THE TRUE HEART OF MAN [16b]

Deep inside all people is the longing for love, true love. Covering this, is the near absolute power of the flesh, and sin, to prevent access to this position and place of love.

It is the sense of condemnation, of purposelessness, of darkness and loneliness, of isolation, that sends people spiralling down into the well of death.

What knowledge and experience is gained, may be for “better or worse”, depending on what we end up being married to in life, the good or the bad.

The spiritual reality of all this depends on the communicative power of God towards us, and the resistance offered to that communication. “God has not left himself without witness”?

People born into this world are familiarised with sin, which is our description of bad stuff that contaminates our world and lives. To find anything that lifts man up and promotes “peace and goodwill”, has to be beneficial, in one way.

But what if world religions leave people “content” [semi-content] with their lot, maybe because they have not been confronted with the notion of a perfect God, or they have been blinded to the relationship between God’s love for his family, and our relationship to our families?

And even some “Christian” “Faiths” have to be included in this because of their legalistic attitudes.

One wonders about cultural impacts that divide natural affections through misplaced concepts and traditions that effectively erect barriers to the freedom of thinking that the better parts of our western Christian culture have enabled for so many years.

If they have not been confronted with the God we are aware of, even through the law that was handed to Moses, then they may remain frustrated because  the barriers of their traditional customs keep them remote from the principle of a forgiving God. And this frustration may boil over into social problems.

So the deep sense of, and desire for, Love, needs to be satisfied in order to inspire the best of life in mankind. Only love can  reveal the true purpose set forth for man’s existence, and that is, to be a part of love, to be joined to love, and to live for love. And so far, there appears to be only one God of [true] love in sight.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not die, but live forever.

LOVE HURTS [258c]

How can we describe the pain of guilt, of fear, of hurting for another’s suffering? This thing called anguish is so real, yet it is “just” a thought process. Physical pain we can understand because we can see the cause, but the inner torment of something that comes against what otherwise might be a peaceful condition of the mind, is unseen, although the effects of it may be visible.

What is the torment that will come against those who disbelieve, who are “caught” in their sin? Jesus says that this pain is very real. In another way he puts it that those who see they have been [are] excluded from the kingdom will “gnash their teeth”, such will be their distress.

But what of the pain that Jesus underwent for us? The reality has to be that he felt everything that people feel under these very same conditions. In other words, he experienced the hell that will be felt by those excluded from the kingdom.. [Some part of hell may be currently experienced by those presently not in the kingdom]. He experienced the fear that people experience. He experienced all that the human condition could throw at him, and he overcame it all. Otherwise he could not be a true sacrifice for sin.

He foresaw this in Gethsemane – he knew that all this would be his experience, and that when it came, he would not be able to understand why it came. It was in this condition on the cross that he cried “My God why have you abandoned me?”.

How deep the suffering of anguish, for whatever the reason. This condition is called “The wrath of God”.  We may feel it on our own account, or feel it for another.. Jesus felt it all. His righteousness enabled him to overcome it. Those who are not “in him” will feel it also, but will not be able to overcome it.

How great the victory we have inherited from him, that we can now exercise faith in his overcoming on our behalf so that we can be fit to live with him.

Clove

YOU ARE FORGIVEN [347c]

You don’t have to scrape and bow and try to become worthy of forgiveness. You are already sons and daughters of the living God, and he has provided your forgiveness so you will be drawn to him, because he has done something to attract your attention.

Religion says you must do something or believe a set of beliefs or ritualistically cleanse yourself to even become worthy of forgiveness. Kind of defeats the whole point of it? You can do nothing to earn or merit or attract forgiveness or otherwise it would not be forgiveness.

Forgiveness starts with the recognition of the need for it. That without forgiveness there is no way to change the status quo of our inadequacy and deficient makeup, of being. If God is love and truth then that love and truth already exists without human aid to sustain it or even to prove it.

We readily accept that we are in far less than the desired position, unless we are unusually mentally deficient. Right and wrong, good and bad are observably considered as comparative, regardless of the mean or average standard of our personal experience of such.

But there has been given an absolute standard, which is one where there is no deficiency and no lack of provision of what is good and right, while what is wrong and bad is notably absent from the scene altogether. What draws us to this is that we sense our own identity is tied up in what we ultimately believe.

Any rituals or structures which are presented to us as a religious necessity to gain acceptance for forgiveness are not absolutes, but are only to be considered as tools or helps for us to gain understanding, and are there to bend our thinking towards that which God desires for us.

At stake is our very identity, and our consciousness of it. This is what materialises as we draw near to God through the sacrificial offering that has been made of and through the ultimate righteousness available, Jesus. As we accept forgiveness of our past and project our thinking forward into the future, we become receptive to the Spirit of God in the form of the risen Jesus who comes to help us in our acceptance of him.

As we, by this Spirit, begin to comprehend the nature of Christ and that we are now joined to Him and are participant in his nature, we become aware of our true identity as a son of God, and that our true self lies in His true self – that His true self is actually our true self as it was created to be. When we begin to apprehend the reality of our deficient (sinful) nature having been removed by the mercy of God, we begin to comprehend who we really are, in Him.

As Jesus said, that they might have life and have it more abundantly. In other words, the real, true life and identity that was intended from the beginning. We are not wiped out by “denying ourself”, we are established in identity the more fully, when we realise that our identity is the same as his, we are family, and we recognise our own individual selves as individuals who are loved by Him, and are thereby established in our own right and identity as a worthy child, known by name.

When we discover our identity as a child of God, we finally become who we were intended to be all along. As children of (the) righteousness, we have all things at our disposal, there is nothing that can hurt us, we are at one with Him. Rather than have lost our identity, we have found it*.

Forgiveness is free because love is freely given. There are no conditions to this love, you either believe it exists for you or you don’t. This love has wiped out your past, and the past of all people, so they can apprehend His present and so secure their future. His love has wiped out your past so you might dwell in its, his, present presence. This love continually cleanses you. You become the real you instead of the false you. You have moved beyond the physical realm and into that which is immersed in the spiritual, whose reality far exceeds earthly ones.

[Just as the law as an inferior structure came into fullness through love, so do we, as those who failed and ran foul of the law, do become the product of the reversal of our death state, and appreciators of the righteousness (and its identity) we have been given]

*[Matt 10-39][he that loses his life will find it]

THE “BODY OF THIS DEATH” IS “THE SECOND DEATH” [1469a]

On the matter of life and death- just a few thoughts around the recent Romans 7 issues. It should be understood that the subject matter of this chapter is the whole life/death matter being revealed.

So yes, this is why Abraham had to leave the life he was familiar with, and we have to “leave” the flesh life we are so familiar with.

The repercussions of this on the understanding of R7 may be as follows. That we may be able to take to ourselves more literally his words about the “I” that he is representing from his experience in his “body of death”, this ‘flesh’.

It is still talking about his life in the flesh though, (although it really is), It does not necessarily have to be talking of his life under THE law, but only his life in the “natural”, by the natural laws of conscience or sense of being, of the “knowledge of right and wrong”.

He could then be comparing his performance with THE law.

So yes, this is the condition, the body, the mindset, the sin nature, the “flesh”, the Adamic nature; that he has to “leave”.

The law killed him, so he is this dead thing which must now be assigned to the same death which Jesus died to, that it might be left behind, that he might be “born again” into the Spiritual, to be of the Spiritual and working in the spiritual, building up his new personage in Christ..

That having recognised and identified with His death, that he now shifts his identity into the person of Jesus. ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me’. Yet we live. The new I, in tandem with Him and His “I”.

We died. Our old life and being has been shown to be one of death. We now take part in the first resurrection, a spiritual one. later to be followed by the bodily one, the new bodily one. Those not in Christ will be resurrected in their OLD one.

We were made, caused, to die with Him, that we might rise with Him. R7-13 “Did that which is good become a cause of death for me?” Past tense.

Through the commandment sin becomes utterly sinful.

14. “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin”. Now all those of the flesh, who are IN the flesh, are sinful and in bondage to sin. All are under the sentence of death because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”.

And it is “sin in the flesh” which is the problem, the one Jesus solved by dying to it and for it, by His Spirit recreating it into the divine image. And our flesh also, our “mortal bodies” according to R8-11 will be given life through His spirit who indwells us.

So we likewise die to the old and spring to life in the new. It is for the hope of the resurrection of our mortal bodies that we wait ‘patiently’.

So our bodies are either those subject to the “second death” (although we all will be tested by fire) or to the “first resurrection”.

Ref.R7 verse 14. “Flesh” is by natural nature, automatically in BONDAGE to sin, and BOUND to it and by it.

Paul speaks of this natural and committed and both wilful and un-wilful bondage of the natural man, to sin. NOT in any way referring to the new life, HIS new life in Christ.

R8 verse 2 could read ‘has set you free from the bondage to sin and flesh’.

Paul, though talking about life in the natural bondage to sin, was in no way speaking of his new self, but only his old self.

The new self is of the Spirit, IN the Spirit, and no longer IN or OF the flesh. The new life is not the old life, is based on completely new parameters.

“if any man be in Christ he is a new creation, behold the old has gone, the new is come”.

So Paul talks about the “I” of his flesh, his natural nature, that he was IN, but no longer in bondage to. And no longer operates out of, or from. He now operates out of, from, and of, his new nature in Christ.

SO THE VERY NATURE OF THIS “BODY OF DEATH”, BECOMES, IS ACTUALLY ALREADY,  THE WAITING REALITY OF “THE SECOND DEATH”.

EMBRACING THE SPIRIT OF LIFE [1477a]

Embrace the Spirit of life which is the promise in Jesus. Through fear of death man has been kept in lifelong bondage. But we can die to that by which we are bound, we can die to the apparent futility of life by embracing the death of Jesus who legally freed us from this body of death so we might see in Him the fulfillment of life, and freely embrace both it and Him.

We can be imprisoned by the fear of death, but faith asks us to step out in the apprehending of the promise of life to all who will believe in His own sacrifice of love, to allow us to also follow Him and His example in the pathway of life, by the Spirit of life that He freely gives to us. The promise of life is that of a life which will last forever, beyond all and any shadow of death that might present itself in this current temporary world.

Life is to be embraced and experienced  in a reality of positivity and in the Spirit of creativity and the nurturing of all that is good and right and true. The embracing of the Spirit of life will bring with it its own stamp and proof of approval of integrity as seen in the witness of Jesus in His life His death and His resurrection. He is our guaranteed promise of success and deliverance from all ultimate harm.

EMBRACING THE SPIRIT OF LIFE [1477]

Embrace the Spirit of life which is the promise in Jesus. Through fear of death man has been kept in lifelong bondage. But we can die to that by which we are bound, we can die to the apparent futility of life by embracing the death of Jesus who legally freed us from this body of death so we might see in Him the fulfillment of life, and freely embrace both it and Him.

We can be imprisoned by the fear of death, but faith asks us to step out in the apprehending of the promise of life to all who will believe in His own sacrifice of love, to allow us to also follow Him and His example in the pathway of life, by the Spirit of life that He freely gives to us. The promise of life is that of a life which will last forever, beyond all and any shadow of death that might present itself in this current temporary world.

Life is to be embraced and experienced  in a reality of positivity and in the Spirit of creativity and the nurturing of all that is good and right and true. The embracing of the Spirit of life will bring with it its own stamp and proof of approval of integrity as seen in the witness of Jesus in His life His death and His resurrection. He is our guaranteed promise of success and deliverance from all ultimate harm.

CHRISTIAN POWER AND THE ABSENCE OF IT [1476a]

THE ANTITHESIS OF ROMANS 7 – MORAL POWER REGAINED.

This is a simple subject. Jesus said “without me you can do nothing”. This statement is returned to us in Romans 7 where Paul laments that “the good I would do I cannot do”. This is because he is representing the position of one without Jesus, he is representing himself as one of Adam’s race without the redemption that Christ brings.

It is not the good “I would do” that is important, it is the good He can do in us and through us that is so. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. I died, and the life I now live I live through faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Jesus said that He did only what the Father showed Him. We now are to be those who speak and act in accordance with that which the Spirit shows us. Jesus now lives in us by means of His returned Spirit, as evidenced at Pentecost. Paul said his will was powerless, it was not until he gained Christ (on the Damascus road) that he was empowered to do God’s will instead of his own. “Thy will be done”.

Unless we are prepared to go forward in His Spirit, putting ourselves and our own self interest ‘to death’, we will never be empowered to do anything that serves His purpose, we will be unable to think, speak or act in a way that truly serves Him. Faith is instrumental in empowering us. But it is Him in us and His kingdom we are constructing, not anything of ourselves.

Jesus in us does what Jesus would do, not what I, me, or we or us would do, and cannot do until we possess Him and He us. Without him we cannot ‘die to self’, we cannot be reborn OF Him, we can only do NOTHING. But I can do all things through His Spirit who indwells me. Paul said “It is not I, but sin which indwells me” [IN THE FLESH]. We are to say, “It is not I, but Christ who indwells me” [IN THE SPIRIT].

[Romans 8-9 “However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you..”]

CHRISTIAN POWER AND THE ABSENCE OF IT [1476]

THE ANTITHESIS OF ROMANS 7 – MORAL POWER REGAINED.

This is a simple subject. Jesus said “without me you can do nothing”. This statement is returned to us in Romans 7 where Paul laments that “the good I would do I cannot do”. This is because he is representing the position of one without Jesus, he is representing himself as one of Adam’s race without the redemption that Christ brings.

It is not the good “I would do” that is important, it is the good He can do in us and through us that is so. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. I died, and the life I now live I live through faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Jesus said that He did only what the Father showed Him. We now are to be those who speak and act in accordance with that which the Spirit shows us. Jesus now lives in us by means of His returned Spirit, as evidenced at Pentecost. Paul said his will was powerless, it was not until he gained Christ (on the Damascus road) that he was empowered to do God’s will instead of his own. “Thy will be done”.

Unless we are prepared to go forward in His Spirit, putting ourselves and our own self interest ‘to death’, we will never be empowered to do anything that serves His purpose, we will be unable to think, speak or act in a way that truly serves Him. Faith is instrumental in empowering us. But it is Him in us and His kingdom we are constructing, not anything of ourselves.

Jesus in us does what Jesus would do, not what I, me, or we or us would do, and cannot do until we possess Him and He us. Without him we cannot ‘die to self’, we cannot be reborn OF Him, we can only do NOTHING. But I can do all things through His Spirit who indwells me. Paul said “It is not I, but sin which indwells me” [IN THE FLESH]. We are to say, “It is not I, but Christ who indwells me” [IN THE SPIRIT].

[Romans 8-9 “However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you..”]

GOD’S LOVE AND HIS WRATH ARE THE SAME THING [865e]

When two opposing forces come together, there is conflict, and a resolution must result. We see this conflict within man, and see his anger as an outworking or display of this conflict.

When righteousness and unrighteousness come together, there is conflict. Now God and his Spirit of love are righteousness, and man and his spirit of sin are unrighteousness. These two, like Spirit and flesh, are incompatible and conflict results.

The nature of this conflict is that there is an agitation of the elements involved, and the stronger of them will overcome the weaker, and God who is love and righteousness will always emerge victorious from such a contest, as he did in Jesus on the cross, where, although death resulted to the physical, confirmed spiritual life then re-emerged with a new physical, that of the immortal body.

So when God’s love is in confrontation with man’s sin which is IN man, the internal agitation caused by the fear of the judgement inherent in this action which seeks a remedy to the difference between God’s righteousness and our unrighteousness, results in anger and what we perceive to be God’s “wrath”. With this wrath “on” us and in us, we are extremely uncomfortable, to say the least.

But it is God’s love we are experiencing, it is just that it is in opposition to what we are or have become because we identify with our sin nature, not with His love nature. He is flame to our paper. His nature HAS to create drama and trauma in us, for us, because our human nature is only temporary and must undergo change to be atone with HIS nature, the divine nature.

We experience the judgement on sin WITHIN us, and this results in the inner guilt that we feel whenever anything to do with God or righteousness presents itself to our awareness or consciousness. And because we were made in HIS image, we condemn ourselves because, having the knowledge of good and bad, we are capable of judging ourselves as guilty also. We also create inner wrath because we know our position is untenable and unsurviveable, unsustainable.

God then reveals to us that His very own nature of love through his very only begotten son, has confronted the sin nature of man that lies in his natural body and which lay in Jesus body also, and brought about the ultimate conflict and wrath towards the nature of “sin in the flesh”. Jesus’ personal “Armageddon”, which is also OUR “Armageddon”, and brought about, in the nature of his love, the “final resolution”.

The nature of love has been assaulted and tortured to the death  within the same body of sin that hosted the perfect spirit nature that Jesus was, and the Father suffered this conflict also as he watched his son die a terrible death on his cross. The perfect Spirit of Jesus was in conflict with the, our, inner nature of sinful flesh. His loving righteousness was brought to bear on the corrupted sin nature of “sin in the flesh” and the inner stress of this was painful and of immense anguish, as He was confronted with the reality of what the absence of the Spirit of God means in the darkness of its terrible presence. He was ‘in anguish in its flame’. The fires of hell brought Him to the ‘pit’ of hell, the grave, the tomb, from which he would emerge victorious, having overcome his mortal body, having changed it through loving conflict, to an immortal body.

This victory is ours in Him who has wrought this victory and who now presents it to us as a completed gift of life, of righteousness. The battle is over, “It is finished” for him and for us. Our only “battle” now is to install by faith this victory over death and all its components. And this “battle” lies in accepting this truth, that he has come in the flesh and provided all that we need to live life in and from Him, he who is love, and the “installation” lies only in this one word, BELIEVE.

CULTS AND SECTS – World Wide Church of God, Herbert Armstrong [706b]

This is/was a very bad cult which managed to destroy many lives. [It has re-emerged in a new form under another name, something like new church of God*]. It is extremely legalistic and there is much on the web about them, posted by ex members who provide quite an expose’ of this group. It is difficult for ex members of this group to obtain release from the indoctrination that amounts, as always, to brain washing. Sometimes a lot of psychological help has to be obtained to gain relief from the aftermath of this, and other cults.

The problems with these groups always seem to result from the wrong view of atonement, although I am not sure of the specifics of this one, or the Mormons for that matter. But whenever the wrong view of atonement is taught, there emerges all kind of legalisms – That is, that the freedom the gospel delivers is hidden behind legalistic  requirements which only serve to maintain religious slavery which is similar to Judaistic principles. Whereas the gospel preaches release from law, these groups create their own laws [they are without excuse] as well as twisting the existing scriptures to suit themselves. Often there is an emphasis on prophesy [futuristic] as a way of postulating their supposed authority.

Where the correct view of the atonement appears to be present (seems unlikely) then other reasons must be sought for it. The thing about having the correct view of course, is that it results in the freedom which the gospel was meant to bring, so if freedom is replaced by legalisms, you can immediately be very suspicious about what is going on. The freedom that the Spirit brings is unmistakable and normally excludes the possibility of such errors occurring.

This is a link or links to other web pages which may help to reveal the character of these groups.    http://ironwolf.dangerousgames.com/exwcg/

“The painful Truth”   https://hwarmstrong.com/grown.htm

*[possibly “Grace Communion International”?]   SEE posts 706 and 240 plus others

“Recovering from Armstrongism”      http://www.ukapologetics.net/08/ARM/1/index.htm