Monday, 4 July 2011


Hi all

I know I was busy writing on the church, and in particular, the bride of Christ. But life got busy and hopefully I can get back to that soon. But I wanted to share on something else as well. There is a general problem within the body in that our focus has shifted from Christ to things, namely ethics, morals, commands, sin etc. Not that these are not topics worthy of conversation or reflection, they simply have taken precedence over the foundational principles of the gospel, resulting in busy and burnt out followers motivated by good intentions, rather than the Spirit.

PS – I know I always raise a few eyebrows. I have assumed some foundational understandings which I have not touched upon below. Ie Importance of studying scripture, dealing with sin, why the law was given to Israel etc. Therefore I am not attacking those things. I am merely drawing the outer lines where others have coloured in already. Hope it blesses you all.

1Co 15:45  So also it has been written, "The" first "man", Adam, "became a living soul;" the last Adam a life-giving Spirit. Gen. 2:7

It starts with 2 trees

Gen 2:8  And the Lord God made a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man who he had made.
Gen 2:9  And out of the earth the Lord made every tree to come, delighting the eye and good for food; and in the middle of the garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In the very beginning God made a garden with 2 particular trees in it. Everyone knows that Adam and Eve ate from the one they were warned to stay away from, but nothing is ever said about the tree of life. Have you ever thought of the fact that before eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil? Let that soak in. And not only that, but there was absolutely no need for God to give them laws of “thou shalt and thou shalt not”. Instead, Adam and Eve could freely partake of the tree of life, in other words, they fully relied on God to decide right from wrong while they partook from his life, and their behavior simply mirrored their creators. The first 2 humans literally bore the image of God!

Gen 1:27  And God made man in his image, in the image of God he made him: male and female he made them.

It is a common misconception that men today still bear the image of God. But what exactly was God warning them of when he said that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would surely die? It certainly wasn’t physical, so it must have been a spiritual death. In other words, man would no longer bear Gods image in the day that they chose to become independent from their creator.

Gen 5:3  Adam had been living for a hundred and thirty years when he had a son in his likeness, after his image, and gave him the name of Seth:

1Co 15:48  Such as is the earthy man, such also are the earthy ones. And such as is the heavenly Man, such also are the heavenly ones.
1Co 15:49  And as we bore the image of the earthy man, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

So mans ultimate problem is not that he is a sinner, but that he is born spiritually dead and birthed in the image of Adam. Sin is a symptom, but death is the disease. Death may have first entered the earth through one man’s sin, but since then death has reigned through all men, with sin being the only logical fruit in a fallen world. Much like someone who dies of cancer. If you found a cure for cancer, the man would still be dead. Likewise, if you could give him life again, he would still have cancer and die soon again. Sin is half the problem, Death is the other half. That is why Christ could not just die for our sins, but he had to be resurrected that we could have life, more specifically, his life!

Rom 5:14  But still death had power from Adam till Moses, even over those who had not done wrong like Adam, who is a picture of him who was to come.

That is why it was vital that Jesus was born of a virgin, he could not inherit Adams seed. So who’s seed and image was Jesus born with?

Mat 1:18  And the birth of Jesus Christ was this way (for His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph) before the coming together of them, she was found having babe in womb by the Holy Spirit.

If we go back to the thought about Adam and Eve relying completely on God to not only decide good and evil, but that they were alive in Gods likeness, and therefore able to bear his image without need of a law or the will to try and fulfill one. We begin to understand how utterly dependant Jesus was on the Father to live the sinless, others centered life which he did. He would even say things like “ without my Father I can do nothing”, and to Phillip who asked to see the Father he replied, “If you have seeing me , you have seeing the Father”. What he is saying is that he bore his Fathers image (Heb 1:3  who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence…).

The point I am stressing here is that the law, although good, was given to a fallen man. Those born of the Spirit, not only are not bound by it, they don’t even need it. Any attempt to keep the law in our own strength always results in failure and simply points us back to the fact that in and of ourselves we simply cannot fulfill it. Even the New Testament commands cannot be kept in our own strength. Remember those WWJD bracelets? It’s a recipe for failure because only Christ is capable of living the Christ life. If Jesus could do nothing in and of himself without the Father, why do we expect to do any better? As long as we choose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life we will fail. How many of us stand on scripture and study the bible hoping that some doctrine or revelation will give us some sort of breakthrough? Unless that revelation points to Christ and a clear understanding of who we are in Him and a total surrender to his life in us, the knowledge may be interesting  but it won’t bring forth real fruit.

2Co 3:6  who also made us able ministers of a new covenant, not of letter, but of Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive.

The solution

Rev 2:7  He who has ears, let him give ear to what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give of the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.

So much emphasis today is been placed on overcoming sin and dying to self. This is great and true but only half a gospel, because even the Hindus are great at dying to self. I once saw a Hindu man who had kept his hand above his head for over twenty years! It was shriveled and useless. Self denial means nothing if it is not filled with Christ’s life. The full picture of the gospel must include life. Remember the blood and water that poured out of Jesus side? It is the blood that has dealt with our sins, but it is the living water that enables us to bear the image of God. To use a silly illustration, let’s say carrots represent sin. Now what if I told you to try not to think of carrots for the next 30 seconds? You can’t do it. But what if I tell you to think about water for 30 seconds? All of a sudden the chances that I will catch you thinking about carrots becomes very slim. It’s not enough to die to self; we have to live in Christ.

So how do we partake of the tree of life?

Consider the interesting imagery Jesus uses in John 15.

Joh 15:1  I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Joh 15:2  Every branch in Me not bearing fruit, He takes it away; and each one bearing fruit, He prunes, so that it may bear more fruit.
Joh 15:3  You are already pruned because of the Word which I have spoken to you.
Joh 15:4  Remain in Me, and I in you. As the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself, unless it remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
Joh 15:5  I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one abiding in Me, and I in him, this one bears much fruit, because apart from Me you are not able to execute, nothing.
Joh 15:6  Unless one remains in Me, he is cast out as the branch and is dried up; and they gather and throw them into a fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7  If you remain in Me, and My Words remain in you, whatever you desire you will ask, and it shall happen to you.
Joh 15:8  In this My Father is glorified, that you should bear much fruit; and you will be disciples to Me.

You see how we (the branches) cannot bear any fruit of ourselves, our job is simply to abide in him and let him bear fruit in us. Break off a tree branch and see how quickly it will wither. I remember sitting through countless sermons on the fruits of the spirit when all we needed to hear was abide in Christ and he will take care of the rest. Once we see where our life comes from, you will find it popping up all over scripture.

Joh 10:10  The thief comes only to take the sheep and to put them to death: he comes for their destruction: I have come so that they may have life and have it in greater measure.

Gal 2:20  I have been put to death on the cross with Christ; still I am living; no longer I, but Christ is living in me; and that life which I now am living in the flesh I am living by faith, the faith of the Son of God, who in love for me, gave himself up for me.

Rom 5:10  For if, when we were haters of God, the death of his Son made us at peace with him, much more, now that we are his friends, will we have salvation through his life;

Col 2:13  And you, being dead through your sins and the evil condition of your flesh, to you, I say, he gave life together with him, and forgiveness of all our sins;
Col 2:14  Having put an end to the handwriting of the law which was against us, taking it out of the way by nailing it to his cross;

Col 3:1  If then you have a new life with Christ, give your attention to the things of heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2  Keep your mind on the higher things, not on the things of earth.
Col 3:3  For your life on earth is done, and you have a secret life with Christ in God.

2Pe 1:1  Simon Peter, a servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who with us have a part in the same holy faith in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2Pe 1:2  May grace and peace ever be increasing in you, in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
2Pe 1:3  Because by his power he has given us everything necessary for life and righteousness, through the knowledge of him who has been our guide by his glory and virtue;
2Pe 1:4  And through this he has given us the hope of great rewards highly to be valued; so that by them we might have our part in God's being, and be made free from the destruction which is in the world through the desires of the flesh.
2Pe 1:5  So, for this very cause, take every care; joining virtue to faith, and knowledge to virtue,

Notice from the above verses that we have already being given this life. It’s not waiting for us in heaven. We have full access to the vine now. If we want to live like Adam in the garden or Christ did on earth, we MUST abide in the vine. How do we do that? By renewing our minds daily, instead of trying not to think about carrots, think about water. The scriptures of full of this teaching

1Ti 6:2  And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service.
1Ti 4:7  But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
Eph 4:28  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour,

When we are consumed with Christ his life will flow through us and his desires will automatically be fulfilled through us.. Likewise, being consumed with law, commands and doctrines can lead to us “being as gods” as the serpent put it. This is why the most knowledgeable theologians are often the most unloving and divisive people around, modern day Pharisees so to speak.

Let me end with words from Revelation 22, a chapter that shares much similarity to Genesis 2.

Rev 22:1  And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Rev 22:2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.


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