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What is Grace?

The Lord is with your spirit. Grace is with you.

When the Lord Jesus became the Life-giving Spirit, and entered into our spirit, He became our Grace. The fullness of the Triune God is within this Man, Jesus and He ascended so that He could be the Life-giving Spirit to enter into us. The Life-giving Spirit is not just the Spirit of God, but also the Spirit of the Last Adam, the Spirit of the Perfect Man. Only by having the Spirit of the crucified and resurrected Man, could we enjoy the effectiveness of His death and resurrection. So the Lord Spirit, who is with our spirit, is the mingled Spirit of God and Man, for God has forever taken humanity into Himself, so that He may forever put Himself into humanity. This is Grace: God, in Christ, entering into us and saturating us with Himself, to be Everything for us.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Since the Lord is with our spirit, we must turn to our spirit, to grow in Grace. Every day and every moment, we turn to the Spirit and enjoy Christ as our Grace, as our Love, as our Life, as God’s provision for our every need. This is to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s not an outward knowledge of objective facts, but it’s the inward knowledge of the experiential Lord Jesus, who is the Reality.

Not only is He the Lord within us, He is also the Savior. Whenever we turn to the Spirit, He is saving us as our Grace. By turning to the Spirit, He is spreading to renew our mind, will, and emotions. He is growing and enlarging within us, so that we may magnify Him.

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Personal, Corporate, or Both?

Living Stones

Image by Andesine via Flickr

This blog post is a clarification of some tweets that I made. To be honest, these are some thoughts that I haven’t completely worked out in my mind, but I will do my best to explain them. Thus, you may take the word “clarification” lightly :). This isn’t an argument for my thoughts (I don’t like arguing), just a discussion.

I will begin with the definitions of the words, personal and corporate, that I have in my mind. I got these definitions from the Google Dictionary:

Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else

Corporate – Of or shared by all the members of a group

1st Tweet

Jesus Christ is not a personal Savior, but a corporate Savior.

I say, “Not saved for themselves but for the glory of Christ the Son.” It’s not about us at all — it’s all about Him! – Whitney McKendree Moore (@WhitneyMcKMoore)

First, I am not saying that God is impersonal, nor am I denying that we are saved as individuals. So what am I saying? I am saying that Jesus Christ does not save anyone for their own sake, but for Himself and His Body. It is obvious that we come into the Body as individuals, considering that a corporate body is made up of individuals. Truly, we are stones, made alive by God, to be put together into one Temple. A Building has individual stones, but they do not have any personal experience that does not affect the Building.

My next point is that salvation does not occur simply between you and Christ. How would anyone hear of Christ unless someone has already been sent to share Him? You may even have learned the good news from a Christian who is long dead, but a member of the Body none the less. Indeed, the Body of Christ shared the Head to you, who was revealed to you through the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit.

Third, we always exist in some form of corporate body. We were born in Adam, and thus have received His sin nature. Through the death and resurrection, we are reborn, by the Spirit, in Christ. Thus, in order to be saved you had to be included corporately in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dear Lord. Also, Christ died once for all, not over and over again for each person. We don’t have a separate and distinct experience of His death and resurrection, but share in the same act that was performed once for all.

Another thought that I have is if we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, were we not already His Nation before we considered ourselves a part of it? We were already chosen in Christ, and when He was revealed to us we learned of our true identity. The identity that was hidden in Him. We no longer think that we are poor peasants, but we see that we are kings, destined to reign with Christ.

2nd Tweet

Is anything really personal? Or is personal a delusion?

We like things to be personal. We think that life is like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. We want to think that stuff is ours and we have our own little bubbles to walk around. It is an awful thing if someone enters your bubble. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that does not affect others. Everything that we do affects others. Even if you are absent, hidden away in the wilderness, there are people who will never hear your knowledge, be encouraged by your advice, or hurt by your cruelty. All of your experiences have included someone or something else. The truth is that nothing is really personal, nothing really belongs to us. All is given to us by our God, for the good of all. If you keep what He has given to you, others are hurt and if you give what He has given to you, others benefit.

90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn

This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to all those who love Christ. It is a devotional book about God’s goodness in suffering. The narrator of the audiobook is Lloyd Jones, who’s voice is comforting in a book that describes so much suffering.

This book is based on Scripture, as well as stories of Christians who have suffered. At the end of each day is a prayer. Christ promised that all who followed Him would suffer and this book has many stories of Christians who have been faithful to Him, in spite of much suffering. Many of those mentioned in the book have found that they are now closer to God because of their suffering. Christ is our example of suffering, for He has suffered more than all of us combined.

There was more than one occasion in which this book caused tears to swell up in my eyes. It is a book of hope, joy, and love in the face of deep pain and sorrow. This is the hope, joy, and love that only Christ can give us.

Many think that suffering should be avoided at all costs. Indeed, suffering would be unbearable if our Father was not sovereign in it. Fortunately, He has measured all of our pains and troubles out for us and we can be assured there will not be too much nor too little of the trials in this life.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

Shadows of Christ

Shadows of flowers

Image by Broken Simulacra via Flickr

All that we see are but mere shadows. The good things are shadows of Christ, whereas the evil things are shadows of hell.

I will begin with how evil things are shadows of hell, before we get into the much greater topic of how good things are shadows of Christ. Some have decided that pain and suffering in this world is hell, but that is not so. Pain and suffering warn us of hell. Hell is much worse than what we experience on earth. The greatest pain here will not compare to that of hell. That is why it is by far better to pluck out your own eye that causes you to sin, than to be cast into hell with both eyes. That horrible pain of plucking out your own eye is but a shadow of the pain of hell. But, let’s move on to greater things than hell.

All good things are shadows of Christ. Each good thing reveals Him in a different way and in a different measure. There is not a place that you can look without seeing Christ. The highway may be the way you get to work, but Christ is the true Way. There are many signs that show you where to go on the road, but Christ is the real Sign that directs us. We dwell in houses, but Christ is our true Home. You feel relief from a cool breeze in the heat of summer, but Christ is our true Relief. The sun gives us light and warmth, but Christ is a Light to our path and gives us
His warmth. A tree is lifeless in the winter, but comes to life in spring. There you see a shadow of His resurrection.

The entire land is a great shadow of Christ. From the land, mankind receives everything it needs. The land gives us food, water, materials for building, precious jewels, and the list can go on. The land is abundant. Christ is our Land, and from Him comes everything we need in abundance. Are you hungry? He is your Food. Do you need shade? He will cover you. Do you need your Spirit lifted? He is far more pleasant to look upon than any wildflowers.

Do you understand? Look anywhere and the shadow of Christ is obvious for those who look through His Spirit. He is the ultimate Reality and all that you see and naturally experience is a lesser reality.

Enjoying Christ

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

(Psa 46:10 ESV)

 

 

Some of my most enjoyable times with Christ, have been in silence. To sit still and see Him by faith is a wonderful thing. It doesn’t take words to worship Him. You can worship Him by just enjoying Him. To forget the troubles of the world, if even for a moment, and turn your gaze to Him, honors Him much. Instead, of bringing Him your laundry list, you can bring Him yourself and seek Him for no other reason than because you want to enjoy His Presence. If only we turned our focus from our outward duties to God more often, we would surely be consumed with a holy passion for Him. Somehow, during this time, He fills us with contentment, while filling us with more desire. If only we knew how important this quiet time is to Him, perhaps we wouldn’t consider it wasted time.

 

Let Us Be Content With Our Sufferings

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Image by Jacob & Kiki Hantla via Flickr

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2Co 12:7-10 ESV)

In order for the eternal purpose of God to be made manifest in us, troubles, trials, difficulties, and sufferings are allowed to come to us. God is never the originator of evil. Instead, Satan is the author of evil.

Evil is not something created, it is the lack of good. In the same way as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of goodness. You can’t turn on darkness, but you can turn on light.

Satan cannot act against God’s Children, unless it is by the permission of God. God can prevent or stop any trial, whenever He pleases.

You may suffer because of sin, to become more Christlike, to glorify God, or a combination of these. Don’t assume that you are suffering just because you have sinned, for we suffer because we live in a fallen world, where there is an unseen war being waged by powers and principalities beyond our understanding. If you suffer, seek God and He will give you understanding by His Spirit.

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
(Joh 9:1-3 ESV)

God used a messenger of Satan to keep Paul from becoming conceited and to reveal to Him that the power of God is perfected in our weakness. When we do experience any momentary trouble, or lasting difficulty, we can trust that God is using it for our good. Let us be content with our weaknesses, when trouble is upon us, knowing that our loving Father is in complete control. We see from Paul’s example that it is not wrong to ask God to remove our thorns, but that we must be resigned to His will if He chooses not to.

Who are we to question God, whose ways are not our ways and who is beyond or full understanding? We know He is always good and does what is best for us. Let’s walk in peace and contentedness no matter what our circumstances are because we are in Christ.

Our Father Speaks Peace Over Us

the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
(Num 6:26 ESV)

As the world’s troubles threaten to consume us in fear, our Father speaks peace over us. He is always near to us, even when we can’t sense Him. In these dark times of fearfulness, even the smallest acts of faith are loved by God.

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Mat 17:20 ESV)

It doesn’t take much. The smallest act of faith in Jesus, is great in the spiritual realm. At the appropriate time, according to His wisdom, our dear Father speaks peace over us through the Spirit that dwells with us. He assures us of His love and faithfulness. He holds us in His arms and gently rocks our hearts to peacefulness. These trials test our faith, and draw down great graces upon us.

Inexpressible

How wonderful it is to walk in God’s presence. To constantly see Him working through your day and guiding you along your way. Sometimes, the delight in my heart is so great, it seems a shameful thing to express it. I often have to hide it inside myself, because I would seem like a crazy person to everyone around me. I have tried to tell people of the realness of Jesus, but they don’t understand. It would be an unbearable thing for me to entertain the thought of Jesus not existing. He is my dear friend, as real to me as any other. Perhaps, more real than any other. He is always with me, knows everything about me, and has experienced every single thing that I have experienced. I have the privilege of getting to know Him better. Daily, He lets me sit at the table of His blessings. I wish to express the inexpressible love of Christ to those around me, but words fall short. No words that I have found can truly express my experience with God. Some of my favorite time is spent in my car where I can be who I really am with God. I can shout and I can cry. I can be free to love and adore God with all that I am. If I am parked, then all my attention can be given to Him and what a wonderful dance it is, since He always gives me His full attention.

Dead and Buried

Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”
(Eze 37:11-14 ESV)

Why do some Christians assert that they have had some part in their salvation. No one can choose Jesus Christ, unless the Father first draws Him. The reason for this is seen here in Ezekiel. Spiritually, we are dead. Not just dead, but a heap of bones already in the grave. But, Jesus called us out of our graves, just as He did Lazarus. We now have the Spirit of God and the life of Christ, in Whom we have put our hope. Let us no longer take credit for the work God that has done, but give Him thanks for His grace.

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