Posts tagged ‘Spiritual life’

Then God said “Let there be light”

I am writing this post to extend my support to my Sister Najma Zaman (in Christ), who is conducting a study for her Masters in Psychology on the effect of Christian practice in people’s lives. A study, which required me to reflect on Gen 1:1-3 over a period of two weeks and check for any improvements on my well-being by way of a psychometric test carried out before and after the reading period.

Let’s look at Gen 1:1-3 & John 20:20-22…

Gen 1:1-3
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

John 20
20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

When we look at the above verses, we get this idea that there was something formless and void, which God illuminated by simply saying “Let there be light”. Such is the power of God’s word. In this context, it would help you understand that prophesy in the Bible is not just God looking into the future and tell His people what shall come to pass but He instead defines the future by saying what He shall do in that time by the sheer power of His will. So too, the Bible is referred to as the Word of God because in it is that life giving breath of God, which gives the elect spiritual life. This is the spiritual life God breathed into Adam after he formed him out of dust, which Adam lost in his disobedience (Gen 2 below). This spiritual life was/is restored to God’s elect by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus, who paid the price of Adam’s disobedience with His perfect obedience to the point death (Phil 2 below), thus taking our place in death to pay the wages of our sins that we may have life in Him (Rom 6:23).

Gen 2
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Phil 2:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
….
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Reading Rom 5:17 should help you understand the context of the two verses, mentioned above. Gen 1:1-3 also has some startling similarity with baptism, where Rom 6:4 says that in baptism we die with Jesus to our sin and are raised to new life. It’s also interesting to note from Joshua 1:2 that the Israelites had to enter the Promise Land by crossing the Jordan. The waters of baptism therefore represent repentance where we are quickened from that spiritual death, which defines our self-righteousness, to spiritual life God offers His elect in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:24-26). About the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus when He was baptized, we must remember that the reason Jesus was baptized because He shares two complete natures perfectly i.e. Man (without sin) & God. So as much as it was not God the Son who died on the cross but the Man Jesus who did, so also it was not God the Son was baptized but the Man Jesus, to indicate He is the first born of the brethren leading them unto Salvation (Rom 8:28/1Pet 2:24). Let’s take a look at the baptism account of Jesus as given in John 1.

John 1
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

So, what is the take home from this study? Well, for long as you out there in the world living for yourself and serving your own interest, you do not have spiritual life… your life lacks form and is void. The conversion however happens when we rest our faith in Jesus, who is the light of the world (Jn 8:12) and as we conform each day into His likeness, we become the light of Christ to a world (Mat 5:14) sold to darkness and bondage of sin. Remember, we were made in the image of God (Gen 1:26), meaning we were made to reflect that very nature of God in our being, and so in dying to ourselves and living for God, our spiritual ideology takes shape as we find divine purpose in life. It is also intriguing to note that scientifically as you journey into the depths of the oceans, there comes a point where there is no light and the creatures here that produce their own light as some of the most hideous creatures you’ve seen. I guess that is how spiritual death (sin) manifest itself in the lives of the reprobate that the farther they are from the righteous of God (light of Christ), the more hideous these creatures are who live by their self-righteousness (making their own light). Luke 5:31-32 is a nice verse to read in this context.

Luke 5
31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

I shall now close this post, hoping that my effort in reflecting on Gen 1:1-3 in the light of scripture compliments Najma’s efforts in her study of Christian beliefs/practice positively affecting people’s lives. All the best dear Sister.

God bless!

The Righteousness of Christ!

It was once implied to me in a conversation that Adam fell because he was innocent and knew nothing of sin. Well, such is the view of many Antinomians, who fail to see the extent to which reprobate man has fallen short of the glory of God. The thing is, when there is a nature to sin then it is not sinning that make a person a sinner, for the thought needs to occur to him first and then the desire to materialize it and this is what makes a person a sinner for the act of sin would not be birthed if the nature to sin did not exist. A famous theologian once said that Satan is just the midwife but it is our will and lust which is father and mother to our sinful actions.

Romans 5
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

There is a difference between Adam in his unfallen state and the believer who goes over to the other side of the grave. Adam had the capacity to fall because he was given a condition that could bring about his spiritual death, which was eating the forbidden fruit. As for the believer on the other side of the grave, His promise is eternal life in Christ (Titus 1:1-2), which means he no longer has the capacity to fall because then the promise would not be eternal. When Adam was created, his nature was not corrupt, so he was better off than the reprobate man in his resistance towards sin. As Jesus has said that even the thought of entertaining a sin is a sin committed in the heart (Mat 5:28) and as James 2:10 says that he who stumbles even on a single point of the commandments becomes guilty on stumbling on them all.

Hence the same verse Gen 3:6 in which Eve saw the forbidden fruit was good, is the same verse in which she also ate of it and gave Adam and he ate of it too. That was the time their eyes were opened meaning they received a righteousness of their own i.e. having a standard separate from God concerning what is right and what is wrong. Everything changed for them instantly, their view concerning even themselves was different from what God had concerning them because by themselves they turned ashamed of their nakedness (Gen 3:11). This sin has been passed through Adams loins to all his posterity and so now man determines what he is to believe concerning God. This is the Spiritual death permeating through the generations of Adam where reprobate man’s nature discerns the Law (James 4:11) of his maker thus bringing himself under His justice (Romans 2:12).

When man was created, God breathed life into him (Gen 2:7) and this was the Holy Spirit for His Spirit refers to that which God breathed and giving life. So the death of Adam and Eve in their disobedience was actually in their Spirit. The reprobate man therefore does not know the righteousness of God until he is touched by the Holy Spirit and it is for this reason that, in the entire Bible the only person of whom it is said that he can sin without even knowing it (Numbers 22:34) is the biologically alive man, for sin comes naturally to him.

John 20
.21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Notice from John 20:22 that Jesus breathed on his disciples and said receive the Holy Spirit. If you were to read the Nicene Creed, which is a statement of faith of the early Church, you would find in reference to the Holy Spirit and He is the giver of life. It is for this reason that the Bible too is referred to as God breathed or Spirit inspired, because it gives life to those whom God foreknows (foreloves), it is the believers sustenance (Mat 4:4). It is important to see here that Christ is the fulfillment of Gen 3:15, because through the accomplishment of Christ work on the cross, Spiritual life was made available to the believer, that life which was lost in Adam. This was the very undoing of Satan’s deceit, for in his very attempt to thwart the redemptive work of Christ; he was dealt a fatal blow.

Phil 4:13
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Romans 8:10
10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Just as Eve’s sin was the moment she saw the fruit was good to eat, in the same way the sacrifice of Christ is received by the believer at the very moment he believes the Word. The very moment from the Father’s call to the believer to come unto Christ (John 6:44), sees the Holy Spirit impute the Seed/His Word into believer, which becomes the very beginning of the believer seeing a righteousness develop in him that is not his own but of God’s (John 1:13). So begins the process where the believer dies to his flesh and becomes alive in His Spirit (Romans 6:4) and he then steps forward to witness Christ in the sacrament of Baptism. The same thing is with the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, unless the believer is imputed by the Holy Spirit to receive in faith Christ’ redemptive sacrifice, the Holy Eucharist is only as much as bread and wine as Baptism is of water.

Romans 6:4
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

The dying to oneself is brought about through repentance (Luke 13:3), where man acknowledges that his righteousness was nothing but filthy rags (Is 64:6) before God i.e. he doesn’t justify himself before Christ but acknowledges himself as a sinner before his Savior and Almighty God.

Romans 3
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

Luke 15
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’

Romans 1
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Do you remember the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15? The Father sees him, the repentant son from a far and runs out to welcome him while he is still on his way i.e. the believer is joyously acknowledge before God in his repentance (Luke 15:10) while is still far off being led by the Holy Spirit into sanctification (Exodus 31:13). You notice he puts His ring on his finger, which is probably symbolic to the repentant son receiving the righteousness of God. This righteousness is not of men but of faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;

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