THE NEW CREATION
THE NEW CREATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
What matters in the Christian salvation is the new creation. The new creation is Christ formed in us. This is the Kingdom of God. This is the end product of all of Gods working. All of the gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit are to travail until Christ comes forth in our personality.
THE NEW CREATION
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)
Some are saying the twentieth century was the century of Pentecost. I am inclined to agree with this assessment.
Since the Jewish feast of Pentecost is number four in a series of seven feasts, and the feasts assuredly are symbolic of events of the new covenant, it appears we have three more Divine works to consider.
The twentieth century began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues. During the century the Pentecostal experience spread throughout the world, entering most or all of the historic denominations.
Now we are in the twenty-first century. What will characterize this century?
Probably what is portrayed by the remaining three of the Jewish feasts, the convocations of the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles.
I have no doubt the twenty-first century will come to be known as the "Tabernacles Century."
The Blowing of Trumpets speaks of the Lord Jesus coming to us and declaring war against His enemies, beginning with His enemies in the believers.
The Day of Atonement dramatizes the forgiving and removing of our sins.
The feast of Tabernacles will occur in three phases: the forming of Christ in us; the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the new creation that has been formed in us; and the clothing of our resurrected flesh and bones with our spiritual body from Heaven.
I have written extensively about each of the feasts of the Lord, including the three phases of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The present essay will focus on the first phase of the Tabernacles experience, that is, the forming of Christ in us. The forming of Christ in us results in the new creation.
It was true that in the early days of Pentecost many held the position that once we are saved we possess the entire work of salvation. They were unable to see in the New Testament any work of the Holy Spirit that occurred subsequent to the basic experience of coming to Christ for forgiveness.
It may occur in our day that many sincere believers will be unable to see in the New Testament any significant aspect of redemption that will occur subsequent to basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit. I personally have no desire to persuade Christian people that there is more of God past basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit. My task is to sow whatever seed the Lord gives me. Where it will germinate and flourish is Gods business.
This being stated, we might take a look at the Book of Galatians. I think we can find there that having Christ formed in us is a Divine work that occurs after we have been saved and filled with the Spirit. It is an absolute fact that the further work is part of the one whole package of salvation. Nonetheless there are significant acts of salvation that occur after we have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.
First of all, it is clear the Galatian believers had experienced initial salvation.
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:9)
They had heard the Gospel message and had accepted it.
The Galatian believers also had received the Holy Spirit.
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:2)
They had received the Gospel message. Having believed what they had heard, the received the Holy Spirit.
Well, then, they were set for Heaven, werent they?
Not exactly. Jewish teachers appeared on the scene who believed Jesus to be the Christ, who put their faith in the atoning blood of Christ, and who accepted the baptism with the Spirit, apparently.
But the next move for the Christian believer, the Judaizers taught, was for him to be circumcised. The Book of Galatians is concerned largely with the imposition of the rite of circumcision on those who were saved under the new covenant.
Paul, realizing that neither circumcision or any part of the Law of Moses is part of the new covenant, became quite upset. To proceed toward circumcision and the Law of Moses is to depart from the Divine program of salvation.
What, then, should follow basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
What should follow is the forming of Christ in the saved, Spirit-filled believer.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
If the Galatian believers had been saved and filled with the Spirit, and now Paul was travailing in the pain of childbirth until Christ was formed in them, it follows that initial salvation, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and having Christ formed in us, while they all are integral aspects of the one salvation in Jesus Christ, are nonetheless distinct enough to warrant Pauls statement.
Paul had difficulty convincing Peter and the other Jews that circumcision and the works of the Law of Moses are not part of the new covenant.
Paul gave the following explanation of the difference between the Law of Moses and the new covenant. This explanation cannot be improved.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
"I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live."
The above two sentences explain why the Law of Moses and circumcision no longer are binding on the believer. Paul no longer is alive. Paul is on the cross with the Lord Jesus.
People have argued with me concerning the Sabbath day. I have responded that since there was no evening or morning on the seventh day of creation, the true Sabbath, the rest of God, lasts for eternity. God created all things through to the coming down of the new Jerusalem to be established forever on the new earth. Then God rested; not because God was tired but because His work has been completed from the foundation of the world.
All God requires of us is that we enter that eternal rest, that we cease from all of our own works, not one day a week but seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. We are to enter Gods rest, not our rest.
To then leave the Presence of Christ in order to go back under a previous covenant is to hinder Gods desire, which is that we regard all such statutes as shadows that disappear now the Reality is here.
Is it sin to avoid manual labor on Saturday? No, it is not. But it is a distraction to the believer who is seeking to cease all of his own works and to enter Gods eternal Sabbath.
The same is true of circumcision and all other Old Testament obligations. The observance of them, including the seven feasts of the Lord, is not sinful. Rather it is a distraction from the all-important forming of Christ in us.
Paul is crucified with Christ. He is living no longer. His first life has been concluded along with all statutes and rituals that govern the first life. To not grasp this fact fully is to bring confusion into the simple, clear work of forming Christ in us.
"Christ lives in me," Paul stated. "Christ is living in my personality. I have experienced so many frustrations, pains, and pressures that my human strength and wisdom have been brought low. In their place has come the Life of Christ. I have the sentence of death in myself that I should not trust in myself but in God who raises the dead."
This is the place where God wants to bring each believer.
The Law of Moses and circumcision govern our first personality. They have no authority over Christ who now is living in us. Rather they are slaves who bring us to Christ.
Paul lives by faith in the Son of God.
Right here is the problem with circumcision, and the Sabbath and other statues and ordinances of the Law of Moses. They take our eyes off the Lord Jesus. Instead of waiting on His decision for each of our actions during every part of every day, we just decide that we are going to do thus and so because it is our religious obligation. This is where the harm is. Religious ordinances take our eyes off the Lord.
It indeed is noteworthy that the Apostle Paul, so deeply involved in Judaism, would be able to turn from his religious training and focus his faith on Christ. I do not mean by focusing his faith on Christ, Paul merely believed that Christ is the Messiah and the atonement for sin. Oh no! It went much deeper than that. Paul came to the place of knowing that he himself, Paul, is living no longer but it is Christ who is living in him.
Pauls unbelievably radical step of faith was that he could abandon the Law of Moses and circumcision and yet be completely without condemnation on the basis of his trust in Jesus Christ.
Peter and the others were not able to make a clean break. This is understandable, given their background. But Paul, himself a Jew, was able to grasp the majestic sweep of Gods plan, concerning which every previous ordinance is but a shadow.
The forming of Christ in us is the new creation, the Kingdom of God. This is the new covenant. This is the writing of Gods eternal moral law in our mind and heart. This transformation, wrought by the Holy Spirit, makes it possible for the Father and the Son to find Their eternal rest and dwelling in us.
The believers in Galatia were getting away from Gods plan by pursuing religious rituals instead of pressing into Christ, as was the Apostle Paul.
The righteous live by faith in Christ. This means they look continually to Christ for every aspect of their lives.
The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us. We have stated that by Christ in us we mean Christ formed in our personality, and then coming with the Father to dwell for eternity in that which has been formed in our personality.
It appears throughout the Church Age the emphasis has been on Christ with us more than on Christ in us. When we celebrate Christmas and Easter we may be thinking more of Christ with us. The concept of Christ in us has remained a mystery.
I think the Scriptures indicate Christ will break forth in His people in the closing days of the Church Age. All of a sudden the Spirit is making us aware of the symbolic significance of the seven Jewish convocations, especially of the feast of Tabernacles. Several passages of the Scriptures that have to do with the forming of Christ in us seem to be coming to the front in our minds. It seems the Lord has kept the good wine until now.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. (Micah 5:2,3)
"She who is in labor gives birth."
The physical land and people of Israel appeared to be abandoned during the Church Era. Then in 1948 the United Nations declared Israel a state and since then Jews have been emigrating to their land.
At the same time there has entered the Christian churches, in some instances, a travail of the Spirit. The travail is to bring forth Christ in the saints.
We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and working with us. Since 1948 there has been a great increase in the manifestation of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit. The purpose of these gifts and ministries is to bring us to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The gifts and ministries given by the Spirit travail that Christ may come forth in us.
When Christ has been brought forth in the saints we will somehow be joined to the elect of the Jews until all of us are one stick in the hand of Christ.
Isaiah also mentions the travail of the Church in the last days.
Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. (Isaiah 66:7,8)
First the Son, Christ, is born apart from the travail of the Church.
Then the Church, Zion, enters a period of labor. Zion gives birth to her children. Zions children are the brothers of Christ, mentioned in Micah 5:3)
The Apostle John in a vision saw the Church entering the travail to bring forth Christ, the Ruler of the kingdoms of the world:
His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. (Revelation 12:4,5)
Satan is not overly concerned with the Christian churches. Satan has little to fear until the churches enter the travail that will bring forth Christ in the saints.
Our church activities are little more than a nuisance to Satan. Satans fear is that we will wait on the Lord until Christ is formed in us.
The Lord Jesus told us He would reveal Himself to us before He reveals Himself to the world.
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:15-23)
First we receive the Spirit of truth.
The Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, works with us until Christ becomes our life. Then we know Christ is in His Father, and we are in Christ, and Christ is in us.
As we continue to keep Christs commandments He is formed in us. Then the Father and the Son come and make Their abode with us. This is an inner revelation that we will experience prior to the coming of Christ in the clouds of glory. Such an inner strength and knowledge will be needed if we are to stand in victory throughout the great tribulation.
The tares of sin will come to maturity in the earth. There will be a dreadful age of moral horrors.
At the same time the Lord will increase His Presence in His people. In that day they will be more than conquerors through Christ who has been formed in them.
The inner formation of Christ will come in association with a period of distress and pain on our part.
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, "Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." (John 16:19-22)
There are passages in the Old Testament that speak of a time when Gods anger is directed toward us. That is because God must remove His enemies in our personality before He can find rest in us. God cannot speak comfortably to Jerusalem until her warfare has been accomplished.
In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. (Isaiah 12:1)
It is as we are crucified that the Life of Christ can come forth in us. If we would know the power of His resurrection we must share His sufferings.
Ordinarily our crucifixion takes place in small amounts on a daily basis. Each day there is an opportunity to deny ourselves and to choose the way of the Spirit of God.
Occasionally there are severe crises. It seems God has forgotten us. We are perplexed and pressed nearly out of measure.
During such times of crucifixion we are to maintain our trust in the Lord. He is dealing with the rebellion and sin in our personality. We will come forth with many bondages broken if we will wait patiently on the Lord and accept the denial of our desires during the period of imprisonment.
No person can jump joyously from the Pentecostal experience to the Tabernacles experience. In between there is the solemn Day of Atonement, during which we are required to submit to the severe dealings of God.
But, as the Lord told us, when the child is born the pain is forgotten. So it is with us when we come forth from our fiery furnace.
First we know Christ on the outside. We know Christ as the world knows Christ, so to speak.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (II Corinthians 5:16-18)
Then there is a period of travail.
Finally the new creation, Christ in us, makes its appearance. Now we are able to reconcile others to God. We have become a tree of life, growing from the roots of Christ.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Romans 6:4,5)
There are passages that indicate the coming forth of Christ in the Church will occur during the closing days of the Church Age.
One such passage follows:
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty." "What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of God bless it! God bless it!" Then the word of the LORD came to me: "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know the LORD Almighty has sent me to you." (Zechariah 4:6-9)
The immediate setting was the rebuilding of the Temple, as the Jews returned from Babylon.
The prophetic significance is the completing of the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God. The eternal Temple was begun by Christ and founded on Him. The Temple of God will be completed by Christ. Christ is the Cornerstone and the Capstone, the Alpha and Omega, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets." (Revelation 10:6,7)
The "mystery of God" is Christ in us.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
In the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, which I believe to be today, the mystery of God, which is Christ in us, will be accomplished.
Christ will be formed in us.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
That Christ will be formed in His Church, that the spiritual significance of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles is to be fulfilled before the Lord returns, is the best possible news we Christians could have.
Why is this?
It is because the works of basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit have not produced the scriptural Church without spot, wrinkle, or blemish of any kind.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her To make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, And to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
It is my point of view that Babylon the Great, of the Book of Revelation is the Catholic Church, and the Protestant churches are her daughters. Babylon the Great is a home and haunt for every unclean spirit.
With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil [unclean] spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. (Revelation 18:2)
Any person who has had substantial contact with Christian churches realizes they often are a home and haunt for every unclean spirit. This is a true description. In the churches one will find dishonesty, treachery, adultery, personal ambition and the love of preeminence, politics, strife, presumption, violence, envy, arrogance, sullenness, pouting, smugness, selfishness, lying, and every other work of the sinful nature. Is this the wife of the Lamb? Can Christ return and embrace such a half-formed group?
The Bible states that the Lord Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Does it appear to you that the Church, the Bride of the Lamb, has been finished? I dont believe so.
So the concept that there are additional works of redemption to take place prior to the return of the Lord Jesus is the greatest possible good news.
Impossible though it appears in the present hour, the true Christian Church will emerge from Babylon the Great. She will be without blemish.
Instead of dishonesty and treachery there will be integrity.
Instead of adultery there will be moral purity.
Instead of personal ambition and the love of preeminence there will be a restful walk in the Spirit of God.
Instead of politics there will be straightforward behavior.
Instead of strife there will be quietness and confidence.
Instead of presumption there will be the obedience of faith.
Instead of violence there will be gentleness.
Instead of envy there will be contentment.
Instead of arrogance there will be humility.
Instead of sullenness there will be joyous optimism.
Instead of pouting there will be cheerful cooperation.
Instead of smugness there will be watchfulness.
Instead of selfishness there will be openness and generosity.
Instead of lying there will be transparency and truth.
But how will such a revolution take place among the believers?
The transformation from Adam to Christ will occur as individual believers give over their lives to the Lord that He may remake them through the Holy Spirit.
God is not searching for believers of outstanding ability. Rather God is looking for those who obediently and patiently are willing to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.
It always has been so. God looks for humility and a willingness to confess ones evil, once it has been made known.
To walk in righteousness, mercy, and humility with God is worth more than the diligent observance of all religious ordinances.
It is time for Christ to be formed in His people. Those who are seeking the Lord are entering the travail of the Spirit. There are seasons of pressure and perplexity. Will they never end?
Yes, they will end. We will come forth with the sure knowledge that Christ is in the Father, and we are in Him, and He is in us. We now are with Him where He isin the very center of Gods Person and will.
We come to Jesus and find rest for our souls. That rest is the knowledge of the Father. God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and now He is our Father. How utterly, utterly marvelous!
If you have been saved and filled with Gods Spirit, He has a whole new enlargement waiting for you to experience. There is no power in the heavens, on the earth, or in the dark regions under the earth, that can prevent you from being filled with all the fullness of Godif this is what you desire above all else!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, May have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, And to know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)