Monday, March 29, 2010

Into His Likeness

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom 8:29)

What does it mean to be conformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ? We can immediately dismiss any notion that it has something to with physical likeness.

Before we continue our investigation let us notice that those God foreknew are predestined to be conformed to His likeness. This is a promise, something which inadvertently will come through because it is a work of the Spirit. We make it much easier for ourselves if we immediately yield to His mighty work in us, and not harden our hearts like the Israelites in the wilderness. We are of course in this context talking about faith and not self-effort.

Faith encourages, no more than that, it compels us to live from a position of rest which denotes a being characterized by spontaneity. This is the Spirit perfectly leading us in our daily lives to be ourselves, our true image of Him where we do right because it is His life which is manifested through mortal flesh.

In my dealings with people I have never met anyone who has identical behavior, thought patterns or reactions. People have equally different gifts. They have different personalities and they can differ quite a lot on particular issues. I assume that is the intention with Christ’s body where every member has different functions. Despite our differences Jesus specifically prayed that we all should be one as He and His Father are one. I thus infer that being conformed to the likeness of Him has nothing to do with that we all are to act identical.

We can of course be tempted to judge this matter in behavior terms only. In order words to be transformed into His likeness means unisonely that all Christians are to be recognized by their good deeds and good works. There is a morsel of truth in this assumption, I believe. However, I do not think this either is the answer to our question plainly because Jesus quite firmly dismissed the idea that He was good. “Only One is good”, He answered his opponents. When the devil attempted to tempt Him to do something to prove that He was God’s son He adamantly refused to be defined by what He did. His identity was based on being.

Jesus ministry was categorized by many and stunning miracles. So far I have not come across anyone with this capacity to work miracles. There have been and are persons, though, who have had and have an extraordinary anointing on this field, but none of those can claim that everyone who came to them were healed from their ailments. So, this is it not either.

Jesus’ redemptive work was the trademark of His ministry. It thus makes sense to me that when we are searching for an answer to our question this might be an important key when it comes to recognizing what it means to be conformed to His likeness in this temporal realm. There is only one Savior, only one who deliberately died on a cross to save the world. However, if we are to carry our crosses it must mean that we somehow are co-saviours operating in the Spirit to those who are granted us. This of course includes to a certain degree, as most of us have experienced, both tribulations and suffering.

Who would have known that a man hanging on a cross would alter the whole course of the Universe? That a rather insignificant incident in a tucked away place would have such immense consequences? It is almost ludicrous to consider. Well, if God could use such an odd method to save the world, it wouldn’t be surprising if He would use rather insignificant and unusual means to make us co-saviours of our universe, would it? He is God, He can use anything to His glory. Perhaps we have some rather unrealistic and erroneous ideas on how we are to impact our surroundings?

Jesus was the firstborn of many sons. Sons denotes plurality and diversity. I attended a concert the other day, where the main attraction in one of his songs sang a duet with a female vocalist. Their voices were in perfect harmony and they perfectly complemented each other. However, the audience didn’t have any problems distinguishing the two voices. Together they spellbound the audience. Separately those two had great voices, but put together they reached levels of beauty they couldn’t have attained on their own. If he had sung duets with others the effect would have been the same, but with a different ring. In addition his voice was so strong that he would have lifted anybody to new levels of harmony and euphony. The universe is reverberating with duets of different rings where one of the singers always is the same.

He is eternal life, love, power and all the other wonderful things we associate with Him. When John in his first epistle asserts that as He is so are we in this world that plainly denotes that we also are those things which He is. This absolutely implies being conformed into His likeness. John also tells us that “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God.” The word “with” denotes in Greek a position which best can be described as being “face to face.” Into His likeness thus means that we are face to face with God. We are hence talking about the restoration of the intimacy of the Garden.

Kokichi Kurosaki puts it like this: “God created man in His likeness, a spiritual being capable of responding to His love and having koinonia with Him.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010

David and Saul

An interesting episode in the scripture with great significance for us is that David was elected king while Saul still was the anointed king of Israel. During a period of several years they were both kings over the Promised Land. Saul was big, handsome and strong. He exuded all the qualities a genuine king was supposed to have.

Saul’s reign was apparent to all of his people. David, however, was more or less unknown and invisible to most. He only gathered a handful of men who were loyal to him and who recognized him as the true king over the nation. When we now are to investigate which significance this has for our lives we will consider Saul as a type of our fleshy inclinations whilst David represents the union life.

From the moment we are born again we are kings and royal priest in the kingdom of God. In the beginning of our walk we are like Saul. We are the perfect image of self effort and fleshy patterns which we hope will make us presentable to God. Our good deeds are handsome in our eyes. We cherish our strengths and we ask God to bless our works.

Simultaneously there is a David within waiting for Saul to die, so that the one who is a man after God’s heart can step forward to occupy the throne. The man who lives after the flesh will finally come to the end of himself. His efforts have been utterly rejected by God. All he has left is his faith, and the faith person who has been there all the time, but has been more or less invisible because he has been repressed by the flesh, steps forth.

Saul, the religious archetype, trusted his own strength. David, on the other hand, put his trust in God alone. But even in our “Saul” period David is given the opportunity from time to time to take precedence, notably when Saul is facing a challenge to big for him. So David pokes his head forth and through faith kills the Goliaths which threatens to overthrow Saul. However, Saul isn’t convinced that this weakling which he to a certain degree despises will secure his reign. He thus continues his life ignoring the power of the faith seed which is disseminated and which at last will conquer and overshadow the flesh.

Norman Grubb denotes this revelation when we discover that we are in a union with Christ the second crisis. We go from this false idea of separation, that is, God here and me there to a secure position of knowing that we know that we are joined one spirit with Him. This insight or revelation turns everything we formerly believed more or less upside down. The scriptures are opened to us in new ways. We begin to see and understand things which have been hidden from us because of our Saul life.

The good news is that there exist a David in every believer who is groaning in anticipation to be liberated and step up as a secure and safe son of His father. He has been a secure and beloved son from the beginning, but He hasn’t recognized it before now. Glorious and joyful is every son who knows who he is in Christ.

To be in the flesh denotes the erroneous idea that we live apart from Christ. This understanding leads to self-effort and a thinking which is sin conscious in its outlook. It is also apt to downgrade our soul and our soul reactions. We can also attribute to the flesh the idea that some soul reactions are more noble than others, which means a division in good and evil. Our soul is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” In Christ it again has found its perfection, its original design.

Fleshy thinking patterns will obstruct the believer from accepting himself as God has accepted him and impede the believer’s ability to recognize who he is in Christ. We now clearly recognize that the flesh represents a false idea of separation. This unsound idea of independence leads to “shoulds” and “ought tos”. The flesh thus perpetuates condemnation and suffocates faith.

Saul, “who was little in his own eyes”, is a typical representative of those fleshy thinking patterns which results in a desire to prove oneself, whilst David, “a man after God’s heart, represents faith and its restful position in Christ.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Agag the Amalekite

Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites.” Agag came to him confidently, thinking, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel put Agag to death before the LORD at Gilgal. (1 Sam 15:32-33)

Saul had failed in his mission commissioned to him by God. So Samuel, here a type of Christ, was the one who had to a put an end to self effort, religiosity and apparently good works represented by Agag. Agag’s sword, that is, his self righteousness hadn’t produced any children which is a type of the fruit of life.

The power of sin which had birthed Agag would not find its gratification in front of a righteous God. The religious system which had birthed Agag would never birth anything of eternal value. From the day Eve and Adam fell sin was doomed to be crushed by the true woman of faith.

The carnal minded Christian will always step in front of God’s throne with a confident smile whenever he has accomplished something in his own powers. The problem, however, is, when he is not rooted in Christ’s finished work he will inevitably lose his confidence and hide from God when he according to his carnal judgments flounders.

He thinks that his good deeds and his efforts to do his best cannot see death. But they have to if Christ is to be formed in man. That it is the only way for all of us. The Amalekites were the descendants of Esau, the carnal minded son of Isaac who gave up his firstborn rights for a meal. They represent everything born of sin, the childless woman. The deeds of sin will not inherit the Kingdom.

We, however, who believe in Christ are not of sin. We are of the Spirit. Let us therefore explore our inheritance in Him and edify and encourage each other so that we can grow into the full stature of Christ. That plainly denotes consciousnesses which have embraced everything His finished work entails.

Jesus was once accused of being good. He immediately dismissed the notion, and exclaimed; “There is only one who is good!” He wasn’t interested in being defined by what he did. His main concern was being and not doing. Being establishes us in the truth of everything we are in Christ. Doing is a veil which blinds people to who they are. God is the great “I AM”, and that is our position as well. We do not have to do actions to prove something we already are. Our works flow as a torrent from the innermost parts of our being. From a position of being our actions are right, not good or bad as defined by the tree of good and evil.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Absolute Destruction Before Resurrection

But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction. (1 Sam 15:9)

God had commissioned Saul to go and strike Amalek and everything they had. Saul was ordered to kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. Nothing was to be spared. God demanded absolute destruction.

God rejected Saul when Saul disobediently spared all that was good. There is a part of us which cherishes our good works, our good sides and our fortitudes. At the same time that part also has the wits to despise its bad or evil sides. The carnal minded believer is thus willing to see his bad sides eradicated, but he wrongly assumes that God will spare his good sides. He erroneously thinks that those parts are too manicured to see destruction.

However, when we accepted Christ we died. Both our good and our bad sides were crucified so that He could become our life. Astonishingly, there are still residues of our old thought patterns claiming to be heard in the midst of our new life. In the beginning there is an unwillingness in us to subject everything to His rule, so we thus perpetuate those fleshy thinking patterns which asserts that our imagined strengths are a precious fragrance to Him.

Our Father, however, rejects our fattened calves. He objective is solely to see Christ formed in us, and that implies a complete destruction of all we envisage we have. He makes it plain that we have nothing of value until we surrender everything. When we acknowledge that Christ is our life and that we have entered a perpetual union with Him we find ourselves again.

To our surprise we find that we are as He is. We even find that He doesn’t differentiate between what we considered as bad or good sides. His main concern is life, and life is a wonderful mixture of negatives and positives. Everything works together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.

When Samuel discovered Saul’s unwillingness to destroy everything he called Saul a man who was little in his own eyes. That is God’s verdict over any man who believes his self effort counts to anything. A man who is little in his own eyes thinks he has something to prove. He believes that he is something by his own powers.

Self effort is the opposite of faith and thus sin in the eyes of God, because self effort asserts that I can become more like God if I work hard to improve myself. Faith says; I am a new creation, Christ is my life and through faith I acknowledge that everything God says about me is true. I am what I am by God’s grace. I am perfectly myself. Then I have accepted myself and I am big in my own eyes. Why? The answer is that Christ is love, power and eternal life. He is in me living as me, thus I am what He is. Those qualities isn't something He has. He is all those things. I do not either have those qualities. I am those qualities. I do not have to strive to become something I already am by the grace of God, and which I have received through Christ's finished work.

Self-effort origins from the misapprehension that we are separate from God. However, we are in a union with Him who chose us. When self-effort is replaced by faith we see that we are in an eternal union and by faith do we understand that we are right with Him and that our soul and body are perfect manifestations of Spirit. The end of self-effort, that is, the erroneous idea that God is outside us (which He also is) is the opportunity for faith to take precedence. It is thus clear that when we live by faith we perceive that everything about is perfect. When we live from a understanding of separation we see sin as our dominant reality.

This is part one in a series of three parts.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Tower of Babel

One of the greatest, most scandalous and dangerous lies which is preached in the church is that we must become more like Jesus. That was the lie which ruined Eve and Adam’s relationship with God. All because Eve believed the lie that she needed to become more like God. Notice that after the fall it wasn’t God who withdrew from those two. It was Eve and Adam who hid themselves from God. Shame had entered paradise. This rather persistent feeling renders us with a feeling of nakedness, of not belonging and it alienates us from recognizing our Heavenly Father’s love.

Shame is the means by which the prince of the power of the air controls and conditions his doomed kingdom. It is this feeling of disgrace that shame promotes which inhibits every man from being a true image of the Godhead. Shame cripples, ruins and it causes man to hide from God. Jesus never exhorted anyone to be like Him, because that would be to contradict and thwart His royal mission.

He came to expose the lie, atone for its consequences and provide liberty for the captives. The fall had rendered man spiritually blind. Man firmly believed that He had to improve himself so he began comparing himself with the creation. He found that he was superior to everything else in it, except his fellow man. The next step was thus to compare and contrast himself with his peers so that he could be the foremost among them.

Man began erecting his own righteousness, the tower of Babel. It was a bold and ambitious project which only outcome would be to entrench man in his delusion and reinforce the hold of the lie. So, God did what He does in every person’s life. He destroyed the tower and scattered man’s righteousness to the extent that it was completely leveled. This is the story of every man.

Shame’s twin brother condemnation has caused too many believers to bow their head with a urgent sense of falling short, simply because someone has passed on an idea of a standard which resembles the tower of Babel, that is, the original lie presented in different words. We are rendered feeling useless, of no value and a hindrance to God, because of our imagined shortcomings. We don’t feel loving, we don’t feel spiritual, and compared to others we seemingly do not have the brilliant gifts which they are endowed with.

Accepting ourselves is vital if we are to recognize ourselves as perfect images of Christ in our form. It was God who chose us. It was solely His initiative to gather us as a family of many sons. He chose us exactly as we are with every human facet we have. If He has accepted us we can accept ourselves. Not doing so is in fact an insult against His sober judgment.

Chasing our own righteousness is the basic sin which prevents us from becoming what we were created to be; ourselves. As a substitute we become a distorted version of ourselves. When we aren’t ourselves we are nothing. There is only one truth and only one righteousness which restore our true being; His.

Before the fall Eve and Adam perfectly expressed themselves. The day they ate of the fruit they became expressions of sin, and God plainly told them that their lives from now on would be a perpetual struggle to be something they never could be in their own powers. Originally they were furnished with faith faculties to be faith people. A life outside God was destined to be a life of appearances.

Only spirit people can discern spiritually and make righteous judgments. Thus the new creation is a partaker of divine nature. Such a person doesn’t judge in accordance with outward realities. He sees behind outer success, prestige, influence and affluence. That person clearly sees the emptiness in the hearts of those who are wise in this world. As a result a faith person does not pursue those things. He isn’t easily deceived by worldly things. What motivates him is the love of God which is outpoured into His heart. His passion is Christ, and nothing this world has to offer holds any appeal to him.

Faith involves the competence of seeing beyond appearances and accepting God’s truth about us as the final truth. If He says we are love, because He is love, that is a fact despite our circumstances or what we imagine we behold with our earthly eyes. The day we acknowledge that we in Christ are everything we are meant to be in this temporal realm we are set completely free to express ourselves without shame or any other crippling emotion.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Well Watered

At that time God will unsheathe his sword, his merciless, massive, mighty sword.
He'll punish the serpent Leviathan as it flees, the serpent Leviathan thrashing in flight.
He'll kill that old dragon
that lives in the sea.
"At that same time, a fine vineyard will appear.
There's something to sing about!
I, God, tend it.
I keep it well-watered.
I keep careful watch over it
so that no one can damage it.
I'm not angry. I care.
Even if it gives me thistles and thornbushes,
I'll just pull them out
and burn them up.
Let that vine cling to me for safety,
let it find a good and whole life with me,
let it hold on for a good and whole life." (Isa 27:1-5 – The Message)

One of the words the Bible uses to define our human condition is vessels. A vessel contains something. It either contains sin or it contains righteousness. Sin found its dwelling place in man after the fall, and we thus understand that sin and the devil are equal terms in the scripture. Every person who accepts Christ is cleansed from that former indweller. When it comes to the serpent God is merciless and kills him so that there is no risk seeing him returning to the sea, that is, our spirits.

When this passage refers to “that time” it refers to the dispensation which came into effect after the cross. We who are regenerated are the fine vineyard, where He is the vine and we are the branches abiding in Him producing His fruit. A different translation says: “…every moment I water it.” According to my calculations every moment is every new now. He who is the great I AM lives in the now, and He sustains us every moment of our being. In fact He more than sustains it, He keeps it well watered so it never lacks, but has an abundance of every good thing.

I believe it is not too far stretched to view the sea as a type of our consciousnesses. We all know how we are composed of conscious torrents and subconscious torrents. When everything is well our seas are calm. However, when the gale is coming our way the waves rise. He who lived in our private sea is dead. He loved to whip up the sea. Our Father who now reigns over the sea secures us that we are safe with Him.

“I am not angry. I care”, He says. A multitude of Christians still believe that God is angry with them. Carefully they watch every step they take, they are obsessed with confession in order to mitigate an angry God. This passage clearly states that God isn’t angry with us. His anger is directed towards the indwelling sin who has usurped His dwelling place. The fact is that He has never been angry with us. The indwelling sin, however, has been well aware of His fury towards it, and of course this has been imprinted on our consciousnesses. The Spirit is now thus convincing us about our righteousness and His love, which slowly but surely will liberate us from the bondage of fear.

What are thistles and thorn bushes, we might ask. Man’s main occupation since the fall has been to build his own righteousness. Whether that has been by observing the law or attempting to erect a sense of worth through other means is of less interest. However, it is a well ingrained habit, so those thorns are self-effort. Our Father lovingly pulls them out by letting us come to end of ourselves, to the point where we give up and accept that He is our life.

Why would God, who is joined one spirit with us and who lives in us be angry with us, that is, Himself? He never makes any mistakes, He is perfect and He indwells us. To assert that God is angry with us is the same as saying that He is angry with Himself. That is a ludicrous idea. In Him we find a good and whole life. That is our destiny. This life is expressed as us. That is our work, that is the pinnacle of faith; self-expression!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Liberated Sons

There comes a day when we rediscover our “I” as a safe “I”. We have been through the devastating stage when the law condemned us and ultimately caused us to come to the end of ourselves. Then we discovered to our great delight that we had died to the law. A new realization is now dawning upon us; we are in a union with the resurrected Christ. As we bask and revel in this wonderful truth another profound revelation is working its way through the surface and settles in our minds.

Our “I” reemerges as a safe “I”. We discover that since we now are indwelled by God and are in Him everything pertaining to our being is cleansed, and we begin to experience the almost inexplicable liberty of being free sons who are perfectly expressing Him in our form. Every day we are carrying His death within, that is, our former conscious and subconscious thought patterns which have defined our personhood so long are fading and their defining power is shattered.

To enter this new life is a dying away from what we previously considered as our secure ground. To step out into the unknown is a terrifying and at the same time liberating experience, because now we finally are beginning to trust ourselves. Before we enter this level as fully operating persons we need to be completely settled in that God accepts and loves us.

Thus Jesus was assured by His father before He began His public service in earnest by these words: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus was now established as a safe Son who could say “I do nothing of myself” when He himself always was the doer. This paradox seems like a veil, until it is torn apart when we understand the depths of the union life. It is I, yet not I. It is He, and simultaneously it is me. We are one, and since I can trust Him I can trust myself.

I have found that I am a bit reluctant to step into the unknown and begin to operate as Him by, for instance, speaking out words of faith. God has to encourage me, and even push me over the cliff, either by using other persons or by speaking, Himself, to my heart. In Jesus’ case God used Jesus’ mother to push Him into operating as a safe liberated “I”. At the wedding in Cana they ran out of wine and Jesus’ mother challenged Him to do something about the situation. Jesus’ harsh answer demonstrates His inner turmoil of entering a level formerly unknown to Him.

Then Jesus took a leap of faith and said His faith words: “Fill the waterpots with water”. We know the rest of the story. But, notice what John writes after this incident: “…and manifested forth his glory”. His glory, His “I” operating as a safe liberated son of the Most High trusting the promptings which surfaced in His thoughts and mind. Many of us are in this process of consciously becoming aware of that we are "co-saviours" with Christ as fully operating safe sons, that we are vessels of honor, that we are light and salt in this world. Not as a possibility, but as a fact!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I don’t know how many times I have read the passage which describes how Jesus cleansed the temple. However, at this occasion a new understanding suddenly manifested and hit me in the gut. It struck me that we are the living temples which He came to cleanse, and that this incident recorded in the gospels is merely another shadow of spiritual realities.

After Jesus’ display of rage the disciples were reminded of Psalm 69:9, “"Zeal for your house will consume me." Since we are God’s temples He is very jealous towards any other occupant who dwells in His Palace. Even before the foundation of the earth Jesus must have been looking forward to this day when He would make a statement regarding who was the true proprietor of the human spirit.

After the cross He with the same zeal and rage expelled the prince of the power of the air from his temples, so that He Himself could indwell His beloved ones, and thus grant them life and liberty. They were slaves of sin, and a slave can only exchange owners when a price is paid. He paid the price so man could become slave of righteousness. The cost was tremendous, and it is a powerful testimony of how far He is willing to go in order to satisfy His love. No one in the universe has the means to overbid His offer and ransom.

Man was created in His image, but the fall had rendered the pinnacle of God’s creation as a distorted version of its true image. A distorted image of the perfect image does not emanate any glory. We were enslaved to sin (Rom 6:6), and thus radiated darkness. Not much glory in darkness. So, since we are brought out of this darkness by the new master we can consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:11).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Herligheten i en fullt ut levende sjel

Skrevet av DeeDee Winter - oversatt av Ole Henrik Skjelstad
Originalens tittel: The Glory of a Fully Alive Soul

Det er få som forstår det mektige i det Gud gjorde når Han skapte våre sjeler og den funksjon de er tiltenkt. De er fullkomment skapt til å være fullt ut aktive og levende på enhver måte. Det å betrakte våre gjerninger og reaksjoner som noe mindre enn det idealet vi tror er Kristuslivet….noe som sier at om vi bare stod stødigere i unionen med Kristus og ikke var så___(fyll inn det blanke feltet med det du ikke liker med deg selv)___så kunne vi oppføre oss mer likt Jesus eller bli mer lik Jesus. Hvor mange ganger har vi hørt noe sånt som dette? Vi har en misforstått ide om hvordan den menneskelige Jesus var, og vi bringer med oss den samme falske ideen inn i våre egne liv som en standard vi må nå…..når Han faktisk ønsker å leve i vår menneskelige unikhet, den personen som Han skapte oss til å være.

Fra det øyeblikket vi ble gjenfødt av Hans Ånd er det Kristus som lever våre liv! Før vi mottok Kristus så var vi i et samarbeidsforhold med denne verdens gud. Dette arbeidsfellesskapet ble brakt til korset (Romerne 6:6-8) når vi tok imot Ham som vår frelser. Vår Gudskapte menneskelighet…sjel og kropp, som Bibelen sier er ”skapt på skremmende, underfullt vis”…ble gjort nye for å bli brukt av Kristus som et kar til ære. Vi opplever store endringer i våre liv når vi begynner å erfare Kjærlighet levd som oss, men en enda dypere forandring skjer i vår oppmerksomhet eller bevissthet når vi begynner å innse at vi er sammenføyd med Ham i en ånd/Ånd (1 Kor 6:17), en enhet så sikker at vi kan si som Jesus, ”Jeg gjør ikke noe av meg selv..”. Denne gjenopprettede enheten var hele hensikten med korset…at Han ville bringe oss tilbake til det unionsforholdet vi hadde før fallet. Denne enheten bli en realitet ikke lenge etter at Jesus hadde bedt sin herlighetsbønn i Johannes 17…”At de må bli ett slik som vi er ett”…men først måtte Han gå til sitt kors. Den eneste måten som Hans ord kunne bli oppfylt var gjennom sin død, oppstandelse og oppstigning. Den samme prosessen finner nå sted i oss gjennom våre sjeler. Det er gjennom det ”at vi bærer omkring i våre kropper Jesu død” at andre får liv. Dette er grunnen til at det er ytterst viktig at våre sjeler er fullt ut levende og aktive!

Vi lærer i skriften at mennesket er tredelt…ånd, sjel og kropp (1Tess 5:23). Vår ånd er vårt virkelige selv, skapt i Guds bilde, og er det som blir sammenføyd med Ham når vi sier ”Ja” til Hans kall. Våre sjeler uttrykker denne ånd/Ånd unionen. Ånd er satt sammen av hjerte, sinn og vilje og er fiksert i Ham. Våre sjeler er satt sammen av følelser og emosjoner. Vår kropp er den fysiske delen av vår væren. Vi har ånd-sinn…hvor vi vet (1 Kor 2:16) og i tillegg et sjel/kropp sinn hvor vi tenker og resonnerer (Ef 4:23). Nå når vi har lagt dette grunnlaget la oss se på et avsnitt i skriften hvor Jesus knytter hele den pakken som er ”oss” sammen. Det er Matteus 16:13-26 ,hvor Jesus livaktig instruerer sine disipler om hvordan deres liv kommer til å bli. Det begynner i 16:13 hvor Jesus spør hvem de tror Han er, og Peter svarer at Han er Kristus. Jesus sier at kjøtt og blod har ikke fortalt ham dette…noe som betyr at vi må ha en åpenbaring gjennom Ånden for å forstå Gud…og på denne klippen av tro/åpenbaring bygger Han sin kirke.

La oss nå hoppe fram til det siste verset og snakke om våre sjeler. Jeg vet ikke hvordan det er med deg, men det var mange år hvor det eneste jeg ønsket var å kaste vrak på min sjel! Jeg var altfor redd for mine følelser og tanker. Jeg ønsket å leve i Nirvana…et fredfylt sted uten krusninger. Å, det var deilig når jeg ”følte” meg glad og lykkelig, men la noe eller noen forstyrre meg og jeg gikk i forsvarsposisjon eller havnet i fordømmelse, fordi jeg klarte rett og slett ikke å ”være lik Jesus”. Lite visste jeg da at det å ”forsøke” å ”være like Jesus” var synden fra Edens hage…når Eva ble fristet til å ”bli lik Gud”. Jeg oppdaget at Gud hadde en ting eller to å lære meg om min sjel, dens nødvendighet og dens rettmessige plass.

En dag jeg plutselig ble fylt av en veldig sjalusi ovenfor en venn jeg hadde elsket i mange år kom Guds åpenbaring til meg. Jeg visste ikke om noe annet enn å fornekte sjalusien ….å prøve å forsikre meg om at jeg ikke var sjalu, man at jeg var Kristus i min form. Like raskt som ordene av fornektelse kom ut av meg svarte Herren meg: ”Du er ikke sjalu ovenfor henne, du er sjalu på hennes vegne. Det er min sjalusi i deg for henne slik at hun skal kjenne meg slik som du gjør.” Jeg sa meg umiddelbart enig i at det kom hun til å gjøre!

Men mens jeg lot denne sannheten svirre omkring i hodet mitt forsto jeg at hver eneste følelse fra kjærlighet, fred, tålmodighet, vennlighet og overbærenhet til sinne, hat og sjalusi kunne enten bli brukt riktig eller galt….galt før jeg ble født på ny av Hans ånd, den gang når selv min kjærlighet egentlig tjente mine egne hensikter….til riktig. Slik som nå når min sjalusi er for en annen. Noe som tjener en evig hensikt gjennom det å bli enig med Gud om min venn. Alt som Gud sier om Seg Selv og uttrykker i skriften er Han i/som oss!

Matt 16:24-26 sier… ”Deretter sa Jesus til disiplene: «Om noen vil følge etter meg, må han fornekte seg selv og ta sitt kors opp og følge meg. For den som vil berge sitt liv, skal miste det. Men den som mister sitt liv for min skyld, han skal finne det. Hva vil det gagne et menneske om det vinner hele verden, men taper sin sjel? Eller hva skal et menneske gi som vederlag for sin sjel?”

Jesus sier vi skal ta opp vårt kors og følge Ham. Å følge Ham er rett og slett å leve våre vanlige liv mens Han ”får oss til å følge Hans veier.” Jeg pleide å være oppmerksom på vekten som ble lagt på "miste" og "liv", men nå så jeg at vekten var på "sitt/vår"….noe som hentydet til enhver falsk ide om uavhengig eller separat liv. Vi må få dette faktum på plass, at det er ikke noe i oss som er atskilt fra Ham, før vi kan fullbyrde vårt høye kall som mellommenn ….binde og løse på vegne av de Herren gir til oss.

Jesus sa at for å oppfylle alt dette Han hadde sagt måtte Han gå veien om korset og dø…noe som Peter svarte ”Nei!” til. På en meget kraftig og avslørende måte kaller Jesus ham satan.

Deretter følger kremen på kaka! Hva gagner det et menneske å miste sin sjel? Det vil si å aldri gi uttrykk for intensiteten i følelsene våre, noe som får fram korset i oss…vår død og oppstandelse. Det er når vårt mål er å leve en liksom eksistens som i grunnen er akkurat det samme som Peter gjorde når han sa til Jesus at Han ikke måtte gå til korset…og det er satans evangelium…selv i dag når han fordømmer oss for hvilken som helst negativ følelse!! ”Det er ikke spesielt likt Kristus” sier han, og inntil vi er etablert i det faktum at vi er Ham vil vi fortsette denne jakten hvor vi prøver å etterligne dette falske bildet av Jesus vi har blitt lært.

Ser du hvor viktig det er å ha en fullt ut fungerende menneskelighet? Det er den eneste måten korset kan gjøre sin gjerning i oss og vi kan være de forbederne som vi var skapt til å være...bære Hans liv, dø daglig…med-frelsere med Kristus!

Jesus sier at det er VI som har nøklene…til å binde og løse mennesker og deres liv…nøklene til å bringe andre til Hans liv og kjærlighet…til å snu tragedier…til å helbrede knuste hjerter…til å sette disse fri som Gud gir oss…til å føre de fram til helhet…alt ved vårt ord! Våre utrolig verdifulle sjeler er hjelpemiddelet for Hans kors!

La oss gjøre det som Ånden kommanderte disiplene i Apostelgjerningene..”Gå, stå og tal i templet alle disse ordene fra Hans liv.” La oss ikke lenger gi eller tro på et halvt evangelium som alltid forlater oss i en stilling hvor vi må forbedre oss selv!

Vandre ved tro i ”dette” Livet…Hans Liv…levd fullt ut av oss…

De av leserne som ønsker å forstå mer av det nye livet i Kristus som vi nå lever som Ham til tross for det vi opplever, forstår og tolker som negative ting på grunn av vår religiøse utdannelse henvises til Norman Grubbs bok "The Spontaneous You"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Sea of Glass

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matt 16:28)

It can’t be made plainer than this. The Son of Man came in His kingdom while the disciples still were walking this earth. On the day of Pentecost Christ established His kingdom of Heaven in man. Not in tents made of man, but in holy dwellings erected by God.

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matt 13:43)

This is now! Our usual excuse is: “I don’t feel like I am shining”. Personally, I am an expert on exclamations like that. Abraham took it a step further. He threw himself to the ground laughing when God told Him how He judged Abraham and what eternal repercussions Abraham’s life would have. However, who are we to argue with God and His righteous judgments? He is the doer, so if He has whispered to you that you are going to be an intercessor who is willing to lose everything for the sake of others, and you don’t exactly feel that way, well, it is going to happen anyway. Abraham saw Moriah afar off. So do we.

Our emotions fluctuate. I shouldn’t be too difficult to agree on that. Hence the author of the epistle to the Hebrews finds it important to accentuate: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebr 4:12)

The Proverbs puts it like this: “…above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (4:23). Even though our emotions and soul life are manifestations of Christ, those expressions are not our true identity. Our true identity is like a sea of glass mixed with fire (Rev 15:2), that is, our spirit joined one spirit with His. The sea of glass is our inner spirit tranquility which is mixed with pure love which burns with an eternal flame, which seemingly is a paradox, but not in the Kingdom of the ascended Christ.

To make us completely safe in our new identity, which of course is us shining like the sun, the living and active Christ, who is the word of God, assists us in discerning between our soul life (appearances) and our spirit life (faith). By faith we see through appearances and acknowledge our new too good to be true self in Him.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The 90 Percent Rule

Many years ago I was attending a course which objective was to turn me into a better salesman. In those days I worked in an outlet selling sports equipment. The lecturer introduced us to something he called the 90 percent rule. He asserted based on surveys that 90 percent of everything we do is motivated by our own agenda, that is, selfishness. Most salespersons generally talked too much, he claimed. The customer could thus experience that he wasn’t the most important person during the conversation, and he would in worst case feel rather alienated. The trick was to let the customer get the feeling that he was the most important person by letting him do the talking by asking him good questions which ultimately would reveal his requirements.

The salesperson was obviously also governed by the 90 percent rule, so he of course also enjoyed being the center of the conservation in a sales situation. However, he would be empowered to alter his strategy when he was conscious about the sales process. He now knew that if he changed his approach he could increase his sale considerably. He was still governed by the 90 percent rule, but he could change his behavior if he was aware that there was an award waiting. The salesperson was still the selfish person he always had been, but he was now doing good works.

This principle is of course valid in every social or religious structure. If we receive the right incitements we are able to alter our behavior. We are still our old selves, but we have gained the necessary knowledge to manipulate ourselves and our surroundings to our benefit. I consider this is a good example of what is going on when man feeds from the tree to knowledge of good and evil.

There is also an underlying motivation behind God’s desires and works. He has in mind a succession of sons in everything He does. That is His incitement. However, His desires are purified in love. When we are feeding from the tree of life, that is, the unwavering union with Christ, our desires and motivations are in the same manner purified in love, because we are new creations. We no longer operate from the old self, which, if we are to be completely honest, was governed by the 100 percent rule.

The Holy Spirit is doing a huge work in each and every one of us convincing us that we do not longer need to scrutinize everything we do with a suspicious gaze looking for selfish motives. When we use the word huge it indicates how entrenched our former thought patterns are. We are cleansed once and for all, we have received a new heart and our union with Christ is our guarantee that every desire which surface are already purified in His love. Slowly but surely He arouses our faith to embrace this overwhelming fact. As we confess in faith that Christ is now our sustainer, our life and lives as us the Holy Spirit will turn our faith into substance, and suddenly one day we just know that we know that we are perfect in every aspect of life.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Great Debtor

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. (Rom 1:14)

When we walked according to the spirit of error we considered everyone and everything to be our debtors. When we gave, it was usually with an expectation that our generosity would be rewarded or reciprocated. We were creditors. Why would Paul consider himself a debtor to peoples he never had met or had had any dealings with? The answer is love. Paul was completely soaked with God’s love.

We humans have never quite figured out why God loves us so cordially. His love has an ethereal dimension which is very unfamiliar to the unregenerate man. He, the creator of everything, expresses His love as He was a debtor to every one of us. Hence He gives and gives abundantly. It is His nature. That is His way of life. We are receivers and that is the intention of our design. We are thus conduits through which the quality of His love will be spontaneously expressed.

John asserts that as He (Christ) is, so are we in this world. It plainly denotes that there are no “ought to be” left in our lives. We are everything we are supposed to be. When we are saved we begin to share with others this wonderful new life which is burning with an eternal flame in our hearts. We have become debtors to those God sends in our way. And we find that it isn’t a burden, because it is unconditionally love in action. We love, because He loved us first.

Twice the New Testament exclaims that God cannot lie. A lie is an obvious sign of self-seeking love. The motivations behind a lie can vary, but a liar is ultimately seeking his own ends. God cannot lie, and thus His love will always seek the benefit of others, that is, Christ being formed in every human. A debtor is always in need of a creditor. Hence Paul repeatedly in Romans 5 make statements such as “the free gift”, “the gift of God”, “the gift by grace”, “the gift unto justification of life” and “abundance of grace.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Hypothetical Paradox

If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebr 10:26-31)

The author of the Hebrews has gone into great detail explaining the prevalence of the New Covenant compared with old. He has gone to great lengths assuring the believer about his new standing with God, and he even asserts that a child of God does not need to have any consciousness of sin because of a once and for all sacrifice. He even cites God saying: “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Then he writes this passage which has caused the opposite effect of security in many a believer. We even get the impression that the author is contradicting himself.

The profundity of this verse is that it confirms us as persons with the ability to choose, we are something far more than mere automats. The if-clause makes this passage a hypothetic discussion of impossibilities – a paradox. He in a way says that if you were in a position to choose Christ you are also in a position to reject Him even though you have tasted His goodness and mercy. The paradox is that if you again is returning to sin, which is the spirit of error, there must be a change of spirits again. However, that is impossible, because it was God who shut the door to the ark when everyone had entered.

The author of the epistle has through various examples shown how the believer has been transformed from an outer person to an inner person. An inner person has the law written in his heart and he spontaneously expresses it as the fruit of the Spirit. For such a person there is no law, and moreover, he has no consciousness of sin and he is safe. He has found peace with God in his Spirit. A return to being an outer person arouses sin consciousness, he has no longer peace with God, he will again behold God as a God of wrath and he has rejected Christ’s sacrifice. This hypothetical person’s faith has thus become void. Another point is that Jesus has made a once and for all sacrifice. Therefore there remain no more sacrifices for sin.

How did man become a self conscious person? What is a self conscious person? When are infants awakened to that they are persons? Isn’t it when they come to realize that they can choose? God placed two kinds of trees in the middle of the Garden. Eve thus had a choice and it was when she exercised her ability to choose she acquired the awareness of being a person and not a mere automat. She made, as we all know, the wrong choice. However, Eve tasted and discovered the opposites in life. Without her discovery we would not have been in a position to choose, and most importantly; choose Christ.

Our conclusion must be that the author in this passage continues his exposition of the good news, and here in particular he confirms the authentic personhood of a believer. It is crucial if we are to be true witnesses of Christ that we are completely safe in our relation to our Father, and that we are firmly established as true persons. Free and safe sons, just as Jesus demonstrated, are in a position to be intercessors for a needy world.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Safe Sons

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom 8:19)

A son of the most High is a safe son. He has through the fall tasted the wretchedness of being a child of the spirit of error. He knows firsthand the emptiness and nothingness of a life where everything is defined by good or evil. A true son has experienced the futility of erecting his own righteousness. His attempts of observing the law failed miserably. He knows firsthand how appearances are just illusions of a world in which he is now just a sojourner. God’s sons are well acquainted with sorrow and tribulations. They have been under the curse and have vivid memories of its misery. After they have tasted God’s grace and received an unwavering faith in God’s goodness and love the enticement of returning again to a state of slavery holds no appeal to them whatsoever.

A true son has encountered the negatives and the positives of this world. He has allowed the positives to swallow up the negatives. In the same manner as when God said; “Let there be light” and the light swallowed up darkness, the son has let the light of Christ shine in his life by accepting Him through faith. He has become a see-througher who recognizes that God is all in all, and that God’s self-for-others-love sole and only objective is to gather everything in Christ through mercy and love. A safe son knows that it has all been necessary. Without it he could never have reached the pinnacle of the creation; personhood. A consciousness of being a person with choices. The son sees clearly that when he received Christ a change of reigning spirits occurred. The sin deity is replaced by God, and it is now God’s life which is being manifested through him.

A true son has given up his life, and thus found life. A quality of life hitherto unknown to him, but he embraces it with everything he is, because he has acquired a profound understanding through everything he has experienced; this is true life – this is what he originally was meant to be. As every man reaches true sonship a breath of relief goes through the creation as it waits for its final liberation from its bondage to decay and will be brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. As everything will be gathered in Christ, everything will be gathered in His sisters and brothers as well to the glory of God. God’s generosity and love is boundless. He freely shares Christ’s inheritance with His offspring – the seed of Abraham.