in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:19) Speaking and entrusting His mission to His disciples and followers, Jesus final instruction was, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:18-20). To “baptize” means to “induct” into the life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or the “Triune Life.” They were to teach believers about this amazing truth of the “Triune Life” Jesus has made possible.

The “Triune Life” gives a new worldview that is divine and all-embracing at its core. Through it, the mind opens vistas of perspectives a person would not otherwise comprehend in his/her “solitary” fallen human worldview. Humanity requires a higher level of consciousness in the landscape of human existence, be it in our social, political, educational, in business and industry, and in every other aspect of governance. This will bring about a pristine and seamless connectedness in our eternally-vested interactive world and environment. This is rudimentary and vital to the human journey upon earth since all of creation operates in a inter-connected universe, meaning, nothing exists in solitary existence. In other words, creation is the reflection of God’s own likeness in His interconnected Triune Being. Everything God creates reflects His Trinitarian Being. Christ came to free our minds from the prison of the enemy of man and open the human consciousness to a realm unknown and unperceived by man because he has been living the “solitary life” of the devil since Adam’s fall. Every problematic issue faced by humanity today, pressing or otherwise, springs from the self-centered solitary mindset of people, whether they are leaders or ordinary citizens.

The Gospel, when understood as a rebirth of humans (primarily in the mind) into the “Triune Life” way of living, sets forth an objective, uncolored, empirical vantage point in the relationship of humans with his natural interactive environment under the auspices of God’s divine nature of Love and freedom. Humanity will then be made to move forward and discover their true potential as beings made in the image of the divine, and cease to live a life under the futile, solitary, and inward-looking mode of life. The human personality was made and given as a gift to reflect the divine Loving Trinitarian Personality so we may live up to our true destiny as humans. Paul said this, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph.2:10). The first step must be the leap from our forlorn incarceration and rebirth into true freedom in the “Triune Life.”

Since Adam and Eve were Expelled From Eden, The Holy Spirit (Tree of Life) was Unavailable to Humanity Until Christ Came (Pic: Wiki Commons)

In practical terms, how does a person live the “Triune Life” God desires we live with Him, through His Son, and in the power of the Spirit? The answer to this question is truly what human life is about. To live this way is to live in God’s likeness and image. It is to enter a consciousness unbeknownst to the human mind. So, the purpose of the “Triune Life” is to harmonize the human heart and will in all its spiritual and physical responses with the divine Loving will of God. Space will not allow me to give justice to the answer, so I ask that you go to my post, titled, “How To Live The “Triune Life” at: http://bulamanriver.net/8036. My hope is you will be inspired by it, and that you will see that the hope of humanity hangs in the balance – literally!

I will close with the blessing Paul gave the Corinthian Church by encouraging one-ness in the “Triune Life” as the Godhead is One in the Father, Son, and Spirit: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Cor.13:14).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* as a Bulamanriver.**  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

 Kiang
(Your Servant In Christ)                                                                                                                  

* Triune Life: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. It’s foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because it is the nature of God. Love is both a noun and a verb. We are called Love because we live by Love as God’s own children. It means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means as children of God we live the 3-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself under the influence of the devil. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?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 from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book outlets. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel around the world.

"Bula" Man-River by [Lee, Kiang P.]
Book Cover

Mssion Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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THE RESURRECTED AND ASCENDED CHRIST, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings again Friends! Wherever you are in the far-flung corners of the world, may the peace of Easter be with you and your loved ones. In this Post I will follow through from my previous month’s post, “The Cross.” There are two important aspects of Jesus’ life we will touch upon after His death upon the cross: His resurrection and His ascension.

“HE IS RISEN!”

“He isn’t here! He has risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying.” (Matthew 28:6)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Even though Jesus told His disciples of His impending death and resurrection, they found it too incredulous to be believed. Then when they heard from others that Jesus had indeed risen, it left them speechless. When He miraculously appeared before them, they were left gasping for breath. Jesus told one doubting disciple, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed” (John 20:29).

Yes, the Christian life is a life of living faith. Paul stated the anchor upon which the Christian faith is centered and upon which it revolves: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor.15:17). Indeed, powerful words concerning the Christian faith. The cross would be meaningless if Jesus had not risen. The resurrection is the foundation upon which the Christian faith is built. We cannot believe the cross (death of Jesus Christ) and deny His resurrection. They are both one and the same expression of His Messiahship. His life and all the prophecies concerning His calling as the Messiah would have all been fiction, a fabrication, if His resurrection from the dead had not happened for real. If it were not for the resurrection, mankind’s fate would have ended in the grave and no further. Mankind’s future of receiving the divine gift of immortality would not be possible.

The Supposed Tomb Of Jesus, Site of Jesus’ Resurrection (Wiki Commons)

The unbelieving mind thinks of the idea of the resurrection as preposterous, originating in religious zeal that borders on the fanatical. A 2010 Barna Group poll showed that only 42 percent of Americans said the meaning of Easter was about Jesus’ resurrection; just 2 percent identified it as the most important holiday of their faith. “More people have problems with Easter because it requires believing that Jesus rose from the dead,” said James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author. Yet, it is the only hope the Christian faith holds out to its followers. How do we prove to skeptics this cornerstone of Christian belief? Everything about Christianity hangs in the balance on this one focal point of the Christian faith – did Jesus die on His cross upon Calvary and rose from the dead as He and the prophecies said He would? (Psa.22; Isa.53; Psa.16, esp. V.10)

The New Testament account of the resurrection from Matthew’s gospel goes as follows, “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” He said. They came to Him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see Me” (Matt.28:1-10).

The resurrection responds to the ancient quest for answers to the question of life, death, and the afterlife. Ancient philosophers, theologians, and sages have long sought to unlock the answers to the afterlife. There are only two certainties about life that no one can deny: life and death! Every day we experience either one of these two opposite manifestation of human reality – to exist (life), or to cease to exist (death)! Our awareness of death arise out of life itself. In other words, we would not know death were it not for life. Life always takes precedence. Humans are given to experience these twin realities not as a matter of choice, but because an external Entity superior to man has determined how human existence is offered to humanity. (Heb.9:27) If you and I had a choice, life would be our natural and only option. Death is a curse we would avoid at all cost.

So, everything about human existence cannot be answered within our mortal frame of reference without an external involvement. So, we are compelled to look outside ourselves for answers to life and death. Hence, our search for answers ends with an entity we call God. Or we may choose the path of atheism and conjure our own answers to the questions of life, death, and the afterlife. Most religions accept the external input of a deity, only their beliefs differentiate them. So, the search for meaning about life, death, and the afterlife leaves us face-to-face with an Entity we call God or Creator. God Himself knew this, or should I say stage-managed it, so humans have no other way but to turn to Him for important answers about life and death. We are left with no option but to come one-on-one with our Maker.

If we concur on the above discourse about life and death, then we have come to the same logical conclusion that the answers to them can come from no other source apart from the Creator. For Christians, His answer is articulated in His Word the Bible, and more specifically His Son, Jesus. One of Jesus’ title is the Word of God. (John 1:1) Jesus is the Personified Word of God, the Bible is the written Word of God. Jesus’ human resurrection answers man’s eternal search to the meaning of life, death, and the afterlife.

God tells us He is the source of life – life originates and exudes from His divine Trinitarian Being. He is the spring of life. (Gen.2:7; 1 Sam.2:6; Act.17:25) If that is so, where did death come from? It cannot come from God for only life proceeds from Him. Death was imposed upon man as a penalty for sin. The Bible categorically states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). When Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, sin entered our human existence, and death followed. God told our first parents, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Gen.2:17).

Paul said, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, in this way death came to all people, because all have sinned” (Rom.5:12). Yes, no one is sinless, therefore the death penalty hangs upon all mankind. Paul goes on to say, “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Rom.5:15, 17) Paul explains how God’s Love for mankind is expressed through His Son. Jesus gives humans this passage from penalty of death to immortality, “For if we have been united with [Jesus] in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His” (Rom.6:5). Yes, God gave us His Son so that through His death on the cross we may not have to face death ourselves, and through His resurrection we will receive immortal life.  

Artist Impression of Resurrection of Jesus (Wiki Commons)

So when God created Adam it would have been contrary to His nature and who He is to subject him and humanity to death in any way, shape, and form. The totality of the environment in Eden was wrapped up in one element which defines who God IS: life, life, and life without end! Death is the exact antithesis of who God is in His nature. He declared Himself to His enslaved people in Egypt as “I AM that I AM” (Exo.3:14). It means ‘to be,’ which means to exist in everlasting life. Adam had life to its fullest and completest divine expression that a human can experience at the highest physical level possible! Adam existed in God’s presence, the Source of both spiritual and physical life. Adam did not know what death meant, it had no meaning with him, although he was warned of it. (Gen.2:17) It is impossible for God to make death happen because it is synonymous with sin, and God and sin (death) can never coexist.

Adam and Eve existed in the ‘circle of life’ because God IS LIFE!  Death was the result of disobedience imposed upon man as a consequence of sin. Death was man’s choice, not God’s! So, we understand the resurrection in relation to who God is in all His manifest Being: the fountain of all life physical and everlasting life! Hence, man’s destiny will always be about immortality, and death is just a temporary blip until sin and death is totally removed forever through Christ’s continuing mediation in heaven today. (1 Cor.15:55-57) That brings us to the next aspect of this post: Jesus’ Ascension to Heaven. Let us now look at this event in Jesus’ life which finally sealed humanity’s destiny of immortality pictured in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and finally His ascension.

 ASCENSION OF JESUS

“He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Act.1:3-11).

Stain Glass Impression of Ascension of Jesus (Wiki Commons)

Mankind’s resurrection and ascension to immortality was inaugurated by Jesus Christ by His own glorious human resurrection followed by His ascension to heaven 40 days later. The purpose of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension was to return to His eternal Trinitarian existence He had with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus’ ascension made possible a momentous act never done before – He took our humanity, glorified it in Himself through His bodily resurrection, and forever joined mankind to the life of the Triune Godhead in His ascension. The Trinity has changed its complexion forever when God the Father glorified Jesus’ humanity in His resurrection and ascension and sat Him at His right hand. Now, Jesus sits at His Father’s side as mankind’s eternal High Priest.

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Therefore, it was necessary for Him (Jesus) to be made in every respect like us (human), his brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people…Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”  (Heb.2:27; Heb.4:14-16).

Yes, Jesus is our High Priest and our Atonement offered eternally on the altar of sacrifice in heaven for our absolution so that divine perfection with the Father will abide and remain forever. Jesus told the disciples another vital promise concerning His return to the Father, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth” (John 14:15). It is only through Jesus’ mediation as High Priest for mankind before the Father that the Holy Spirit is made available perpetually to mankind for the purpose of sanctifying human life before the Father. We see how the three Persons of the triune Godhead is eternally involved in the salvation of mankind. I call this living the “Triune Life.”*

Though our human resurrection and ascension is something we look forward to in a future event in hope, the most important thing Jesus did for man is to bring the “Triune Life”* which believers can live now. Thereby, it is logical to conclude that by joining our humanity with the Triune God, the Father and the Spirit is forever joined to humanity in a real sense through Jesus, the Immanuel, who is both God who glorified our humanity in Himself. It was for this very reason of uniting our humanity to the Godhead that Jesus made this ultimatum, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). This is undoubtedly the weightiest aspect of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension – to join humanity to the Triune God and give passage for the Spirit to enter mankind on the day of Pentecost. Through the divine triune input of the Father, Son, and Spirit, we carry on the work of the Father which Jesus started and commissioned His disciples to continue on earth. So, His departure was a necessary part of mankind’s initiation into the life of the Triune Godhead and the Spirit being made one with mankind.

Most of all, the Scripture is very clear about the most important aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work – it is by the Spirit’s power that humans will be sanctified and eventually resurrected to immortality. (2 Thess.2:13; Rom.8:11,13) Paul affirms this, saying, “If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you” (Rom.8:11). Human resurrection to immortality is made possible only through the Spirit’s power and presence as it was with Jesus who glorified humanity by resurrecting humans to immortality. Paul articulates this process further by saying, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16; also John 7:37-39; 1 John 4:13; 1 Cor.6:19, NLT). While Paul is drawing attention to the issue of church unity in Corinth, he is indirectly confessing the truth about Jesus’ ascension in joining the Spirit to human life. A temple is a place of worship where God and man meet. The Bible says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Rom.8:9). And if anyone does not belong to Christ then he cannot be conformed to Jesus’ image and likeness in His resurrection and ascension. (Rom.8:29).

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hands-on Involvement in Mankind’s Destiny (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, Wiki Commons)

Jesus promised, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” (John 14:8, 20). Here again we see Jesus affirming man’s eternal unity with the Father and the Spirit which Jesus makes possible. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal.2:20). What we see is Jesus’ life being incarnated into the life of the believer on earth to be followed by a resurrection into immortality at Jesus’ second coming. But how is this process of salvation done in reality? Through the Holy Spirit!

Jesus tells us the role of the Spirit, “He will glorify Me, for He will take from that which is Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:14, Berean LB). So, we see the purpose of the Spirit is to live and walk in the life of the believer as a temple and make Jesus’ life become a reality, thus, fulfilling the promise, “I will not leave you orphans…I will come to you.” Jesus said, “He (Spirit) will not speak on His own, He will guide you into all truth. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you” (John 16:13,14). Therefore, the ascension brings to reality the promise of Jesus that He will personally come and live in the believer through the Holy Spirit’s power. When we think of the life of Christians living the incarnated life of Jesus today it is contingent upon His ascension to make it a reality. It is quite simple, the ascension was necessary for the Holy Spirit to come and make Jesus’ incarnation in believers possible.

The account of the ascension is recorded as follows in the Book of Acts, “After His suffering, He presented Himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around Him and asked Him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Act.1:3-11).

Angels Announcing Jesus Return At The Ascension: “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Act.1:11) (Wiki Commons)

What is the work of Jesus that the Spirit will articulate in the world? Jesus Himself answers, “And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged” (John 16:8-11).

Here, Jesus explains sin very simply – it’s a person’s refusal to believe in Him as Savior: “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” So, sin has to do with faith – faith in Jesus! It’s very simple, very plain, sin is more than an individual act of sin, it is our refusal to believe in the Messiah who atones and cleanses us from sin as humanity’s High Priest in heaven today. Sin is the condition of man’s self-determination controlled by the devil, and righteousness is the condition of the Spirit inspired by Christ. In our fallen state of existence, we exist in the sin condition, and the only way out is to step out from it into the sinless and righteous condition of Jesus through the Spirit’s presence. Hence, Jesus speaks of being “born again” into a new life in the Spirit. (John 3:1-8) You can read my post titled, “Holy Spirit Manifests Jesus’ New Humanity in Man” at: http://bulamanriver.net/10075

Why does the passage above says, “concerning righteousness (sinlessness) because I go to the Father?” Because Jesus has ascended to the Father’s right hand and remain as man’s eternal High Priest mediating for man’s absolution and right standing with God the Father. The Bible says of Jesus, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 5:1, 5-7). Paul says, “There is one Mediator between God and man, the Word of God who is Himself a man, Jesus Christ” (1 Tim 2:5). A High Priest stands between sinful man and our holy God mediating on man’s behalf for all human shortcomings. Paul says, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (as mankind’s High Priest) (Rom.8:36, my emphasis).

Dove, Symbol of Holy Spirit and God’s Love and Power  Descended upon Man on Pentecost fulfilling the Prophet’s Prophetic Vision: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28). (Pic: Wiki Commons)

When Jesus said, “Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged” it means Christ has defeated the instigator of sin, Satan. Judgment came about when Jesus was victorious over the devil in the temptations in the Judean wilderness, and when He died upon Calvary on His cross as the final answer to sin.

So, that is the 3-fold message the Spirit brings to the world – it is about Jesus saving us from sin once for all time; Jesus becoming our righteousness through His High Priestly mediating role in heaven; and Jesus bringing judgment by defeating the enemy the promoter of sin in mankind through the temptations and His death on the cross! This is why the ascension is of utter importance to the whole world.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* as a Bulamanriver.**  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,  

(Your Servant In Christ)

* Triune Life: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. It’s foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because it is the nature of God. Love is both a noun and a verb. We are called Love because we live by Love as God’s own children. It means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means as children of God we live the 3-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself under the influence of the devil. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036

**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.com, where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living” Or, you may go to the directory banner at top and click “Mission” where you will find more information.

Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information. Thank you.

“THE CROSS” BY KIANG P LEE

“Anyone who does not carry his Cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luk.14:27)

Greetings Friends!

As we approach the time of year when we commemorate the passion and death of Jesus Christ, let us dwell on a topic that’s relevant: the Cross! The Cross is the symbol that is central to the Christian faith. More than a symbol, the Cross is a way of life. What does the Cross mean? How does it affect your life as a person who seek to follow Jesus, or, have been a Christian but struggling to find meaning in your Christian life? Let’s answer that question in this post. The Cross is the doorway into the light of God. We leave behind the spiritual darkness of sin and rebellion. Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12, NLT). Yes, Jesus took our darkness and gave us His light. He proclaimed further, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9, ESV).

“Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their Cross daily and follow Me” – Matt.16:24. (By James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum, Wiki Commons)

There are passages of the Bible which are considered fundamental and unique to the Christian faith. It’s meaning defines who we are in our Christian walk. When lived out, its meaning conveys a lasting impression upon us. One such passage is taken from the Gospels where Jesus quoted the pillar of the Christian faith, saying, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their Cross daily and follow Me” (Matt.16:2425-27). There is no denying this passage presents that over-arching, comprehensive, mandate for Christians. The statement carries such weight and conveys a powerful effect that the whole meaning of the Bible and the Gospels can be said to be encapsulated in that one verse. Another passage like this where you could almost compress the message of the Bible is John 3:16. Luke records Jesus’ statement about the Cross in a more urgent stance, “Anyone who does not carry his Cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke14:27). Jesus is saying we cannot claim to be a Christian, our faith walk is of no effect, if we are not “carrying our Cross daily,” or at least until we are prepared to carry Jesus’ Cross. But what does it mean really?

It is so vital that we understand the meaning of this passage, or else we may believe, much worse live, a pseudo Christian life. Can we articulate the meaning of the Cross?  Are we truly followers of Jesus Christ? Or, are we Christians by name only? My hope is by the end of this post you can come away with a fresh understanding of what it means to “carry your cross daily,” and a whole new world it opens up with the blessed life of a true Christian. What is the Cross?

The primary meaning of Jesus’ Cross that’s common to all believers is its portrayal of the Love of the Father who gave His only Son to enter our human existence, live a perfect life, and ultimately die as a sacrifice for our atonement to make possible the forgiveness of human sins, and by His resurrection and ascension to heaven, He opened the way to human immortality as God’s gift to mankind. (John 3:16-17,15) Yes, it is the resurrection to human immortality that was and continues to be the power behind the story of the Cross. (1 Cor.15:14-19) That is the default position believers have about Jesus and His Cross

The Historical Silhouette of Calvary with Three Crosses is Symbolic of the One-ness of the Triune God in the Death of Jesus upon His Cross. (By James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum, Wiki Commons)

So, the primary meaning of the Cross is forgiveness and freedom from the prison of sin. It was upon the Cross that Jesus was crucified and shed His blood and died for the atonement of all human sin in perpetuity. So, “carrying your Cross daily” means to be in a state of ongoing forgiveness and renewal, so peace with God is attained and maintained continuously and to ultimately bring immortality to the believer. As Paul affirms, our hope rests upon the resurrection to immortality, or our faith is in vain. (1 Cor.15:14-19)  As Paul concludes, “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life (without eternal life), we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Cor.15:19, emphasis added).

As we saw earlier, it means we have left behind the dark world of the devil and entered the “door” into the “light” of Jesus’ supernatural world with the Father and the Spirit (Triune Life*). However, there is a flip side to forgiveness, it is called repentance. Forgiveness springs from the gift of repentance. Without repentance of personal sins there is no forgiveness and renewal. Yes, repentance is a gift we can request and receive, for no one is sinless. (Luk. 24:46-472 Tim.2:251 John 2:1Rom.3:22-25) Peter announced to the people, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away (forgiven)” (Act.3:19, emphasis added). Carrying our Cross is about a change to our outlook on life in terms of sin (darkness) and virtue (light). From evil to good; from corruption to honor; from deceit to integrity; from deplorable to principled.

The words “must deny themselves” we read in Matthew is synonymous with repentance for it depicts the believer taking responsibility for his/her actions. So, “carrying our Cross daily” depicts a state of ongoing repentance, forgiveness, and freedom through the Cross of Jesus. But as we shall see, the Cross is the doorway into a deeper Loving relationship with the Triune God which brings about the blessed eternal life we would not otherwise know and apprehend. The Cross of Jesus brings the human mind to a new level of consciousness of the divine life of God’s Triune nature. In fact, humanity was created to be able to receive such divine truth because man had this divine hope deposited in the human mind when God created mankind in His divine image. (Gen.1:26-27)

As an interesting observation that many believers think “carrying your Cross daily” is synonymous with carrying the trials, and burdens of life upon their backs as Jesus did with His Cross. Is that what it means? No, the Cross means we carry the responsibility of an ongoing repentant attitude, a new way of life, so we are in a consecrated condition of forgiveness and freedom through renewal always. It is from that blessed state of existence that God blesses His children abundantly. So, we will examine how we become blessed recipients of being in a sacred state of being sinless through constant daily forgiveness and renewal (Cross). (1 Cor.1:30Matt.6:12).

Think about this for a moment, before we became believers, prior to Jesus giving us the command to “carry our Cross daily,” we were laden with the trials and tribulations of life either way, so what difference does Jesus’ Cross make? The trials and tribulations doesn’t go away. The explanation above appears to be saying that Jesus is merely a cheerleader encouraging us on to bear the weight of the burdens in our trials and tribulations. Is that all Christ means to us – a cheerleader, rather than an unwavering Problem-Solver? Friends, Christ came to remove our burdens so we carry them no more. As our Savior, His role is to save us! The Cross is about alleviating our burdens and bring healing and freedom through His constant mediation.

Am I saying that once we become believers our trials and problems are supposed to magically disappear into thin air and freed from all our burdens? No, not in the least! Upon conversion something changes…while we use to carry these burdens under the mindset of the unbeliever, now we do so with the mindset of the repentant believer who “carries the Cross daily.” Keep this in mind, all the trials we face, all the problems, hardships, heartaches, and pain we undergo, are all symptoms and consequences of sin that Jesus died on His cross to remove. Make no mistake, we still have the pains we suffer as the result of our daily battle with sin. (Eph.6:11)

We carry with us the wounds and side effects of sin. The magnitude of sin weighs us down and they leave battle scars in our lives – emotional problems of guilt, anxiety, depression, anger, suicidal tendencies, and man’s inhumanity to man and whatever else we have. But, as “we carry our cross daily” we are “nailing” all sin and its aftereffect onto the cross rather than “carrying” and being permanently bogged down and hurt by them. (Col.2:14; 1 Pet.2:24) Rather, the Cross pictures not only forgiveness but renewal through the work of the Spirit or sanctification. We “carry our cross” so we may find rest in Jesus from sin and its repercussion, not be burdened by them.

In a world ruled by the devil we take sin so much for granted that sin has numbed our sensibilities to the good and inspirational qualities in life. Spiritually, God says the sin-condition holds us spiritual prisoners as in an “iron-smelting furnace” (Deut.4:20). The life of slavery with absolutely no freedom whatsoever, the life of extreme hardships under cruel and unforgiving taskmasters, the life of enormous suffering, pain, and deprivation, and death, which Israel endured as an enslaved people, was to picture to us in a tangible way we can visualize, what we are experiencing and where we are at in our spiritual lives today, when we fail to receive Jesus as Savior. Recall, it was only upon Israel’s act of faith in sacrificing a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts, that they were finally freed. (read Exo.12, note V.7) The blood of the lamb was picturing Jesus’ own sacrifice and the shedding of His blood at the Cross.

Hence, the Cross is so vital which brings an alternate reality of liberty in Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Cross, through repentance and forgiveness, destroys sin and opens the door to the miraculous life in the Spirit which alleviates and remove our trials and tribulations which are consequences of sin and brings freedom and rest (peace). That is the connection between the two – it is an exchanged life of transposing light for darkness, good in place for evil, Love in place of fear. And it comes through ongoing repentance and forgiveness we manifest in “carrying our Cross daily.”

As I said, it’s experiencing an alternate reality in Christ through His Cross. Hence, we read Paul’s words in this regard, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead (immortality)” (Phi.3:10, italics mine). Can we see how vital is Jesus’ command to “Carry our Cross daily?” His desire is to bring us freedom and joy in an alternate life both now and forever. Therefore, He wants us to live in Him and He in us, to make that life possible.

The Descent From The Cross
(By James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum, Wiki Commons)

The trials and problems don’t disappear for two obvious reasons: first, we are still living in Satan’s evil world that is dominated by sin, so much so that sin still has its direct and secondary effects upon us all. We are all by-products of Satan’s world that was sold to sin at the hands of Adam, until Christ the second Adam came to save us. (1Cor.15:2245) Second, in our former life as unbelievers, all of us have stubborn habits and behaviors formed long, long ago that’s molded by sin into our rebellious, depraved, self-centered nature and way of life. That will take time and effort with the inspiration of the Spirit to eradicate and bring about the change in line with God’s fruits of Love. (1 Cor.13) But change we will – as we “carry our Cross daily” with the help of the Spirit’s power.

We must focus on what the Spirit is doing in us, cleansing the temple of human life. (1 Cor.3:16; 1 Pet.1:2). If we focus on the fallen humanity of the flesh then we see nothing but sin and weakness. If we focus on the work of the Spirit, then we will see the risen humanity in Christ, who brings forgiveness, power, and renewal. This is how Jesus encourages us on how our perspective should be always, “The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life” (John 6:63). Remember what the process of cross-carrying does to us, Paul says, “Get rid of the old yeast (sin), so that you may be a new unleavened batch–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor.5:7). Who are you really? An unleavened batch, that means you are pure (leaven stands for sin) because of Jesus mediation through the Spirit’s power who sanctifies man by personalizing God’s Word (Jesus) in us. (John 1:1)

To the ancient Israelites, the Cross was presented to them in the picture of the Passover when they slew an unblemished lamb and utilized its blood as expression of protection and freedom. What they did was an expression of their faith and desire to be delivered from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. (Exo.12:21) The sin-condition is the form of spiritual slavery. The Israelites thereafter commemorated the Passover ritually each year to remind them of one thing – the basic craving which defines our humanity – personal and collective (national) freedom. For Israel, the Bible states, “But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today” (Deut.4:20). Yes, it was liberty from Egyptian bondage that was sure to bring death upon everyone of them. Also, the Passover and the sacrifice of the lamb had its prophetic meaning. It reminded Israel of the true Messiah to come who will bring genuine freedom from bondage of sin and immortality. Passover reminded them of the power of God’s Love which was unleashed upon Egypt in order to free them from the bondage of suffering and death. Likewise, Paul said, “Get rid of the old yeast (sin), so that you may be a new unleavened batch–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor.5:7).

Christ our Passover came so we can obtain freedom from the personal spiritual bondage of sin which brings on the burden of trials, tribulations, suffering and pain. It is a lame excuse to say that God tempts His people. No, our own rebellious nature tempts us, and this finds its origin from the devil, not God. The devil is the author of rebellion against God, not man. But through Adam’s fall man adopted the rebellious nature from which the Cross of Jesus will save anyone who believes. (John 11:26) The Bible says, “He (God) tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust” (Jam.1:13-14, NAS).

It is impossible to imagine a world free of all the spiritual bonds of sin and its repercussion…but that was Eden in all its glory. Adam and Eve were the only humans who ever lived and knew what it was like to live under God’s perfect world. God’s promise and plan is to bring humanity back to that lost paradise through the second Adam, Jesus. (Luk.23:43Rev.21:1-7)

File:The Bible panorama, or The Holy Scriptures in picture and story (1891) (14598233338).jpg

Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve Ejected from Eden (Wiki Commons)

If the Cross brings a true liberating experience, how exactly do we make it part of us and enjoy the blessed life it brings, both today and forever in His eternal family? So, what does “Carry your Cross daily” mean? To begin with, this is not our Cross, but the Cross of Jesus. It becomes “our” Cross when we take ownership of it by becoming believers and followers of Jesus. There is only one Cross – the Cross of Jesus. Paul speaks eloquently of what it means to “Carry your Cross daily.” He said, “I have been crucified with Christ (Cross), and I no longer live, yet I live, but 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). There is so much packed in that one verse that to unpack its meaning is imperative to our understanding of the subject of the Cross.

There are three elements to the Cross Paul gives us: crucifixion (repentance and forgiveness), resurrection, and faith (sanctification/renewal). So, here we see two escalating steps we have been made to climb through the door of repentance and forgiveness: resurrection and faith. First, by saying “I am crucified with Christ” Paul’s meaning is that since Jesus died for all my sins, (past, present, future) then He essentially took my rebellious depraved self with Him to the Cross where I was nailed with Him and no longer live. That is the only legitimate way that we can explain how past, present, and future sin is kept in check and forgiven – because we are “carrying our Cross daily” through His mediation as High Priest in heaven today. The scriptures tell us this about Jesus role today, “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace (forgiveness) to help us in our time of need” (Heb.4:14-16, italics mine). This is the process of the Cross: repentance and forgiveness, resurrection, and faith. This rebellious self (false self) is the root cause of sin and pain in life, and all the repercussion sin generates resulting finally in death.

This is vital to the message of the Cross which Paul expounds further to the Romans, “We (the depraved sin-self) are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?…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 (true self). 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” (Rom.6:25-8). That makes the first lesson of the Cross abundantly clear: “Our “false 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” through the gift of repentance. Christ came and brought to us His new perfect humanity – His Immanuel (“God with us”) humanity. (Isa.7:14) Paul said God the Father “predestined us to be conform to image of His Son,” and that image is the likeness of His new sinless humanity and becomes the “true self.” (Rom.8:29; see also 2 Cor.5:21)

From the passage we read in Matthew, Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will find it” (Matt.16:25) Here, “life” is not our physical bodily life, but the “false self” that is housed in the body and dictates the body’s actions. The human body is the temple for the Spirit to do His sanctifying work. (1 Cor.3:16) We lose our “false self” on the Cross, in order to gain our “true self” in the new humanity Jesus brought from the Father, and comes to us through a resurrection or being “born again.” This brings the next element.

“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” Rom.6:5 (Resurrection of Jesus Christ, By Car Heinrich Bloch, Wiki Commons)

The second element shows we have escalated to the resurrection: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, yet I live, but not I, but Christ lives in me” (true self) (Gal.2:20). To the Romans, Paul said, “If we have been united with Him in a death like His (death of the false self), we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His” (birth of the true self)  (Rom.6:5). Apparently, in Paul’s writing he speaks of the resurrection in a two-fold reality; one that is present bodily, commonly called, “born again.” (John 3:37) Then, there is a future spiritual-bodily resurrection at Christ’s second coming. (1 Cor.15, esp. V.51-54). So, in this bodily earthly existence, “resurrection” means to exist in the “true self” in Christ.

Again, as we look at the passage about the Cross from Matthew, Jesus said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matt.16:26). We ask ourselves, are we going through life with its usual trials and hardships to gain the material wealth we seek and crave through the “false self” who does not have a clue about “carrying his Cross daily?” If so, then we are living at the expense of sacrificing our “true self,” the new humanity in Christ. Then no amount of worldly possessions will ever bring us to a place of peace, joy, and the blessed life which only one who “carries his/her cross daily” can authentically generate. (Matt.6:33Prov.10:22) Paul said, “Do not think about how to gratify the natural desires of the flesh, but instead clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom.13:14). Carrying our Cross is the path to true abundance in God’s Love.

The third element is the aspect of faith, the faith of Jesus, to be exact: “…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). The aspect of resurrection goes hand in hand with the aspect of the faith of Jesus, because it is impossible to live life in this resurrected “true self” without the living faith of Jesus. We experience the ‘bodily resurrection’ which Paul expresses this way, “…yet I live, but not I, but Christ lives in me” – through the faith of Jesus. This is not the faith of the first human Adam who was sold to sin, but the faith of the new perfect humanity Jesus brought and lived on earth and was sacrificed for our redemption. During this season we partake of the bread and wine, or commonly called communion, which symbolize Jesus’ new life (body and blood) in each of us. This meaningful ritual carries a profound and compelling reminder about taking up the life of Jesus, His new ‘Immanuel humanity,’ and making it our own so we can be renewed forever in the Father’s presence.

This is not our human faith that’s limited by our five senses in our finite world, but the very personal faith of Jesus because He lives in us by the Spirit’s power who takes us beyond into His divine infinite world in heaven through the ‘curtain’ of His glorious resurrected body. The Gospel speaks of how we enter the heavenly reality through the curtain of Jesus’ resurrected body. (Matt.27:51Heb.9:3) Paul told the Hebrews, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood (cross) 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” (Heb.10:19-22; John 7:37-39). This all happens through an act of faith as Paul elaborates, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph.2:8). Of course, if it is not our faith then it has to be a gift from God our Father. Just as the Cross is not ours, so also we must speak of the faith of Jesus that’s equally not our own.

Let me ask a pertinent but equally life-altering question: what gives us the conviction that we are actually living this alternate reality we have in Christ which makes all the difference in the believer’s life? It is simply, faith! But not human faith because it is entirely powerless in the spiritual realm concerning the things of God. Only the living faith of Jesus, personalized in the believer by the Spirit, can make possible what is humanly impossible. Paul said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor.1:18).

We are compelled to ask one strategic question: How does this faith of Jesus enter our human life which makes the resurrected life in the “true self” possible? Answer: through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit! The Spirit is the Personal power of the Triune Godhead who manifests all divine attributes in human believers. Before Jesus was crucified, He told His disciples it was beneficial for them that He returned to His Father; that way, He will send the Holy Spirit or Advocate to be with them forever. (John 16:714:16-18) Jesus told them clearly what  the role of the Spirit will be, “He will glorify Me, because He will take what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14, ISV). By saying the Spirit will declare what belongs to Jesus, that speaks of the Spirit proclaiming and personifying the faith of Jesus in His new humanity in us, and more. This is the miraculous life we are privileged to live with the Triune God.

From the foregoing we are seeing how the believer is made to enter and live the “Triune Life” of God, where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are proactively involved in the salvation of the believer with a singular motivation of Love. Paul was inspired to write, “Christ brought us together through His death on the Cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through Him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father” (Eph.2:16-18). 

The Tri-Personal God – Proactively Involved in Man’s Salvation (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity – Wiki Commons)

The Spirit is the new divine life who takes up residence in us replacing the sinful and depraved “false self” that was crucified with Jesus on His Cross, and inspiring and renewing the “true self” through the Cross we carry daily. Paul said, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price (of the Cross). Therefore, honor God with your bodies” (1 Cor.6:19-20). What a new Friend and Confidante we have in the Spirit, who becomes a roommate in my life and your life. My first reaction is to take responsibility for the home (body) and ensure my Spirit roommate and I can live together harmoniously. That is what “honor God with your bodies” mean as it relates to my personal responsibility. (Amos 3:3) The purpose of the Spirit is to sanctify and renew the believer in his/her “true self” in Christ. (Tit.3:51 Pet.1:23) Paul said, “I myself am a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Rom.15:16).

Then Paul explains how we take responsibility for our body (home) honoring the Spirit, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship” (Rom.12:1). Did we get that, by “offering our body as living sacrifice” we are taking responsibility for the new life (“true self”) in the Spirit and enter into God’s majestic presence equipping us to offer “true and proper worship.” Since Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross, we see scripture equates “offering my body as a living sacrifice” with the act of “carrying my cross daily.” Whatever it takes to give ourselves so Jesus can live in us, the net result is we will have a life of overwhelming victory through His Love, so much so that whatever we encounter in life, God will always cause things to turn out to our advantage. (Rom.8:28) How so…because God has given us His precious promises which help us to make sense of all we do. (2 Pet.1:4) Yes, we live a victorious life where all of the elements we see above brings us to one sacred end: “my true and proper worship” of God in heaven, from whom all good and perfect gift originate. (Jam.1:17) (You can read about God’s Promises in my Blog, titled, “Standing On The Promises” at: http://bulamanriver.net/15209)

To “carry our Cross daily,” in its simplest form, means we experience an ongoing forgiveness because we no longer live to ourselves in our “false self” which has been crucified with Jesus on His Cross, but Christ now lives in us through the “true self” by the Spirit’s enduring presence. With Herald’s* help we are led to offer our life as “living sacrifice” empowered by the living faith of Jesus through the Spirit who unites us with Jesus in heaven. And this three-fold activity of the Tri-Personal God is what keeps us holy and sinless. Since the Cross we carry belongs to Jesus, and since the Spirit is indivisibly One with the Father and Son while residing with us simultaneously, then He (Spirit) is constantly transporting us spiritually before Jesus as High Priest in heaven. Here, the Cross has been eternally laid upon the altar of sacrifice in the heavenly tabernacle in order that all humanity may receive ongoing absolution for sins and trespasses past, present, and future.

The Bible says this in Hebrews, “We have such a High Priest (in Jesus Christ), One who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a Minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. For every High Priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices” (Heb.8:1-3, my emphasis). We are the subjects of this scenario offering ourselves as “living sacrifice” upon the Cross we carry before the Father in our act of “true and proper worship.” The Book of Hebrews speaks about Jesus and His High Priestly office before His Father in heaven.

White Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit, and Activator of the living Faith of Jesus in Man and the Power to be “Living Sacrifices” (Wiki Commons)

Now, the High Priest and His altar (tabernacle) are synonymous. A priest without an altar or tabernacle is like a person without a profession. Much like a pilot without his plane; or a captain without his ship. One cannot do without the other, both go hand-in-hand. The role of the High Priest is to be an intermediary between God and man, offering sacrifice so peace between the two continues unbroken by sin. There is only one worthy eternal sacrifice for sin which has been laid upon the heavenly altar of sacrifice by the High Priest. Jesus is both the sacrifice for sins, and the High Priest who mediates for humanity. The Cross of Jesus which we are privileged to carry by dying daily to sin and living right in Him, represent this most sacred relationship that is occurring before the Father in heaven on a daily basis. (Gal.5:20Rom.6:5-108:361 Cor.15:29-31)

Therefore, each day as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” (Matt.6:12), we are “carrying our Cross” in the Spirit’s power and surrendering ourselves in the tabernacle of the High Priest in heaven to receive ongoing atonement, absolution, and sanctification in order that we may be joined and made one with the Father in divine completeness. (2 Cor.5:211 John 1:9) For this has been the Father’s desire from the start – to be one with His human children whom He created in His own image and likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) This was His plan and His yearning from the beginning of time which He makes plain in His covenant promise to man, “I will be their God and they will be My people” (Jer.31:332 Cor.6:16Heb.8:6-13)

The writer of Hebrews speaks poignantly of this divine environment we are privileged to enter in heaven through Jesus, “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our times of need… You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God Himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the One who mediates the new covenant between God and people” (Heb.4:14-1612:22-24). O, what a place that no words can describe. What a wonderful company to be with and to keep. And herein lies all our answers to life and its fullest expression of living joyfully which is carried through in the presence of our heavenly Father, God Almighty!

Though man’s existence is temporary and ends in death, he has the potential for eternal life in the resurrection and to share eternity with the Father, Jesus, and the Spirit. Man’s immortality is secured in Jesus who is Himself the Personification of the resurrection. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25a). What will be the fate of sin? Sin is so abhorrent with God that it took paradise from us, and alienated mankind from God, the source of true life and Love. It has brought untold suffering and pain upon mankind throughout human history, and continues to this day and will in the future. Regardless, no obstacle will hold back God’s Love, and it had to take the Son of God sacrificing Himself as a sinless substitute to atone and restore humanity to God. Sin is the cause of death, but ironically death will be the final blow to sin. Paul said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). Yes, with immortality death loses its venom and power.

When we will have been resurrected into bodily spiritual beings like Jesus, Paul says, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor.15:51-57Rom.8:29). Yes, the final blow to sin will be its own punishment it hands out to sinful humanity, death itself. Death’s fate will be consigned to its place in the fantasy world of fiction. Human immortality (life without end) is God’s answer to death. The Bible says, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phi.1:6).

If there is a Higher Power who calls man to the noblest quest of being fashioned into the very divine image of God, who will judge all mankind and confer immortality, then there is moral palpability in all we do in this earthly life. Jesus ends His discourse in Matthew saying, “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matt.16:27). At the final judgement, we will be judged by these words of Jesus, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to Me” (Matt.25:40; also read Matt.25:31-46). In other words, all our actions in this life and the motivations which trigger them, have eternal consequences. Our relationship with each other is a sacred activity we indirectly have with God Himself for we are all reflections of God in His divine image. (Gen.1:26-17) We either live life “carrying our Cross daily” as a way of life, or we fail to do so. We either exist in the “false self” or the resurrected “true self” in Christ through the power of the Spirit.

I hope you can see the good, the glory, and the honor of “carrying your cross today” and every day, so we may be in a condition of forgiveness, renewal, and unity with God our Father, and one another. And here is the greatest take away – we take ownership of the Cross and share it with the world that’s alienated by sin and become ambassadors helping reconcile people to God. (Matt.28:18-20Rom.15:162 Cor.5:20) There is no more nobler act a person can do for his/her fellow human than that.

The Passover/Easter season is the most solemn occasion in the Christian calendar. Yet, it is also a time of great joy and rejoicing for we understand the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus for mankind. I wish you all a Happy and Joy-filled Easter.

(For additional reading you may go to: http://bulamanriver.net/11993) If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”** as a Bulamanriver.***  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,                                                                                                                                (Your Servant in Christ)                                                                               

*Herald: is the name I have come to use to personalize my Friendship with the Holy Spirit.

** Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Being of God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself under the influence of the devil. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036

***Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.com, where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living” Or, you may go to the directory banner at top and click “Mission” where you will find more information.

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information. Thank you.

“STANDING ON THE PROMISES” BY KIANG P LEE

“For all of God’s promises have been Fulfilled in Christ with a Resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” Ascends to God for His Glory” – 2 Cor.1:20

Greetings again Friends! This month I would like to share this post with you about the vital topic of the abundant promises God has given us in His Word, the Bible. The Promises of the Bible are supposed to pave the way for a blessed, more predictable, and less worrying life, for those who truly believe in them. I hope you will find my post beneficial and promising as we seize hold of a substance that’s truly bigger than life itself – God’s Promises.

The Creation of the Earth is Based Upon God’s Promise to Create Humanity In His Likeness. Thus, Earth Was Created as A Home and Base to Fulfill That Specific Purpose (Gen.1:26-27)

What is a promise? A promise is something, usually a benefit, one undertakes to give to another for accomplishing a certain task or assignment. The promise is accompanied by conditions on how the task is to be carried out in the agreement worked out beforehand. There is a vital ingredient which makes a promise workable and achievable. Without it there is no weight nor worth in a promise. That ingredient is faith, or, trust, belief, confidence, in the whole process. The two parties must have faith in each other’s commitment, so their word becomes their bond. If the words of a promise cannot be trusted, then the transaction cannot take place. Hence, no matter how good and beneficial a promise may be, without mutual trust, no party benefits. So, sometimes a third party enter the scene to bridge the trust-gap by becoming the guarantor and ‘comforter’ who unifies the two parties in the promise.

The Creation of Adam was Based Upon God’s Promise to Make Humanity A Species In His Image (Gen.1:26-27)

So, that is the basic anatomy of a promise: there is the promiser who makes the promise, and there is the promisee to whom the promise is made. Where needed, a third party acting as guarantor is brought in as a ‘comfort agent’ to the whole process. Then, there is the task the promisee undertakes to do in accordance with the conditions set out in their agreement. The conditions provides the spirit and tone under which the task must be done in order for the promiser to honor the promise.

Many are surprised to find that as Creator, God has made many, many, promises to mankind. Why did God make all these promises? The basis for all the promises in the Bible finds its meaning and purpose in one preeminent promise that forms the backbone for all other promises. That is the promise of immortality! When God sacrificed His only Son for humanity, there was only one stated objective and promise for doing so: immortality. Listen, “For God Loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (immortality)” (John 3:16, italics mine). There is no other reason given for Jesus’ role as Savior other than to bring humans immortal life. God is immortal, and He desire that His human children must inherit immortality so humans become His eternal children and live forever with Him. This was the same objective God uttered in the beginning when He created mankind. (Gen.1:26-27) Immortality means everlasting life, and divine unity with the Creator.

purple Freedom lighted freestanding letters on brown surfacelove spark text

Love and Freedom was Promised to Humanity by Creating Man in His Likeness. They Are Twin Sides of God’s Divine Nature to Guide Mankind Upon this Earth. 

Immortality is the cornerstone of the New Covenant Promise that is ratified in Jesus’ blood. He is Mediator of the Covenant Promise. (Heb.9:14-15) The central premise of the Covenant (promise) states, “I will be their God, and they will be My people” – in other words, to become God’s immortal children. (Heb.8:10, 6-13). We can remain His physical children and nothing more, but that endures for the life-expectancy of human life, which is around 70 years, or more. (Psa.90:10) Human destiny is to become God’s immortal children. How do we rationally compare 70 years with eternity? It can’t be done, and God gives us a prop to consider, “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Pet.3:8). Taking 70 years as reference (70x365x1000), that would give us 25,550,000 days/years. Can you imagine living as long as 25,550,000 million years? It’s just a prop to help humans conceptualize immortality, even though eternity is infinite and uncountable. Numbers mean nothing with immortality – there is no past nor future to count, just the present. With immortality, time and keeping count has no meaning. Though God made us mortal for His purpose, He relates with us in our mortality, with the goal of human immortality as His ultimate destiny for us.

So, all the biblical promises hang on that ultimate divine objective of bringing humanity to everlasting life. If you remove the promise of immortality, then all the remaining promises in the Bible has no legs to stand on. Paul makes this clear, “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Cor.15:19). What Paul said is if a person believes that the purpose of Jesus mediation is merely to bring the good life for our physical existence alone and nothing more – no immortality – then we are the most pitied of all humans. The purpose of the Jesus’ promise is to bring humans into God’s preeminent promise of becoming divine immortal children.

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The Human Mind, Created By God So Humanity May Communicate With The Divine Will and Fulfill God’s Promised Purpose for Mankind

But we are mortal humans made from the soil and dirt of the earth, not immortal spirit like the Creator. God said to Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen.3:18). So, we know where we are headed if God were not to confer the promised gift of immortality: six-feet under in the grave-pile of human dust. How does mortal humans navigate and cross this seeming impossible chasm into a life of never-ending existence? Yes, how does God go about fulfilling this unmatchable promise of immortality upon humanity? This is where the anatomy of the promise we covered kicks into place.

But first, let’s ask a pertinent but vital question. Why did God give such amazing promises which boggles the human mind to mankind who live well below His glorious, holy and divine existence? The Psalmist asked the same question, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (Psa.8:4). Yes, God could well live alone in His Tri-Personal Being, without the baggage of human sin to contend with and distress Him? Yes, why bother with sinful humanity? The passage we read earlier answers, “For God so Loved the world” (John 3:16). The scripture states, “God is Love,” therefore, His whole philosophy and posture towards life and everything is and will always be: LOVE! (1 John 4:8) Why did God create the human race? Out of the sheer abundance of His Love, and with the unbending objective of Love itself! Therefore, the Genesis account of man’s creation can quote God more precisely as saying, “Let Us make man into Our Love-image and Our eternal-likeness” (Gen.1:26, italics mine).

waterfalls between trees during day time

Out Of God’s Promised Love He Planted A Celestial Garden for Our First Parents. He Gave Then Two Trees to Choose From. It was to Test Their Love for His Purpose for Humanity.

By creating humans in His own eternal likeness, God revealed His preeminent promise to bring mankind to immortality. God’s image IS Love and everlasting life, with no beginning, nor end.  Besides being Love in His nature, He possesses immortality in Himself. Thus, He has the power to impart Love and eternal life to whomever He chooses, listen, “And this is the Promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life” (1 John 2:25, BSB). Jesus said, “What is impossible with man (everlasting life) is possible with God” (Luk.18:27, italics mine). Love and immortality goes hand in hand. So, how do we remain in contact with the God who created mankind and gave humans the promise of immortality and Love to go with it?

Let us get back to the structure of a promise we touched upon: there is a promiser on one side, and the promisee on the other. Then, there is the task to be performed by the promisee in accordance with the conditions agreed to by the two parties. The Promiser is God, and the promisee is man. The agreement is called the New Covenant in the Bible. (Heb.8:10, 6-13) The conditions stipulates how the agreement is to be carried out. As we will see, the conditions are actually other promises and gifts God makes freely available to humans in executing the preeminent promise of immortality. Just because God promises something, does not mean it is a done deal. God made humans free moral agents, and where there is freedom there is a choice to be made. For only when Love is freely given and freely received, can Love become authentic. (To read more on the topic of the New Covenant, go to my Post at: http://bulamanriver.net/2993)

Cross, Sunset, Sunrise, Hill, Sky, Sun

Though Adam Fell to Satan’s Temptation, God’s Love Never waned. He Sent His Only Son to Die to Save Humanity from Sin and Eternal Death.

What are the conditions for the task laid out by God so we can receive the promised gift of immortality as per the covenant? There are five conditions for executing the agreement (covenant) which we glean from the Genesis creation account and supported by other passages of scripture. The word “image” from the creation account carries an interesting meaning and reveals vital nuances as it concerns the divine purpose in mankind. (Gen.1:26) The meaning of “image” from the original language means the “outline or representation of God Himself. This passage is not implying a picture of man or God but their function: that is God has placed within man a representation of His function: His goal, purpose and thought” (http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/articles_image.html).

Therefore, these are the five conditions which requires the promisee’s consent and participation. The conditions are not legalistic rules to follow, but they define our human/spiritual relationship of Love with the heavenly Father just as His promise of immortality is given out of Love for His human children. This is not a master/servant agreement, but a relationship agreement based upon Love between a Father and His children. The master/servant situation only arises where there’s reward for work done. The Father/Child relationship is based upon Love that is freely exchanged between them. Both relationships interweave each other and are mutually dependent. We ought to be careful and not fall into the trap of legalism thinking that our works like obedience is what qualifies us for eternal life and nullify God’s Love/freedom relationship in the process. Immortality is a free gift. A free gift cannot be earned – it is free! So, the rationale for the five conditions has to do with with the human sin-condition. These condition/promises explains God’s activity of removing rebellion (sin) which stands as a wall between Him and humans, so He may impart the free gift of everlasting life to mankind. Therefore, the five conditions are promises given gratis. (To read more on the two relationships: Father/Child & Master/Servant, go to http://bulamanriver.net/8382)

Each of these five condition/promise require the exercise of human freewill through Love, hence are conditional promises. That’s to say, a person may  reject them if he or she chooses to do so. A person can reject them to his/her spiritual and physical demise, or accept them to his/her salvation. It is a life-long process which will require a person’s free and constant Loving participation. Freedom is a divine attribute, and it is what makes these free promises conditional upon our free choice. Even though it will involve a life-long pursuit, on the other hand, the actual attainment of human immortality will occur “in a twinkling of an eye,” or instantaneously, at the resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor.15:50-53)

Let us go into each in detail.

Condition 1: We Receive Jesus Christ as Personal Savior Who Frees Us from All Sins.                         That immortal passage from the Bible states, “For God Loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The promise of immortality comes with the condition of receiving Jesus as personal Savior. The sin-condition must be removed from humanity once for all time in order for the promise of  immortality to be conferred. Hence, all God’s promises are vested in Jesus, as the Bible clearly says, “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory” (2 Cor.1:20). What this passage is saying is that God the Father will always say “Yes” to His promises when we ask, on the condition that we receive Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of mankind from the sin-condition. Sin is the impregnable wall which stands between God and man, and Jesus is the Destroyer of the wall of sin, thus giving humans access to God and the gift of immortality and all His numerous and fantastic promises.

Jesus’ saving work was not merely at the cross (past), but continues to this day in His High Priestly role in heaven mediating for our absolution and deliverance every moment of every day (present and future). We continue to carry our cross daily to show that it is the symbol of our eternal deliverance from sin and salvation (immortality). (Luk.9:23 – Read more about the “Cross of Jesus” at: http://bulamanriver.net/9688). Paul said to the Romans “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies (us through His Son). Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God (as High Priest) and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ?” (Rom.8:33-35, italics mine). Yes, Jesus took our sinful humanity unto Himself becoming the prophesied Immanuel (“God with us” – Isa.7:14). He glorified our humanity by living a sinless life, sacrificed Himself for mankind, then immortalized humanity through His resurrection and ascension. Today, every Christian live vicariously through and in His immortalized humanity through the Spirit. (Gal.2:20; Rom.8:29)

Receiving Jesus as Personal Savior (Wiki Commons)

That, in essence, is how human beings are given immortality through Jesus – through His continuous mediation to keep us in good standing forever before the Father. (1 Cor.5:21) The Bible says this of Jesus and the fact He is the Gateway into immortality, “And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. (John 10:7-10) Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:36, NLT). Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25).

Here, we see the first condition to immortality involves receiving Jesus as your personal Savior to truly give us the authentic freedom to then have a relationship with God. God’s offer of the Savior in His Son, Jesus, is free.

Condition 2: We Freely Give of Ourselves to God so He can Make us His Offspring, and call Him, Father.                                                                                    The scriptures quote God as saying, “And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor.6:18). Jesus taught us how to address God in our prayers, “When you pray, say, Our Father who art in heaven” (Luk.11:2). After His resurrection, Jesus told Mary, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God” (John 20:17). In the process of receiving Jesus as Savior (#1 above), we undergo a spiritual death and rebirth from our fallen state of being to our risen and reborn state of being in Christ. This rebirth which makes us God’s children comes through the power of the Holy Spirit, as Peter said, “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; also Gal.2:20).

Jesus affirms how a person is given this new birth in the Spirit, saying, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5, 7). God’s kingdom is His spiritual realm which is populated by immortal beings. Water is the physical representation of the cleansing work of the Spirit who sanctifies us before God. (1 Pet.1:2) If a person does not undergo this new birth by His Spirit, then they are not His children and cannot call God, Father. (Rom.8:14-17). Without the Spirit we remain lost and live as children of the devil who is the father of sinners from Adam’s fall. (John 8:44, 42) The Bible gives us a passage which reveals the intimacy that exists between God and His newborn children, “The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship (made sons and daughters). And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Rom.8:15, italics mine; also Gen1.26-27; John 3:3,7). Paul said this about the Spirit’s power who will bring humans to immortality, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give (immortal) life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Rom.8:11, NLT, italics mine; Eph.1:13).

We Undergo a Rebirth and Become God’s Offspring. Pic: Jesus Blesses Children (Wiki Commons)

Here, we see the second condition to immortality which involves receiving the Spirit who is God’s Personal nature of Love in humans. His power and presence makes us divine offspring as He lives in humans which enables us to enter into an intimate and Loving relationship with God as our heavenly Father. We have received the Son, now we receive the Spirit, and enter the Father’s Loving presence. God’s offer of His Spirit is free upon receiving Jesus as Savior. (Act.2:38)

Condition 3: We become Love-beings, fashioned in God’s Trinitarian Love-Being.                                     God not only lives in eternal existence possessing everlasting life, but more so He abides and subsists by His Tri-Personal Love nature, for the Bible states, “God IS Love” (1 John 4:8). Whether we say “God” or “Love,” as a noun they are one and the same. All He does is done through His Love, that is who God IS. To be created in His “image” means to function as He does in His Tri-Personal Love-Being and Godhead as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How does God’s Love-nature become part of a person? Humans have remained fallen beings with the rebellious image since Adam’s fall. Before the fall, Adam continuously received the divine Love from the Spirit as represented in the fruits of the Tree of Life which Adam and Eve fed themselves and remained spiritually sustained. Today, Paul provides the answer, saying, “For we know how dearly God Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love” (Rom.5:5). Yes, God’s very Love is personified in humans by the Holy Spirit’s power who dwells in them as His temple. (1 Cor.3:16-17)

From the conditions we covered so far, we see the involvement of the Triune Godhead of the Father, Son, and Spirit, as it concerns human salvation and immortality. The Father gives His Son to rescue and save humanity from the sin-condition; and the Son sends the Spirit to imbue humans with God’s Love-nature so they are made children of God the Father. Jesus said, “Unless I go away, the Advocate (Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, italics mine). At a festival occasion, Jesus stood up and told His listeners about the Holy Spirit in this fashion, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive” (John 7:37-39).

So, essentially the Holy Spirit is the third party to the promise of immortality. He is the Comforter who guarantees everlasting life. Listen to Paul’s word about the Spirit’s role, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give (immortal) life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you” (Rom.8:11, italics mine). So, we see how the work of the Tri-Personal Being of God cannot be separated from the gift of immortality  and how they compliment each other as consisting in One Triune Godhead. (Mar.12:29)

Love by its nature is relational because God Himself is relational in His Tri-Personal Being. God is not solitary but relational and interpersonal in His Triune Godhead in the Father, Son, and Spirit because He is Love. (Matt.28:18-192 Cor.13:14Eph.4:4-6Jud.1:20-21) Love, in its active sense and meaning, is further dissected into Love-fruits. (see 1 Cor.13) The Love-fruits reveals the way of life God has lived eternally in their inter-personal relationship as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:18-202 Cor.13:14) When we enter into a true Love relationship with the Triune God we extend the same Love to other people through the Spirit (Love). God has existed eternally in His One Triune Love-Being. (1 John 4:8Mar.12:29) (To read more about Love and its conflicting forbidden fruits, you may go to: http://bulamanriver.net/9199 )

Born to Live the Triune Love-Life with The Father, Son, and Spirit (Pic: Rublev’s Famous Icon of the Trinity – Wiki Commons)

Hence, in this third condition, we are called upon to personally live the “Triune Love” relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit by becoming “Love-beings” ourselves through the Spirit’s indwelling presence. (Rom.5:5) Jude reveals how immortality comes through our commitment to living the “Triune Life,”* listen, “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s Love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” (Jud.1:20-21). God’s offer of becoming “Love-beings” and living the “Triune Love-Life” is free.                                                                                       

Condition 4: We are to Reign over our Individual Life-Responses by Dispensing His divine Love in our Relationship with God, our Fellow Humans, and upon all of Creation.                                                   The fourth condition calls for us to reign over our individual lives by dispensing His divine Love upon His creation. Jesus said, “You shall Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luk.10:27; also, Gen.1:26; Rom.13:8; Psa.8:5-6; Rev.5:10). I call this the “Triune Love mandate” we covered in condition #3 above. It has to do with reign or the “dominion mandate” where the Genesis account says, “And let them have dominion (reign) over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen.1:26, ESV, italics mine). In other words, the jurisdiction of the “dominion mandate” is over all creation with the exception of other humans. You can read that passage again and you find no mention of humans in the “dominion mandate.” Why, because humans live by another mandate or function which we covered above (#3 above). That is, humans live within the “Triune Love mandate” given by Jesus, “You shall Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luk.10:27).

Having said that, it ought to be understood that the word “dominion” has been grossly and widely misinterpreted to mean to subdue, to rule over, to tread upon. The root word for dominion, yarad (to lower oneself) means to exercise skilled mastery over, rather than radah (to rule over) which means to tread upon like in a winepress. (http://www.chaimbentorah.com/2015/06/hebrew-word-study-dominion/) Jesus corrected this misinterpretation that was prevalent even among His disciples, saying,But Jesus called them to Him, and said, “You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority on them. But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt.20:25-28). Jesus was not correcting a word misinterpretation here, rather, He was referring to a totally different mandate for human beings who are called to live by God’s Love-likeness: the “Triune Love mandate.” At the last supper before His death, He washed the disciples dirty feet. (John 13:5, 12-15) He took upon Himself the role of a servant serving others, even though He was their Master. Jesus gave us the example that no matter our station in life, we are all called upon to live the “Triune-Love mandate” given to mankind at creation. Yes, one of the essence of Love is humility with which the Spirit endows humans. (1 Cor.13:4, NLT)

How can the ruler (human being) be ruled? We were never created to be subservient to one another, but to be co-rulers upon this earth through the “Triune Love-mandate.” (Psa.115:16; Psa.8:4-9) But mankind has lived trying to dominate the next person at every turn because they have misapplied the “dominion mandate” in human relationship. Instead of using our God-given dominion tendencies to rule the earth and all living matter, we wrongly use it upon humans who bear God’s ‘ruler-image.’ When rulers become the ruled, they give rise to hostility  through self-love (rebellion); instead of being mediums for good consistent with God’s outgoing Love. Have you stopped and noticed that every living thing on this earth lives harmoniously with its environment, except mankind? Why, because our difficulties are all humanly induced arising from the erroneous application of the “dominion mandate.”

The employment of this misguided and corrupted version of the “dominion mandate” has given rise to all forms of discrimination in human relationship with one another. We witness authoritarianism, racial bigotry, nationalism, gender inequality, religious persecution, income disparity, social disparity, greed, corruption, tyranny, etc. Why has human history been littered with accounts of people and nations with the endless struggle for freedom from despots, tyrants, and totalitarian rulers? Wars have been fought, revolutions were born, millions have died by persecution and even genocide, all for the freedom to be autonomous and sovereign as God created humans to be. Humans were created to be co-rulers with other humans applying both the “Triune Love mandate” with other people, and the “dominion mandate” upon all of creation. Paul proclaimed the essence of the “Triune Love mandate,” this way, “Owe no one anything, except to Love each other, for the one who Loves another has fulfilled the law” (Rom.13:8, ESV). Yes, every day we must never forget, but be on the lookout, for avenues to fulfill the debt of Love we owe our fellow humans. The level playing field on which all of humanity exist is the common likeness that tethers us to the divine Being and His Love-nature. We are to Love humans as we Love ourselves. (Matt.22:39) We follow the “golden rule” and “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luk.6:31). We are undeniably our “brothers keepers” which Jesus made abundantly clear in the story of the good Samaritan. (Luk.10:30-37)

This same Love we extend to God and our fellow humans, we now extend to all creation in the “dominion mandate” so that rulership over creation is about a caring relationship. A caring relationship inspires humans to be good stewards over creation. However, dominion without Love and care is selfish and moves humans to exploit and destroy creation. Human dominion over creation and every living thing must be applied where “one lowers oneself,” not rule and subdue, so that creation may give humanity teachable opportunities about how to Love God and each other. Nature has numerous counterparts of the divine where humans can see the reflection of God who created everything to mirror His Triune nature.

Living The “Triune Love Mandate” with Our Fellow Humans (Wiki Commons)

So, the “Triune Love mandate” is understanding who we are natured and nurtured to become, and not give in to the image of the fallen self from Adam, but to live in the risen true self in conformity with the image of Christ, the second Adam. (Rom.8:29; 1 Cor.15:45, 49) Perhaps, an analogy might be of help. Think about the force of physical gravity as the counterpart to the spiritual gravity that’s equally real and tangible. That’s to say, what gravity is to our physical environment, our spiritual gravity in the divine environment is Love – for humanity was created to reflect God’s Love-image. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8) Naturally, we compensate for our physical gravity as we grow up until we live intuitively under its domain, and it becomes second nature to us. We take gravity for granted, we don’t holler or moan about it. Here is the point, human life and all human actions answer to another equally real gravitational force – the spiritual gravitational pull of God’s Love. Just as gravity becomes ‘automatic’ so we are ‘unaware’ of its effect on all our actions – in like manner, so must Love’s spiritual gravity do the same with all our actions. His Love is expressed through His promises and His presence through His Spirit.

There is a difference though, whereas in human actions our physical gravity is spontaneous and immediate, the Love-gravity works more personally through decisions of the human mind and interaction with people and His promises. However, the chain reaction within the spiritual gravity for a wrong-doing or a good deed, may not seem immediate, it is slower but just as real. (Eccl.8:11) There is a divine purpose and intentionality in this, for Peter says, “God (Love) isn’t late with His promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining Himself on account of you, holding back the end because He doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change” (2 Pet.3:9, The Message; Psa.103:8). Yes as humans, though our deeds may not measure up, we can change and turn for the better – this is Love’s (God) way of functioning in each human life.

It is unequivocally true-to-life, the spiritual Love-gravity (“Triune Love mandate”) is just as real as our physical gravity, the only difference is one is spiritual while the other is physical. Both are unseen, and both live through the senses. We can comply with or transgress the spiritual Love-gravity. It will make or break us just as surely as the physical gravity would if we fell from a high building. The proof that spiritual gravity is real can be seen in the human suffering and all the negative consequences resulting from human interaction we see and experience all around us in the world. And yes, plenty of good and delight can also be shaped from Love when it defines our relationships and experiences. Humanity continues to suffer from this continuous and routine breach of the divine Love-gravity (“Triune Love mandate”), and sadly, humans have become more brazen at that, failing to realize that human affliction or good stems from disbelief in the reality of this spiritual gravity. (see Eccl.8:11)

So, the fourth condition requires we desist from trying to dominate another human, instead we utilize the divine “Triune Love mandate” and live within the confines of its Love-gravity, and taking care not to breach it, in our relationship with our fellow humans. God’s offer of His Love is free. 

Condition 5: The fifth condition is Faith!                                                                                                        We must believe and trust in God’s pillar promise of immortality through Jesus with all our hearts so that it motivates all our thoughts and actions. We touched briefly upon faith and trust earlier. The scriptures tell us, “It is impossible to please God without faith (trust). Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him” (Heb.11:6, italics mine). Recall that God entered into a covenant (promise) with ancient Israel at Mt. Sinai. When Israel heard the conditions of the Old Covenant (promise), they answered, “We will do everything the LORD has said” (Exo.19:8). But much later in Israel’s history, God repealed His promise because Israel did not honor their side of the agreement. (Heb.8:9) The Bible is crystal clear why God did it, “We have heard the same Good News that your ancestors heard. But the message didn’t help those who heard it in the past because they didn’t believe” (Heb.4:2). Further we are told, “God swear that they would never enter His rest… because of their unbelief” (Heb.3:18,19). Without faith and belief, nothing described in these conditions we have covered can be executed to their completion. “So, the promise (of immortality) is received by faith. It is given as a free gift… Abraham is the father of all who believe” (Rom.4:16, NLT, italics mine).

The Bible states emphatically, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matt.9:29). It means your faith is what get things done in the divine realm at first, then transforms the physical realm. The opposite of faith is to doubt or disbelief. James tell us this about disbelief, “But when you ask, you must believe 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). If doubt and disbelief dominates a person’s heart, then the journey to immortality will never begin much less attained. A person’s action goes along behind his/her faith. God says this about His promises, “God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing His mind. Does He speak and not do what He says? Does He promise and not come through?” (Num.23:19). The Words of our God is holy and He does not utter them thoughtlessly. He said that every human will give account in the judgment for every vain word they utter. (Matt.12:36) God told David His promises are as “dependable as the phases of the moon, and inescapable as weather” (Psa.89:29, The Message).

Some will say immortality is never going to be a viable proposition, it’s beyond them. Fair enough, but we are not speaking about the same faith here. They are referring to human faith that’s validated by the five human senses of sight, touch (feel), smell, hear, and taste. The sum of all human knowledge can be said to be founded upon and derived from these senses. But God’s promise of immortality is not a physical matter that can be detected by the five senses. It is spiritual, therefore, it requires a different faith. Immortality requires a spiritual faith. If it is a spiritual faith, then it has to come as a gift and a promise because we don’t have such a faith to begin with.

Jesus Heals the Blind – Faith Is The Doorway Into God’s Supernatural Realm (Wiki Commons) 

Firstly, we must realize that when God created humans in His image, the most important aspect about a person’s makeup was the human mind. God created it to be spirit-enabled like a lamp, so His Spirit can communicate with humans intellectually and spiritually. (1 Cor.2:11; Pro.20:27) Or else, how will God relate with humans and impart His plans concerning mankind’s eternal destiny? But believing in the unseen ought not to be far-fetched to the mind since it was made to be a transmitter for both physical and spiritual matters. God helps us understand its concept from the material world He created. For example, take the wind, we cannot see wind but we can feel and believe it’s power. Another is human thought, no one can see a person’s train of thought, but its power is evident through human decisions and actions. Take the invisible force of gravity which we covered earlier (#4 above), everything we do has to take this unseen force into account. So much so, that we invent chairs to break our fall when we sit. Then there is the starry sparkles which light up our night sky. What invisible power holds the universe together? No human mind can explain the existence of the universe nor how it works. Even the complexity of the physical body is still a mystery to scientists, so much more the impossible riddle of the workings of the human mind. There are many unseen forces at work we will never understand, and the scriptures tells us, “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.4:8). Immortality is a matter of the spirit which requires non-human faith, not the physical and temporary which needs no spiritual faith.

Even though human faith is lacking in spiritual matters, it is still needed. Spiritual faith has to find a bridge across this chasm which divides the physical and spiritual realms. That bridge is the human faith in the mind of a person. (Rom.3:22, AKJV) God made the human mind to comprehend both physical and spiritual matters. So, as a first step a person exercises his/her human faith to believe in the spiritual realm, and to receive the gift of spiritual faith which helps understand spiritual principles and how they interact with the physical world. In a manner of speaking, just as there are five physical senses, there also exist five spiritual senses to help us live the spiritual life in the realm of God and His angels. The human faith receives material knowledge, while the spiritual faith accepts spiritual knowledge. (1 Cor.2:11) When one commands both faiths they compliment each other and makes the person complete. Spiritual faith is the lifeblood of a person’s spiritual life. (Heb.11:6) For example, Jesus said that people “may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.” (Mar.4:12) That’s to say, seeing with our physical sight is not enough, for it is the spiritual eyes that gives us the true meaning behind what we see before us. So it goes with hearing, but without the spiritual ear we will not fully understand all there is to know about what we hear. (Job 15:8)

Listen to Paul’s words, “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…For by such grace you have been saved through faith. This does not come from you; it is the gift of God” (Eph.2:4-8). Yes, spiritual faith comes as a gift from God’s Spirit who indwells a person. Paul further said whose faith it is, “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, KJV). In another passage Paul reminds us, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe” (Rom.3:22, AKJV). Yes, it is the very personal faith of Jesus since “Christ now lives in me.” God supplies this vital faith of His Son to help us in our life’s journey upon earth until immortality is conferred at the resurrection. We don’t find this belief in God’s promise of immortality in any other species God created upon this earth except humans who was made in His likeness.

So, the fifth condition is simply receiving the gift of Jesus’ Personal Faith. God’s offer of Jesus’ Faith is free. (To read more about Jesus faith, you may go to a previous Blog Post at: http://bulamanriver.net/2811).

These are the five conditions/promises which form the backbone to the preeminent promise of immortality. Remember, although they are conditions/promises, they are offered gratis. Therefore, the gift of immortality is a free gift from our Loving Father to His children. God promised “And this is what He promised us–eternal life” (1 John 2:25). Here is the promise of immortality and how and when it will take place which Paul was inspired to record for human posterity, I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor.15:50-58).

Here, Paul is speaking of the resurrection in a futuristic sense because humans exists in time and space that is measured by the past, present, and future. But God is eternal, He is not constraint by time-space. For Him, there is no past or future, only the present. Therefore, if God exists in the present, and His utterances concerning all His promises are made in the “now,” then they are already accomplished realities in every age and circumstance. This is the same with humans, we execute deeds and make them happen in real time, in the present – not in the past or the future. Therefore, when we lay claim to any promise, it is material and tangible in the “now” as if He is speaking His promise to us live. Consequently, His promise of immortality are words spoken in the present and are certain as a done deed. Hence, for the benefit of humans who are limited by time and space, the scripture affirms this, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb.13:8). That’s to say God in Christ (Word/Promise) is always spoken live in real time to believers. Paul says, “Stand firm. Let nothing move you.” You and I can stand firm and not be moved only in something that’s real in the present. What an awesome, awesome, promise God has given us in His Son. For me, I continue to be utterly dumbfounded and am left in quiet gratitude which no words can express.

The Fountain of Eternal Life in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. (Wiki Commons) 

We exist with the Almighty God in the “now” where all His promises are self-perpetuating gifts which help us in our journey upon this earth. In fact, we will not find a circumstance we face in life where the Bible does not have a promise to cover each and every one. However, we must be cognizant of this reality that all God’s promises hinges on the promise of immortality which in turn hangs upon Jesus who is the Gateway into everlasting life. (John 3:16; 1 John 2:25) Such is the Love of God, that He has provided for all we can think of and encounter throughout life through His promises to bring us into His spiritual family for all eternity. From here on we speak of a destiny which can be accomplished only by placing our faith on His higher power. Keep in mind that immortality is God’s way of bringing humanity into divine completeness with Him, for herein lies the sole purpose for human creation and existence.

I will give you a site you can visit to read the many, many promises God gives us in the Bible. But before that, let me share this awesome prayer affirming the promise of our heavenly Father’s Love: Your Love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful You are. I’ll never quit telling the story of Your Love—how You built the cosmos and guaranteed everything in it. Your Love has always been our lives’ foundation, Your fidelity has been the roof over our world” (Psa.89:1-2, The Message). For such is the praise that comes only from the lips of one who has lived by, seen and experienced God’s sure and unwavering promises. 

You may use your search engines to explore and find sites with “God’s Promises.” Here is one you may find helpful: https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/gods-bible-promises. As you read the many, many promises of the Bible, remember that though the promises can be traced back many years since they were first uttered, even ages ago to the time of man’s creation, for God His promises are always spoken live in the “now,” for He cannot exists in the past or future, but only in the present. Hence, God is real for humanity in all times and throughout generations to come. So, His promises make sense of what we do on a daily basis. (Rom.8:28)

The Fountain of Eternal Life in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. (Wiki Commons) 

If you have any questions on this vital subject, please do not hesitate to contact me on my email: bulamanriver@gmail.com.

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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life.” Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,
(Your Servant In Christ)  

*“Triune Life” means to inherit human personhood identifying us as true persons with gifts in Christ and living according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27Rom.8:29) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional Love relationship with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life in himself (“Adamic humanity”). It means to experience the attributing Love-relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who lives and walks in you (“Immanuel humanity”). Man’s union with the Tri-Personal God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Trinitarian Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) This is a life of divine power. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092, also at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036)

*Miraculous Life: I use the term ‘miraculous life’ to mean God’s divine involvement in your life and mine, and that’s why we can be confident that every detail in our lives is being worked into something good. (Rom.8:28-31) Yes, God’s promises helps us make sense of everything we do on a daily basis. (2 Pet.1:4) Read about the ‘miraculous life’ we are privileged to live in my true-life miracle story I shared in my book and post, titled, “Miracle Living-No Ordinary Life!” I hope you find it inspiring and encourages you to receive Jesus and live the “Triune Life.” Go to: http://bulamanriver.net/2634

*Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.net, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, xulonpress.com, and other book store sites where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living” 

*Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

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