Sunday 22 November 2009

International House of Prayer Awakening

Much has been bubbling here in the background. I have much to share and little time.
So to focus.....

There has been an awakening over at the International House of Prayer Bible School. Full details are in the linked page.

I am feeling specially driven to complete what I have felt to do in terms of animation in order to properly present Corinthian Elders in context, and highlight why it must be read. It is one of the books for the hour I feel. Those that know my previous creative attempts on here know how difficult I find producing work that is clear and professional on domestic equipment without the dosh for high end Mac equipment and Adobe programmes. I am grateful for Xara Xtreme Pro, but because you cannot readily attach Flash Files to music, I am going through lots of hoops in the background to try and arrive at something worth publishing on YouTube.

Capitalism has a double edge to it. As in Britain, the service level of our trains has risen to a much more professional standard. But linking up tickets across a whole host of independent train firms is sometimes a nightmare.

The same in the computer industry. It takes a computer to really foul up the same time as being a fantastic conduit for it.

Also in the background I've been learning more about "Metanoia - the Greek for Repentance."
And related to this , had two more significant pieces of input about this from Lutherans.
The gift of Repentance is very much embedded in their church revelation. And it dovetails incredibly with this blog!!!

So I wanted to say I am still here and perhaps you will better understand.

Havant Church has been amazing. I have not been for two weeks , but you can sense things have moved on again in the Spirit!!!

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Billy Graham's Prayer for the USA cuts to the heart of all our cultures

Revisionist Tendencies
I am grateful for the comment I have received which seems to put some doubt about whether Billy is the author of this prayer. Perhaps others can clarify. Still like the prayer though! Reminds me of the "Two Winds Prophecy", which because Derek Prince read it out at a conference, has been almost ascribed to him, but it came through another prophet.

I do not apologise for again posting something from this saint. He was the one God used to bring me to Himself.

Billy Graham's Prayer For Our Nation THIS MAN SURE HAS A GOOD VIEW OF WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR COUNTRY! Bonnie Morris sent this through by email.

Bonnie writes:
Billy Graham--it never hurts to be a reminder!
Truth..........from a man the media has never been able to throw dirt on..amazing!!
He has certainly hit the "world" on the head!!

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics.. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story ,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired. With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'One nation under God..'Think about this: If you forward this prayer to everyone on your e-mail list, in less than 30 days it would be heard by the world. (It's worth a try!)
One Nation Under God.

Monday 9 November 2009

What Is Flesh? - Part Two. Brett Burrowes.John Crowder

Brett Burrowes complete transcript/ or alternatively the original spoken mp3 can be obtained here:

He begins:

I'm going to talk today about sin, the flesh and Satan in the Bible. I have been writing, or have written a dissertation on Paul and the law and sin in Romans 7 & 8, it's titled Christ the Living Law, Paul's Transformation of the Law From Letter to Spirit of Christ in Romans 7-8. And I had two sets of purposes in writing the dissertation, one was more academic and the other was more theological or doctrinal.
It really all started back oh about 20 years ago when I went through a Church split over some teachings at this fellowship in NY. And the teachings involved about Satan and Christ, whether sin was a result of a sinful human nature that we have or was it Satan expressing his own nature through us and did we live our lives with the help of the Spirit of Christ of course or was it Christ himself and no longer I living the Christian life? And as Galatians 2:20 says. And it was very disturbing to me that these Christians that I thought cared about me turned on us and walked to the other side of the street and treated us with what I saw was hate rather than Christian love and kindness. And at one point I stood up, probably in ignorance, but I stood up and said to the Church just shortly before I left what Galatians 2:20 meant to me and how Norman Grubb had thrown light on that verse to me and on Romans 7. But I was shaken by what happened and I didn't really, I knew it at one level but not at a level where I felt secure in what I believed. And so I decided to go to seminary to find out for myself what the Bible said, what it meant in the original languages and not that I was just going to take all my seminary professors word for it, but, I wanted, I had to know for myself what the truth was and if the truth was that what Norman was telling me was wrong then I was going to accept it because it was what the Bible said that I knew the bible was the word of God and that was the starting point and the foundation of everything else. And I believe that to be my foundation to this day and the foundation of our fellowship.


ACWelchAll through history God has called towards His believers by means of revelation surrounding Biblical Truth, which is after all only a mirror of True Heavenly Realities to do with the Living Version of the Tabernacle as briefly and I mean briefly outlined in the book of Hebrews.

Now for the Anabaptists it was the discovery of the "living" dynamic to be experienced in total immersion baptism by believers, in an age still almost universally saddled with the belief that you tapped babies on the forehead with some sprinkled water.

In the last century, pioneers of the healing movement like Alexander Dowie were regularly fined by the Chicago municipality for practicing medicine!(It's actually called praying for the sick and it is in your Bibles- though probably not the Episcopalian ones....only joking)) And Dowie kept paying. Added to this, the government did not honour or acknowledge their own health savings as literally thousands were either instantly or rapidly healed of their ailments.

By my reckoning, the Church of Jesus Christ in Chicago are owed millions of pounds in compensation and interest by the central authorities!!!! And we are coming into the time of the restoration of all things!


Later on the Pentecostals and Apostolic Churches were universally rejected for preaching and experiencing both the baptism of the Spirit, and the reinstatement of ministries long abandoned by the Church at large:apostles and prophets.

Well then, we come to the last 30 years or so where the matter has been surrounding Galations 2:20. Do you believe it? Or don't you? And the taking on board of living revelation is always perceived by outsiders as extreme. But from the point of view of those who have heard the word of the Lord, it is just a simple matter of obedience.

As it was for Noah when he built his boat. There had never been a need for a boat. There had never been any rain. And when it began raining, IT BEGAN RAINING. You definitely needed to be in that boat!

If you are reading this for the first time, wondering about Christian believers. Can I just say, you need to be hanging around them. Because Christians get advance warnings about things. So instead of mocking them and crossing to the other side of the street, can I suggest you shut up your bad mouthing, you quietly tag along, and listen to what they are going on about. They could just be building the next boat. Rant over - Brett continues:


.............Now the protestant reformation though it was successful in reestablishing that God's salvation is by God's grace alone and received by faith alone, didn't deal with the problem of the continued sinning of believers. It only dealt with the means by which we're saved and go to heaven. In fact, Luther and Calvin the reformers emphasized we continue to sin constantly which drives us to trust Christ more and not our own works for our salvation. The reformers would have been hostile to the belief that Christ can live out His sin-free life through us. They would not have welcomed that and would have seen it as sort of maybe a sneaky way that salvation by works could sneak back in but in fact we believe that salvation is by God's grace alone and we can do nothing to earn our salvation. And so that's not in doubt, we're starting from that as our basis.

......... my strategy is to show that evangelical interpretations of sin and the flesh and Paul, are based upon a later interpretation of Paul by St. Augustine in the early 5th century AD and are not original to the apostle Paul himself. And also, that when Paul is interpreted in his Jewish and Greek context of the first century AD, the idea that sin is a spirit is a more natural way to understand what Paul was saying.

............Now probably the most important view of sin, that I disagree with, is that of Augustine who viewed sin as a corruption of human nature or of the flesh. Corruption is when something has deteriorated from it's original state of wholeness. Rust would be a corruption of iron or steel so immorality would be a corruption of the human body and of human nature. So in Augustine's view human nature, which is originally pristine and perfect before the fall, was corroded or corrupted by Adam's original sin. Specifically, the corruption of human nature was the introduction of excessive or inordinate desire into human nature. A physical desires, especially the desire to pursue pleasure and avoid pain, became much more extreme and out of whack, so to speak. Now in Augustine's view we're self-operating but we can only choose what we desire and if our desires are out of control we find ourselves unable to stop sinning because we can't change our desires to make them the right desires. So for Augustine it is the flesh that is the problem. The flesh is corrupted by sin and sin doesn't literally indwell the flesh like a spirit indwells a body, rather sin indwells the flesh the way that you see rust corroding iron and gradually causing it to deteriorate and fall apart.
I should back up a minute and explain, well, who is St. Augustine and why is he so important? Augustine is important because all of Western Christian theology- Catholic and Protestant-as opposed to Christianity in Eastern Europe, Russia, Greece and the middle east, all of Western Christian theology is based on Augustine. Most people do not realize that and probably think that, well, no my theology is all based upon the new testament. And they might give a nod to Luther or Calvin or the Reformers but little do they realize that the Reformers themselves based their theology on Augustine's interpretation of the Bible as did most Catholic writers as well, in fact probably all Catholic and Protestant writers. This makes him, gives him almost unparalleled importance in the history of Christianity apart from the writers of the New Testament, because everybody in western Christianity, Catholic and Protestant, sees and reads the Scriptures with the lenses or eyeglasses of St. Augustine. We read it naturally in that way and don't realize or even know that we're doing it. So he is perhaps, there's no more important figure in the history of Christian theology than St. Augustine other than the writers of the Bible. That means that all of Christian theology since the time of Augustine, who lived around 354 to 430 AD, is basically a commentary on Augustine, virtually without exception, whether Protestant or Catholic. That doesn't mean all protestants agree with everything Augustine wrote or all Catholics agree with Augustine, but everyone is in someway either building on or reacting to Augustine.
So as I was saying, it's as if we read the Bible with colored contact lenses on and we're not even aware that we have them on, so that Augustine is causing us to read and understand Paul through that color, like we're seeing the world through blue eye glasses and everything appears blue in Paul because that's how Augustine has led us to read it. Since almost all doctrinal disputes between Christians go back to disagreements in the interpretation of Paul, if Augustine controls our interpretation of Paul, how great is that influence?
Some of the Catholic doctrines with which Protestants disagree also go back to theologians working out the implications of Augustine's doctrine of sin and sinful human nature, such as purgatory. For example, if we are not finished being made sanctified, our human nature is not sufficiently purified by our death, then what do we do? What happens? Do we just go up unfinished our process of sanctification into heaven? Well Catholics then decided we must go through purgatory to finish the process of sanctification to get into heaven. There's a certain logical sense to that. If there's a sinful human nature and it's not perfected by the time we die, then it has to be perfected after we die. Protestants have sort of lived with the contradiction. The same as with the immaculate conception of Mary, that well if Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary who had a sinful human nature why didn't he inherit a sinful human nature? And so Catholics invented the doctrine of immaculate conception to solve the problem of Jesus' sinlessness. That why he didn't inherit a sinful human nature from Mary. Protestants again sort of live with that contradiction and probably don't even realize that there is one. Of course I think that we have a much simpler solution by discarding the sinful human nature problem then the problem that created purgatory and immaculate conception completely disappear. Because there's no sinful nature to be purified or sanctified and there's not sinful nature for Jesus to inherit, therefore there's no need for these doctrines.
Now in Augustine's favor, he was the champion of the idea of salvation by God's grace alone, not by human works. Luther was merely reviving Augustine on this point. Augustine wrote extensively hundreds of pages on this point and was absolutely clear and I'm not sure exactly why the Church didn't always follow him but he was sufficiently read by at least those who could read, that people understood what his point about salvation by God's grace alone was.

.........To summarize, Augustine's view of sinful human nature has four sources. He was reacting against his former Manichean views of an evil deity while at the same time adopting their idea that humans have two natures in conflict with each other. Two, he was reacting against Pelagius's perfectionism and salvation by works. The third source of his view of sinful human nature is that his status as a man educated in Greek philosophy led him to view human beings as being operated by one of two spirits as being superstitious and unlearned or uneducated and fourth, and perhaps most importantly, fundamental changes were occurring in the Western Church as a result of Constantine's making Christianity a legal religion in 312 and Christianity becoming the official religion of the Roman empire in 380AD. And at this time many thousands of educated and upper class people found it politically wise or expedient to become Christians. If Christianity was the official religion then it was necessary to become Christian in order to succeed in public life, whether that meant political office or just economically, or in business. Christian theology changed to fit this situation. Perhaps not consciously but nevertheless it did so and since Augustine came from this very class of people I think at some level his theology changed or he changed Christian theology in order to fit his situation.

........So lets go back to the meaning of the word flesh.
In Greek the word is Sarx. Some modern Evangelical translations, the New International Version, or the New Living Translation, use sinful nature or old nature, and this is an example of Augustine's theology being read into the text because there's nothing about the word Sarx that means sinful nature or old nature.

....Now, flesh then normally has the sense of human bodily nature, unless of course it refers to animal flesh. It refers to the human body and soul and it's abilities or lack of them. It includes bodily appetites, desires, emotions and feelings. But we must be careful not to just read Augustine's theology of a corrupted human nature or corrupted body into the word of God. Flesh refers to human bodily nature as indwelt by the spirit of sin which has invaded or taken up residence there. So the big difference between Augustine and myself is whether sin is a deterioration of human bodily nature or whether it is an invasion of human bodily nature by an outside spirit distinct from the human self which has come in and taken over. There's nothing in the word flesh or Sarx that demands either interpretation, it just means human bodily nature and as a result of sin, whatever it is, and we'll get to that in a moment, the flesh stands in opposition to God.

...............And so it seems that the writers of Scripture and Paul himself, held to the idea that disease was caused by evil spirits. Augustine on the other hand, who comes from more of the educated classes, is fond of describing sin as some kind of wound to the body. And so he gravitates naturally to the idea of sin, the first idea of sin as a deterioration, or a corruption of the body. And a corruption is sort of the like, kind of a natural deterioration like rust is a corruption of iron but in this case it's a moral deterioration rather than a physical deterioration. In this view Satan wounded human nature and the body at the Fall, he didn't actually enter in to it and indwell it. Paul however, his view fits more the idea of being invaded by some kind of evil spirit. As I've said before, Paul expresses a view of disease in 2 Corinthians 12:7 where he says the thorn in his flesh was an emissary of Satan. Somehow an emissary of Satan has entered his body or a messenger of Satan causing disease. In Romans 5:12 Paul says sin entered into or invaded the world. In Romans 7:17 & 20 Paul distinguishes sin from himself, it is no longer I who sin and not I who do the sin. He distinguishes sin from the flesh in Romans 8:3. They're not identical. Sin takes up residence and indwells human flesh just the way a demonic spirit would in Romans 7:17 & 20 and just like an enemy invader would, sin takes us captive and makes us do it's will in Romans 7:23. Sin produces evil desires but it's not identical with those evil desires in Romans 7 & 8. And in Romans 8:15 sin is described as a spirit of slavery. So Paul outright identifies sin as a spirit in Romans 8:15. Some translations try to reduce that to a mere attitude or mindset but since the Holy Spirit the Spirit of adoption is a real Spirit which comes to dwell in us no one would say that the Holy Spirit is part of our human selves, or some human attitude, so the same is true of the spirit of slavery, it is a spirit which comes from the outside and invades us. And of course Ephesians 2:2 is the most clear of all in which Paul describes how we all once walked under the authority of the prince of the power of the air, the spirit which now operates in the children of disobedience. And the operation of this spirit is associated with the desires of the flesh, the Satan operated body which produces the distorted desires and appetites of the flesh. And finally Paul can describe the body as the body of sin, Romans 6:6, because it is the body that sin indwells or inhabits. ...........

...............So as you can see, even our modern translations are influenced greatly by Augustine's theology. Now I'm not saying that the NIV or the New Living Translations are overall terrible translations or that you should never use any part of them, I'm just saying that when it comes to the apostle Paul and specifically passages about sin, the flesh, and the Spirit of Christ operating us, that's when they read Augustine's theology into the text. There's other parts of Scripture where thy are perfectly fine in the way they interpret and translate the Bible. But I think it is important that we be aware that translation can influence our theology and we're not even aware or the theology can influence translation and we're not necessarily aware that it's doing that and then influence the way that we understand what's happening when we're being tempted and why we find that life may not work the way that the Bible says it is supposed to work.
So in summary, the flesh is just bodily human nature which has been taken over or invaded by a spirit, the spirit of error, the spirit of Satan, the spirit of sin or the spirit of slavery in various parts of Scripture. Sin itself is not something that has gone wrong with human nature, it is not some psychological principle, it is not a corruption of human nature. Sin is an invading spirit, what Paul calls the prince of the power of the air the spirit which is now at work in the children of disobedience. So sin is the spirit of Satan operating in us, operating in our flesh, while we were unbelievers, but fortunately for us Christ came and died to expel that spirit from us, from operating us, in his death on the cross and when we believe in that, believe in Christ's redemption of us and participate in his death to sin and his resurrection, then the old spirit goes out and we are joined to the new spirit, the Spirit of Christ, by whom we are now to be operated through our faith in Him as Paul says in Galatians 2:20, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live I live by faith or rather by the faithfulness of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. And so our faith in His faithfulness are what enables Christ to live his life through us just as sin or the spirit of Satan once lived his quality of life through us. Brett Burrows message ends.
There are huge chunks missed out for brevity. I firmly recommend that those who want to get a handle on some of the historical distortions spend time studying the whole message.


Gnosticism extract from Miracle workers,Reformers and the New Mystics by John Crowder

Gnosticism, or gnostic docetism, claims that all physical matter is evil, and all spirit is good. It denies that Jesus came in the flesh, professing that He was only a spiritual being. Since the flesh is made of matter, it is therefore" evil." But we know that unless Jesus became a man like us, He could not have died for us. He had to become like us in every way, yet be without sin, in order to bear our sin and bridge the gap between God and humanity.This is foundational. The apostle John—who preaches against gnosticism more than anyone else in Scripture—makes it clear that "the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us" (John 1: 14). The incarnation of Christ is the very crux of the gospel—God became one of us, in order to save us.
Gnostics also believed that man is saved by attaining a special, secret knowledge. This is important to remember, to see how it'stied to the religious spirit. It takes the focus off the cross, and puts it on our own works. Gnosticism comes from the word gnosis "to know." By a process of learning and attaining a hidden understand­ing, gnostics think they can save themselves.This puts the focus on our own attainment and "head knowledge" rather than on Jesus.
How is this relevant to us today? Gnosticism is not just a strong­hold behind secular intellectualism. Gnosticism is the main dish served at most seminaries and Bible schools today. It is the Captain Crunch of most Sunday morning services (by knowing more about God, or even memorizing the Bible, you are saved—versus knowing God relationally or experientially). It is heart belief—not a head trip—that is counted as saving faith.
... if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you con­fess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10).
The idolatry of godly knowledge can even cause us to worship the Bible, rather than the God of the book. Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. I can know lots of facts about a per­son, but until I meet him, I do not really know him. An overempha­sis on "head knowledge" versus "heart knowledge" is gnostic. This spirit will also cause us to try and figure out all our spiritual prob­lems, without ever actually taking them to the cross. It is a form of godliness that denies the power (2 Tim. 3:5). It produces hearers of the Word, but not doers of the Word.
We recognize this critter most obviously as that unnatural, over-pious, uptight religious monkey That's because it goes against what is normal and natural and human, and calls the contorted result "holy." It tries to make you ascend to God, rather than believe Jesus already came to you. It manipulates the exterior, to appear-spiritu­al." Religion exalts a mode of self-denial, while never dealing a death blow to the root heart issues of pride and fear.

Our embrace of the cross is not just an embrace of death. It is the embrace of hope in a greater resurrection. We have no guaran­tee that sacrifice will be fun. But the chief end of Christians is not just to make sacrifices. Our objective is to enjoy God, come what may. Religion worships self death. We worship the Lord......

.....while Augustine surely made remarkable contributions to the Christian faith, he also brought a gnostic influence to mainstream Christianity. Augustine believed the entire world was altogether fallen, to the point that nature itself was basically sinful. His beliefs resurfaced centuries later, influencing reformer John Calvin's teachings that man is completely depraved apart from conversion.
It is one thing to say all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is entirely another thing to say everything is utterly cor­rupted. Surely we can do nothing of positive, eternal consequence apart from Christ, but there is a basic, inherent value in the natural realm that cannot be denied. There is original sin, but there is also a measure of original innocence. Eastern Orthodox theologians respect Augustine, but like many in the West, they do not believe this doctrine of "intrinsic
impairment" to be necessary. In Romans 7:18, the apostle Paul says, "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature." The key term to remember here is "sinful nature"—it is the nature of our wicked hearts, not the natural realm itself, which is evil. We live a paradox as Christians. On one hand, we realize we are utterly worthless apart from Christ, and on the other hand, we carry the full worth of God Himself.His inability to separate the sinful nature from healthy natural desires probably explains why Augustine was a self-admittedly tor­tured man in the area of sexuality. Had he acknowledged the inher­ent good in proper marital relations, it is possible that a foundation would have been laid for future clergy. Augustine burned with lust, but he would not marry., contrary to the apostolic teachings. Legalistic abstinence only opens the door for temptations toward aberrant behavior.Augustine's pivotal role in early Christian theolo­gy possibly explains the Catholic church's consistent inability to find balance in areas of sexuality in ministry that remains today. While we should not paint a broad target over our Catholic broth­ers, it is scripturally clear that abstinence from marriage was never a requirement for ministers in the apostolic writings.Peter himself whom Catholics regard as the first Pope, took a wife.

We can boil down the gnostic influence on the church today into a three-fold cord that we must overcome:We are, saved by "knowing." Knowing lots of Christian infor­mation and theology has been a substitute for relationship with God.We even know our problems and are aware of the sin we struggle with, but fail to take it to the cross or actu­ally repent. Our level of knowledge far outweighs our level of obedience. Hearers, but not doers.
Leads to death or indulges the flesh. Our humanity is not evil, although we do have a sin nature that must be dealt with. We are to deny ourselves, but not become masochists. The religious spirit will try to make you kill yourself, versus submitting to the Lord and letting Him purify you. We are called to embrace His refining fire, but not go looking for persecution and death. Religion's end is suicide. The oppo­site extreme here would be to take grace as a license to sin, and think that sins of the flesh are not important since we have spiritual salvation.
The spirit realm seems out of reach. We feel "chained" in our bodies, because we have an underlying belief that we are evil and sinful.This prevents us from naturally flowing in the supernatural realm. We are unable to see God's glory in the simple things of life, and are more aware of an unclean­ness around us than we are of God's presence.
It does not take much "discernment" to point out these flaws with the body, but our main task is to build up the church and focus.

on the Lord—not criticize and focus on the enemy's work. Fortunately, as we become full to the brim with the real anointing, and turn our eyes to the living Christ, these strongholds are going to topple.
Our bent toward the natural realm should be to somehow see the glory of God in all things. Remember that we are made in God's image. Ever wondered what God looks like? You look like Him in a lot of ways. Even the natural realm reflects God. God created matter, and nature is not utterly corrupted. We should have an eye for redeeming even those things which are used for evil.When God cre­ated the earth, He saw that it was good. This is because the very earth declared His majesty. And there is a higher purpose in store for the earth that prompted God to redeem it.Although we may not always be aware of it, "the whole earth is full of His glory" (Isa. 6:3). Keep in mind that this verse was written after the fall, yet it is still truth. The Kingdom of God is always just at hand—within fingertip reach even while we are in this world—the problem is, His glory usually goes unnoticed.
Like Elisha's servant, we need our eyes opened to the spirit realm, even amid this earthly reality. Heaven is already touching earth, we are just not aware of it. We need to manifest this reality. One day, the earth will also be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (see Hab. 2:14). That is, one day we will be aware of the omnipresent God who is already in our midst. It is not that the angelic realm will step into our world, but that we will enter more into theirs through a consciousness—an awareness—of God's reality.That, after all, is faith. Believing in the unseen. There will be such an acute consciousness of God's glory that we will see His reflection everywhere we look, even amid out mundane, natural circumstances.
We often pray for God's glory to come. But we should be asking to see and know the glory that is already at hand. We are not tc pull Heaven down from some hazy, unreachable place. Heaven is already within us—we must learn to release it through simple belief.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Muchos Milagros - A nice problem to have!!!

This is taken from Kingdom Power on the Street. A nice problem to have! Bring it on Lord over here!
Muchos Milagros
Miracles are normal. The supernatural has become natural. So normal and so natural in fact that it’s now difficult to muster up enthusiasm for the every day miracles that God is doing. Things like the ankles, backs, legs and diseases that run when we pray or the sinner that gets convicted by the Prophetic and gives their life to Jesus. That’s wrong, I know, but it’s a problem we’re dealing with. It’s a better problem than no healing and no power, but it is a problem. We can’t be ungrateful, we must not be ungrateful. Every healing and every miracle is a testament to God’s goodness and His great love for us and the people we are ministering to. Every soul saved and life delivered is a present tense, now demonstration of the power of the gospel.So how do you fight becoming familiar with victory? How do you fight off what I term “Victory Fatigue”? You have to reach back into your history and attempt to remember what it was like when they didn’t get healed, when they didn’t get saved or didn’t get delivered. You have to drum up the old feelings of fear about talking to a stranger or insecurity that are so now long forgotten. Boldness is now the norm. I’m continually encouraged by the new and exciting ways our folks are pressing in and contending for more, but the water level has been raised. We’re not going back to where we were, we can never go back to where we used to be. There’s more, there’s so much more. We know this, we need this. Yet on our way to what is promised we must cherish what has already been realized or we risk losing it.So we tell the testimonies and as we do so, we put ourselves in the shoes of the person we’re praying for and we rejoice. We thank God for what He is doing and has done. We are pressing in for more, but we are honoring what He is doing among us.Check it out.
This testimony came in from Erin. They were at a high school football game recently and were having a slow night. So what did they do? They decided to liven things up!"Several of us were in a group...we walked around for a bit...talked to a few people and nothing happened. Now, when I say "nothing happened" I mean, we gave some people prophetic words, and they were totally right on. We prayed for them, etc. But nothing really "took off". :)So, I had this thought, "I'm not leaving until either something happens, or I preach the gospel to all of these kids".Sooo, I stood up on the stone wall and shouted "Hey guys! I have some awesome news! Jesus is King and the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"I then told them we were here to prove it, and asked them if they needed healing, etc. They didn't, but they had friends and family that needed healing. So we prayed for them---which kind if got the attention of some kids... Bottom line, an hour later we were still there---healing kid’s ankles, knees, and hands. We taught the kids that since Jesus healed them, they had authority over that particular thing now. And we encouraged them to heal their friends and themselves...which they did!!! And their friends got healed! It was awesome!!!"
An outreach team was in a local neighborhood and ran across a group of about 8-10 young people and started prophesying over them, releasing the Kingdom and telling them about the power of God.A few minutes later, they went into the home of a lady we have been ministering to for several weeks and found out that she had injured her wrist, was in severe pain and was wearing a wrist brace. Not content to merely tell them about the power of God, they decided to SHOW the young people what they were just talking about. They called the kids and had them pray for the lady with the injured wrist. It was healed INSTANTLY! No pain, full mobility and she gave us the wrist brace! It's been added to the trophy wall!
One of our outreach teams prayed for a woman that had several lumps in her breast. After coming back they found that she had gone to the doctors, had a mammogram and the lumps had dissolved!They also found out that she had pain in her ankle for the last 5 years after breaking it in an accident in two places. She couldn't go up or down stairs or put pressure on that foot and her toes wouldn't bend very far and always felt like they needed to pop but wouldn't. We prayed and she tested it out and she then went up and down stairs 3 times with no pain and then she moved her toes in like she couldn't before and when she moved them every time they would pop!
An outreach team was in a local neighborhood and prayed for a lady with severe hip pain during an equipping event we hosted recently. As they prayed for her, all pain left and she was able to walk normally without pain or lack of mobility. But that's not the best part...The team came back a couple of weeks later only to find that she had been to the Doctors and demonstrated her lack of pain and mobility to her doctor. The Doctor was so surprised that he ordered a batch of X-Rays to see what had changed. What our outreach team did not know was that she had no cartilage in her hip, which was the cause of her pain. She was actually scheduled to have hip replacement surgery.The doctor verified that where she once had NO cartilage, she now had PERFECT CARTILAGE! She is now pain free and has cut down on many of her once needed medications.Come on Jesus!
Posted by Ryan Lawson at 12:00 PM

What is flesh? Part One - Norman's definition

Corresponding to yesterday's post we need now to be very clear on what the Bible usage of flesh is. Get this wrong, and we condemn ourselves to another 1600 years of spiritual darkness, meandering around religious darkness spirits, totally confused and lost as to how Christianity is lived here on earth.
In the next post I want to examine the meaning of the word "sarx" as handled by Brett Burrowes, who actually took time out from the USA to study this all the way over in Durham Theological College in little old England. This is also referred to by Ryan Rufus recently and also there is a very interesting page or two in John Crowder's "Miracle workers,Reformers and New Mystics."
Get this key by revelation and you will find yourself moving ahead at great speed. We have spent literally hundreds of years going round the mountains of unbelief and total paralyzation as to how to LIVE Christianity.

What Is Flesh?By Norman Grubb
If our whole desire is to be a holy (whole) person, in the fullness of a life well-pleasing to God—what Paul called being "complete in Christ," (Col. 1:28), then one of our major problems is this: what actually is my flesh, and how do I have my flesh in its right position? The answer is that I am "in the flesh, but not of it." I, as Paul said, "walk in the flesh but do not war after the flesh" (2 Cor. 10:3).Flesh must be something essentially okay, because Jesus was "God manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). But it also says in Romans 8:3 that He was in the likeness of sinful flesh. In other words, flesh in itself is okay, but there is a virus operating it, which Paul calls "sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3) or "sinful flesh."Plainly, then, flesh in its basic being is okay, but can be misused. Therefore Paul says, "Don't walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1-8). So the real problem comes down to this: not the flesh in itself, but what it means that I either walk "after" or don't walk "after" it. That clears things.Plainly, then, flesh in its basic being is okay, but can be misused. Therefore Paul says, "Don't walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1-8). So the real problem comes down to this: not the flesh in itself, but what it means that I either walk "after" or don't walk "after" it. That clears things.My body is obvious with its right and normal drives which make me a vigorous, active person. Those are my sex, my physical hungers, my desires for material comfort and physical health. Paul speaks of these as "the deeds of the body" (Rom. 8:13) or "members upon earth" (Col. 3:5).There is also my soul, or emotional human make-up. In that Colossians 3 passage, Paul goes on to include that, having already spoken of those body members upon earth deserving to be mortified. Then he names the soul expressions as hate, fear, filthy talk, defiance against God (blasphemy). Also in Galatians 5, under the term "works of the flesh," not only are those physical ones, but also "wraths, seditions, heresies, envyings, etc" (verses 20, 21). These are all those negative reactions which constantly assault us on our emotional, or, in modern terms, psychological level.The writer to the Hebrews made the distinct differentiation between those soul-reactions and the true self, which is spirit (Heb. 4:12). But, of course, I must also have those soulreactions as a living human. So now we see that, in Bible terms, we have a God-created humanity that is evidently right and not wrong, with both its body drives and soul-expressions, by which we operate as humans.What Is Spirit? (An Inner "I-hood")But secondly, I penetrate to my real reality, which is spirit. That is my real "me," and that is where the Bible says we humans are made in God's image. Jesus said, “God is Spirit"; Paul and the Hebrews writer said God fathered our spirits (Heb. 12:9); and if redeemed, we are "spirits of justified men" when we leave our bodies (Heb. 12:23). Paul says our human spirit is our "knower" (1 Cor. 2:11-14). So here we reach the vital spot. We are spirit-humans. Spirit means that we have an inner "I-hood" like God’s, which consists in knowing, loving, and willing (Jn. 7:17 & Phil. 2:12,13).Now we come to the nitty-gritty of our humanity. Our "I" is our human spirit— knowing, loving, willing, just like God. Our means of self-expression is our "flesh," consisting of body appetites and our soul-reactions. They are agents of our spirit-selves. But then the whole key to our being is that we (our human spirits) are created, never to be independent self-acting selves, but to be containers of the Deity Spirit. Thus we are called vessels, branches, slaves, wives, temples, and only exist to express, in our human flesh actions, what the Deity Spirit, joined to our human spirits, expresses by us as His Nature.We know that because of the Fall of man, that false deity spirit called by John "the spirit of error" (1 Jn. 4:6) and by Paul "the spirit of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2), or the devil, or Satan—took possession of us through Adam and Eve. So then our human flesh— soul/body—became the agency for Satan's self-for-self nature (Eph. 2:3).Satan as Lucifer, by his free choice as a person, was the first "transgressor of the law" (1 Jn. 3:4), which is John's definition of sin. This means willfully refusing to conform to God's law, which we know to be the principle of self-giving love. So, Lucifer's sin was giving himself over to express the contrary "law" of self-getting love—that "consuming fire" nature. In the Father this was transmuted into "light" by the begetting of His Son and expressed as blessing, not consuming.The false deity spirit—called the "god of this world," (2 Cor. 4:4)— became the false vine to us as human branches (Rom. 6:20), the false liquid in the vessels (Rom. 9:22), the false slaveowner (Rom. 6:16), the false god in our temples (1 Cor. 8:10), and the false husband of us humans as wives (Rom. 7:1-4). So our flesh became "sinful flesh"—not the flesh, in itself, with its soul/body appetites and faculties being evil, but operated by that spirit of self-for-self, which is named "Sin."Flesh Is Not EvilAlthough we regard our flesh, or right humanity, as sin-indwelt and sincontrolled, it is obvious that the flesh is not essentially evil in its potentials. Its Satan-spirit-sin operator uses it—by stimulation in all kinds of "deeds of the body," or soul—and gives the impression that the flesh itself is something evil. No! The flesh is merely the human agent of the operating spirit; and my human spirit always only operates by the drive and nature of the deity spirit indwelling my spirit.Through the revelation given Paul, I learn that Jesus—as our last Adam replacing that first one—so identified Himself on the Cross with us that, in God's sight, He was what we are, and thus was said to be "made sin" (2 Cor. 5:21). His shed blood—His outer human death—removed the penalties of sins in God's wrath; and by faith in that precious blood, we are "dead to sins" (1 Pet. 2:24). Then by His body death—representing our Sin-Satan indwelt bodies, out went that false deity spirit-sin and in came His own Spirit. So, in Him we are now "dead to sin" (Rom. 6:2).Paul says that Sin, as Satan's selffor- self nature, no longer is the indwelling principle in us. It is now Christ indwelling us (Rom. 8:1). Sin is a condemned criminal in death row, as it were, awaiting final destruction (Rom. 8:13). In his self-for-self drawings he can shout at us through the bars or entice us (Ja.1:14), and does that by stirring up our desires or emotional reactions to fear, hate, etc. Those are our flesh drawings which we shall always have in this world geared to flesh responses. That does not mean that the fact of there being such responses is evil. Jesus was "tempted in all points like as we are" (Heb. 4:15).Our flesh-body is only an agent by which we express ourselves. But the “self” is my “me”: my human spirit. And Paul now says it now depends on who we “walk after”—if we walk "not after the flesh but after the spirit." So, it is the "I" who is the operator, but our "I" (human spirit) is indwelt and controlled by the Deity Spirit in us. And now, in Christ's body death and resurrection, it is His Spirit indwelling and joined to our spirits (1 Cor. 6:17): "Christ/I."The verdict remains with us, whether we walk after flesh or Spirit. By flesh is meant those drawings of body or soul by enticing conditions which surround us. The crisis moment is not the condition of the flesh in its drawings by its "lusts," nor the Spirit by His drawings. It is the "me." What is my response? Which do I walk "after" (Gal. 5:18)?But now I no longer have to struggle in a helpless bondage, for Satan is no longer the "spirit of error dwelling in" or controlling me. He has been replaced by the Spirit of Truth. So, as my "flesh" feels these flesh drawings to respond—either in physical responses or in emotional reactions, then I just say, "You don't own or control me, False Spirit. These pulls of sin in the flesh are from behind bars, condemned, and have no right to me. I have died to them in Christ's body death (Rom. 8:1-4). Now I am Christindwelt, Spirit-operated by the "Spirit of Truth."As I respond that way to these flesh pulls of soul or body, they have no further power, because the Spirit is expressing Himself by me, and producing His fruit by my soul/body (Gal. 5:22). I am a total Christ-expresser, not Satan-expresser—a branch of the True Vine (Rom. 6:22).Recognizing Those PullsSo do I now have it clear? Flesh itself is merely our God-created humanity of body-desires and soulresponses. All are perfect in their place and necessary for me to function in my full humanity, even as Jesus Himself did. But the manager and operator of my soul-body flesh is the "Me." My human spirit is made in the likeness of God, and created only capable of manifesting the Deity Spirit in His nature.But at the Fall, my human "I" spirit was taken captive by this false Satanic deity spirit through my free choice. Thus, my soul-bound flesh became the normal enslaved fulfiller of the drives of sin, which is the self-for-self nature of the Sin-Deity. There is no escape. I am slave, branch, temple, vessel, wife of the false husband.Now, through my Last Adam's intercessory death ("made sin," and then dead to the sin spirit) and resurrection as me (made alive and filled with the Spirit of God), so am I. So I remain fully in my soul-body flesh externals with their normal, necessary physical-emotional responses and drawings. But that sin-drive no longer owns and manages me.Satan still exists, but as in a condemned cell. He can reach me and stimulate my flesh pulls. The whole outer world "in the wicked one" does that all the time in what William Law calls "pride, covetousness, envy and wrath." But my human spirit now has changed its owner and operator: no longer Satan, but Christ.Therefore, while I, as a right human, shall continue to have every kind of flesh-pull and their many enticements (Ja. 1:14), I now know how to recognize those prevalent pulls. I am now able to say—not with condemnation (Rom. 8:1), but with that recognition of the reality of those pulls, "I'm no longer under the dominion, Satan, nor of your sin-pulls on me. I am now Christ-indwelt and dead to you. As I affirm Christ, His Spirit-nature of other love puts your pulls to death and replaces them with good fruits."I express Christ, not Satan; holiness (wholeness), not sin. I therefore don't downgrade my humanity, though under the term "flesh" it is most often used to express the false uses of my humanity. But now I accept that what can be called flesh as my body-members yielded to God, and my soul-affections (through the Cross, as in Gal. 5:24), manifesting Jesus's Sermon-on-the-Mount quality of living. Christ is magnified by my body whether by life or by death (Phil. 1:20). I am a whole person.The basis of victory is not the fleshsoul- body outer human agency, but the "ME" whom they express—formerly a Satan-spirit of error as me, but now through Calvary, a Christ Spirit of truth as me. I'm free and whole, though still privileged to live under testing earth conditions. With Paul, in all these things "I am more than conqueror through Him that loved us" (Rom. 8:37).

Saturday 7 November 2009

The Skin of the Beast Part Three of the Curse,It's Purpose, and Overthrow by Daniel Yordy

One of the most exciting things about being on the receiving end of worldwide input through Facebook and blogs, is to see the Body of Christ putting jigsaw pieces together. Comments from Stephanie Macentire for example who is not at present in any church, but like many of the others in the Free Believers Network on Facebook, is a hunter for the truth about who we really are in Christ,- right through Brad Jersak really questioning this "angry God thing" and "appeasement" image that has wound itself through church history.

Or even Darin Hufford or Paul Andersen Walsh , both of whose books I have yet to read....
Together with the collections and inspirational light coming through Merrill Thompson and Nancy Gilmore, and the odd bit from Brian Coatney. Then there is the fresh light on grace and freedom coming through other hunters like Rob and Ryan Rufus, Bertie Brits, Joseph Prince.
Gems coming through from Francois Du fact so many. Then the light experienced together here in Havant Church, both in Word and worship. I have loved what I have been reading through Daniel Yordy, and through his site I have come to know John and Bonnie Morris too.
We are putting together a jigsaw , largely unravelled by Paul in the New Testament, yet on a bigger unparalleled scale, hidden until precisely these times. The Best and the Worst of times.

With each major advance of light, comes unprecedented attacks and advance in the compexity of the devil's plans to delude, confuse,destroy and cause misery. He has and always will thrive on misery. He gets off on it. He and his cohorts regard it as fuel, as food.

Evangelists went worldwide. Their new discoveries of place and peoples were used for the purposes of slavery and tyranny. Christ always gets the rap, as do his genuine servants.
This was so in Ghana. It was so in the case of Hudson Taylor having to use the same boats that opium traffickers used into China. To this day Christianity gets the rap there!
While the Moravians and subsequently the Wesleys were sharing the gospel of knowing a personal Saviour, the rest of the world were bathing in the blood of Revolution.
When the Pentecostal light broke out in 1904 and 5, the spread of this supernatural Christianity was heavily opposed by Satan using two world Wars, the rise of Communist and Fascist dictators, and in the aftermath of these uprisings and mass exterminations, a dreadful pall of atheism attempting to suck all belief into itself.
In the wake of this, and the French existentialist and nihilist philosophies, which caused many students to simply toss themselves off buildings in the 60s, God spoke again into the nothingness and reawakened many in the deadest regions of denominational Christianity.
This affected a whole generation of us around 1970.
Around 1975 in Paderborn West Germany, God began a whole move centered around a Catholic Theological College there under a Professor Dr Heribert Muehlen. How do I know? Because (it was God again I believe) who arranged for me to practice German in precisely this town in the immediate aftermath.

All you sceptical so called free believers!!! Have you as males ever skipped and danced and laughed hand in hand with an older nun down a German high street late at night!!! Schnaps??? Nope. Just praise.
Just an overwhelming love for Jesus as experienced in that moment after being in a meeting! Gertraude had been a nun for years, without really knowing Jesus. This is what took place in Paderborn. I was 18 or 19.

Two weeks ago on BBC Horizon they were doing a programme about how in the next 20 years scientific advances were going to mean "additional enhancements" were going to be added to our brains and the rest of our bodies, to accelerate our thinking, to make us live longer, to make us superior. This is but one step from "implants" or a "sign of the beast" in our hands and foreheads. The machinery of warfare and control will take on chilling proportions. We will need to know the Secret Place of the Most High in Psalm 91 as reality. Technological good can so easily be turned to technological bad, by an enemy who wants to try to snuff out the coming Light in the Body of Christ: the Light of Christ living His life as me.

Here is Daniel Yordy's last instalment of the Curse, It's Purpose and Overthrow. It is an astonishing Instalment in the way that it ties up many loose ends that have come up on the rest of this blog.
The Curse, It's Purpose, and Overthrow (Part 3)

From: Daniel Yordy
Genesis 3:21 "Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them."
The final part of the curse is the worst part and the best part - and the most important.
Adam could not escape God. The certain knowledge of God filled his consciousness. He tried, desperately, to hide. He covered himself with fig leaves; he hid behind tree trunks - both typifying all the many ways his descendants have developed to try, somehow, to hide from the reality of God.
None of it worked for Adam. Nothing shielded him in his sin and shame from the light of a pure and holy God. To have lived his entire life in that light, his sinfulness and shamefulness, his attempting to persevere in the presence of holiness, would have been a lake of fire for Adam; that is the lake of fire - God, without any protection from Him.
God, of course, did not condemn Adam. Adam condemned Adam - that is the nature of independent self.
But God had a different plan for Adam and for his descendants.

It was not His plan for them to live in the lake of fire - even those who have died without Christ are not presently in the lake of fire, no matter what the fertile imagination of Christians has concocted.
No, God's purpose was first to redeem Adam's seed, and then to form Christ within those whom He elected as a firstfruits out of Adam's seed.
But that could not happen, so long as Adam was unshielded from God. Independent self, striving to exist in the full light of God, is hell.
The skin of the beast is the mercy and kindness of God.
The skin of the beast allows Adam and his seed to live long enough for Christ to come, first as our Redeemer, and then as our Life.
And so God took the skin of an animal, and He wrapped Adam and Eve in that skin.
It is easy for you to know that you are encased in the skin of a beast. Look around the room in which you are sitting right now. You are completely surrounded by all the Shekinah glory and power of Almighty God. There is no place in heaven more holy and more filled with God's glory than the room you are looking at right now. How do you keep your head up? How do you go about your business without falling flat on your face in terror?
Very simple - you are blind. You can't see the obvious. But even a blind man can sense when someone else is in the room. You can't. And the reason you can't see the obvious or even sense the presence of other persons in the room all around you, both holy and evil, is that you are more than blind, you are clothed with a beast skin.
[The beast skin is what makes the people of this world so beastly. The poet, Alexander Pope, said, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." He was speaking of man's capacity to sin filthily and arrogantly in the very presence of Almighty God.]
James says that demons always tremble in fear, unable to separate themselves from God's presence. We know that the only way they can hide from that Light is to encase themselves in human flesh. That is the first part of the curse. [Demons hide from God behind any human mind that sees itself separate from God, that is, human flesh. When we see God in all things, inside and out, they have nowhere to hide and they flee.]
That beast skin is God's kindness to you.
You are not ready for His light, not until Christ is fully formed inside of you. Nor is He ready for you, not until you have abandoned all thought of independent selfhood.
Jesus was the last Adam; Adam ended upon the cross. The old man is dead. I am already crucified. Why, then, does the beast skin continue as part of my experience?
Romans 8:18-21 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility (the skin of the beast), not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
Believing that Christ is our life does not come overnight.

Even when God reveals to us that He did not lie when He says that we are already dead; even when He shows us that we are NOT an independent self, struggling to somehow please Him, but that Christ is the only life we have; even when He reveals to us that He did not lie when He said that old things are passed away, and that all things are made brand new; even then, it takes days and months, and even years, for the full knowledge of Christ living in us as us to permeate every part of our thinking.
We revert back to the old way of thinking so easily. Seeing ourselves separate from Jesus, now having to line up with a God who is surely displeased with us. We wake up in the middle of the night, feeling awful, feeling certain that God has departed from us. Over and over, we have to stop in our tracks, stop all such thinking, in spite of what we feel, and think that Christ is living as me right now, that He is my life; He is one with me even as I feel so bad right now.
And every time we do that, Jesus draws us a little closer to Himself in our knowledge of Him.
So long as I saw myself as someone separate from Jesus, I could not know Him, no matter how much I wanted to. The only way to know Jesus is to see yourself utterly inside of Him. Then you will know the sweet communion of His person.
Most believers in Jesus are not ready for the skin of the beast to be removed from off of them.
This word, the "revealing" of the sons of God, is the Greek word "apocalupsis." It means to take the cover off. The cover that conceals Christ in us is the skin of the beast. That cover is coming off.
What will be found inside? An independent self, desperately trying to please the implacable requirements of a holy God? Or will there be one who, with joy, has abandoned all sense of the independence of self, but who knows that Christ is his life, he has no other life?
But, of course, the passage from Romans 8 is talking about so much more than that. We know that out of our belly flows the mighty river of the life of God.
I wrote the first part of this a week ago. Last night, the Lord showed me the real reason for the continued presence of the skin of the beast, of this earthly blinder that keeps us from seeing and knowing all that God is and all that we are in Him.
I just finished a romance novel by Georgette Heyer. Let me briefly give you the story line.
A wealthy man of 35, kind, well-loved by family and friends, was being pressured to marry. He had once before been in love with a vivacious girl, but she had died in an accident before they were married.
The man chose to ask a friend of his, aged 29, a plain and simple girl who had been passed up by all eligible suitors, to be his wife. Her family was convinced that the only possible choice she could make was to accept.
With full respect, she refused him. She did not say why.
Meanwhile, he became involved in the life of a beautiful young runaway, who was trying to persuade her grandfather to let her marry an officer in Wellington's army when she was just 16. He was attempting to restore her to her family. In the process, he was accidentally shot.
In desperation, the lady who had declined his marriage offer was asked to come nurse him. She went secretly and spent several days caring for him. Finally, they were found by all who were concerned about "propriety." Her family demanded that the wounded man marry their sister to preserve her honor.
He refused.
When they had left, the two were sitting side by side, alone in a garden. They were finally comfortable together, having gotten to know one another in the midst of difficulty. Picture the most beautiful, romantic, garden scene possible. He told her that he could not marry her for obligation, but only for love. She told him that she had refused him because, though she knew they were friends, she also knew that intimate love would not have been the beginning of their marriage.
But now, they truly knew one another as friends and they both knew that they loved one another.
I finished the book and went to bed. As my thoughts turned towards Jesus, I instantly knew the purpose for God allowing the skin of the beast to remain upon us in spite of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. God speaks to us through story.
This relationship we have with Jesus is about marriage. He is betrothed to us and we to Him. That is what our union with Christ is all about.
But Jesus will not marry a woman who honors and respects Him, who is grateful to Him for His great kindness. Nor even more will He marry a woman who fears Him and who does what He says because she believes she is under obligation to do so. Nor will He marry a woman who chooses Him because of His great power and wealth and how honored He is before all creation.
Jesus wants to marry a woman who sits by His side on a "garden bench," who is equal to Him in heart and mind, who walks through the difficult places together with Him, leaning upon His shoulder, who knows that her union with Him is because she loves Him and He loves her. Jesus will marry only a woman who knows Him in the deepest and most intimate of friendships. Jesus will marry only a woman who knows that He has conformed Himself to her, that He loves what she loves, enjoys what she enjoys.
Listen, it is not up to the woman to conform herself to the man; it is up to the man to conform Himself to His beloved. This was the sacrifice that Jesus embraced in Gethsemane - for the joy set before Him - you and me. So long as I think that I must change to please Him, my heart is not comfortable side by side with His.
So long as you and I see ourselves as beneath Him in any way, we cannot love Him with the love that He alone will marry.
Jesus says the most extraordinary thing in Revelation chapter 3. He says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens the door, I will come in to him and I will sup with him, and he with Me." (ACW see also
Jesus was not talking about those who did not know Him; He was talking about you and me. First we open the door to Him. Will you let Him be your sin and your shame? Will you let Him be your flesh? If Jesus could take your sin upon the cross 2000 years ago, why can He not take your self upon Himself now? Or, do we really believe that something happened 2000 years ago when we cannot believe that He swallows up our sinful flesh and all of our foolish mistakes today?
Then, it is He who comes in to us and it is He who sups with us. There are few statements more precious in the entire Bible. To sup with us is to share an intimacy of closeness with every part of our being. It is Jesus who conforms Himself to us.
And finally, we sup with Him. It is only when we surrender our heart to His love for us will we be able to return the love that alone is acceptable to Him.
Obligation and duty will always keep Jesus at arm's length, and it will keep us encased in the skin of the beast. He cannot marry a woman who is obliged to marry Him.
Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb (the absolute foundation of our return to the Father) and by the word of their testimony (we speak Christ and all that He is in us) and they loved not their lives to the death (we forsake any thought that we exist independently from Jesus Himself, knowing that all that we are is no more nor less than Jesus Himself)."
Jesus insists that His bride come to Him while she is still blind. He will marry a woman who considers herself His equal, equal in heart, in mind, in soul and who loves Him, not for His greatness of position, or for the mercy He has shown her, but who loves Him in an intimacy of equality - who "sees" Him by faith as the One who fills her heart.
And it is out of that intimacy of union, we in Him, and He in us, that the manchild of Revelation 12:5 is born.
Faith is that which walks in the reality of all that is unseen, now, while it is still unseen.
Faith makes everything God speaks in the New Covenant personal, right now.
God put the skin of the beast upon us. It is God who will remove it. And He will do so when we "see" all that He is in us. When God removes that skin that still limits us in this world, many will be astonished and amazed at what they see. But for those of us who "see" Him now in all things, both inside of us and outside of us, we will see nothing different at all. There will be no shock or surprise.
When we see in reality, we will see the same thing that we now see by faith. There will be no difference.
This "seeing" is a miracle of the Holy Spirit; and He overshadows you right now for that purpose.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Christ in us - Christ as us - Christ through us - By James A. Fowler

Christ in us;Christ as us;Christ through us A study of the subjective indwelling of Christ in the Christian individual.©2001 by James A. Fowler.
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ACW - One of the most thorough and informative overviews of material relating to this blog. If this subject was purely a matter of left-brain understanding, most rational people would be sold on the ideas at the end of this article. Sadly or happily, the revelation of Christ is something that effects internal changes. If you don't want to know these things by internal decision, then your left-brain can come up with plenty of reasons for obstructing your understanding. It's a master at it. Ever since figleaves became a way of life in the Garden. But again I say happily....God's ways of working Himself into us are so varied and so tailormade to our individual personalities and life histories, that the reality of Christ birthed in us is more powerful yet, and extremely obvious to those who have anything to do with us...much more beautiful than some kind of parrot-fashion learning from a blogscript.And much more original in its subsequent outworkings.Please join with me in thanking both Merrill Thompson and Nancy Gilmore for both passing this on ,on Facebook.

The history of Christian theology reveals that there has been far more written about the believer's being "in Christ" than has been written about Christ being present and active in, as, and through the Christian. This is to be expected, in part, because there are far more references in the New Testament to our being "in Christ" than there are to Christ being "in us." But the paucity of emphasis and literature on Christ's internal action in the Christian individual can also be attributed to prevailing emphases within the two major subdivisions of the Western Church.

Roman Catholic theology has traditionally taught the infused grace of God in the continuing work of Christ, whereby the empowering energy of God is granted to the Christian in order to live righteously. The primary emphasis of Roman theology has not been on the subjective spiritual reality of Christ in individual Christians, however, but on the collective and corporate realities of Christ's work in the ecclesiastical community of the Roman Church. Those in the church of Rome are regarded to be "in Christ," and there is no salvation apart from the holy Roman Church. To apply Roman Catholic emphases to the phrases of this study: Christ is in us collectively, for He is in His Body, the Church catholic. Christ is expressed as us collectively, for He expresses Himself as the holy Roman Church. Christ is expressed through us collectively whenever the Catholic Church acts. This collective and corporate emphasis of the Roman church has diminished emphasis on the personal and subjective action of Christ in the Christian individual.In Protestant theology the dearth of emphasis on the subjective presence and activity of Christ in the Christian individual has often not only been the result of an over-collectivized emphasis on Christ's contemporary ecclesiastical action (as in the Roman Catholic Church), but even more so the result of an over-objectified understanding of Christ's work.

Reacting against the Roman emphasis on subjectively infused grace, the Reformers reverted to an almost exclusively objectified reference to redemptive realities that are external and outside of the Christian believer. Protestant theology has traditionally taught the historically objectified acts of Christ in His death, burial, resurrection and ascension for us, i.e. on our behalf. In so doing Christ is also said to have died, rose, and ascended as us ­ as our representative substitute, doing so vicariously in our place. Christ's historical actions become personally efficacious for us when we respond by faith (sola fide) and Christ assumes our place as us before the heavenly Judge, whereupon the Divine Judge pardons and forgives our sins on the basis of Christ's historically objective actions. In this forensic and juridical framework, God the Judge legally imputes the benefits of Christ's righteousness to the Christian, declares we are in right standing with Him, and promises a full inheritance of benefits in the future in heaven. All of this action of Christ is outside of ­ external to ­ the believer.D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote: "Justification makes no actual change in us; it is a declaration of God concerning us."1 Louis Berkhof explained that both Luther and Calvin describe justification "as a forensic act which does not change the inner life of man but only the judicial relationship in which he stands to God."2 Anglo-Catholic, E. L. Mascall, notes that "justification has been envisaged as simply an act of God by which man is accounted righteous without any ontological change being made in him."3 Louis Bouyer, a French Reformed theologian who became Roman Catholic, lamented, "It was apparently impossible for Protestant theology to agree that God could put something in man that became in fact his own, and that at the same time the gift remained the possession of the Giver. That amounts to saying that there can be no real relation between God and man."4 These quotations serve to verify that the over-objectification of Protestant theology in general has effectively deterred teaching of the personal and subjective action of Christ in the Christian individual.

A study of the subjective presence and action of the living Lord Jesus in us, as us, and through us is, therefore, outside of the pale of most traditional Western Christian theological teaching, for it runs counter to Protestant over-objectification and Catholic over-collectivization.

It is important to acknowledge, though, that there have been individuals and groups throughout Christian history (some affiliated with both Catholic and Protestant communities, while others were independent of either) that have given due emphasis to the internal presence and action of the living Lord Jesus in the Christian individual. They have often been labeled as "mystics" or "heretics", or both, and many of them paid with their lives for non-conformity to the prevailing and acceptable theological opinions. So, beware ­ this study may be dangerous to your health!

Prior to considering the subjective presence and action of Christ in, as, and through the Christian individual, it will serve us well to establish some parameters of historic Christian thought that should serve as safeguards against rampant subjectivism that does not remain grounded in Biblical tradition. Here are seven (7) proposed tenets of Christian teaching that should not be impinged upon by any consideration of the subjective indwelling and function of Christ in the Christian:
(1) The monotheistic distinction of the Creator God and the creation/creature.
(2) The Trinitarian unity of Being and function in the Godhead.
(3) The anthropological responsibility of man to derive spiritually in freedom of choice.
(4) The harmartiological Fall and alienation of man from God in sin.
(Question: "What is Hamartiology?"Answer: Hamartiology is the study of sin. Hamartiology deals with how sin originated, how it affects humanity, and what it will result in after death. To sin essentially means to "miss the mark." We all miss God's mark of righteousness (Romans 3:23). Hamartiology, then, explains why we miss the mark, how we miss the mark, and the consequences of missing the mark. from
(5) The historical space and time foundation of the Christian gospel.
(6) The Christological singularity of Christ's person and work as Savior and Lord.
(7) The soteriological restoration of humanity in regeneration and sanctification.

The institutional Church, at large, has been fearful that an emphasis on the subjective relationship of Christ and the Christian would impinge upon the basic foundations of Christian thought. But even more than this concern for ideological preservation has been their concern for ecclesiastical preservation. The tendencies to collectivization and objectification in the Western Church have allowed the ecclesiastical authorities to
exercise power,
maintain control,
and "keep a handle on" the Christian enterprise.
To allow the grace of God to function freely and subjectively in Christian individuals has been eschewed as a "risky business," allowing for too much individualism, too much subjectivism, and too much personal freedom.The "good news" of the Christian gospel is that God in Christ is reinvested and restored in, as, and through the receptive Christian individual.

The objective of the gospel is not to formulate an orthodox belief-system, nor to construct and maintain an ecclesiastical organization.

The Spirit of Christ is free to express the character of Christ in novel and spontaneous ways in each Christian, and that unto the glory of God. The Holy Spirit must not be imprisoned in church structures, encased in book-interpretations, or relegated only to a judicial courtroom in the heavens. The Spirit of the living Christ is present in the Christian, existing as the identity of the Christian, and functioning to express Himself through the Christian. The documentation of these realities is the objective of this article.

Christ in us
Despite the attempts of Protestantism to objectify the benefits of Christ's work in an almost paranoid aversion to anything other than "alien righteousness," there have been evangelical Christians throughout the ages who have understood that the Person and work of Jesus Christ must not be only extrinsically applied, but that the living Person and activity of Christ indwells the spirit of the Christian. This fundamental reality of Christ's actual and spiritual presence within the Christian individual is so well-attested by direct New Testament references that those who "search the Scriptures" and are receptive to spiritual reality invariably recognize the indwelling presence of the living Christ.

Jesus Himself explained that He would give another Helper, the Spirit of truth, and His disciples would know that they were in Him, and He was in them (John 14:20). In His prayer for unity Jesus explained that He would be in His followers as God the Father was in Him, the Son (John 17:23).The Apostle Paul clearly noted that the mystery of the gospel is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). He asked the Corinthians, "Do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?" (II Cor. 13:5), unless you are not a Christian. The essential reality that constitutes being a Christian is the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ. "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Rom. 8:9), i.e. is not a Christian. Continuing his explanation to the Romans, Paul wrote, "If Christ is in you,...the spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you" (Rom. 8:10,11). The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, dwells in the Christian (cf. John 14:17; Rom. 8:9-11; I Cor. 6:19; II Tim. 1:14; James 4:5), and "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Rom. 8:16).The presence of Christ by His Spirit in the Christian is the presence of Himself as spiritual life in the individual. Christ is life. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), He told His disciples. There can be no spiritual life apart from His presence. Any reference to the Christian having "eternal life" must be understood by the presence of the One who is life. "He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (I John 5:12). There is no possession of spiritual life apart from the Person who is life. There is no spiritual benefit apart from the presence of the divine Being of God in Christ. There is no salvation apart from the indwelling presence and activity of the risen and living Saviour.Christian teaching has long referred to "spiritual regeneration," but because of its differing theological biases it has often inadequately indicated what this means.
To be regenerated is to be "brought into being again" by the reception of divine life in the spirit of an individual.
"That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). Being "born again" or "born from above" (John 3:3,7) in "new birth" necessarily implies that the personified life of the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in the spirit of an individual who is thus constituted as a Christian.When a person is regenerated a spiritual exchange takes place. The "spirit that works in the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2), "the spirit of error" (I John 4:6), "the spirit of this world" (I Cor. 2:12), is exchanged for the "Spirit of truth" (I John 4:6), the "Spirit of God" (I Cor. 2:11,12), the personified presence of the Spirit of Christ who works in the Christian (cf. Eph. 3:20; Phil. 2:13; Col. 1:29). The living Lord Jesus explained to Paul at the time of his conversion that this spiritual exchange was a "turning from darkness to light, and from the dominion of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18). Regeneration is a spiritual exchange of spiritual personage within the spirit of an individual.When the New Testament Scriptures refer to "Christ in us," the Greek preposition used is en. The primary meaning of this preposition refers to location or place within something. This locative meaning adequately explains the presence of the Spirit of Christ located in the spirit of an individual. A secondary instrumental meaning of the Greek preposition en expands the meaning of "Christ in us," however. Used in this secondary manner the preposition conveys the meaning of "by means of." Jesus Christ located in us is more than a static deposit in a particular place in the individual. The living Spirit of Christ is always the divine dynamic who acts and functions "by means of" us. Hence, we begin to see that "Christ in us" is foundational to "Christ as us" and "Christ through us." When the phrase "Christ in us" is used in the instrumental or causal sense of "Christ by means of us" it begins to anticipate the other phrases, and to merge or meld into the subsequent phrases of this study. This is why "Christ in us" is often employed as a comprehensive phrase to convey Christ's presence and activity in the Christian individual, inclusive of "Christ as us" and "Christ through us", as it can also include "Christ by means of us." The explicit New Testament references to "Christ in us" lend credence to its use as an all-inclusive phrase of Christ's presence and function in the Christian.

That Paul meant more by the phrase "Christ in you" than just locative placement of the presence of Christ becomes apparent when we examine his statement to the Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20. Christ is in us, not merely as a deposit of a commodity called "eternal life," but Christ lives in us as the personified and living function of the dynamic of divine life. If, according to Paul, I am no longer living, and Christ is "living in me," then we begin to understand that Christ is living as us.

Christ as us
For some readers this will be a phrase they have not previously encountered in popular Christian literature. They may have heard of "Christ in us" and Christ through us," but not "Christ as us." Admittedly, there is no explicit use of the phrase "Christ as us" in the New Testament, and this makes the phrase suspect in the minds of some Christians. The absence of a direct use of the phrase does not negate its legitimate expression of a Biblical and spiritual concept, however. If that were the case, we would have to deny the use of the words "trinity" and "rapture," for these are words not used in Scripture, but they most certainly express Biblical concepts and are commonly employed in Christian terminology. In like manner, "Christ as us" is a phrase that conveys an important Biblical theme not fully encompassed in the other phrases.As noted above, "Christ in us" refers in its primary meaning to the location and placement of the presence of Christ within the spirit of a receptive individual. In its secondary meaning it refers to "Christ by means of us," but still does not carry with it the connotation of what the believer has become because of the presence and function of Jesus Christ within. Are we merely an occupied spirit-space? Or an invaded spirit-being? Or are we something/someone that we were not before we became a Christian? Did the spiritual exchange create a change in us? When we are regeneratively "brought into being again" are we different than we were previously? Or did we just receive an "eternal life" package by the placement of the Spirit of Christ within the location of our spirit?

The Biblical evidence reveals that the Christian becomes something or someone that he/she was not prior to becoming a Christian. Paul explains that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new" (II Cor. 5:17). The unregenerate "old man" (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9), worthy of death by personal accountability for sin, "has been crucified with Christ" (Rom. 6:6). Now by spiritual regeneration Christians have become a "new man" (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10) in Christ. Christians are transformed from being "a natural man" (I Cor. 2:14) into being "spiritual men" (I Cor. 3:1. Whereas they once were "children of the devil" (I John 3:10) and "sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2; 5:6), they are now "children of God" (John 1:12; Rom. 8:16; I John 3:1,2,10) and "sons of God" (Rom. 8:14,17; II Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; 4:6,7; Heb. 2:10). By the presence and function of Jesus Christ within their spirit, believers are identified as "Christians" (Acts 11:26; I Pet. 4:16), indicating that they are Christ-ones.All of these Biblical expressions and designations evidence the new identity of the one in whom Christ dwells and lives. Regeneration, the indwelling presence of the living Lord Jesus, does have the effect of making a person something that he was not before, a "new creature" with a new identity. Who we are as Christians is based on Who Christ is in us and as us, constituting us as Christ-ones. "Christ as us" is, therefore, a phrase that expresses our new identity in a way that the other phrases cannot convey.Some might object that the "Christ as us" phrase, dealing as it does with identity, is just addressing a psychological need of modern man to have an individualized sense of self-identity, self-image, self-awareness, self-consciousness, self-concept, self-worth, etc. Not so! The phrase is not used to explain a psychological need or phenomenon, but to explain a spiritual reality of the Christian life that has an abundance of Scriptural statements relating to the fact that the Christian has become something and someone that he/she was not previously.

At the very core of our being, in the innermost function of the human spirit, the Christian has become a new person with a new identity.

Psychology deals with the distinctive of our individuality in differing personalities, often referred to as a "perceived sense of identity in the psyche," but the deepest level of identity is always in the spirit of a person, and that in derived association and union with the spiritual being that indwells that person's spirit."Christ as us" refers to our identity as Christians by reason of His real spiritual presence and His being who He is in us. "Christ is our life" (Col. 3:4), and Christians "live together with" (I Thess. 5:10) and "through" (I John 4:9) Him. "Christ has become to us righteousness" (I Cor. 1:30). "We become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21) when we are "created in righteousness" (Eph. 4:24) as a "new man" and are "made righteous" (Rom. 5:19). As "new creatures in Christ" (II Cor. 5:17), Christians are "created in holiness" (Eph. 4:24) and are "holy and beloved" (Col. 3:12) as "holy ones" or "saints" (cf. Rom. 1:7; 8:27; Eph. 1:18; 4:12). In Christ we are "perfect" (Phil. 3:15) and "sanctified" (Heb. 10:14) as "righteous men made perfect" (Heb. 12:23), for Christ "has become to us wisdom and sanctification" (I Cor. 1:24,30).Jesus Christ becomes the basis of the spiritual identity of the Christian, but we must always understand that this is a derived identity, a derived life, a derived righteousness, holiness and perfection. These are not realities that we have become essentially or inherently in and by ourselves, but only by His presence within us. We are made righteous only because Christ, the "Righteous One" (Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14; I John 2:1) dwells and functions in us and as us. Christians are only said to be "holy" and "perfect" because Jesus Christ is the "Holy One" (Acts 3:14; 4:27,30), the One "made perfect forever" (Heb. 7:28), who has become the basis of our derived identity."Christ as us" is another way of referring to the Christian's "union with Christ" which has been a part of Christian understanding from the beginning of the Church. Christian thinkers have often struggled, however, to explain and articulate what Paul meant by his statement that "the one being joined to the Lord is one spirit (with Him)" (I Cor. 6:17). Likewise, they have shied away from Peter's assertion that Christians "have become partakers of divine nature" (II Peter 1:4).

Clinging to the Greek humanistic idea of an inherent "human nature," Christians have often been blinded to the Scriptural explanation that "we were by nature (Greek phusis) children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3) in our unregenerate spiritual condition, when "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2) was indwelling and operative in us, but we are now "partakers of the divine nature (phusis)" (II Pet. 1:4), by the presence and function of "the Spirit of Christ" (Rom. 8:9) within the spirit of the Christian (cf. Rom. 8:16). Being "partakers (koinonoi) of the divine nature" (II Pet. 1:4) and "partakers (metachoi) of Christ" (Heb. 3:14) implies that Christians are participants in Christ, sharing in the commonality of His nature and identity in spiritual union with Him. This participatory fellowship (koinonia) with the living Lord Jesus (I Cor. 1:9), with God the Father (I John 1:3,6), and with the Holy Spirit (Phil. 2:1) indicates a spiritual union with the Triune Godhead.This discussion of the Christian's spiritual identity in "union with Christ" raises a question: Is it legitimate to allow the phrase "Christ as us" to mean "Christ is us"? We have previously noted that Paul wrote "Christ is our life" (Col. 3:4) and "Christ has become to us righteousness" (I Cor. 1:30; II Cor. 5:21). Our explanation has been that Christ is the basis of our new identity as a "new creature" (II Cor. 5:17) and as a "new man" (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10) in Him. Christ is the essence of who we are as Christ-ones, as Christians; the essence of our spiritual identity. Does this allow, then, for a legitimate usage of the phrase, "Christ is us"? Our logical syllogisms, grammatical phrases, and spiritual understanding must be carefully stated at this point. Though we might say, "Christ is us," in a qualified manner, is this to be interpreted in such a way that the equation can be turned around and stated, "We are Christ" or "I am Christ"? Without qualification such statements would be blasphemous! To claim to be God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit is to claim the essence of deity. This violates the monotheistic premise that Who (and what) God is, only God is. To claim to be Christ impinges upon several of the seven (7) foundational tenets of Christian teaching that we noted in the introduction to this study, particularly the monotheistic distinction of the Creator and the creature, the Trinitarian unity of the Godhead, and the Christological singularity of Christ's person and work.

References to "Christ as us" and "Christ is us," and statements like "I am Jesus Christ in John Doe form" must be carefully explained so that any implication of the Christian's being equivalent to Christ is avoided.

These phrases push the limits of the fine-line of demarcation that allows for a valid expression of the Christian's "union with Christ" wherein Christ is expressed as us, and the recognition, on the other hand, that the human individual is always a receptive, contingent and derivative creature distinguished from the essence of the Creator, God.

Previous mention was made to the two major branches of the Western Church, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, and how they have avoided reference to the subjective indwelling of Christ in the Christian individual by the over-collectivization of ecclesiasticism and the over-objectification of a law-based theology.

There is another major segment of the Christian Church at large that has been long neglected by Western Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Church, which includes the Greek, Russian, Cyprian and Serbian national churches, has a sustained history from the commencement of Christianity. This branch of the Church has traditionally cited the statements of the early church fathers concerning the Christian's participation in the divine nature in ways that make the Western Church very uncomfortable. Here are some examples of such statements:"Our Lord Jesus Christ...became what we are, so that He might bring us to be even what He Himself is." - Irenaeus c. 180 AD 5"The man of God is consequently divine and is already holy. He is God-bearing and God-borne." - Clement of Alexandria c. 195 AD 6"You will be a companion of God, and a co-heir with Christ... For you have become divine... God has promised to bestow these upon you, for you have been deified and begotten unto immortality." - Hippolytus c. 225 AD 7"...from Him there began the union of the divine with the human nature. This was so that the human ­ by communion with the divine ­ might rise to be divine. This not only happened in Jesus, but also in all those who not only believe, but enter upon the life that Jesus taught." - Origen c. 248 AD 8"What man is, Christ was willing to be ­ so that man may also be what Christ is." - Cyprian c. 250 AD 9"God became man so that man might become God." - Athanasius c. 325 AD 10"God has called men 'gods' that are deified of His Grace, not born of His Substance." - Augustine c. 400 AD 11The Eastern Church refers to this participation of the Christian in the divine nature as Theosis or "deification." This is strange-sounding terminology to most Western Christians. Eastern Orthodox theologians are careful to explain, though, that neither the early church fathers nor they are advocating that the Christian becomes God. They qualify "deification" by indicating that it is participation in the "energies" of God's presence and Being, rather than becoming the "essence" of the Being of God. Though they emphasize the intimacy of the union of the Christian with the "divine nature," they maintain at the same time that the creature always remains essentially distinct from God.

They maintain a careful balance of union and distinction.

Protestant evangelicals in the Western Church are reluctantly admitting that the Eastern Orthodox teaching of Theosis or "deification" does not impinge upon the foundational teachings of Christianity, such as the seven (7) basic tenets enumerated in the introduction of this study. Robert M. Bowman, Jr., writing in the Christian Research Journal, states,"It may surprise some to learn that a monotheistic doctrine of deification was taught by many of the church fathers, and is believed by many Christians today, including the entire Eastern Orthodox church. In keeping with monotheism, the Eastern orthodox do not teach that men will literally become 'gods' (which would be polytheism). Rather, as did many of the church fathers, they teach that men are 'deified' in the sense that the Holy Spirit dwells within Christian believers and transforms them into the image of God in Christ... Thus, it should not be argued that anyone who speaks of deification necessarily holds to a heretical view of man. Such a sweeping judgment would condemn many of the early church's greatest theologians (e.g., Athanasius, Augustine), as well as one of the three main branches of historic orthodox Christianity in existence today." 12Alan F. Johnson and Robert Webber, theology professors at Wheaton College, write in their book, What Christians Believe:"The first clearly articulated concept of the application of the work of Christ to the sinful human condition is developed in the East... This view is known as theosis or deification. ...This does not mean, as it may appear on the surface, that humanity shares in the essence of God. Human persons do not become God. Rather, because the work of Christ destroys the powers of evil, we are freed from those powers and able to come into fellowship with God... His redeemed creatures have been given the benefits and privileges of divinity through grace. The state of grace is seen as a state of communion with God, fellowship with the Trinity, a partaking of the divine." 13F. W. Norris, professor at Emmanuel School of Religion, wrote an article entitled "Deification: Consensual and Cogent" in the Scottish Journal of Theology, indicating,"...patristic theologians offered a remarkable view of what Protestants refer to as 'restoration' or 'fellowship'. These theologians ground it in a sense of Christian salvation: theosis or deification. ...No universal Christian consensus demands that one view of salvation includes or excludes all others. 14"Poorly-read Protestants have insisted that the Eastern Orthodox idolatrously make us all little gods or that they think of participation in the divine nature only in physical terms. These charges are false. Orthodox theologians keep deification away from Gnostic or Manichaean speculation, or what we might recognize as the worst aspects of Far Eastern mysticism and now so-called New Age musings." 15"We Christians have the promise of participating in the divine nature. ...Not only Eastern Orthodox but also Western theologians find solace in a sense of deification. Such restoration does not mean that we become God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God. Our participation in the divine nature is in God's energies, not the essence, a participation through grace accepted in faith which includes being participants in Christ's sufferings." 16More than any other in the context of recent Protestant evangelicalism, the British missionary statesman and author, Norman P. Grubb, emphasized the truth of Christ as the basis of the Christian's identity. It was the distinctive of his ministry to compel Christians to recognize their spiritual identity in Christ. The titles of his later books reveal this emphasis: Who Am I?17 and Yes I Am18. Grubb was very careful, however, to emphasize that the Christian's spiritual union with Christ did not mean "a relationship of total absorption."19 "The idea that we can be deified ­ that is blasphemy,"20 Grubb wrote. "The essence of idolatry is to claim to be what only God is..."21 "The creature never becomes the Creator."22 "The container never becomes the contents." "We are the creature, He the Creator, neither one becoming the other."23 "Our oneness with Christ does not alter our two-ness."24 "The human spirit...can be the container of the Divine Spirit...and yet not lose its own individuality in so being."25 "The human is forever the human, and the divine the divine."26 In these, and many other ways, Norman Grubb attempted to balance the union and distinction, unity and diversity, oneness and two-ness of the relationship of Christ and the Christian.Having considered some Biblical bases for "union with Christ" and some theological background of how others have explained participation in the divine nature, it will now be beneficial to return to the consideration of the phrase "Christ as us" in order to do a brief grammatical study of the English word "as."

In the English language the word "as" can be employed as an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition, and even as a pronoun.
Adverbially, "as" means "equivalent to" or "the same as." Used adverbially, "Christ as us" would mean "Christ is the same as us" or "Christ is as we are (I am)."
Used as a conjunction, "as" means "in the same manner" or "to the same degree." The "Christ as us" phrase would then mean "Christ, in like manner as us."
Our utilization of the "Christ as us" phrase in this study is primarily considering the word in the prepositional usage, where "as" refers to "function, role or capacity." "Christ serves as the identity of us." "Christ functions as us." "Christ expresses Himself as us." In like manner as the "Christ in us" and "Christ through us" phrases are prepositional, we are using "Christ as us" as a prepositional phrase also."Christ as us" means more than "Christ as if He were us" in an unreal and hypothetical fashion. The "Christ as us" phrase also means more than "Christ, as it were, so to speak, us" in a merely figurative and illustrative analogy. If the "Christ as us" phrase is interpreted as "Christ, represented as us," we must beware of any implications that Christ is just a sign or symbol represented in our lives, or that the Christian is "playing the part" or "taking the place of" Christ. On the other hand, there is legitimacy in the interpretation that "Christ is re-presented as us" in a contemporary manifestation of His life.The meaning of the phrase "Christ as us," as used in this study, can be reduced to two (2) primary prepositional emphases: (1) Christ functioning as us in terms of the identity of our being. (2) Christ functioning as us in terms of the instrumentality of our activity. In other words, (1) Christ expressed ontologically as us. (2) Christ expressed operationally as us.

The first of these has to do with the Being of Christ serving as the basis of the Christian's being and identity.

The second of these has to do with the activity of Christ serving as the basis of the Christian's expression and behavior.

These two aspects of "union with Christ," ontological union and operational union, are integrally united in the unity of God's Being and Action. God's Being is always expressed in His Action, and His Action is always invested with and expressive of His Being. In other words, there can be no detachment or separation in Who God is and what God does. In like manner, our behavior as Christians should be expressive of who we have become in Christ.Our study of "Christ as us" has (to this point) focused primarily on the ontological sense of identity, so we now turn our attention to the operational sense of Christ's functioning as us in behavioral manifestation. Christ operating as us in the expression of Himself will eventually begin to merge into the meaning of "Christ through us," but in order to differentiate the emphases we will reserve the "Christ through us" phrase for the expression of Christ that extends beyond us to others."Christ manifested as us" implies the living reality of the presence of Christ in us, the basis of our new spiritual identity in our union with Christ as us. Christ cannot remain dormant within us as a static deposit of identification. The living Lord Jesus must of necessity express Himself dynamically as who He is in our behavior. The Christian life is not a self-generated expression of moral and ethical behavior that attempts to conform to the example of Christ, and thereby be Christ-like. Rather, the Christian life is the Christ-life, Christ "living in me" (Gal. 2:20), lived out as us. Despite the misconceptions that abound in the religious thinking of many Christians today, the objective of the Christian life is not an imitation of the life of Jesus, but the manifestation of the very life of Jesus. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "We have this treasure (Christ) in earthen vessels (human bodies), that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; ...that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body, ...manifested in our mortal flesh" (II Cor. 4:7,10,11).
The Christian life is not imitation, but manifestation of Jesus as us!
When Christ is expressed as us, manifesting His life and character in our behavior, this creates a unique re-presentation (see above) of Christ's life. Christians are not meant to be carbon copy, cookie-cutter conformists operating in Xerox uniformity. Utilizing our unique individualities and personalities, Christ lives out His life as us. This is accomplished in the spontaneity of allowing Jesus to function and express His character in whatever role or capacity we find ourselves, whether as husband or wife, employer or employee, leader or follower, etc. By faith the Christian allows for the receptivity of His active character expressed as us.Ever since the writings of the early church fathers, many have referred to the active expression of "Christ as us" as the incarnational reality of Christianity. The historical incarnation of Jesus has often been made analogous to the relationship of Christ and the Christian. It has been noted that God was in the man, Jesus (Matt. 1:23; Jn. 17:21), incarnated as the man, Jesus (Jn. 1:14; Phil. 2:7-11), and acting through the man, Jesus (Jn. 14:10; Acts 2:22).

The Christological incarnation of the Son of God is not identical, however, to the expression of "Christ as us." The incarnation of the Word of God involved the hypostatic union of God and man unified in one person, who was the singular mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5) as the God-man. Whenever the idea of incarnation is applied to Christians it must be in a generalized sense of the life and activity of the living Lord Jesus embodied "in us" and enfleshed "as us" as we functionally express Christ's life. This does not invalidate references to the contemporary incarnational expression of "Christ as us," but does reveal the necessity of always recognizing the difference between Christ's incarnation and the incarnational expression of Christ's life in our behavior. (ACW We are at the end of the day, as Wendy Wilbraham shares : just ordinary rather shrivelled looking branches on His all incorporating Vine.No one remembers the branches, but they remember the fruit that came from the branches!)
The process of allowing for the expression of Christ's life in our behavior is called "sanctification." To be sanctified is not to achieve a sanctimonious piety by particular religious disciplines or by peculiar conformity of dress and behavior. To be sanctified is, rather, to allow Jesus, the Holy One (Acts 3:14; 4:27,30), who lives in us as the basis of our new spiritual identity to express His Holy character in the actions of our behavior. Thus, we are set apart to function as God intended, expressing His Holy character "in spirit and soul and body" (I Thess. 5:23).A verse often cited to document "Christ's function as us" is found in John's first epistle. In the context of referring to God's love being perfected, i.e. brought to its intended end in expression towards others, John writes, "As He is, so are we in this world" (I Jn. 4:17). The contextual meaning seems to be that "just as (kathos) Christ is the functional expression of God's love to others (mankind - cf. Jn. 3:16), so also we (Christians) are the functionally expressive agents of God's love within the world of mankind where we live." John's underlying assumption is that "Christ as us" (identity) will express God's divine love "as us" (activity) in consistent expression of the character of God (which is the primary thrust of John's epistle). This verse does refer to "Christ's function as us" in expressing God's love, but should not be wrenched from its context to mean "as Christ is in His essential Being, so we are in our essential being."Christ functions as us by actually and actively living His life in us (Gal. 2:20). Christians are "saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10), and set free to function as God intended and as God energizes. Controlled and "filled with His Spirit" (Eph. 5:18), Christians manifest the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22,23), "the fruit of righteousness" (Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:11; Heb. 12:11), which is the character of Christ. Again, this is not a character that Christians generate or actuate from their own energies and "works," but Christian character is only and always derived from Christ. Christians allow for the outworking of Christ's activity to which they are receptive in faith (James 2:17-26), engaging in "good works which were prepared beforehand that they should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10) as God "works in them that which is pleasing in His sight" (Heb. 13:21). Only by "Christ's function as us" do we "live godly in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 3:12), to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31; II Cor. 3:18; I Pet. 4:11), which is the purpose for which we were created (cf. Isa. 43:7).

Christ through us
Jesus Christ functionally expressing His life as us necessarily merges into an understanding of "Christ through us." As previously explained, the operational union of Christ as us, expressing His life and character through our behavior, was addressed in the previous section, whereas Christ functioning through us in extension to other persons will be the focus of our explanation here. These concepts are obviously integrated and should not be made into rigid categories or definitions. Much of our explanation of Christ's operational function as us could just as well have been explained as Christ's functional expression through us."Having noted how the character of Christ is expressed in Christian behavior by "the fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22,23), we now note that the ministry of Christ is performed through us by the "gifts of the Spirit" (cf. Rom. 12; I Cor. 12; Eph. 4:8-16). The "fruit of the Spirit" has to do with the functional expression of the character of Christ, while the "gifts of the Spirit" have to do with the ministry of Christ to others in the context of the Body of Christ. It is most lamentable that in many portions of the Church today the "gifts of the Spirit" are regarded as marks of spirituality or trophies of spiritual possession, rather than as the means of Christ's ministry through Christians. The "gifts of the Spirit" should not be viewed as separated or detached entities or abilities, but only as the functional grace-expressions by which Christ ministers through any Christian in a given situation of another's need. (cf. Fowler, Charismata: the so-called "Spiritual Gifts")The ministry activity of Jesus Christ during His historical, earthly ministry was accomplished as "the man Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5) was the "man attested by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him" (Acts 2:22). Jesus carefully explained that He did nothing of His own initiative (Jn. 5:19,30; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10), but declared, "the Father abiding in Me does His works" (Jn. 14:10). How did Jesus do what He did in His earthly ministry? Even the "miracles and wonders and signs" were what "God performed through Him."Doctor Luke later writes that "the multitude were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles" (Acts 15:12). In like manner as Jesus ministered by being receptive to God's activity through Him, the apostles ministered in supernatural ways as God functioned through them. Writing to the Romans, Paul explained, "I do not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit" (Rom. 15:18,19). This is obviously a very explicit reference to Christ's function through the Christian.The Greek word used in these references just cited is the Greek preposition dia which has a primary and direct meaning of procession through an object, place, or person. It often conveys the meaning of extension through that goes beyond and out from the object, place, or person. This idea of extension beyond ourselves unto others is important in the understanding of "Christ through us" as Christians. A secondary, instrumental meaning of dia is "by means of, which allows the word to have the same secondary meaning as the Greek preposition en, revealing that these prepositions tend to overlap one another in meaning and must not be treated with rigid precision.The presence and function of the living Jesus in, as, and through the Christian is not for the purpose or objective of making us spiritually bloated "knowers," full of pride in our alleged "spirituality" and what we "know" as Gnostic elitists. The only thing, the only One, we know is Him, Jesus Christ, in an ontological knowing of relational intimacy, rather than an epistemological knowledge of data that merely puffs us up in arrogance (I Cor. 8:1). The One we know is Jesus. Jesus is God (John 10:30). God is love (I John 4:8,16). God as love is a Self who has no needs and exists only for others, expressing Himself in grace and love and givingness. Therefore, when Jesus functions in us, and as us, and through us, He is always expressing Himself in grace and love for others.In the Epistle to the Hebrews it is written, "Christ always lives to make intercession..." (Heb. 7:25), for His is a permanent priesthood (Heb. 7:24). In that case, He must live in us, and as us, and through us to make intercession for others.

Christians have long advocated "intercessory prayer" for others, but seldom have they considered what it means to engage in "intercessory lives" or "intercessory ministry" for others.
(ACW In the period since beginning blog comments on Dan Bowen's site, right through this blog I have not got around to this essential difference in how intercession is viewed in the 3rd level or Father level. Up until now, first in a renewed baptist church in Amersham, through an Ed Miller/Jorge Pradas Independent charismatic church, through to Morris Cerullo conferences in the 90s, intercession was a type of meeting, or at most, a concentration of prayer, maybe for a period, together with fasting, individually or in the context of a local Body, or collective local bodies.
But the usage in Rees Howells Intercessor written by Norman Grubb, and subsequently by Norman himself, was as Spirit projects to be gained in faith by laying down your life in various ways to achieve them. By the time of Norman's last book "Yes I am" this was taken a step further, as we saw the falsity of the concept of the "Independent self" position, and that from hence forth everything was to be seen from the light of "Christ as Us". From now on it was seeing how Christ was gaining intercessions by us as a natural outworking of His Life in us.
The first usage of the word conjures up pictures of me and Rob Rufus in the early 80s, fasting for long periods, intensifying prayer activities with "various methods". As Rob Rufus recently referred to in one of his podcasts, he has become singularly unimpressed by "all nights of prayer" with psyched up believers all rattling away in tongues for hours on if God was impressed by volume and hours of intensity notched up as it says in the Bible "heaped up as gentiles do in their prayers".
Now in His grace, in the 80s, more so Rob, but to a limited extent myself...we both did experience phenomenal answers to prayer....but this sort of life became increasingly off-centre, unbalanced but neither of us could adequately explain our misgivings at the time.

Today, I see everything in the context of Christ living out the whole of life through me. Sometimes eating Cornflakes. Sometimes in meetings. Sometimes holding down a job. But whatever...always different subplots are going on as He is thinking,planning,bringing forth stuff through me. Various forms of death are going on that others may receive life.
Going back to the old 2nd level understanding of intercession is ...well
part time. Limited. Limited in scope. Limited in its understanding of what intercession is.Limited in cost.Limited in outcome.
Many can testify to brief outbreaks of life. Maybe through an evangelization. People sweep into the Kingdom. But often they appear to sweep just as quickly out through the back door again.
But what I see now is that Christ's fruit fruits!
Christ's fruit bears yet more fruit of itself!
The handful who have come to Christ on my tuning round for example, have gone on to lead the rest of the family to the Lord, and have even gone abroad with the gospel.Two or three families have done this. Bad news for my tuning round though!
James A Fowler continued
The intent of God in Christ was to provide for "a kingdom of priests" (Exod. 19:6) who would function as a royal intercessory priesthood (I Peter 2:9) as "priests of the Lord and ministers of God" (Isa. 61:6) for others. Christians are that kingdom of priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:10), wherein the sacrificial and intercessory character of God is to function for others.Without thought for Himself, Jesus "laid down His life" (John 10:17,18; I Jn. 3:16) for others, and as He lives in and through the Christian He will continue to express the same self-sacrifice, self-surrender, and self-giving that is inherent in God's character. As Christians "lay down their lives for the brethren" (I Jn. 3:16), it is not for the same redemptive and propitiatory purpose which was singularly fulfilled by the Person of Christ, but the same willingness to be an expendable investiture for others remains. Christians thereby begin to recognize that participation and fellowship (koinonia) with Christ is not only the commonality of union with Him in an identity that expresses itself as us, but also involves participating in "the fellowship (koinonia) of His sufferings" (Phil. 3:10). As Paul invested himself in ministry unto others, he indicated that he was "filling up what was lacking in Christ's affliction" (Col. 1:24) because Christ continued to suffer in and as him. "The sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance" (II Cor. 1:5), but "we suffer with Him that we might be glorified with Him" (Rom. 8:17), Paul wrote in other letters.
ACW- Interestingly the Mormon insistence on cataloguing the entire genealogies of the human race is based on a total misunderstanding of this related passage in 1 Corinthians 29-31.
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

They mistake verse 29 to mean that they must systematically baptise people on behalf of their unbelieving relatives. This odd practice completely misses the point of third level intercessory activity on behalf of others as is plain from the two next verses.
Traditionally, evangelical scholars and charismatic teachers have missed the true meaning here also. Here in the link below is such an example of possible meanings, but the intended meaning is missed out completely.
Third level intercession is a reality as we "see" who this Jesus is on the inside of us, and how already, without understanding much of His ways , we have already been used in intercession on behalf of others. Luckily, Christianity is not a book-learned religion. But a life that Jesus chooses to live by us His vessels, long before we actually understand what is going on.

"Christ through us" involves being willing "to stand in the gap" (Ezek. 22:30) for others, recognizing that our present physical bodies and lives are expendable since we have the spiritual continuity and perpetuity of Christ's eternal life."Christ through us" is the extension of Christ's ministry through Christians. The objective of that ministry is not for self-indulgent progression unto knowledge or spirituality, but is always Christ giving Himself to and for others in us, as us, and through us.ConclusionThe phrases we have considered in this study, "Christ in us," "Christ as us," and "Christ through us," are not necessarily to be understood as progressive, successive or sequential steps or stages of spiritual knowledge or spiritual growth. Though we have differentiated between them, they often meld and merge into an integrated and comprehensive emphasis of "Christ by means of us," as this is a permissible interpretation of all three prepositions. We should avoid analyzing the meaning of these three phrases too precisely or rigidly, allowing the living reality of Christ to express Himself as He will. It is questionable whether the realities that these phrases refer to should be cast into separate theological categories as some have done, attempting to represent them as justification, sanctification, and glorification; or as regeneration, unification, and ministration. Even illustrative analogies such as John's reference to "children, young men, and fathers" (I John 2:12-14) are best avoided, as these are often misleading.
ACW My thesis has always been that as Juan Carlos Ortiz prophesied "In the time to come, people will be born again in the Most Holy Place." Now, this always was where people were born again. This is made plain throughout the new testament.What is clear however is that people WILL KNOW IT. The Church will preach this reality from day one to new believers. That is why this blog's talk of levels can be misleading if purely understood in a linear narrative. Many totally broken new believers seem to crash into the Kingdom from day one at this Father level of understanding. Their previous existence absolutely gone up in smoke, the fictitious prodigal son, or the actual Mary Magdelan or many others like the apostle Paul, seemed immediately ready to take the full realization and revelation of what the gospel is on about. And then it is just a matter of this revelation growing out through a believer, until they are totally established in it, in every type of situation.

When an individual is regenerated by the receipt of the Spirit of Christ into his/her spirit (Rom. 8:9), Christ is in that person, immanently indwelling them; Christ forms their identity, functioning as them, for Christ cannot help but act as the Being that He is; and Christ is living through them, laying down His life in intercessory ministry for others.

Despite the caution of defining these internal spiritual realities too precisely, the following differentiations may be helpful for general definition.
"Christ in us" has to do with indwelling;
"Christ as us" has to do with identity;
"Christ through us" has to do with intercession.
The preposition "in" refers to location; the preposition "as" refers to function; the preposition "through" refers to extension.
"Christ in us" points to Presence ­ the real presence of the living Lord Jesus in our spirit;
"Christ as us" suggests Identity ­ His presence establishes our new identity as Christ-ones; "Christ through us" implies Expression ­ Christ's presence and function necessitates His expression through us unto others.

In conclusion let us note that Paul wrote of the Corinthians "being manifested as a letter of Christ,...written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God...on tablets of human hearts" (II Cor. 3:3). Christ living by means of us creates a unique living epistle that re-presents Christ to others in the contemporary form of our own lives. Such a presentation of Christ in us, and as us, and through us, may be the only living form of Jesus that another person may ever observe. This adaptation of another's verse seems to capture the point poetically:
"CHRIST is writing a letter in you each day.
The message, that is HIM, must be true.
'Tis the only Jesus that some men may see ­
The life of Christ expressed as and through YOU.