Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)
So far in this series of examining the book of Romans (early part of chapter 1), we have been looking at the eternal purpose of God – “The glory of God” (Romans 3:23); and “The glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). We have also looked at His plan for us and how we have (through Adam) “temporarily deviated” from the path of this plan. In our last post we looked at the consequences of Adam’s original sin (in Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life).So, up to this point in our analogy of this eternal purpose, we have looked at PLAN A as described in Ephesians 1:3-6 (Please bare in mind that it was always Plan A from the beginning and so it will be for eternity); and the bridge to PLAN 1, We will now, in this post start taking a look at the “only Begotten Son” the “Tree of Life” through whom we have divine life. What a wonderful foresight the Master Planner has, to perceive that Adam’s choice could only count for disobedience and had a contingency:
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PLAN A1 – The Gospel of Christ – “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself”. (Ephesians 1:7-9)
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4)
Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws that govern our relationship with God. Man consists of 3 components: BODY (seat of our world-consciousness, and represents the functions of our senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, pain, balance, thirst, and hunger etc: SOUL (seat of our self-consciousness and represents the functions of our will, intellect and emotions: Lastly SPIRIT (seat of our God-consciousness and represents the functions of our conscience, intuition and communion).
Now, in our last post Called to God’s Kingdom – Part 2 ALL HAVE SINNED, Watchman Nee in his book The Normal Christian Life touched on Adam’s Choice The Reason For The Cross, where he said:
Yes, complicity of soul and spirit, complicity that made his soul and it’s inherent power susceptible to manipulation by Satan; a complicity that set the soul at loggerheads with his spirit: In other words, a complicity that sets the functions of his will, intellect and emotions against the functions of his conscience, intuition and communion with God.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”. (John 4:24)
The reason for this complicity Jessie Penn-Lewis articulates in chapter 7of SOUL AND SPIRIT where she wrote:
Adam here (obviously not considering that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom Psalms 111:10) chose to align himself with God’s enemy by the decision he made to develop the functions of his will, intellect and emotions “APART FROM GOD” at the expense of developing the functions of his conscience, intuition and communion with God. Let us quickly look at what the dictionary tells us about these words compared with what the word of God says:
The physical structure and material substance of an animal or plant, living or dead: The trunk or main mass of a thing: the body of a tree: Anatomy, the physical structure of a human being or animal, not including the head, limbs, and tail; trunk; torso.
The body, esp. as distinguished from the spirit or soul: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak: The physical or animal nature of humankind as distinguished from its moral or spiritual nature: the needs of the flesh: Humankind.
Compare with: Matt. 26:41; Luke 3:6; John 6:63; Acts 2:26; Rom. 6:19; Rom. 7:5; Rom. 7:18; Rom. 7:25; Rom. 8:1-5; 5-13; 8.23; Rom. 13:14; 1Cor. 1:29; 1Cor. 5:5; I Cor. 15.22, 23, 42-44, 51-56; 2Cor. 1:12; 2Cor. 3:3; 2Cor. 4:11; 2Cor. 7:1; 2Cor. 10:3; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3.20-21; Col:2:13; 1 Thess. 4.14-18; 1Pet. 4:2; John 2:16.
The principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
The faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: The freedom of the will: Power of choosing one’s own actions: The act or process of using or asserting one’s choice: Wish or desire: Purpose or determination, often hearty or stubborn determination; wilfulness: Volition.
The power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; The understanding: The faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge: Capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, esp. of a high or complex order: Mental capacity: A particular mind or intelligence, esp. of a high order: A person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge: Minds collectively, as of a number of persons or the persons themselves.
An affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness: Any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc: Any strong agitation of the feelings actuated by experiencing love, hate, fear, etc., and usually accompanied by certain physiological changes, as increased heartbeat or respiration, and often overt manifestation, as crying or shaking: An instance of this: Something that causes such a reaction: the powerful emotion of a great symphony.
Desire – Deut. 14:26; 1 Sam. 20:4; Psa. 84:2; Psa. 42:1; Is. 26:9.
Feeling & Sensing- Luke 2:35; I Sam. 30:6; 2 Kings 4:27; Judges 10:16; Job 19:2; Is. 61:10; Psa. 86:4; Psa. 107:5; Psa. 116:7; Psa. 119:20; Prov. 16:24; Is. 55:2; Jonah 2:7; Matt, 26:38; John 12:27; 2 Peter 2:8.
The principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul; Excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigour, courage, firmness of intent, etc.; mettle: That’s the spirit; The incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience: The complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual: An inhibiting sense of what is prudent: I’d eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me: Knowledge shows what is right or wrong, but it is the conscience that approves of what is right and disapproves of what is contrary to it.
Direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension: A fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way: A keen and quick insight: The quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight: An immediate cognition of an object not inferred or determined by a previous cognition of the same object; any object or truth so discerned; pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge: The ability of the native speaker to make linguistic judgments, as of the grammaticality, ambiguity, equivalence, or nonequivalence of sentences, deriving from the speaker’s native-language competence.
Interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication: communion with nature: The act of sharing, or holding in common; participation: Worship
Compare with: Luke 1:47; John 4:23; Rom. 1:9; Rom. 7:6; Rom. 8:15; Rom. 8:16; I Cor. 6:17; 1 Cor. 14:15; I Cor. 14:16; Rev. 21:10.
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These three elements of man each have their own distinct level of supremacy; The spirit is highest in supremacy and the body is lowest, in other words, our SPIRIT, God-consciousness (as represented by the functions of our conscience, intuition and communion) should at all times, have supremacy over our BODY, world-consciousness (as represented by the functions of our senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, pain, balance, thirst, and hunger etc): and the balance between these two is facilitated by our SOUL, self-consciousness (as represented by the functions of our will, intellect and emotions)
Now at any point in time, the spirit being most supreme should also have control over the soul which acts more or less as the middleman between it (spirit) and body; it is the communicator of authority from the Holy Spirit from man’s spirit to His body.
So if at any point in time the soul is compromised, as in complicity that made Adams soul and it’s inherent power susceptible to manipulation by Satan; then the result is the abnormality of the soul being totally subjected to and being at ease with the dictates of the flesh (body).
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For 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. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 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. 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 5:16-25)
“For 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).
After the fall, Adam only had the capacity to sow to the flesh, the functions of his will, intellect and emotions became totally subjected to and at the “beck and call” of his flesh – world-consciousness (as represented by the functions of his senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, pain, balance, thirst, and hunger etc) and this definitely meant he then has to “of the flesh reap corruption”; because he failed to heed the waning given to him by God in Genesis 2:17:
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”
The death spoken of here by God is not physical death, but death of the spirit; it refers to a spirit separated from God; a spirit in darkness that needs the light of God to be regenerated, to come alive again – less than an empty battery that needs to be recharged to be of any use but one that needs to be born afresh. It refers to a spirit that needs fresh Life from above breathed into it. King David gave us a clue in Psalms 36:9 about the source of this fresh Light and Life:
“For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light”.
John also points us in the same direction:
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. (John 1:9-12)
Yes!! Because, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. (John 3:6) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (born not of the intensions of the first Adam with ulterior motives characterised by the irregularity of the functions of his will, intellect and emotions; totally subjected to and at the “beck and call” of his flesh) but –
“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. (John 1:13-14).
That’s right! “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” Jesus, The Only Begotten Son of God came in the form of man to right the wrongs of Adam’s choice. Now this is the crux; there is always that lingering thought in the inner recess of the mind that questions this idea of Jesus being The Son of God.
Being brought up as a Muslim, this was one of the hurdles I had to cross; a great number of professing “Christians” have also passively bypassed their own personal opinions on the matter. Charles Spurgeon in GOD’S WORD NOT TO BE REFUSED touched on this:
In our next post, we will continue our deliberation on this subject of Jesus being the only begotten Son of God.
You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.
Admit your spiritual need.
We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
What is the result of sin?
In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.
Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.
In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).
What must a person do to accept this gift?
Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.
If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.