CHRIST IN YOU

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

CHRIST IN YOU Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Christ in us is the hope of glory. The Kingdom of God is Christ in us. All of God’s purposes are fulfilled as Christ is formed in us. Christ in You sets forth the biblical experience in nine steps, beginning with the work of the blood of the cross and ending with the resurrection from the dead. When Christ is formed in us, Christ Himself will come with the Father and They will make our personality Their abode for eternity.

For the reader who desires to understand our point of view, Christ in You may be the best text with which to begin his study. All of God’s purposes are fulfilled as God is in Christ in us.

Table of Contents

Foreword—Christ in You

Introductory Scriptures

I. Christ, the House of God

II. Nine Aspects of the Dwelling of Christ in the Believer

() The Blood of Christ Protects, Pardons, Purges, and Nourishes the Believer

The blood protects Two aspects of the atonement The two birds The two goats Making an atonement The scapegoat One sacrifice for sins for ever Confessing our sins Eating and drinking His body and blood The holiness of the Temple of God

(2) The Word of God Is Planted in the Heart

Four kinds of ground Thirty, sixty, and a hundred The magnifying of Christ in us The Seed and the Temple of God A seed brings forth after its kind

(3) The Believer Is Raised Spiritually In and With Christ

Will we continue in sin? Newness of life Hidden with Christ in God

(4) The Holy Spirit Becomes the Life of the Believer

Following the Holy Spirit The new covenant The law of the Spirit of life Walking in the Spirit The result of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us

(5) The Word of God Is Nourished and Grows

The Word of God The Word of God is both general and specific Impartation of the Divine Substance The Communion service The milk and solid food of the Word The ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ

(6) The Deeds of the Body Are Put to Death

The physical body is "dead" The sin of Adam and Eve The pursuit of eternal life The eternal judgment of unclean spirits Our personal "day of the Lord" Total destruction of the enemy

(7) The Word of God Comes to Maturity

Pressing toward the "mark" The Ark of the Covenant The face of a man The face of a lion The face of an ox The face of an eagle Maturity in Christ The galactic Christ

(8) The Father and the Son Make Their Abode With the Believer

Preparation for the coming to us of the Father and the Son The Way, the Truth, and the Life The Body of Christ Revival, spiritual warfare, and the feast of Tabernacles

(9) The Resurrection

Making alive the mortal body Victorious Christian living is related to the resurrection The role of the physical body in the resurrection from the dead Experiencing His death and His resurrection The "house which is from heaven"

III. REVIEW

Foreword: Christ in You

One of the principal purposes of God in the Christian Church is the construction of an eternal dwelling place for Himself. It is difficult for the Lord to come into a satisfying relationship with His creatures. The Body of Christ, which is the Temple of God, removes that difficulty by becoming the hand and heart of God extended to people everywhere.

God walked in the garden of Eden until the other two inhabitants sinned, causing a curse to be placed on the entire earth.

The Presence of the Lord God of Heaven on Mount Sinai struck terror into the heart of the church in the wilderness as that awful Word of judgment, the Ten Commandments, was handed down.

When the Fire of Sinai dwelled among people as Jesus of Nazareth, both Israel and the Gentiles rejected Him. They plucked His beard, mocked Him, beat Him, and crowned Him with thorns—the thundering God of Sinai!

The all-wise God understands the inability of men and women to receive Him gladly and confidently. Therefore God is constructing on the Lord Jesus Christ an eternal Temple. The Temple of God is His eternal place of rest, His home among mankind. It is the living, visible expression and revelation of the invisible, supremely holy God.

Would you like to become a living stone in the Temple of God? God will dwell only in Christ. Christ in You discusses the manner in which God creates Christ in us.

When Christ has been created in us, then God dwells in Christ in us and we have become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God. 

Introductory Scriptures

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

In whom [Christ] all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

To whom [the saints] God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

CHAPTER I CHRIST, THE HOUSE OF GOD

Christ Himself is the eternal House of God. God the Father finds His rest only in Christ, never in any human being apart from Christ.

No man has seen God at any time. Christ, who dwells eternally in God, has come to reveal the Father to us.

There were several occasions before the coming of Christ when God appeared to men. Some of those occasions are described in the Old Testament. In every instance it was Christ or the Angel of the Lord who appeared. No human being ever has seen God the Father (John 1:18).

Christ is the Divine Word of God, the Expression of all that God Is. When we see Christ we see the Father.

God is a Spirit, not a human being. God requires the shedding of innocent blood in order to appease His sense of violated justice. We understand by this that God is different from us.

Christ was born of a woman. Therefore we can establish a relationship with Him and make progress in coming to know Him. It is the good pleasure of Christ to reveal God to us.

God desires that the Incarnation, the Divine Expression be magnified so that every person on the earth may have access to Himself. Therefore God is multiplying Christ; for God will dwell only in Christ. Christ is the House of God.

God is magnifying and multiplying Christ by creating the Body of Christ. As Christ is being formed in the members of His Body, Christ is being magnified and multiplied and God in Him.

It is not Christ-likeness being formed in us that is so crucial to the purpose of God, it is that Christ is being formed in us. Christ is the true Vine. We are not additional vines, we are branches growing out from the one true Vine.

As Christ is being formed in the members of His Body He comes through the Spirit and dwells in those transformed members. As Christ comes and dwells in the members, God dwells in Christ in the members. He who has the Son has the Father also.

God in Christ in the members of the Body of Christ constitutes the Kingdom of God that John the Baptist announced, that Christ announced, that Paul taught, and that will be revealed to the world at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven with the saints and holy angels.

Christ in us is the mystery of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Christ is the House of God, the eternal Temple of God.

When Christ is in us the House of God is in us. When we are in Christ and abiding in Him, we are in the Temple of God and abiding in it.

When we are abiding in Christ, and Christ in us, God’s plan for our life has been brought to completion and perfection. We have become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God.

It was necessary that Christ return to the Father so we may become places of abode in God’s house. 

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

"In my Father’s house."

The Father’s House is Christ and the Body of Christ. Several times in the fourteenth through the seventeenth chapters of the Gospel of John, Christ spoke of returning to the Father.

Christ did not speak of returning to Heaven as to a place, He spoke of returning to His Father as to a Person. Heaven is not the goal of the Christian pilgrimage, the Father Himself is our Goal. It makes a practical difference in our life whether we choose Heaven or choose God as our goal.

Christ declared that He was going to the Father: 

. . . he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. (John 13:1)

. . . I go unto the Father: . . . . (John 14:28)

I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. (John 16:28)

Notice: 

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

"No man cometh unto the Father "!

The context of the "many mansions" is not Heaven, it is our abiding in Christ and He in us. We abide in Christ who abides in the Father who abides in Christ who abides in us. This is the Kingdom of God.

Christ is preparing a place for us in God. 

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. (Psalms 90:1)

Chapter 14 of John has to do with our becoming an abiding place in the Father’s house. Theme of this part of the Scripture is, "Abide in me, and I in you." The verb abide (John 15:4) is related to the Greek noun translated mansions, in John 14:2. Both words come from the same root.

Heaven is God’s throne . Nebuchadnezzar was instructed that "the heavens do rule" (Daniel 4:26).

The Scriptures do not refer to Heaven as the house of God. The eternal House, the Temple, of God is our Lord Jesus Christ.

 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

Under the old covenant, God dwelled in the Tabernacle of the Congregation and then in Solomon’s Temple. Under the new covenant, God finds His resting place only in people.

God will dwell only in Christ. Christ was not formed in any individual until after His resurrection from the dead. Therefore God did not abide in any believer under the old covenant.

God abides in every member of the Body of Christ. This is one of the principal differences between the old covenant and the new covenant. This is the reason he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than any of the prophets of Israel (Luke 7:28).

The "mystery" of Christ in you was suggested briefly in the Old Testament: 

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)

Why does the God of Heaven need a house, a place of rest? Here is a mystery.

The Spirit of God asked the question again—this time through Stephen: 

But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:47-49)

As we have stated, God will dwell only in the Lord Jesus Christ. When Christ has been formed in us and is abiding in us through the Spirit, we become a room in the Temple of God.

Notice that Christ is the eternal Temple of God: 

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)

We become a part of the Temple. 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

Christ is the "Zion" in whom the Father dwells forever (Psalms 68:15-18).

Christ went to prepare a place for us in Zion:

"In My Father’s House are many mansions."

The New Testament writings never once refer to a building as the house of God nor is Heaven ever referred to as the house of God. The concept of God and Christ coming to dwell in the saints is a major topic of the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul. 

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Here is the fulfillment under the new covenant of the old covenant feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43).

The Greek noun translated abode , in John 14:23, is translated mansions, in John 14:2.

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (II Corinthians 6:16)

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

When the Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven He gave gifts of ministry to the saints. The purpose of the gifts is that we may be brought to the "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the eternal House of God (Ephesians 4:13).

The Divine purpose in building the Body of Christ is explained in Psalms 68:18 

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18)

Christ—Head and Body—is the "hill," Zion, in which God will dwell forever.

There are many dwelling places in the Father’s house.

"If it were not so, I would have told you."

If Christ were to remain as the only room in the Father’s house the dealings of God with the believer would not be nearly as intense and exhaustive as they are. Because we are being made rooms in the Father’s eternal Temple, God works, works, works with us continually. The seemingly endless training and testing are portrayed by the various measurements included in the vision of the Temple of God that was given to the Prophet Ezekiel.

When the Body of Christ has been built to the standard of perfection and unity that God requires for His dwelling place, the Head will return and raise His Body from the dead. The Divine standard of maturity and completion is expressed as "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." 

When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)

"I go to prepare a place for you."

Where did Christ go? He went to the Father.

Before that, He went to Gethsemane and Calvary. The Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross in order to prepare a place for us in the Father. Then He rose from the dead and sprinkled His blood upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven. After that He poured out the Holy Spirit of God and gave gifts of ministry to the members of His Body. All of this was done in order to prepare a place for us in the eternal dwelling place of God.

It was not possible for any human being to become part of the House of God while Jesus was alive on the earth. In order to become part of the House of God we must become part of Christ. How can one person become part of another?

Christ Himself is the Way to the Father.

In order for any individual to become a part of Christ, a part of the eternal Temple of God, his sins must be forgiven. All relationships with Satan must be severed. The effects of sin must be healed. His personality must be transformed by being made one with the Personality of Christ.

In addition to this, Christ Himself had to be broken so the saint may be grafted on the Personality of Christ. The door into Christ was opened when the soldier pierced His side with the spear.

Christ was cut open, the believer is cut open, and wound is placed against wound. The "tape" of the Holy Spirit is wrapped around the two until healing occurs and the disciple becomes one with His Lord. The wounding and grafting occurs at a critical point in our Christian growth.

"I go to prepare a place for you."

To Gethsemane, to an unjust trial, to the cross, to Hell; and then up from the grave Christ arose to sprinkle His blood upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.

The blood upon the Mercy Seat satisfies the Divine justice. The blood before the Mercy Seat prepares the way for us into the Presence of God Himself.

Christ sprinkles us with His blood and gives us of His body to eat and His blood to drink. The eternal Temple of God is constructed from the body and blood of Christ.

The ascended Christ gave ministries and gifts to His Body so the Body may be formed in His image and made one in Christ in God. The Body of Christ is the eternal Temple of God. The Temple requires extensive, elaborate preparation and refinement.

Christ has sealed each of us with a firstfruits portion of the Holy Spirit of God, looking toward the Day of Redemption when our whole spirit, soul, and body are filled with the Spirit of God.

Christ Himself has been born and is being formed in us.

Christ Himself is at the right hand of God, making intercession as High Priest on the behalf of each Christian.

Then Christ Himself comes to us in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34). He stands at the door of our heart, and knocks (Revelation 3:20). If we hear His voice and open the door, Christ comes in to us. We dine together on His broken body and shed blood. This is the celebration of the new covenant. It is a love feast.

We can understand, from the preceding paragraphs, that it was not possible for any human being to become a room in God’s eternal Temple before Christ went to the cross and rose again from the dead. He went to prepare a place for us in Himself who is God’s House.

When Christ comes into us and we dine with Him on His body and blood, the eternal House of God has come into us and is sharing His Divine Substance and Nature with us. Now we have become one of the abiding places in the Abiding Place of God.

Sometimes we question the many varied—and often perplexing and painful—dealings of God with us. We begin to think God has forgotten about us.

God is faithful. He never forgets!

The most important question God asks —and He keeps on asking it—is, "Do you love me?"

If the Kingdom of God were to remain external to our personality, then (as we have stated previously) the demands on us would be but a small fraction of what they are.

Because the Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saint, our transformation must be total! absolute! final! The issue is that of the marriage of the Lamb. Christ prepares a place for us in Himself, and for Himself in us. It is a two-way abiding, a two-way dining. 

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)The new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, the many-roomed house of the Father, the Tabernacle of God.

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22)

Today there is a temple of God in Heaven (Isaiah 6:1). But there is no temple of God in the new Jerusalem, except for God and the Lamb.

 There no longer is a separating veil, a gap between the Lord and the sons of God. Our marriage to the Lamb has removed the gap between God and us.

The aspects of redemption we shall be presenting in the remainder of this book have as their purpose the removing of the veil between God and us. God desires to close the gap. We are not always willing to receive Christ to this extent.

The Lord God of Heaven cannot wipe away the tears of mankind until His Church, His Bride, is willing to become the living tabernacle that He envisions. It is through the perfected Bride that God will heal the nations of the saved.

The most important issue of Christianity is our abiding in Christ and His abiding in us.

CHAPTER II NINE ASPECTS OF THE DWELLING OF CHRIST IN THE BELIEVER

The dwelling of Christ in the believer can be described in nine aspects. It should be kept in mind that these nine aspects are not experienced in order of progression like the grades of an elementary school. Rather, they are nine dimensions of the one plan of redemption in Christ.

The nine aspects are as follows:

1. The blood of Christ protects, pardons, purges, and nourishes the believer.

2. The Word of God is planted in the heart.

3. The believer is raised spiritually in and with Christ.

4. The Holy Spirit becomes the life of the believer.

5. The Word of God is nourished and grows.

6. The deeds of the body are put to death.

7. The Word of God comes to maturity.

8. The Father and the Son make Their abode with the believer.

9. The resurrection.

The Blood of Christ Protects, Pardons, Purges, and Nourishes the Believer

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Romans 3:25)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

The habitation of God is being constructed of people—the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is the Cornerstone of the building (I Peter 2:6).

Every one of us has a sinful nature and commits sins of imagination, thought, word, and deed each day of his life. God is holy beyond all our ideas of holiness. His absolute perfection of purity and righteousness makes it impossible for God to be with us or work with us while we are committing sin.

God’s solution to the problem of our sinning is the blood of Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God.

The blood protects. The blood of Christ works powerfully in the life of each believer. First, the blood covers us during the times that God executes judgment on sin.

God poured misery and destruction on the land of Egypt. When God determined to take the life of the oldest child of each family of the Egyptians, God instructed the Israelites to smear blood on their door posts.

While you are studying the plagues that came upon Egypt (Exodus, Chapters Seven through Twelve), notice that God made a distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians such that the Israelites were not afflicted by the plagues. The Israelites were the descendants of Abraham, who was the called of God. They were not struck by the plagues that preceded the Passover even though the blood of the lamb had not as yet been smeared on their doorposts. However, the males had been circumcised.

During the greatest plague of all, the slaying of the firstborn of man and beast, it was necessary that a blood-covering be placed over the Israelites. The wrath of God was so fierce and the judgment on the gods of Egypt so devastating that the Israelites would have been swept up in the execution of the sentence of death.

Life was being taken from the earth by the Lord God. The Divine vengeance was falling on the cursed demon-worship of Egypt.

Divine holiness and righteousness were being renewed before the Face of God Almighty and the Israelites were in jeopardy of their own lives. It was necessary that the blood-sign be placed over the dwellings of the Israelites, anticipating in type the atonement made by the Lamb of God who was to be offered over a thousand years later on the cross of Calvary.

When God passes through our land today to strike the gods of lust, of violence, of covetousness, of murder, sorcery, self-indulgence, trust in secular knowledge and wisdom, lying, stealing, perversity, love of pleasure, we must claim the Passover blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as the blood-shield over our household.

Terrible judgment comes upon a nation when its citizens turn away from God and look toward satisfying the lusts of the flesh, and toward the astrologers, witches, fortune tellers, and mediums, in order to fulfill their needs and desires.

When the sword of the Lord begins to renew His way on the earth (and it always is God who directs the judging and destroying—Satan has no authority or power in destruction except as God commands—Isaiah 54:16; Amos 3:6) the only protection available is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. His blood alone can prevent the destroying angel from coming into our household and executing the Divine sentence on us.

As our characters are in the process of being formed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ, the Passover blood continues to protect us from the destruction that is falling all around us (Psalms 91).

The blood of Jesus does more than shield us from God’s judgment. Included in the authority and power of the blood of the Lord Jesus to make an atonement for sin are the following effects: covering, forgiveness, cancellation, mercy, reconciliation, propitiation, annulment, adjustment to differences, justification, restoration, remission, cleansing, purging. The blood covers us until we have been made perfect in Christ.

There may be no one English word that carries the complete meaning of the expression make atonement . The phrase restore completely to Divine favor comes fairly close to the meaning of "make atonement." The reconciliation of man to God is the key thought.

The blood of Christ protects us, covers our sins and shortcomings from God’s sight, is the basis for God’s forgiveness, satisfies the demands of justice when the laws of righteousness are violated, and has the power to purge all unrighteous behavior from us.

In addition, the blood of Christ is our life. Jesus invites every human being to drink His blood so that he or she may live by Him as He lives by the Father.

Two aspects of the atonement. There are two areas of redemption involved in making an atonement for our sins. The first area is that of forgiveness of our sins, the wiping of the record clean. The second area is that of deliverance from the power of sin so that we do not keep on committing sins while we are serving God is this life and in the life that is to come.

The Temple of God, the Body of Christ, always must be in a state of guiltlessness (justified) by confession and repentance; and also must be morally strong—moving consistently toward righteous, holy, and obedient behavior so that sin no longer has any part in it.

The making of an atonement includes two major actions: (1) the satisfying of justice because of the violation of Divine law; and (2) the removing of the tendencies and consequences of sin from the believer and the repairing of his whole personality.

Forgiveness and cleansing, cancellation and deliverance, freedom from both the guilt and the power of sin, remission and purging, mercy and healing—these are the two effects of the blood of Jesus, the two areas of grace that work together as we humans press on toward the fullness of the indwelling of God and Christ through the Holy Spirit.

The two birds. One can study the two ideas of cancellation and deliverance, in the fourteenth chapter of Leviticus. Two birds were used for the cleansing of the leper. One bird was slain and its blood was sprinkled on the leper. The other bird was let "loose into the open field." We die with Christ, and then are raised together with Him. 

Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. (Leviticus 14:4-7)

We can observe in the above passage the annulling authority of the blood of Jesus, as typified by the bird that was killed over running water (the running water shows that Christ was offered through the Holy Spirit—Hebrews 9:14).

Through the Spirit, Christ was sacrificed on the cross of Calvary in order to satisfy the justice of the Divine law that has been broken by every individual from the time of Adam. The letting of the "living bird loose into the field," after it had been dipped in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water, reveals the authority of the blood of Christ working together with the power of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

The forgiveness of sin combined with our resurrection to newness of life provides the groundwork for our release from the bondages of sin. 

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

The two goats. In the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus the two concepts of cancellation of debt and removal of sin are demonstrated again, this time using two goats instead of two birds. 

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:7-10)

There is full authority and power in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ to supply all the elements necessary to make an atonement for our sins.

It was not possible for the blood of birds and goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). The ceremonies involving these animals point toward and reveal clearly the Lamb of God, Christ, who satisfies the requirements of Divine justice and also removes the tendencies and repairs the consequences of sin in our life.

Christ has made a full atonement for us and He is in the process of setting us free from the effects of sin.

Making an atonement. God gave the Israelites seven convocations to observe (Leviticus, Chapter 23). Of these seven, the most solemn was the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement is described in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. We have seen already that there were two goats used during the ceremony of the Day of Atonement: the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell and that was slain; and the scapegoat that was let go into the wilderness.

The Holy Spirit has stated the following five purposes for the actions of the high priest during the Day of Atonement: 

And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. (Leviticus 16:33)

He shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary.

He shall make an atonement for the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

He shall make an atonement for the altar.

He shall make an atonement for the priests.

He shall make an atonement for all the people of the congregation.

The first three elements for which atonement was made annually were parts of the Tabernacle of the Congregation: the Most Holy Place, the whole Tabernacle itself, and the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering.

Bringing the concept down to today, in interpretation of this Old Testament type, we can see that atonement must be made for the dwelling place (tabernacle) of God. The Christian Church, the Body of Christ, is being made into the Temple of God—the eternal habitation of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

Judgment always must begin at the household of God (I Peter 4:17, Ezekiel 9:6). Therefore the full authority and power of the atonement made by the blood of the righteous Jesus must work first in the hearts and lives of those who are true disciples of the Lord Jesus.

Haven’t we been pardoned by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord?

Yes, we have. But there must be a complete removal from our lives of the practice of sin. The removal is taking place now. It is a judgment on the sin dwelling in us and also on our willingness to obey and serve the Lord (I Corinthians 11:31,32).

Our task is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He directs the cleansing and repair of our personalities. Deliverance from the habits of sin and from the love of self are included in the preparation for the full indwelling of the Father and the Son that will be ours as we follow on to know the Lord (John 14:23; 17:23).

Of particular importance during the Day of Atonement was the making of an atonement for the Most Holy Place: 

And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)

Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. (Leviticus 16:15,16)

Blood had to be sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat in order to make an atonement for the sins of Aaron and his household, to make an atonement for the uncleanness and transgressions of the children of Israel, and to make an atonement for the Most Holy Place itself.

Compare the following: 

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:22,23)

The absolute holiness and righteousness of our holy God cannot overlook a single sin. The blood of the innocent animals served to appease the wrath of God and to cover the transgressions of the Law of Moses until the Lamb of God, Christ, could make an atonement with His own blood on the cross of Calvary.

So it is that the blood of Jesus is at work daily in the hearts of those who are true disciples of Christ and who are being fashioned into the eternal Temple of God. The Holy Spirit is searching out the inner imaginations and motives of the believers, as well as the more obvious words and deeds, so that all that is not acceptable to God may be repented of and confessed as sin.

Upon confession the guilt is pardoned instantly so that the saint can remain without condemnation in the Presence of God.

We always must be alert to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that we can keep our personality clean and pure by the blood of Christ, so that we can wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb. In order to obtain and maintain the Presence of God in Christ, the blood of Christ must continually be sprinkled upon and before the mercy seat that is our own heart.

The scapegoat. Not only are our sins forgiven, in the Divine atonement, but also the tendencies and consequences of our sins are removed from us. We found, in Leviticus, Chapter 16 that there was a scapegoat, or goat of removal. 

But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:10)

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:21,22)

Here is a clear picture of the removal of our sins from us.

In the case of the bird let loose in the open field we can see the spiritual resurrection and ascension of the believer who has been raised with Christ and now is living in God.

In the letting go of the scapegoat into the wilderness we can understand that our sins are removed from the Presence of the Lord as He dwells in us and we in Him. Here is the complete purging from us of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

After Lazarus was raised from the dead the graveclothes were removed from him.

The Lord Jesus Christ died for us and rose again so that we may be forgiven completely and that we may be filled to overflowing with resurrection life. In addition, He accomplishes the removal of our sins from us, enabling us to overcome the bondage, destruction, and death that always accompany the rule of the law of sin and death (Romans 7:23, 8:2).

The work of atonement, of forgiving and cleansing, accomplished by the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus, was the means of preparing a place for us in the Father’s House, that is, in Christ. 

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

"One sacrifice for sins for ever." The pattern of the Levitical ceremonies reveals that the animal sacrifices saved the Israelites in their sins but not from their sins. The fact that the Day of Atonement had to be repeated annually illustrates the inability of animal blood to remove sin from the worshipers.

The worshipers understood that they would sin again and again, and that atonement would be made for them the following year (Hebrews 10:1-3). This was true even of the high priest and his family. 

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Hebrews 10:1)

There was authority in the blood of birds, goats, and bulls to appease the wrath of God and to forgive transgressions of the Law of Moses, provided the transgression was not premeditated and willful disobedience, a flaunting of God’s Word. The authority and power to remove the tendencies and repair the consequences of sin were not available through the blood of animals.

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

When we accept the blood of the Lord Jesus as an atonement for our sins, a Divine work of terrible finality commences—terrible from the standpoint of those who would have us sin. There is utter, total, dreadful (as seen by the Lord’s enemies) authority and power in the blood of Jesus to make an atonement for sin.

The blood of Christ keeps cleansing us and the Holy Spirit keeps writing the laws of God in our heart and mind day after day, year after year, until the work of redemption has been completed in our personality.

If we keep on following the Spirit of God, remembering we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth, the blood of Christ can work atonement in us. We can overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb.

Eventually the Divine redemption will have been brought to the full in our spirit, our soul, and our body.

Confessing our sins. When the Holy Spirit points out to a Christian that he has sinned and that he has a tendency to do so along a certain line, such as the practice of lust, hate, sorcery, pride, covetousness, for example, there is a simple straightforward procedure for immediately restoring his fellowship with the Lord: 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

The context of I John 1:9 is that of the saint of God who is walking in the light, the disciple of Jesus who is abiding in the Presence of God in Christ and performing the will of God. The blood of Christ cleanses him continually as he walks in the light of God’s Presence each day.

As we are walking in the light, and the blood of Christ is cleansing us from all sin, it may occur that the Holy Spirit will lead us to the fact that we are harboring hatred against some person. The moment we become aware of the Divine pressure on this particular point we must confess to the Lord that we are sinning in that we are maintaining a hateful attitude toward the individual who is displeasing us.

As soon as we confess the sin of hatred, God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sin and to purify us from the sin. The blood of Christ made atonement for that sin on Calvary. We appropriate the benefit of the atonement when the Holy Spirit leads us to confess the particular behavior and to forsake the practice of it (repent). 

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (I John 2:1)

God is faithful and righteous to both pardon and cleanse us, upon our confession of a sin and repentance from the practice of it. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will prompt us to act further in the matter, such as to return something we have stolen or to ask a person’s forgiveness for hurting him or her in some manner.

There is resurrection power available to the Christian whom the Holy Spirit has directed to ask another’s forgiveness or to make restitution. If we seek the Face of God in prayer He will grant us grace and joy so we can obey the Holy Spirit’s directive in a poised, cheerful, victorious attitude.

It is not easy to ask the forgiveness of another human being or to make restitution for a wrong we have committed. We must look to God, not only to determine whether He is moving us to do more than confess the sin to Him but also for the wisdom and strength to take necessary steps of restitution.

In most instances of sin committed by a Christian, the matter is settled when he or she confesses the sin to God clearly and specifically. The blood of Christ cancels the debt and also removes the sin from the believer. Then the light of God’s Presence shines in his or her heart without casting a shadow.

Sometimes blessing and release come to us as we confess our sins in the hearing of another Christian and have him or her give us counsel and agree in prayer. The prayers of two or three Christians can be very effective when a believer seems to be caught in a bondage that will not yield to his own confession of, and resistance to, the sin in question. Again, the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God are required at each point of action.

Every Christian is being formed as a part of the Temple of God, which is the Body of Christ. Because God is holy, the Christian in whom God intends to dwell eternally must be holy also.

God has made provision for our holiness by the atonement made by Christ on the cross. We avail ourselves of the full weight of authority and power of the blood of Christ when we confess our sins. As we name our sins, resolving never again to practice them, as God helps us, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to purify us from all sin and rebellion.

We are learning how to walk continually and successfully in the light of God’s Presence. We are gaining wisdom and understanding in dealing with the sins of our nature. The blood of Christ is being sprinkled upon and before the "mercy seat" that is our heart.

Each time we are obliged to deal with a problem of sin in our life, as the Holy Spirit leads and provides the grace and strength, the light of God in us grows brighter leading to the fullness of the Day of the Lord. Every Christian who is being transformed by the continuing process of putting to death the deeds of the body is coming into a true fellowship with the Father and Son (I John 1:1-7). He is gaining eternal life. 

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

Most of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament alike, has to do with sin and holiness. Throughout the Scriptures God speaks of the consequences of righteousness and unrighteousness. The blood of Christ has made an atonement for the sins of people. The fullness of Divine authority and power is in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus.

No sin can resist the blood of Christ provided the guilty person comes to God through Christ and confesses he is a sinner, in the case of an unsaved person, or confesses a particular sin he is committing, in the case of a Christian.

We will have more to say about putting to death the deeds of the body when we come to the sixth aspect of the dwelling of Christ in the believer.

Eating and drinking His body and blood. We eat the sacrifice, Christ, and drink His blood. The communion service is a portrayal of this aspect of the atonement. By eating and drinking Christ’s body and blood we become one with sacrifice. 

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of [sharing; participation in] the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of [sharing; participation in] the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (I Corinthians 10:16,17)

"We being many are one bread." The bread of the communion becomes to us the Body of Christ. By eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood we become one with God’s Passover Lamb. 

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out

from the sheep, or from the goats: (Exodus 12:5)

And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (Exodus 12:7,8)

Under old covenant law no person, whether of the priests or of the people, was allowed to drink blood. Under specific conditions the priests did eat the flesh of the animals that were offered. Also, the Israelite who offered a peace offering partook of the sheep or goat that he offered. However, every person in Israel ate the flesh of the Passover Lamb.

We Christians eat the Lamb of God, Christ, and drink His blood. We become one with Him in His atoning death and one with Him in His glorious resurrection. All that He is we are because we are in Him and He is in us.

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56,57)

No matter what we were at one time, in Him we now are reconciled to God. The complete reconciliation is the final result of the atonement made by Christ on the cross of Calvary.

The holiness of the Temple of God. The Temple of God is the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The city is holy. Nothing that is not holy can enter the city—not today, not in the ages to come. We must cleanse ourselves through the grace God has provided. 

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (I Corinthians 11:31)

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

It may be noted, concerning the previous verse (II Corinthians 7:1), that the "promises" to which it refers pertain to the Temple of God (as set forth in II Corinthians 6:16-18).

Again, in I Corinthians 3:17, the emphasis is on the holiness of the Temple of God: 

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The context of the above verse is that of building on the foundation, which is Christ. The purpose of the ministries, events, and circumstances of the Christian pilgrimage is that the Temple of God may be constructed from the transformed personalities of the saints.

If we build the Temple of God of silver and precious stones (speaking figuratively of the works of Christ performed in and through us by the Holy Spirit), we then will be ready spiritually to be clothed with our glorified body from Heaven.

If we build God’s tabernacle of wood, hay, and straw (referring to our own fleshly nature and works), when God comes to look it over His fiery Nature will consume it and all our building will be brought to nothing. The Scriptures indicate that we personally will be saved but we will lose our reward (I Corinthians 3:15).

Only the Holy Spirit, working on the basis of the authority and power of the blood of Christ, can make a success of cleansing the Temple of God from sin. 

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

"If ye through the Spirit." If we Christians are to become a part of the eternal Temple of God that is being constructed we must live no longer in the lusts of our flesh, following the inclinations of our mind and soulish nature. Instead, we must come under the daily discipline of the Holy Spirit and cooperate with Him as He leads us into the destruction of the excessive appetites of our body.

The blood of Christ can wash away the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical effects of sin. Unclean spirits are forced to leave, and personal traits of self-love, stubbornness, and double-mindedness are conquered, as the Holy Spirit (with our cooperation and willingness to learn and to resist the devil) works on the basis of the righteousness of the blood of Christ.

The rule of sin and death is undermined and finally destroyed altogether as the disciple is re-created in harmony with the image of Christ.

Because of the atoning authority and power of the blood of Christ, people no longer have to hide from God’s Presence as did Adam. We can come boldly before the Throne of God and make our needs and desires known (Hebrews 4:16).

The physical body can be healed as part of the atonement. Eventually the last enemy, physical death, will be destroyed (I Corinthians 15:26). Our physical body will be resurrected and clothed with a body from Heaven fashioned from indestructible, resurrection life (Romans 8:11; I Corinthians 15:53; II Corinthians 5:2).

The Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb, is to show no mercy to the spiritual enemies of God and man but must follow the Lord Jesus into victory over all the forces of evil. The blood of Christ and the power of His resurrection enable us to overcome the power of sin in our fleshly nature. The God of Heaven is bringing all of Christ’s enemies under His feet.

The blood of Christ protects, pardons, purges, and nourishes the saint. The blood is a garment covering our spiritual nakedness so we can come into the Presence of God Almighty without shame. We wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. As we confess our sins and repent of them, God forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

By confessing our sins, repenting, submitting to God, and resisting the devil, by the authority and power of the blood of Jesus to forgive and to purge, by the wisdom and strength that come to us from the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, and by eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood, a place for us is being prepared in the Father’s House, that is, in Christ.

Through the grace of God we are cleansing and preparing the eternal dwelling place of the Lord God of Heaven so that God and we may dwell together in the Divine rest, in perfect love, perfect joy, and perfect peace.

The Word of God Is Planted in the Heart

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mark 4:3-8)

Four kinds of ground. As we think about the parable of the sower, which is the main parable of the Kingdom of God, we can notice that of the amount of the Word of God that is sown in the hearts of people, only a certain percentage ever bears any permanent fruit.

Some of the Divine Seed is taken away immediately by Satan.

Another part of the Seed springs into life, but the life remains on the surface of the personality and the roots never grow down into the inner character of the believer.

When affliction or persecution comes, the person who does not have strong spiritual roots is offended and follows Christ no longer. It becomes too painful to take up one’s cross and daily seek the will of Jesus. A more pleasant and comfortable way of life is chosen. Since no roots have gone down deep into the heart, the heavenly Seed brings forth no lasting fruit.

A third part of the Word of God falls on the hearts of people who are involved with the things of the world. The Seed germinates and a new life begins to be developed. The lusts of the flesh, the coveting of material possessions, and entanglement in the affairs of the world also are growing and developing along with the Seed from Heaven. Eventually there is no room left for Christ. The Divine Life is crowded out and spiritual death follows.

The construction of the Temple of God commences with the planting of the living Word in the heart of the one who accepts Christ as Lord and Savior. If room is not made in the heart for the new life, if care is not taken that the Seed is nourished and cared for and has opportunity to grow and develop, the believer may make some headway in the plan of redemption for a season but finally will come short of a satisfactory entrance into the Kingdom of God.

When a man, woman, boy, or girl receives Christ, a new life, a portion of God Himself, is planted in the heart. If the new life is cared for properly it will bring forth a new personality of the same Substance and in the image of God from whom it came.

However, the life of God will not bring forth fruit if it is neglected by the Christian.

Of the four kinds of ground in which the Word is sown, three bring no fruit to perfection. The fourth kind of ground consists of people who take good care of the Word that has come to them. They wait on the Lord as He works in their heart. 

And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mark 4:8)

Thirty, sixty, and a hundred. Those "honest and good" hearts who make a success of the life of patient fruit-bearing to the Lord are set forth in three categories. Some of them bring forth thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, and some a hundredfold.

Here are three levels of laying hold on the grace of God that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The three stages of Christian development, thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold are typified by the three assemblings of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 16:16) and also by the three divisions of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The three convocations enjoined on the Israelites were Unleavened Bread (Passover), the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the feast of Tabernacles.

The three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation were the Courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place.

It seems clear that the Scriptures reveal three major levels of attainment in Christ, and that all who choose to do so may seek and find the hundredfold level.

The three degrees of bearing fruit in Christ presented in the parable of the sower are as follows:

The level of justification through the blood of the Lord Jesus.

The level of ministry and holiness brought about by the operations of the Holy Spirit.

The throne level of dwelling and ruling in the fullness of the abiding of the Father and the Son.

Several times in the Book of Revelation we can note that the fullness of the inheritance goes to those who overcome, who live victoriously in Christ.

The pattern of the new Jerusalem itself with its surrounding "nations of them who are saved" appears to indicate that there are those who are part of the city itself, and then there are those who live in the light of the city. Revelation 3:12 states that Jesus will make him who overcomes a permanent part of the Temple of God, so much so that the name of God and the name of the city of God are inscribed on him.

The new Jerusalem is the Temple of God, the Lamb’s Wife, and is an expression of the fullness of the Life of God in Christ. The hundredfold Christian will dwell eternally in the Divine Presence, his nature being in accord with the Nature of the Godhead. The eternal abiding is the "rest" of God, spoken of in the Scripture (Hebrews 4:9).

So then, there is much to be gained by pursuing the things of God, by watching over the Divine Seed until there is an abundant harvest in our personality. Keep in mind that the Seed is Christ and that the hundredfold yield indicates a full developing of the portion of Christ that has been planted in us.

The Seed is Christ and the fruit of the harvest is Christ.

The following promise was given to Abraham: 

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:17,18)

Again, in Galatians we find: 

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

The magnifying of Christ in us. Christ is "magnified" in our body (Philippians 1:20). When we give ourselves over wholly to walking in the Spirit of God, waiting continually on the will of Christ, the Divine Seed that has been planted in our heart begins to bring forth Christ in us.

Christ is multiplied, enlarged. He begins to "possess the gate of his enemies." This is the manner in which the eternal Temple of God, the new Jerusalem, the habitation of God, is being built.

If we truly are serving Christ, the foundation of the Temple is being laid now in our life. The consequences of our allowing God to build Christ in us will extend into eternity.

The Seed that is sown in us is the living Word of God. In some wonderful way God plants a part of Himself in us. There is Divine potential in the Seed that can transform a human being.

If we give our whole attention to the tending of the Seed a new creation will be brought forth. Divine Life will enter and re-create every atom of our personality—our spirit, our soul, and, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, our body.

A new creation is being formed. Our old nature is passing away and what remains is from God, of God, permeated in every area with Divine Substance (II Corinthians 5:17,18).

The "wood" of our humanity will be covered within and overlaid with the "gold" of Divinity (Exodus 25:10,11).

I John 3:9 informs us that "Whosever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God."

Peter describes the experience in these words: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, that liveth and abideth for ever " (I Peter 1:23).

The Seed and the Temple of God. The germination of the Seed of Christ in our heart is the beginning of the construction of the Temple of God. So important is the planting of the Divine Seed in the human heart that Jesus spoke to those who were about Him with reference to the parable of the sower: "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" (Mark 4:13).

The planting of the Word of God in us is the beginning of the new creation, the key to understanding "all parables," the entrance into the Kingdom of God.

All that went before in the person’s life is the old creation and is passing away. The germination of the Word of God is the start of the new creation. The new life in us will endure for ever if it is taken care of properly.

The Temple of God is Christ—Head and Body. Flesh and blood never shall inherit the Kingdom of God. It is Christ Himself who is the Kingdom and who therefore must be born in us.

In a manner somewhat similar to Mary of old, the Holy Spirit comes upon us and the Holy One who is born in us is a son of God—the Son of God, in one sense. We do not give birth to the Lord Jesus Christ in the physical realm as did Mary. Nevertheless, Christ is formed in us in a real although spiritual manner.

Christ is born in us. He is the Tabernacle of God.

Under no circumstances will any man, woman, boy, or girl who has not had Christ planted in his or her heart enter the Kingdom of God. It is Christ, and only Christ, who inherits the promises of God. "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16). 

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

When Christ takes root in our heart the Tabernacle of God has taken root in our heart. As Christ is built up in our heart the Tabernacle of God is built up in our heart. More Christ, more Tabernacle.

The more we allow the Holy Spirit to nourish the Divine Life in us the more of Christ will be formed in us. The more of Christ we have formed in us the more room there is for the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit to settle down to rest in us.

A seed brings forth after its kind. There is a law of nature governing seeds requiring that each seed bring forth a duplicate of the parent from which it came. 

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)

Seeds may look somewhat alike and yet bring forth plants that are quite different. The specifications for the mature plant are located in the tiny seed. The outside environment can hinder or help the growth of the plant but it cannot affect its nature. The seed alone determines the kind of plant that will grow out of the ground.

The program of growth and development established in code in the seed comes from the parent plant from which the seed came. The cycle of plant, to seed, to plant, to seed started with the first plant created by the Lord God, the seed of which was contained in itself.

The Seed planted in the Christian came from God. The same law of plant, to seed, to plant holds true in the case of the Divine Seed. The specifications for the mature plant are locked in the Seed.

The outside environment can hinder or help the growth of the Seed but it cannot affect the nature of the plant. Our humanity cannot take away from the Divinity and Goodness that are in the heavenly Seed nor can it add virtue to the full-grown plant.

The Word of God is the Seed from God, and the Seed alone determines the kind of plant that will be brought forth. The program of growth and development established in code in the Divine Seed comes from God Almighty.

If the Divine Seed is nourished and cared for properly it will develop into a creature who is of God, from God, of the Nature of God, in God’s image—altogether a son of God in every sense of the word.

This is why we must be born again. The personality that is born of earthly parents cannot enter the Kingdom of God, it cannot become the dwelling place of God. Only Christ is suitable as the habitation of God.

Therefore, Christ must be born in us and grow to maturity in us. "Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

The living Word of God must be sown and germinate in our heart. We must, "having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" (Luke 8:15). The result will be a transformation of our character.

The Kingdom of God is like a man who sows seed in the ground. Over a period of time the seed brings forth a sprout, a plant, and then a mature plant (from Mark 4:26-28). The Kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed which, though the smallest of seeds, grows up and "shoots out branches" (from Mark 4:30-32). 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, . . . (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

Think of it! All the old things of the first creation have passed away. All things of our personality have been created anew and all things now are of God.

It is a new creation. It is the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord, the eternal habitation of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

The Believer is Raised Spiritually In and With Christ

Christ is alive forever, victor over death and Hell. We are one with Him in His resurrection. Therefore we also through Him are alive forever and a victor over death and Hell. "As he is, so are we in the world" (I John 4:17).

The indestructible, endless resurrection power of Christ lifts us up from the power of Satan, from the power of the spirit of the world, and from the power of our own self-willed, sinful fleshly nature. It enables us to purge ourselves from all sin and rebellion. The Holy Spirit imparts to us the desire to overcome sin and the necessary wisdom and strength to cleanse ourselves from all unrighteousness.

Separation from the sin and rebellion of the world and of the flesh, through Christ’s atoning death and victorious resurrection, is portrayed by our coming up out of the waters of baptism.

Oneness with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and in His resurrection is an important aspect of the development of Christ in us, of the building of the Temple of God in our life. 

Will we continue in sin? It may be observed in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans that our participation through faith in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus is demonstrated by whether or not we continue in sin after we become a Christian. 

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1)

The answer that we give to this question, both in our words and in our conduct, reveals whether or not we understand the significance of water baptism—what it means to be buried with Christ and risen with Christ.

If we keep on walking in the desires of the flesh after we become a Christian, stating that as long as we are in the world we are compelled to sin or that Christ has set us free and we are under no law of righteous conduct, we do not understand the nature or purpose of the redemption that is in Christ.

There are authority and power in our union with the death and resurrection of Christ that enable us to choose to live righteously. Chapter Six of Romans is a safeguard inserted by the Holy Spirit. Its purpose is to prevent a wrong conclusion from Paul’s argument concerning the gift of grace—an argument directed toward Judaizers who were forcing circumcision and other works of the Law of Moses on Gentile converts.

The safeguard has not been heeded. The Gentiles have interpreted Paul’s explanation of grace to mean that the individual who accepts Christ is not obligated to live in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. The goal of redemption has been subverted by ignorance. People keep on yielding to unrighteousness after being baptized in water.

The sixth chapter of Romans begins the next step of redemption after we enter the program by our acceptance of God’s provision of the blood. The blood of Jesus is the door, and the only door, to the process of redemption.

Chapters One through Five of Romans describe the gift of justification—that is, righteousness apart from the works of the Law of Moses, on the part of the believer. The gift of justification must be understood and accepted before there can be any progress in overcoming sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let us state at this point that the Apostle Paul never contrasts grace and godly behavior. Paul contrasts grace and the Law of Moses. When Paul refers to works of righteousness he means the works of the Law of Moses. Paul would never contrast grace and godly behavior because the purpose of Divine grace is to create godly behavior, a new creation, in the human personality. This is one of the great areas of confusion of the Church Age.

Commencing with the sixth chapter of Romans, Paul explains the procedures that lead to the goals of redemption—procedures available only after we enter through the doorway of the cross of Calvary.

Having begun the program by placing our faith in the blood of Christ we must continue by following the Holy Spirit as He destroys sin and self-seeking from us and creates the dwelling place of God through Christ in us.

If we do not press forward each day in the life of the Holy Spirit, thinking that Christ has set us free so we may conduct our life according to our own lusts and interests, not realizing He has purchased us so we may become His servant, then God’s purpose in saving us through the blood is frustrated because of our ignorance of the program of redemption.

We must keep firmly in mind that God’s purpose in forgiving us is not that we may continue to sin and rebel in the earth and then be admitted to Paradise when we die. God’s purpose in forgiving us is that we may be changed into the image of Christ, providing a house for God and the means of accomplishing other goals that are part of His eternal plan in Christ. 

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

Water baptism is our entrance into the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. By faith we take our place with Him on the cross of Calvary. We become part of His death and His resurrection.

Christ is the true Seed of Abraham. We enter His death and His resurrection and are identified forever as being with Him, in Him, an inseparable part of Him. Therefore all that He Is we eventually will become in personality and in inheritance (Ephesians 5:29,30; Colossians 2:10; I John 4:17).

In water baptism we enter Christ’s death and Christ’s resurrection, not our own death and resurrection. We enter the suffering and death, and the power of the resurrection life, of the Lord Jesus Christ. The full identification of the believer with the death and the resurrection of Christ is essential to the life of victorious discipleship.

What is the purpose of entering Christ’s death and resurrection? 

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

God is not reforming and saving our first personality. God directs us to assign our entire first personality to the cross, not just our sin nature, but our entire personality. The old creation, the race of Adam, is finished, in the sight of God.

This is true even of our fleshly knowledge of Christ. 

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. (II Corinthians 5:16)

Our "old man," that is to say, our first self, our adamic, animal nature, the first personality that was born of our earthly mother and father, goes to the cross by faith as Christ went to the cross. We go there so the "body of sin," the fleshly nature of lust and self-will that leads us into sin and rebellion against God, may be rendered powerless as to its control over our daily behavior.

Assigning our first self to the cross opens the way both legally and actually for God to perform in us many wonderful spiritual works. For example, our death in Jesus on the cross frees us legally from the jurisdiction of the Law of Moses.

Our personality now is a candidate for re-creation, the re-creation that comes about as the events of our life bring us into ever-deepening death, and character transformation. We die not only to the lusts and passions of sin but also to self-will and self-centeredness.

The destruction of lust and self-love from our personality makes possible a new creature—the Word of God created by the penetration of Christ’s death and resurrection into every aspect of what we are. 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

God has determined to bring into resurrection life every particle of our spirit, soul, and body. Our willingness to assign our whole first self to the cross of Jesus makes possible a resurrection, a new creation in Christ in which all things have been made new—completely new—and are of God.

The cross is the only route to resurrection life. The more of the cross we accept the more of the resurrection life we are able to experience.

The purpose of our crucifixion with Christ is that the fleshly nature in us may be rendered powerless so we may conduct ourselves in the righteous, holy, and obedient manner that is pleasing to God and that springs from and results in eternal life. 

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Newness of life. What an act of creation the expression "newness of life" describes! If we are willing to go down into the waters of baptism in representation of the burial of our first personality, we then become eligible for the fullness of the glory of the Father—the glory that enters those who are crucified with Christ. The glory of the Father produces in them righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

There is astonishing, incomprehensible virtue, power, and wisdom in the "glory of the Father."

Will we enter His death voluntarily so we may receive the fullness of the Power that raised Christ from among the dead? 

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (Romans 6:5)

The "likeness" of Christ’s resurrection has to do with the separating of our spirit, our soul, and finally our body from every trace of the bondages of sin and death. Christ has been resurrected and now is filled to overflowing with Divine Life.

It is God’s plan that each member of the Church, the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, be resurrected and filled to overflowing with Divine Life in spirit, in soul, and in body.

Total resurrection requires acceptance of and cooperation with the death and resurrection that God requires of us.

It is necessary always to keep firmly in balance our identification with Christ.

Everything we are and will become is in Him and is Him in a profound sense. We can become discouraged quickly in our attempts to live the overcoming life if we lose sight of the fact that we are one with Him in His death, His resurrection, His victory, His righteousness, His holiness, His inheritance, His power, His authority. He is the one Seed of Abraham. When we are in Him we are part of the one Seed and heirs with Him of the promises of God.

He is the Vine. We are the branches growing out from the one true Vine.

It is possible to overemphasize our dependence on the righteousness of Christ, to misapply the passages that describe our identification with Christ. It is possible to apply the gift of grace and identification with Christ in such a manner that we ourselves do not grow into the image of Christ.

There are steps in the life of faith that we must take by our own will and determination, meanwhile looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance, encouragement, and power. If we talk about how righteous Jesus is, and then keep on walking in the appetites of the flesh, we are missing the mark. We are ignoring the bulk of the admonitions of the New Testament writings.

Our acceptance of our identification with Christ’s righteousness can cause us to grow spiritually lazy and passive if we do not proceed from the area of belief to the area of practice. Most of the writings of the Apostles are addressed to the disciples, exhorting us to pursue the life of faith and righteousness.

If we claim there is nothing we are to do, Christ did it all, we do not understand the operation of the new covenant.

It does us no good to cry Lord! Lord! if we do not do what He says.

As in all other areas of the Christian discipleship there is a balance to be sought. All that we are is in Him and through Him. Yet, we are commanded to seek Christ diligently so we may more perfectly lay hold on the Virtue that flows to us each day from Him.

There will be a visible working out of the life of Christ in us if we truly are in Him. There will be a new creation. The new creature is the Kingdom of God. We are entering the Kingdom of God as the new creature, Christ, is being formed in us.

This is why Paul, in the sixth chapter of Romans, directs us to live as though we have been raised from the dead. 

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)

Paul informs us that the grace of God in Christ has freed us from the authority of sin. Having been freed from the authority of sin we are to choose to yield our members "servants to righteousness unto holiness."

Being saved and baptized in water does not mean we no longer are able to sin nor does it mean that it does not matter whether or not we sin.

Being saved and baptized in water means that God has forgiven our sins through Christ and now expects us, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to choose to put off sinful behavior and to conduct ourselves in purity of deed, word, and thought.

Because we choose to serve God and not Satan, the world, or our own lusts or self-will, we begin to bear the fruit of holiness of conduct. The end result of holy conduct is eternal life (Romans 6:22).

Hidden with Christ in God. As soon as we are saved we are raised spiritually to sit with Christ on the highest throne of the universe, far above the forces of darkness, far above every other authority—wicked or righteous. 

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his majestic power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:19-21)

The moment we are born again our spiritual position in Christ is as high as it can ever go. We never shall ascend higher than the throne of Christ. We are there as soon as Christ is born in us. 

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)

We now are in the heavenlies in Christ. Our problem is our life in our physical body on the earth. Our body is not at the right hand of God. It is not above the forces of darkness. It is dead because of the fleshly nature, the sin and rebellion, that is in it.

The true Christian discipleship is that of choosing each day to walk on the earth according to our new born-again spiritual nature that is in Christ at the right hand of God, rather than according to the lusts of our flesh and mind that tempt us while we are on the earth.

We make that choice each day of our life on earth.

We can avail ourselves of the grace of God and live in resurrection joy and peace, or we can carelessly follow the impulses of our soulish nature, not giving attention to prayer, to Scripture reading, to gathering together with fervent believers to worship the Lord and to receive from Him the strength and wisdom we must have in order to make the right choices.

In several passages Paul warns us that if we choose to follow our flesh, rather than the Holy Spirit as He builds up our new spiritual nature, we will die spiritually. We will not attain the resurrection life that comes to those who choose to live according to the Spirit of God.

Our task while we are alive on the earth is to keep looking toward our spiritual position in Christ in the heavenlies; and by faith in God’s Word, and by the strengthening that comes from the Holy Spirit, to bring the Divine Life down into our actions, our thoughts, and our speech.

Our behavior on the earth should reflect our position in Christ at the right hand of God in Heaven. 

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

We are dead, in a spiritual sense, having died in and with Christ by faith. Our true life at this time is in Heaven, in Christ in God. Our battle on the earth is to keep on behaving according to our heavenly position.

Meanwhile, our soul is under pressure each day because of the sin and death that attack us on every hand. We must keep on seeking Christ with all our strength and attention; otherwise we yield to lust, to hatred, to murmuring, to envy, or to some other unclean deed, word, or thought.

When the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven there will be a reconciliation of our heavenly life with our bodily life on the earth, provided we do not destroy our new spiritual nature, our grasp on Heaven, by living in the appetites of the flesh. 

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

We who are saved are in Heaven now as to the spiritual aspect of our personality. When Jesus returns we shall return with Him. We then shall enter a new phase of our existence in which our spirit, our re-created, Christ-filled character, and our immortalized body are united.

The new creation will be a fuller manifestation of the Kingdom of God than is true of us in the present hour. It will occur at the revealing of the sons of God, at the appearing of the Lord from Heaven.

Since this is true, we are exhorted as follows: 

Mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [desires], and covetousness, which is idolatry: (Colossians 3:5)

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Colossians 3:8-10)

As soon as Christ is born in us He is caught up to the throne of His Father. Christ always is at the right hand of the Father. Our new life is in Him in the Father from the moment of our new birth.

Let us therefore place our affections and interests at the right hand of God. By so doing we will be able to live according to the discipline of the Holy Spirit and not according to the lusts of our flesh.

The Holy Spirit Becomes the Life of the Believer

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5,6)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

Eternal life is another name for the Holy Spirit.

When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the blood of Jesus washes away our sins. We then are born again and our new spiritual nature (Christ in us) is raised to dwell in Christ at the right hand of God. At the same time the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell in us forever. The Holy Spirit becomes our life.

Following the Holy Spirit. Eliezer of Damascus is a type of the Holy Spirit. He was sent from Abraham (the Father) to obtain a bride for Isaac (Christ). Rebecca (the Church) was led back to Isaac by the guidance of Eliezer (Genesis, Chapter 24).

Rebecca never had seen Isaac previously. She may have had a general idea where Isaac lived but she certainly could not have made the trip by herself.

If Rebecca had decided to remain in her home in Mesopotamia and enjoy the gifts that Eliezer had brought with him she never would have seen Isaac. She would have grown old and died while thinking about how wonderful it was that she had been chosen to be the wife of Abraham’s son.

So it is with a Christian. He must, upon having accepted Christ, immediately devote his whole attention to going exactly where the Holy Spirit invites him to go.

If the believer, having made a profession of Christ, does not start out on his pilgrimage toward Christ in strict submission to the guidance of the Spirit of God, his conversion to Christ may prove to be fruitless.

It is one thing to start in a race. It is another matter to finish the race. Christ has the wisdom, authority, and power to complete His work in us. We are required to live every day with the same dedication and faith in Christ that was true of us the day we first came to Him (Hebrews 3:14; 10:38).

The Christian discipleship never is static. It is a daily seeking of Christ with the whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We are to follow Christ at all times, just as was true of the first apostles.

The Christian discipleship is dynamic at every moment. When we cease looking diligently to Christ we are attacked immediately by the forces of decay and death. Eternal life and eternal death constantly are striving for mastery over our conduct in the world. The one who is saved is he who endures to the end. Salvation is not completed in us until we finish our course. 

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)

To be a true Christian requires every second of our attention, our whole interest and love. No man can serve two masters. If we give less than our best we cannot be an overcomer (Revelation 12:11).

The Lord Jesus Christ always is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He alone can bring a person to the Father. Jesus of Nazareth is infinitely more than a master teacher who instructs us in a philosophy of living. He Himself Is the Way to God. We must keep on pressing forward in Him and toward Him.

As we move forward in Christ, truth is created in every part of our personality. We are the flesh being created the Word of God. As we are being made the Word of God, resurrection life increasingly is the force that moves us and by which we live. Our experience of eternal life is developing at every moment.

Our fleshly life is dying and indestructible resurrection life is taking its place. After we commence this process we ought never to look back. We are to keep our eyes steadfastly on Christ until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12).

Accepting Christ as our Savior and Lord includes taking up our cross and following Him (Matthew 16:24,25). Our position from then on is that we have the life of the Holy Spirit in our inner self because of the righteousness of Christ that has been given us as a gift. Our mortal body remains in death because of its sinful tendencies.

Our task is to sow to the Holy Spirit until resurrection life is perfected in us. We must yield ourselves to the Spirit rather than to our flesh. Our fleshly mind continually is conspiring with Satan and the spirit of the present wicked age in the attempt to divert our attention from Christ.

If we allow the resurrection life of Christ to work in us, then, at the coming of the Lord from Heaven, the same resurrection life that already is in us will make alive our physical body. This is the redemption of the body and the point at which our body is adopted as a son of God (Romans 8:23). 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

We must give our attention to grasping eternal life. Romans, Chapter Eight teaches that if a Christian walks in the appetites of the flesh after having made a profession of Christ he will die spiritually. The Divine Seed will be choked out by the cares of the present world (Luke 8:14).

As Romans 8:11 states, we already possess the life that will redeem our mortal body when the Lord returns. If we choose to live in the desires of the flesh we will lose that indwelling grace. We will defeat our own resurrection. As in the case of the foolish virgins we will not possess enough "oil" to go with the Bridegroom when He appears.

If by the power of the resurrection life of Christ the believer keeps on bringing his body under subjection to the will of Christ, he will live before God. The grace that already dwells in him will make alive his mortal body at the coming of the Lord.

When we receive Christ we are given the authority to be a child of God (John 1:12). In order to transform this authority into the actual attainment of sonship we must take up our cross and follow the Holy Spirit of God. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

In the United States, each person has the authority to receive a high school education and his parents are prohibited by law from putting him out to work when he is a young child. Many American citizens do not achieve a high school education, even though they have the authority to do so, because they cease attending classes or become ill or some other problem develops.

So it is in Christ. Each person who receives Christ is given the authority to be a child of God. But in order to actually become a son of the Father he must follow the Holy Spirit just as Rebecca followed Eliezer of Damascus.

The new covenant. The Holy Spirit is the law of the new covenant. The Law of Moses, consisting of the Ten Commandments and the accompanying ordinances, was the law of the old covenant. When we died on the cross with Christ we became legally free from the Law of Moses so that we may live under the new law of the Spirit of life.

The new covenant is not an adherence to the letter of any law. Rather it is obedience to the Spirit of God. The letter of the law always kills us. The Spirit of God always gives us incorruptible resurrection life.

The Holy Spirit gives us life. What a difference there is between the old covenant and the new covenant! The law of God of the first covenant does not bring life, it brings death. "And the commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death" (Romans 7:10).

Our first personality cannot fulfill the law of God. 

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

The "law of sin and death" consists of the Ten Commandments working together with the sin which dwells in our flesh. When the commandments come to our sinful nature and deeds the result is spiritual death. The Law of Moses is perfect—absolutely righteous and holy. The sin which dwells in us is contrary to the Law and will not obey the Law.

The Law of Moses makes one fact clear to us: "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

The new covenant does not consist of a new set of laws that we are to obey. The new covenant is the Holy Spirit working in us. 

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

The Law, the Torah , never will be done away. It is of the eternal Nature of God. Under the new covenant the Holy Spirit puts the Torah in our mind and writes it in our heart.

We are to keep the commandments of the New Testament writings, and of the old wherever applicable, until Christ, the Day Star, the Torah made flesh, is formed in us. It is the Holy Spirit of God who forms Christ in us until we keep the Torah by nature. 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

The Torah that is formed in us is not the Law found in the Book of Exodus but the eternal moral law of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged form.

When we walk in the Spirit of God we are legally free from the law of sin and death because our death in Christ releases us from the legal obligation of the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses has jurisdiction over the individual only as long as he or she is alive.

As we continue to walk in the Spirit of God we are becoming actually free from the law of sin and death because the Holy Spirit, working through the authority of the blood of the cross, gives us the wisdom and power to stop sinning—to put to death the deeds of our body.

There are practical admonitions written in the New Testament to which we must give heed. These admonitions are not of the essence of the new covenant. They are guidelines for our conduct and must be obeyed, by our adamic nature for the most part, until we are able to walk in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit by our transformed nature.

As the Christian learns to walk in the Spirit, just as a baby learns to coordinate his muscles so that he can begin to take some steps, he starts to realize in daily living a measure of the enormous resources of resurrection life available to him in the new covenant.

It is the Holy Spirit who makes the new covenant operate, who changes our flesh into the Torah of God.

In its purest sense the new covenant is an impartation of the grace of God—Divine virtue that transforms us into the image of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who is the guiding Force that keeps on bringing us to a stronger grasp on Christ.

Every person, Christian or not, has a tendency toward sin and rebellion. Left unchecked our fleshly nature brings us down to destruction because it lusts for the things that are hurtful to us and that cause God to turn away from us. The law of sin and death is so powerful in us that we by nature sin against God, destroying our spirit, soul, and body in the process.

The Law of Moses magnifies the state of corruption in which we live and warns us of the consequences of sin against God and against people. The Law of Moses interacts with the law of sin in our flesh with the result that we are deceived and slain (Romans 7:11). God has a method for bringing us up out of this death. God’s method is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ.

The law of the Spirit of life. The law of the Spirit of life frees us from the law of sin and death that is in our body. We have been released from the jurisdiction of the Law of Moses by means of our identification with Christ on the cross.

Now we are free legally to come under another law—the law of the Spirit of life. We have righteousness while we are living in accordance with the law of the Spirit of life because of the righteousness of Christ that is given freely to every person who lives in the Spirit of God.

The law of the Spirit of life creates in us righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). We can attain righteousness, peace, and joy only by a power greater than the power of Satan. The power of Satan keeps us in unrighteousness, turmoil, and misery.

The Holy Spirit is power—the power of endless, incorruptible resurrection life. The power, the energy, of the Spirit of life brings us health, strength, wisdom, righteous behavior, holiness, obedience to God, joy, peace—victory in every circumstance.

Satan would have us depressed, weak, confused, in a state of lethargy. The galactic energy of God’s Spirit gives us the power to serve God in confidence and joy.

The law of the Spirit of life brings conviction on the sins we are committing and also brings to us the wisdom and power that are necessary if we are to overcome the tendencies toward sin that dwell in us.

If an instant and complete deliverance from sinful tendencies were possible to us there would be no purpose for the many sections of the New Testament writings that are directed toward the need for Christians to follow the Spirit of God and cease sinning. 

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

Getting rid our sinful ways does not happen all at once. The victorious Christian discipleship is a lifelong walk of continuous cooperation with the Holy Spirit as He leads us into dominion over our sinful nature and over the sinful environment in which we live.

The Holy Spirit brings us to victory by a multitude of operations on us. We do not achieve lasting victory over sin by our vain struggling against the adversary, the spirit of the world, and our fleshly nature. Victory over sin is possible and it is commanded by the Father. Victory comes about by the daily appropriation of the law of the Spirit of life.

Walking in the Spirit

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

The righteousness of God Himself is given us as a gift through Christ provided we "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

The righteousness of the law of Moses is fulfilled in us as we follow the Spirit. The ascribing of Divine righteousness to us is based on Christ’s becoming sin and taking our sentence in our place. It is a substitutionary work, and we receive the benefit of an ascribed righteousness equal to the righteousness that would be ours if we were able perfectly to keep the Law of Moses.

The righteousness of the Law of Moses is added to our spiritual bank account as long as we are walking in the Holy Spirit and not following our fleshly mind. Walking in the Spirit means that we are giving our attention to obtaining the will of God for our life, that we are presenting our body a living sacrifice to the Lord (Romans 12:1,2).

We no longer are spending our days in the pursuits of our mind and body, bent on serving the impulses of our fleshly lusts, indulging our desire for the possession of material treasures, and nourishing our pride and rebellion against the Spirit of God.

Instead we are being brought into cross-carrying obedience to the will of Christ.

If we are living each day as a "whole burnt offering" to the Lord, our human reasoning and emotional, soulish, lustful body continually being brought under strict obedience to the Spirit of God, then the righteousness of the Law of Moses is added to us on the basis of Christ’s death on our behalf.

Christ took on Himself the judgment that legally should have fallen on us. Therefore He has the legal right, according to the Divine standard of justice, to share His own righteousness with whomever He desires.

Living in the appetites of our body and soul means we are spending our days in the ordinary pursuits of human beings. We are occupied primarily with eating, sleeping, working, playing, and reproducing. This is our life and it is the life of the animal.

We are not praying, reading the Bible, pressing on to know the Lord, gathering together with fervent believers, putting Jesus first in every decision. Rather, we are devoting our time to obtaining as much of the riches of the world as possible, indulging the lusts of our eyes and our flesh, and putting our own will, way, and understanding ahead of God’s will, way, and understanding.

The daily life of the average person in the world is lived in the appetites of the body, not in the Spirit of God. If we live according to the appetites of our body after we become a Christian, we cannot claim that we are the possessors of the righteousness that is by faith in Christ. The Christian redemption is not an exemption from the first commandment—that we love God with all our mind, soul, and strength.

Walking "in the Spirit" means that each day we are putting Christ first in all circumstances. We are spending some time in prayer and Scripture reading. We are assembly with fervent disciples on a regular basis whenever possible. We are pressing forward in the knowledge of Christ.

We think and talk about the Lord Jesus frequently. We are known as a Christian (except in countries where there is persecution). We are distinguished by our devotion to Jesus. We are meeting the difficulties that come our way by seeking the mind and help of the Lord and are growing in grace as a result.

The supremely important motive of our life is obedience to the Lord. He comes first in our plans and pursuits. We have a sense of direction and momentum in our life as we move forward in holiness and the knowledge of the Lord. We are not trying to find how many worldly things we can do and still be saved, how close to the Lake of Fire we can walk and not topple in. Rather, we always are looking for ways in which we can gain a greater grasp on Christ.

We count ourselves dead and resurrected with Christ. All of our personality, relationships, and possessions are on the altar of God. The world is crucified to us and we to the world. We are diligent in the use of our spiritual talents, and when Jesus returns we will have spiritual profit to show from what He has entrusted to us.

Walking "after the Spirit" is referring to first-century discipleship. It is a sincere, "take up your cross and follow me" life of dedication to the Master. This is the normal, true Christian discipleship. Every other way of life is below standard from the viewpoint of the Lord.

The fullness of the inheritance of the saint cannot be attained apart from the fullness of the discipleship required of the saint.

Utter dedication, discipleship, rejection of the claims of sin, rejection of self-love and self-will, are the normal requirements and experiences of the new covenant. Such complete abandonment to Christ is expected of each believer.

The Holy Spirit of God stands ready to bring each believer in Christ, each living stone in the eternal Temple of God, into unwavering, single-minded discipleship.

The Holy Spirit is God. He has all the resources of Christ to draw upon. If we will allow Him to do so He will perfect our walk in Christ.

The Holy Spirit is our Life. He is our Comforter. He is our Helper. He is our Strength. He is our Wisdom, our Counselor, our Teacher. The Holy Spirit is in the world now in the place of the Lord Jesus so that every bit of wisdom, strength, and inspiration we need for the service of Christ may be available to us.

The new covenant is Christ and is the Holy Spirit. The new covenant is the power of incorruptible resurrection life entering us so that by nature we shall love righteousness and hate sin and rebellion.

We who minister the new covenant do not minister only the letter of the writings of the Apostles, as important as the Epistles are to our understanding and to godly living. Rather, we minister the Holy Spirit. He is the Life of the believer. He brings us to Christ every day. 

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)

The important issue in Christianity is not what church we attend or what doctrines we believe. The important issue is whether we are attending to the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit.

A Christian believer may be quite sound in doctrine and may attend an assembly where the Scriptures are taught by the elders, and still be spending his time and energy in the things of the flesh. The greater part of his or her day may be occupied with what is being eaten, what is being worn, how his or her job is progressing, and all the other "legitimate" concerns of human beings. He thus will remain ignorant of God’s will until the flood comes and carries away all his treasures.

In fact, it happens in churches and theological institutions that the Scriptures themselves become a thing of the flesh, a corpus of knowledge, a cadaver dissected by scholars who are as full of the pride of knowledge as scholars of any other discipline.

The Scriptures do in fact lend themselves to an intellectual approach, becoming an object of fleshly ambition. The lawyers and Pharisees of Jesus’ day knew the Scripture but were dead spiritually. There is a great gulf between knowledge gained by a disciplined study of the Scriptures and other sacred books and knowledge that comes from the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The Pharisees had the one. The Lord Jesus had the other.

Christians who are walking in the appetites of the flesh do not enjoy being around the true saints. They would not enjoy being around Peter or John or Paul even though they may pride themselves on their knowledge of the writings of the Apostles of the Lamb.

The true members of the Body of Christ, while they are diligent in secular affairs (they are commanded so to be), are occupied primarily with the Person and will of Christ. They are growing, growing, growing in the things of Christ. Christ is All in all to them. For them to live is Christ and to die is gain. The Spirit guides and comforts them in all areas of living. 

For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

The believer who is spending the greater part of his time and energy in worldly concerns is not attaining eternal life. Even though he may have accepted Christ as his Savior he still is dwelling in death as far as his spiritual life is concerned.

His spiritual nature, if he hasn’t already killed it, is at the right hand of the Father in Christ. However, His life on the earth is not reflecting his heavenly position. His human personality still is saturated with the death that always follows the lusts of the body and soul. "What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).

After we are saved we must choose each day to come under the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we are dwelling in the death that accompanies the lustful nature of our physical body rather than in the eternal life that accompanies our new nature in the heavenlies in Christ. 

Because the fleshly mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7)

If we walk according to our own understanding, trusting in our own wisdom and abilities to guide us through the world, even as a Christian, we soon will end up in confusion and misery. Our natural mind is the enemy of God and never will come under the law of God. The natural mind must be renewed by the transforming Virtue that is in the Spirit of God. 

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

As long as we are following the dictates of our fleshly mind and bodily passions we never will please God even though we have accepted Christ, have been baptized in water, and are sound in doctrine. We can receive Christ as Savior and then continue to walk in our own understanding and strength. To do so is to displease God. The only true life of the Christian is the Spirit of God Himself. 

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)

As we understand the meaning of Romans 8:9, Paul is not teaching that once we make a profession of Christ we automatically are in the Spirit and therefore are pleasing to God. Such an interpretation would be inconsistent with other verses of the eighth chapter of Romans.

Rather, what Paul is stating may be paraphrased as follows: Christian, bring to mind that you have been washed in the blood. Maintain the concept that you have been crucified and have risen with Christ. God has given to you His Holy Spirit. You no longer are merely a flesh and blood creature. Your life no longer is animal and soulish in nature. If you truly have received Christ you possess the Spirit of Christ. Therefore you should be giving attention to the things of the Spirit because your new life is in the Spirit.

The result of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. How can we be sure we indeed are a Christian and that the Spirit of God is dwelling in us? We know that we are a Christian and that we possess the Spirit of God because of the change taking place in our personality. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)

If we claim that we belong to Christ and have the Spirit of God but are exhibiting hatred, misery, unrest, impatience, harshness, an evil nature, lack of faithfulness, lack of self-control, and are yielding to our fleshly lusts, we are deceiving ourselves.

We may begin the Christian discipleship with such a disposition. But if we are not changing into the moral image of Christ over a period of time, if some signs of the fruit of the Spirit are not appearing, then we are not walking in the Spirit of God. We may be doctrinally correct. We may speak in tongues, prophesy, and work miracles in the name of Christ. But Christ does not know us. We are none of His.

There is the fruit of the flesh and then there is the fruit of the Spirit of God. If we are walking in the appetites of the flesh we will reveal in ourselves the works of the flesh: lust, murder, covetousness, occult practices, envy, spite, backbiting, gossip, slander, bitterness, unforgiveness, and every other evil behavior.

If we are walking in the Spirit of God we will demonstrate love, joy, and peace.

Adherence to correct doctrine is not a substitute for love, joy, peace, and brotherly kindness.

Spiritual manifestations and gifts are not a substitute for loving God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves.

The proof of the Christian discipleship is the development of the fruit of the Spirit in our personality. 

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

Our mortal body is dead spiritually, being cut off from the life of the Holy Spirit. The body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it.

Our body is alive physiologically. We breathe, eat, think, move, speak. This is not the only life God desires that we have. Eternal life is the possession of Christ who Himself Is eternal Life. We do not have the Life of Christ in our body because our body contains a sinful nature that is an enemy of God.

We do possess eternal life in our new spiritual nature because the Holy Spirit in us gives us of the Life of Christ. The Spirit of God is the Life of the Christian. We have eternal life in our new spiritual nature because the righteousness of Christ has been ascribed to us. Eternal life always follows righteousness.

The righteousness brought to us by the Spirit of God is both imputed (ascribed) and imparted. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us in that God has declared us to be righteous on the basis of our acceptance of the shed blood of Christ for our justification. God has declared us guiltless and has given to us His own righteousness through Christ.

The righteousness brought to us by the Spirit of God also is imparted , as the Spirit leads us into paths of righteous conduct. The Spirit empowers us, prompts us, warns us, comforts us, encourages us, teaches us, exhorts us, invites us to stop serving our fleshly mind and our flesh and to follow the righteous and holy ways of the Lord.

The Spirit works in us the love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, teachableness, and self-control that are so highly prized by the Father in Heaven.

It is the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the law of sin and death. Before we were Christians we were ruled by the lusts of our body. We may have desired to obey the law of God but we found that we were unable to do so because of the law of sin that governs the physical body.

The Presence and power of the Holy Spirit changes the condition of bondage. When we are obedient to His leading He furnishes us with wisdom and power sufficient to enable us to put to death the deeds of our flesh.

If we are willing to bring ourselves under the gentle rule of the Spirit He will make it possible for us to conquer our sinful deeds, words, motives, and imaginations. He frees us by bringing to us the Presence, authority, power, and moral Nature of Christ. We are set free from the lustful, murderous, idolatrous tendencies of our flesh by the Presence of God.

We always must keep in mind that the enabling power for righteous living that comes to us in the Holy Spirit is founded on the fact that our sins have been, and continue to be, forgiven by the merits of the atoning blood of Christ on the cross. We must regard ourselves as having been crucified with Christ and resurrected with Christ in order for the Holy Spirit to release us from the lordship of sin.

As we press forward in the Spirit of the Lord, bringing under subjection by Christ’s power the lusts of our flesh and the rebellion of our mind, we grow in eternal resurrection life. We develop and mature in the new covenant. We move along in the purpose of God for us, which is that we be changed into the image of Christ.

By walking in the Spirit of God we keep on drawing closer to the day when we are fit to be part of the eternal Temple of God. It is God’s will that we become transformed by consistent and increasing exposure to His Glory.

The Day of the Lord is breaking over the horizon of our soul. The light of His Presence will shine more and more brightly until our whole being is filled to fullness with His glorious radiance and we know as we are known.

The Word of God Is Nourished and Grows

But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:13)

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (I Peter 2:2)

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

We feed on the body and blood of Christ that are given us in the spirit realm, as portrayed in the material realm by receiving the elements of the Lord’s Table.

The milk and solid food of the Word of God are added to us by the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Himself provides the wisdom, power, and virtue that enable us to share the Divine Substance.

The Gospels and the New Testament Epistles demand that we be in the moral image of Christ. We cannot obey the commandments of the Scriptures by our own wisdom and strength. Fortunately we do not have to be formed into the image of Christ by our will power and ability. The new covenant utilizes the full resources of the Godhead in order to bring about our complete transformation into the image of Christ.

We have a part to play. Our part consists of cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He works with the Word of God (both in the Scriptures and also in personal revelation to us), with the body and blood of Christ, and with ministries and gifts acting together with our circumstances. All of these are carefully controlled by the Lord for the purpose of creating Christ in us. 

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The Holy Spirit brings us step by step into beholding the Glory of the Lord. As we behold the Glory of Christ our flesh is brought down to the death of the cross and our inner man is renewed day by day by the impartation of His resurrection life.

Death and life. Death and life. Day by day. Day by day. We—sometimes without realizing it—are being transformed from our fleshly self-life into the image of Christ.

The process of transforming a justified (blood-washed) human being into a saint of God is termed sanctification . We commence in a state of alienation from God because of our sins, and finish as the holy habitation of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

How marvelous is an atonement that can bring a person from total separation from God all the way to complete reconciliation—reconciliation to the extent that there is a marriage between God and the believer and the believer is perfectly in union with God and God with him!

The Word of God. In the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation there were three articles of furniture:

The Table of Showbread (Exodus 25:23-30).

The golden Lampstand (Exodus 25:31-40).

The Altar of Incense (Exodus 30:1-10).

The Table of Showbread represents the Word of God, the Divine Substance, the body and blood of Christ that we must keep on eating and drinking until Christ is formed in us and the Divine Godhead can dwell in us.

The Lampstand portrays the Holy Spirit who reveals the Substance of Christ to us and enables us to partake of Christ. The Altar of Incense symbolizes the Spirit-filled prayer, praise, worship, adoration, intercession, supplication, that must ascend continually to God from the heart of the of the disciple who has laid down his life in total consecration to God’s will.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle was a tent, and there was no light in it at night except for the shining of the golden Lampstand. The Table of Showbread could be seen by the light thrown across it by the Lampstand.

So it is in the Christian discipleship. The Holy Spirit "throws light" on the Substance of Christ. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ and makes Christ alive to us and in us.

The Word of God is being formed in us by the enabling Presence and actions of the Holy Spirit.

Each day by faith we take our place with Christ on the cross. Each day we are raised up by the Holy Spirit to walk in newness of life in Christ. All the while the living Word of God is being created in us a little bit at a time. 

But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:13)

The preceding verse describes the manner in which the Word of God is brought to us and formed in us. The Word of God is a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces, and our heart is the rock. The Word of God is a fire that burns up the chaff in our personality (Jeremiah 23:29). Command upon command, rule upon rule, here a little, there a little, the Word of God is being formed in us.

We are becoming the Word of God. We rush forward in enthusiasm for the Lord, but then fall backward because of problems and are broken, and snared, and captured. The Lord God in His love for us snares us in His net.

We often kick against the instruments with which God fashions us into the image of His dear Son. The Lord is patient, knowing that our end will be glorious.

The Father has given His Word to us so that we can understand His will for us. God’s Word brings:

Guidance (what we should do in a specific instance).

Wisdom (the ability to solve problems and resolve dilemmas, and the right way to behave in general).

Judgment (the ability to separate the lawful from the unlawful, the holy from the unholy).

Knowledge (a consciousness of what is, was, or will be true in both the spiritual and material worlds)

Understanding (a deep awareness of the will and purpose of God in the heavenlies and on the earth, coupled with a compassion-filled appreciation for the many factors and pressures that cause people and situations to be as they are).

The Word of God renews our mind (Romans 12:2) resulting in the transformation of our personality. Our renewal and transformation enable us to escape being changed into the spirit and ways of the evil age in which we live and to be fashioned instead into the image of Christ, God’s Son. The Word of God enables us to prove the will of God for ourselves.

The Word of God is both general and specific. The Word of the Father to us is both general and specific. In the Scriptures, the Word of God is general. The Scriptures contain the plan of salvation that God has provided in Christ plus a history of people and events that have been involved directly in the revealing of God’s provisions and purposes for the earth and for the heavenlies.

Every Christian who sets out to be a conquering saint must take care to study the Scriptures daily, reading and meditating in the Old Testament and New Testament writings. The man of God renews his mind continually by daily study and contemplation of the written Word and by consistent exposure to the spoken ministry of the Word as it is preached and taught.

The Word of God comes to us also in a specific manner. This may take the form of a dream, vision, prophecy, or other anointed ministry of the living Word, a sudden illumination of a Bible passage, a consciousness of words or a voice framed in our mind or heart, or even an angelic visitation.

Christians need specific guidance, wisdom, judgment, knowledge, and understanding. We must hear from the Lord from time to time and must keep ourselves in the place where we can hear His voice and are sensitive to the Presence, will, and leading of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has promised to reveal Himself to us personally. 

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

The Scriptures are our infallible authority and guide by which we can judge the spirits that come to us and also gain a broad knowledge and wisdom concerning God’s provisions and purposes related to salvation. The Prophets and the Epistles teach us how God wants us to behave in the world.

We also must be growing in our ability to discern His specific guidance for us as an individual, as the Spirit assists us with the many decisions with which we are faced as we press on in our pilgrimage toward the fullness of Christ.

The Word of God that we have just discussed is both general and specific as it renews our mind. The Word brings the necessary knowledge, wisdom, and understanding without which we are drawn into the likeness of the ways of the world.

When religious people do not submit themselves to a daily walk with the Lord, as in the case of many church leaders throughout the centuries, they lack understanding of God and His ways. They end up destroying the work of God and persecuting and killing those who do walk with the Lord. They do always err in their heart. They do always resist the Holy Spirit.

We must have the revelation of God’s will in constant application to our consciousness so that His will acts as a mold on us. As the mold comes down on our thinking and awareness we are transformed into His image. The mind of Christ is being created in us.

Impartation of the Divine Substance. The Word of God comes to us not only in terms of information and understanding by which we obtain salvation and by which our consciousness and judgment are renewed, but also in terms of the impartation of the Divine Substance.

We must eat the Word. We must eat the sacrifice. We must partake of the Divine Substance of God. This dimension of the Word of God (the Divine Substance) passes the level of our consciousness and judgment and has to do with what we are in essence.

We become one with Christ, our Passover Lamb, by eating Him. Christ is in us and we are in Him. It is the will of the Father that we be in complete union with Christ. When the fullness of the atonement has been developed in us we will be so identified with Christ that separation from Him or existence apart from Him will be inconceivable. We are being made one with Him as He is one with the Father.

The Word of God was made flesh. We must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to become one with Him. His flesh and His blood are our eternal life. 

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

Christ is the Word of God made flesh. He is the Bread of life. Without Him we have a deep spiritual hunger that nothing in the world can satisfy. Christ Himself is the tree of life. He is eternal, and when we eat His flesh we have eternal life. 

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (John 6:53)

Before we accept Christ we are dead spiritually, along with the rest of the people of the world. When we come to Him and believe in Him, He gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. These elements are eternal life.

How do we eat His flesh and drink His blood?

The Holy Spirit gives us the flesh of Christ and the blood of Christ in the spirit realm, often through the ministry of the members of the Body of Christ. Preaching, teaching, prophecy, counsel, exhortation, the word of knowledge, tongues, and all the other ways by which the Holy Spirit reveals Christ are the means for the impartation of the flesh and blood of Christ to us.

The Holy Spirit brings the Life of Christ to us in our personal devotions as we wait on the Lord and meditate in His Word. 

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:54,55)

When the word of God comes to us through the Holy Spirit it enters us and affects us in two different ways. First, the Word of God builds up our mind, renewing our thinking along the lines of the mind of Christ. We understand what is preached or taught or prophesied or what we read, and our grasp on God and His grasp on us are strengthened and enlarged. We keep on being transformed by the continual renewing of our mind.

Second, the Holy Spirit brings the Word of God to us in the form of the body and blood of Christ. The Substance of God enters our personality and we partake of the Divine Nature. We eat His broken body and we drink His blood as the Holy Spirit imparts to us the Substance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of God comes to our mind as we study the Scriptures and as it is given through the ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ. The Word of God also enters our heart in the form of the body and blood of Christ.

The Word of God to our mind brings guidance, wisdom, judgment, knowledge, and understanding. The Word of God to our heart gives us life in our inner being—the Life that is the Substance of Christ and that will raise us up at the last day. 

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56,57)

It is the will of God that we partake of Christ continually so that His Divine Substance can be increased in us. He is our Life. As the Holy Father is the Life of Christ, and nothing that Christ is or does is apart from the Father, so we are called to exist and act as part of Christ. We are "the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

It is His will that this relationship develop until nothing—absolutely nothing—that we are or do is apart from Him.

The Communion service. The Communion service illustrates our coming to Him and eating His body and drinking His blood. 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

As we eat the flesh of Christ we become one with Him in His death and resurrection. We eat the Passover Lamb and become one with the sacrifice. Our sins are forgiven through His blood. As we drink of it, the justifying, healing authority and power of His blood enter our body, soul, and spirit and we are delivered from bondages of all kinds—spiritual, mental, moral, emotional, and physical. 

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [sharing] of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion [sharing] of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (I Corinthians 10:16,17)

As soon as the flesh of Christ was broken and distributed He never again can be made whole until every last bit of His flesh comes together into the one Body of Christ. Such is the greatness of His eternal love. Christ will remain "imperfect" until each member of His Body has been made perfect and brought into oneness with Him, and through Him into oneness with every other member (Ephesians 4:13). 

Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? (I Corinthians 10:18)

Under the Levitical law the priests, and in certain instances the worshipers, ate of the animal sacrifices after they were offered (Leviticus 7:6). Those who ate the sacrifices became one with the altar and with all that the altar represents.

As we eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood we become one with Him in His death and resurrection. Our sins continue to be forgiven as we walk in the Spirit of God, and His flesh and blood in us fill and transform our being. 

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (I Corinthians 11:23,24)

Every time we Christians sit down together and partake of the Communion we are remembering our Lord Jesus Christ. We are announcing the fact that through His death on the cross His body and blood are given to us so we may eat and drink, and thereby live.

The Communion calls to our mind that Christ is our Life and that we are to live by Him and not by the perishing physical existence that we have in the world. 

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (I Corinthians 11:25,26)

The blood of Christ washes away the sins of the past, when we receive Christ as our Savior, and of the present as we confess and forsake our sins.

The blood of bulls, goats, lambs, and birds acted as a covering over the sins of Israel. There was no authority or power in the animal blood to take away the sin, only to cover the sin until God provided His Lamb—the Lord Jesus Christ.

Under the new covenant we drink the blood of the Lamb of God, and that blood is the justifying, remitting, purging, reconciling, eternal Life from God Almighty. We live by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. His flesh and blood are our eternal Substance and Life. Every time we choose to turn away from evil and do the will of God we are fed in the spirit realm with the body and blood of Christ.

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (I Corinthians 11:27)

The Communion elements are not merely a venerable church tradition that we observe because it seems to be a good thing to do. The Communion elements, from God’s point of view, are the Divine Substance and eternal Life of the Godhead given to death-doomed people that they may live in the sight and Presence of God.

It is important that the believer receive the Communion elements as the body and blood of the Lamb of God with all due reverence, awe, giving of thanks, and purity of heart and mind.

If there is known sin in the worshiper’s heart he must confess it to God. Also, he must make restitution if his sin is against another person and the circumstances seem to indicate that the offended person has an apology or payment due him.

If the worshiper is bound in sin he may need help in prayer from other members of the Body of Christ.

It often is needful and helpful to confess our sins to our husband or wife or to another good friend in the Lord (of the same gender as ourselves). Confession to another Christian enables us to expose the deceitfulness and pride that keep our thoughts and motives hidden in the dark recesses of our heart. 

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. (I Corinthians 11:28)

Self-judgment is an important part of the growth of Christ in us. As we are learning to walk prayerfully before the Lord the Holy Spirit brings to our heart and mind the various sins that are part of our personality. We must practice diligence in bringing these sins before the Lord in confession so that we may be forgiven and cleansed (I John 1:9).

If we would judge ourselves, it would not be necessary for God to judge and chasten us. We must cleanse ourselves by bringing our sins of imagination, motive, word, and deed to the fountain of the blood of Christ so that we may be forgiven and delivered from all sin and rebellion.

If we partake of the Communion elements, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but are not keeping ourselves in the place where we can hear the reproofs of the Holy Spirit concerning the uncleanness in our life, we will be judged by the body and blood of Christ. The judgment may result in our sickness or death. 

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (I Corinthians 11:29)

When we do not judge ourselves the Lord chastens us so we will not be condemned along with the world.

Human beings can obtain eternal life only in the Word of God. The Word of God in the form of words and phrases is given to our minds as the Holy Spirit, through ministries, books and other media, and special revelations, brings guidance and understanding concerning the working and purposes of God.

The Word of God in the form of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is imparted to our whole being, bringing Substance and Life.

All of the material resources of the world, all the wisdom, knowledge, riches, and pleasures of the mental and physical domains—all that the world is, in other words, can never bring eternal life to a single man, woman, boy, or girl. Christ Himself is the Bread of life. Unless a person eats His flesh and drinks His blood he or she cannot live. He remains spiritually dead. Christ is our Manna from Heaven. 

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

When we attempt to find peace and satisfaction in the world apart from Christ we soon discover that they cannot be attained. When we have only material resources to fill our deepest needs we dry up in our inner being and soon our life becomes an unbearable chore. When we eat His body and drink His blood we satisfy the hunger and thirst that are in us.

Christ keeps on feeding us and giving us to drink of Himself so that we never hunger or thirst again. Mankind died through Adam’s sin. Restoration of life in the Presence and sight of God (and there is no life worth living apart from God) comes only through the Lamb of God, Christ.

The milk and solid food of the Word. When first we are converted to Christ and begin our pilgrimage we need to be nourished continually with the milk (first principles) of the Word of God. 

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (I Peter 2:2,3)

We can receive the milk of the Word from the anointed ministries of the Body of Christ as the Word is preached and taught, and also from our own reading and meditating in the Scriptures.

There are few things in the Christian discipleship as necessary for the development of the victorious life as daily reading and meditation in the Scriptures. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. We escape the corruption that is in the world by laying hold by faith on the words that God has written to us.

We grow in wisdom, understanding, knowledge, judgment, faith, love, and hope as we keep on reading and meditating in the books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Many Christians do not spend enough time each day learning the Scriptures. As a result they remain weak in faith. They do not grow properly in the Lord.

As soon as we begin growing in the Lord we need to start on the solid food (advanced principles) of the Word of God. The evidence that we are growing in the Lord is our increasing ability to distinguish between good and evil, and our increasing strength and willingness to embrace the good and renounce and reject the evil.

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine [the elementary instruction] of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 5:12-6:1)

A baby cannot eat solid food because its system is not able to digest it. However, when the baby grows into a boy or girl there is a hunger for solid food, provided normal development has taken place. A healthy child has a good appetite. He craves food and will cry if he does not get it. A sick child loses his appetite because his body is occupied with a higher need—the overcoming of disease.

A healthy, growing Christian craves the solid food of the Word of God. As soon as a Christian gets a taste of solid food he will become restless until he finds a place where it is available to him on a regular basis. If solid food is not available anywhere, spiritual immaturity, deformity, and death may follow.

The ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ. God has provided a variety of ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit by which the Word of God can be brought to the mind and heart of the disciple. 

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12)

If we are to have the milk and solid food of the Word of God we must have the full set of ministries God has provided. It is necessary that there be apostles and prophets as well as evangelists and pastor—teachers ministering to us in these days so that Christ can be formed and brought to full development in each disciple.

Christians must pray without ceasing that God will restore all the ministries to the Church of Christ and that every saint will be brought into the fullness of the image of Christ and into the complete knowledge of Christ and union with Christ.

The Christian churches of our day are pouring almost all of their resources into gaining new converts. This is not a balanced emphasis. While some resources should be pointed toward preaching the Gospel toward those who never have heard, the major effort should be to bring to maturity those who already believe.

Because of the imbalance in the distribution of effort the world is full of baby Christians. They present little or no threat to Satan’s empire. Many of them do not continue to make a profession of Christianity after a few years, falling back into sin. Those who do continue in the churches soon become filled with the various sins and failures that plague church people. We may have enough evangelists but we have a sore need for apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers. How else are we to come to the measure of maturity as measured by the fullness of the stature of Christ?

Mature Christians are not always in evidence in the Christian churches, as numerous pastors understand only too well!

The plan of God is as follows: as the several different types of ministry in a variety of ways bring the Word of God to our heart and mind, two aspects of our personality are affected: (1) we grow in the ability to minister to the Body of Christ and to mankind in general; and (2) Christ is formed in our personality. As these two aspects operate and develop in each member, the Body of Christ is brought to unity and maturity in Christ.

The Substance and Life of Christ (His body and blood) are added to us when the Holy Spirit reveals Christ through the members of the Body of Christ. Our mind is renewed as the Word of God creates in us the mind of Christ. Understanding of the purposes and methods of the Lord grows in us. Also, we gain wisdom and knowledge that enable us to better meet the practical daily needs that arise while we Christians are making our journey through the wilderness of this life.

Christ is formed in us by the gifts and ministries given us by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:11). Each Christian has his or her own ministry by which he can build up himself and also make his individual contribution to the perfecting of the whole Body of Christ.

There is no instance in which a member of the Body of Christ has nothing to give. If we are not aware of our own role in the building of the Body of Christ we should present our body a living sacrifice that we may "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" for our life (Romans 12:1,2).

Chapters 12 and 14 of I Corinthians discuss the subject of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of the gifts and ministries in the assembly of the saints. The purpose of the gifts and ministries is to build the Body of Christ—that Christ may be brought to full stature in the Church (I Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 4:13-16).

Christ is the Cornerstone of the living, eternal Temple of God. The Temple of God is being constructed as each member of the Body of Christ exercises the ministries and gifts given to him or her by the Spirit of God.

The Spirit of God has given to every Christian a spiritual enablement so that he may be adding to the building of the Body of Christ. 

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)

The Holy Spirit has distributed a wide assortment of gifts and ministries to the members of the Body of Christ that the Body may be brought to full stature. 

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:4)

These gifts are given to us by the Lord with the understanding that we are to learn from the Holy Spirit how and when they are to be used. The members of the churches, for the most part, do not know what their gifts are. Many who do possess functioning gifts do not understand how or when to use them.

Because the gifts and ministries are not operating properly the Body of Christ remains to this day a valley of dry bones. The gifts and ministries must be functioning if the Body of Christ is to be brought to maturity and unity. 

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (I Corinthians 12:7)

The ministries and gifts that the Lord gives us are the money, the talents of the Kingdom of God. It is Christ’s understanding that we shall spend His money in the marketplace and show a profit. If we do not use the Lord’s money in a profitable manner (in the building of the Body of Christ) He will, at His coming, take away the responsibility that He has given us and will entrust it to another Christian who has been wiser and more diligent (Matthew 25:26-28).

The Spirit of God apportions the ministries and gifts as He has determined in His own sovereign counsel, although it is wise on our part to covet ministries and gifts and to pray for them (I Corinthians 12:31,14:13,39, Luke 11:5-13). 

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (I Corinthians 12:11)

Each of us has a unique set of spiritual abilities and a ministry in the Body of Christ that we are to perform. No one else has been assigned the task that is ours to do. The Body of Christ depends for its unifying and maturing on our performing the job, on adding the part, that has been delegated to us by the sovereign purposes of the Holy Spirit. God wastes nothing and He makes no mistakes.

The only way in which we can find what our ministry is and start to perform it is to present our body a "whole burnt offering" on the altar of God (Romans 12:1,2).

At first the presentation of our body as an offering to God may seem like an unreasonable demand by the Lord in that we are prevented because of it from pursuing our own life as we consider to be desirable.

When we remember that God in His love has set us aside (and this is true of every member of the Body of Christ) as a priest and deliverer so we may represent Him to His creation, the offering of ourselves to His will is viewed by us as no more than reasonable and appropriate.

We Christians must grasp the importance of the assignments of the King and hasten to give ourselves to the offices to which He directs us. His gifts of service are far more important than any sacrifices we are invited to make.

In the event that we as an individual do not build the Body of Christ with our gifts and ministries, God will follow another route in order to provide the part for which we were responsible; for the Body of Christ shall become a enlargement and counterpart of the Son of God, Christ. God already has spoken that fact into existence.

We ourselves will be stripped of our assigned office, now or at the coming of the Lord, and it will be given to another.

God is not a person with whom to trifle. The day in which we live is not a time to float about in indecision. The end-time spiritual battle is ready to be joined. Eternal destinies are being decided. Each of us must choose whether or not to give himself over to God’s highest calling for his life.

God promised Abraham a Seed who would overcome the enemies of the Seed and who would be the source of blessing for all the nations of the earth. Galatians, Chapter Three states that the Seed is Christ and that there is no other seed. The Seed of Abraham is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer toward whom the prophets point.

Most students of the Scriptures in all probability have been aware of these facts. What has not been realized as commonly, although the Scriptures are clear enough, is that Christ consists not only of the Head, Jesus, who is the Lord of Glory, but also of His Body.

"If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29). Being Abraham’s Seed means we shall overcome our enemies (the enemies of Christ—Luke 10:19) and shall be the source of blessing for all the nations of the earth.

The Anointed Deliverer who is to come, the eternal resting place of the Lord God of Heaven, is made up of the sovereign Head—the Lord Jesus Christ, and also of His Body, which is His Bride—the Church.

The Body of Christ is being created at this time on His broken body and shed blood just as Eve was created on the rib of Adam. The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are one of the principal means by which the Body of Christ is being fashioned. Also, suffering plays an important role. 

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

God Almighty has designed the Body of Christ according to His own wisdom and love. 

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (I Corinthians 12:18)

God has provided every element necessary for the creation of the Body of His Son. The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are given to the Bride of the Lamb to help with her preparation.

The ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit are not to be identified with a particular denomination or local assembly of saints. The ministries of the Spirit are given to the Church, the Body of Christ. Each disciple is to use his gifts and ministries faithfully wherever God places him and in the manner in which God directs. When ministering in the local assembly he is to be subject to the elders of the assembly. 

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:28)

The gifts and ministries are given for the building up of the members of the Body of Christ. Each member of the Body must be brought to maturity so that the Body will be prepared to be joined to the Head.

There cannot be so much as one member who has not been made ready, who still is opposed to the Holy Spirit concerning the loving of righteousness and obedience and the hating of sin and disobedience. One imperfect member would be an imperfection in the Body of Christ—and that is not acceptable. The Bride will be presented to Christ by His Father without any blemish (Ephesians 5:27). 

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. (I Corinthians 14:26)

The Body of Christ has not been brought to maturity as yet because many of the members of the Christian Church are not functioning in the several gifts and ministries on which the maturing of the Church depends. Also, we must have more of the solid food of the Word of God added to our heart in the form of the body and blood of Christ, and to our mind in the form of knowledge and understanding.

We need, in addition, a mighty outpouring of power from on high—an additional and more powerful baptism with the Holy Spirit and with the fire of Divine judgment. "Holiness to the Lord" is the cry of the Spirit of God in the present hour. Many glorious areas of Christ’s Kingdom await us as we press forward in God.

The final act of God needed to separate the tares from the wheat, and to bring the Body of Christ to the unity and maturity necessary for Her union with the Head, is the great tribulation period. The great tribulation will serve as the burning "sun" that will mature the Lord’s "wheat." Apart from that time of unprecedented trouble the Church would remain as it is today—an intolerable mixture of the flesh and Christ.

The "Christ," part of whom is in Heaven at this time and part on the earth, will be brought to perfection as the various members of the Body, the anointed ministries and gifts, work together effectively. As we are able, let us present ourselves to the Lord so that He may reveal Himself to us and through us.

It is the demonstrating, the revealing of Christ through the Holy Spirit that brings the broken body and shed blood of Christ to the inner man of the Christian. It is the "pure milk" of the Word made alive in the Spirit that causes us to grow until we are able to partake of the "solid food" of the Word (I Corinthians 3:2). We are built up "according to the effectual working in the measure of every part" of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16).

It is not the will of God that His Seed lie dormant in us. The Divine Seed, Christ, has been planted in us for the purpose of growing into a son of God, a brother of Christ. Christ is to be formed in us. 

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

The farmer waits patiently for the fruit of the earth. God is waiting patiently until Christ comes to maturity in the believers.

The development of Christ in us is the rising of the Day Star mentioned in II Peter 1:19: 

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

There must be a full and continuing revelation of Christ through the Holy Spirit in every assembly of the saints. Each disciple must take up his cross and pursue a consecrated life saturated with prayer, Scripture reading, personal holiness, faith, hope, love, perseverance, courage, and unswerving obedience to God.

The Deeds of the Body Are Put to Death

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (Colossians 3:9)

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Ephesians 4:22)

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:14)

The physical body is "dead."

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

Our physical body remains dead in the sense that it still contains in itself the centuries-old tendency toward rebellion against God and subjection to the will and ways of Satan. It therefore is spiritually dead.

The physical body (even of the saint) is an artesian well of adultery, pride, hatred, idolatry, covetousness, lying, murder, occult practices, and every other filthy action, word, motive, and imagination that is an abomination to the God of Heaven.

Only the Spirit of God working through the cross of Christ possesses the wisdom and power to deal with the passions of the flesh and fleshly mind of mankind. As soon as the physical body and the soulish nature begin to express themselves, all the religious principles and resolutions of the self-righteous person are as so much debris flying about in a hurricane.

While our new born-again inner man is receiving eternal life from the Holy Spirit, as we walk under the lordship of Christ, our mortal body remains dead in the bondage of sin. Our body is protected by the Passover blood and therefore is not destroyed by God as His Spirit moves throughout the earth, bringing judgment upon sinful deeds.

The blood of Christ makes an atonement for us so God can restore us to a state of fellowship with Himself. By faith we assign our old nature to the cross with Christ in order that we may be raised with Christ in the full power of His resurrection life.

If we give the Holy Spirit our full attention and cooperation He will enable us to put to death the deeds of our physical body. 

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Our task is to confess our sins, as the Holy Spirit leads us into an awareness of them, and then to renounce the sins, to draw near to God, and to resist the devil. It is not God’s will that we should remain in captivity, in subjection to the sinful urges of our own body.

We walk in the power of eternal life as we continue to confess and forsake our sins. The Holy Spirit provides the wisdom and strength that we need. If we walk each day in the Spirit of God we receive the peace, joy, power, sound mind, and victory over sin that are the possessions of those who follow Christ.

If we, Christian or not, continue to live after the lusts of our flesh and mind we will die spiritually. Also, we may come to an untimely end in the present world (I Corinthians 11:30). It is possible to be born again in Christ and then to die spiritually because the new life was not nurtured adequately. "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." (Romans 8:13, Luke 8:14).

The sin of Adam and Eve. Death, spiritual and physical, is the direct and certain result of the breaking of God’s laws.

The Lord God said to Adam: 

. . . Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16,17)

Eve and Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They knowingly and deliberately broke the commandment of God, Eve having been encouraged to do so by the serpent and Adam following the leadership of his wife.

The consequences that have flowed from that one act of disobedience have been so horrible that every creature in Heaven and on the earth ought to have learned the lesson for eternity: "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

In the day that Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil she died in spirit, in soul, and in body. The Presence of Christ is life. The absence of Christ is death. The Presence of Christ left Eve. She continued to breathe, to eat, to think, to speak, to walk about. These activities are not life. Christ Himself is Life. Apart from Him there is no life, no light, whereby people may live.

In the day that Adam ate of the tree he also died in spirit, in soul, and in body. Adam’s body did not cease to function until many hundreds of years later. Adam’s body was dead because of sin just as our body is dead because of sin.

Thousands of years of history reveal to us that the death of Adam and Eve, their loss of the Presence of Christ, their impoverishment and anguish, their assignment to backbreaking toil, were only the beginning of the sorrows of mankind. Each of the billions of persons who has been born since that time has come into the world as a slave to sin and a victim of the consequences of sin.

All of mankind is under the dominion of sin and as a result under the dominion of death. Also, the remainder of the animal kingdom, and the vegetable and mineral domains as well, are all under the "bondage of corruption" (Romans 8:21). The authority and power of sin are total and there is little that any human being can do about it except to turn to the Lord Jesus.

This incredible anguish has occurred because of a single disobedience to God Almighty. Let each of us have the lesson engraved on our personality so that we never can forget it.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not the only tree that the Lord God made to grow out of Eden’s ground. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden (Genesis 2:9). The trees of Eden were "pleasant to the sight and good for food."

Two of the trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, were not the kind of trees one usually finds in an orchard in that the type of fruit they bore affected the personality and not just the digestive system. It is tragic that Adam and Eve did not eat of the rest of the trees and leave the prohibited fruit alone. The good we should do we do not do, and the evil we should not do—that is what we do (from Romans 7:19).

It was the Lord God, not the adversary, who caused the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to grow out of the ground in the midst of Eden. God wanted that tree there and He had in mind to use it along with the other trees to bring about the full growth and development of His offspring, Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve were children. They were in the image of God, but only in the sense that a human baby is in the image of its parents. It takes a long time for one of God’s "babies" to grow up in His household and to begin to look and act like an adult.

In order for Adam and Eve to grow up and become a son and daughter of God they had to eat a proper diet, just as all children have to do if they are to be healthy and grow normally. Part of that diet consisted of the fruit of the tree of life and part consisted of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or those two trees would not have been "good for food" (Genesis 2:9). (One wonders what other kinds of trees grew in Eden!)

As an infant grows older his diet changes. The food that is nourishing at one age is not adequate at another. God had every intention of having Adam and Eve eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because apart from such knowledge they were not in His image (Genesis 3:22).

God’s timing in our lives is important, and food that is good for us when presented at the right moment is not good for us if it is eaten ahead of schedule.

God knew that the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would produce shame and would separate His children from Himself. Also, God will not accept willful disobedience on the part of His children even if they do blame someone else for their disobedience.

The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the wisdom of judgment. It is the ability to discern what is good and what is evil. Such discernment is an important ability of a son of God. Being able to discern good and evil is a sign of maturity. 

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Adam and Eve were naked, and to be naked is shameful (although this is the state in which God placed them in the garden). Where there is no law there is no consciousness of sin or shame. The knowledge of good and evil comes to us through God’s law.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the personification of the highest working of God’s law. The law of God gives us knowledge of the good and holy and of the evil and unholy. Such knowledge makes sin exceedingly sinful. 

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)

(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (Romans 5:13)

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence [covetousness]. For without the law sin was dead. (Romans 7:7,8)

Adam and Eve were without law except for the one prohibition concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Their nakedness was shameful, and in God’s time they would have been clothed (as is true of babies to this day). As they had grown in God they would have been given the knowledge of good and evil as soon as it was profitable for them.

It is a fact of the Christian redemption that when we first are born again we are to a certain extent ignorant of the good and evil in our personality. It is only after we have reached a certain level in Christ that our "eyes are opened" and we begin to see, area by area, the presence of sin in our personality and behavior.

Each time the Holy Spirit enables us to discern an unholy, unrighteous area in our personality He has ready the appropriate righteousness with which to cover our nakedness (Revelation 3:18).

God does not desire that we be foolish, ignorant, or innocent concerning righteousness. We have been commanded to be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16). In malice we are to be infants but in our understanding we are to be mature (I Corinthians 14:20).

Adam and Eve did not have a sinful nature dwelling in their flesh as we do. There was no law of sin inhabiting their bodies. They were not being driven by the spirit of their age or by their own inborn or acquired tendencies to lust, to murder, to lie, to amass wealth, to worship idols, to slander, to criticize, to disbelieve God, to talk filthy language.

The kind of life the tame and wild animals were leading did not guide Adam and Eve into sin. The created heavens and earth were declaring to them the Glory of God. Also, the Presence of the Lord God was in the garden with them so they could model their behavior after Him.

Everything about them and available to them was working to enable them to grow up as righteous and holy children of the Highest. There was no reason, other than the counsel of the serpent plus their own lack of experience in godliness and in dealing with temptation, why they should have broken God’s one commandment.

If they had waited until God had given them His Divine Nature they would have been brought successfully into the ability to discern good and evil.

Exalting their self-will over God’s will always opens the door for uncleanness and lawlessness to enter human beings.

We understand that the first sin was the sin of self-will rather than fornication or lying or stealing. The self-will of Adam and Eve opened the door for the sins of the flesh to enter and bind mankind to their compulsions.

Adam and Eve lost their opportunity to eat of the tree of life.

The Lord God said: 

. . . Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: (Genesis 3:22)

God was not pleased with the condition of Adam and Eve at this time and He did not want them partaking of the tree of life and living forever in their state of alienation from their Creator. Therefore the Lord posted a guard to keep His children away from the tree of life. 

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)

As we think about the moral purity of their environment, and the lack of sinful impulses in their nature, the reason for the disobedient actions of Adam and Eve seems to be clear. The wicked rebellion in the heavenlies had brought the personalities involved there to a high level of subtlety and skill in creating and practicing every evil work. The counsel of the serpent to Eve was adapted perfectly to the purpose of leading her into discontent and rebellion against the Lord God.

Apart from that evil suggestion Eve would have been content to follow her husband as he followed the Lord. But, child that she was, she was led easily into disobedience just as little boys and girls are lured into the automobile of a stranger by the promise of some candy.

Adam, who was anxious to please his wife just as men are to this day (I Corinthians 7:33), joined with her in rebellion against God’s commandment. By their actions the first husband and wife brought all their descendants under bondage to Satan, to sin, to death.

The damage done to the earth and its inhabitants as the result of the original sin of Adam and Eve is so vast in scope, so ugly, so painful, that the human mind cannot grasp it.

All the wars, all the acts of violence of people against other people, all the grief of relatives and friends who have seen their loved ones wasted by sickness or mangled in accidents, all the agony of mental and physical sickness, all the human, animal, and mineral resources wrecked by the lusts of men driven by the unquenchable thirst for riches, all the madness, perversion, perversity of word and action, and wild restlessness of spirit that keep the human race in an uproar to this day, every last treacherous, obscene, murderous behavior of mankind is the direct result of the unwillingness or inability of Adam and Eve to obey God.

Human history portrays for all time, to the earth and to the heavenlies, that God is righteous, that life lived apart from Him is a disaster, and that absolute obedience to His Spirit and law is the only way in which His creatures can attain love, joy, peace, and every other desirable goal.

Human beings stagger forward under the crushing burden of the chains of spiritual oppression that are far, far heavier and more grievous than those imposed by any human master. 

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:28-32)

The poison of sin affects each person born into the world. 

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10)

Again: 

For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God; (Romans 3:23)

The act of disobedience of Adam and Eve brought every one of their descendants under bondage to death. 

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)

One of the worst results of the original sin is that we humans now have a strong tendency toward sin. The bodies of Adam and Eve were constructed from chemicals found in the earth and therefore were neither sinful nor righteous. Their bodies were houses for their soul and spirit and were neutral as far as any tendency toward sin or righteousness is concerned.

Unfortunately such neutrality is not the case with our bodies. The bondage of which God warned Cain has come to pass: the desire of man is to sin and sin rules over him (see Genesis 4:7).

Because of the thousands of years of sin that have preceded our lives on the earth, we now have in us powerful urges toward lust, murder, covetousness, lying, and occult practices. 

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:18-20)

The poison of sin has corrupted all that is in the world. Not only have we been born into bondage to sin because of the rebellion in Eden, but we are under the power of death as well. Sin, when it matures, brings forth death. 

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: . . . . (Romans 8:13)

The heavy hand of sin and death grips every man, woman, boy, and girl born into the world. The entire creation of God has been affected by the original disobedience.

It was impossible for Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of life after having eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because sin had been committed by them and no atonement was available to take care of their sin.

A sinner cannot come to the tree of life and receive eternal life until an atonement has been made for him, until he first has been washed in the blood of God’s Lamb. First comes the washing in the blood, and after that the eating of Christ, who is the Tree of Life.

The pursuit of eternal life. Eternal life must be sought diligently by the Christian. Accepting Christ is the beginning, not the end, of the pursuit of eternal life. Christ is Eternal Life, and He must be sought out and followed each day with complete attention and dedication.

Coming out of Egypt (the world) brings us into the "wilderness," not into the land of promise, as far as eternal life is concerned. The gate is narrow and the way is compressed and difficult that leads to eternal life, and it appears that there are few people who persevere in Christ until they find it (Matthew 7:14).

Paul advised Timothy to "Lay hold on eternal life" (I Timothy 6:12). The exhortation of Paul is in the context of a strong admonition to "follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." The pursuit of eternal life is related to the pursuit of the holiness of the Holy Spirit of God.

Eternal life has to do with the holiness of God. If we do not lay hold on the righteousness and holiness that God has provided for us by the various Divine resources (the Scriptures, the body and blood of Christ, the gifts and ministries of the Body, the help of the Holy Spirit in prayer and guidance) we can expect to have little or no eternal life in us now or given to us in that day when the Presence of the Lord fills His people and the conquerors are given their houses from Heaven filled with the substance of eternal life.

We must pursue diligently the Life of Christ. The Holy Spirit is our Helper. Eternal life is the result of sowing to the Spirit of God. "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Galatians 6:8).

This reminds us of Romans 8:13: "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

It is a misunderstanding of the Gospel of Christ to claim we will not enter the holy city in our own righteousness but in His righteousness, and therefore if we sin we are in no danger. It is true, rather, that we must draw continually on His righteousness and holiness of Substance and Spirit until we become righteous and holy in thought, word, and deed. If we do not we will be among those who cry Lord! Lord! and do not practice the things He teaches.

The only way in which we can gain the right to the tree of life is by doing His commandments. 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

A man or woman can start out in Christ and then reap corruption rather than eternal life. The Book of Hebrews, the Book of I John, and many other passages in the New Testament confirm the fact that accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior is but the beginning of the quest for eternal life.

Jude presents the concept as clearly as anyone, in the following admonition: "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not (Jude 1:5).

If there is a message from God to the Christians of today it is the letter of Jude, the "servant of Jesus Christ." It ought to be posted in every shop window.

In order to get past the cherubim and the flaming sword that guard the way to the tree of life we must partake of the holiness of Christ. The cherubim are God’s servants, and the flaming sword is the Word of God that discerns good and evil. As long as there is sin in our life we do not have access to the tree of life (Revelation 2:7).

The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil stand side by side in the middle of the Paradise of God. Until we mature in the Lord and are able to perceive the difference between good and evil, and then voluntarily (by Christ’s ability) cleave to righteousness and despise and reject evil, we are not fit to eat of the tree of life and live forever (Hebrews 5:12-6:2).

We are speaking now of the fullness of life in the Presence of God, including the overcoming of physical death in the body at the appearing of the Lord from Heaven. Our pursuit, as was Paul’s, is directed toward the redemption of our body.

There are many passages in the New Testament that indicate the relationship between the living of the sanctified life now and our status during the Day of the Lord. For example: 

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (I Thessalonians 3:13)

A little further in I Thessalonians we find that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming with "sudden destruction" and "they shall not escape." We are "children of light" (meaning we are walking in righteousness) and therefore that Day will not overtake us as a thief).

Our deliverance and salvation in the Day of the Presence of Christ, according to this context, does not depend on our profession of Christ but rather on our conduct—on our bringing the righteousness and holiness of Christ into our daily living. 

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

The precious promises of Christ enable us to partake of the Divine Nature and to escape the corruption that lust always brings. 

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4)

The hope of being received by the Lord as His children must lead us to holiness of personality and behavior. 

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

The closeness of the Day of the Lord should move us toward a holy manner of living. 

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct] and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto [hastening] the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (II Peter 3:11,12)

When we first accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are saved from the coming wrath of God and we receive eternal life. Notice, in the following passage, where our new life is located: 

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [desires], and covetousness, which is idolatry: (Colossians 3:3-5)

The concept of these verses from Colossians is that since our "life is hid with Christ in God" we ought to be seeking the things that are above. In keeping with our heavenly position we must put to death the lusts of our flesh.

It would be useless for a person to attempt to live at the right hand of God in the spirit realm and at the same time to pursue the lusts of his flesh on the earth. Either his new born-again spiritual nature will prevail or his flesh will prevail. One shall conquer the other.

Either his life at the right hand of God will result in his putting to death the desires of his body and his fleshly mind or the desires of his body and fleshly mind will overcome the new life from Christ that is working in him.

A Christian who continually indulges his earthly passions may well succeed in destroying the spiritual side of his nature to the extent he loses his eternal life. "We are not of them who draw back to perdition [destruction], but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:39; Romans 8:13).

The Apostle John, in agreement with Paul concerning the absolute necessity for righteous and holy behavior, associated our hope of being like Jesus at His appearing with a present-day attention to the cleansing of our personality. 

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:2,3)

A faith that does not bring about a holy manner of living is not a strong faith—not strong enough to raise us in the first resurrection (Philippians 3:11).

To maintain that we all shall be raised at the next sounding of God’s trumpet and all receive the same reward, all rule as kings and priests, even though we are not learning to walk in the Spirit of God, is unscriptural. Our common sense and our conscience, as well as the Scriptures, teach us differently. Yet, many Christians act and speak as though this is what they believe.

It never is God’s will that a Christian walk in known sin. 

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (Romans 8:12)

The physical body, even of the Christian, is dead because of sin. The mortal body is cut off from the Life of Christ. The body is bound by the law of sin in its members. God has in mind to save the body of the Christian just as He saved the body of Jesus. Therefore we do not owe the body any servitude at all that we should be bound by its lusts.

The commonly-accepted belief among Christians that we are required to sin because we still are in a body of flesh and blood has no foundation in the Scripture. There is power in the blood of Christ to "forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"—all unrighteousness!

We no longer can be forced to live in the lusts and bondages of the flesh and fleshly mind. We are free to choose to become a servant of righteousness. (Romans 6:18).

In order to live in the Spirit of God and not in the appetites of the flesh we must give ourselves wholly to the discipline of the Spirit. We must obtain the power of resurrection life. We must have the upward pull of the life of Heaven. The attraction of sin is so strong it is necessary that the Holy Spirit impart the Life of Christ to us in sufficient quantity to overcome the earthly passions that drive and bind us.

We must walk in the Spirit of God every moment of every day or we rapidly will be drawn into the concerns of the flesh. God’s grace always is available in the kind and amount needed to solve our problem; but we ourselves make the choice continually as to whether we will indulge our flesh or follow the Spirit of God.

In God’s sight we owe the flesh nothing and Christ everything.

Living according to the flesh means spending one’s time and strength each day in the ordinary pursuits of people without a consciousness of the Presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to be a disciple of Jesus and to lead the customary life of the pursuit of material gain. Such a life leads to spiritual weakness and death. 

And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Luke 8:14)

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your heart be overcharged with surfeiting [weighed down with dissipation], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (Luke 21:34)

Paul warns us: "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." The materialistic sex-money-fun-oriented way of life may seem harmless to us but it leads to the spiritual death of the Christian.

Paul continues: "If ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

In what way shall we live? First, the life of the Holy Spirit in us will increase until our spirit and soul are transformed into the image of Christ.

As the Holy Spirit leads us into all kinds of experiences, pleasant and painful, He works in our nature and in our mind the likeness of Christ. Prayer, reading the Scriptures, being ministered to and ministering—all lead to the developing of the life of Christ in us.

Our spiritual stature grows from the baby state, to the child, to the adolescent, to the mature son of God. There is a difference in righteous strength of character between a new Christian and a disciplined saint of God (Hebrews 5:14).

Growth in spiritual stature is leading directly to the coming adoption of the body (Romans 8:23). It is the "deeds of the body" that are at issue. The physical body is an enemy of the Spirit of God and of the Christian. The body of the Christian as well as of the unsaved has an insatiable appetite for self-indulgence of all kinds.

The body lusts after sexual excesses, violence, murder, pleasure, drunkenness, and every other abomination. The deeds of the body must be put to death. We owe the body nothing except to keep, through the Holy Spirit, an iron hand on all its lusts so that it serves God in every situation.

Each time our fleshly nature causes us to sin we must confess the sin to God. When we are leading the life of victorious faith we are able to hear the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us concerning a sin of deed, word, motive or imagination. With the Spirit’s help we are able to name the sin before God so we can receive the authority and power of the blood of Christ for the forgiveness and complete cleansing of the sin.

Sin must be confessed as we march forward in victory. We are putting to death the deeds of our body with joy because the physical body is the last stronghold of sin and death in the battle of redemption.

The eternal judgment of unclean spirits. As we are discussing the relationship between holy living and the gaining of eternal life we need to keep in mind that one of the most important dimensions of the relationship is that of God’s judgment on evil works in general, and on evil spirits in particular.

The area of the conflict in our life between sin and righteousness is related to the past rebellion in Heaven and to the law and judgment of almighty God that rewards His creatures according to their response to His will. The fact is, no one will receive the fullness of eternal life until the work of Divine judgment has been completed in his or her life.

Hebrews 6:2 mentions the doctrine of "eternal judgment." It is this doctrine to which we are referring when we state that no one will receive the fullness of eternal life until the work of judgment has been completed. You may notice that eternal judgment follows the resurrection of the dead, and precedes the "perfection" of verse 1 of the same chapter (Hebrews, Chapter Six).

As far as the saint of God is concerned, the "resurrection of the dead" of Hebrews 6:2 is the resurrection described in John 11:25,26; Colossians 3:1; Romans 6:13; and Colossians 2:12,13. We are not claiming that the bodily resurrection is past already (II Timothy 2:18) but are speaking of the spiritual aspect of the resurrection that occurs before the resurrection of the body.

Some students of the Scriptures believe that Paul in Philippians 3:11 is referring to the spiritual and not the physical resurrection. There is an attaining to resurrection life that we are to be pursuing now.

The eternal judgment of God follows the resurrection. This is demonstrated in the raising of Lazarus (John, Chapter 11) on the fifth day. Had Lazarus been raised on the third day his raising would have been typical of the resurrection of Christ.

The raising of Lazarus on the fifth day portrays the fulfillment in us of the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24), the blowing of Trumpet being the fifth of the Levitical observances. The bringing forth of Lazarus from the grave depicts the Christian who has been raised by the Holy Spirit and who now is ready to walk in the newness of resurrection life.

Lazarus was "bound hand and foot with graveclothes," even his face being "bound about with a napkin." This was in contrast to the Lord Jesus who discarded His graveclothes in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.

Jesus called forth Lazarus in a condition of bondage just as He calls forth you and me to walk in the newness of resurrection life although we still are bound by the "graveclothes" of the sin in our flesh.

Lazarus was raised from the dead but still bound, still not judged as to the tendencies of his body, to speak figuratively. Jesus directed those standing by to "Loose him, and let him go." The graveclothes represent the bondages of sin that hinder the Christian believer. Those standing by symbolize the people that God uses to set us free. Sometimes people minister to us by the power of the Spirit of God. On other occasions people cause us pain and frustration. But if we will look to God in each instance we will be set free from sin.

The authority and power of judgment, based on the blood of the atonement, reside in the Church of Christ. They are keys of the kingdom. When Christ, the Head, is directing His Body, through the Holy Spirit, the Body has the authority and power to retain sin and to remit sin.

Sin is not a force that springs from the earth or from the physical body, as they were created originally. Sin is alien to us. It is not inherent in the physical creation. The earth, the sun, the moon and stars, and the physical body were created by the Lord God. They were formed in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. They were brought into being without any tendency toward sin.

Sin entered the garden of Eden in the form of a living, intelligent being. Sin always is related to personalities, not to nonliving matter. Sin always is of the devil no matter how entwined it may become in the fleshly nature of a human being. "He that committeth sin is of the devil" (I John 3:8).

The moment mankind was persuaded to sin, Satan took over the controls of human nature (Genesis 4:7). Sin and death then reigned over all persons born into the world (Romans 5:12-14). There is no way of escaping the authority and power of sin (Psalms 51:5). The mind of the flesh is an enemy of God and cannot be reconciled to God (Romans 8:7).

God has revealed Himself to mankind in the glory of the natural creation, in man’s own conscience, and in the Law of Moses. These revelations only magnify the wrongness of sin; they cannot remove sin because they do not bring the authority and power to deal with the devil.

It is the lords of darkness who are the cause of sin (Ephesians 6:12). These lords at one time were angels of wisdom and authority in Heaven. We cannot deliver the earth and its people until God is able to execute through us His eternal judgment on unclean spirits. A strong man’s house cannot be invaded until the strong man himself has been rendered incapable of resistance.

The Lord Jesus Christ brought into the earth the perfect and complete atonement for the sins of people. In order to make an atonement for sin, two aspects of the problem must be taken care of. First, the guilt of sin must be forgiven. Divine justice must be satisfied. Second, the dominating power of sin must be conquered. Both of these aspects must be provided for or the atonement, the reconciliation, is only partial.

In Christ full provision has been made for both aspects. In the Lord Jesus we receive forgiveness of our sins and also the authority and power to destroy the works of the devil in the heavens and on the earth (I John 3:8; Matthew 28:18).

God the Father has given to Christ full authority to forgive sin and to retain sin. Christ holds the keys. He can declare whomever He will to be forgiven of sin or to remain guilty of sin. Christ’s authority is absolute.

The Father has given to the Son all authority to declare blameless whomever He will and to give eternal life to whomever He will (John 5:21-30, 17:2). There is no personage who has the authority or power to call into question the judgments of Christ. Christ has offered full pardon to each individual who comes to Him. The complete forgiveness of sins is the first half of the atonement.

The forgiveness or retention of the guilt of sin is the beginning of the exercise of God’s eternal judgment on sin. The judgment is eternal, in the case of the Christian redemption. Once a Christian has confessed and repented of a sin and Christ has forgiven that sin, the guilt of the sin never again can be held over the Christian, provided he does not turn and practice it again.

The sin has been forgiven and now we are able to deal with the power of it. Sometimes the power of a sin over us is broken immediately. In other instances we have to endure a fierce struggle against some particular sin. However, total victory shall come if we keep calling on the Lord for help, naming the sin as sin and assigning it to the Lake of Fire.

The authority of the accuser, Satan, is weakened because he cannot hold the guilt of the sin over the saint. God has forgiven it in Christ.

The individual who keeps on pressing forward in Christ proceeds from deliverance to deliverance. Likewise it is possible for an individual to refuse the grace of God until the door of mercy is closed (Revelation 22:11; Luke 13:24-27).

Both forgiveness and deliverance are included in the atonement. Christ possesses not only the authority to forgive a sin but also the power to cleanse and deliver the Christian from the dominating influence of that sin.

In order to bring about deliverance from the dominating influence of a sin, Christ and the Christian must act together in the power of the Holy Spirit to confess the sin, repent of the sin, cast out the sin, and close the door against all further activities of the sin. This is the stripping away of the graveclothes that bind the Christian and hinder the Nature of Christ in the Christian from being expressed in deed, in word, in motive, and in imagination.

When Christ read from the scroll of Isaiah (Luke 4:19) He concluded by saying, "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

Then Jesus "closed the book." He did not read, "the day of vengeance of our God" (Isaiah 61:2). It may be noticed in the King James translation of Isaiah that Jesus stopped reading at a comma, not at the end of a complete sentence.

The point at which Jesus stopped reading has significance. It reveals that the Day of Vengeance, the Day of the Lord, had not as yet arrived.

The next coming, the Presence of Christ, is the Day of the Lord, the Day of Vengeance. It will be the fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16).

The first half of the Day of Atonement, the sprinkling of Christ’s blood beyond the sacred veil (Leviticus 16:12-15), was accomplished at Calvary (Luke 23:45; Hebrews 9:12).

The second half of the Day of Atonement, the removal of the presence of sin from the Christian, and finally from the earth itself, has not been accomplished as yet. We can observe the lack of deliverance by examining our personality and our surroundings. Such deliverance shall be brought to pass in the Day of Judgment, when Christ returns to the earth. To those who look for Him He will appear without sin unto salvation. The wicked will perish at His fiery Presence.

In preparation for the great Day of the Lord that is at hand, the Lord today is judging the sin in the warlike remnant of saints whom He is calling out from the ranks of Christendom.

Sin will be removed from the heavens (the spiritual domain above us that pollutes the earth) and then from the earth. The inhabitants of the earth will be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Revelation 12:8,9; 19:20-20:3; Romans 8:21). This is the fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee that was announced on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 25:9).

The atonement made by Christ will not have taken full effect until the power of sin has been destroyed totally. Christ now is in the process of destroying the works of the devil. In order for a Christian to receive the full benefit of the atonement, all the works of the devil in him must be destroyed—not only the guilt of sin but also all traces of compulsion to sin.

The last evil work to be destroyed will be physical death. The removal of the authority and power of physical death will be the sign that all else in the believer that is related to the works of the devil has been forgiven and its power overcome and destroyed. This is the personal, individual fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus, Chapter 25).

One can see then that the eternal judgment of God is on the doers of sin. As long as the Christian is committing acts of sin, following the inclinations of evil spirits, the judgment of God is on him. The judgment is suspended as long as the Christian is following the Spirit of God. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).

The Christian is sealed to the Day of Redemption by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). In anticipation of the coming day in which sin is removed from the earth, the Christian is without condemnation as long as—and only as long as—he remains "in Christ." If, however, he neglects the salvation that has begun its work in him and is not careful to abide in Christ, he will come under the judgment of God (Hebrews 2:3; John 15:2).

If the Christian continues to walk in the light of God’s Presence, the Holy Spirit will point out to him the sins of thought, word, and deed that he is practicing. Sins are pointed out one at a time so they can be dealt with victoriously.

Our sinful nature is not examined all at once. If we saw too much of our nature at once we would become defeated, introspective, and gloomy. It is the will of the Spirit of God that we go on our way rejoicing in Christ. Then the Spirit can enable us to overcome our sins one at a time and to keep victory all the while. 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:7-9)

The eternal judgment of God is on each person who commits sin whether or not he is a Christian, although the judgment is suspended for the Christian as long as he is following the Spirit of God and walking with Christ. The blood of God’s Lamb is a "token" on the Christian’s "house" and protects him from the destroyer.

When the Holy Spirit points out a sin that a Christian is practicing and he becomes aware of the sin, he must go to God for cleansing from the guilt and power of that sin.

When the Christian confesses and forsakes his sin the sentence of the eternal judgment of God is that the Christian is held guiltless and also is cleansed from all unrighteousness. Never again will the Christian stand before the Judgment Seat for any sin he has confessed and then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, has ceased committing. It is an eternal judgment.

There is authority and power in the blood of Christ to deliver the Christian from the guilt and power of sin—now, in this life. The Holy Spirit deals with our sins one at a time. If we are diligent in confessing and forsaking our sins, He is faithful and righteous to "forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

When the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven the trumpet of God will blow, announcing the worldwide Year of Jubilee. The dead in Christ will be resurrected and the living saints will become immortal (I Thessalonians 4:16). Divine wrath will fall on all the workers of sin and rebellion. The second coming of the Lord is the Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation. That Day will be glory for the righteous but terror for the ungodly.

Our personal "day of the Lord." For the saint, the trumpet of God, in a personal, spiritual sense, is blowing now. The Day of the Lord is beginning now in the hearts of the victorious saints (II Peter 1:19). The Day of days, in which Christ is absolute Lord over all, is being created in the Christian personality in the present hour.

Christ not only is our "soon-coming King" He also is our King today. Christ is coming as King over the kings of the earth and Lord over the lords of the earth. He is King of all kings and Lord of all lords and more to the saints as they become willing and able to yield to His unhindered lordship over their lives.

The trumpet of God is sounding in a spiritual sense in the Church of Christ. We must enter eternal judgment now . As the Holy Spirit directs us we must confess and put away all the "graveclothes" of sin that bind us: adultery, lust, covetousness, hatred, idolatry, all occult practices, pride, unbelief, criticizing, evil speaking, self-seeking, and the love of pleasure.

The Holy Spirit is leading us into the fullness of the atonement made by Christ so that we shall be ready for the raising of our body from the dead and the clothing of it with the substance of eternal life.

We must judge ourselves as the Holy Spirit enables us. We must put to death the deeds of the body. We must purify ourselves. We must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. We must wash our robe and make it white in the blood of the Lamb of God.

Now is the time for each member of the Body of Christ to make himself ready for the righteous and holy Lord Jesus, who will descend from Heaven and reveal Himself through His Body, the Church.

There will be no putting on of our house from Heaven if we have not been faithful in confessing our sins and putting them to death by the power of the Holy Spirit. After we are raised spiritually, upon receiving Christ, we commence the process of eternal judgment. When the eternal judgment has been completed, rest in the Presence of God will follow.

The body of eternal life, the body that is being prepared for us in Heaven as we seek and serve the Lord, is an important part of the rest of God. We must learn to walk in the power of resurrection life today and begin to gain victory, as the Holy Spirit leads us, over our sins of deed, word, motive, and imagination. Then we will be ready for the final work of redemption of our personality when the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven with His majestic angels.

Take heart, Christian. Christ has come to us through the Spirit, not to oppress us because of our helplessness in the bondages of the sins that bring us down so easily but rather to destroy the evil one who has us in prison. If we cooperate with the Holy Spirit the almighty Christ will deliver us from the tendencies that we thought would be able to rule us as long as we were in a body of flesh and blood.

We owe nothing to our flesh. (Romans 8:12).

Part of the Good News of the Kingdom of God is that Christ has the power to destroy sin out of our life while we yet are in the world. The Savior saves us from our sins not in our sins (Matthew 1:21). The Christian redemption is not designed to prevent our going to Hell but to remove Hell from our personality. Contrary to popular thinking, the Lord Jesus has no intention of bringing into the Paradise of God those who are cherishing the Hell that is in them.

If we are willing to take part in all the provisions of grace that God has given to us, being diligent in the good works that pertain to Christian living and discipleship, the Holy Spirit will complete the work of salvation by enabling us to overcome the bondages of fleshly desire and rebellion that hold our mortal body captive.

Here is the judgment of God on His enemies who have kept us in slavery to sin. We will go free if we confess our sins to Christ and then work with God in resisting them. There is power in Jesus’ name to conquer sin. Try it and see if this is true. We must go through God’s eternal judgment before we are ready for the fullness of our inheritance as sons of God.

In the future the work of judgment will be performed on the ungodly by the saints of the Lord (Daniel 7:22; Psalms 149:6-9). The saints will judge not only the world but also the angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3). According to Daniel, Chapter Seven, Jude 1:14,15, and Revelation 20:4,5, the saints will execute judgment on the world and on the angels at the time of the coming of Christ.

If we are to take part in the work of judging the world and the angels it becomes clear that we ourselves must be judged in advance. The eternal judgment of God must be executed on us before we will be capable of laboring alongside Christ in the work of Divine judgment.

Jesus has said to us, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. With what judgment ye judge, ye will be judged" (Matthew 7:1,2). There is no way of escaping this spiritual law. It still shall be in effect while we are exercising the judgment of Christ during the Day of the Lord.

We shall, in that day, be engaged in judging the people of the world for their adultery, lust, hatred, avarice, pride, unbelief, sorcery, and other sins. We shall be passing the sentence of judgment on those who practice such things and on the unclean spirits who have deceived the nations into behaving wickedly and rebelliously against the will and laws of God.

Every time we exercise judgment the sword of the Word of God will be coming back against us. If we are guilty of the same sin ourselves we will not have the spiritual strength to perform the work of judging human beings and angels (Romans 2:3).

Before we are ready to work with Jesus during the Day of the Lord we must be judged ourselves with great care. Every tendency of imagination, motive, word, and deed must be screened carefully by the Holy Spirit to see if there are areas of our personality that need to be brought to the fire of God. He will "thoroughly purge his floor" (Matthew 3:12).

The Body of Christ is God’s instrument of warfare and of vengeance on the enemy. The Body must be "fireproof." There must be perfection in every detail so that no accusation of the adversary can bring weakness and confusion during the coming conflict.

It is the Holy Spirit’s task to bring each of us to the place of absolute cleanliness before God Almighty. The Holy Spirit has the authority and power to do this in us. Our task is to follow the Holy Spirit as He guides us in putting to death the deeds of the body.

When resurrection life and eternal judgment have been established in us to the degree the Holy Spirit deems necessary we shall be ready for the resurrection of our body into eternal life and for the terrible onslaught of furious destruction as the Lord Jesus descends from Heaven with His majestic angels to assume command of the earth.

Total destruction of the enemy. In Romans, Chapter Eight Paul shows that even our physical body will be released from the authority, power, and consequences of sin and we and the creation as well shall be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God. All the power and results of sin will be destroyed from the personality of the conqueror, from his spirit, his soul, and his body (I John 3:8).

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh" (Romans 8:12). The Christian cannot be forced to sin even though he still is living in the world. There is power in the salvation of Christ to give us victory over each sin. We have not been called of God to live in disobedience and bondage but in obedience to God and in the conquering of our sinful tendencies. Christ can deliver us. 

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

If you have received the Spirit of God you have the power of Christ in you to achieve victory over the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Christ does not set you free at one stroke from the power of sin but brings you into deliverance little by little. 

And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. (Deuteronomy 7:22)

We obtain victory over only one or two problems at a time, ordinarily, because God knows that if He delivered us in an instant from every one of our bondages we could not cope victoriously with the emptiness in our nature ("lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee"). Rather, Christ must grow in the places in our life that have been freed from the enemy so we can profit from our new liberty.

Whenever a person is delivered from a sin or from a physical sickness there must be a corresponding growth of the righteous Nature of Christ in his personality. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).

If we are delivered from bondage, and then do not obtain a portion of Christ, but continue without any increase in the desire and strength to live righteously, we are in a position to be attacked by the enemy. Our last state may prove to be worse than the first (Luke 11:20-26). It is useless and sometimes dangerous to deliver someone from spiritual bondage if he or she is not does not intend to serve the Lord.

Every battle must be waged in God’s time, in God’s way, and in God’s strength, just as was true of Israel entering the land of promise.

Even though God gives us victory "by little and little," the conquest will end in complete victory for us and complete destruction for the enemy who has had us bound these many years. 

But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. (Deuteronomy 7:23)

The bondages that seem to us to be the most powerful, including the power of death over our physical body, and also the evil atmosphere of the planet Earth, shall be broken. Those who have produced these bondages will be delivered over to destruction. Every enemy shall be brought under the feet of the Lord Jesus.

Total destruction is coming to all the works of darkness. Do not become impatient with the careful working out of the bondages of sin and rebellion remaining in your life as the Holy Spirit brings you into further holiness of motive, word, and deed. The Spirit of God has determined to bring you into complete and final victory over sin. 

And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:24)

"If ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live." We must follow the Spirit into battle against the "deeds of the body" just as Joshua followed the Lord into Canaan.

We cannot hope to accomplish any kind of spiritual deliverance by our own strength and wisdom. Eternal judgment against unclean spirits is God’s responsibility. Only His all-powerful Holy Spirit possesses the wisdom and power to break the bondages that keep our mortal body in the chains of sin and death.

The Holy Spirit of God is bringing us toward the Day when we can be clothed with the fullness of eternal life. The power of sin in our life must first be conquered. As long as the Word of God can find sin and rebellion in us we will not be allowed to go past the fiery sword and partake of the tree of life.

The Holy Spirit is well able, as we cooperate with Him in putting to death the deeds of our body, to free us from the dominion of sin so that we can enter the fullness of incorruptible resurrection life in Christ.

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God [led to put to death the deeds of the body], they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:13,14). The sons of God are moving, in the Spirit of God, toward the first resurrection from the dead. So great will be their victory that the whole creation will be released with them and through them just as the glory and power of the resurrection of Christ spilled over on the sleeping saints (Matthew 27:52).

The sons of God always will be on the move, under the guidance of God’s Spirit, until every one of Christ’s enemies have been crushed under their feet. The army of God will march after its Commander in Chief until all the works of the enemy have been trampled down and destroyed.

First must come the judgment on our sins—putting to death the deeds of the body. Along with this judgment we must share the sufferings of Christ so that our self-centeredness may be replaced by Christ-centeredness. The end result of the judgment and the suffering will be our glorification together with Him. 

. . . if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

The Word of God Comes to Maturity

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28,29)

Here the Divine purpose is revealed. Here we see the goal that controls and gives significance to the events of world, church, and personal history.

God commenced our salvation on the cross of Calvary. God is guiding every creature, thing, circumstance, and event of His universe. God shall accomplish His stated purpose and goal.

The day will come when each member of the Body of Christ has been changed into the image of God’s only begotten Son. We already have been called. We already have been justified. As far as God’s vision and purpose are concerned, we already have been glorified. The Kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to God.

It is God’s intention that the Church become His eternal Temple, the Divine Counterpart of His Son, an instrument for destroying lawlessness from the creation, and the Christ-filled Servant of the Lord who will bring justice to the nations of the earth. No aspect of this high destiny and inheritance is possible until the Word of God has been brought to maturity in us and we have been changed into the image of Christ and brought into complete union with God through Him.

Pressing toward the "mark." Paul’s writings reveal that he was not as one "beating the air." He was running toward a finish line; he was pressing forward toward a specific "mark."

The concept that there truly is a mark, a point of perfection, a place of maturity, an attainable standard, is very important to the pursuit of the victorious Christian discipleship. A believer who is not convinced that there actually is a place of maturity will not make the effort required to attain it.

Jesus began our redemption with the work of Calvary. Jesus will finish our redemption by bringing forth the perfected members of the Church, the Body of Christ. 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; . . . (Hebrews 12:2)

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)

Four times in the Book of Revelation the Lord Jesus Christ refers to Himself as Alpha and Omega (the Beginning and the End). 

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Revelation 21:6)

If there were to be no Omega , no end, the Lord would have said so. If the God of Heaven has left it up to us to attempt to imitate Jesus, knowing that we always will fall short of the mark, understanding that we must be content with the knowledge that we tried to be a good person in the world, the Scriptures would be a book of proverbs.

The Scriptures are a record of what God—not man—has done, is doing, and will yet accomplish. It is not a question of what we are able to do, it is a question of what God has chosen to do.

If there is no "mark" toward which to press, if God has begun so gloriously on Calvary but has left it up to Christians to do the best we can, knowing we are full of sin, rebellion against God, and foolishness, Christ would be presented as the Alpha but never as the Omega .

Alpha and Omega are the beginning and end of the Greek alphabet. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God having neither beginning nor end as we understand time. Therefore Alpha and Omega refer to the plan of redemption, particularly to the work and enlargement of Christ in the members of His Body, not to the Logos Himself. 

Alpha is the specific beginning of our redemption. Omega is the specific completion of our redemption. Is the Lord Jesus Christ the Omega as well as the Alpha? If so, we can expect the fullness of the Divine Glory to be exercised in bringing about the Omega of our redemption just as it was exercised in creating the Alpha .

We are looking toward and pressing toward all that God has spoken in His Word concerning the perfection of the saints and of the Body of Christ.

When God stated "It is done" (Revelation 21:6) He was referring to the new Jerusalem that the Apostle John was beholding in vision. John was not witnessing the incredibly confused pile of dry bones, the ungainly, disjointed, self-seeking, crippled patchwork of man’s striving that today terms itself the Christian churches.

John was seeing the holy city, the unblemished Wife of the Lamb, the unified, mature new Jerusalem. The perfection of the new Jerusalem is the perfection of God Himself. It is the Substance, the Nature, the wisdom of God brought forth in visible form for the nations of the earth to behold. The Wife of the Lamb will judge, rule, heal, and bless the peoples whom God has saved.

Man has been building the church for the past two thousand years. We can study the results and understand what always is brought into being when the wisdom and efforts of human beings are added to the creation of the Lord.

In the last days a nation will be "born at once" (Isaiah 66:8). Man will have come to the end of himself. He will not be able to work because of the exceedingly great spiritual darkness. Then the Lord will work and the perfect, unblemished Church will come forth "at once."

It is obvious that if there is one imperfect member of the Body of Christ, the Body is imperfect. If there is one Achan in the camp, "Israel hath sinned." If there is one unclean believer in the Wife of the Lamb, the Wife is impure. If there is one sinner in the new Jerusalem, the city is defiled. God and Christ will not dwell in a defiled city.

God and Christ will not dwell where there is unrighteousness and uncleanness. It is our misunderstanding of Divine grace that leads us to believe that God and Christ will abide permanently in a situation where the only righteousness is that which has been imputed (ascribed) by God’s love. Imputed righteousness is a temporary state that is intended to lead the believer to the desired condition of actual righteousness and holiness of behavior.

Imputed righteousness, the gift of God through the blood of the cross, serves until the Word of God comes to maturity in our personality. God is looking for mature fruit—the fruit of the moral image of His Son in us. If any person is dwelling in Christ and Christ in him, a new creation is coming into view. The new creation cannot sin because it has been born of God.

It is important to our destiny in Christ that we pursue through the Holy Spirit the life of victory in Christ until we arrive at the "mark," the "Omega" of redemption, the fullness of the righteousness and blessing of the new covenant. The Omega of redemption is the "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" created in our personality.

Two scriptural representations of the fullness of the image of Christ are as follows: (1) the Ark of the Covenant of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; and (2) the four faces of the Cherubim of Glory.

The Ark of the Covenant.

The four faces of the Cherubim of Glory.

The Ark of the Covenant. 

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. (Exodus 25:10)

The Ark of the Covenant was constructed from the hard, thorny acacia wood found in the wilderness. It was covered within and overlaid with pure gold. The Ark typifies the Lord Jesus Christ who is "very God of very God and very man of very man." Because the Ark typifies the Lord Jesus it typifies also each son of God who has been changed into the image of Jesus.

In order to be changed into the image of Jesus we must become "wood of His Wood" and "gold of His Gold." It is not possible for corrupt man to imitate God except in an elementary, crude, and partial sense. The only manner in which the "Omega," the "maturity" of Christ can be fulfilled in us is by our partaking of Christ. It must be His Substance and Nature in us or we will come short of the Glory of God.

The Ark of the Covenant contained three items: (1) the golden pot of manna; (2) Aaron’s rod that budded; and (3) the two stone slabs inscribed with the Ten Commandments (Hebrews 9:4).

These three items represent the Character of Christ, the character that will be ours when the Word of God has been brought to maturity in us.

The jar of manna (Exodus 16:33) held a portion of the manna that had come down from God to feed His people from the time that they left the leeks and garlic of Egypt until they had access to the corn of Canaan.

The manna is the portion of Christ that is fed to us each day of our Christian pilgrimage. We have enough grace for one day, enough to overcome the evil of that day.

Our desire for security, to be hedged about with material goods, resists the concept of the manna. We do not want to trust the invisible God to feed us as He does the sparrows or to clothe us as He does the lilies. We seek after riches so we will not have to trust God tomorrow for our food and shelter. The accumulation of money is a substitute for trust in God.

God’s way is to lead us carefully and slowly through the wilderness of testing. Every son of God must be tried in the same manner in which Jesus was tried. One of the trials concerns trusting God and thanking Him for the provision for the moment.

The believer in Christ who finds it difficult to trust God for his needs will miss the will of God. He will occupy his days attempting to "build bigger and better barns." The mature son of God is learning to trust his Father in Heaven for all that is required at any given moment.

God humbles us by "feeding us with manna." He is teaching us not to lean on our own resources or money, our strength, our wisdom or even our own faith, but to depend on His riches, His strength, His wisdom, His faithfulness. 

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)

One of the temptations that faces every son of God is that of turning stone into bread. If we have supernatural power, if we have in our mouth the creative power of the word of faith, why don’t we use our faith to obtain food, shelter, and the other necessities of life?

It is not God’s will that we use our God-given abilities to lay up for ourselves treasures on the earth or even to provide our needs—except as He directs. Rather, it is His will that we look to Him in every situation so that He may give us what He knows to be best for us.

On some occasions God may allow us to go hungry for a season—and not only for food! God is teaching us to be content with what He provides day by day. The son of God lives, not by resources that he stores up against an unknown future but by the ever-present Word of God that always is directed toward his preservation and blessing.

When the lesson of the manna has been mastered, when our fear that God will forsake us in our hour of need has been overcome, then we live in dependence on the Lord for every aspect of our existence—great and small. We trust in God for the satisfying of every need, and God does supply all our needs through His riches in glory by Christ.

Furthermore, as we learn to delight ourselves in the Lord He gives us the desires of our heart.

God satisfies our needs and desires in His time, in His manner, as He will.

The Christian in whom the Word of God has come to maturity is joyful in the knowledge that each day is the day that the Lord has made and that He who clothes the flower of the field and feeds the sparrow in the tree surely shall supply the needs of His own children.

The Ark of the Covenant contained also Aaron’s rod that budded. Aaron’s rod that budded speaks of the eternal priesthood, of those whom God has chosen, of learning to rest in the flow of the power of incorruptible, resurrection life.

Aaron’s rod has to do with presumption, with the temptation of the pinnacle of the Temple, with the "high hills jumping" (Psalms 68:16), with submission to the government of God. (Remember Korah, Dathan, and Abiram!)

We learn submission, to be a servant, through the cross of Christ. Aaron’s rod was a forerunner of the cross. When the Word of God has come to maturity in us the cross can be seen in us. No son of God will be allowed to rule with Christ until the question of presumption, of self-will, has been settled for eternity.

No human being is eligible to become a living stone in the Temple of God and of Christ until self-will, self-love, self-seeking, presumption, have been crucified in him.

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, along with many others of the leaders of Israel, exemplify the danger of maintaining an attitude of self-seeking while following the cloud and the fire. 

Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and on, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: (Numbers 16:1,2)

Why did these nobles rise in rebellion against Moses and Aaron?

They rose against Moses and Aaron as did the Pharisees against Jesus because of religious envy. They wanted to be important in the work of God. 

And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord? (Numbers 16:3)

The rebels cared nothing about the congregation of the Lord. Like the priests and Pharisees of Jesus’ day they desired to be prominent, to govern the Lord’s people according to their own wishes.

God’s answer to their "concern" for the Lord’s people was to bury them alive.

God then directed Moses to take twelve rods, one for each of the tribes of Israel, and to write the name of the chief man of the tribe on the rod to stand for his tribe. Aaron’s name was written on the rod of Levi (Numbers 17:1-3).

Then the twelve rods were placed before the Lord in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The next day, Moses went into the Tabernacle. None of the rods was changed except the rod of Levi, the rod on which Aaron’s name had been written. Aaron’s rod had brought forth buds, blossoms, and almonds.

Aaron’s rod was kept in the Ark of the Covenant as a "token against the rebels" (Numbers 17:10). So there must be created in the Christian’s heart an eternal insurance against rebellion, against disobedience to the Father’s will.

The first sin was that of discontent. Satan and the angels that followed him left their appointed places of authority and responsibility. Divine resurrection Life is given only to those who find contentment in doing the Father’s will with a joyful heart.

Our Lord Jesus Christ rules the creation of God by the power of endless, incorruptible, resurrection life. This life flows from the cross of self-denial.

He who would rule with Christ must go the way of the cross. It is only as we are brought low continually that we can be trusted with the power and Glory of God.

We human beings by nature are rebellious and self-seeking. The cross of patience, of self-denial, of frustration, of pain, of delay teaches us to wait for the flowings of the Godhead.

It is impossible for us to abide in Christ and Christ in us until the desire to be preeminent has been crucified in us. It is only as we suffer that we can be trusted to reign.

When the Word of God has come to maturity in us we are submissive to the government of God. We do not jump off the pinnacle of delay and frustration. We wait for God. We do not put God to the test. We do not "step out in faith," or "speak the word of faith," except as our Lord Jesus Christ directs us to do so.

Those who today are stressing that by faith we can have what we want now, are of the False Prophet.

We do not seek to be prominent or successful. We seek to wait on the Lord’s will. We take up our cross and follow Christ. We do not attempt to lead Christ. We follow Him in all meekness and submission, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

The Ark of the Covenant, which typifies Christ and those who are in the image of Christ, contained the golden pot of manna and also Aaron’s rod. In addition, the two tables of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments were located in the Ark.

The Ten Commandments are an expression of the eternal moral law. They are ten judgments against the demon gods of the world. As the jar of manna corresponds to our learning to trust God each day for our needs, and Aaron’s rod corresponds to our learning to be content in the incorruptible life of the eternal priesthood, so the Ten Commandments correspond to the need for holiness on the part of the servants of God.

It may be noted that the three items in the Ark conform to the three temptations of Christ. The jar of manna refers to the invitation to turn the stone into bread. Aaron’s rod refers to the test of the pinnacle, that is, of presumption. The Ten Commandments refer to the invitation to worship Satan, to live in uncleanness while we "enjoy" the filth of the world.

Violation of the eternal moral law of God takes place whenever we choose to worship Satan. The mature son of God is not a worshiper of Satan.

On many occasions the Scriptures refer to the Ten Commandments as the Testimony . The Ark of the Covenant was termed the Ark of the Testimony because the Ten Commandments were the covenant and the testimony. The Ten Commandments were God’s covenant with His chosen people and the testimony of His moral Character.

So it is today. The new covenant is the writing of the law of God in the heart and in the mind of the believer. The Substance of that writing is the body and blood of the Lord Jesus.

There is no testimony of God apart from righteousness and holiness of personality and behavior. There is much Christian ministry in the world today but not nearly enough testimony.

To come to maturity in Christ means to come to maturity in the ability to judge between good and evil, and consistently to choose the good and reject the evil.

The Ark of the Covenant, a major type of Christ and also of the believer who is changed into the image of Christ, is the expression of God’s eternal moral law. The moral law reflects the righteousness and holiness of God. The moral law is the testimony, the covenant.

When the Word of God comes to maturity in us, the holy and righteous Personality and behavior of Christ have come to maturity in us. We then are willing to walk each day in humble dependence on the provision of the Lord.

We do not strive for preeminence, particularly spiritual preeminence. The lust for spiritual preeminence, including its handmaiden, envy, is "the city . . . where also our Lord was crucified" (Revelation 11:8). It is spiritual pride.

The Ark of the Covenant is one scriptural type of the fullness of the image of Christ.

Another important type of Christ, which we shall understand and experience when the Word of God has come to full growth in us, is the four faces of the Cherubim of Glory. 

As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:10)

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. (Revelation 4:7)

The four faces of the cherubim reveal the four dimensions of the Glory of God.

The face of a man. Man is the personal, intelligent image of God. Man has the power of judgment so that he can be prepared to rule the works of God’s hands. Man has the capacity for union with God through Christ.

God’s visible Form, as demonstrated in Christ, is that of a man.

Man reflects the part of God’s personality that has to do with moral responsibility. In order to be acceptable to God as a room in God’s eternal house, the questions of holiness (purity), righteousness (equity), and obedience to the Father’s will must be settled absolutely.

There can be no sin in the image of Christ. Sin destroys the harmony and peace that exist in the Godhead.

The quality of maleness in mankind reveals the ruling Character of God. The quality of femaleness in mankind reveals the fruitfulness and beauty of God’s Being.

Satan is attempting to destroy the quality of maleness so that man cannot rule, and the quality of femaleness so that man cannot be fruitful. We have the effeminate man and the mannish woman—the distortions of the image of God Almighty.

We are related to God as His sons and to Christ as His brothers and His Body. These three relationships are possible only as we are in the personal, moral, intelligent image of God.

As Eve was Adam’s complement, being formed from him and in his image, so the Bride of the Lamb is the Lamb’s complement, being formed from His body and blood and in His image.

The love of Christ for His Bride, His counterpart, His complement, the "helper suited to him," is beyond our comprehension.

The maturing of the Word of God in our personality defines and enhances the uniqueness of our personality while blending our personality with that of the Lord Jesus.

The face of a lion. When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, God gives us the authority to be a child of God (John 1:12).

It is not that we become a mature son of God upon professing Christ; rather, we are given the authority to belong to God and the tools to work toward maturity of personality and toward total union with God through Christ.

Whether we finally become a son of God depends on our success in overcoming , in conquering throughout the many testings in which we are examined by the Spirit of God. 

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

Weakness and timidity may not seem to us to be great sins, but there is no place for weakness and timidity in God’s sons whom God is making heirs of His Kingdom.

Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The sons of God are the sons of the greatest King of all and they are to conduct themselves as kings. God, their Father, will make certain they are trained carefully and diligently in all the areas of wisdom and conflict that will be necessary for their success when they sit on the thrones of their kingdoms.

Many cunning and fierce enemies will come against them during the years of their preparation. Only those who conquer in all arenas of testing will inherit the fullness of the Kingdom of God and will have the fullest understanding of God as their Father.

The lion symbolizes the majesty, courage, and strength of the conquering saints, the sons of the Emperor of Heaven. As the Word of God comes to maturity in us we conquer the forces that would prevent us from entering our inheritance as a son of God.

The face of an ox. The ox is the servant, the burden bearer. Christ emptied Himself of His Divine prerogatives and adopted the form of a servant. Paul spoke of himself as the bondslave of Christ.

Many Christian people today are unwilling to become the Lord’s ox, His slave. They are not ready to become "a worm and no man." They are proud, arrogant, not having learned that God Himself is a bearer of burdens.

Lowliness is part of the image of God, of Christ. The believer who is willing to take Christ’s yoke on him will find rest for his soul and the knowledge of the Father.

Every Christian is given a cross. As we bear our cross patiently, weight is added to the cross. As the Word of God is coming to maturity in us we are gaining the patience of Christ, the strength of Christ. We plod forward each day bearing, as did Paul, our part of the sufferings of Christ. The weight of the problems of the Body of Christ presses on our personality as Christ directs.

We keep moving forward, knowing that one day the Lord Himself will remove the load from us. The cross, the hot mold into which we were pressed continually, will be lifted from us. The lowliness, strength, patience, and willingness to serve will be a part of our image for eternity. It is the image of God.

After the oxen had done Elisha’s work he killed them and gave them to the people to eat. 

And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him. (I Kings 19:21)

After the Apostle Paul had done the work of the Gospel he was poured out as a drink offering. 

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (II Timothy 4:6)

Every victorious saint bears the mark of God’s ox in him. He is ready to serve with all his strength, and then to be presented as an offering to God so that the people may eat.

The face of an eagle. The physical body of man was fashioned from the red clay of the earth. Man also is a spirit. God is a Spirit. The sons of God are spirits.

Scientists speculate that man is the descendant of an ape. Man never was an ape. Man has the body of an animal as to physiological parts. Man has in addition a spiritual nature that no ape possesses. Human beings are not merely a superior level of animal development.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God their spiritual personality died: that is, it was separated from God’s Holy Spirit. Adam and Eve returned to work the soil as intelligent animals, their contact with the Lord, their spiritual life, having been removed from them.

Man indeed is in the form of God and possesses the moral responsibility and beauty of God. Man contains also in himself the competitive, fierce disposition of the lion—that which seeks to dominate its environment and permits no competitors.

Proud man can be taught to obey God, to be a servant.

When the Word of God comes to maturity in us the Life of God will be revealed in us, that imperishable Life having neither beginning nor end by which Melchizedek serves as the priest of God.

The Life of God causes us to mount up with wings so we can run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

Man was not created so that he would spend his days grubbing in the red clay from which his body was fashioned. His destiny is to soar among the stars as does His Father. The eagle soars through the sky in its wild, free manner. In the Father’s time we too shall soar through the heavens in our own fierce exulting, just as our Father has His way in the storm. This too is the image of God.

Maturity in Christ

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, . . . . (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

There is an end in sight. There is a place of maturity in Christ. The image of Christ is attainable through the grace of God. We do have a mark toward which to press (Philippians 3:14).

The power of God working through Christ will bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). We are to be brought to maturity in our character, in our relationship to God, and in our outward appearance.

The image of Christ is being created now in our inner being, transforming our character . We are being fashioned into the Temple of God so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God, this being our eternal relationship to God. At His appearing we shall change to a glorified human form —clothed with eternal resurrection life exactly as He is (Philippians 3:21; I John 3:2).

There are many passages in both the Old and New Testaments that have to do with the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our participation in His image was announced at the beginning: 

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26,27)

The word "them" used in both of the verses above refers to "male and female." First it says, "him," and then, "them." "Him," and "them." The play on the singular and plural is important. It refers on the surface to Adam and Eve.

Christ—and only Christ—is the image of God. Christ is the eternal "Him." There is no other image of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God who has been with God and has been God from the beginning. Christ was not created in God’s image in the garden of Eden as were Adam and Eve.

But, as is true so often, the natural, human events described in the Scriptures have a spiritual, eternal application—an application that always is directed toward Christ and those who are His.

We understand from both the Old and New Testament writings, particularly the second chapter of the Book of Hebrews, that the glory and dominion assigned to mankind are reserved for Christ and His brothers.

After thinking about what the Scripture states concerning the Lamb and His Wife we could never agree that dominion over the works of God’s hands has been assigned to Adam and Eve and to their natural descendants, except in a limited sphere.

The Seed, the Son of God, to whom the Divine promises have been given, is always singular—always Christ. Christ is the eternal "Him." The "them" refers to the Lamb and His Wife. To "them" has been assigned dominion over the heavens and the earth.

In order for the image and likeness to be complete as God intends, there must be male and female—Christ and His Body.

The New Testament teaches that we are to be created in the image of Christ. Also, there are Scripture references concerning the building of Zion, the Temple of God.

It is the will of the Father that every person who believes in His Son be transformed in character in accordance with the Character of Christ, and that the believer rule his affairs in obedience to Christ and in righteousness.

Also, it is the good pleasure of the Father that every person who believes in His Son come to the place of transformation of his personality and his behavior to the extent that he can receive the fullness of the Father and the fullness of the Son through the Holy Spirit.

The Father, God Almighty, has ordained further that every person who receives His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and who remains faithful throughout his pilgrimage on the earth, be clothed with a surpassingly glorious body of eternal life so that he may live and move and have his being in the manner appropriate to a king and priest of the most high God.

It is the Father’s joy to bring each of His sons to maturity after this fashion. He will do so provided we take up our cross and follow Christ daily with a pure heart. If we fail it will be because we refused to keep our faith and trust in Jesus. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be His God, and he shall be my son" (Revelation 21:7).

The Holy Spirit is seeking out the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb—those who will be a "kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1:18). The sending forth of Eliezer of Damascus after a bride for Isaac (Genesis, Chapter 24) is an Old Testament illustration of the Father sending the Holy Spirit in order to obtain the Bride of the Lamb.

Whoever hears the voice of the Holy Spirit will, if he is wise, spend the remainder of his days following the Holy Spirit toward Christ.

Whoever chooses to do so may answer the call of the heavenly Bridegroom and reach for the Divine inheritance. He or she will be required to fight (Song of Solomon 5:6,7). The fullness of the inheritance of a son of God cannot be acquired easily and readily. There will be resistance—this is the reason for the term overcome . The first part of the city of Jerusalem (speaking spiritually) that must be taken from the enemy is Mount Zion. Mount Zion is a stronghold (II Samuel 5:6-10).

Notice that the new Jerusalem itself is the Temple of God: 

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22)

The splendor of God’s holy Presence fills the city. There is no need for a separate temple by which to conceal the Glory of His Presence from His servants, because each of them has been made holy and wholly fit to behold His Face.

Jerusalem is destined to become the Throne of God, to become "Heaven." 

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)

The new Jerusalem itself is the tabernacle of God. It is constructed from living stones, each of whom has been fashioned separately and uniquely into the image of Christ; each of whom is of the Substance of Christ through partaking of the Divine Nature (II Peter 1:4; John 6:57; I John 3:9; Hebrews 2:11; John 17:22).

We do not mean to imply that there is not an actual city in which the saints will dwell and into which the nations of the saved may enter. The Scriptures state that there is.

However, the city itself reflects the virtues of character that have been created in the saints during their discipleship on the earth. These virtues are expressed in the precious stones that embellish the twelve foundations of the wall (I Corinthians 3:12).

When the Word of God comes to maturity in us we will be a suitable temple for God and Christ (John 14:23; Ephesians 2:21,22; 3:16-19). When the Father is satisfied with the work that has been done in us, we having been properly cut, seasoned, formed, finished, and polished, He then will put us into our place in the corporate Temple of God, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Body of Christ.

We have stated that the mature Word of God is the image of Christ created in us, and that the image of Christ consists of the Character of Christ, the indwelling of the fullness of God, and a body fashioned from eternal resurrection life.

The maturing of the Character of Christ in us, and the indwelling of the Father and the Son, require that our body be brought into the state of eternal life. New wine must be put in new bottles. It is not surprising that the Apostle Paul groaned for his house from Heaven (II Corinthians 5:4)!

The body of the believer is the Temple of God. 

Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. (I Corinthians 6:15)

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19)

The galactic Christ. The mature development of Christ, the Anointed Deliverer, the eternal Temple of God, is expressed in Ephesians 4:13: 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

It is God’s desire that each member of the Body of Christ come to full stature, as indicated in the above verse. When each person has been made ready he will be fitted into the whole so that the Body becomes the conquering Christ—the one Seed of Abraham (John 17:21-23; I Corinthians 12:12).

The pattern of the Tabernacle of the Congregation (Exodus 25:8,9) portrays Christ as the Son of God, galactic in size, authority, and power, and complete in Divine Substance and Life.

The Head—Christ—is the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10).

The Mercy Seat, with the overshadowing cherubim, is the Glory of the Godhead that rests on Christ.

The Holy Place portrays the Body of Christ, "the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:23). The Courtyard represents His Kingdom.

The mouth of Christ is the Altar of Incense (Exodus 30:1), continually giving worship and praise and making intercession and supplication to the Father in Heaven.

In the right hand of Christ is the golden Lampstand, the manifestation in revelation and power of the seven Spirits that abide before the Throne of God (Revelation 1:4).

In the left hand of Christ is the Table of Showbread, the body and blood of Christ—the tree of life bearing fruit for food, and leaves for the healing of the nations (Ezekiel 47:12; Revelation 22:2).

The loins of Christ are the Laver (Exodus 30:18), declaring that the Divine fruitfulness and strength rise from purity; that Christ—Head and Body—is cleansed and ready for ministry to God Almighty.

The feet of the Anointed Deliverer are encased in the Bronze Altar of Burnt Offering (Exodus 27:1) representing the authority and power of the cross. The blood of the cross brings peace to all who obey the Gospel, and fierce judgment on all who sin—both human beings and angels (Revelation 1:15).

This colossal Head and Body is Christ, the holy Anointed Deliverer who will crush all His enemies under His feet and rule in God forever, bringing righteousness, peace, and joy through the Holy Spirit to the whole creation.

Here is the living Word of God brought to flawless maturity. Here is the eternal Temple of God, the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah, Chapter 42).

Christ Is the Resurrection. Christ Is eternal resurrection Life and every righteous, holy, and worthy thing associated with life. He Is the opposite of death and of every other abominable condition associated with sin, rebellion, and death. We have been called to be part of Him for eternity.

The Father and the Son Make Their Abode with the Believer

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

"I will come again." "I will come to you." "We will come unto him."

Is this the coming of the Lord to the world?

The passages that declare the coming of the Lord from Heaven, such as Matthew, Chapter 24, I Corinthians, Chapter 15, and the books of I and II Thessalonians, reveal that the Lord Jesus will appear in worldwide glory and destroy Antichrist by the brightness of His glorious appearing.

The fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John speaks of another coming, the coming of the Lord to the individual believer who keeps the words of Christ. This personal appearing is taught in the Scriptures in addition to the worldwide coming in which every eye shall see Him.

We have not found in the Scriptures the disappearing of the saints in a so-called "rapture" of the Body of Christ prior to the revealing of the man of sin. Such a premature disappearing and ascension would prevent that which Christ is creating in His Church.

The coming of which John speaks is the coming of the Father and the Son to make Their abode with the believer in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16).

Christ returned to Heaven in order to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house, that is, in Himself. The Church, the Body of Christ, is destined to be an eternally inseparable part of Him.

Now Christ has come again to us, through the Holy Spirit, in order to conduct personally our preparation as an eternal part of Himself.

Christ is here now in order to receive us to Himself. He stands at the door of our personality and knocks. If we hear His voice and open the door of our heart to Him, He comes into our personality and dines with us on the Life of God, and we dine with Him.

The Scriptures teach the personal coming of the Lord to each faithful disciple in a manner not observable by the world—or even by the lukewarm churches.

Preparation for the coming to us of the Father and the Son

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

There is an "inner man of the heart," a "new creation," in each true saint. The new creation indeed is a new person who has been born of God through Christ. The new man, the unique compound of the believer and the Lord, is the Kingdom of God. It is in the new man that the Father and Christ will abide eternally.

It is all-important to the Christian that proper attention be given to the development of the new creation. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, it is the new creation who has been born of God who inherits the Kingdom of God and is the Kingdom of God.

Christ had to go to the cross in order for us to become the abiding place of God. Christ opened His heart to us so that we may enter Himself and find green pastures and quiet waters.

Christ’s body was broken and His blood shed. He made an atonement for us by His death on the cross. Now He feeds the new man of our heart with His body and blood so that His Divine Substance and Nature, which form the dwelling place of the Lord God of Heaven, may be in us.

If we desire to be part of the Father’s house we must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ. We must be living by Him as He lives by the Father. Our whole inner nature must be re-created as a suitable abode for God and Christ. The Ark of the Covenant always comes to rest in a prepared place.

Christ is making intercession for us as we experience daily the death of the old man and the strengthening of the new man of our heart. The cloud of witnesses surrounds us, the saints in light urging us forward to the perfection in which they will share.

Many obstacles appear before us as we seek the fullness of the inheritance. We overcome every one of them by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by loving not our life to the death.

Divine grace coming to us from Heaven is preparing us so that the Father and the Son may find rest in us. The Holy Spirit is strengthening our inner man.

Testings and afflictions are sent our way. We pray in our affliction. We put on the whole armor of God. We hold up the shield of faith. We learn to stand in the evil day.

We put on the mind of Christ. We meditate each day in the Scriptures, becoming wise therein. The Word of God renews our mind resulting in the transformation of our personality. We beat our body down, refusing to indulge its lusts and appetites. We present our body to God a living sacrifice.

The various ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit given to other members of the Body of Christ, and to us, play their role in shaping and forming the Temple of God in us. God helps with dreams, visions, and other kinds of special guidance that strengthen and direct us on certain occasions.

God freely has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness for our preparation, just as Esther was given "things for purification" so that she would be a fit wife for the King of Persia (Esther 2:9).

God has been prepared. Christ has been prepared. We are being prepared.

Christ was wounded. We are being wounded. Wound is pressed against wound and bound in place. Then the Life from the eternal Vine flows into the branches, and buds, blossoms, and fruit appear. This is the Kingdom of God—God in Christ in us in Christ in God. God is All in all in the Kingdom.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal dwelling place of the God of Heaven. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. Yet, Christ returned to the Father. Here is a mystery.

In the Kingdom of God, Christ is in us and the Father in Him. Yet, we will go to Christ and the Father one day. The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us, the hope of glory to come.

We understand, then, that there is both an internal and also an external aspect of the Kingdom of God. It is essential to our spiritual maturing that we maintain both aspects in proper balance.

When the Word of God comes to maturity in our personality we will possess a transformed inner nature, and also strong bonds to the Father in Heaven through Christ. Both aspects are necessary.

Going to Heaven when we die produces neither maturity of character nor union with God through Christ. It is as Christ is formed in us, not as we go to Heaven, that internal and external relationships to the Godhead are established.

In Christ is eternal Life, and that Life is the Light of men. How often the Christian churches have misunderstood this most fundamental of Kingdom truths! The Light of God does not come to us through words addressed to our mind. Mental comprehension is not the source of the Light of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in the Life of Christ.

It is Christ Himself who is our Light, and it is His Life that is our Light. It is the Life of Christ formed in us and dwelling in us that enables us to abide in God and God in us.

Christ does not show us the way, tell us the truth, and then breathe life into us. This is not how the Kingdom of God comes.

Rather, Christ Himself Is the Way. Christ Himself Is the Truth. Christ Himself Is the Life. Christ Himself Is Yahweh, the I Am. He Is, "I am whatever I choose to be—all you ever will need or desire."

There is an eternal gulf between Christ speaking to us and showing us the way, and Christ Himself becoming all we need or desire.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life." "Before Abraham was, I am."

In the first concept, that of Christ showing us the way and telling us the truth concerning God, Christ remains external to our being. Man is an incredibly self-centered, self-willed creature. In his lust to exalt himself he will attempt to learn the way and the truth from Christ in order to use the Divine knowledge and skill to build monuments to his own glory. This is the motive behind the Tower of Babel, the "three tabernacles" of Peter, and church movements and denominations.

In the second concept, that of Christ becoming the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we come into union with Christ. We are not gaining anything from Christ or using Him to accomplish our own ends. Rather, He is the one who gains. He gains the unhindered use of our spirit, soul, and body in order to accomplish His own ends. Christ’s ends are the Father’s ends because the Father uses the Spirit, Soul, and body of Christ in order to accomplish God’s ends.

No one is to attempt to use God as a means to an end. God always is the End of every worthy quest. Self-seeking, self-motivated religious man would attempt to use God for his own ends. This religious spirit always has and always will murder the prophets of God. It is the False Prophet.

The False Prophet is the imitation of Christ. It is a religious spirit and proceeds from the soul of man. The "faith" and "prosperity" doctrines are modern expressions of the False Prophet.

The question of who is serving whom is an important one in the Kingdom of God. The true saint is a slave, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Servant of God.

Today we are willing to be a friend of Christ but not a slave of Christ. We have Scripture to "prove" our position. Our hearts are dreadfully wrong.

It is impossible for any human being to become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God until he specifically and resolutely determines that he is seeking union with Christ, and not the power and things of Christ for his own purposes and advantage.

This is a difficult, a crucifying decision for an ambitious Christian to make. After the correct decision has been verbalized it requires Job-like tribulations before the truth of it has entered the inner parts of our personality.

This is what is so terribly dangerous about the current emphasis on "speaking the word of faith." This teaching and practice tends to emphasize how man benefits rather than how Christ benefits. As a result it rejects all hindrances, tribulations, and afflictions as being "of the devil," not realizing or accepting the fact that much or most of what the Christian suffers in this life is the necessary chastening of the Lord.

The suffering of the saint, by slaying his self-will, prepares him to rule with Christ. Apart from such suffering no human being ever will rule as a coheir with Christ.

As for speaking the word of faith, Christ could have commanded the stone to become bread. He refrained from doing so. Why? Because man cannot live by bread alone but must be hearing from God in every situation; and God was not leading Christ to create bread.

Tribulation works patience, and patience is one of the massive pillars of the Temple of God. Impatience is the image of Satan. Self-seeking religious man, being filled with the spirit of Satan, rejects all forms of self-denial, all that appears to be negative and injurious to his pursuit of liberty and happiness.

The "faith message," as it often is preached, is of the False Prophet. It is presented today as the Gospel of Christ. Those who are destined for destruction will hear it, believe it, and never understand the error of it until the Day of the Lord.

The true saint rejects the idea of attempting to use faith for his own benefit and instead is seeking to become the eternal dwelling place of the Father and the Son through the Spirit.

We cannot be adequately prepared to dwell in God, and God in us, merely by being instructed with words. Rather, Christ Himself must be formed in our personality; and then He must come in Person through the Holy Spirit, bringing His Father with Him.

Christ in us is the Way. His body and blood in us are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is His body and blood that will draw us to the "carcass" that will appear at the end of the age, distinguishing between us and the person who is working with us in the field or grinding with us at the mill.

Christ stands at the door of our heart, and knocks. Sometimes He knocks so powerfully that our environment rocks under the blows. When He gains our attention, He speaks. It is a quiet voice.

If we are too busy with our idols we cannot hear His voice. Blessed is the individual who has ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches.

As soon as we hear the voice of Christ we have a decision to make. For some believers it can be a very difficult decision.

The Day of the Lord is drawing near. As a result, multitudes of the Lord’s people are being forced into the valley of decision.

What is the decision we must make when we hear that Voice?

The decision is: Will I use Christ to show me the way and tell me the truth, and then maintain my own way before Him? Or will I give up my own life and enter the eternal flowing of His Life?

When we first hear of becoming one with Christ we are told that if we will abide in Him He will answer our prayers. Isn’t that immature and self-centered? Imagine. The Lord God of Heaven proposes marriage to us, and all we can think of is that I will get my prayers answered.

How childish and self-centered we are!

Later we begin to understand that God is asking us to surrender our idols to Him. It is at this point that we are brought to the core of the decision: Will I seek to save my life? Or will I agree to lose my life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s?

The gifted minister is asked if he is willing to become a nobody. The strong in body is asked if he is willing to minister while he is afflicted. The beautiful woman is asked if she will serve God in disfigurement. The young man is asked if he will turn away from the desire of his heart.

Abraham is asked if he will offer his son as a burnt offering.

Peter is asked if he loves Jesus more than he does fish.

How much do we love Christ? Enough to give Him cheerfully and gladly all that He asks for? If not, we have an idol. We can bring no idol into the Temple of God.

No individual ever will be forced to become a part of the Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb. Christ’s love toward us is intense, single-minded, self-sacrificing. We are invited to return that kind of love to Him. If we do not, He will not accept us in this supreme relationship. We will come short of His highest purpose concerning us.

Christ’s name is Jealous . He is asking for our love.

Christ never will open the door of our heart and enter us. We must open the door. We can open the door of our life and rejoice as He becomes our Salvation; or we can keep Him outside and attempt to learn from His words and to work for Him in our own way, hoping that we will be rewarded for what we accomplish in His name.

If we choose to open the door, Christ enters us. He dines with us, and we with Him, on His own body and blood—the blood of the new covenant. We partake with Him of the abundant Life of the Father. We take His yoke on us and learn of Him. He brings us into the knowledge of the Father; and the knowledge of the Father is eternal life.

Christ becomes the Way to the Father by transforming us from within, by giving us to eat of His body and to drink of His blood.

When first we become a Christian we strive to do what the Scriptures command. This we are required to do.

As we keep the Word, something begins to take place in us. Christ, the Day Star, begins to arise in us. The power to abide in God, the desire and ability to please God, increase in us. 

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

The new covenant is not the writings of the Apostles, as inspired and supremely valuable as those writings are. The new covenant is the creation and dwelling of Christ in us. This is our hope of glory. But in order to enter the new covenant we must keep the commandments of the Apostles as the Holy Spirit enables us.

Christ Himself Is the Truth from God. Truth is not a statement of theology nor is it a collection of facts. The Truth is a Person. The Scriptures themselves point us to the Truth; they bear witness of the Truth.

The priests and Pharisees believed that they possessed truth in the Law and the Prophets. They trusted in them for eternal life.

Christ confronted them. "Search the Scriptures," He said, "because you hope to obtain eternal life from them. But the Scriptures point to Me, they bear witness of Me. Why will you not come to Me and receive life?"

There is no eternal life in the Scriptures. The purpose of the Scriptures is to bring us to eternal Life, who is Christ.

How many today are confused on this point? They believe that Christ, because He is the Word of God, is synonymous with the Scriptures. Christ is not synonymous with the Scriptures. It is possible to know the Scriptures and yet be empty of eternal life; in fact, to murder eternal life everywhere He appears.

The Pharisees loved the Scriptures. They doted on the Scriptures. Not that they understood the Scriptures because no person can understand the Scriptures until Christ breaks the bread of life to him. If the Scriptures equaled Christ, the Pharisees would have loved and doted on Christ. They demonstrated that it is possible to love the Scriptures and at the same time to hate Christ, who is the Word of God.

The nations of the world are stumbling through the valley of the shadow of death. They are stumbling because there is no light in them. The only true light is the Life of Christ. He is the Truth from God. He alone lights every man who is born into the world.

In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. No system of education can be effective until it is based on the Lord Jesus Christ. Truth does not exist apart from Christ.

Christ Himself is the Way to the Father. Christ Himself is the Truth concerning the Father. Christ Himself is the Life from the Father. Christ is able to give life to us, but it is far better when He Himself becomes the Life in us. This is abundant life. This is the fountain of life that never runs dry. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles.

Sin always results in death. The individual who is committing sin is the servant of sin, the slave of sin, and is abiding in death. He is walking in darkness, blinded by the God of the world—the devil.

Righteousness and holiness result in eternal life. 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

The Truth that Is Christ sets us free from the devil and his works. The Truth sets us free in the inner man. Then Divine Life flows into us and the end is eternal life. Eternal life is the energy, the joy, the peace, the creative power that come from the only true God and Christ whom He has sent.

He who is sinning is abiding in death. Christ is the Gift of God to us, the Gift of eternal life. 

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)

Christ is Zion—the "hill" in which the God of Heaven abides forever. Christ is not the Father, He is the Temple of the Father. The holy words that Christ spoke, which are recorded in the four Gospel accounts, came from the mouth of the Father, the God of Heaven.

God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.

The mighty works that Christ did were not performed by Him, according to His statements. They were performed by God who dwells in Christ in His Divine Fullness.

Christ, the living Word of the Father, was broken on the cross. Since then He has been sown in the hearts of those who have received Him and who have desired fervently to live by His Life.

Christ is the House of the Father and we are the many rooms of that House.

The Body of Christ

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

Two Divinely-appointed tasks are to be carried out throughout the Church age:

The testimony is to be born to every human being concerning the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Body of Christ is to be brought to unity and maturity.

The purpose of the first task is to inform the peoples of the earth concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God and the Day of Wrath so they can repent, receive Christ the Lord, and be saved to life in the Kingdom.

The purpose of the second task is to create the Temple of God in order that the God of Heaven may dwell in a satisfactory manner among His creatures.

In the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit has given various gifts and ministries to the members of the Body of Christ so the Body may be brought to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is the Divine standard. Nothing less will suffice.

What will take place when the Body of Christ has attained this perfection of unity and maturity? 

When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)

The Lord Jesus promised us He would come "quickly." Why, then, has He delayed His coming for such a long period of time (as we measure time)?

The Lord Jesus will not return until His Body has been prepared. He will not appear until His Body has been brought to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The purpose of the Lord’s coming is that the fullness of His Glory may be revealed with the end in view of removing sin and rebellion from the earth. The saints who have died will return with the Lord. Then we who are physically alive at the coming of the Lord will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. From that point onward we will be with Him and will be revealed together with Him as sons of God.

This is the Presence, the coming of Christ of which the Scriptures speak. The Lord’s Presence will be as lightning shining from horizon to horizon because the Glory of the Presence of the Lord will be in each saint.

To our knowledge, the Scriptures never once—not once—mention a disappearing of the Christians (taught in the pre-tribulation rapture error). Do you know of a single verse that speaks of a disappearing of the saints? We do not know of any.

In several passages we are taught that we will return with Him and be glorified together with Him. This is the true scriptural hope. All else is false, not being based on the Scriptures.

When the Lord prepares His Body, His Church, His Temple, He will appear in His Glory. When the nations of the earth behold the glorified Body of Christ, now in perfect union in Christ in the Father, filled with the glory that God has given His only-begotten Son, they will realize that God loves His elect as He loves Christ. Seeing this unprecedented glory the nations will believe that God has sent Christ to be the Savior of the world.

All of us desire that the nations of the earth accept Christ and be saved from the wrath of God. They indeed shall be saved, just as soon as the Church becomes one in Christ in God.

The Christians are not waiting for the heathen to do God’s will, the heathen are waiting for the Christians to do God’s will.

Revival, spiritual warfare, and the feast of Tabernacles.

There are at least five comings of the Lord taught in the Scriptures:

The life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.

The coming of Christ in the revival power of the former and latter rain (Hosea 6:3).

His coming to purify His Church, the royal priesthood (Malachi 3:1-3).

The coming of the Lord to the obedient saint in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (John 14:23).

The worldwide revelation of Christ, His coming, His Presence, as presented in Matthew, Chapter 24; I Corinthians, Chapter 15; First and Second Thessalonians; Revelation 1:7; and similar passages.

The Old Testament speaks several times of the Lord coming with His army to destroy sin from the earth (Joel 2:11; Habakkuk, Chapter Three; and so forth). According to our understanding, the coming of the Lord with His army will take place at the worldwide revelation of Christ and His saints.

To our knowledge, no other coming or Presence of Christ is presented in the Old Testament Scriptures. There is no prophecy, type, or express statement that clearly supports a "rapture" of believers prior to the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven.

Perhaps the two most important comings are the coming of the Lord to the obedient saint in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, and the worldwide revelation of Christ. If it is true that these two major comings of Christ will take place in the last days, the first to establish the inner kingdom and the second to establish the outer kingdom (the Lord Himself being revealed to the world at the second coming), what is the relationship between these two comings? When will they take place with respect to each other?

According to our understanding, the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles, which is celebrated after Pentecost (Deuteronomy 16:16), has commenced already.

First must come salvation, then the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and after that the "blowing of the trumpet" of spiritual warfare. The trumpet of God is sounding in the spirit realm today warning us not to camp at Pentecost but to resume our march toward the land of promise.

There is a deep stirring of the Spirit today. Are you hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches? Are you hungry for more of God?

After Trumpets comes the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. This also is upon us in the present hour.

The Day of Atonement is the period when we Christians are reconciled to God, when we are married to the Lamb. This is why there now is such a emphasis on union with God through Christ, as distinguished from the customary attempt to "get things from God," to persuade God to do what we desire.

During the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation, the Day of union, God deals with us concerning the sin in our life and our self-seeking.

We overcome sinful practices when we confess our sins and repent of them, allowing the Holy Spirit to put to death the deeds of our body.

It is God Himself who enables us to conquer our self-seeking and self-love by requiring of us that we abide patiently throughout numerous testings and frustrations. We are required to do what is disagreeable to us. We are denied what we fervently desire.

Some Christians quit at this point and will not walk any further with God.

Every member of Christ’s army, His "mighty men," must be called, chosen, and then proven to be faithful beyond question.

If we would become a part of the eternal Temple of God, a room in God’s house, we must respond to the trumpet that is summoning us to spiritual battle. Also, we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in putting to death the lusts of our flesh.

After that, we are to take up our cross and follow Christ wherever He leads us.

If we will obey Christ patiently in the path of discipleship in which he leads us, there is glory beyond measure awaiting us.

The Prophets of the Old Testament appear to indicate that just before Christ appears in the Day of the Lord, and building up to and climaxing in that day, the Lord God will enter His Temple.

In the days of Noah, the fountains of the deep were broken up before the windows of the heavens were opened. The water came from beneath before it came from above.

The Old Testament Prophets speak of a great light coming upon the Church, upon the Israel of God, at the time that the greatest darkness of all has covered the earth (Isaiah 60:1,2).

It is our understanding that this light will come upon the Church just before Christ appears in the heavens and that the Antichrist will be helpless before it. The nations of the earth will come streaming to God’s light in the saints, and then Christ will descend from above, destroying Antichrist and his armies.

The Day of the Lord will result in salvation and blessing for the obedient of the earth, and destruction for the sinful and rebellious. The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings for those who fear the Lord, but the wicked will be crushed under foot. Glory for the upright, but fearfulness will surprise the hypocrites.

Then will God’s creation break forth into singing and the righteous nations will enter the Kingdom prepared for them from the creation of the world. Antichrist and the spirit of religious delusion will be hurled alive into the Lake of Fire, while Satan is chained by a single angel and dropped into the bottomless pit.

Joel, the Prophet of Pentecost, depicted the circumstances attending the return of Christ to the earth. 

The Lord also shall roar out of Zion [the Body of Christ; the Temple of God], and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)

Notice the statement of the Lord Jesus concerning "that day." When the prophets spoke of "that day," "in that day," they meant the Day of the Lord. 

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

The greatest revival set forth in the Scriptures, the revival that we believe will result from God and Christ entering the unified and mature Body of Christ in fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles, is described in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah: 

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)

Notice how Isaiah, Chapter 60 corresponds to John 17:22: 

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

"The glory of the Lord is risen on thee." "The glory that Thou gavest Me I have given them."

Without doubt, Isaiah 60:1 and John 17:22 are referring to the same event.

When will this marvelous outpouring of the Spirit of God take place? 

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)

At the time of worldwide darkness, the period when the man of sin rules the world and all hope seems gone, Christ suddenly will enter His Temple, His Body, His Church.

The same period of time is described in Joel. We mentioned (above) the passage that declares the Lord will "roar out of Zion, and his voice from Jerusalem." Notice when this roaring will take place: 

The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. (Joel 3:15)

At what point in history will the sun and the moon be darkened? 

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven [the heaven], and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)

We see, therefore, that at the close of the great tribulation and just before the sign of the Son of man appears in the heaven, the Lord will roar out of Zion and His voice from Jerusalem.

This is why we believe that the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, which is an end-time coming of the Lord (John 14:23), will take place as a herald announcing the Presence and power of Jesus who shortly will descend from Heaven and destroy the man of sin and the world system the man of sin has developed. 

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (II Thessalonians 2:8)

In that hour the Glory of the Lord will be visible on His people. His Glory will be as lightning coming "out of the east" and shining "even unto the west."

All the ends of the earth will behold the Glory of the Lord before Jesus descends from Heaven, as we understand the sequence of events. 

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)

The preceding verse is in the context of the voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord.

Who will behold the Glory of the Lord?

"All flesh shall see it together."

What will be the result of the nations beholding God’s Glory?

The nations will believe in Christ and be saved. 

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)

"That the world may know." The fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the entrance of God and Christ into the Body of Christ, has as its purpose that the world may know that God has sent Christ.

This will be the greatest revival of all history. The knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

When God celebrates the feast of Tabernacles in His Church, all the nations of the earth are obligated to come and profit from the Presence of God in Christ in His elect. 

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)

The nations of saved peoples of the earth have no choice. They must appear before God who will be dwelling in Christ in the saints, so that God may receive their worship and instruct them concerning His holy and righteous Person and ways.

Zechariah 14:16-19 reveals to us God’s purpose in calling His elect out from the remainder of the peoples of the earth: it is that the saints, God’s holy ones, may reveal in themselves the holy and righteous Nature of God. This is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, and the nations of saved peoples of the earth are commanded to come and partake of the Glory of God now being revealed in the saints. 

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 2:9)

When the Lord perfects His Church, the nations will behold the Glory of the Lord. 

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

Notice in Isaiah, Chapter 60 that the attention of the peoples of the earth is not focused on the Lord Jesus. Their attention is directed toward the Glory of the Lord abiding on the saints.

"His glory shall be seen upon thee." "The Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light." "The forces of the Gentiles shall come to thee."

This reminds us of a New Testament passage: 

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (II Thessalonians 1:10)

When the Lord Jesus descends from the heavens and stands on the Mount of Olives, in the same manner in which He departed, every eye will be fastened on Him. 

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, . . . . (Acts 1:10)

Here the attention of people is not on Christ in the saints but on the Lord Jesus Himself.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

However, in Isaiah, Chapter 60 and in John 17:21-23 the emphasis is on the fact that God is in Christ who is in the saints, They all will be one manifestation of Divine Glory.

In Acts 1:10 and Revelation 1:7 the attention of people is toward Christ Himself.

The above facts are the basis for our belief that there are two aspects of the end-time coming of Christ:

The coming of the Father and the Son to dwell eternally in the faithful saints.

The descent of the Lord Jesus Himself with His saints and holy angels, coming down from Heaven to the earth in order to sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and from there rule the nations of the earth.

We can find passages in both the Old Testament and the New Testament to support each of these two aspects of the coming of the Lord.

The events of the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah will transpire during the season of gross darkness, the "midnight" that will blanket the earth at the time of the Lord’s return. This is the hour of which Jesus spoke when no man can work. Then the "light" mentioned in the Book of Isaiah will serve as a herald of Christ’s Presence, terrorizing the hypocrites of the churches and panicking the peoples of the nations.

The "shout" of Christ, that Paul mentions in the fourth chapter of I Thessalonians, well may be the "roar" of which Joel prophesied (Joel 3:16).

The peoples of the earth will respond joyfully to the rising of the Glory of God on His people: 

And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)

Antichrist and his armies will attempt to overcome the Glory of Christ in the saints. Then will Christ "roar out of Zion." Also, He will appear in the heavens, calling forth the bodies of His saints, His soldiers, from their graves and clothing them with eternal, incorruptible resurrection life. Christ’s army will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air. 

. . . Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:37)

Christ and His saints will attack the wicked of the earth, destroying them totally. Now the revival glory can continue to flow to every nation without hindrance until the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

The Resurrection

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

The preceding verse stresses the love of God for the peoples of the world in giving His only begotten Son for their redemption. Another fact is emphasized, and it is this that we wish to consider for a bit: "should not perish, but have everlasting life."

First of all, let us point out that John 3:16 has nothing to do with going to Heaven. It is directed toward the restoration of that which was lost in Eden—especially access to the tree of life.

The hope of the Gospel of Christ is that we shall live and not die. Not just our spirit, not just our spirit and soul, but our whole personality—spirit, soul, and body—is destined to receive eternal life.

Any person who has lost a loved one by physical death knows that the greatest hope in all life, with the single exception of the hope of being one with Christ in God, is that cherished relationships will be restored. The incomparable hope presented in the Gospel of Christ is that we will be reunited some day with the persons who have become an important part of our existence.

Spiritual and physical death are the dreadful consequences of rebellion against God Almighty. The restoration to spiritual life that we have in Christ is the beginning of an eternity of "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8). In addition, there is restoration to bodily life included in the Good News of Christ.

Making alive the mortal body. If it is true of us that we are stepping along in His light, continually yielding our course to the will of Christ expressed in us through the Holy Spirit, then we rapidly are approaching the place where the resurrection life of the Holy Spirit, which currently is at work in our spirit and soul, will fill our mortal body with eternal life. We will be alive—spirit, soul, and body. 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

Our salvation will not be complete until our body has been redeemed (Romans 8:23). The resurrection life of Christ will fill our mortal body until it has been brought out of the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The redemption (adoption) of the body of the Christian saint will occur at the next coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will include the making alive of our mortal body and also the clothing of our resurrected body with our new spiritual body from Heaven (II Corinthians 5:2).

Little by little the Spirit of God brings us into the heavenly assault on our soulish nature. "City after city" fall as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in conquering the wickedness and corruption residing in our natural life.

Down, down, down goes the Holy Spirit into the hidden caverns of our nature. The blood of Jesus works throughout our personality canceling the debt and purging the sin from us. Will we ever be rid of this sinful nature?

God is powerful enough to set us completely free, not just partially free. We must cooperate with God in the daily work of sanctification. We cannot purify ourselves apart from the Lord, and God will not purify us without our cooperation. We work together with God to accomplish the task of cleansing ourselves from "all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Corinthians 7:1).

Only the physical body will need changing when Jesus comes, if we have been successful in the program of sanctification. The resurrection of the dead will occur when the seventh trumpet peals the fanfare announcing the King, and the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. Then the bodies of all who are in Christ will be changed from mortality into immortality.

The resurrection from the dead is the climax of the life of victorious living in Christ. The saints will be revealed together with Christ at His appearing and will administer the judgment of God on the world (Daniel 7:26,27; Colossians 3:4).

Victorious Christian living is related to the resurrection.

Our spirit and soul will not be changed by the coming of the Lord at the end of the age. Our body will be transformed into the image of Christ’s body, if we have lived in spiritual victory, but our spirit and our soul will be revealed as to what they have become during our pilgrimage in the world.

Our spirit and soul are being changed now, at this time, as we are beholding as in a glass the Glory of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18). Gradually we are becoming better able to "see him as he is." We are moving from one stage of glory to the next, in terms of being able to "live with the devouring fire" (Isaiah 33:14).

The resurrection of our body will take place when Jesus returns to earth and is the destruction of the last enemy—physical death.

Notice how the Apostle Paul toward the end of his life was looking forward to attaining the fullness of the first resurrection: 

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

Nowhere in the Scriptures is the pursuit of the life of the Holy Spirit more powerfully set forth than in the letter of Paul to the saints at Philippi, Chapter Three, verses ten and eleven. These two verses reveal that the resurrection from the dead is not an event for which the Christians are to wait in a state of passivity but rather is a goal , a mark , a prize that inspires the disciple of the Lord Jesus to keep on pressing day by day from the state of imputed (ascribed) righteousness into complete sanctification and consecration of life. 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

The study of the context of Paul’s statement of purpose makes it obvious that Paul was reaching with all the concentration of his mind and heart in order to grasp the fullness of resurrection life.

Even toward the end of his pilgrimage, after the churches had been established and the miracles had been performed, Paul still was seeking to leave all behind and was pressing forward in order to acquire resurrection life in every aspect of his personality.

Paul was exerting every effort in the race toward readiness for the coming of Christ. Paul was reaching out with all his determination so that he might seize the prize of the heavenly calling of God in Christ—especially the fullness of life that is available now and is the necessary preparation for the bodily glorification of the royal priesthood. 

For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body [body of our humbling], that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20,21)

Paul was devoting his attention to partaking of Christ’s resurrection and sharing Christ’s sufferings with the goal of attaining resurrection life in his spirit, his soul, and—as a consequence—his body when the Lord comes. He was anticipating the fashioning of his corruptible body into the image of the glorified Body of Christ, this being accomplished by the energy with which Christ is able to subdue all things to His own will.

The spiritual and bodily dimensions of the first resurrection from the dead are a goal worth pursuing with all single-mindedness of purpose.

Second Corinthians 4:7-5:5 is another passage that describes the relationship between our current experiencing of the death and resurrection of Christ and the future filling of our physical body with eternal life. 

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)

The preceding verse sets forth the same thought as Philippians 3:10-11. The concept is that of laying hold during our present life on the power of Christ’s resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings.

A few verses later we can observe the connection between our current faithfulness in serving Christ and the coming redemption of our mortal body: 

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)

It is our "light affliction" that is working out for us such an exceedingly great "weight of glory." Afflictions alone will not bring us the weight of resurrection life we are seeking. These pressures will prepare us for the resurrection provided they are our participation in the sufferings of Christ and are bringing forth the conquering power of the resurrection Life of Jesus in us.

People of the world and church members who are not living the life of strict obedience to the Holy Spirit of God experience sufferings and tragedies that bring grief to their heart.

There may be no profit in their pain as far as the resurrection from the dead is concerned. They may be reaping the evil they have sown and not sharing in the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.

God’s hand of judgment falls on those who sin, whether or not they attend church or name the name of Christ. Terrible consequences follow sinful behavior, and "the sorrow of the world worketh death" (II Corinthians 7:10).

All people, Christians and non-Christians alike, suffer afflictions in this life. However, if the Christian allows the death and resurrection of Christ to work in him according to the will of God, his afflictions will achieve for him a treasure that will be given to Him by the Lord Jesus when He appears.

In the sixth chapter of Romans, Paul expresses the idea that we through water baptism have become united with the death and united with the resurrection of Christ.

In Philippians, Chapter Three and II Corinthians, Chapters Four and Five, Paul tells us that patient, cross-carrying obedience to the Lord Jesus is required if we are to be able to translate the Divine vision of union with Christ’s death and resurrection into a real sharing in His death and resurrection in our daily life on the earth.

Paul offered up his whole life so he would come to know in actual experience the power of Christ’s resurrection and the sharing in His sufferings. We can think of Philippians, Chapter Three and II Corinthians, Chapters Four and Five as pointing the way toward our full participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. The coming redemption of our mortal body is viewed as a continuation of the resurrection life that already is lifting us into victory in our daily combat.

Our "light affliction" that is but for a moment soon will be a thing of the past. Resurrection glory will be the fountain of our life to the ages of ages. At Christ’s Presence our mortal body will be redeemed, thereby making our body part of the "team" along with our spirit and soul.

The former enemy (our body) will be brought over to the side of righteousness through being transformed by Christ’s almighty power into incorruptible eternal life.

If Paul, at the end of an exemplary Christian discipleship of holiness and service, still was pressing toward the mark of complete resurrection in Christ, we should follow his example (Philippians 3:13-15).

If the Apostle to the Gentiles was working diligently toward a full grasp on the coming resurrection from the dead, we need to make certain that we really are giving our best to the Lord Jesus in the grasping of His resurrection power.

Hebrews 3:14 claims there is a relationship between living the victorious life now and the redemption of the mortal body when Jesus appears: 

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

The letter to the Hebrew Christians is an exhortation to the saints to press forward to the "rest" of God—to resting in the resurrection life that flows from God through Christ. The contrast is made that we either "draw back unto perdition" or else "believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:39).

We must grow in Christ until we are capable of the redemption of our physical body. All the processes of redemption we have described in our book play a part in making us capable of the redemption of our body. To neglect any aspect of redemption is to run the risk of seriously jeopardizing the quality of our resurrection. 

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; . . . . (Hebrews 2:3)

The above verse is addressed to Christians.

Escape from what? Escape from being destroyed in the "wilderness" as were the Jews. Escape from not being allowed to partake of the Glory of Christ at His appearing.

Our capability of being resurrected to eternal life depends on our experiencing daily the liberating force of resurrection power that raises us from His suffering and death into which we are being pressed.

Our readiness for release into life increases with our freedom from committing sins and with our conformity to His death and resurrection. 

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

The "law of the Spirit of life" is the power that God has given us to enable us to overcome the compulsions of sin. If after having been made righteous by receiving God’s gift of righteousness to us we then choose to walk after the desires of our flesh and fleshly mind, we will die spiritually. We will defeat our own resurrection.

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ enables us to walk in daily fellowship with and obedience to the Spirit of God, and to present our body a living sacrifice to God so we may be able to prove God’s will for our life. 

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (Romans 8:3)

The Law of Moses is righteous, holy, and good in every respect. However, the Law depends on our human ability to fulfill its requirements. This our flesh is unable to do. However, Christ indeed did conquer sin while living in a fleshly body. Therefore His righteousness is ascribed to those who, by the ability given through the Holy Spirit, are gaining victory over sin each day. 

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

It is not easy to follow the Spirit because our flesh, the adversary, and the spirit of the world push us off course. If we yield to the lusts of our flesh and the desires of our mind the Life of Christ is choked out of us. If we walk in the power and wisdom of the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. We will begin to practice the behavior that the Law of Moses commands. The righteousness of God is both ascribed to us and created in us under the new covenant. 

For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

It is impossible to retain the new life we were given on our conversion to Christ if we continue to live in the appetites of the flesh and fleshly mind. Either we walk forward in the Spirit of God or we do not attain eternal life.

When we receive Christ and are born again our new life ascends to the right hand of the Father. We do not lose that position easily. We have security in Christ as long as we keep our hope and trust in Him. He is able to save us to the uttermost.

It also is a fact that we must be pressed anew each day into the death and resurrection of Christ. The flame of love for Christ must be kept blazing on the altar of our heart, and the holiness of our life must be that of the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The gate to eternal life is narrow and it demands our total concentration and diligence in seeking the Lord in order to get through that gate and to enter life. In addition, the way itself is confined and restricted and brings pressure on the pilgrim who is making his way toward the Life of Christ (Matthew 7:14).

Our achievement of the resurrection Life of Christ, both in our daily battles and also in the clothing of our mortal body with a "mansion" of life at His coming, depends directly on our perseverance in cleaving to the Holy Spirit as He is leading us into eternal life now.

Eternal life begins when we are born again and must be pursued vigorously every day of our discipleship on earth. The fullness of the goal of eternal life is attained at the point in which our physical body is redeemed and we become clothed with our body from Heaven—a body fashioned from the substance of eternal life (II Corinthians 5:4; I Corinthians 15:54).

The role of the physical body in the resurrection from the dead. The physical body has an important role to play in God’s plan of redemption in Christ.

The relationship of the Son of God to the Father is described in the Book of Hebrews: 

For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? (Hebrews 1:5)

"This day have I begotten thee." On what day was the eternal One begotten?

The "day" on which Christ was "begotten" included three phases, as is true of the rest of the sons of God (although there were unique features included in the begetting of the Lord Jesus Christ).

The three phases were as follows:

His birth in a manger (Luke 2:7)

The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him (Luke 3:22).

His resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4).

These three episodes in the life of Christ taken together constitute the "day" on which He was begotten by the Father.

Each member of the Body of Christ must be born of a woman (and also born again of God, which was not necessary in the case of Christ), baptized with the Holy Spirit, and resurrected from the dead, before it can be said of him in the fullest sense that he is a son of God.

Notice the importance of the role played by the physical body of Jesus in the three phases of being begotten by the Father as a Son. His body was born from Mary. The Holy Spirit descended in visible form on Him, that is, on His body. His body was resurrected. Truly, the physical body has more importance in God’s plan of redemption than we may have realized.

The first chapter of the Book of Hebrews emphasizes the fact that Christ in several ways has been made "so much better than the angels." One particular way in which Christ is different from all other heavenly beings is that He possesses a physical body.

Christ was born of a woman. No angel ever was born of a woman. The Holy Spirit descended on the human form of Christ. The Holy Spirit never has descended on an angel after this fashion.

The Body of Christ was raised from the earth and now is seated on the highest throne of the universe—far above every other dominion and title; for so it has pleased the Father. No other inhabitant of Heaven has been raised bodily from the dead and placed on the highest of all thrones.

The destiny of every member of the Body of Christ is to be born of a woman and of God, anointed with the Spirit of God, and then raised bodily from the dead to occupy a position of honor in the Kingdom of God.

There is a Man, not a cherub, on the highest throne of Heaven. God Almighty placed Him there. He is in the form of a man. He still lives in the same body that trudged along the hilly paths of the land of Israel; for the cave of Joseph of Arimathea is empty.

No matter how glorified that body may be by now, it still is the same body. Those who have seen Him say that the nail prints are yet in His hands.

Only that special creation known as man possesses a physical body, having been born of a woman. The physical body is a staggering miracle, the creation of incredible Genius. The physical body is "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalms 139:14).

It is the body that has become the slave of sin (Romans 7:18). It is the body that is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). It is the body that composes "the members of Christ" (I Corinthians 6:15).

The battle in which the Christian is engaged is often fought over the lusts of the body. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:17). The "works of the flesh" are listed in Galatians 5:19-21. The "earthen vessel" (II Corinthians 4:7) in which we carry the Glory of God so limits us and keeps us in such a wilderness of weakness, doubt, confusion, fear, lust, that we can proceed along the Christian way only by the wisdom and strength given us in Christ. The flesh is a terrible taskmaster—a tyrant continually crying more! more! more!

The flesh is a bottomless pit that would eat, drink, and lust itself to death if we would follow its appetites. It is a sin-ridden carcass that we drag around. Its tendencies lead to death. Attempts to reform the flesh or to make it pleasing to God always end in failure. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can solve the problem of the sin and death that bind the physical body.

It is the Christian’s task to cooperate with the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit and, by the grace that God gives, to bring the rebellious flesh into submission to God and to keep it there. 

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)

The physical body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God and it is to be kept holy—reserved for the Master’s use. God will make alive the mortal bodies of the saints at the next coming of Christ. We must walk in holiness so we will be prepared for the translation of our body into glory.

The Holy Spirit whom we now have is working with us to help us overcome the lusts of our flesh. The same Holy Spirit will, in the days to come, make alive our body so that the power of sin and death can be broken completely. 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

Our bodies will be changed and fashioned like His glorious body (Philippians 3:21). First Corinthians 15:37 informs us that a farmer does not sow the mature stalk but only the seed from which the stalk will grow at a later date. The mature stalk grows out from the seed that is sown. Our redeemed body will grow out from our present body, which is being sown into the death of the cross.

God is not going to discard the body we have now. He intends to redeem and transform it so that our body can join along with our spirit and soul in worshiping God and serving Christ.

In the Day of the Lord we no longer will need to buffet our body and bring it into subjection to our will. Our body, once it has been transformed by the life-giving Nature of the Holy Spirit, will be desirous of pleasing the Lord God, just as is true now of our new born-again spiritual nature. Then it will be easy to serve God. It will be our whole nature to do so. 

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:54)

At the sounding of the last trumpet the power of Christ will touch the bodies of the saints, whether dead or alive, and those vessels will be filled with the Holy Spirit to such an extent that the Substance of eternal resurrection life will replace the death-filled bodily processes.

Just as preservative is forced into timbers to make them resistant to decay, so the Holy Spirit will penetrate each atom of our physical body, driving out every particle of sin and death and filling our body with the Life of Christ.

Christ is waiting patiently until every one of His enemies has been made His footstool through the wisdom and power of God, His Father. The last enemy that will be destroyed is physical death. Those who march in the army of the Lord will be eternally alive in their bodies (Joel 2:2-11; Habakkuk 3:7-16; Revelation 19:14).

It is God’s will that we should not perish but have eternal life. Christ Is eternal Life. It is impossible for anyone to kill Christ. He had the power to lay down His life for our sins and He had the power to take His life back up again. No man took His Life from Him.

Christ possesses all power over death. He has the keys of death. It is He who will, in the appointed hour, make alive our mortal bodies by His glorious authority and power.

The message of Easter morning is that the tomb is empty. Christ took up His body again and came forth into the daylight. After a period of forty days, during which time He engaged in activities not described in full in the Gospel accounts, He ascended to the Father. He ascended while still in His body. He possesses all authority in Heaven and on the earth.

There is no other hope equal to that of the Christian Good News. The Good News is that the believers in Christ will not perish in the grave but will come back to life in their bodies.

It does not matter if they have been blown into bits by a bomb, they will come forth in their bodies. They may have been drowned at sea but they will come forth in their bodies. They may have been burned at the stake, yet they will come forth in their bodies.

What a hope! We will see our loved ones again and we all shall be alive forever.

The effects of the disobedience of Adam and Eve have been reversed in Christ. All the authority and power of death has been delivered into the hands of Jesus, as represented by the "keys" (Revelation 1:18).

Christ can do as He will with all the creation of God, and it is His will that the saints, His brothers, reign with Him over the creation. Therefore death holds no terrors for us.

It is important for the Church of Christ to understand that redemption is yet ahead of us. Redemption, in scriptural terms, is the destroying of the power of sin and death over the physical body.

In the present hour we possess the pledge of the Holy Spirit—a pledge on the redemption that is to come. The full benefits of the death of Christ on the cross are yet ahead of us. He has "kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10). 

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)

And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest [pledge] of the Spirit in our heart. (II Corinthians 1:22)

Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

We have seen that what we have now is a pledge, a deposit on the fullness of redemption. We have been "sealed unto the day of redemption." The fullness of redemption includes the restoration of life to the mortal body.

Christ never will be content with the redemption only of the spirit and soul of the member of His Body. He is waiting patiently until the Glory of God the Father is directed toward the breaking of the power of sin and death over the mortal body. The making alive of the bodies of the saved is the final act in the restoration of what was lost in Eden.

The release of the created universe, including the making alive of the bodies of the saved people, is the fullest expression of Calvary. The Gospel of Christ is the promise that we shall not perish but have everlasting life—in the body.

Christ is the enemy of death. Every particle of death must flee at the Presence of Christ—Head and Body. Death will be cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the second death. There is no place for death among the saints of God. 

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (I Corinthians 15:54-56)

The saints are moving, under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, toward the abolishing of death in the body. The abolishing of death in the body, which is the "resurrection" of I Corinthians, Chapter 15, will occur at the coming of Christ. The fullness of the reward will be given at that time to those who have been diligent in the processes of redemption described in the preceding pages of our book.

The overcoming of death in our body is the mature expression of the "rest" of God, of Hebrews, Chapter Four. It is the land of promise; the "mark," of Philippians, Chapter Three; the "perfection," of Hebrews, Chapter Six; the "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time," of I Peter, Chapter One; the "redemption," of Luke 21:28 and Ephesians 4:30. 

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24)

The hope that saves us and that spurs us on to put to death the deeds of our flesh is the vision that one day the sin and death in our body will be removed and we, as a result, will enter the rest of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

Experiencing His death and His resurrection. Our flesh is being brought low continually so we may experience the power of Christ’s resurrection. The "excellency of the power" of God keeps us from being distressed, from being in despair, from being destroyed. The Life of Jesus is being made manifest in our body provided we are walking in the Holy Spirit.

The Life of Jesus is being made manifest in our mortal flesh, and the resurrection Life that is in Him takes control of our personality, as our body experiences the death of the cross. The resurrection life that comes out of our "death" brings eternal life to other people. The overflow of the resurrection Life of Christ is brought to others now, during our pilgrimage and ministry on the earth.

Look at the extent to which the blessings of Christ have come to the world through the writings of the imprisoned Paul. To an even greater degree, the whole earth will be touched with the Life of God when the sons of God are raised up from their graves by His almighty power. 

So then death worketh in us, but life in you. (II Corinthians 4:12)

Our hope is that we shall, at the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, be clothed with a body fashioned from resurrection life. We are pressing forward toward receiving our "house which is from heaven" (II Corinthians 5:2).

We must be made ready in our spiritual nature for such a gift. We are being prepared and strengthened for putting on the body of resurrection life by first learning, during our experiences now, how to live and act in the Spirit of God.

The relationship between our Christian discipleship now, and the receiving of the body of life when Jesus comes, is described in the last few verses of II Corinthians, Chapter Four, and the first ten verses of II Corinthians, Chapter Five.

Notice, first of all, the relationship between our outward troubles and the growth of the "inner man": 

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:16)

The outward man is perishing and the inner man is being renewed day by day. Death, and life. Death, and life. Death, and life. It is impossible to have the development of the inner man apart from the death of the outward man.

The outward man, our first personality, does not desire death. He fights against his demise. The outward man always is an enemy of the Spirit of God.

The new born-again personality rejoices in the will of God and is glad for the righteousness, peace, and joy that follow the chastening of the flesh. 

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11)

If we give ourselves over to the will of God, not in passivity but in fervent seeking of God, resting in Him in the meantime, He will raise us up and deliver us from all our afflictions. Our attitude must hold steady on this one point: "We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (II Corinthians 1:9).

We do not trust in ourselves that we can do anything at all, particularly in the area of Christian service. We do know that God keeps on bringing us into weakness and that we must trust ourselves in increasing measure to His resurrection power and wisdom.

The more affliction God sends our way the greater the opportunity we have for experiencing His Glory and for the strengthening of the inner man, provided we respond to our affliction by allowing God to provide the solution to each problem.

There is a direct relationship between the problems and troubles we suffer in Christ and our inner preparation for receiving our "house that is from heaven." We can observe this relationship in the following verse: 

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)

Affliction is much easier to bear when we learn to appreciate the fact that it is our trouble, perplexity, persecution, and being cast down that are working for us the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." By comparison our tribulations are momentary and light.

If we wish to be a "heavyweight" when Jesus appears we must continue to gaze at "the things which are not seen" so we can endure the afflictions into which the Holy Spirit leads us. The weight of the glory we will receive is related to the manner in which we respond to the afflictions.

The "house which is from heaven." What is this "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory"? It is the eternal "house" with which our mortal body will be clothed at the Presence of Christ, who will bring our rewards with Him at His coming.

Let us go on to Chapter Five of II Corinthians: 

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)

The concept of the "house from heaven" is an important idea for us to consider. It is clear from the above passage that we do not have to be overly concerned about our physical body because if our flesh is destroyed we still have a spiritual body in Heaven with God.

However, let us call to mind what we have stated previously concerning the role of the physical body in the resurrection from the dead. The Scriptures state that our mortal body will be made alive, that it will be raised from the dead.

According to II Corinthians 5:1, our spiritual body is in Heaven with God. It is being formed as we partake of the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Our body in Heaven grows in "weight" as our body on earth is sown into Christ’s death.

Our physical body "sleeps" in the ground, awaiting the Presence of the Lord. When the Lord comes, our physical body of flesh and bone will be raised just as Jesus’ body was raised. Then the Lord Jesus will clothe our resurrected body with the body of incorruptible life from Heaven that He will bring with Him as part of our reward.

There is the making alive of our mortal body, and then there is the clothing of the resurrected mortal body with the house from Heaven.

It is not our house from Heaven that will be raised from the dead and made alive, it is our mortal body.

If God were not going to raise our mortal body from the grave, but merely were to clothe our soul and spirit with the house from Heaven, there would be no resurrection from the dead.

As soon as we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, and are born again, our spirit becomes one with the Holy Spirit. Our new born-again nature takes its place in Christ at the right hand of God in Heaven.

If we die in the Lord, our soul goes to be with the Lord. Our spirit and soul are with the Lord in Heaven. We understand from this that the purpose of the resurrection from the dead is not that we may go to Heaven, for we already are in Heaven in our spiritual nature.

Our body, the third part of our personality, is "asleep" in the dust of the ground.

In the Day of Christ our spiritual personality will return from Heaven with Him. The Lord will bring with Him our house from Heaven as part of our reward.

Christ will take His stand in the air. Then His victorious saints will come down to the earth in the power of the Spirit of God and take back their bodies from the ground. After that, the resurrected saints will return to the Lord in the air so that they may descend with Him in the cavalry charge of the Battle of Armageddon.

As we understand it, it is at this point, just prior to the onslaught of Armageddon, that the Lord will clothe bodies of His resurrected saints with their houses from Heaven—the weight of glory that has been created as they have participated in the power of Christ’s resurrection and have shared His sufferings.

Christ Himself possesses a glorified house from Heaven. It also is true that He returned from the spirit realm in the power of the Holy Spirit and claimed His flesh and bone that were "asleep" in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.

Our mortal body will be clothed with our house from Heaven. We can notice this in the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians: 

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:53,54)

The context of the above two verses suggests that Paul is not referring to the soul and spirit of the believer, to his new born-again inner man, and his spirit that now is one with the Holy Spirit; for they are not corruptible.

What is it, then, that puts on the incorruptible house from Heaven?

It is the resurrected body that puts on the immortal house.

The incorruptible body from Heaven swallowing up the corruptible mortal body is typified by the refined gold that "swallowed up" various parts of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. 

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. (Exodus 25:10,11)

The wood, the redeemed mortal body to speak in a figure, still is present. It is invisible to the eye for it has been covered within and without with refined gold.

Our "house from heaven" is the "gold" that has been "refined" by our momentary and light afflictions on the earth.

It is peculiarly the body, not the soul or spirit, which is the Temple of God. 

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (I Corinthians 3:16)

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19)

We are the Temple of God. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God will raise our body from the grave and then clothe it with the body from Heaven.

It is the Body of Christ that is the Incarnation of God. The Word became flesh. We gain eternal resurrection life by eating the Body of Christ and drinking His blood.

The Body of Christ was raised from among the dead and then glorified with the house from Heaven. Our body, which is one-third of our personality so to speak, will be raised from the dead and then glorified by being clothed with the house from Heaven.

Since it is our body that is the Temple of God, and since the holy city is the "tabernacle" of God, it is possible that the holy city, to a certain extent, actually is an expression of the Church, the Body of Christ, now dwelling in bodies that have been glorified by being clothed with supremely magnificent bodies formed from the substance of eternal life.

Not nearly enough attention has been paid to the redemption of the body of the saint. In fact, Christian theology tends to reflect the Eastern religions, which stress that spirit is good and matter is evil.

It is the contrary that is true. Sin originated in the spiritual realm. The material realm was "very good" when it was created.

Nevertheless, the flesh profits nothing. The flesh and blood realm cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Flesh and blood are nothing more than a primitive setting, a form and vehicle for the true riches of the Kingdom. Until the Spirit of God makes the flesh alive we labor in the bondage of decay and futility.

Our house from Heaven is the robe of salvation of which the Scriptures speak, the white garment of the royal priesthood. We are weaving that robe now as we permit the Holy Spirit to sow our flesh to the death of the cross. Our behavior in the world is very important; for we shall be clothed with our own deeds in the Day of Christ. Here is the righteousness of God. 

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)

Did you ever hear a Christian groan that he might be clothed with his house from Heaven? Probably not. Why is it that we do not groan according to the Scriptures?

The reason is, we do not understand the goal of the Christian redemption. We are under the impression that eternal residence in a golden mansion in Heaven is the goal of the Divine work of redemption.

Whenever the members of an organization lose sight of the goals of the organization or misunderstand the goals of the organization, there is confusion and ineffectiveness in all the operations of the enterprise.

The briefest reflection on the Scriptures and on the dealings of God with the saints will reveal quickly that rest in Heaven is by no means the goal of the Divine redemption.

If it were God’s intention that man spend eternity resting in the spirit Paradise He would have created him in the spirit Paradise. God created man on the earth and permitted him to be tempted, knowing he would fall.

Let us say that God did not realize Adam and Eve would be tempted successfully, and now the Lord wants to make up for His blunder by forgiving our sins through Christ and allowing us to go to rest forever in the domain of spirits.

In this case, most of the statements and operations of the new covenant are misdirected and superfluous. It is necessary only that we profess Christ so when we die physically we can attain the goal, which is Heaven. Actually, the resurrection of our body is unnecessary. We do not need to be resurrected because we have attained our goal by dying and going to Heaven.

Why should we groan, earnestly hoping to be clothed with a house from Heaven? It makes no sense.

A study of the Scriptures will reveal quickly that God knows what He is doing, that He has specific plans for the saints whom He is preparing with such meticulous care, and that the Kingdom of God is destined to be located on the earth.

When we die physically we shall enter the spirit Paradise. To those of us who are older and worn in body, accustomed to pain, frayed in nerves (although Christ provides us with all the strength and joy we need to accomplish His will), entrance into Paradise is a wonderful prospect. We shall see God, Christ, our loved ones, and the saints of the Scripture. We shall have the opportunity to pursue our interests without the dread and confusion that result from sin and rebellion. We shall understand that which in the present hour is so confusing.

Such relief is not the end, however. A vacation is not our eternal destiny—that for which we have been trained so carefully in faith and good works.

At the sounding of the seventh trumpet we shall be summoned from where we are employed so happily in Heaven; for we have been commanded to return with Jesus to this arena of unrighteousness, filth, and rebellion, to this valley of the shadow of death, to these suburbs of Hell, so that once again we may fight against man making himself God, against Satan, and against the spirit of religious delusion.

We shall return with our Lord Jesus, the Commander in Chief, to the air above the surface of the earth. On the earth the embattled remnant will be being filled with the Presence of the Father and the Son. Christ in them will be shouting for the battle. The nations of the earth will be streaming toward the light that now is radiating from the saints.

At the Word of Christ, we who are accustomed to obeying Christ without question shall descend to the graves in order to take up our bodies that have been confined there while our spirits and souls have been enjoying Paradise.

Our personalities will enter our bodies and the angels of God will open our places of confinement, just as the angel rolled back the stone blocking the entrance to the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.

After a period of reunion with others who have been newly raised, and with the suddenly immortalized living saints who are joining our ranks, we shall be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in the air.

Now we are the army of the Lord. Now our resurrected mortal body has been clothed with a body of eternal life that is of the Substance and likeness of the eternal body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the army of Joel, Chapter Two; Habakkuk, Chapter Three; Ezekiel, Chapter 37; Revelation, Chapter 19.

We have been ordered to leave the peaceful joys of Paradise and once again struggle with Antichrist, Satan, and the spirit of religious delusion. Not a pleasant prospect after having spent such joyous hours in Paradise!

There is a difference, however. The difference is that our body has now been clothed with our house from Heaven. If we have performed faithfully the tasks on earth that Christ required of us, then our house from Heaven will be glorious beyond our imagination.

But if we have been faithless in serving Christ, our robe will be skimpy and threadbare. We will be found naked in the Day of the Lord.

We shall not be allowed to conceal our nakedness with the house belonging to another person. No matter how we cry, wheedle, moan, gnash our teeth, we shall be clothed with our own deeds.

Do you remember the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, and of the servants and the use of their talents? In the Day when Christ hands out our rewards, the righteous will remain righteous and the filthy will remain filthy.

Many of the believers are accustomed to shirking the work they ought to be doing in the Kingdom of God. They are not being punished now, apparently, and suppose they will be able to evade the reaping of what they have sown.

The Scriptures do not have pleasant things to say concerning the lukewarm, the lazy, the disobedient.

The conquerors will be rejoicing with superabundant joy as they gather together with the Lord, now clothed with indestructible bodies.

Down from the clouds will thunder the mightiest of all cavalry charges, the soldiers of Christ’s army—indestructible, impervious to pain and death, able to perform that which the Holy Spirit guides them to do.

Antichrist and his armies are doomed before the Battle of Armageddon commences no matter what supernatural assistance they receive. Soldiers of the earth cannot overcome saints who are led by the Lord Jesus, who are clothed with incorruptible, indestructible bodies fashioned from the Substance of eternal life, who through the Spirit are wielding the Word of God in Divine judgment. The Commander in Chief of the heavenly army will be clothed with a robe dipped in the blood of atonement. His name is called the Word of God.

How would you like to face that army? 

Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. (Joel 2:6-8)

When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)

In that day, Antichrist and the armies of the earth will have the supernatural assistance of Satan, fallen angels, and demons. But because of the righteousness of the blood of the cross, the power of the Father will be with the saints and that supreme Power will overcome and destroy all the power of Satan.

It will be a joy to go to Paradise, there to enjoy the peace and Glory of God, Christ, the saints, and the holy angels.

It will be an even greater joy to return to earth with the Lord Jesus Christ, clothed with a body like His, having the opportunity to subdue all sin, all rebellion—all that exalts itself against the Lord Jesus Christ.

The saints will be issued the power to destroy those who destroy the earth. What glory and joy will be ours as we release the creation from the chains of futility! As we lift the curse from the earth!

Therefore the Apostle Paul did not groan that he would die and go to Heaven. He groaned that he would be clothed with his house from Heaven.

When we have been clothed with our body of life we still shall have access to the spirit Paradise, but in addition we shall be able to rule the earth according to the will of Christ. This is to be preferred over sitting idly in Heaven while Satan exercises dominion over the inheritance of Christ.

We Christians are coheirs with Christ over the nations of the earth. We will never give our inheritance to Satan!

As we stated previously, our momentary light affliction is bringing into existence the massive "weight" of surpassing glory, the body of incorruptible life, the "mansion" that is having its rise before the Throne of God as our physical body is sown to the death of the cross. We shall receive that living, heavenly body as a reward in the Day of Christ. 

If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (II Corinthians 5:3)

There will be a wide variety of rewards issued to "saved" individuals. The reward given to each person will depend on his or her response to the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Lot was saved in the Day of the Lord, but he was saved "as by fire." He lost his wife—his source of fruitfulness and dominion, and all his possessions.

Noah and Abraham, on the other hand, were saved to marvelous fruitfulness.

Lot was found "naked" in that day. Noah and Abraham were clothed with the glory and blessing of God. 

For we that are in this tabernacle [our physical body] do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)

Paul’s life as a Christian apostle placed him in many difficult, painful, wearying situations. At times he had a desire to depart and be with Christ. All true saints share this anticipation of going home to be with the Lord.

When we think about it, we are not anxious to lose our flesh, for our spirit and soul to be unclothed. Actually we would prefer that our present body be clothed with the power and glory of eternal life. Isn’t that true? Which would you prefer: to die and go to Heaven or to be clothed with a glorious body of the nature and substance of incorruptible resurrection life?

Think of the good we could do in the world if we possessed a body like that of the Lord Jesus Christ! Think of the blessings and release that we could bring to our family, our neighbors, the starving of this planet!

Could we be trusted with such awesome majesty and power?

We are not hoping to be naked, to be unclothed. We are hoping for and pressing toward that Day when we have the authority and the power to bring the Person, the will, the ways of God in Christ to the nations of the earth. This we can do as soon as we are clothed with our house from Heaven. 

Now he that hath wrought [fashioned] us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [pledge; guarantee] of the Spirit. (II Corinthians 5:5)

Christ has gone to prepare a place for us in the house of God. Our house that is from Heaven is the outward form of the eternal Temple of God. We as a personality must be "wrought." We must be prepared and strengthened in order to receive properly the "mansion" of glory being created before the eternal throne (Ephesians 3:16).

One day the Holy Spirit of God will make alive our mortal body. In fact, the resurrection life that soon will be made manifest in the redeeming of our body is already dwelling in us. We shall be made alive by the Spirit who even now is dwelling in us.

The making alive of our mortal body is the Day of Redemption. It is the adoption of our body as a son of God. It is the conquering of the last enemy—physical death. We shall be declared to be a son of God by the redemption of our body from the hand of the enemy.

We already possess the guarantee, the pledge of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who dwells in us now is the Divine guarantee that one day God will complete the work of redeeming us by clothing us with our "mansion" from Heaven.

We must be "wrought" for this glory. Christians who are living in the appetites of the flesh are slaying their own resurrection. They are selling their birthright as a son of God for the glass, tin, and plastic of the present world system. One day they, like Esau, will weep exceedingly bitter tears of remorse because they have sold their crown of life for the perishing elements of the world.

To sell their birthright was their own choice, and they will live in the consequences of their choice forever (Revelation 22:11). 

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (II Corinthians 5:6)

Paul understood and accepted the tribulations and limitations of this life. His knowledge that one day he will be clothed with authority and power gave him confidence and peace.

Paul recognized that while we are in servitude in our mortal body we cannot see the Lord and have the close fellowship with Him that we desire. As long as we are alive in our body of flesh and blood we are absent from the fullness of the relationship that one day will be ours. 

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) (II Corinthians 5:7)

When we leave our present body we will be able to see the Lord. We cannot see Him now, so we must continue our pilgrimage, by faith enduring the testings and perplexities that are part of our preparation for being clothed with the body of immortal life—that which was denied Adam and Eve.

Paul, as well as the other heroes of faith of the Scriptures, lived and performed the works of God with no more "sight" than we have. They had to keep on trusting God and His Word just as we do.

One day this prolonged testing of our trust and faith will be concluded. 

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8)

Every true saint sooner or later begins to look longingly toward release from the flesh. The lukewarm believers, who know no existence other than the indulging of their appetites, live in fear of physical death. Physical death is the end of all that is desirable to them, even though they may have a head-knowledge of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The victorious saints, the conquerors, have been pruned by the Spirit of the Lord until the appetites of the body are under strict discipline. In addition they have tasted the powers of the age to come.

As they near the striking of their earthly tent they begin to long for release from the prison of the flesh (Philippians 1:23). They understand they can be of service to others while they remain, and so they are willing to keep on serving, bearing their cross cheerfully and patiently. But their heart already is "on the other side of the river."

For the overcomer, "to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Who wouldn’t want to be "present with the Lord"? 

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (II Corinthians 5:9)

The faithful saint understands that each new day is a gift from the hand of Christ. It is the day the Lord has made. It is one more opportunity for us to reveal to the Lord that we love Him and desire to serve Him.

Christ is not a hard taskmaster, He is a good Master. However, He requires faithfulness and diligence on the part of His servants.

So we work each day as though it were our last day on earth, conscientiously performing the tasks at hand but always looking forward with the greatest joy and expectation to the hour when we are released from the flesh and go home to be with the Lord.

Our home is not Heaven. Our home is the Lord. We want to go home to be with the Lord.

In the meantime we strive to be perfectly pleasing to Him while we are in the body of our humbling. 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

The reason this famous passage concerning the Judgment Seat of Christ is found in context with the house from Heaven is that the body of resurrection life is the consequence of the way we behave in the physical body we have now. The sentence passed on us at the judgment seat is that we are to be clothed with a body of incorruptible life.

The fact that the body of incorruptible eternal life, the attainment to the first resurrection from among the dead, is a direct result of the manner in which we live the Christian discipleship, may well be the most misunderstood aspect of all Christian doctrine.

Many Christians are proceeding blindly on their way, believing they will receive the rewards of the conqueror "by faith," meaning on the basis of their mental and vocal assent to a system of theology.

When the Scriptures speak of faith they are referring to our trust in God, our grip on God and faith in His Character, not belief in the virgin birth of Christ or even that Christ shed His blood for our sins, except as such belief in doctrine directly affects how we behave.

Faith has to do with the way we act, speak, and think, not our understanding of the facts of redemption.

The demons understand well that there is one God and that Jesus of Nazareth is the Holy One sent from God. They know that the Apostles of the Lamb were sent from God to show us the way of salvation. But this knowledge does not provide them with one drop of eternal life.

The term appear , "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ," does not mean we merely are brought there. It means we are revealed there.

The Day of Christ will not change what we are or even be restricted to evaluating what we have done. Its primary function is to reveal what we have become as we have followed Christ with more or less diligence.

The Day will declare what we have become, and we shall be rewarded accordingly. We shall receive a "robe" from Heaven that corresponds to what we have practiced, and what we have practiced is the true indicator of what we have become. We are known by our fruit.

Whatever we sow, that is what we shall reap. If we sow to the Holy Spirit we will reap a glorious body of life. If we sow to the appetites of our flesh our harvest will be corruption. We will be presented with corruption in the Day of the Lord.

"That every one may receive the things done in his body." Here is the righteousness of God.

What have we practiced in our body? Has it been faithfulness, diligence, love, unbelief, laziness, bitterness? This is what we will receive in the Day of Christ.

Have we practiced faith? God will give us the reward of faith. Have we suffered for the Gospel’s sake? God will give us the crown of life. Have we borne the reproach of the cross? God will lift us to the ranks of those who are highly esteemed in Heaven.

Have we wasted our time and the gifts of God? God will reward us with the wages of laziness and unfaithfulness. Have we beaten our fellow-servants and eaten and drunk with the riotous? We shall be rewarded accordingly.

Have we neglected our salvation and denied Christ before men? Christ will neglect us and, in the Presence of the Father and His holy angels, will deny any knowledge of us.

The Judgment Seat of Christ has been set forth by Christian teachers as though some believers receive prizes, others, somewhat lesser prizes, and the wicked, lazy Christians, of whom there are many, receive even lesser prizes. Is this what the Scriptures teach?

In recent times, two "angels" have appeared to the pastor of a Christian church and have informed him, according to the account he wrote, that no Christian will hear anything negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ and that there is nothing to fear. Is this what the Scriptures teach? Were these indeed angels of God?

The pastor now is dead. He may know now whether these angels, who spoke "another gospel," indeed were Gabriel and Michael. 

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)

"According as his work shall be."

Some who profess the name of Christ have practiced covetousness and have held back the wages of those who have worked for them.

Some believers in Christ have cheated and robbed other Christians in the hope of gaining an advantage in the world system.

Multitudes of church attenders have wasted their lives accumulating material wealth, paying little attention to prayer, to obedience to the Scriptures, or to what assistance they might have given to the poor and needy.

There have been Christians who have lived as disciples of Jesus. They have forsaken their own life, have taken up their cross, and have followed the Master wherever He has led them.

Christ will reward every person just as his work has been.

Each individual who stands before the Judgment Seat of Christ will be examined closely concerning the things he has done in the world. Every word, deed, and thought will be evaluated in terms of love for God and love for one’s neighbor.

The deeds of sin and self-seeking he has confessed and turned away from with sincere repentance will not be mentioned to him. They have been forgiven and cleansed from his personality.

All of the rest will be revealed and he will receive the consequences.

Some teach that no Christian need be concerned about the Judgment Seat of Christ. If they are correct, why did Paul state that he persuaded people because of the terror of the Lord’s Judgment Seat?

We have been deceived by those who are willing to distort the Scriptures so they may please their listeners and get more money from them. The land is filled with Christian teachers for hire.

"That every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

Will the believer receive the good things he has practiced in his body?

He will receive those good works back in the form of a body of life from Heaven. Also, he will be surrounded by grateful souls who have gained Paradise because of his faithfulness in serving God. He has an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God, being accompanied on every side by love and gratitude from the Lord and from people.

Will the believer receive the bad things he has practiced in his body?

If he has not confessed and forsaken his wicked deeds he will receive lashes (if not worse) in the Day of Christ. He will enter eternity without reward. There will be no cry of gladness from Christ or from people upon seeing him because he has lived in sin and self-love. He will enter the Kingdom of God naked—saved as by fire. Or, he may never be permitted entrance to the holy city.

Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade all believers to live no longer to themselves but to Him who died for them and rose again. He is returning soon to raise us from the dead and to clothe us with a body like His glorious body.

CHAPTER III REVIEW

We have seen, therefore, that there are at least nine aspects of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." As Christ is formed in us, and the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit come to dwell in the new creation that has been formed in us, we become the eternal Temple of the God of Heaven. The Father will dwell only in Christ. If we would have the Father dwell in us we must have Christ formed and dwelling in us. 

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

"That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."

1. The blood of Christ protects, pardons, purges, and nourishes the believer.

2. The Word of God is planted in the heart.

3. The believer is raised spiritually in and with Christ.

4. The Holy Spirit becomes the life of the believer.

5. The Word of God is nourished and grows.

6. The deeds of the body are put to death.

7. The Word of God comes to maturity.

8. The Father and the Son make Their abode with the believer.

9. The resurrection.

All of redemption is founded on the blood of the cross. God will meet man only at the "door" of the Tabernacle, that is, only at the Altar where the blood of sacrifice is shed.

The Passover blood of God’s Lamb, Christ, protects us and our household. The shed blood of Christ satisfies God’s justice concerning our sins. The authority of the blood working with the power of the Spirit of God purges from our personality the works of Satan.

Also, we drink the blood of the covenant. The blood of Christ is eternal life in us.

The eternal Temple of God is being constructed from the broken body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus.

The Word of God is living Seed. It is sown in our heart. If it germinates, and we carefully watch over it, it will bring forth the Substance, the Nature, the likeness of the Parent from whom it came.

To be born again is to have the Seed of God germinate and grow to maturity in us. We can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God until we have been born again because the germination and growth of the Divine Seed is the germination and growth of the Kingdom of God. It is Christ, the Word of God, growing in us. It is the incorruptible Seed that comes from God.

Our task as believers is to allow the Seed to take deep root in us so we will not die spiritually in the time of temptation and tribulation. Also, we must be careful that the cares of life do not choke out the Divine Life that has been planted in us.

Some saints bring forth fruit a hundredfold; some, sixtyfold; and some, thirtyfold. How much fruit we finally bear depends on our willingness to allow the Lord to prune us.

In the Seed of God is the potential to bring forth a new creature in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. God desires to bring many sons into the fullness of His Glory.

The sixth chapter of the Book of Romans describes the attitude of faith we must adopt toward our baptism in water. We have entered the death of Christ on the cross, having died to the world. We have entered the resurrection of Christ and now our life is hidden with Him in the Father.

We are to resolve firmly that we have died to the world, to sin, to our whole first life and personality. Our death in Christ frees us legally so that the Holy Spirit can begin the work of removing the sin and rebellion from us.

After we have believed in Christ and been baptized in water, and have been born again of the Spirit of God, we now are free to choose to serve either righteousness or sin. We make the choice.

If we choose to serve sin we will die spiritually. If we choose to obey righteousness, we will receive eternal life.

There can be no sin or self-seeking in any living stone that is part of the eternal Temple of God.

Those who are sons of God learn to follow the Spirit and live in the Spirit. The law of the Spirit, the indwelling Divine wisdom and power, gives us the ability to overcome the law of sin and death that strives continually to keep our flesh a prisoner of Satan’s will.

No human being possesses enough virtue and strength to overcome the lusts and self-will that reside in the appetites of the flesh. When we walk in the Spirit we are able to keep from fulfilling the lusts of our flesh.

God has not called us to struggle helplessly against the sinful appetites of our spiritually dead body. He teaches us to put to death the deeds of our body by the wisdom and power of His Spirit.

Our body is dead because of the sin that abides in it. The Spirit who has been given to us is righteousness and resurrection Life in us.

Being spiritually minded brings life and peace to us.

It is our responsibility to keep ourselves in the position in which the Lord Jesus can come to us in the Spirit and nourish our new inner man with His own body and blood. Christ has been born in us. Now He must continue to be formed in us.

The gifts and ministries given to us through Christ by the Holy Spirit keep on adding glory to our born-again nature. Prayer, meditation in the Scriptures, and fellowship with the saints lend strength to the new inner man.

The Divine Life is in us. It is our responsibility to make sure it is not choked out by the enemy of our souls.

The new Jerusalem is the holy city. The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness. Wherever Jesus is there is righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. The greatest error in Christian thinking is that an unrighteous, unholy, disobedient person can have continued fellowship with God on the basis of grace and mercy. 

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (I John 3:7,7)

If we choose to walk in the Spirit of God, the Spirit will lead us in putting to death the practices of our flesh. Lust, wrath, occult practices of all kinds, covetousness, riotous living, stealing—all must be driven from our personality by the Holy Spirit.

The Temple of God is holy. We are that temple.

There is an omega . There is a place of maturity where we have been formed in the image of Christ in spirit, in soul, and, finally, in body.

There shall come a moment when the almighty God declares: "It is done." Can you imagine that, after all these years of faith and hope?

The eternal Tabernacle of God will come down from the new heaven to reside forever on the new earth. It will be perfect. It will be filled with all the fullness of the Glory of God. It will be the dwelling place of God and the Lamb. It will be an unblemished bride.

The nations of saved peoples of the earth will walk in the light of it.

It will not be an incomplete, imperfect, compromised creation. It will be the workmanship of the God. What God commences God completes—to perfection.

We have spoken of the two end-time comings of Christ:

To the individual believer in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

In the clouds of heaven with the saints and holy angels.

The first coming has begun now. It will increase in revelation until it climaxes in the worldwide coming, the Presence of Christ—the appearing of Christ in the air for all mankind to behold.

The perfecting of our redemption will continue until the last enemy has been destroyed and our mortal body has been released from its place of sleep in the dust of the earth.

The Lord’s conquerors will descend from Heaven with Him, coming down in the Spirit to the earth to take up their bodies. When they have been made complete again in their personalities they will be clothed with their glorious reward—the incorruptible house from Heaven.

God has planned His Temple from the beginning.

God has a plan, a blueprint. He knows what He is doing.

You and I have been invited to be living stones in the eternal Temple of God. There are many rooms, many places of abode in that house.

Whether we are saved as by fire without reward, whether we have an abundant entrance of staggering proportions into the Kingdom of God, or whether we are lost forever to the purposes of God, depends upon the faith and diligence we apply to our calling.

By our behavior in the present life we are forming that which will be given to us when we are raised from the dead. That which we are sowing we will surely reap in the Day of the Lord.

God has completed His work and is resting. Let us make every effort to enter His rest, to become an integral part of that majestic wisdom and power that are forever flowing in order to bring to pass all that was spoken during the six days of creation.