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

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

Two trees in the garden

Two trees in the garden by Julie McAllen

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
(Gen 1:27)

Man was created in the image of God placed on this earth to represent his will. We learn a lot from the Genesis account. It’s here we grasp God’s deepest desire for us–to be a reflection of him, created in his own image.

Later in scripture, he restates his purpose for us through the writings of the apostle Paul who said it was God’s intention to conform us into the likeness of his son.

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 (Ro 8:29)

So we see the truth of the matter. From the very start of our conception as people, the goal of God was stated clearly,

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Gen 1:26)

In the likeness of God. In the likeness of his son. This is why we are here. It is the desire of our creator and therefore the deepest desire within us “to be like God.” And the enemy knew it from the beginning. He knew the truth. And thus, the lie had to be formed around that truth.

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5)

Isn’t that the expressed desire of God himself? He intended that his creation would be in his image and likeness. But who spoke these words to Eve? Who knew her desire to be like God so well that he convinced her to take a path that her creator had warned against?

Well we all know the story. It was Satan twisting the words of God to conform to his own goal of separating the creation from the creator. And it worked. Was there any truth in the serpent’s lie? Yes, for he promised Eve that she would be “like God” if she ate of the forbidden fruit and this is the result according to God’s word.

And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:22)

Man was created in God’s image. And yet God is proclaiming that after their disobedience he has now become like the Divine nature in knowing good and evil?

Let that sink in a moment.

When Adam was created and placed in the garden, was he already perfect? Was he already living forever? Was he already conformed to the image of his creator?

Some have made the assumption that the couple were already perfect and living forever on the earth. Had Adam not sinned, the logic follows that his offspring would have inherited everlasting life on earth through him. But think again. Was Adam “like God” before the sin?

Were there not two choices in the middle of that garden?

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17)

Of all the trees in the garden they were free to partake. There was only one law, one thing forbidden to them. And where was it placed? In the same arena as another very important tree.

And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:9)

The tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden and they were free to eat from it. Two trees in the middle of the garden. One was forbidden and certain to bring death, the other was free and certain to bring life. God knew it and so did his enemy. Two choices, both tempting the pair “to become like God.”

Notice in the temptation that there is only reference to “the tree in the middle of the garden” but none is distinguished by name. Neither Eve nor the serpent say “tree of life” or “tree of knowledge of good and evil” they just have a conversation about the tree in the middle of the garden. I’ve often wondered if Satan and Eve realized they were even talking about the same tree?

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:2-5)

Eve ate from the wrong tree. She ate from it because she was deceived into thinking it would be good for her and her husband to do so. They desired to be “like God” after all, and the fruit, therefore, had appeal.

The two trees in the middle of the garden are Law and Spirit. Both offered a promise to the couple who were designed to be perfected into the image of God. But perfection did not come for them. Their growth was halted. By their choice of one route to God, they were banned from the other route.

22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:22-24)

What Adam and Eve had come to know was Law. They had become like God knowing good and evil. They had indeed attained the wisdom Eve desired when she gazed upon the fruit. But nothing is made perfect by law (Heb 7:19). And though Law promises to draw us near to God, our source of life, it actually draws us further from him. The separation known as sin.

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. (Ro 7:7-10)

Our first parents underwent this separation. They underwent spiritual death. Where they used to walk freely in the garden with their creator, now they hid from the voice that called out “where are you?” Now banned from the tree of life, they would never be brought to perfection through the way God had always intended to bring everlasting life. Law brings death. The Spirit brings life.

Though each one of us is made in the image of God, like Adam and Eve, none of us are born perfect. Though we are sons and daughters knitted together in our mother’s wombs, we make choices as we grow and how we will respond to our innate desire to be “like God.” It helps to understand the first lie because the enemy of life is still telling it. He is the father of lies (John 8:44). Though Jesus spoke of Satan as having “no truth in him” that does not mean he doesn’t have the word memorized and able to quote from it. He basically quoted God’s word to Eve when he said that if she ate of the tree in the middle of the garden she would be like God. He twisted the truth to get her to eat from Law rather than the Tree of Life. The father of our flesh, Adam, fell for the lie. But the father of our Spirit, Jesus Christ, combatted the assault of twisted truth by quoting it back properly.

The first assault on Jesus was to get him to question if he even was a son of God (Luke 4:3) Believe it or not, this lie is often presented within religion today. Lies that whisper “knowing scripture is knowing God…..you’re not really saved unless you do this….. following the rules is following God…. only certain members within our group are sons of God….” But Jesus had witness born to him at his baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon him and told him the truth.

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 4:22)

Have you also had that witness born to you? Or has someone caused you to question your adoption?

Wasn’t Adam promised dominion over the land? Did he receive it or did it produce thorns in his toil? The devil dared to promise Jesus dominion over kingdoms of the world, but unlike Adam, Jesus did not bow to the way in which Satan promised to give it. And when the devil took Jesus to the heights of religion symbolized by the temple, he quoted directly from Psalm 91. The teachers of the Law were always trying to trip Jesus up by quoting from it, but Jesus said they were from their father the devil (John 8:12-47).

Are you getting the picture? Satan uses God’s truths to tell his lies. By this, he steals your inheritance in the tree of life.

Anyone can quote scripture. Bibles abound for any thief to use for his own glory. No one can stop them. But, only God can reveal truth by his Spirit. Only by his Spirit can we, therefore, be brought into the complete and perfect image of God he intended at our conception.

Adam was a son conceived in the heart of God to be made in his image. However, Adam was never perfect, before or after the sin, and able to bring forth perfect children. Perfection only comes through death (Heb 11:40).

Look at Jesus. How was he perfected?

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Heb 5:8-9)

Jesus LEARNED obedience and once made perfect, he became the eternal father of all living. And through that obedience until death, Jesus was made perfect forever (Heb 7:28). Adam could never do this, he is only the father of our flesh which is imperfect. But the imperfect comes first and then the perfect. As we all have borne the likeness and image of the earthly Adam, so we shall bear the likeness of the last Adam, the man from heaven (1 Cor 15:42-49). One day, we will be among those mentioned in Hebrews 12:23 as “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” but that depends on which tree you choose now. You can be like God, but you are what you eat.

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

March 27, 2011 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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