The Fire of God
“Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way,
and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
“Have this in your mind,
which was also in Christ Jesus,”
Truth became incarnate in Jesus Christ. We are told many times in the scriptures that Truth is a person; He is the embodiment of the heart and character of God Himself. Jesus boldly declared to His disciples “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”. Things buried within the Gospel of John are significant and to the human intellect often cryptic and obscure. Only by the gracious illumination of the Holy Spirit do we begin to see the veiled wonders of God. At this particular juncture Jesus chose the words “he that hath seen me” while in other places Jesus would declare “they who are of the truth, hear my voice”. On this occasion the aspect of “seeing” was the vital truth Jesus sought to convey to His disciples.
The life of Christ was lived before His disciples to an extent that others were not privy to. They beheld Him in His private moments, and they knew that He spent time alone with His Father. They witnessed the power of God flow into the lives of countless multitudes in healings, in deliverances and in the demonstration of God’s character such as in the case of the woman taken in adultery. Their exposure to Him in all facets of His life was a comprehensive revelation of the Father.
The response of Jesus to Philip’s seemingly innocent request (John 14:8) was/is heart rending and filled with a piercing truth for us as well; Truth is more than a teaching; more than something learned by the accumulation of knowledge. It is beyond the reach of human thought!
“He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father”
This powerful truth ought to revolutionize our seeking of Him. Truth cannot be contained or held within the precepts of men, for truth must be seen by the same Spirit which initiated His very conception in Mary. Truth is a person. To see Him correctly we must walk, live and abide in that same Spirit who alone can make Him known to us.
He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father.
In other words, Philip, when you beheld me feeding the five thousand by the power of compassion, when you heard me confronting the blindness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, when you saw the lepers healed, the gift of sight given to the blind, me washing the disciple’s feet, and the demonstration of power when I rebuked the storm, all of these things were the revelation of my Father. Truth is more than words; it is expressed in character and works. It is shown in our ability to minister Him to our children, it is revealed in the concourse of everyday life. It is not only the Sunday sermon; it is the Life Christ Himself shining through the medium of our humanity in our every day life. In His life as a man, within the frailty and the humanness of Christ, the glory of God was evident to such an extent that Jesus declared unequivocally: “he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father”.
“It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher,
and the servant like his lord”
The Call of God is much more than becoming familiar with His Word, more than the formation of correct doctrines and promises believed. His call to His disciples is to bear His likeness, His character, and His heart in this world!
“But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit”
2 Corinthians 3:18
It is in our “seeing” of Him that transformation occurs. While it is good to read the promises of God, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to cause us to WALK in the promises of God. The contrast between these two is as vast as the gulf between life and death. May we allow the power of the Testimony of Jesus to impact us to the core of our beings with the enormity of His Call.
He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father
Where there is no beholding of Him there can be no change.
Let us consider the words of faithful Job:
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
but NOW mine eye seeth Thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes”
Repentance is the fruit of seeing Him. Only in the seeing of Him are we freed from the limitations and confines of our fallen natures to experience the power of His Resurrection Life within.
May our hearts echo the desire of those who came to Philip:
Hearing Him brings us to obedience
Seeing Him brings us to His Likeness
“Let your garments be always white.
Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)
The free and precious gift of God in Christ is revealed in the garments of joy and salvation; unspeakable mercies of the One who died that we may live. Not only did He take upon Himself the shame, the filth and the degradation of all humanity, but he “became sin”. He who knew no sin “became sin” in order to condemn it thereby enabling us to become the very righteousness of God Himself. His intent was that by the deep operations of His Spirit upon willing hearts there would be a manifestation of His righteousness as He subdues our hearts unto Himself.
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…”
To what end was the pure manifestation of the Grace and Glory of God?
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
God in Christ crucified the weakness of our sinful flesh in order to “fulfill the righteousness of the Law” in people who walk and live in His Spirit. The precious blood of the Lamb has made a new and living way whereby we have access to the Throne of Grace. In Him alone is the power to live and grow into His likeness!
How long will we linger in the throes of unbelief; thinking His righteousness is in word only with no actual power by which we may overcome all sin? How long will we declare that the disobedience of Adam has greater authority than the perfect obedience of our Living Christ! We are here to overcome by Grace. We are here to reveal His Power by our growth into His Righteousness, not by trying to live up to the dictates of the law in the power of our own flesh. Rather as we yield our lives to Him, we will naturally walk and live by the Law of His Life within.
Growth and development into this wonder requires the tenacity of a life ever learning how to Live within the sphere of His enabling grace so “that as He IS so ARE WE in this world”. (1 John 4:17) Let us take a holy Selah here and let the wonder and the power of this glorious Word of God enter our hearts with the enormity of its “breadth, and length, and depth, and height”. (Ephesians 3:18)
Such a walk is not entered into lightly nor is it known by the confessions of the heart or the aptitude of our minds. It is entered into by faith; a living faith, which will not let us rest, compromise or settle for religious platitudes or doctrinal statements. True faith will press a heart ever onward, ever upward and will not rest until our hearts are in full submission unto Him. True faith embraces and rejoices in Christ as our Saviour, in Christ our Justifier, but its passion is to know Him as our Lord and Master.
“Why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
How is it that we are content with a salvation compromised with sin and failure? How do we settle for forgiveness of our sin without growing in the power of His Life to be free from its power and dominion? Why is it we sympathize with sin rather than contend with it? It is no wonder the world mocks the sad state of much of the church today. It is time to turn again unto Him who is able to present us faultless before His unutterable glory!
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…”
Wherever the heartbeat of a living faith resides there is a quest for victory, a pursuit for the righteousness of Christ. This can only be known by those who live under His Lordship. Where He reigns, sin flees.
As we take our place as humble disciples in the school of Christ He will direct and teach us to live by His resources, free from our internal struggles and bitterness. It is in this school that we learn His way to keep our garments white even while we walk amidst the corruptions of this world. We learn through failure and repentance. We walk on, trusting and giving heed to the Living Word which cuts and heals, breaks and mends, until we live free in Christ.
Sadly, many would rather live a “declared righteousness” and see little need to keep their garments clean. They are content with compromise, sporadic and inconsistent living, and a faith lacking in the wonder of Him.
“Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy”
Revelation 3:4 (ESV)
God Himself laments that there were only a few who kept their garments white. It is to such that overcome God gives the promise of walking with Him in the whiteness of His Spirit. May we hear His call to keep our garments clean, looking “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame”
Alone with God. God’s greatest work within an individual is often done in secret, away from the sight of others. God takes aside those upon whom His call rests, to achieve His end within their hearts. Wrestlings, breakings and spiritual insights are common to those who are “the called according to His purpose”. It is the broken vessel which most easily pours forth the fragrance and living waters of Christ. A vessel broken in the hands of God can never be broken by the circumstances of life. Broken ones are strong in God; they know that their weakness is the place of God’s power. They have learned of the One broken for them, from Whom springs joy and delight. In the secret places of God, they have discovered their call, their purpose and their destiny. Many circumvent this sanctified place of the preparation and dealings of God. They choose instead to fill their time with activities, entertainment, shallow relationships and even religious exercises in order to avoid the mystery of this alone time with God. The narrative of Lot (Hebrew meaning: veiled one) is an accurate portrayal of many today. Though righteous (2 Peter 2:7-9), he clung to the vestiges of the world while simultaneously being vexed by it. It is the conundrum of His own: loving God but also hanging on to the ways and wisdom of this world. Loved of God but lacking the intimacy and deep knowledge of Him reserved for those who come to that secret place with God.
“And when the dawn rose, then the angels urged Lot, saying, Rise up, take your wife and your two daughters who are found, lest you be cut off in the depravity of the city. And he lingered. And the men lay hold of his hand and his wife’s hand, and on the hand of his two daughters, Jehovah having mercy on him. And they caused him to go out, and they put him down outside the city. And it happened as they led them outside, he said, Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay in all the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest you be swept away. And Lot said to them, Please, no, Lord! Behold, now, Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy which You have done to me in saving my life. And I am not able to escape to the mountain lest some evil overtake me and I die. Please, now, this city is near, to flee there, and it is a little one. Please let me escape there! Is it not a little thing, that my soul may live?”
God’s call was to the mountain but, because of his undeveloped faith, Lot was fearful. He refused and asked God to change His call (on the basis of mercy) and deliver him to a small city! How sad is such a request; how dismal a faith that would forebear the call to be alone with God and choose a smaller inheritance in this world other than the one to come. Interestingly, this is the first use of the world “mercy” in scripture. Calling upon God, on the basis of mercy, to deviate from God’s original purpose is a compromise that leaves one, though still righteous, stunted in faith and growth.
“And Jacob was left alone”
It was when he was all alone that Jacob, the conniver, schemer and manipulator, met HIS GOD! It is here that the natural man is crippled, and the inward man begins to rise by God’s grace. It is here Jacob receives the New Name. It is here that the God of Abraham and Isaac now becomes the God of Jacob! Such glory awaits those who embrace the secret of being alone with God. In this place we discover who we truly are and are forced to face the flaws and horror of our true condition. In his wrestling with God, Jacob must respond to this penetrating question:
“What is thy name?”
In other words, what is your nature and motivation?
“And he said, Jacob*”
God well knew his name. This rhetorical question was for Jacob to admit and confess the truth of himself. This is an essential requirement for those whom God uses. Jesus told the woman at the well to go get her husband. At that moment she had the choice to be authentic, honest and open with God or remain unchanged and miserable. Her choice determined whether she would receive the revelation of the One who spoke with her or remain a lost and wandering soul. So it is with us. Does our encounter with God bring us to the brink of the truth of ourselves, or do we hide behind a confession of faith, a doctrine or a religious cover? Do we avoid the call to come to Him in truth and instead find a “little one” in which to hide from the penetrating eyes of God?
Alone with God
Do we dare draw near to Him? Do we dare venture alone to tread this holy ground of piercing and revelation? Do we have the stamina of heart to cast aside the offerings of a religion more concerned with covering our sin than to find in Christ the power to be free from our sin. The one leaves us bereft of any sense of spiritual identity; the other brings us to the place of “becoming” like Him in truth!
Alone with God has ever been the experience of those used mightily of God regardless of covenant (New or Old Testament).
We read of John the Baptist:
“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel”
“…immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus”
We read of John on the Isle of Patmos, Daniel, Moses, and many others who by faith drew near to the One who can take “worms” and make them “sharp threshing instruments having teeth”
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff”
Do not be fearful or tempted to compromise your walk with God in order to fit in with the consensus of many; either the cloistered ones who walk in their own counsel, nor with the multitude who frequent the broad paths. Let the lonely times, when friends, brothers and sisters reject you, be a blessing. Only as we are alone with Him can He truly purge us from the uncleanness of our own ways. Never be afraid to be Alone with God.
“Therefore, I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words…”
*Note: Jacob - “Adjective עקב ('aqeb) means overreacher; adjective עקב ('aqob), insidious or deceitful; adjective עקב ('aqob), tricky or treacherous (of terrain). Noun עקבה ('aqeba) means deceitfulness and noun עקב ('eqeb), consequence..” Abiram Publications
“Guard your steps when you go to God’s house; for to draw near to listen is better than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they don’t know that they do evil.”
The sacred place of prayer is the secret to our relationship with God. It is here where we draw near unto Him. We enter the closet of our hearts and shut out all the distractions and noise of the world around us; even the commotion within. In drawing near unto Him we enter His Presence and touch the atmosphere of Holy peace. This peace calms our troubled hearts and causes us to listen to Him alone who is our salvation. Often, in my own experience, this Peace floods in with a quiet hush to assuage my perplexities to such an extent that my requests are answered in the power of His presence alone. The wonder of His presence imparts the assurance that I truly am in His hand and need not worry about the storms without.
In God’s presence it is often far better to listen than to rush in with a multitude of requests from our anxious hearts. The calamities without are silenced by the Peace of Him within. How often in my haste I respond to things which should have been considered first in His presence. The desire of the Lord is for us to abide in prayer and in His presence throughout the day. This is not some grievous religious exercise; in reality it is His provision for us. In the storms which are coming to our land God is ever drawing us into the shelter of Himself.
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…”
There is a a quietness founded upon confidence that is a result of our dwelling in Him. This dominion of peace is not achieved by a teaching, a reciting of scriptures or some other strategy; it is the Peace known by those who dwell within the courts of His presence.
The full scripture quoted above from Isaiah is as follows:
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not”
Many thrust themselves into prayer with list of wants and petitions while missing out on the Presence of God Himself. In truth His presence is the answer to our prayers. His presence is the privilege of those who love and seek His favor, “for in His presence is fulness of joy”!
I have found that praying for others becomes more fervent if I allow His presence and love to permeate my heart first. His presence can ignite a deeper love than my own and I find the fire of Him brings a far more intense prayer than anything I could manufacture. How good is it for us to come to His House of Prayer to first of all listen and allow our hearts to be filled with Him rather than rush blindly into the “sacrifice of fools”.
God has afforded us a time now to prepare for the days ahead. It is a time of great learning to draw near to Him to listen and to discover the “voice of stillness” (still small voice KJV) that we may meet this Day “Hid with Christ in God”.
“Be silent before the face of the Lord Jehovah, for the day of Jehovah is near. For Jehovah has appointed a sacrifice; He has consecrated ones He called”
Literally in the Hebrew: “He has sanctified His Called Ones”; those in whom His presence dwells and who receive His correction, and who “follow the Lamb” obediently wherever He leads.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
In physics, a law describes the behavior and the observable function of a particular phenomenon.
“Laws are descriptions — often mathematical descriptions — of natural phenomenon; for example, Newton’s Law of Gravity or Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment. These laws simply describe the observation. Not how or why they work” Coppinger
Newton’s Law of Gravity describes the behavior of gravity. Gravity does not exist because of the law; the law simply describes the inherent operation of gravity. So it is in the Law of the Spirit. The Law of Righteousness is a Law which describes how a righteous life lives. It cannot make one righteous it is simply given to describe the behaviour of a righteous life.
“For the law made nothing perfect”
It is not in our trying to keep the Law that we are spiritual. It is because we are becoming spiritual that the Law of Life (His Life) is fulfilled. Whenever we break the Law it is because we are lacking the LIFE OF THE ONE who alone can keep it. Paul, referring to the Law as given by Moses, declared the following truth:
” For we know that the law is spiritual…”
The issue is that we are carnal; it is an absurdity to attempt to keep a spiritual law when by nature we are not. The only hope for any individual is by virtue of the Spirit of Christ invading our lives. By His power we receive a new nature, a spiritual nature which naturally fulfills the Law of God. Only a spiritual nature can fulfill a spiritual law.
“For we know that the law is spiritual:
but I am carnal, sold under sin…”
Here is the great contradiction in the life of every individual. The natural man cannot fulfill a spiritual law. There is no amount of striving, no matter how earnest the effort, that will ever enable one nature to fulfill the law of another. In the Law of Gravity, if an object has mass, it is subject to its inherent law of attraction. In spiritual things where there is a residue of the natural man, he will find himself subject to the Law of Sin and Death. It cannot be otherwise. What is this Law of Sin and Death?
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”
There is only ONE WAY to be free from the Law of Sin and Death; it is in our discovery of the power of Christ to liberate us from walking in the flesh! This freedom requires a new nature. This nature must be freed from the pull and the horror of the Law of Sin, a law which holds all things carnal in its deadly grip. The freedom of the Law of Life is the provision of God. It is in our abiding in Him that we are freed from the chains of sin.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”
The simplicity of the provision of God is clear. The agonizing struggle for all who are seeking freedom from this Law of Sin and Death is described clearly in Romans 7.
“For what good I desire, I do not do. But the evil I do not desire, this I do. But if I do what I do not desire, it is no longer I working it out, but the sin dwelling in me. I find then the law, when I desire to do the right, that evil is present with me. For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man; but I see another law in my members having warred against the law of my mind, and taking me captive by the law of sin being in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Paul called this agonizing dilemma a war. It is a war to those desiring to fulfill the Law of God but who constantly find the Law of Sin holding dominion over their actions. The truth is our attempts to fight this war with our carnal nature is like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket; as futile as it is absurd. To try to overcome the flesh by the power of flesh is like a man jumping up from the earth in order to over-come the Law of Gravity. That momentary state of freedom is quickly erased by his inevitable return to the ground. Let this truth stand as God’s verdict upon the carnal mind (the natural man) and especially to those who ascribe to the futility of religion.
“…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
The Law of God decrees (as evidenced in all creation) that the carnal man is subject to the Law of Carnality. Its nature determines its behavior. Those who live in the Spirit of God live their life according to the nature of His Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-25).
“Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
The logic of God is clear; the fruit of a thing reveals the nature of it. A thistle cannot bear figs. James states that fresh water and saltwater cannot flow from the same fountain. It is here that religion attempts to circumvent the simplicity and truth of God’s Law of Being. What individuals do reveal the nature by which they live. In Matthew 7 Jesus is describing to His disciples the basic law of true spiritual discernment: “you will know them by their fruits”. In the sphere of religion, the clarity of God’s truth becomes murky (by men’s design) when the validity of a person’s standing in God is judged on confession rather than behavior! This deception of Satan infiltrates and spawns its deadly contagion among those who are not discerning.
In Galatians Paul sets forth the “works” of the flesh.
“Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”
Wherever these traits are expressed it is the result of living and walking out of the nature of the carnal man. Let no one deceive you in this. Confession, good works, prophecy, speaking in tongues, prayer, teachings, fastings, and a thousand other things cannot circumvent the truth. Those who DO these things are under the dominion of a life subject to the carnal mind. What men do reveal the nature in which they walk!
The Law of God frees us from our religious deception. This Law is fixed, and its declaration is eternal. We are to judge ourselves by its ministration that we may know the validity of our walk before Him. If I have lust in my heart, I know my need for His Life. If I become bitter, it is because I am living in the flesh. There is no excuse for bitterness because the Spirit of God frees me from its stain and sorrow. If I hate my brother, I most definitely know such a thing is not of God. If I continue in its dark influence, I disqualify myself from God’s Kingdom. If I hold envy or jealousy, I clearly reveal the nature of my walk. To envy another is to be angry with God for what He has graciously given me. The list is endless! The value of the Law is that it reveals to me my desperate need of His Life to free me from the works and the dominion of Sin and the Flesh.
“But we know that the law is good,
if a man use it lawfully”
1 Timothy 1:8
Again, Paul states in Romans 7 that the Law is good and it is to be used to this end.
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”
Can we not see the Law is a ministration for good? By its ministration the nature of Sin is revealed, and I can see the necessity of my need to live and abide in Christ! How deceptive is a gospel that teaches us to abolish the law by the declaration of a doctrine that we are forgiven and absolved of our wrong doings; as if we are no longer to measure our life by the Law of God! Many have embraced a gospel which frees them to live out their carnal nature with no concerns about their standing in God! This is the LIE which was first spoken by the Serpent in the Garden. God told Adam and Eve, “if you eat of this tree you will die”. The Serpent told Eve go ahead and eat of the tree for “you shall not die”. What was the end of the evil deed of Adam and Eve? What is the end of a life which walks in the “works of the flesh”?
“…of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”
Why such a harsh decree? Did not God pay the penalty for Sin; not only ours but the sins of the whole world? The decree of God is not against the acts listed in Galatians 5:19-22; God’s judgment is upon the Nature from which those evil expressions spring. The Kingdom of God is spiritual and those who would enter its dominion must do so on the grounds of the Law of Life in Christ Jesus. To what end?
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
who walk not after (according to) the flesh
but after (according to) the Spirit”
(Read the whole context of this scripture)
The Law is good, and it is for our instruction. Let us not be deceived into believing that a religious confession trumps a carnal life. The conviction of God is the path to discovering the Law of Life which alone can free us from our sins. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
“For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace”
Grace is not an excuse to ignore our sinful ways. The validity of Grace is revealed in my personal freedom from sin’s power. The gospel of today states we are freed from the law therefore we need not concern ourselves with the Law’s decree. Let us read the above scripture again through the eyes of faith – “Sin shall NOT have dominion over you”. Why? Because if you walk “under (the influence of) grace”, its power will set us free. Paul goes on to contend with those who would use the “teaching” of grace to excuse sin…
“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law,
but under grace? God forbid”
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ,
we ourselves also are found sinners,
is therefore Christ the minister of sin?
Those who teach a grace which makes provision for sin have no understanding of the purposes of God in Christ. To hold to a doctrine of justification and still hold to sin is the false gospel of today. Christ is not the minister of sin nor are those who have been justified in Him doomed to a life of sin and powerlessness. Let the Word of God deal with the false teachings of our day. Let His truth penetrate our hearts with His promises and power!
The purpose of living truth is to bring each of us into the holy freedom of God; it is not to find loopholes in the Law. It is to bring us to such a place that we are no longer subject to its decrees because we are living in such a way that we do not violate its righteousness. If I drive at or under the speed limit, I am not subject to the speed limit sign and therefore the penalty of the law holds no terror for me. The falsity of a gospel which states that I can sin, and since I have confessed Christ the wages of sin no longer apply to me, is appalling and deceptive. One who subjects himself to pornography knows within the defiling wages of sin. The one who holds hatred in his heart knows by experience the truth of the wages of sin. Peace is not found in the way of the sinner. Communion with God is not possible in the life of one who lives out of the carnal nature.
“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God”
The above scripture is not a teaching; it is the statement of God. It is God’s verdict upon humanity. Praise be to God there is an answer to such a decree!
“Marvel not that I said unto thee,
Ye must be born again”
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”
The necessity of being “born anew” is the beginning of our deliverance. Our growth in the life of salvation is revealed in the ever- diminishing dominion of sin in our lives. In our growth in grace we find the power of His Salvation manifest in our lives by the demonstration of the fruit of His Spirit! This is the evidence of our deliverance from the works of the flesh and our “translation” from the kingdom of darkness into the glorious Kingdom of Light. The Apostle John, in his later epistles, wrote as a warning to all:
“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that doeth righteousness is righteous…”
1 John 3:7
A faith that does not carry the life, the power and the works of God is a dead faith. A faith which is in word only has no value in the working out of God’s salvation.
“They profess that they know God;
but in works they deny him…”
The nature of Christ within must be accompanied by a revelation of Him without.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed
from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall LIVE by faith”
To be a living Faith, it must grow from one degree unto another degree of faith (faith unto the faith). It is to produce greater expressions of God’s righteousness! “The just shall (truly) live by faith”. Jesus declared “I AM come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Notice the tense here; not “I will come” but that “I AM come”. It is the folly of religion to point to a day in the future when in reality HE IS COME! There are greater things to come and will be for all eternity. But faith is for me to know and grow within the wonder of His “present truth”.
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:
Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh is of God”
1 John 4:2
The confession of a dead faith will talk about future things while denying the power of Christ which IS COME, present tense. That is the spirit of the anti-Christ (1 John 4:3). Those who do not take responsibility for walking righteously now, soothe their conscience with a future idea, absolving themselves from a present-day walk. It is a subtle lie of the devil himself and those who live in this “faith” sow to themselves great sorrow on an eternal scale. It is a sign of the Day in which we are living that there are many who subscribe to the lie of this faith.
Paul continues his discourse in the Book of Romans by following up Romans 1:17 with:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness…”
What is the wrath of God to be revealed against? “All unrighteousness” even upon those who “hold the truth” for they hold it in “unrighteousness”. Any faith which is not causing men and women to grow in their ability to live righteously is the result of holding the truth of God in unrighteousness. Let all who have ears to hear; faith without the works of God is dead! The Greek word used for “works” in this scripture is best defined by the English word “energy”. Faith which does not produce the “energy” of God within the life of an individual, unto the demonstration of its author, is dead and carries no eternal value.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also”
Let us hear the truth of what James is declaring by the Holy Spirit. A body without the spirit is but a carcass; so are those whose faith is without works. May we all reconsider the degree and the power of His Life within us today! God is calling, ever beckoning us to “come unto Him” that we may have (present tense) the wonder of His life within our hearts.
“If any man thirst,
let him come unto me, and drink”
To what end?
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
Christ HAS COME but more importantly, HE IS COME! Even greater, HE IS COMING!
“Who delivered us from so great a death,
and doth deliver:
in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us”
2 Corinthians 1:10
Delivered (past tense)
Doth deliver (present tense)
Will yet deliver (future tense)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth 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”
Lastly, Paul in the Book of Galatians states that the life he “NOW” lived, he lived by the faith of the Son of God. May we take note of the life he lived and its power it had on the world about him! It is time for us to begin to consider what we allow as acceptable. May the power of God’s word move us afresh to pursue in Him greater vistas of grace and glory in our salvation. May His Word move within our hearts to produce a new apprehension of what HE has called us to and for us to begin to see the full provisions which are ours in Christ Jesus!
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end”