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TRANSFORMATION: THE WORK OF THE CROSS
The foundational work of the Holy Spirit in the life of man is transformation into the image of Jesus Christ. This is a hidden internal work in the soul of man with eternal results. The means of transformation is the action of the cross in the human heart. The cross with its transforming work is central to the teachings of Jesus Christ and of all the New Testament writers.
Several key concepts are associated with this work of God. Beginning with a new identity born of an eternal Spirit, and ending with a glorified immortal body, these concepts cover a spectrum that includes adoption, consecration, living sacrifice, Christian maturity, fruit bearing, and overcoming -- to name a few. In this chapter we will look at the development of these concepts one by one to paint an entire picture of the scope and fundamental importance of the transformation process.
New Identity (New Birth)
At the heart of human transformation in Jesus Christ is a change in spiritual identity. Stemming from Jesus' first admonition, "You must be born again," the cornerstone of New Testament teaching concerning salvation is that man is "translated" from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light1. Through Christ's death, our original identity as descendants of Adam is put to death, "crucified with Him."2 Who we were humanly-speaking was eliminated in God's heart when Christ died, an elimination executed in our lives the moment we were converted. Through a transaction described as new "birth", we become through Christ someone we never were before on the inside, a "new creation" and the "seed" of a new identity "born by the Word of God"3. All things are "passed away," ie, our relationship to everything and everyone is totally new because we are brand new. This new inner identity is referred to as our "inner man."4
With the rooting of our new identity in Christ, the Son of God, we have been made the "children of God"5 with the power to become the "sons of God" 6 through maturity. We are sons in the positional sense even while children of God.7 But then we become sons in the actualized sense as we grow in the expression and rule of our new identity throughout the remainder of our humanity. That growth is defined by our increasing release from relating to God through legal principal based in our knowing of good and evil, a release obtained through sharing in the sufferings of obedience.8
Our growth into this actualized sonship becomes the measure of the rest of the work of transformation in our lives (to be discussed). Suffice it now to say that transformation of identity is the essence of the work of transformation. Paul describes the complete expression of new sonship identity in God's people as the ultimate desire for which all of creation yearns.9
- Adoption (Official Placement)
As sons of God together with Christ, we are considered to be His brothers,10 and to be the family of God.11 Though born into Gods family as children, our right of heirship as sons is conferred on us by a divine act of official placement called adoption.12 In Roman times, this word was used to denote the conferring of full family privileges upon slaves and others not born naturally into a Roman family. In spiritual context, the word adoption acknowledges that, though born again of by the Spirit, our new identity in Christ is distinct from God's divine, eternal, uncreated essence. We are clay that has been purged and infused with the Divine Nature. We are partakers of His Nature.13 Though born anew by Christ's seed, we are still His creation. We are transformed clay, but still clay. Though we have been and are being transformed, we are and will always remain a creation.
In contrast, Christ was uncreated, the only begotten and unique Son of God,14 thus the natural heir of all things. He was not placed as a son. He was not adopted. He is the divine uncreated essence of God, not a mere partaker of divine nature. He is the Eternal One who took upon himself a clay human nature. His intrinsic identity was and always will be in His deity, while ours will always be in our humanity. This is the distinction cemented by the word adoption.*
- A New "Genetic Code" and Reference Point for Relationship
Intrinsic to our new identity is a new spiritual "genetic code." Solomon tells us that God "has set the world in our hearts."15 Like every seed, our new spiritual seed carries within us the entire blueprint for our eternal destiny in Christ, our place of relationship to Him and His people in His final kingdom. It holds the plans that spell how we are to grow up into Him, and how we will display His image in the earth in the way that is unique to us. It reveals those things that pertain to our ministry in the earth, the things of God's will for us to be obtained by faith.
Our transformed identity in Christ also holds immediate consequences for all our relationships in the earth. Because of new identity, we no longer fundamentally relate to this life in terms of our original identity in Adam. Specifically, the work of transformation removes us from relating to anyone from a primarily natural bloodline perspective (eg. family, community, nation) or from a place of acquired identity through occupation or position in an organization (eg. mechanic, president, etc.) Paul says it this way: "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh."16
In the deepest sense of our new identity in Christ, we become immediate strangers and unknowns to those to whom we originally related but who do not share the same identity. We speak a new language of the Spirit not understood by those remaining in the natural state.17 This is what the Scriptures mean when they refer to the Church. The Greek word for church is ekklesia which means a "called-out assembly." We are called out from our identity with every "kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."18 The writer of Hebrews and Peter refer to the Church as "strangers and pilgrims on the earth."19 All the New Testament writers draw a clear black and white line between the identity of the saints and the "world."
Simultaneously, by new identity we are able to immediately relate to all who have come into the family of God through Christ. Jesus Christ becomes the common point of reference for this unity. The work of transformation does not just separate us out unto ourselves, but joins us to a corporate identity.
In all cases, we must see that identity change is the root concept of the work of transformation. The ongoing essence of that work is the change made in our life by the development of that identity through us. The remaining concepts associated with the work of transformation are traceable back to this one.
First Concepts: Conviction, Repentance, and Faith
From our very first encounter with God, we experience a clash between our original nature and God's appeal to us through new identity. At the heart of that clash are three concepts which define our struggle to obtain new identity and to persevere in its growth. These are conviction, repentance, and faith. They are foundational to our transformation 20 and without them, no change in us can take place.
Conviction is the revelation to our hearts of our failure to satisfy the righteousness of God's requirements.21 Through conviction, we are unable to escape our sense of moral accountability to our Maker. We are convicted when we realize we have sinned, ie, we have fallen short of God's standard,22 whether through calculated rebellion,23 or through the futility of our self-empowered effort to live up to any standard defined by our knowledge of right and wrong.24 Conviction of sin is accomplished by the impression of God's Spirit upon our hearts.25
Repentance is our decisive response in light of God's conviction to change course in our heart. Through confession of sin we not only acknowledge our failure under law, but we commit to depart from the path by which we have transgressed.26 We say "no" to our rebellion. We say "no" to our self-empowered effort to do what is right. As God's Spirit works conviction, so His goodness leads us to repentance.27 The call to repentance forms our first bona fide encounter with the Living God. It is the first word of the ministry of Christ and the apostles.28 Because of this, Scripture is soaked with the perpetual summons to all men to repent.29
Faith describes the positive side of our inward change of course. Where repentance describes our turning from sin, faith describes our heart's turn toward the Lord in utter dependence for the impartation of His righteousness. Completing the relational transaction generated by conviction and repentance, faith believes in God's provision for us. We reach out to receive Christ's atonement for our sin. We go on to receive His righteous life, all through the simple turning of heart to the Father. As such, faith is the active medium by which our soul remains knit to the Lord and experiences communion with Him. As the crowning element in establishing relationship with the Father, faith is thoroughly expounded in the New Testament.30
Together, conviction, repentance, and faith are found at every turn in the transformation process. From the first encounter that yields our new identity to the most refined nuance of change in our mature nature, these three make up the "umbilical cord" by which our inner man is birthed from glory to glory. They appear at our first justification when God wipes our past record clean. And they appear at every further encounter with remaining sin left from our original nature.
As long as our new identity remains strapped to a mortal body subject to the knowledge of good and evil, we are subject to the need for conviction, repentance and faith.** They conduct a relationship with God not marked by a one-time conversation, but by an everlasting communion to be guarded and expanded.31 Being so central to the birth and ongoing transformation of our new identity, they remain the core concepts at the heart of New Testament teaching.
Consecration - Surrender to the Lordship of Christ
Obtaining new identity in Christ through first conversion is just the beginning of transformation. Conversion is transformation in seed form. From here we are called to make an unconditional surrender of our earthly lives to the Lord in order to activate the outworking of our new identity and its destiny. This call to consecration is the full extension of the Lord's first call to repentance and faith. We move from the arena of repentance for our actions to that of repenting for who we still are apart from Him, offering Him our entire being to cleanse and invade.***
The Spirit of Transformation appeals to our hearts for such consecration on both positive and negative grounds. From a positive standpoint, the Lord appeals to us through our realization of 1) how great a damnation we have been spared, 2) how much Christ gave up for us through His sacrifice on the cross, 3) how much we have already suffered as a result of our sinful practices, and 4) how great is the promise of glory and reward that awaits us for such obedience. Paul gives us what is perhaps the strongest call to unconditional consecration and surrender to the Lordship of Christ:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?...
The death He died , He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God , as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace....
I put this in human terms because you are so weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life....
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God... This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is... His good, pleasing and perfect will.
6:1-3, 10-14, 19-22; 12:1-2 Rom.
Often however, these positive motivations are not enough to bring us to such surrender. Instead, we find ourselves driven to full consecration because our ongoing repentance over sinful acts fails to overcome the power of sin that still remains in our bodies. Paul outlines this struggle after conversion:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not, but what I hate I do... As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature ("flesh"-[KJV]). For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being (ie, "new identity"), I delight in God's law; but I see another [principle] at work in the members of my body, waging war against the [principle] of my mind and making me a prisoner of the [principle] of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from the body of this death? Thanks be to God... through Jesus Christ our Lord!...
If Christ lives in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation...but it is not according to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die...
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.... because those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God. Rom. 7:14-24; 8:10-13a; Gal. 5:16-18; Rom 8:14
So consecration becomes essential, not just as something we ought to do in altruistic gratitude, but because without it, we cannot see the activation of the rest of the transformation process that will deliver us from remaining sin and clarify our identity as sons. The work of transformation teaches us that we not only receive a new identity at conversion, but we must go on to see that new identity overcome leftover sinful forces in our body that are opposed to and at war with that identity.
Sanctification and the Carnal Nature ("Flesh")
To sanctify means to "set apart." The word holiness is a synonym for sanctification. Sanctification refers to the act and the process of "soul-purging" in the life of the new believer who is encased by a carnal body subject to sin's power, strongholds, and demons. Holiness is the goal of consecration as we just saw in Romans 6. Many other Scriptures exhort the believer to ongoing holiness and to complete (or "entire") sanctification:
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly [ie, entirely ]; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.****
Even though we become new creations at conversion, that seed essence of our new identity must go on to overcome everything in our souls and bodies which is left over from our first identity in Adam. That first nature has many names in Scripture. It is referred to as "self,"32 "[soul-] life,"33 "carnal mind,"34 "old man,"35 "earthly nature" or "members upon the earth,"36 and the "sinful nature" or "flesh***** ." For purposes of this study, we will continue to use the word "natural life."
Sanctification recognizes that to gain a converted identity is not the end of our transformation but only the beginning. It is the process by which our identity is separated out from the remaining pollutions of lawlessness left over from the abolished old identity. It is like the scrubbing and renovating of a house after an old tenant has been evicted. In sanctification, the Holy Spirit acts to enforce the authority of our new identity over our earthly personality, bringing our entire soul and body under subjection to Christ's life. He will continue doing so until we become a perfected expression of His image.
The Operation of the CROSS: Death to Natural Life
This cleansing transformation is accomplished by applying the operation of the cross to our remaining natural life in the same manner that Christ died to His own will in the earth. Paul specifically uses the terms "cross" and "crucified" to describe the work of ongoing transformation as well as our initial conversion:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the [body] I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me...
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.... May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Gal. 2:20[KJV]; 5:24;6:14
our full consecration to God, the Spirit is released to begin
applying the work of the cross to our natural life. While in some
places Paul speaks of the believer "crucifying the flesh" (such as
Gal. 4:24), in
This killing process makes the operation of the cross central to the work of transformation. The power of the cross is not only central to our conversion to Christ, but also to our progress in coming into our destiny in Him. By the cross, we are not only saved from God's wrath through Christ's death for us, but our souls are increasingly saved, perfected and transformed by sharing His death within our own beings. (Henceforth we will use the terms "work of the cross" and "work of transformation" synonymously.)
Transference of Life Forces: Living Sacrifice and Resurrection Life
The work of the cross involves a transference and substitution of energies by which we live and function. We give up one form of life to live by another which replaces it. On one hand, we are called to be living sacrifices.37 On the other hand, we are called to "drink the blood of the Son of Man"38 which is life to us. Paul says that as the deeds of the body are put to death the indwelling Spirit replaces that lost energy, sustaining the body by His own life.39 First, the Spirit applies the power of the cross to our remaining natural life, producing a "shedding" of that life out of us. This natural life (soul) force is found in our bloodstream. 40 The cross produces a pouring out of our soul to death after Christ's example.41 Jesus referred to this as "losing our lives for His sake."42
This losing or sacrificing of natural life force is what was typified by the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament and exemplified by Jesus, the Lamb of God who shed both His sinless life force and His actual blood on the cross. Following this same pattern, we are called sheep of God whose lives are daily led to the slaughter of natural life yet found in our blood. 43 Therefore we are called to be living sacrifices in which we daily bear within us the dying of the Lord Jesus.44 Subjection to this process is mandatory for our seed identity to grow and fulfil its destiny. It is the Spirit's will that we die to natural life force. (Depending on the spiritual climate of an age or place, this death may eventually be carried out as actual martyrdom for the Lord's sake.)
In place of the natural life we forfeit, the Spirit causes our new spiritual life to flourish, increase, and take over. Our new nature fed by the life of Christ increasingly supplants each area of lost natural life. This transference from old to new has several references in New Testament writing. It is called the "renewing of the mind;"45 "putting on the new man;"46 "renewing of the inner man;"47 "knowing Him and the power of His resurrection;"48 "Christ living in us" and "living by [the faith of] Christ;"49 "finding our life;"50 the "giving of life to [or "quickening of"] the mortal body;"51 "abiding [remaining] in Christ;"52 "walking in" or "being led by the Spirit;"53 and "manifesting the life of Christ."54
Discipleship and Suffering
Discipleship refers to the cost involved in following Christ through the enduring of inward crucifixion and resurrection. Suffering refers to the painful side of our experiencing that cost. The cost of transformation includes every dimension of our personality -- soul, mind, and body. The suffering associated with that cost is equally comprehensive.
The cost of transformation is very high. It is simply all -- everything we have , we are, we own, we cherish, we desire, we think, and even what we believe God for. The cross is not an instrument of compromise but of final death. Because natural life force permeates every relationship we have in the present world, every relationship to every person and thing is subject to this work.55
Jesus spells out the cost of discipleship very clearly and in concrete terms. He makes it evident that as His disciples, we must share and overcome in all the negative experiences He endured.56 The New Testament authors, to whom many of His words were immediately spoken, also echo these costs in their writings. They testify of their own sufferings, instruct the believers on the necessity of suffering, emphasize the actual cleansing action of suffering associated with obedience, and even explain how one believer's sufferings can work salvation in the lives of others.57
The costs of transformation with its suffering are built into the requirements of our new identity. Once we are born anew, we suddenly no longer fundamentally relate to those who remain in Adam, including our natural families. Now we primarily relate to all those who carry the seed of the Lord in them marked by the same obedience.58 This shift in identity with its allegiance produces great pain and anguish. The great relational divide produced by becoming a new creature is intrinsic to our transformation and entirely unavoidable. Because this is so, Jesus promises certain tribulation to all who become His and proceed to become like Him.59 The greater the blood ties and affections, the greater tends to be the tribulation. In some cultures, converts to Christ are actually considered to have died and are then disinherited.
The cost of discipleship extends to relationships within the family of God itself. This is because we must struggle not only against an unconverted world, but also against the immaturity, natural strongholds, and disobedience that remain in us and in our new spiritual relatives. The cost of standing up against remaining sin in other saints, and of sometimes submitting to the less mature for the Lord's sake is very high-- and so is the suffering.
In all cases, our following through in discipleship and enduring to the end is essential to the Spirit's work of transformation. Shortly, we will see that the faithful endurance of the painful side of the transformation process is what leads to our complete salvation and the fulfilment of our eternal destiny in Christ.60
Abiding in Christ and the Knowledge of God
Jesus is our Life. When we are reborn into Him, there is an automatic spiritual homing device planted in us. It is inherent in our new identity, causing our hearts to gravitate toward Him as a magnet to the North Pole. The focus of our new awareness is tuned to the frequency of His voice and His Presence inside us. Our knowing of Him becomes the final reference point for all faith and practice. It is an inward knowing of the heart, not a knowing of the carnal mind. It is a knowing through our inner man like a "sixth" sense. This inner knowing of Christ is the proof and testimony to us of our new eternal life and identity.61 The strength of Jesus' indwelling Presence determines how well we can graft into Him as an inward anchor and reference point for reality.
Our growing in the expression of our new life and in the inner knowing of the Lord is the upside, the replenishing side of our sanctification. It is both the immediate reward as well as the goal of the process. This growth begins in the Lord's inner call to fellowship with Himself. Before the Lord calls us to anything else pertaining to the outworking of our destiny in Him, before He issues a single command requiring obedience to any matter, He calls us to HIMSELF. Our first command is to love Him.62 Before all, He Himself IS our reward and our inheritance.63 Out of this He continues to call us to Himself over the various challenges of the dying process we must endure.
At conversion, we have only a "seed-size" awareness of Christ. The goal of our life is to grow in that awareness until our heart's focus becomes anchored in and utterly captivated by His Presence together with our apprehension of eternal destiny in Him. Our introductory knowledge of Christ is small and weak. Hearing Him is like picking up a faint signal from an outer planet on our satellite dish. Because at first we are not anchored in our knowledge of Him, we must compete with multitudes of inner and outer voices of natural life to discern His voice to us.
There is great struggle as thoughts, feelings, and the words of others seek to lock us into themselves as our reference point. This is our first taste of spiritual war as described by Paul in Galatians 5:17. It is over this warfare that the death process is carried out in us. Despite the intensity of the struggle, though, the love of God within keeps us knit to Him until that point where our knowledge of Christ prevails and becomes the ruling force in our life. The goal of our inner warfare is the captivating of our entire soul and mind under the government of the knowledge of God.64
Christian Maturity ("Perfection")
Eventually we reach a "breakthrough" point in this internal warfare and crucifixion where the knowledge of God becomes enthroned in our soul. Leading up to this time, we relate to the Lord on a military basis, serving through an obedience rooted largely in a sense of duty and the fear of God, which is the beginning of knowing Him.65 Our love is based in commitment of will and decision. We obey Him because we know we ought to. We love Him out of gratitude for what He has done FOR us.
But there comes a decisive turning point at which we receive an invasion of the love of God into our innermost being that transforms our motivation from one of duty to one of love. This further invasion of love becomes the defining moment of our Christian walk and is described or alluded to both figuratively and literally throughout Scripture. Peter refers to it as the "rising of the morning star in our hearts."66 Paul refers to this invasion as a "shedding abroad" of the love of God in our hearts.67 In Ephesians, Paul makes this invasion of God's love His chief prayer for the believers:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation [in the knowing of Him]. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know ... His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead...
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 1:17-20; 3:16-19
Paul's expression is a restatement of Christ's own promise:
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of Truth... Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father; and I too will love him and show myself to him.... If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Jn. 14:15-17,21,23
This infusion of the overwhelming love of the Father lifts us out of the "servitude" stage of relationship with God and into the place of intimacy. It moves us out of laborious legal relationship with the Lord and becomes the mark of our entrance into full maturity or "perfection." Our walk in Christ moves from theoretical to experiential, from principle-based to grace-based. The God Whom we first apprehend through a maze of unwritten expectations becomes the One in Whom we find the abiding rest of unconditional acceptance.
This is the abiding which Jesus urges His followers to find in Him. Elsewhere, He refers to it as a giving of the Spirit that results in an outflow of rivers of water from our inmost being.68 This river is pictured in Revelation as flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. It shows us that God's habitation and government is at the source of this river in our own souls.69 Our lives become as the tree of life planted by this river bearing spiritual fruit.70
This is also the promise to which the entire book of Hebrews testifies. It is the rest of soul which Hebrews encourages us to find out of the labor of spiritual struggle, a struggle which accomplishes the "dividing of soul from spirit."71 From this place of abiding rest we go on to find fruitfulness in fulfilling our destiny in Christ, and in defeating the remaining enemies of sinful strongholds that yet remain in our body.
Analogies of the Point of Maturity
1. The Habitation of God
Beside the allusions of the various New Testament writers to a point of full spiritual maturity, several analogies or types also picture this transformational invasion. One of these is the analogy of our lives as the "house" or "temple" of the Lord.72 In the Old Testament, there is seen both in the tabernacle and the temple a point of definite invasion by the cloud of God's glory after the establishing and dedication of those dwellings to the Lord.73 Hebrews identifies these as types of heavenly reality, reality which Christ says indwells us.74 So it is in the building of the temple of the believer's life.
From the perspective of creating a dwelling place for God in the believer, the process of sanctification leading up to Love's invasion is the work that makes of our souls a cavern large and suitable enough for God to fully inhabit. The work of the cross is like a great blasting company, taking out strongholds of rock and mountain in our hearts as it cuts out a fortress temple in which the Holy One may completely or "perfectly" dwell. The early part of our Christian walk after our consecration may seem like just such a blasting enterprise. But if we do not draw back from this inward purging, eventually we will reach that point in the sanctifying process where God is able to come in with His fullness of glory. As obedience is maintained, we reach the place where Jesus and the Father can come to make their full abode in our temple.75
The magnitude of glory associated with Jesus' promise of abode cannot be overstated. It has an earthquaking effect in our lives just as it had on the priests of the temple. When He finally comes in, His voice echoes like thunder off the corridors of our purged soul. God's glory is risen upon us.76 God's indwelling glory then becomes a solid inner fortress of love, peace, and joy which mark the clear establishment of His Kingdom within us.77 Our hearts now bear all the hallmarks of the Father's Presence, securing our sense of assurance and acceptance by Him. Using the same picture of the temple, Hebrews 6:19 describes this as our "anchor within the veil."
2. The Circumcision of the Heart
Another analogy refers to the full cutting off of the root of sin in our lives that opens the way for the entrance of the King of Glory. In the Old Testament, shortly after birth, all males were circumcised. A cutting off of the flesh about the genital organ was carried out. Both Paul as well as earlier Old Testament prophets picked up on this type to tell us we are to have "circumcised hearts."78 This circumcision of heart is linked to baptism in Col. 2:11-12. Both rites signify our entrance into Christ's death through the cutting off of the sin (flesh) principle or "body of sin" that remains in our souls.79
John the Baptist referred to this same cutting off of fleshly life force as the "laying of the ax to the root of the tree."80 In the Old Testament, the tree is symbolic of reproductive life force. The root of the tree answers to the genital region of the body whence natural life is generated. The laying of the ax to the root answers to the circumcising or cutting away of the root of that force where it can no longer drive or rule us. In its place, we become a tree of life rooted into the new underground river of life already mentioned.81
Interestingly enough, many cultures and religions of the world have their own rites of passage that signify the transition from childhood to adulthood. They testify as a witness from the heart of gentiles what takes place in the mystery of adoption into the family of God.82 In the work of transformation, there is a definite point at which we pass from spiritual childhood to adulthood, marked by the cutting off of the root of natural life and the advanced inpouring of the Father and the Son's love into our new nature. Here we become strengthened, established, settled, and no longer "tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine."83
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit: The Sanctifying Infusion
This great event where meet the cutting off of sin's root and the Father's victorious invasion into the believer's heart is also called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The infilling of the Spirit resulting from inward death is the reality to which water baptism points. To be baptized with the Spirit means that we have been baptized into the full experience of Christ's death within us.84 At the same time, the Spirit is released as the rivers of life which enable the bearing of mature fruit from our tree of life.85 His coming brings our spiritual life into the place of abundance Jesus promised.86
Inasmuch as the Spirit proceeds from the Son and the Father,87 the giving of the Spirit is what accomplishes the sanctifying invasion of the Father and Son and bears Their Presence into our souls. The promise of the abiding of the Father and Son with us is linked to the promise of the coming of the Spirit.88 Their coming through His coming is the reward for the endurance of sufferings over the obedience on which Their coming depends.89
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is fundamentally part of the work of transformation. It is a sanctifying event. It is the watershed event that, when received in context of the transformational process, spells the turn in our destiny from relating to the Lord as a slave to relating to Him as a son. His coming witnesses that the Lord has gained the capital city of our soul and now has effectual dominion over the rest of us. His resurrection life now replenishes our soul over the loss of natural life force we have allowed Him to bleed from us.
Through the baptism of the Spirit we begin to experience sonship and become definitively led by Him.90 We sense release from legal religious thinking whereby we have tried to prove our faithfulness to the Lord by keeping rules and principles.91 We have clear guidance into all truth, freed from the morass of clamoring thoughts and weighty senses of obligation left over from our legal nature.92 Our reference point for all Truth is now clearly indwelling. It is no longer subject to our efforts to discern right from wrong decisions concerning our obedience. Permeated by experiential love, we are now able to live under the simplicity of the law of love, the one true law of grace to which we are subject.93 Our love is now made mature or perfect;94 free from the fear associated with legal obedience.
The concept of bearing spiritual fruit in the believer's life is traced directly to the work of transformation. Spiritual fruit refers to the forming of Christ's character qualities, the chief of which is love. It refers to the changes in our personality that cause us to evidence the character of Jesus Christ. In particular the fruits of the Spirit are listed by Paul in Gal. 5:22-23: "love, joy, peace, patience. kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Other New Testament writers also refer to spiritual fruit. Hebrews 13:15 identifies fruit in terms of what we speak, while James says the fruit of what we speak is the chief evidence of the state of our maturity.95 Jesus also links the understanding of fruit to what we speak.96
The concept of fruit is traced back to the concept of the rooting out of the carnal nature and the flourishing of the tree of life resulting from the Spirit's river-like baptism. Jesus tells us we bear fruit by abiding in the knowing of Him.97 As we are "pruned" through suffering with Christ and then watered by the river of His indwelling Presence, we are changed... by beholding Him we are changed...98 abiding in Him, we bear all manner of spiritual fruit. These concepts are the same. Fruit speaks directly to our manifesting the image of Jesus, the goal of transformation.
Manifesting spiritual fruits is the direct product of the work of the cross. Until the ax has been laid to the carnal root, and until the fulness of the Lord's river of love is pouring through us, our fruit is weak and very mixed. Our words indeed bring forth some sweet, yet much bitter.99 The chief of all spiritual fruit is love. This love is our reflection of the Father's love when He takes up full residence in us. Prior to this, our love is based in a sense of legalistic obligation. After His full indwelling, love becomes the experienced reward of His Presence, it becomes the natural "outgrowth" from our lives.
Because fruits spring from the transformation process, they become the means for proving the degree of our transformation. They provide the evidence that we know God and are known by Him. John particularly offers love as the point of testing our knowing of God.100 The amount and quality of our fruit speaks to the kind of relationship we have in Christ and how much of a dwelling place He has in us. It is our fruit that gives the evidence we have entered "perfection" or maturity.101
Because they are the truest evidence of our standing in the Lord, spiritual fruits are given great attention by the apostles. 102 No other tests are given us for perceiving the true state of our walk or that of others.103 Jesus makes it clear that what does not bear fruit or bears the wrong kind of fruit will not stand the test of destiny fulfilment in Him. It will be cut down and burned.104
The believer's entrance into full maturity through the cutting off of sin's root and the infusion of the Father's love is not the end of the transformation process. It becomes the launching pad for our next stage of transformation: overcoming.
Between the Baptism of the Spirit and Glorification, we are still left to endure the continuing process of sanctification as it is applied to the remaining branches of sin and strongholds remaining from the destroyed root of sin. Though no longer tossed to and fro by sin's power, we are yet in conflict with renegade bands of sin and stronghold hiding out in the more remote regions of our flesh and mind. These continue standing in the way of our identity's development into Christ's image and the fulfilment of our call and destiny.
Prior to the full entrance of the Father, we are still held captive to sin's power. The conquering of this power through heart circumcision is like the taking of the capital city on an island. From the time of our conversion until maturity, the Lord has a beachhead on our island and moves to take the capital. Once the capital is taken however, the fighting is not over. A new stage begins in which the conquering forces go out to "mop up" the remaining pockets of guerrilla resistance in hidden strongholds.
Similarly, after we enter maturity, the Spirit must go forth to crucify the remaining branches of the decapitated root of sin. He must ferret out and destroy every last hidden reach of sin and demonic stronghold in the remotest corners of our personality. Therefore we are not allowed the luxury of resting from all battle. We continue in battle, but now the battle is waged from a more heavenly plane from which we rest. We have learned how to let the Lord fight for us. Entrance into perfection brings us into a place of strategic command in our lives. But it is not a ticket to coast to glory. Indeed, even after maturity is gained, the Lord's Presence in the capital must still be guarded and preserved or it can be lost.105
This stage of displacing Christ's remaining enemies through the Father's love is the stage of overcoming. During this stage we become fully equipped for serving in our heavenly position in Christ's kingdom when we are glorified. To the overcomer alone is promised the inheritance of all things pertaining to celestial rule.106 The various promises of Jesus to those who overcome107 are set in context of the Revelation that details the final outworking of Christ's kingdom on the earth. So it is that those who enter into maturity must go on to pursue the Lord over the demands of His inner call upon their lives respecting their full ministry to the Lord's body. They cannot rest in their maturity. They must accept every challenge of call and commitment without hesitation or withdrawal to the very end. Complete endurance produces complete salvation.****** 108
Glorification: Manifesting the Completed Image of Christ Through Immortality
Complete overcoming leads us to the ultimate shedding of the mortal body and the putting on of an immortal, glorified body. The Spirit's ministry of transformation takes the seed of our new identity all the way from new birth through perfected love to its complete final manifestation through a perfected physical temple. The bleeding out of natural life through the cross will eventually free the body from death, leading to what Paul calls the "swallowing up of death by life."109
Acquiring a new body free from death becomes the ultimate prize of our calling. Through such a body, we will display the perfect attributes of Jesus Christ and the free unhindered expression of His personality through ours. Glorification will also reveal the complete fulfilment of our "genetic code" in which our destined role in God's kingdom becomes plain.
Glorification is not a simple end-of-the-line result after no certain degree of transformation has been worked out. Like every stage in the transformation process, entrance into glory is conditioned on repentance and faith. Glorification is absolutely dependent on the successful outworking of the cross. The depth of transformation now determines the exact degree and quality of glory we will obtain in a new body. This is because the concept of "glory" and a new body are inextricably intertwined. Repeatedly, the New Testament writers tie the degree and quality of entrance into final glorification to the degree and quality of having Christ's life worked out through our total personality. Consider the thrust of Paul's faith concerning his hope of final glorification:
God will give to each person according as he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life.... IF we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him that the body of sin might be done away with.... And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you... IF by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God... You have received the Spirit of sonship... The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children... heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, IF indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed... We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved.
2:7-8; 6:5-6; 8:11-19, 23-24 Rom.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all... We groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come... So we make it our goal to please Him... For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. II Cor. 3:16-17;4:2-5,9-10
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things... Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Phil. 3:10-15,20-21 [see also I Cor. 9:24-27]
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.... Your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring... is evidence that... you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering... on the day that He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.... With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling... If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. Col. 3:3-5; II Th. 1:4-5,10-11; II Tim. 2:11-12
For the grace of God that brings salvation... teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. Tit. 2:11-14
Several things vital to the concept of glorification are revealed in the overall context of Paul's teaching. First, in their final sense, the words "glory", "hope", "sonship", "adoption", and "calling" all are inextricably linked to the concept of resurrection and our obtaining an imperishable body. This shows us that glorification, as the final destination of the transformation process, embraces more than the fruits of maturity. It embraces a concrete manifestation through a new body. Our display of Christ's image and the display of that image through a new body are inseparable.
Second, as the end product of transformation, our obtaining of glorification is totally dependent upon that work. The entire thrust of the dying and living process is to bring us to glorification. While not all passages referring to present maturity directly relate to final redemption, almost all passages dealing with final redemption are directly or indirectly tied to our progress in the transformation process.
Entrance into final redemption is directly qualified by and conditioned upon our enduring of the complete process. Paul describes the resurrection as a prize to be won and attained, something of which we must be found worthy. In speaking of death as the last enemy to be overcome,110 he draws a link to our overcoming of sin now. Victory over death is the climax of victory over sin! In Paul's mind, we do not endure the transformation process merely to show gratitude for the unconditional promise of an immortal body. Rather, full endurance of the race is the absolute requisite and qualification for obtaining that final redemption, a redemption that passes examination at the judgment seat of Christ.
The clear implication here is that not everyone will receive a glorified body upon Christ's return except those who have completed the race. When it comes to the outworking of transformation, it is vital to realize that all promises relative to redemption in any degree are conditioned upon the actualization of our faith. IF we believe, we are converted. IF we persevere in faith, we will enter into spiritual maturity. And IF we persevere yet further, we will obtain glorification.
When Paul says, "as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive;"111 we recognize that this is neither a blanket nor unconditional statement. "All" refers to all whose faith in Christ becomes actualized unto conversion. Likewise, the general promise that "all" believers will be glorified and changed112 is entirely dependent upon the extent of the actualization of their faith through the work of transformation. The results for "all" cannot be separated from the process through which the "all" must pass to obtain the results.*******
- Realms of Glory
However unclear any of this might now seem, what is clear is that, in Christ's kingdom, there will be various realms of glorified immortality revealed. Jesus tells us that at the end of the age, "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father." 113 With this in mind, we read Paul's description of the resurrection itself:
What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat, perhaps of something else. But God gives it a body as He has determined, and to each kind of seed He gives it its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.... I Cor. 15:36-42
We learn that not only is our final transformation into glorified bodies an end result of the death process in us now, but there are different levels of glory in these bodies. We will shine as stars in the kingdom, stars which have differing glory. Those various realms of glory depend on how well we now run the race of transformation.
These realms correspond to Paul's discussion of the various kinds of vessels found in a great house,114 and the various kinds of materials out of which a house is built.115 Some vessels will have honor, others dishonor. Some houses will consist of precious metals and stones, others of combustible materials which will not pass the test of fire. (Remember that a house is a type of the resurrection body.) The difference will be spelled by the degree of likeness to Christ we obtain now, the degree to which our new identity reigns through our personality and the Father's love comes to manifest through us.
- The Harvest
The concept of harvest presents us with Scripture's clearest picture of glorification. Usually when the word harvest is used in a spiritual context, it refers to the initial reaping of converts to Christ. This use appears in John 4 where Jesus tells his disciples to behold the harvest of unconverted multitudes. Paul also uses this meaning in I Cor. 3:6-8. In actuality, spiritual harvest refers to any point at which there is an activation to a higher realm of glory on a corporate level. Revivals are especially times of harvest both of initial converts as well as converts to maturity through the baptism of the Spirit.
Ultimately, however, harvest refers to the climax event in the end time when the saints are glorified. Following Paul's description of the immortal body in terms of a planted seed, the book of Revelation pictures the final transformation of the saints into glorified state as a harvest.116 Through comparable illustrations, we know that this harvest has degrees of estate. Jesus tells us that some will obtain 30-fold, 60-fold, or 100-fold quality redemption. This agrees with Paul who tells us that there are different realms of glory in the resurrection.
- Bearing the Completed Image of Jesus
During the process of our transformation, Christ is being formed in us.117 During this process His revelation to us and in us is only "in part."118 But at that momentous point when His life swallows up the last of our remaining death, He will then be perfectly revealed through us. We will walk in the ultimate of our calling where we receive the completed fulfilment of all God's promises to us during our earthly sojourn.
The perfected revelation of Christ in us and through us is referred to as the "manifestation" or "revealing of the sons of God."119 It is the final meaning of our coming into the "whole measure of the fullness of Christ."120 At that time we shall be like Him,121 we shall see Him as He is,122 we will know Him as we are known,123 we will appear with Him in glory,124 and He will be admired in us.125
This is the goal of the Spirit's transforming process. John and Paul even say that our hoping for this goal actually adds to our transformation, increasing our purification.126 Because this is so, and because our new identity is forever, and because its fulfilment is in the realm of eternity, all the New Testament writers continually exhort us to set our hearts and affections on eternal realities. 127 Paul particularly speaks of his hope for the resurrection in terms of eager, anxious waiting and expectation. Repeatedly we are told to loosen our grip on temporal awareness and earthbound matters so as not to be distracted from our true goal. As we move toward glorification, the work of transformation actually changes our consciousness from time-based to eternity-based. In preparation for our eternal, glorified completion in Christ, we die to our awareness of the circumstances of time, space, and matter. Even at this very hour, a prepared eager generation of the Church stands on the threshold of moving into this final phase of transformation.
The foundational work of the Holy Spirit in the human race is to call out a new race of people unto Jesus Christ, and bring that people to a full expression of their new identity. This completed expression is ultimately through a totally redeemed glorified body in the eternal realm.
The regeneration of new identity is activated through conviction of sin, repentance, and faith toward God. The seed of God's Word (Christ) becomes engrafted in us and we become a new creation with a new destiny. Between our initial regeneration and final eternal expression of Christ is a process of transformation set in the present earthly context. This transformation is carried out through the work of the cross in which the Spirit crucifies us to both the root of sin and the remaining carnal life force in our present bodies. This crucifixion is enacted upon our complete surrender to the process. It requires of us the endurance of suffering to become separated from the values and desires of our remaining first nature.
Through this work, God is actually building Himself a sanctified habitation in our hearts. At the appropriate moment, He enters into that new abode with a fulness of experiential life, love, and peace that marks for us our entrance into maturity. This maturity is marked by our incontestable grasp of Christ's love and the eternal realm within us. It gives us a clear, unshakable inward reference point for guiding us through the remainder of life.
Once the Spirit of God has circumcised the root of sin and enters us with fullness, the remainder of mortal existence sees the transformation process reach to every corner of our personality to overcome all last vestiges of sin. This overcoming is carried out in context of the call to ministry in His body, the Church, which he has planted in us. The motivation for this continuing overcoming is the ultimate prize of glorification with Christ. The end of the transformation process is the complete revelation of the nature of Christ through a glorified body.
This work of transformation with its emphasis on the cross and its focus on eternal destiny is the core of Christian reality. It is the heart of the gospel of Jesus and the apostles. There is neither short cut nor substitute for this work. It is upon this work that God's facilitating work is built. We will now go on to consider the facilitating work of God in the life of the believer: the work of the anointing.
[Chapter 3: THE
OIL OF THE LORD]
[Chapter 3: THE ANOINTING: THE OIL OF THE LORD]
1. Jn. 3:7;
2. Rom 6:6; Gal. 2:20
3. II Cor. 5:17; I Pt. 2:23
5. Rom 8:16-17
6. Jn 1:12
7. Rom. 8:15 [NIV]; Gal 4:5-6; I Jn. 3:1
8. Gal 4:1-7 compared with Rom. 8:17; Heb. 12:5-7; 5:8; Eph 5:13-15; and I Cor. 3:1
9. Rom. 8:19
10. Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:17
11. Eph. 3:15
12. Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5-6
13. II Pt. 1:4
14. Jn. 3:16
15. Eccl. 3:11-KJV
16. II Cor. 5:16
17. I Cor. 2:12-16; Jn. 8:43
18. Rev. 5:9
19. Heb 11:13; I Pt. 1:1; 2:11
20. Heb. 6:1
21. ex., Ps. 73:21; Ac. 2:37
22. Rom 3:23; I Jn. 3:4
23. Ps. 51:3
24. Rom. 2:14-15; Jms. 4:17; I Jn. 5:17
25. Jn. 16:8
26. ex: Is. 55:7; Ezk. 18:21; Jon. 3:6 with I Jn. 1:9
27. Rom. 2:4
28. Mt. 4:17; Ac. 2:38
29. Ac. 17:30
30. Rom. 1:17; 3:19-5:1; Gal. 2:16-3:29; Phil. 3:9
31. II Tim 4:7; Rev. 14:12
32. Mt. 16:24
33. Mt. 16:25
34. Rom. 8:7
35. Eph. 4:22
37. Rom. 12:1
38. Jn. 6:53-56
39. Rom 8:10-13
40. Lev 17:11
41. Is. 53:12
42. Mt. 16:25
43. Rom. 8:36
44. Rom. 12:1; II Cor. 4:10-11; I Cor. 15:31
45. Eph. 4:23; Rom 12:2
46. Eph. 4:24
47. II Cor. 4:16
48. Phil. 3:10; Eph. 1:19-20
49. Jn. 6:57; Gal. 2:20; also "living by faith" - 3:11
50. Mt. 16:25
51. Rom. 8:11
52. Jn. 15:4-7
53. Gal. 5:25; Rom. 8:14
54. II Cor. 4:10-11
55. Rom 8:17
56. Mt. 10:16-25,32-42; Lk. 14:26-34; Jn. 12:23-26
57. Rom. 8:35-39; I Cor. 4:9-13; II Cor. 1:3-11; 4:7-18; 6:4-10; 11:23-28; Gal. 6:17; Phil. 1:29-30; 3:8-11; Col. 1:24; I Th. 2:14; 3:2-4,7; II Th. 1:5; II Tim. 2:3,10-12; 4:10-12; Heb. 5:8-9; 10:32-36; 11:35-12:13; 13:13; Jms. 1:2-4; 5:10-11; I Pt. 1:6-7; 2:20-23; 4:1-2; 12-19
58. Mk. 3:31-34
59. Jn. 15:18-27;16:33; Mt. 10:16-42
60. Mt. 24:13
61. Jn. 17:3
62. Mk. 12:30
63. Gen. 15:1
64. II Cor. 10:5
65. Pr. 1:7; 9:10
66. II Pt. 1:19
67. Rom. 5:3-5
68. Jn. 7:37-39
69. Rev. 21:1-2
70. Ps. 1:3
71. Heb. 4:1-12
72. I Cor. 3:10-16; Eph. 2:19-21; Heb. 3:6
73. Ex. 40:34-35; I Ki. 8:10-11
74. Heb. 8:5; Lk. 17:21
75. Jn. 14:21,23
76. Is. 60:1; II Pt. 1:19
77. Rom. 14:17; Lk. 17:20-21
78. Rom. 2:25-29; Phil. 3:3; Dt. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4
79. Rom 6:3-7
80. Mt. 3:10
81. Ps. 1:3
82. Rom. 2:14-15
83. I Pt. 5:10; Eph. 4:14
84. Rom. 6:3-7; Col. 2:11-12
85. Jn. 7:37-39; Ps. 1:3; Rev 21:1-2
86. Jn. 10:10
87. Jn. 15:26-27
88. Jn. 14:16-17, 21, 23
89. Jn 16:6-15,20-27
90. Rom. 8:14-15
91. Gal. 5:18
92. Jn. 16:13-15
93. Rom. 13:10; Gal. 5:14; Jms. 2:8,12; I Jn. 3:11-24; 4:7-13
94. I Jn. 4:12,16-18
95. Jms. 2:2,9-12,17
96. Mt. 12:33-37; 15:10,13
97. Jn. 15:1-5
98. II Cor 3:18
99. Jms. 3:10-12
100. I Jn. 2:9-11; 3:10,14; 4:7-8,20-21
101. Jms. 3:2
102. Rom. 6:21-22; 7:4-5; I Cor. 13; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:9-11; Heb 12:11; Jd. 12; Jms. 3; etc.
103. Mt. 7:16,20; II Pt. 1:5-11
104. Mt. 7:15-24; 15:13; Jn. 15:6
105. II Jn 8
106. Rev. 21:7
107. Rev. 2 - 3
108. Mt. 24:13
109. I Cor. 15:54
110. I Cor. 15:26, 54-56
111. I Cor 15:22; also see Rom. 5:18
112. I Cor.15:51
113. Mt. 13:43
114. II Tim. 2:20-21
115. I Cor. 3:12-15
116. Rev 14:14-16
117. Gal. 4:19
118. I Cor. 13:12
119. Rom. 8:19
120. Eph. 4:13
121. I Jn. 3:2
122. I Jn. 3:2
123. I Cor. 13:12
124. Col. 3:4
125. II Th. 1:10
126. I Jn. 3:3; Rom. 8:24
127. eg, Col. 3:1-2; I Pt. 1:13
* There are some who obscure this distinction by teaching that we are sons by essence, not just adoption. By this they state or imply that we share the same uncreated, eternal nature of God, equal to Christ, concluding that we are "little gods" and/or, as a corporate entity, we are the literal body of Jesus Christ. This is a perverted blasphemy concerning our new identity that serves to make the creature equal to the Creator.
** Even the aged apostle John, the closest to the Lord and most mature of all, taught this to the last of his mortal days. (I Jn. 1:8,10).
*** Ideally, consecration should be part of the package of our initial conversion. But for most saints, a period of time elapses between conversion and absolute surrender. This is because the call to discipleship as Jesus issues it (see chapter 4) is rarely presented today as part of the gospel. As the following passage from Romans 6 indicates, a gap between conversion and consecration was already occurring by Paul's time, necessitating a separate exhortation to consecration.
****I Th. 5:23. For other references to the ongoing process of sanctification-holiness, study II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:24; 5:26; I Th. 3:13; 4:3-4,7; II Th 2:13; I Pt. 1:2; and Heb 12:10,14.
***** Rom. 7- NIV/KJV. The word "flesh" here is used in reference to the remaining principle of sin and the "deeds of the body" [Rom. 8:13], but not the body proper. The Scriptures do not teach that the body is evil.
****** One of the outstanding distinctions of the crucifixion process before and after we enter maturity is our focus in that process. In the crucifying work before maturity, we lose our life over our own sinfulness. But in the overcoming stage, we lose our lives over the sin and salvation of others. We experience the cross over the outworkings of mature ministry for the sake of the Lord's people (Col. 1:24; Phil. 1:12-14, 22-26; Eph. 3:13).
******* In speaking of glorification, Paul says that he does not want to be found "naked", ie, without a glorified body. This same implication is given in Rev. 16:15 where there is a veiled warning that unless we "keep the garments" of our soul now in purity, we will be caught "naked" without a glorified body when Christ comes.
[Chapter 3: THE ANOINTING: THE OIL OF THE LORD]
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page updated December 29, 2015