fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Complete in Christ

Complete in Christ by Julie McAllen

“And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun.” (Happy Xmas: War is over by Lennon/Ono)

Have you set any goals for the new year? Did you fulfill the things you resolved to last year? The goal I set for 2012 was to write one article a month for this on line journal. With this offering in December, I’ve completed my goal. How fitting then that my final article to close out the year is about completion.

Some goals take a whole year to be fulfilled don’t they? In June of 2012 it could be said that I was faithfully fulfilling my goal with the 6th installment of my fruitage articles, but that did not complete it. I had 12 months in mind and only the 12th article would make it complete.

completenessHave you noticed the installments of revelation throughout Scripture? Apparently God sets new year resolutions also and each are fulfilled in time to satisfy His goal of completion.

As I detailed in November’s article,  Can You Keep a Secret? The mystery our Creator set in order is no longer hidden to those who submit to the one who unveils it. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col 2:9-10)

Deity came to earth and offered Himself to us. In Him we have been made… partial? No, but complete.

Completion is a process. I fully had in mind this 12th installment for the completion of my writing goal, but until this moment, articles from January to November 2012 were made in the image of that goal but had not yet reached the honor of being named as part of the completed goal. Without this December’s article, all else remain partial to in the image of completion.

What do we know of God’s relation to man? We hear that Adam was made in God’s image. The conception for his completeness was there, but was Adam partial or compete? I don’t approach the Genesis account with the view that Adam was already perfect or complete. Man was intended to go through a process of growth to eventually attain the image of God who is complete, whole and perfect. To view the first man as perfect and immortal is to agree with the first lie ever told, “you surely will not die” (Gen 3:4 )

Breath of life came into Adam and he became a living soul, but a living soul is not immortal for the soul is capable of sin and death (Ez 18:4). Jesus himself confirmed that both body and soul can perish (Matt 10:28).

No one has ever been born immortal, perfect or complete. No one, not even Jesus who is referred to as the ‘last Adam’  (1 Cor 15:45). Jesus was not born to Mary and Joseph as an immortal being for if he had been, the temptations he suffered would mean little and no one would have witnessed the death of his body and soul. As a man of flesh, Jesus did not consider himself immortal or the perfect equal of God the Father. He did not adhere to the lie that he “surely would not die,” He agonized in prayer asking that the cup of death He was about to drink would be taken from Him. He knew he’d been made in the “likeness of men” yet became obedient to the point of death (Phil 2:7-8). And through the things he suffered, he was made perfect (Heb 5:8-10; 7:28).

Adam’s desire was for his Maker. He wanted to be “like God.” But God is Spirit and to know God, one must partake of His Spirit. Had Adam done that? Was he ever born of Spirit? From what I read, he was formed from the dust of the earth and remained so until his death (Gen 2:7; 3:19). We also are merely dust having been born of flesh. And we’re all instinctively aware of our own mortality. We don’t need a religion or holy book to inform us that people die, it’s a simple fact of history. But also a fact of history is mankind’s search for God and the quest to be made in the image of immortal Deity. Though there may be thousands of religions with this aim, there really are only two approaches: one through a list of rules and rituals attempting to appease the Divine through works of flesh, and another through the inward journey of spirit searching for the kingdom within.

Both trees in the middle of the garden of Eden offered promises to our original parents. Adam was free to partake from the tree of life, but because of his choice to become like God in part through knowing good and evil, the way to eternal life through another route was blocked.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:22-24)

According to this, Adam and Eve had become like God in knowing good and evil. In a sense, they got their Theological degree fully educated in matters of right and wrong, but is anything ever perfected by Law?

for the Law made nothing perfect, and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (Heb 7:19)

In the garden, as well as in the history of the Jews, the truth was revealed that knowing God through Law does not bring eternal life. It does, however, reveal our nature of always missing the mark of perfection which belongs only to our creator.

Adam, an imperfect living soul like the rest of us, was capable of sin. But until the command came, he was unware of his base nature which was ruled by the king of death. Sin was in the world and death reigned through sin.

13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:13-14)

Adam discovered his imperfect nature by partaking of the knowledge of good and evil. By knowing the righteous decrees of the one who created him, he became aware of his Maker’s holiness and his separatness from Him. For the first time, Adam knew he was naked. Adam discovered that mere flesh is incomplete and surely dies. And we all know this for history has proved it. Put away your holy book and even an atheist will have to agree “dust we are and to dust we return.”

Pointing out the impossibility of living up to the perfection presented in Scripture, many atheists are closer to the truth than those filling up the seats in church on Sunday mornings. If we approach the Bible as a list of God’s do’s and don’ts as the entrance exam for heaven, we’ve really missed the point. In fact, we’re just munching on leftover fruit from the cursed tree of Adam.

So what is the purpose of religion then?

7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me (Romans 7:7-10)

The above admission of internal battle was penned by the apostle Paul who had been a Law-abiding man of religion and like Adam, discovered his nakedness through the knowledge of good and evil. Paul describes himself as having the perfect family heritage and ability to keep the righteous standards of the Law, and yet after meeting the true image of God in Christ, he understood he was in fact “the worst sinner.” (Phil 3:6; 1 Tim 1:15)

The Light blinded Paul and the scales fell from his eyes so that he too would know how naked he was!

Sin brought death but the Law never brought life. In fact, the Law magnified the cursed condition of us all that surely we all do die.

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” (Gal 3:10)

Adam lived under the curse of death as did every man who could not perform the Law which came through Moses. But the book of Revelation describes a time in which “there will no longer be any curse.” Does that sound like good news to you? And the interesting thing is that the removal of the curse is directly connected to the tree of life. Does that sound familiar?

There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him (Rev 22:3)

The remnant taken out of the Jews held in bondage under Law to whom Jesus first brought the good news of redemption, understood the fullness of time to lift the curse had come.

3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal 4:3-7)

The promised Messiah to the Jews had come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. The curse for their transgression under Law was removed and the way to the promised Life was opened.

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13-14)

Christ having fulfilled the Law came to be their tree of life. The good news is the way is no longer blocked for any of us now and many have been partaking of Him since the first century. Pardon the juice dripping from my chin.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)

Adam had no dominion over his body, sin and death did. Why would any of us today believe the same lie he did that immortal life was automatically ours? How could our dead bodies rise out of the grave due to our own will or effort if even the aging process teaches us it’s hard to get out of bed? Instead, something is hidden in us separate from body and soul.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Ro 8:11)

God is Spirit and that Spirit is the only authority over death. Your soul has no authority and neither does your body. But you have something hidden in you that offers the hope of glory.

The church has become the steward and messanger of this good news “to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)

Abraham’s children have gone beyond those born of Jewish descent. The way of Life opened to the nations and the fulfillment of the curse’s removal prophesied in Revelation has taken place.

No one is complete or has dominion over death lest they be in Christ. And so, in the quest to be like God, the tree to choose is not what men of flesh can offer but what is offered through the life-giving spirit, Jesus Christ.

So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Cor 15:45)

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. (John 6:53)

This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:58)

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63)

As I complete my writing goal for this year, I’m also coming out of the closet with my conviction that all things have been fulfilled. The new creation is here and I do not look to the return of Christ to earth but rather my return to Him in heaven upon the shedding of this tent known as my corruptible flesh, the vessel which houses His eternal, incorruptible Spirit.

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)

I am complete in Christ because I am a new creation. What better way to begin the new year than to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph 4:24)

And it is my prayer that others who search to discern the hidden mysteries of God come to know the hidden manna who is the bread of Life now for our taking. For God has made all things new and is with mankind through the outpouring of His Spirit to both Jew and Gentile that we may KNOW God, for this means our everlasting life (John 17:3). Hallelujah, this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ (Rev 2:17)

And I write these things to make my joy complete. Happy new year!

May you walk in fulfillment and keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

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December 22, 2012 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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