THE INNER BECOMES THE OUTER
Copyright © 2013 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
(“The Inner Becomes the Outer” is taken from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson, copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson, found in the Kindle Library)
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Some passages of Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Table of Contents
Believing About Christ or Eating Christ?
From Adam to Christ
The Inner Becomes the Outer
I suppose the greatest problem in Christian thinking, at least in evangelical thinking, is that God has fellowship with us now through forgiveness (grace) or mercy, and that at some point—probably when we die, or when the Lord comes—we suddenly will become consecrated saints, diligent disciples.
This is not true. What we are, we are. Dying will not change this. The coming of the Lord will not change this. Going to Heaven will not change this. What we are, we are.
Notice the following passages, which are commenting on Christian behavior:
Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:11,12—NIV)
But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10—NIV)
Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:28-30—NIV)
The three passages above show us that when we come face to face with Christ, whether at our death or when He appears, we will not be changed into righteousness. Rather it is true that we will face the consequences of our behavior.
I take no pleasure in telling you that numerous pastors and Bible teachers in the United States will inform you that these three passages do not apply to those who have “accepted Christ.” The sad truth is, the pastors have no basis whatever to make such a claim. They are mistaken, whether they know it or not.
There is a way to change, however. It is by interacting with the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit of God. As we practice such interaction continually, we begin to be changed into a new creation.
First, there is the change termed “redemption” (salvation), which is the removal from us of all worldliness, all uncleannesses of the flesh and spirit, and all self-will and disobedience. Redemption has a specific beginning in our life and a specific conclusion. There indeed shall come a time when we have been completely redeemed; completely saved from Satan’s person and influence.
Second there is the change of growth into God’s image, which will continue for eternity as we partake of the Tree of Life and the River of Life, and obey Christ completely.
It may be noted that our change, both in deliverance from darkness, and of image, begins in this present world. It then will continue in the next, but only if we have been faithful in the present life.
If we are not faithful to Christ in our present life, then, when Jesus returns, what has been given to us shall be removed and given to someone who has been diligent with God’s riches. We ourselves, in this instance, will be thrown into the Land of Darkness and may never again have a chance to be redeemed, that is, to be changed.
It is of the utmost importance to understand that forgiveness and mercy are not in and of themselves redemption and do not bring eternal fellowship with God. Divine grace provides the forgiveness, the power, and the authority to press into the work of redemption, of change of personality. But the forgiveness, power, and authority are not the change itself.
It is a fact, rather, that the Kingdom of God consists of true behavioral righteousness, true love for God and people, true untroubled peace, and true fullness of joy.
Until this simple fact is grasped by Christian people they may continue in the delusion that the Kingdom of God consists only of righteousness assigned to us because of our theological position.
What we are, we are, until Christ forgives us and then changes us into God’s image. Our present body does not reveal what we are. Our resurrection body will reveal what we are and the role in the Kingdom we have been given. Our resurrection body, our outer form, will grow as we grow in the image of God and in our role in the Kingdom—for eternity.
When we are born of our human parents our personality is one whole. The body and the soul function well together. Our spirit reaches out to God. When Christ begins the work of the redemption of our personality, this wholeness of personality is disturbed. We become two persons at war with each other. Even our human mind is opposed to our doing God’s will.
It is interesting to note that our body in the present world is, in a manner of speaking, a creature separate from ourselves. It is born and grows in terms of the parent from which it came. It has certain talents, dispositions, of its own, often quite at odds with God’s will for us or with the desires of our conscience.
In the program of redemption, God leaves the body in a dead spiritual state because of the sin that dwells in it. God then ascribes the righteousness of the Law of Moses, and the resulting spiritual life, to our inward nature, our spirit. This is true while we are obeying the Spirit of God at all times. It is not true for the individual who makes a profession of belief in Christ and then lives in the directions and appetites of the body.
To force this creature, our body, to obey the Lord Jesus Christ is a lifelong battle, because the desires of our body often are at variance with the will of God for us. God has assigned this struggle against the sinful, self-seeking body to the members of the governing priesthood for the purpose of developing in them the iron strength of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God that will be required if their eternal rulership is to satisfy God’s intention.
This division between our inner and outer personality will not be the case, however, with our resurrection body in the new world of righteousness. There our body will be what we are in personality, not just an external house.
Whether we are righteous, or wicked, or selfish, or lustful, or covetous, or unforgiving and bitter, or honorable, or obedient to God, or ambitious, or truthful, or faithful—all of this will be revealed when we are raised from the dead and receive back our body.
This is what the Scripture means when it states that when we have been made manifest at the Judgment Seat of Christ we shall receive what we have done in our body.
(The more I think about it the more I realize that a body that delights in doing God’s will is the very best reward a victorious saint could desire!)
Can you see that mercy and grace play no role at the Judgment Seat of Christ? Mercy and grace operate previously. They help us sow good seed. But the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping is absolutely irrevocable; absolutely just, righteous, fair.
It is not of God that we can sow sin and reap eternal life!
So it is true that before the work of redemption begins in our personality, our body is in harmony with our sinful nature and our actions portray what is true of us. If often is difficult for us to admit that when we lie we are a liar. We prefer to think that we really are a truthful person, and the fact that we lie is not a true portrayal of what we are in actuality.
This illusion concerning ourselves is true more often than not, I believe. It is seldom we will hear a person who acts wickedly say, “I really am a wicked person.” It more often is true that the person who behaves wickedly will be convinced he or she actually is a righteous, decent person. Sometimes, however, a person who does evil things will finally recognize that he or she is evil.
The current doctrine of “grace” plays into the human trait of perceiving ourselves as something other than what we are. Christian grace may persuade us that we really are righteous, although it is clear we are bound with sexual lust, hatred, unforgiveness, self-seeking, arrogance, gossip, and every other evil work.
While the work of redemption is progressing, we may be in conflict. We desire to act righteously, but our body behaves in a manner of which we don’t approve. Thus our body does not portray the righteousness being developed in us. But over a period of time, as we are faithful in confessing our sins and turning away from them, the light of good works begins to shine from us. Our good works will lead other people to glorify God because of what they see in us.
Our resurrection body, on the other hand, will not oppose our desire for righteousness. It will desire to serve God just as our inward nature does. It will portray our Christ-filled inward nature. It will portray also the role which the Father envisions for us and for which He has created us. Our body, our outer form, will be what we are, if you see what I mean.
That is something, isn’t it, that our willingness to make the effort to live righteously, even though at times it is quite difficult, results in a Spirit-filled body that desires to live righteously! Isn’t this just like the Lord?
We shall be placed in whatever role the Father envisions for us and for which He has created us. Our body will be in harmony with that role. It will not be as it is today where our body fights us at every turn. There will be no conflict. Our body then will be a harmonious member of our one personality.
This is why the Apostle Paul groaned for the redemption of his body. Paul’s goal was to be able to live righteously, not to go to Heaven. For this reason we sometimes have difficulty understanding his writings.
I would not be surprised if God causes those who govern to be larger than the rest of the population. The individuals appointed to be patriarchs governing millions of people may keep growing inwardly and outwardly for eternity. They may continue to enlarge until they are huge, light-filled beings, possessed with enormous abilities as well as extraordinary love and concern for those whom they govern.
Every seed in nature brings forth that which is like the parent. We were born of God!
All of Christ’s rulers and patriarchs will govern in the fear of God and will obey Christ completely in every detail. They then truly will be a part of God. Christ is King and Lord of all the kings and lords. They all are an eternally inseparable part of Christ and God and reflect God’s Glory, his Person, and his will in their inward nature and outward form, which have become one whole.
These holy ones, chosen by God from the beginning of the world, and tried in the fire of their earthly discipleship, will govern their inheritance of people for the ages of ages, continually growing in the image of the Father.
When we give Christ everything He gives us everything.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11—NIV)
Believing About Christ or Eating Christ?
In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John the Lord said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He has sent.”
I could be mistaken, but I do not believe most Christians today, or through the centuries, define or have defined correctly the term “believe in Christ.” I think the expression means, to most believers, “believing the truth about Christ.” Each denomination has a “Statement of Faith.” These articles of faith present the truth about Christ, they hope.
But to believe in Christ does not mean to assent to the articles of a Statement of Faith, such as Christ was born of a virgin; or Christ is coming again. To believe in Christ is to obey Christ, to make choices that reflect obedience to Christ. Only in this instance do we receive eternal life.
When soldiers “believe” in their officer they follow him and do what he says, assuming that he knows what he is doing and will lead them to safety. They do not say “I believe in my company commander,” and then go about doing as they please.
Let us say a man claims to be a policeman. Let us say further he orders us to slow down while we are driving or we will be arrested. Now, we might say we believe the man is a policeman. But if we do not do what he says, we might believe he is a policeman but we do not believe obeying him is necessary. Nevertheless, if we do not do what he commands, we will have an unpleasant experience, even though we say we believe he is a policeman. It is obedience that reveals what we really believe.
We may say we are righteous and are saved because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, if we do not obey Christ in all He says; if we say we are “saved by grace” and yet do not obey his commands; do we really believe He is our Lord? I don’t think so!
There is a mystique associated with the current idea of believing in Christ. It is as though the belief itself is a sort of magic that produces righteousness apart from any moral change in us. Have we forgotten that the demons believe that Jesus is “the holy one of God”?
I think the concept of belief as a mental or verbal charm or formula that produces righteousness has resulted from the emphasis the Apostle Paul placed upon believing in Christ rather than obtaining righteousness by making the effort to obey the Law of Moses.
So it is true that if we do not obey the commandments of Christ and his Apostles, while we may believe what we have read about them, if we do not do what they command, our belief about them is of no value. Such belief certainly does not save us or give us eternal life. We have to believe in them enough to do what they say.
When the term “belief,” or “faith,” is used in the New Testament, it means to be persuaded that we must choose to be obedient to the commandments given. We are obedient because we believe that to obey will bring us eternal life. To not obey will cause us to not inherit the Kingdom of God.
As I said previously, true belief and obedience are the same thing. We see this in Hebrews 3:18,19.
If Christ has “done it all,” and when we “believe” we are in the land of promise and there is nothing more to do but wait to go to Heaven, what is the meaning of the third chapter of the Book of Hebrews?
In the case of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, belief is associated with eating the flesh of Christ and drinking his blood. Each time we choose to obey Christ, we are given to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood in the spirit world. We may not see it or feel it, but our personality actually is being nourished in the spirit world.
Each time we turn away from sin and do what we know to be right, we are given to eat and drink of Christ. Each time we are given to eat and drink of Christ we have more ability to overcome the next testing. And so on and on. It is a cycle leading up to the fullness of redemption.
In this manner we attain to the resurrection from the dead. As Jesus said in the sixth chapter of John, “I will raise him up at the last day.”
The resurrection is in two main parts. There is a resurrection of our inward nature during our discipleship on the earth; then, at the coming of the Lord, our body will be raised from the dead and clothed upon with the choices we have made while living on the earth.
When the Apostle Paul spoke in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians about attaining to the resurrection from the dead, He was referring to the inward resurrection, which is the basis for the outward resurrection when the Lord returns.
We can attain to the inward resurrection today as we learn to live continually by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. The Lord Jesus Christ himself is the Resurrection.
Jesus said He would raise us in the last day. I believe we now are approaching the last day, and the inward resurrection, the prerequisite for the outward resurrection, is increasing.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57—NIV)
From Adam to Christ
We must be born again if we are to enter the Kingdom of God. Our adamic personality cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God. Our adamic nature can be drawn up to Heaven, as we see in the case of Enoch and Elijah. But our adamic nature, our flesh and blood personality, cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God.
Our first birth was as a descendant of Adam and Eve. The adamic race is that of intelligent animals with a spirit that can reach up to God. It is a prototype of the eternal mankind. The adamic race was never meant to be permanent. It came to an end on the cross of Calvary. It was finished there.
God is making all things new. Everything that is to be saved in the new world of righteousness is being made new in the Lord Jesus Christ. God has declared that Christ shall be head over all, and that all the universe shall be summed up in him.
The temporary form of mankind descended from Adam and Eve through Noah and his wife. The eternal form of mankind will descend from God, having been born of God.
Thus every individual in whom the Divine Seed is planted becomes two individuals. There is the adamic personality, the intelligent animal. Then there is another personality who has been grafted into the first adamic personality.
If we count the sinful nature as separate from the adamic personality, which it indeed is, there are three natures at work. However, for the purposes of this discussion we will consider the adamic personality and the sinful nature as one personality.
Our entire Christian discipleship is based on the fact that each of us is two personalities. Our experiences and our reactions to our experiences proceed from the fact that we are two personalities. The first personality is human. The second personality is human but united with Christ. The first is temporary while the second is eternal.
This double personality accounts for the pains and struggles of our discipleship. We have a carnal mind that is an enemy of God. Why would God give us a mind that is opposed to him? Why must we suffer frustration and be imprisoned in one manner or another? What sense does all this make?
Our rigorous discipleship makes perfect sense once we understand that God is creating a Kingdom that could be constructed in no way other than first creating a flesh and blood humanity and then grafting into it a Divine personality. It is while we are in the flesh and blood humanity that our inward nature is formed. It is formed as we struggle to obey God.
When the inward nature has been shaped according to God’s plan for us, the donning of the body from Heaven will occur “in the twinkling of an eye.” At that point we will be at rest in the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes when I am endeavoring as a pastor to come to a better understanding of a member of our church, I ask the Lord to remove for a moment my perception of the animal part of the person, the first personality. I wish to get a glimpse of the new nature of the individual. I want to understand his or her progress in Christ.
Today all sorts of objectives are emphasized in the Christian churches. The stress may be on going out and getting souls saved. In other instances it is on attaining a remarkable emotional experience; or the emphasis may be on mental, emotional, or bodily healing. There are occasions when some of these objectives may be of the Lord and worthy of our pursuit. But they easily can distract us from the main objective of our discipleship.
The primary objective of our discipleship is the growth of the new creation, the new inward nature. It is the new man, not our adamic nature, who will be clothed with eternal life in the Day of Resurrection. It is the new personality who is eternal, who sees and enters the Kingdom of God, who itself is of the Kingdom of God. It is the new personality who will bring Paradise to the earth and maintain it. It is the new personality who, along with the Holy Spirit, will be the source of life and healing for the people whom God has saved to his new world of righteousness.
In contemporary America it is not unusual for a minister to emphasize how we may have a better, happier life in Christ. This usually means a better, happier animal personality, an adamic life without pain or problems.
However, a happy adamic life without pain or problems is not the best environment for the coming to maturity of the new, eternal man.
Being made helpless in some manner may enable us to do the Lord’s work as He would have it done. In addition to all his problems, the Lord apparently afflicted the Apostle Paul with poor eyesight. Samson killed more Philistines by his death than he ever did by his God-given strength.
Since our time on the earth is brief at best, we might wish to give some thought to the transition from our adamic life to the new creation in Christ. John the Baptist summed up our redemption when he exclaimed, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
We must be ready for this transition from Adam to Christ every moment of our discipleship. While we are following the Spirit of God, Christ may ask us to release some part of our animal, or sinful, nature. When we do, He takes it and replaces it with his Divine Substance and Life.
In this manner our second personality becomes greater. Our first personality becomes lesser.
The victorious saint makes good progress in the transition from Adam to Christ while he is undergoing his discipleship on the earth. He has made this transition while experiencing fierce opposition from Satan. The conquering of such resistance forms a rod of iron in his or her personality. The forming of the rod of iron qualifies him or her to govern as a king or priest in the new world of righteousness.
Most true Christians make a bit of progress during their lifetime in the transition from Adam to Christ. After they die, this transition will keep occurring if they make an effort to put into practice what they are being taught in the spirit world. This is my understanding at the present time.
However, they must resist temptation and keep themselves from sinful behavior. If they do, they will have access to the Tree of Life so Christ can be formed in them; and to the Water of Life of the Holy Spirit so they can live to an increased extent in the Spirit of God.
If they have some kind of infirmity they can be healed by the leaves of the Tree of Life.
If a Christian believer while living on the earth makes no progress in the transition from Adam to Christ, he will not immediately inherit the Kingdom of God. According to my understanding at this time, when he dies he will be sent to a confined area in the spirit world to be taught. If after having been taught he refuses to walk in the ways of Heaven, he will be sent to the Land of Darkness.
If while living on the earth he has been entrusted with some knowledge or aspect of the Kingdom of God, and ignores what he has been given, choosing to live his life in worldly pursuits, when he dies, that which has been given to him will be taken from him. His Kingdom riches will be given to another, and he, after having been rebuked by the Lord, will be sent to the Land of Darkness.
If he then proves incorrigible, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire and eventually become as evil as Satan. Repentance, a change of behavior, no longer will be possible.
After we die and are living in the spirit world, if we are not willing to deny ourselves and resist the temptation to envy, or hatred, or pride, or lying, or coveting, or any other antisocial behavior, we will be denied access to the Tree of Life. Then we no longer can be renewed in Divine Life or healed. Unless we are willing to be corrected we may end up separated for eternity from the Kingdom of God.
The work of redemption is for the purpose of enabling us to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. The adamic nature cannot do this. In order to keep God’s two great laws we must be filled with the new Life of Christ.
We cannot have lasting fellowship with God or enjoy our role in his Kingdom when we do not love Him above all else, and our neighbor as ourselves. Eating Christ’s body and blood fills us with his Divine Nature. Drinking often of the Water of Life, the Holy Spirit, gives us the power to reveal Christ’s Nature in our thinking, speaking, and acting. Then our new nature will be able to keep the two laws of God.
Those who persist in sin can never inherit the Kingdom of God, not now, not ever!
And as for the concept of experiencing judgment and redemption in the spirit world after we die:
For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:6—NIV)
(“The Inner Becomes the Outer”, 3667-1)