Life IN Christ!
This chapter in Awakened is by far my favorite chapter. It is about our new life IN Christ and sums up the message that burns in my heart. I hate labels... and over the past several months I have been labeled things like universalist, progressive, preterist, etc. I am NONE of those things. I am simply a son (daughter) discovering what the FULLNESS of my life looks like (or is supposed to look like) IN Christ.... what As He Is, So Am I looks like in our daily lives.
This chapter is my passion... it is the language of my heart! And if you're around me for any length of time (whether chatting over coffee, in a zoom meeting, or whatever) the language in this chapter is bound to make its way into our conversation! Enjoy!
April 4, 2020
New Testament Interpretation
Isaiah 42:9 says, “Behold the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare.”
And, Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold I will do a new thing.”
* * *
What we call the New Covenant is not new as in a brand-new covenant that never existed. The word new is chadash in Hebrew, which means to rebuild or to restore. This covenant was new in the sense that it was restored. To restore means to return someone or something to its former condition, place, or position.
Jesus restored the ETERNAL covenant that God had with mankind BEFORE time began.
Ezekiel tells us that this restored covenant (this New Covenant) is a covenant of peace (shalom – WHOLENESS!), and an ETERNAL covenant.
Ezekiel 37:26 says, “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.”
The words “will make” sounds like it’s a future doing on God's part — as in someday He will make a covenant of peace with us. But Ezekiel says it's an ETERNAL covenant. ETERNAL is not limited or bound by time. This restored covenant had no time boundaries. It was limitless and uninterrupted in time. The Mosaic Covenant, however, was time-based. It had a start date AND an expiration date. It was temporal. But this new covenant, this restored covenant of peace or wholeness, was an ETERNAL COVENANT. It had no start date, and it had no expiration date. It always had been and always would be.
This was NOT a future promise of MAKING a new covenant - but the past tense, FINISHED, ETERNAL tense of a covenant that ALWAYS WAS!
Ezekiel goes on to say, “And it (the ETERNAL covenant) shall be with them, and I will establish them, and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst, forevermore." We read four verbs in this verse - shall be, establish, multiply, and set. Three of them (establish, multiply, and set) are all perfect tense, FINISHED tense verbs. They have already been completed. When? Eternally! Before time ever began! In other words, we have ALWAYS been established. We have ALWAYS been multiplied. And His presence has ALWAYS been in our midst. It says forever or l'olam in Hebrew, meaning for ETERNITY!
Meaning that time and space didn't interrupt our being multiplied and established, nor did it interrupt His presence in our midst.
But the verb shall be is an imperfect verb tense, meaning it is present tense and not completed. I like that! This ETERNAL covenant of wholeness SHALL BE! It SHALL BE NOW (present tense) for ALL men at ALL times! It's not a WAS covenant, or a WILL BE covenant.
It's a SHALL BE… an ETERNAL, not bound by time, ever-present, for ALL men at ALL times. An ALWAYS NOW covenant of wholeness!
Meaning that anyone at any time in history could walk in this covenant of peace (wholeness). David did, even while living during the Mosaic Covenant! How is that possible? Because God’s ETERNAL covenant superseded the Mosaic covenant.
And the other verbs in this verse are all completed actions…. FINISHED! God did ALL of this before time began. It says He gave, He multiplied, and He set His sanctuary in their midst ETERNALLY. And then verse 27 tells us that His tabernacle, His dwelling place, was with them (COMPLETED, FINISHED). And it says, “He will be their God and, they will be His people.” The words will be are in two different verb tenses. The first one is in the perfect, FINISHED tense, and the second one is in the imperfect tense.
The first part says He will be our Elohim, our GOD – our Father, Son, and Spirit. Done deal! FINISHED! Meaning there has NEVER been a time He wasn’t our God. In other words, there was NEVER separation from God's point of view. Then it says, “And they will be My people.” This will be is an imperfect verb tense, meaning that it is present tense and not completed.
In other words, anyone at any time could realize they were His! All that mankind needed to do was turn and see that there was never any separation on God's part.
They just needed to turn around and see that there was always this ETERNAL covenant of WHOLENESS in which He was giving to them, multiplying them, dwelling in them, and walking in them (2 Corinthians 6:16). They only had to turn and look FACE TO FACE with their God to see that they had ALWAYS been His! Regardless of behavior, right NOW (present tense) they are His people at every moment in history, they were (and we are) His! Nothing can change that!
There were no time restraints on this covenant. Mankind simply needed to awaken to their ETERNAL union with God (Father, Son, and Spirit). It was an eternal covenant IN Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world.
Paul describes it in Ephesians 1:3-6 when he says, “He blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN Christ, JUST AS He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to sonship by Jesus Christ Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He accepted us in the Beloved.”
Then he tells us in verse 7, “IN HIM, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.” And verse 11 tells us that we have obtained an inheritance” — which Hebrews 9 tells us was an ETERNAL inheritance. All of it – chosen IN HIM, holy, blameless, sonship, redemption through His blood, forgiveness of sins, an inheritance – ALL part of the ETERNAL covenant of wholeness or peace, that we call the New Covenant. It was all BEFORE time began.
For years, I thought all of our inheritance came about because of Jesus' death on the cross two thousand years ago. I had no idea that it was from BEFORE time began!! The cross is eternal! John, in Revelation 13:8, tells us that He was the Lamb slain before the creation of the world. The New Covenant was an ETERNAL covenant with ALL mankind.
It didn't become mine when I prayed the sinner's prayer or went to the altar, asking God to forgive me of all my sins. No, it was always mine… I just needed to wake up to that truth and experience ALL that He purposed for me to walk in.
It was not a NEW thing in the idea of two thousand years ago, God established a new covenant with mankind. No, it was a RESTORED (chadash) covenant never bound by time. Jesus came to earth to restore what had been from before time ever began. Synonyms for restore are to bring back, to redeem, to set to rights, and rebuild. Jesus came to bring back to our understanding this eternal covenant of wholeness that God has always had with ALL mankind. To redeem what was lost…. to show us what it looked like to walk as a son and heir FACE TO FACE with God.
But just like today, not everyone at the time understood what Jesus was saying to them.
Israel had their own idea about what redemption would look like. They had their own idea of how this "new" covenant would deliver them from their enemies. BUT they had a wrong perception of who their enemy was and what they needed to be delivered from. They had a misunderstanding of what was really oppressing them. They knew that God had always delivered them from their oppressor, whether it be Egypt or Babylon, and He would do it again. And they believed He ultimately would do it through the Mashiach (Messiah – or one anointed as a king). And that this Messiah would be a great political leader descended from King David. He would be the One who would liberate them from foreign oppressors and extend His rule over Gentile nations here on earth.
They had lived so long bound to the Old Mosaic Covenant that it had produced in their thinking an "US and THEM" mentality.
Seeing themselves as the chosen ones and everyone else as outsiders of God’s covenant.
Even on their Temple wall, they had several signs setting up boundaries. And according to Josephus, these signs were 3 feet tall and served to separate the Jews and the Gentiles. Separating the inner court and sanctuary from the court of the Gentiles. The Jews deemed anyone not a Jew as "intrinsically impure." The message etched on the signs said, “No alien may enter within the balustrade around the sanctuary and the enclosure. Whoever is caught, on himself shall he blame for the death which will ensue." This was based on Numbers 18:7, “But the outsider who comes near shall die.”
They had an US and THEM way of thinking! Insiders and outsiders!
But God has NO outsiders of His eternal covenant… not then AND NOT NOW.
John tells us that God LOVED the WORLD (ALL mankind)! His love is who He is… it’s not conditional. It’s not more love for those who believe in Him and less for those who don’t. Love is 100% Pure Love for ALL!
In Luke 4, we’re told that Jesus goes into the synagogue, which was his custom, to read and teach the Word. I love it!! The Word was teaching the Word! This time He went to the synagogue in Nazareth, which was His hometown. Jesus had just begun His ministry and was becoming pretty well known for all of the signs, wonders, and miracles He was doing in Capernaum. So, the scroll was handed to Him, and it was Isaiah 61:1-2.
Isaiah 61:1-2 says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus stood to read, and here is what Luke tells us that He said that day.
Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Notice that Jesus changed the verses a bit when He reads them.
• Instead of ending verse 18 with the words and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (like Isaiah did in 61:1), Jesus added the words, and the recovery of sight to the blind.
• And verse 18, He also adds, to set at liberty those who are oppressed which wasn’t in Isaiah 61:1.
• And He left off the day of vengeance of our God.
Let’s look at what those words mean, and then in a bit, we’ll look closer at why Jesus might have added those things in.
In verse 18, recovery of sight for the blind suggests in the Greek a complete change of perspective, a looking upward. And I like the Mirror Bible’s translation of to proclaim liberty to the captives. It says, “He has commissioned me to announce the freedom of forgiveness [their true I-am-ness] to those held captive at spear-point by their guilt and shame.”
Mirror Bible notes on this verse says — the word forgiveness is aphieimi, it is from two words -- apo, meaning away from, and hieimi which is an intensive form of eimi, meaning I am. Forgiveness is in essence a restoring to your true ‘I-am-ness’ – your Christ-like-ness!
And in verse 19, Jesus leaves off the day of vengeance and ONLY mentions JUBILEE – the acceptable year of the Lord, or the year of the Lord’s favor!! The Mirror Bible translates this verse as, “I announce that the Jubilee year of the Lord has come! This is the liberation celebration of the Lord, embracing humanity home!” Although this verse doesn’t specifically say Jubilee, all of the hearers that day would’ve known Jesus was talking about Jubilee. In Leviticus 25:10 we read about Jubilee -- “You will declare this fiftieth year sacred and proclaim the liberation (Greek aphesis) of all the inhabitants of the land. This is to be a jubilee for you.” In the Greek Septuagint the word jubilee is aphesis meaning liberation.
In ancient Hebrew, jubilee is a word picture of shepherding someone safely and securely home.
There was no day of vengeance coming – the Shepherd was bringing the Father’s sons safely home!
And then it says that He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The big question on everyone’s mind would be, when? In other words, when is this liberation coming? This year of Jubilee? And then He said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Verse 21 in the Mirror Bible says, “He then proceeded to say to them, “Everything contained in this scripture, its complete prophetic, Messianic and Jubilee significance is now fulfilled - in your ears! You don’t have to wait for another day or another time! Within your grasping and accurate hearing, today becomes your day! This is the fulness of time!”
The custom was to stand while reading and then sit and teach on what was read. So, not only did He change the words of Isaiah in His opening teaching of this verse but added that it was ALL fulfilled on that day. I love the Mirror Bibles interpretation – within your grasping and accurate hearing, TODAY becomes YOUR DAY! The same is true for us today… it is all FULFILLED, COMPLETED – FINISHED! TODAY becomes your day to experience your COMPLETE freedom when you hear and grasp the truth of it being FINISHED!
And verse 22 in the Mirror Bible, “For a moment, everyone was touched and filled with wonder at the words of grace that poured out of his mouth. Until they began to mutter amongst themselves and said, “Hey, but this is Joseph’s son, no?” — Knowing Jesus from a mere human point of view, veils Him from you, and blocks the mirror impact for you to now also discover yourself!
Can't you just hear the confused mutterings and whisperings starting to circulate in the room? The people knew these two verses very well. But Jesus had changed these verses, which may not sound like much of a difference to our Western ears, but it was a BIG change to them! This promise in Scripture was what they were waiting for, deliverance from their oppressor (Rome). They believed the hope of deliverance and freedom from oppression was for THEM… NOT the Gentiles.
But Jesus, after reading what God would do for them, healing and delivering them, NOW He adds Isaiah 42:7 and Isaiah 58:6 to His reading of Isaiah 61:1-2! He is reminding them of what they are to do for the nations!
Isaiah 42:7 says, "To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house."
And Isaiah 58:6 says, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?”
He is telling them what they are to do for the Gentiles — for their oppressors!
He’s reminding them of their joint participation with God. Their co-laboring with Him.
The reason they were to co-labor with God in opening blind eyes, and bringing out people who were bound, was because of the previous verse! Verse 6 of Isaiah 42 says, "I Yahweh have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant to the people, for a light to the GENTILES!" And Isaiah 58:6 is also a call to their participation with God - to release the oppressed.
They were to BE Jubilee to the nations by taking care of the poor and oppressed among them instead of waiting for a "year of Jubilee." They were to be a light to the nations!
And as they sat there pretty much stunned at His additions to Isaiah 61:1, He finished verse two BUT left off the part that says, "the day of vengeance of our God." That was probably their favorite part of Isaiah 61:2, just like sometimes in the church, it's ours as well. We LOVE to be vindicated, even at the expense or harm of someone else. We LOVE when God judges us righteous and has vengeance on those who have wronged us. We feel justified!! BUT, that's not God's heart. Jesus is reminding them of God's promise to them in Isaiah 61:1 AND also reminding them of their part in being an expression of Him to the Gentiles. And then He proclaimed NOT God's vengeance upon their enemies but instead His favor, His acceptance, His approval!
Jesus was announcing to them that Jubilee wasn't only for the Jews but for the Gentiles… for ALL mankind. For ALL of God's sons!
He’s telling them that they had gotten it wrong. They had thought that Jubilee for Israel included God's judgment on their oppressors. But Jesus left that part off! And then He sat down, and all eyes were fixed on Him. And He said, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Everyone else who had read those Scriptures and taught on them had said something like, “Someday, this promise will be fulfilled.” But Jesus said, TODAY!
Jesus was saying to them, “Everything you've been waiting for is here! The Jubilee you've been hoping for stands before you... I AM your Jubilee... I AM your Messiah.... the Messianic age (the age of Salvation) has begun... it is no longer a future hope.”
They no longer had to be poor, broken-hearted, captive, blind, or bruised. Jesus’ words to them were, "Your Messiah is here! Salvation has come!"
Jewish expectation was that when Messiah arrived, He would not only restore the fortunes of Israel but would do so by destroying her enemies. They expected a Messiah who was a Warrior King! The inclusion of the Gentiles from this reading of Isaiah was unthinkable for most Jews. Deliverance from captivity for them had always included destructive judgment upon their enemies who enslaved or oppressed them. He had delivered them from Egypt, from the Babylonian Empire, and the Medo-Persian Empire. Why then should the Roman Empire be any different?
But what they failed to understand was that God was doing a new thing. He was restoring the ETERNAL covenant He had with ALL men!!
So, Jesus continues His teaching, giving them examples of pagan Gentiles that Elijah and Elisha had done miracles among. And in verses 23-27 in Luke 4, He is addressing their neglect of being the people of The Blessing. Genesis 12:2 says, “I have blessed you to be a blessing to ALL families of the earth." And He addresses their neglect of being a light to the nations. In verse 23, Jesus indicates that they are asking for signs and for the blessings to flow in THEIR town. Because so far, Jesus had been doing miracles in Capernaum, which was a city of both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus was indicating that He had also come to be a light and a blessing TO the Gentiles. This would include their Roman oppressors... and that was unthinkable!
And so, they were offended with His gracious words, His words of grace; because His words INCLUDED the Gentiles. INCLUDED the outsiders of THEIR covenant with THEIR God!
And then Jesus reminds them of God's goodness towards two specific Gentiles. Two "intrinsically impure" outsiders… the widow of Sidon and Naaman the Syrian. God's heart has ALWAYS been for ALL people and for EVERY nation... Jews AND Gentiles. He doesn’t have insiders and outsiders. He has SONS!!
Or to put that into language we understand and speak in the church today… God doesn’t see believers AND unbelievers, church people and worldly people, or even saints and sinners… He only sees SONS!!
This widow of Sidon resided in a place that was FULL of idolatry and rebellion. The widow in Luke 4 represented Gentile sinners, those unclean. Telling these Jews, that instead of being sent to the Jewish widows, Elijah was sent to minister God's grace and provision to this Gentile widow. This was offensive to them. And His next example was not just offensive, but absolutely impossible to their natural reasonings! Naaman represented much more than just someone unclean, a sinner, he was the captain of the Syrian army. The Syrians oppressed Israel. They were enemies of Israel. Much in the same way that the Romans were the oppressors of the group sitting and listening to Jesus. Surely Jesus wasn't asking them to be a light and a blessing to their oppressive enemies, was He? YES!! Because God's heartbeat is for ALL mankind.
And He was so intent on showing the Israelites His love and compassion for ALL people that He chose one of the most hated men in Israel at that time to prove it.
God, in His great mercy and love, pursued Naaman. And Luke 4 tells us that there were MANY lepers in Israel, but NONE were healed except Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:27).
These two examples of God's eternal covenant with ALL, of His favor, acceptance, and approval of ALL mankind, enraged the listeners that day. It says they were filled with wrath, rose up, thrust Jesus out of the city, and then attempted to throw Him off a cliff! Wow! They were filled with wrath when they heard that God isn’t a God of wrath and judgment but inclusion and love!
The word filled is pletho, meaning COMPLETELY full or filled to one's individual capacity. They weren’t just mad or even angry… they were COMPLETELY FILLED with wrath. They thought life in covenant with God meant that His favor was solely on them. And His revenge or punishment upon their enemies… upon those who came against them. Believing that His defense of them (the chosen ones, the faithful ones) trumped His mercy on those that weren’t in covenant with Him (all non-Jews).
And so, they were enraged with Jesus' description of what covenant life with God looked like.
We in the church have also had a misconception about what covenant life with God looks like. We've erred in our understanding of this "new" covenant life. We've also had an “us and them” religious mentality.
We've made the New Testament teachings about sin, instead of it being the teaching of the end of ALL sin for ALL time.
We've preached a sin conscious gospel to those we label as unclean, sinners, and outsiders of God's covenant. When all along, God has said there are none unclean, and there are no outsiders of His covenant. And He remembers sin no more… and therefore, from His perspective, there are no "sinners." Because for Him to see them as sinners would be to recall sin, and He has no memory of sin.
He has reconciled ALL men to Himself. ALL are justified and reconciled according to Romans. He is the Light that has given life to ALL men. He brought life and immortality to light through the gospel… to ALL men.
metanoia moment: If there was ever a need for a metanoia moment in this book, it’s right here. I think this was the most significant change that has taken place in my thinking…. ALL are INCLUDED in God’s eternal covenant of peace. And the ALL included is NOT provisional based on anything we need to do. There is no “us and them” in God’s logic…. there is only ALL! I challenge you to take off your “provisional/conditional” lens when you read Scripture. Just read the ALL’s and allow Holy Spirit to reveal the FULLNESS of what ALL means.
William Tyndale defined the gospel as the good, glad, happy news that makes a man jump for joy!
But we've preached a New Testament gospel that tells men they were born with a sin nature and therefore are separated from God. And to receive justification and forgiveness of sin, we have to confess that we are a sinner that needs saving. And then because of OUR faith IN Jesus, when we repent and believe and pray this "sinner's prayer,” Jesus will come and live in our heart, we will have eternal life, and we will miss hell.
But is that the gospel that Paul preached? Is that the good news of the New Testament? Is it truly the new thing that God said He was doing?
NO! The gospel of grace is the message of ALL mankind’s union with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). It is the message of Christ IN you! This message is for ALL men… not just those who “accept Jesus.”
But Robin, ALL men? What about the unbelievers, sinners, and unrighteous people?
We already mentioned earlier that God doesn’t see men like that – we do! God only sees sons, and He only sees Christ IN ALL!
In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul is talking about this message of Christ in you. He said it was the mystery hid for ages but now revealed to the saints. The word revealed is phaneroó, meaning has become apparent or graspable. They mystery of Christ in us has become graspable… we’ve awakened to it! He goes on in verse 27 to say that God’s desire is that we make known to the GENTILES (aka, those we in the church label as unbelievers, heathens, sinners, unrighteous, unclean, etc.) the glory IN them (not among like some translations say – it is Greek en). What is the glory IN them? He goes on to say it is CHRIST IN them as in you. CHRIST IN ALL MEN! This was the mystery of the gospel now revealed.
Colossians 2:12 (Mirror Bible) says, “Your co-inclusion IN Christ is what God's faith knew when He powerfully raised Him from the dead."
And He wasn't raised alone -- ALL mankind were co-raised IN Him 2000 years ago. Hosea 6:2 says, "And on the third day He will raise us up so we can live in His presence."
Paul's message was: INSIDE YOU IS CHRIST! He used the phrases "in Christ," "in Him," and "in Whom" over 130 times in his writings. And he described his conversion as the awakening to Christ IN Him. Galatians 1:15-16 [emphasis mine] says, “It pleased the Father.... 16 to reveal His Son IN (Greek: en) me. That I might preach Him IN (not among like some translations say; it is again the Greek word en) the nations." When Paul shared his awakening of Christ IN him with King Agrippa, Festus interrupted (in Acts 26:24) and said in a loud voice, "You're insane (or raving mad) Paul! Your great learning (or too much studying) has driven you out of your mind."
The Message Bible says, "That was too much for Festus: He interrupted with a shout: "Paul, you're crazy! You've read too many books, spent too much time staring into space! Get a grip on yourself, get back into the real world!"
BUT according to Paul this is our real world!! He was FULLY persuaded that this Gospel he preached is how we are to live our new lives IN Christ — WHOLE in every area of our lives: spiritual, mental, physical, social, and financial; nothing missing, and nothing broken!
Paul’s message to ALL mankind was — “WAKE UP! You're not in sin, you're dead to sin because you died IN Him, you are COMPLETELY resurrected, and your new life is ONENESS, your identity is AS HIM! AWAKEN!"
Paul had been an extremely zealous “us and them” religious man... to the point of killing Christians. But now he had awakened to Christ IN him and was zealous about this gospel! He now realized that the Gospel of Grace, this ETERNAL Gospel of WHOLENESS, was for ALL mankind. It revealed a new (FULLY restored) humanity, a new creation no longer in Adam but IN Christ. In other words, mankind now no longer identified with Adam but ONLY with Christ!
He preached a gospel that revealed that ALL of Adam died at the cross, and no part of him survived. Christ did a COMPLETE, FINISHED work that changed ALL of mankind (believers AND unbelievers)!
There is nothing more needed except to awaken! Wake up to who we are IN Him. And that's something the Father takes great delight in — waking us up by revealing Christ IN us, just like He did IN Paul (Galatians 1:15-16). Paul didn't preach a Romans road TO salvation (sozo - wholeness), focusing on sin consciousness. He taught a FINISHED road OF salvation (sozo - wholeness) focusing on son consciousness.
We've made the New Testament teachings about sin and behavior. But the New Testament message is that IN Christ, we have NO association with sin and death.
Hebrews 10:2b (Douay-Rheims): “Because the worshippers once cleansed should have NO conscience of sin any longer.” (emphasis mine)
And in verse 14 (KJV), the writer of Hebrews informs us, “For by ONE offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (emphasis mine)
The word perfected in verse 14 is in the perfect verb tense, meaning an action completed in the past and the effects continue into the present. We WERE perfected two thousand years ago at the cross, we ARE perfected, and we will CONTINUE to always be perfected — perfect tense! The word sanctified is a present participle that describes an action thought of as happening simultaneous with the main verb, PERFECTED. In other words, when we were perfected, we were sanctified… FINISHED, DONE!!
We are FINISHED, COMPLETED, PERFECTED, SANCTIFIED IN HIM FOREVER.
But that hasn’t been our message — we've taught the New Testament from a perspective of progressive sanctification.
quote: “Sanctification is NOT a progressive rectification of your behavior; rather, IT IS a progressive recognition of your identity." ~ Paul Anderson Walsh
That's so good!!! The more we wake up to the recognition or the awareness of who we are — whole, complete, sanctified, FINISHED — the more we will walk in that identity!
We are sons! And as sons, we are of the same nature as our Father.
In fact, Jesus reminded the Israelites of that very truth in John 10. He had spoken of His co-union, His ONENESS with the Father in verse 30, saying, "The Father and I are one." The word I is ego, and the term ego was only used when you were expressing something emphatically. He said the Father and I ARE (eimi – exist; to be) ONE — we exist as ONE. It's a life of co-existence, co-union, ONENESS!
To see Jesus is to see the Father! This enraged them, and they picked up stones to kill Him!!
Jesus asked them for which of the Father’s good works they desired to stone Him. They responded that it wasn’t because of any good work but for blasphemy — because from their perspective, He was a mere man and yet made Himself equal with God. Religion doesn't get angry about any of our works. It gets angry when we walk in our FULL identity as sons, image, and likeness of God — sons with the same nature as our Father.
Jesus responded by asking them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said you are gods’?”
Psalm 82:6 (NASB – emphasis mine): “I said, "You are gods, And ALL of you are sons of the Most High.”
Psalm 82:6 (Mirror Bible – emphasis mine): All of you are like Elohim since you are ALL sons of the Most High. You are ALL equal image bearers of the same likeness!
ALL mankind — gods, and sons! ALL bearing the equal image and same likeness as the Father. This is the ETERNAL covenant of WHOLENESS! He breathed IN-to us His divine nature. Filling us with His limitlessness, incorruptibility, immortality, and eternality. He breathed the FULLNESS of Father, Son, and Spirit IN-to mankind (Genesis 2:7)! He is Divine, King, High Priest, Lord, and God. Therefore, we are divine ones, kings, priests, lords, and gods! God is our Father (ALL mankind), and so we are of the same nature – God begat gods! This is who mankind is! This is God's account of us! But rather than walk in the identity of sonship, the body of Christ identifies more as servants. We've misunderstood what the "new" covenant life looks like. We've seen ourselves as the Romans 7 man… struggling between an old sin nature and a new redeemed nature. Always focused on sin and separation from God. Failing to understand that AS He is so, are we IN this world (1 John 4:17).
And the problem with that is that perception creates belief, belief creates an experience, and our experience creates our reality.
A perception of sin creates the belief of being separated from God. And believing we are separated from God creates an experience of death – sickness, disease, poverty, lack, addiction, fear, etcetera. And those experiences (sickness, disease, lack, poverty, addiction, fear, etc.) become our "reality" in this life. But this "reality" is distorted. It's not real from God's perspective, and it exists only in the appearance realm. Because sin and death were DESTROYED two thousand years ago.
We've limited the "new" covenant to a watered-down version of salvation. An understanding of salvation for most is about making heaven and missing hell. And their belief is that in the meantime, we will suffer "normal" things like sickness, disease, death, lack, etc., in this life. Believing that SOMEDAY, when we get to heaven, we will then get a resurrected, glorified body and suffer no more. And there will be no more sickness, no more disease, no more death. He will finally wipe away our tears, and we will dwell with Him forever ruling and reigning. Sadly, most teach some type of version of this as our new life IN Christ. But it is so contrary to what the New Testament actually teaches. AND it's not even what the Old Testament taught!
Isaiah 25:9 says, "And, it will be said, in that day, behold this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."
Isaiah says, “In that day.” What day is he referring to? The day of salvation. And verse 8, in Isaiah 25, describes what that day of salvation looks like. It says, “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken."
Wait a minute!! Swallowing up death forever, wiping away tears from all faces, isn’t that talking about a future hope, a coming day? But Isaiah links both of those things with the day of salvation. Didn’t that day of salvation appear two thousand years ago? Isn’t salvation a FINISHED work?
Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Titus 2:11 (Berean Literal Bible) says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”
2 Timothy 1:9 (Christian Standard Bible) says, “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”
Those are just a few Scriptures, but I think it's safe to say the day of salvation happened, and He has saved us… past tense, FINISHED work. It is not something He will do. It’s not a future hope but a very present reality! So Isaiah 25:9 is talking about Jesus and the cross, two thousand years ago. This means that verse 8 is also a FINISHED work of Christ that happened on the day of salvation two thousand years ago.
Isaiah said that in the day of salvation, He would swallow death forever and wipe away every tear. 2 Timothy 1:9 above said that He saved us and called us with a holy calling. Both verbs, saved and called, are aorist tense… FINISHED, DONE! It says that we were saved and called, not according to our own works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us IN Christ Jesus BEFORE TIME BEGAN. The verb phrase given to us is also aorist tense…. this too is FINISHED, DONE!
So, it is saying that we were saved and called BEFORE TIME BEGAN… FINISHED, DONE!
But Isaiah said there was a DAY OF SALVATION. Verse 10 of 2 Timothy 1 says, “But has NOW been revealed by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!” What has NOW been revealed by the appearing of Jesus? Salvation! The NOW manifestation of our FINISHED salvation was in the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ — aka: the DAY OF SALVATION! So, Isaiah told us that every tear is wiped away, and death is swallowed up in the day of salvation.
Paul tells us here in Timothy that Jesus is the One who abolished death. When? In the DAY OF SALVATION two thousand years ago!
1 Corinthian 5:54 tells us that death was swallowed up in victory! And Romans 6:9 tells us that death no longer has dominion over Jesus. So, according to Isaiah, part of our salvation is death swallowed up. And we see from 2 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 5:54, and Romans 6:9 that it has indeed already happened when Jesus appeared. Therefore, it's also safe to say that ALL tears have been wiped away, regardless of how life circumstances contradict that. Isaiah said both would happen in the DAY OF SALVATION.
The wiping away of our tears is mentioned in Revelation 21:4. It says, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." We thought this verse was a future, someday happening. Either in the sweet by and by when we die, or in the 2nd coming of Christ. BUT the old order has already passed away… FINISHED, DONE! And 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is IN CHRIST he is a new creation, the old things have passed away, behold the new has come into being."
MAYBE, we've had a wrong perception of salvation, believing some of what we read is future tense rather than FINISHED. This belief has affected our experiences in life.
Let’s look at one more example of salvation being an Old Testament reality. In Exodus 14:13, Moses tells the people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Yes, salvation has always existed! Remember, 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that salvation was IN CHRIST before time began AND was revealed through the appearing of Jesus (verse 10). Salvation is an ETERNAL reality that was never bound by time! For example, in Exodus 14, Moses tells them to stand still and see God's salvation. And then he goes on to say, the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see NO MORE FOREVER!
The word saved in Hebrew is yeshua, and it is a weighty word. It means to deliver, to rescue, to give victory to. It is to transfer from one realm, one reality, and one experience ALL THE WAY to another realm, reality, and experience.
The Israelites were saved. They were delivered out of the realm of Egypt (a type of SIN). And from the Egyptians (a type of DEATH – sickness, disease, poverty, lack, etcetera). They experienced salvation. Salvation is NOT about going to heaven and missing hell. It's the transfer of one realm (sin), one reality (bondage to sin), and one experience (death – sickness, disease, lack, etc.) to another realm. The realm called IN CHRIST — to WHOLENESS in every area of life here and now!
Isaiah 26:12 says, "You will establish peace (wholeness) for us for ALL of OUR works you have done for us." He did it ALL for us. There is NOTHING needed for us to do but simply REST in His FINISHED works. We can stop trying to have enough faith, love, strength, holiness, steadfastness, etcetera. All of that has been FINISHED, COMPLETED, PERFECTED for us, AS us. Romans 5:1 says, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We HAVE peace, we HAVE wholeness because ALL He did, He did for us – AS us!
So, when our perception is IN Christ and IN our ONENESS with Him. Then our belief is His life IN us and AS us. And then our experience is WHOLENESS in every area of life, and being WHOLE becomes our REALITY in life NOW.
And then, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 takes on a whole new meaning! A NOW meaning instead of a future, someday interpretation! We've made parts of our redemption, parts of our salvation, a future fulfillment, when God has definitely said ETERNAL! Eternal didn't start at the cross. The cross is eternal. Our salvation, our redemption, our life, our inheritance, etc., didn't become eternal when Jesus said IT IS FINISHED. Eternal has no beginning and no end... it is not time-bound. But we have had a time-based mindset. We have been taught to look for the last day when we will be raptured out of here. When we will hear an angel blow the final trumpet, and THEN we will be changed entirely — be made completely WHOLE. But is that what Paul meant?
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul talks about the last trumpet. What did that mean to Paul's listeners?
In verse 51, Paul says, "Behold! I tell you a mystery." In other words, something that can only be known through revelation. Then he says, “ALL will not sleep (or die); however, ALL will be changed (transformed)!”
I can hear the excitement in Paul's voice! He's about to reveal something to them that if they (and us!) will grab hold of it, it will forever change their (and our!) thinking!
The words "will not sleep" and "will be changed" are both future, indicative, passive tenses. Future indicative means it's an absolute fact that this will happen — in the future. It's passive tense, meaning it will occur without any help from them (or us). But Paul's not talking future as in after we are raptured and go to heaven.
So, when is this future? We have to continue reading.
Verse 52 says, “In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For, the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” I always thought verse 52 was talking about the rapture when the angel would blow the last trumpet and whoosh in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, we'd be gone! Because we’ve equated the last trumpet in this verse with our understanding of what we’ve been taught about Revelation, the final trumpet, and the rapture!
But would Paul's listeners have heard something different when Paul mentions the LAST TRUMPET?
What did the LAST TRUMPET mean to them? It has to do with Rosh Hashanah, and it has nothing to do with being raptured or left behind!
Tradition says that on the last day of Rosh Hashanah, the shofar, or the LAST TRUMPET, would be blown. Calling all to the temple where a particular door (opened only at this time) would be opened. We’re told about this last trumpet blowing on Rosh Hashanah that two might be standing in the field, and only one would go since one might not be a Jew. And no man knew the day or hour when the blast of the shofar would sound. Why? Because it occurred on the sighting of the new moon. Hence this celebration falls upon two days, for two witnesses would watch until both sighted the new moon sliver – then and only then would the shofar (the LAST TRUMPET) be blown.
This shofar, or last trumpet, was called The Awakening Blast.
So, when is the future tense of not dying (sleeping) and being transformed that Paul is talking about? When they hear the awakening blast (the last trumpet) and awake!! That future time is different for everyone. But one thing is clear... it will most definitely happen (indicative mood) and not because of anything you do (passive voice)! That's good news!! We will ALL awaken and be changed (transformed) in an instant. The Greek word for instant is atomos, meaning a split second, a moment so quick that it is impossible to measure in time. In the twinkling of an eye indicates a rapid movement or jerk of the eye. The word in Greek is rhipe, and word’s root means to cast down in a sudden motion.
We will ALL hear the Awakening Blast IN us, and in a split second, that is impossible to measure in time, we will see the truth of who we have always been IN HIM. And our eyes will jerk away from seeing who we thought we were and that false imagination will be cast down!
And then it says the dead will be raised imperishable. When will we become imperishable? When we hear the awakening blast and awaken to our actual state — which is imperishable, immortal, incorruptible, and unable to decay!
Verse 53 starts out with, it behooves. Meaning, it is necessary. Or in other words, it must absolutely happen! a present indicative tense, which means it is essential and must absolutely occur in our lives CONTINUALLY. And it's in the active voice saying this is something we must continuously do.
What must absolutely happen? The perishable must put on imperishable. And the mortal must put on immortality.
WHEN? When they awaken to the reality of who they are right NOW... imperishable and immortal.
Imperishable is incorruptible. It means unable to experience deterioration and lacking the very capacity to decay or constitutionally break down. It also means having an ETERNAL existence.
Immortality means without death, not subject to end or literally, deathlessness. It is freedom from death!
It says we are to put on imperishability and immortality continually. We are to clothe ourselves in imperishability and immortality. How do we do that? Ephesians 4 links the idea of clothing ourselves in the new man, to renewing our mind. Colossians and Ephesians both tell us that we are to renew our minds according to God's image. Put on means to sink into a garment. It is to cease from struggling TO BE and just relax in who we are.... image and likeness of God – imperishable and immortal!
Paul goes on and, in verse 54, tells us when we will be clothed with immortality. It says, “THEN will be the word written: the death is swallowed up in victory!” The words will be is a future indicative tense, meaning it's a future fact that will definitely happen in our lives. So, when is this future? When we awaken and put on (or clothe ourselves) in imperishability and immortality – when we hear the awakening blast, or last trumpet. When we awaken and our thinking is clothed with the truth that we are FREE from death, decay, corruptibility, deterioration, sickness, disease, aging, etcetera. And that we are as He is in this world... IMMORTAL and IMPERISHABLE! Swallowed up is a past tense, FINISHED tense fact meaning destroyed! Death HAS BEEN destroyed…. FINISHED, DONE!
Verse 56 (NIV - emphasis mine), says, “The sting (or poison) of (THE) death is (THE) sin (hamartia – mistaken identity; missing the mark), and the power (or force) of (THE) sin is the law.”
The law or the DO TO BECOME systems empower sin (hamartia - mistaken identity).
This releases the poison of death in our lives — physical death, sickness, poverty, disease, lack, etc.
In verse 57 it says, “He is giving us the victory.” What victory? The triumph that death has been COMPLETELY defeated in our lives! Don’t read the words is giving as someday or as a victory that is given based on anything we do. The Mirror Bible says it this way, “Your victory is not a maybe; because of the magnanimous doing of Jesus Christ, it is a given!” And the Message Bible says this, “But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!”
We have been given COMPLETE victory NOW! Sin and death are gone COMPLETELY, SUCCESSFULLY, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The word giving is a present tense—meaning it is continual!! He continually gives us victory. How? The awakening blast will sound again, and again, and again in our lives…. awakening IN us more and more that death (and all of its poisonous effects such as sickness, disease, lack, etc.) has been COMPLETELY DEFEATED in our lives – in every area of our lives!
Awakening is an unfolding in our lives – awakening us more and more to IT IS FINISHED and we can live from that reality NOW!!
The New Testament is a book about one generation of believers living out their "new" restored life IN CHRIST. That was approximately two thousand years ago! And two thousand years should have produced a generation today FULLY awake! Walking in the awareness of our COMPLETE WHOLENESS—an understanding of nothing missing, nothing broken in our lives. We should be walking in complete freedom and liberty and walking in the abundance of hyper-grace. Living lives, giving no thought to sickness, disease, poverty, or even death! Walking in an understanding of our immortality, of our nature as divine ones having come from the Divine Ones. ALL of creation should no longer be waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Because two thousand years should've produced a generation completely aware of their sonship and walking in their rightful authority and dominion.
But instead, we often experience lack, sickness, disease, poverty, addiction, etcetera. Living our lives subject to rules and regulations that we "read" in the Bible. Living under the law instead of grace. We have very little (if any) understanding of our own immortality and divine nature. Instead, thinking we have a dual nature of God AND sin. We think hyper-grace gives us a license to sin (Romans 6:1), not grasping that sin was FULLY dealt with on the cross. And we live our life unaware of our sonship, not realizing that we have complete authority and dominion over all the works of God's hands. In fact, most live their lives with an orphan or slave mentality, subject to circumstances that happen in life.
Two thousand years should've looked very different if we had continued to grow in the revelation of our IN CHRISTED-NESS that Paul taught.
I'm not waiting for a resurrected, glorified body someday. I’m awakening day by day to the reality of it NOW in this life.
I like the J.B. Phillips translation of 1 John 3:2, "Oh, dear children of mine (forgive the affection of an old man!), have you realized it? Here and now, we are God's children. We don't know what we shall become in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness, for we should see him as he really is!”
The Apostle John, in the original language, said "beloved" and didn't say, "forgive the affection of an old man!” That's purely J.B. Phillips take on this verse. Nevertheless, I do like the part of the verse that says, "We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect His likeness, for we should see Him as He really is!" Where does reality need to breakthrough? It needs to breakthrough in our thinking, awareness, and understanding.
The Mirror Bible says it like this, "Beloved, we know that we are children of God to begin with, which means that there can be no future surprises; his manifest likeness is already mirrored in us! Our sameness cannot be compromised or contradicted; our gaze will confirm exactly who He is - and who we are."
John isn't saying that we shall SOMEDAY be like Him AFTER we die. He uses the word phaneroo, which means realized, to thoroughly understand, to recognize and grasp what has been made plain. He's encouraging us that we will reflect Him in our lives when we realize that we are like Him. And then in chapter 4, John tells us, "AS He is, so are WE in this world."
This is a right NOW verse. It's not as He is that we will someday be when we go to heaven. NO! Right NOW, in this world, in our ordinary, at times mundane, daily lives, we ARE just like Him!!
It is when we really see Him, when reality breaks through, then we will realize that as He IS — we also IS, HERE and NOW in THIS world! Then we'll stop waiting for future manifestations and live in the NOW-ness of His FINISHED work… experiencing WHOLENESS in every area of life.
This is New Testament Interpretation– it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives IN me – it's the IS-ness and the NOW-ness of His life IN us, AS us, and expressing Himself THROUGH us!!