The New Creation.
1. Repentance - revelation of right and wrong
2. Baptism - death to self, separation of the soul and spirit
3. Separation - disentanglement of the emotions, the will and the rational mind
4. Seasons - understanding Gods timing
5. Wholeness - spiritual / emotional
6. Dominion - everything in correct order, intellect and will
7. Sabbath - rest in Heaven
Day Zero - Chaos before Christ
2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water. (GW)
Before the Lord works in any of our lives we are like his first creation "formless and empty". The Living Bible says, "a formless chaotic mass". Before we came to Christ and the provision of the Father in his sight we were formless, chaotic, and empty, these three adjectives aptly describe the darkened pre-Christ state of our hearts. And yet in these verses we also see the Spirit of our merciful Father, Elohim, brooding over our souls - 'hovering' over the waters of our lives, calling us to himself.
It is a wonderful thing, a holy thing, to sit at the side of a person 'becoming' a Christian. To view their inner struggles, as they come to understand their failings, their darkness, their chaos, and their emptiness. It is as if the Spirit of our Father hovers over their lives. And there is an almost tangible expectation of new beginnings as the seed of the gospel takes root in their life, and in the fullness of time, new life forms.
Day One - Repentance!
3 Then God said, "Let there be light!" So there was light. 4 God saw the light was good. So God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God named the light day, and the darkness he named night. There was evening, then morning--the first day. (GW)
Yes now - it all makes sense, now I understand! When the Holy Spirit finally breaks through our hardened calloused hearts and convicts us of sin and of righteousness and of judgement and we understand the power of Jesus atoning work at the cross and we repent of living self-centred lives, to receive Gods mercy and forgiveness and restoration, finally the penny drops. And we say to ourselves, “But of course how obvious! Why didn't I see that before”? "Let there be light!" the Father declares over us. And inside our darkened souls finally the lights are switched on, as his Holy Spirit floods into our minds and hearts. This is the very first creative act of the Father in our lives - light piercing darkness. His Holy Spirit enlightening - revealing what is good, and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong in his sight. There is a deep heartfelt conviction that leads to true repentance and a change in how we live our lives.
If we partake and eat of this gracious gift of knowledge, salvation begins. And as the pulsing heart of the Father is transplanted into the dead soul of the repentant sinner, a new creation occurs. This second fruit of understanding cancels a long previous act of rebellion. Yes now in Christ we are given a second opportunity by the Father’s grace to receive what our ancestor Adam choose to steal in violence. Knowledge is restored into its rightful place and order, nurturing the developing soul. Here at this place of Gods provision is his food - that is his atoning flesh and blood, to daily receive and feed from.
John 6:50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."(GW)
Yes at the cross, there is knowledge, not a knowledge for its own purposes, but knowledge in its correct place, in its correct order, incarnate grace.
And so this first day is a tremendous day. God sees it and declares over it that it is good! Yes even better than our physical birthdays, this day is a day to remember and to celebrate eternally. And whilst the work of the Holy Spirit is powerful in this formative season and his changes can be so dramatic to our lives, yet this season is only the beginning, for after one evening and one morning we note that this day is quickly over. Our first 'season' - is only one in a whole sequence of progressive changes that the Holy Spirit intends to bring into our recreated souls. Were we to remain in day one only, we would never come into the wholeness and richness that our Lord intends. Let us move on then, to maturity in Christ for there is much work to be done by his Spirit in our lives.
Hebrews 5:12 However, solid food is for mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to know the difference between good and evil. 6:1 With this in mind, we should stop going over the elementary truths about Christ and move on to topics for more mature people. We shouldn't repeat the basics about turning away from the useless things we did and the basics about faith in God.(GW)
Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them."(GW)
We can recognise the character of those who have gone through this creative day because:
- their change of direction in life
- their submission to Christ
Day two Baptism (separation of soul and spirit)
6 Then God said, "Let there be a horizon in the middle of the water in order to separate the water." 7 So God made the horizon and separated the water above and below the horizon. And so it was. 8 God named [what was above] the horizon sky. There was evening, then morning--a second day.(GW)
In this creation sequence of 6 consecutive days: it can be seen that the first three days group themselves together into a body of 'forming days', and that the second three days loosely group themselves into a body of 'filling days'. And so it is that in our walk with our Lord he powerfully changes and defines our identities in the former seasons, and then he wonderfully enriches what he has defined in the later seasons. This second 'day' then is one of forming. A day of separation, a day of broad, but fundamental redefinitions of identity. In our analogy, as a 'new creation' we see two distinct areas: of the waters above and of the waters below. The waters above - the heavens, symbolise our spirits (i.e. that part of us which is spirit - our conscience, our God awareness, our moral and ethical awareness), and the waters below symbolise our souls (that part of our inner being which includes our mind, our will, and our emotions). Notice that the Lord names only the heavens above. First and foremost the Lord gives credence and form to his Spirit in us only on the following day does he begin to define the lower realms - naming them. (I will briefly note here that in Middle-eastern and many other non-Western cultures, when you name something you gain dominion over it. And so whenever you see a verse in the Old Testament recording the 'naming' of someone or somebody take note - this is an important indication of a governing status, in this case in our analogy it shows, differing parts of the internal identity as they come into a God-centred order).
Our maker may form our spirits, but the human soul is formed by ourselves in our responses to life over the process of a lifetime. How we daily live our lives, how we respond to the challenges of life, is all recorded in the character of the soul. All believers need to understand and be warned, the soul is like concrete that sets when we pass through death into eternity. Whatever form of character we possess here on earth is exactly what we will take with us and possess for eternity.
Galatians 5:7 Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you'll harvest. 8 If you plant in [the soil of] your corrupt nature, you will harvest destruction. But if you plant in [the soil of] your spiritual nature, you will harvest everlasting life. 9 We can't allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way. Certainly, each of us will receive [everlasting life] at the proper time, if we don't give up. (GW)
When the Holy Spirit comes into the repentant sinners life, he immediately begins by setting up shop and ordering his new surroundings. Out goes the rubbish, the junk, and the belongings of the former owner, and in comes the new furnishings, belongings and desires of the new owner. The chief means by which the Holy Spirit accomplishes this is through his Word - the Bible, and through his family - the relationships we form within the body of Jesus. As we read the Word and we 'listen' to his Word, his Spirit fills us replacing old thought patterns, attitudes and actions. We then learn to live out what we have learnt in the safe, committed relationships of his family. As we submit one to another we find we change, His Spirit in us teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us and encourages us. This is the bringing of order into our lives. Most especially the second day is a season of his word separating our own soulish desires from what Gods Holy Spirit's desires.
Hebrews 4:12 God's word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God's word judges a person's thoughts and intentions.(GW)
Day two means huge, changes in our motivations - the true centre of our inner being. It is one of the most difficult days, for the Lord brings into our lives circumstances that provoke us to make a clear distinction between his ways versus our ways. And then moment-by-moment as we obey him and simply walk with him, we learn what it is to respond to his desires. Here in day 2 there is a clarity between God’s plans and my plans. His Spirit versus my 'old soulish nature'. Attitudes such as pride, hatred, anger, resentment, jealousy, bitterness, rebellion, and slander are recognized and repented of.
Galatians 5:20 "illicit sex, perversion,20 idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things." (GW)
We learn to put off or to put to death our old sinful desires, and we learn to put on or be clothed with Christ, with our new nature. In this sense day two is a day of baptism. i.e. it is a day of death to the old nature, death to our plans, and death to our earthly positions and securities.
Matthew5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn. They will be comforted." (GW)
We can recognise the character of those who have gone through this creative day because:
- they are dead to their old desires
- they are alive to their new life in Christ and have received his comfort
- their repentance has led to separating of their souls from their spirits
- they possess a clarity of purpose
It is a time when if we obey his leading, our souls separate from our spirits, and we are able to walk clearly into further days of creative change.
I digress here to state that most Western Christians are stuck in this particular day of change. As believers we all must learn to die to our own desires and live our lives for Christ alone. This is what the symbol of Baptism is all about - it means death to ourselves, being buried with Christ. However our whole culture is set up to exalt the soul (the self) above the desires of the Holy Spirit. Western Christians are so much a part of this humanistic, materialistic, media driven, individualistic, self centred culture, that in Western Churchianity, there is no separation of the soul and the spirit, just a merging of Gods desires and our desires in a hatch-patched porridge of half-baked spirituality. Every day our experiences are as the film "Groundhog Day". We wake up in the morning and we are stuck in day two of the creation sequence. We do not grow or mature or deepen in our walk with the Lord, because we do not let go of running control of our lives, we do not submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, because our motivations are clouded by our own soulish desires. There is no separation between our souls and our spirits. This cannot be, this must not be! How can darkness walk with light?
2 Corinthians 6:14 Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness? 15 Can Christ agree with the devil? Can a believer share life with an unbeliever? 16 Can God's temple contain false gods? Clearly, we are the temple of the living God. As God said, "I will live and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people." 17 The Lord says, "Get away from unbelievers. Separate yourselves from them. Have nothing to do with anything unclean. Then I will welcome you." 18 The Lord Almighty says, "I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters." (GW)
Day three Transformation (separation of emotions, will and rational mind)
9 Then God said, "Let the water under the sky come together in one area, and let the dry land appear." And so it was. 10 God named the dry land earth. The water which came together he named sea. God saw that it was good.(GW)
The third day begins with Gods Spirit bringing further order to the world inside us, he gathers the 'seas' together and separates them from the 'land'. As we come to a place of complete submission to our Lord, there is a further distinction between these various components, and gathering together of - the spirit, the emotions, and the rational mind and the will. What began with the spirit being 'reborn' on the previous day concludes with yet further distinctions and clarity as each component in the soul finds its preordained position in a God centred identity.
Throughout differing literature traditions, diverse cultures use the metaphor of water to describe the emotions, e.g. seas with their waves of highs and lows, or rivers with their violence or their tranquillity - waters thus symbolise the emotions, the feelings of humankind. Dry land with its rocks and mountains symbolise the tangible hardness of the 'rational' mind with the will and its ability to make decisions.
God wants a focused mind, a focused will, and emotions that are powerfully under his control. No longer is our walk with the Lord determined by how we 'feel' with our emotions, no longer do we 'rationalize' our decision making, by using only man centred logic, no longer are we headstrong in wilfully pursuing our own ways, but in all these areas of identity there is a gentle submission, a resting, an obedient 'yes' to the prompting and leading of the Lords Spirit. Like a harnessed young stallion that has learnt submission to the reins of his master, so we learn in this day, to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Matthew5:5 "Blessed are those who are gentle. They will inherit the earth". (GW)
We can recognise those believers that have come through this season of change by;
- a gentle submission to the will of the Father
- motivational order in their responses to the challenges of life
- a mind in Christ that is free from the driving power of unresolved emotions
- a singleness of heart, not easily distracted by other ‘voices’ in life
3B - Experiences
11 Then God said, "Let the earth produce vegetation: plants bearing seeds, each according to its own type, and fruit trees bearing fruit with seeds, each according to its own type." And so it was. 12 The earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seeds, each according to its own type, and trees bearing fruit with seeds, each according to its own type. God saw that they were good. 13 There was evening, then morning--a third day.(GW)
As an important part of the third day the Lord now changes the focus of his work. From here onwards the Lord fills the earth and sky and sea with living things appropriate to each locale. Having defined the 'homes' for his creatures, Elohim, lovingly fills these 'homes' with residents, beautifying and enriching their environs.
The first life forms that Elohim creates are plants that reproduce - seed bearing plants and fruit bearing trees. These are the basis of the all other earthly life forms existing. Here as a closing act in day three our Creator provides the resources necessary to sustain all other created life forms. Let me ask a question, what sustains us during difficult times in our walk with our Lord? Isn't it a prior testimony of our Lords faithfulness to us, his answers to our prayers, and his day-to-day loving provisions for us? All of these represent an incarnate, a tangible, and a real faith. Just as James reminds us, "faith without deeds is dead". - If we don't have these, we don't have a living faith. Conversely, as we remember his provisions, as we renew our joy in his many acts of kindness, as we treasure Gods faithfulness to us, all these experiences strengthen our faith. Just like food to a body; they are assimilated to become a part of who we are. And so, as a closing page in these first three days, the Lord provides a rich diet of experiences and opportunities to sustain our faith and to enable a testimony of his goodness during the challenging days that are yet to come. It is right to hunger and thirst for our Lord, to discover for yourself the character that our Lord possesses, the breadth and depths of what His kingdom offers.
Psalm 34:4 I went to the LORD for help. He answered me and rescued me from all my fears. 5 All who look to him will be radiant. Their faces will never be covered with shame. 6 Here is a poor man who called out. The LORD heard him and saved him from all his troubles. 7 The Messenger of the LORD camps around those who fear him, and he rescues them. 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the person who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you holy people who belong to him. Those who fear him are never in need. 10 Young lions go hungry and may starve, but those who seek the LORD's help have all the good things they need.(GW)
The words "'seed' bearing plants" remind us of the reproductive capacity of Christ’s Spirit in us that forms in our character as we mature. From this position onwards we are able to reproduce in the lives of others, the wisdom, the insights, and the teachings that the Lord gives to us. The adage - "you can not give, what you yourself do not possess", is so true. Head knowledge is not heart knowledge. It is plainly obvious when someone is teaching beyond his / her faith or experience level.
Let us seek the Lord’s character then, for as He reveals Himself to us in our day-to-day lives and as we submit to His Spirit’s work in our lives, we can be generous, freely sharing with others, what has become part of our own testimony.
Fourth Beatitude -
Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God's approval. They will be satisfied." (GW)
We can recognise the character of those who have gone through this creative day because:
- they know what it is to ‘hunger’ for the Lords approval
- they have experienced the day-to-day reality of God’s provisions
- they begin to seek the Lord supernaturally in their natural circumstances
- they become spiritually reproductive in the sense that they now possess a wisdom that can be shared from their own personal experiences, to encourage other believers
Day Four - God establishes seasons
14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the sky to separate the day from the night. They will be signs and will mark religious festivals, days, and years. 15 They will be lights in the sky to shine on the earth." And so it was. 16 God made the two bright lights: the larger light to rule the day and the smaller light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17 God put them in the sky to give light to the earth, 18 to dominate the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening, then morning--a fourth day.(GW)
In our analogy the sky above represents the spirit inside us. Day four thus is a day when the Lord focuses his attention on the 'inner' spiritual realm of the believer. He beautifies this particular realm by placing differing quality lights to mark each season. This provides a sense of his creative order in time. The greater lights and the lesser lights mark the days and the nights, the months and the years. These lights are as signs to mark religious festivals. Seasons imply variety. Summer is different from winter, and spring from autumn. In the same way the bright light of the day is to be distinguished from the luminescence of the night. Each has its' own peculiar beauty, each has its own place and order in God’s timing. As the writer of Ecclesiastes says:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 "Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pull out what was planted, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up, 4 a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to hug and a time to stop hugging, 6 a time to start looking and a time to stop looking, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear apart and a time to sew together, a time to keep quiet and a time to speak out, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace....
....11 It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people's minds. Yet, mortals still can't grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end [of time]". (GW)
Day four then is the day where the Lord teaches us his wisdom and order in time. The disciplines of the previous days deepen in this season. Initially it all seems so strange to us, for we cannot recognize what the hand of the Lord is doing. We say to ourselves, "Is there something wrong with me? Oh Lord if I have sinned against you, would you please reveal it to me" For the light around us has suddenly dimmed, and we stumble on in the darkness? Our bold strides are reduced to tottering fumblings. And what we previously took for granted in our walk with the Lord, we now cry out for - "Please Lord turn the lights back on, please speak to me". But instead of his usual response, now in that place of inner peace where we dialogue with his Spirit there is a deafening silence. Nothing. No response. And so we stop our busyness, our many 'doings' for Him. And we take time to survey our surroundings. Our eyes adjust in the darkness around us and we are able to make out new lights. Stars so distant that we could never tell the subtleties of their beauty in the glory of the noonday sun. Lights that we did not see before, though surely they were always there. Like one who has lost his sight, our sense of spiritual hearing becomes far more attuned to 'listening', discerning the important from the often distracting 'spiritual noise' around us.
In such a season, we no longer operate in our giftedness, for the Lord undoes our busyness. We learn what it is to truly be a human 'being' and not a human 'doing'. Identity as an issue is revisited. For those needing healing, it is a time to allow the Lord to do his circumstantial surgery and whatever our parental 'voids', he will in this season, become our parent through those who possess in the body of Christ what we lack. If we have broken spiritual bodies he will provide a splint of circumstance constricting our movements whilst he does a deeper work of inner healing. Humility and commitment are the traits necessary to survive this season.
For some this season is for only a short while of several months, for others it may last many years, and for others like Moses it may last decades. The Lord alone determines the depth of the foundation required. The scale and role of each building is determined by its foundation. Skyscrapers require deep foundations, bungalows require little. Each soul is a dwelling, a building, created for the indwelling presence of His Spirit in a future work that he has for each of us to do. Let him have his way with us. Though the principles of this day will not change from person to person, yet each of us will possess different durations and intensities of this season according to the calling upon our lives.
Notice also that this day occurs directly after the previous day of experiences that the Lord gives us. The Lord doesn't play games with us - he has prepared us for this season. He is merely using the circumstances and difficulties of life now to strengthen our resolve, by developing an endurance inside us. Often it will happen following the wonderful heights of glorious mountaintop experiences. Christ, after he received his baptism and a verbal confirmation from the Lord, was drawn irresistibly by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tested by the Devil. Paul the apostle after his 'road to Damascus' experience, was taken into the deserts of Arabia for at least 3 years (some commentators think 12 years). Moses, after the royal courts of Pharaoh, escaped with his life into the deserts of Midian for 40 years! Joseph, after his dreams and beautiful coat, was cast into a pit and sold into slavery for a 'season'. If you want to study the character training of Gods servants take a look at the life stories of those who are on the roll call of faith in Hebrews 11: - every single person that God uses will go through a time of testing, a sustained season of darkness. It will be as if the light of the sun is fading around you, and the darkness of night is enshrouding you. At such times we cannot see clearly the path before us. For the Lord has hidden that path. What little light that we receive from the luminescence of the stars above, is only enough for our next step. We cannot stride forward in this season because we cannot see enough of the path ahead of us.
Hebrews 12: 5 You have forgotten the encouraging words that God speaks to you as his children: "My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you. Don't give up when he corrects you. 6 The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child." 7 Endure your discipline. God corrects you as a father corrects his children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. 8 If you aren't disciplined like the other children, you aren't part of the family. 9 On earth we have fathers who disciplined us, and we respect them. Shouldn't we place ourselves under the authority of God, the father of spirits, so that we will live? 10 For a short time our fathers disciplined us as they thought best. Yet, God disciplines us for our own good so that we can become holy like him. 11 We don't enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right. (GW)
Fifth Beatitude -
Matthew 5: 7 Blessed are those who show mercy. They will be treated mercifully.(GW)
This last beatitude seems odd to relate to this day. However do you remember the woman caught in adultery caste at the feet of Jesus? The stone-throwing crowd asked Jesus for a judgement on her case in accordance with the scriptures. Jesus merely wrote in the sand, and then facing her accusers said, "Alright you can stone her to death, but only those who are without sin, can caste the first stone!" Do you remember the story - one by one the violent mob drifted off, and went home. The oldest ones first and then finally Jesus was left alone with the woman. Part of the ability to show mercy comes with the recognition of our own brokenness and own frailties, our own mistakes and our own failings. The oldest ones with the greatest life experience and a better understanding of the human condition, showed wisdom - i.e. they were the first ones to manifest mercy. This is also the reason I believe the Lord has placed this attitude, in the sequence later and not earlier. Wisdom manifests in our life when we come to an understanding of the human condition and we also understand the 'seasonal' mercy of Lord in dealing with broken humanity. Only with this type of wisdom, can we be trusted to move on into the glories of further days ahead.
We can recognize those who have gone through this season of life by:
- Their secure identity
- Their character of mercy
- Their resting and acceptance of Gods timing.
- Their wisdom
There was evening and there was morning-the 4th day.
20 Then God said, "Let the water swarm with swimming creatures, and let birds fly through the sky over the earth." 21 So God created the large sea creatures, every type of creature that swims around in the water and every type of flying bird. God saw that they were good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fertile, increase in number, fill the sea, and let there be many birds on the earth." 23 There was evening, then morning-a fifth day.(GW)
Day Five - wholeness of emotions and spiritual giftedness.
When day four has expended itself, and we have learnt to rest in our Lord; When we no longer need to perform to the world around us, but are more concerned with the inner gallery of a holy God; When the issues of identity have been resolved, and there is found in our relationships, an earthy wholeness; All of these 'attitudes of heart' invite our Lord to intervene in our lives. As we surrender ourselves afresh to our master, a new day dawns, where he invests in us a greater responsibility within the body of Jesus. Tied in with this new responsibility is an enriching of our emotions and a capacity in our placement in the body to 'share', what we now possess in our character, with others.
Elohim’s work on day five is in two specific areas: the heavens and the seas. He lovingly fills each realm with new life. In our analogy the waters symbolise our emotions. The diverse swimming creatures therefore speak of ‘a wholeness’ and ‘a diversity’ in our emotions. The heavens above are the realm of our spirit, so the filling of the heavens alludes to a maturing in our spiritual role in the body of Jesus.
"Every type" of swimming creature reminds us that our Lord loves diversity. The great sea creatures of the deep - and the smallest microscopic plankton are all 'components' of that watery sphere, likewise the dramatic emotions and the subtle varieties of feelings that are found within the soul. Each is now able to be expressed in its correct order in time and place. How wonderful it is as a believer to be free to express our emotions without fear! No longer are we tyrannised by a stoic suppression, or an unbridled volcano of feelings; nor are we loose canons, triggered by unresolved pasts. Here, in day five, there is an emotional wholeness and a deeper place of inner peace. A place where our souls are continuously fed by the promptings and desires of the Holy Spirit as he increasingly dwells in us.
John 4:13 Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life." (GW)
We learn in this day to respond, as the Lord would have us respond
"Every type" of flying bird indicates to us an enriching wholeness in the spiritual gifts inside us. We know from 1 Corinthians 12 that we all have different gifts to use for the building up of the body of Christ. We also understand that these gifts are given as a manifestation of His Holy Spirit, but what we see here in this day is a maturing of our character within that giftedness. To every spiritual gifting there is an appropriate grace to beautify and cement its place in the body:
- Apostles discover servant leadership,
- Prophets understand mercy speaking the judgements of God.
- Evangelists in compassion share the truths of the gospel message,
- Miracle workers reveal the glory of God by transparently and humbly performing signs and wonders,
- Pastors become spiritual fathers with a heart to disciple their families in Christ,
- Teachers become children explaining simply the truths of Gods kingdom.
- Administrators manifest creativity bringing order out of chaos,
- Those who speak in tongues show restraint when giving Gods messages, likewise those interpreting a message in tongues.
- Healers minister health with discernment to the whole person - body soul and spirit, as they are led
- Those with gifts of wisdom understand the importance of Gods vantage on our lives and share it according to our capacity to receive.
And this same principle goes applying itself to every gift in the body.
Paul in the very next chapter after describing the gifts goes on to talk about something even more important than the spiritual gifts themselves.
I Cor 12:31 You [only] want the better gifts, but I will show you the best thing to do". (GW)
He talks about love. He talks about the motivation behind what we do for the body of Jesus. Love is the inspiration that can drive us through the challenges of life. Love for others enables us to build up the body and to serve it unselfishly.
1Cor 13: 1 I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don't have love, I am nothing. 3 I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don't have love, none of these things will help me.(GW)
He says that even though all our gifts, and all our service to the body will one day cease, love itself is as a mark in our character that will never cease. It will exist beyond the grave and into eternity - it is an eternal record embedded in our souls along with our faith and our hope in Christ.
1Cor 13:13 So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love.(GW)
At the same time he also warns us that if we do not have love as our motivation then all our many 'doings' for the Lord are
The implication in these words is that our works done with motivations other than love, will not survive the furnace of God’s judgement day.
Day five is a fruitful season; it is a season of productivity, a season of release as we get on with the service the Lord has for us in the body of Christ. In one sense it lasts the whole of our productive lives as followers of Christ.
We recognize others who are in this day of creation by:
- their spiritual vitality / wholeness
- their emotional vitality / wholeness
- their love
- their ability to pass on (teach / disciple) what they possess as character
# I have already made the point that we know what it is like to receive teaching from those who only cerebrally have knowledge of scriptural doctrine. Then to be honest, I have to state here that as I observe my own character, I only have reached day five in this teaching of the creation sequence. And that from this day onwards I am going to only comment, on the truths as I see them in Gods word, and the character of other believers lives who are in my opinion more mature than myself.
Day Six - Creation of land animals and mankind
24 Then God said, "Let the earth produce every type of living creature: every type of domestic animal, crawling animal, and wild animal." And so it was. 25 God made every type of wild animal, every type of domestic animal, and every type of creature that crawls on the ground. God saw that they were good.(GW)
On the sixth day of his creative work, Elohim lastly turns his attention to the land. This ‘earth’ in our analogy represents the ‘mind’ with its allied will in the developing soul. Just as the earth now produces’ every type of living creature, so too the mind is finally able to ‘produce’, every type of thought that pleases the Lord.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.”(GW)
Generically Genesis one 24 begins; “let the earth produce every type of living creature”. Then it goes on in greater detail to define three distinct genus, or types of living creatures that were formed from the dust of the earth; domestic animals, crawling animals and wild animals. Each of these ‘types’ of animals can be used to symbolise three distinct foci or thought life within the mind of a mature believer: firstly Knowledge – domestic animals, secondly Wisdom –crawling animals, and thirdly Creativity - wild animals.
Knowledge – disciplined information
Domesticated animals are those creatures that mankind most commonly tames; harnessing their capacities and closely working alongside them in day-to-day labour. In this same way, domestic animals can be used as a metaphor to describe how the Holy Spirit desires to harness our minds and to submit them to the will of the Father (Holy Spirit in the original Greek is parakletos – meaning: to harness, to walk beside, to yoke together to learn). 2 Corinthians 10:5 says “We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.” I will develop this more below but for now we need to understand that the Lord wants us to take control of our thought life.
Knowledge is the most recognisable level of thought in the believers mind. ‘Knowledge’ as a believer is in: the common facts of the scriptures, the doctrines, the background information, the eternal truths and immutable principles of Gods kingdom. ‘Knowledge at this level is like a valuable tool that can be stored away for later purposes. In this instance it is stored away internally for: our own walk with him, and to be useful externally for acts of service to his body
Psalms 119:11“I have treasured your promise in my heart so that I may not sin against you.”(GW)
2 Timothy 3:16 All that is written in the holy writings comes from the Spirit of God. The holy writings are good for these things: to teach people, to show them when they are wrong, to make them see what is right, to teach them to do what is right. 17 In this way a person who belongs to God has all he needs. He is ready for every kind of good work.(GW)
“Ready for every good work” implies that knowledge is purposeful. Possessing the best tools in the world is irrelevant if they are never used. Likewise knowledge, if it is not properly applied and used, is of no use to our Master, for others, or even for ourselves. Knowledge as an end in itself, is not enough.
I lived in London England for a number of years and enjoyed the English use of brick and stonework in their many splendid buildings: galleries, halls, theatres, palaces and public facilities. Their buildings are steeped in history and some are quite beautiful having been well preserved by Historical societies. There are other lesser-known buildings, and some private dwellings, which are also noteworthy. Some of these buildings have preservation orders placed upon them, though some are falling into a state of disrepair through a lack of funding. My studio was next to one such building in Union St Southwark. It had a preservation order placed on it, but it was so run down and subsidence had so weakened its foundations that it was in danger of falling over. It was a difficult situation for the local council. A preservation order had been placed on it, yet no one could afford to rebuild it properly, so the council decided to place a framework of scaffolding around the building which they then cemented in to a huge concrete base a metre or so high and two metres wide. They did this to stabilise it. Girders were then run through the walls to hold it all together. I should also note here that scaffolding in London is only a temporary safety measure used in building construction. It usually gives the building site safe access for brick-layers and labourers and Joe public, while work is being done on the building. After the building is completed the scaffolding is taken away.
Knowledge is like that scaffolding that the English use to build with. Knowledge provides the needed framework of thought necessary to construct a truthful relationship with our creator. Knowledge is important but it is not the end product. The end product is the relationship that we build with the Lord over a lifetime. Scaffolding should only ever be used temporarily to help construct buildings. It was never intended to prop up faulty and subsiding foundations. Likewise knowledge or any ‘theology’ or any doctrinal teaching for that matter, is only scaffolding that we use to build our internal relationship with the creator. The relationship is the important focus not our “assent to certain doctrines” Once that relationship is built we don’t have to keep second-guessing and referencing the textbooks. Our allegiance is not to the scaffolding, our allegiance is to the building itself. If we have a relationship with the Lord we have therefore ‘become’ the building in whom the Lord dwells. “ I Cor 3:16 Don't you know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him because God's temple is holy. You are that holy temple!” When ‘believers’ use theological studies or even good denominational emphasis to prop up their identity. It is clearly obvious that they are missing the purpose of Christ’s teachings. Christ’s focus was to restore our relationship with the Father. Talking about a relationship is not the same as living in it. Head knowledge is not always the same as heart knowledge. People who focus on cerebral accession can be like that subsiding building. Without sure foundations we will not incarnate Christ in their lives. All the best orthodox theology in all the text books in all the libraries of all the world will not prop up and hold together foundations that are faulty.
One day we are told that knowledge will disappear when finally Christ returns to establish his rule here on earth, until that time we have been given ‘insight’s by our gracious Lord about the Fathers kingdom that is yet to come and he desires that we use our minds to harness these insightful tools for the betterment of his kingdom.
Jesus was the ‘word who took on flesh’ he was the physical expression of the Father’s love. The Lord didn’t just say he loved mankind, but he took on flesh and lived amongst us. Knowledge without expression is wasted, knowledge must get earthy, it has to get real, it has to incarnate itself in our day to day living relationships with others. This brings us the to the next level of the mind, which is Wisdom
Wisdom – experience and insight
Crawling animals are those creatures that feed off decomposing and decaying matter - various insects and worms, centipedes, etc. These animals recycle and reconstitute organic refuse matter into reusable nutrients for the soils for the seed bearing plants. This reconstituting and recycling process provides a good metaphor describing how the Holy Spirit teaches us wisdom. As Christians we learn by “testing and approving” (Rom. 12:1-3) how to apply the principles of Gods kingdom in our day-to-day lives. We recycle the laws of our master in the day-to-day circumstances of life. We learn by trial and error how to better please the Master. Children of the heavenly Father all learn by trial and error. For example none of us emerges from the womb as an orator. We all start off learning the basic building blocks of our parent’s language, by listening, by associating, by repeating, by experimenting with sounds. Only when we have grasped the basic foundational building blocks of our parent’s language, are we able to fit those sound blocks together as coherent sentences.
There is a similar process to this found in learning the moral truths of Gods kingdom. Firstly reading and meditating on scriptures enables us to cognitively understand the individual doctrines, laws and principles of the Father’s kingdom. This is what we have termed ‘knowledge’. Now piecing those blocks of knowledge together in a coherent manner is the next level. This is what we have termed ‘wisdom’. Wisdom is really ‘moral intelligence’. It is learning to respond appropriately, according to Gods priorities, in each of our circumstances. Wisdom is different from knowledge in that wisdom implies a contextual response to moral laws. For example Jesus would, on occasion, approach the sick and needy on the Sabbath day to heal them. If the Pharisees and Sadducees objected to his actions, which they invariably did, Jesus declared as his witness, the greater principles of the Father’s compassion and mercy, which overruled their selection and emphasis of certain other Mosaic laws. Jesus made it plain that although he didn’t come to annul the ‘Law’, he had come to set us all free from slavery to our own sinful natures, and our inability to keep the Fathers laws. This new ‘way’ was not a legalism but a divine relationship with the Holy Spirit. A relationship which superseded our failed slavery to the Mosaic law. In the days leading up to his death and resurrection, Jesus prophesied that it would soon be possible to live in freedom, and that his death would be the atoning sacrifice to purchase our unpaid debts and remove our guilt from the judicial presence of the Father, enabling his Holy Spirit to come to us and provide desperately needed wisdom.
Wisdom therefore is a by-product of a relationship with the Holy Spirit lived out in our daily circumstances. The more we obey the Holy Spirit’s leading, the greater insights are made possible. Taking time to listen to the Holy Spirit is like sharpening a blunt axe, you can save an incredible amount of time and energy. Oh that the western church would stop ‘doing’ church and start, listening to the heavenly Fathers Holy Spirit. Let us humble ourselves’ and confess that we have done things ‘our’ way. Let us seek our Lord once more. May we listen to his voice, recognising his wisdom and obeying his strategies. We have exalted the former qualities of the developed mind (ie knowledge) without fulfilling the later (wisdom). Knowledge is something we attain by our own human endeavour, wisdom is something birthed in heaven and available only to those humble enough to recognise and receive its importance. May the Lord sharpen our dull minds and release wisdom once again to pull down the strongholds of humanism, materialism, and popularity that have so bewitched the adulterous body of Christ. What an incredible waste of energy, what an unknown waste of time, is lost in so many of our ‘religious’ services, conferences, campaigns and activities. The harvest field of souls continues to ripen around us and without harvesters it is rotting before our very eyes. The Lord is a desperate farmer agonizing over his crops as his distracted workers sleep their way through the time of harvest, distracted with the ‘irrelevant’ and the ‘urgent’. Let us wake up and open our eyes to the world around us for it “is ripe unto harvest”. At the great and awful day of His judgement whom will the Father hold responsible for the rotting flesh of the damned in hell? It is us his body, me you and all whom he has preordained and selected as workers in this great end time harvest field. We will bare the consequence of our own actions or inactions, either in obedience with his reward or in disobedience with his eternal rebuke.
Knowledge forms into wisdom when it is assimilated as part of our character through experience. This is a natural process that takes time, children learn through trial and error, and so do adults. We all make mistakes as immature Believers. In fact this is part of the learning process. For nothing in the kingdom of God is ever wasted. Nothing is ever eternally ‘refuse’. Even our worst mistakes in life can turn out to be the means by which our heavenly Father, brings hope and new insights or ‘wisdom’ into our lives. All that is required is humility and a desire to learn. Children who don’t make mistakes, or who are afraid to make mistakes, or who are un-teachable either through rebellion or because they have a distorted sense of their own self-importance, cut themselves off from this most important process of learning.
Proverbs 1;7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Stubborn fools despise wisdom and discipline. (GW)
1:32-33 "Gullible people kill themselves because of their turning away. Fools destroy themselves because of their indifference. 33 But whoever listens to me will live without worry and will be free from the dread of disaster." (GW)
1:24 "I called, and you refused to listen. I stretched out my hands to you, and no one paid attention. 25 You ignored all my advice. You did not want me to warn you. 26 I will laugh at your calamity.(GW)
The Lord personifies himself as wisdom in the opening chapters of Proverbs. I again encourage you to open your hearts up to the council of the Lord Almighty through his Holy Spirit. He has been sent particularly for this task – to give us wisdom. Do not attempt any work without him. Seek him, for he will be found by us, as we seek him earnestly with our whole hearts.
Proverbs 2:4 “if you search for wisdom as if it were money and hunt for it as if it were hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and you will find the knowledge of God. 6 The LORD gives wisdom. From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He has reserved priceless wisdom for decent people. He is a shield for those who walk in integrity 8 in order to guard those on paths of justice and to watch over the way of his godly ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-- every good course [in life].
10 Wisdom will come into your heart. Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Foresight will protect you. Understanding will guard you. 12 [Wisdom will] save you from the way of evil, from the person who speaks devious things,”(GW)
God intended those first ‘crawling creatures’ he placed in the garden to recycle refuse organic matter into the rich nutritious soils for the seed bearing plants. Likewise wisdom, in its correct place, in the believer’s life, will recycle, in Godly order, our life experiences, enriching and deepening the soils of our hearts. The Father’s seeds of faith can then take root in our lives, and bring a harvest of righteous deeds, a fit gift to the gardener of our souls at the day of Christ’s coming.
Creativity – creative problem solving
The third group of animals mentioned in Day 6 are the ‘wild beasts’ of the earth. These include the dinosaurs of old, and the present wild animals of today. Together these creatures would have been a spectacular sight, remembering that in the garden of Eden, before the fall, all the animals, were still herbivorous creatures (Genesis 1:30) so there was no need to be in fear or dread of them. The Wild beasts of the Garden of Eden must have captivated the minds of Adam and Eve as they certainly capture the imaginations of children and adults alike today. Something else also to remember is that wild beasts were never intended by our Lord to be tamed by man. Wild beasts were unlike the domestic animals in Gen 1:24, for they were free to roam under the dominion of Adam and Eve, beneath his authority, yet independent from his harness.
This last genus of animals in the trilogy of the mind, provides picture language to describe mankind’s ‘wild’ intellect. That is his capacity to think, freely, creatively and spontaneously with problem solving and inventive genius. Every spiritual gift mentioned in the lists found in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 discovers a creative maturity in this final day in the creation sequence. This is not something that we have control over. This is something that comes to us as a natural growth in our relationship with the Lord. It is ‘inspired’ by the Holy Spirit in our times of rest, as we walk with him. Adam had his creative time with the Lord in the cool of the evening walking in the garden. Each of us likewise has a creative ‘time’ where our Lord desires that we commune and talk with him, in this stillness and ‘cool’ of the day. For each of us that place will ‘externally’ be different (I am best in the mornings, my wife in the evenings, I love to walk amongst nature, my wife likes to sit inside the home). Internally however, it is ‘there’ in that place of inner stillness, that the Lord speaks to us. The creative time of a believer is where the Lord inspires us, reveals things to us, places his desires, his dreams, his strategies, his discernments, his words, his prophecies, his insights, his wisdom, his solutions and every conceivable response to every need, that we in the body of Christ, or in the world around us, will ever have.
Mature creativity is something the body of Jesus desperately needs, and yet it is something so sadly lacking. The enemy of our souls hates creativity, he hates it with a vengeance. You see Satan hates anything that threatens his control over our lives. Satan has so infiltrated the culture of our secular world that he controls it through ‘mind space’ distractions. The latest T.V, reality TV, mobile phone, car, oven, pool, house, iPod, job, website, play station, etc. Through such distractions Satan regulates and controls our ‘creative’ intellect. Instead of looking outwards in a wholesome, creative intercourse with the real world around us, we are distracted into the meaningless trivia of fantasy worlds created by our secular pop culture. Similarly the modern church has it’s own unique fantasy world of meaningless distractions. We maintain fruitless activities in our many services and gospel ‘meetings’ where no one unsaved ever attends. We have prayer meetings which are not strategically focused, home groups massaging egos etc.. Since God clearly isn’t blessing these services of ours why don’t we take some time out, humble ourselves, and seek the Lords plans instead?
Creativity more than anything else in the Christian walk requires that the believer let go and walk spiritually in faith. This is why the Devil will cause Christians to be so busy, doing irrelevant ‘church activities’ where we never have creative time to seek the Lords purposes. Creativity to the Christian soul is not moving from a rational ‘knowledge’, or something that we can tangibly or cognitively control. Creativity implies moving from a different level of the mind. You see how can you control something so intangible as ‘a dream’, or ‘a discernment’, or an ‘insight’ etc….. Creativity is (to use the term of an old work colleague) ‘hanging out there’. Creativity requires a step of faith into the unknown realm of spiritual thinking. Creativity threatens my safety, my ‘control’ of my circumstances. I will illustrate what I mean by example:
When Christian leaders of local churches, become inspired by the testimonies of other growing local churches across the world, they inevitably inquire ‘how?’ How did they do it? They want to learn the ‘method’ of church planting, the ‘systems’ that were set in place, the ‘correct’ allocation of resources etc that were used to achieve numerical results. Their concerns are therefore to copy these same ‘processes’ that they believe brought about ‘revival’. They believe that if they only just set up these same processes then they too, will achieve the same results. They invariably fail. Why? Why is it so hard to transfer the processes of success from one side of the world to the other? The simple answer is that these same processes do not take into consideration the huge diversity of natural and supernatural histories attached to different geographic locations across the world. In other words the quality of the spiritual realm in one part of the world is not necessarily the same as the quality in another. No two cities in the world share exactly the same histories. Who knows the past? Who can see the spiritual realm and who knows the strategies that can pull down strongholds that blind the minds and bind the hearts of mankind? Only the Holy Spirit! This is why creative time spent with him is so necessary. We all both individually and collectively as members of local churches need to seek the Lord for his revelation and for his strategic responses to the challenges that confront us - his body, in day-to-day life. Every location is different and thus requires different solutions, to at times, similar problems. Similarities do exist in principles yes, but the details are soon lost as the Holy Spirits directs us to respond to each location distinctly, differently, and appropriately.
The real reason why Christian leaders do not seek the Holy Spirits strategies (apart from spiritual laziness) is because, it requires moving beyond our present comfort zones. Our comfort zones are our week in week out addiction to services and meetings in public buildings that we have inherited from founding church members. It is easier for us to maintain our church programs, services, and church buildings, which we know, than to entertain the possibility of failing in something we don’t. In so doing the Lords creative opportunities are lost. Just a provocative question here – “In the context of a dynamically changing community, isn’t this the same attitude as the disobedient servant who hid his talent in the ground?” Isn’t this a lack of faith? I place a question before you: if the Lord suddenly brought political changes to our government, where we no longer could possess church buildings, and where we could no longer meet publicly for church ‘services’, would our form of spirituality survive? Would we remain as a living body in the cities in which our Lord has placed us? Or would the Lord remove our candle stick from its stance in the body of Christ?
1Live creatively, friends…. ….Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. 5Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
6Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.
7Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others--ignoring God!- 8harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
9So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. 10Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.(GW)
The creation of Man
The final creature crafted in the creation sequence is man.
26 Then God said, "Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness. Let them rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domestic animals all over the earth, and all the animals that crawl on the earth." 27 So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. 28 God blessed them and said, "Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth, and be its master. Rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that crawl on the earth."(GW)
Mankind having been created last in the ‘creation sequence, is the climax of the creation. He is the leading head, crowning the beautifully adorned body of creation. The forming of Mankind is the last creative act in the creation sequence and in our analogy this is now symbolic, of God releasing authority in a Christ centred soul. This authority is now commissioned to ‘subdue’ or to ‘govern’ the whole creation or in our analogy, the whole being – body, soul and spirit is now in submission to the will of the father.
Galatians 5 “But the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.”(GW)
Self-control is the regulating capacity of the mature believer to respond appropriately to every challenge or opportunity, that our Heavenly Master, or even the world, the flesh, or the devil might provide. Self-control is not a response according to our own intellect or our will, or our feelings, or our emotions or any other external compulsion. Self-control is the ability to measure our responses according to the promptings, the leadings, and the directions of the Holy Spirit. It implies a will and a mind that is fully in submission to the Supreme Master. Self-control is actually the last of the fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5. Self-control is also the last of the fruits of the Holy Spirit to find it’s way into the character of the mature believer in Christ.
Self control enables us: when we are criticised to be gracious, when we are slandered to respond with a generous heart, when we are betrayed to not resist those who betray, when we are beaten (either physically, or verbally) for the gospel message to rejoice that we have been counted worthy, when we are in need to pray, when we are tempted to humble ourselves and resist, when we require wisdom to seek it, when we are tired to complete our God ordained tasks, when we are depressed to find strength in our Lord, when we are alone to seek his companionship and comfort, and we could go on, and on into every possible circumstance and challenge in life. Self-control is the key fruit of the Holy Spirit that determines the correct godly response in all that we think, say and do.
”Blessed are those whose thoughts are pure. They will see God”. Matthew 5:8(GW)
And so this beatitude finds its place in our lives. Now the ‘inner’ world of the mature believer overflows with a creative evidence of the hand of the Master. In maturity the believer is now able to see the Master in everything they do, that is ‘His’ perspective in everything they do.
With his final act of creating mankind the Supreme creator surveys all his work and concludes, that it is ‘very good’. His work in us is now finished. Our role from this place onwards is to humbly ‘walk with him’ as Adam did before the fall, or like Enoch did for three hundred years before being ‘no more’. In such a walk we are now ready for eternity. In this state our lives will remain, till finally our Lord decides to take us to be with him in eternity.
The Last of the beatitudes follow in quick succession grouped together as they are in such a way because they describe a level of mature activity for those who have been prepared for it.
“Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called God's children. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, lie, and say all kinds of evil things about you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad because you have a great reward in heaven! The prophets who lived before you were persecuted in these ways.“ Mat 5:9-12(GW)
For those who are so able to receive this, these last beatitudes prophetically indicate the role of the body in the end times, and their mysterious and deep knowledge of Christ’s suffering.
“Oh that I might know him and power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sharing in his sufferings, that I might somehow attain as it were even to the very resurrection of the dead.”(LB)
Colossians 1:24 “I am happy to suffer for you now. In my body I am completing whatever remains of Christ's sufferings. I am doing this on behalf of his body, the church.”(GW)
As Paul says this fellowship of suffering somehow ‘completes’ the work of Calvary, a deep understanding that consummates the marriage union between the Bride and her Groom. Such knowledge is something that the end times church will comprehend more deeply as it walks similar steps to its Master before his death. To those who able to receive this, we the body of Christ, will go through the great Tribulation of Johns Revelation. It is because of the persecution of those days we will ‘understand’, the sufferings of Christ.
Day Seven – Sabbath Rest
2:1 Heaven and earth and everything in them were finished. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing. On the seventh day he stopped the work he had been doing. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and set it apart as holy, because on that day he stopped all his work of creation.(GW)
When the journey of life is over, and our Lord has completed the work he has been doing in our lives, then we will pass through the vale of Death, and enter the presence of our Lord to whom we will present our ‘souls’. This is now the day of Sabbath rest indicated in the first creation.
Heb 4:9. “So that there is still a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God”.(GW)
Re 14:13. “..There is a blessing on the dead who from now on come to their end in the Lord: yes, says the Spirit, that they may have rest from their troubles; for their works go with them”.(GW)
Our time of opportunity has now been completed and our tasks in this life await His final assessment. Everything has been recorded in the character of the soul that we now possess from the lives we have lived.
Revelation11:18 “The time has come for the dead to be judged: to reward your servants, the prophets, your holy people, and those who fear your name, no matter if they are important or unimportant”(GW)
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, use more effort to make God's calling and choosing of you secure. If you keep doing this, you will never fall away. 11 Then you will also be given the wealth of entering into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Peter 1:10-11(GW)