If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17,18 ASV)
The all-inclusive rule of the new creation is that “all things are of (out from) God.” Concerning this fact the Apostle Paul uses the word “but” – “But all things are of God” – as though he would anticipate, intercept, or arrest an impulse to rush away and attempt life or service upon an old creation basis, or with old creation resource. The great question then is: What does it mean that all things in this new creation are out from God? What kind of a life will such a life be? To answer that question adequately would be a very comprehensive task and the most revolutionary thing conceivable.
To begin with, we should have to be settled regarding the difference between the old and the new creations, and then as to how far-reaching that difference is. In addition, we should need to see that God has put these two creations asunder, utterly and forever, and however gracious and forbearing He may be with us in our ignorance and slowness of apprehension, He never accepts the overlapping or intertwining of the two. Then there would be the further need of an inward, intelligent judgment and power by which we are made aware of the Divine veto upon the one and energy toward the other….
It is not what is done for God that will last, but what is done by God. The measure of spiritual value is determined by the measure in which God promotes it, not the measure of human activities according to human judgments and energies in the name of God.
The bible’s profound declaration is, “God is Love”. Everything God does emanates from Love. Though Adam and Eve’s sin caused us the human race to step out of living, moving and having our essence in God or Love, Love was active to save mankind 1 John 1:29.
It’s only as we receive or know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that we return to living, moving and having our being in Love or God Ephesians 3:19, 1 John 4:16.
Although Love is latent, He produces actions. Love propelled the plan of redemption because He loved (Wanted Himself) in us. He is not seeking for us to fill-up His lack because He alone is self-sufficient. He is pure and loves mankind sincerely as His children by creation. He is inviting all mankind to return to Him through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Lamb. Why? Because He loves us John 3:16.
All who accept His invitation (Christ Jesus) are blessed with “eternal life or Love” which has overthrown the “spirit of this age” and are no longer of the world though in the world John 17:14. As a result, while journeying through this world, Love is working in and with Christ’s disciples to possess their being, live and move in Love. The life of Love is curing and protecting those in Christ from the diseases of pride of life, lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh.
God’s love has been shed in the hearts of all His people (the body of Christ or the Church) because it’s only through Christ’s love that we come into the fullness of God — into heaven’s love, peace and wisdom different from that of the world Romans 5:5, John 14:27, James 3:17.
Having been born-again of the Spirit, the community of God’s people are called not to mimic actions of love but to live the life of love (Christ’s divine nature) through God’s great and precious promises 2 Peter 1:4. What are the “great and precious promises”? “I will live my life in my people AND walk amongst them 2 Corinthians 6:16, Matthew 18:20. Those in religion mimicking actions of love end up loving some people and hating others. But those led by the Spirit to living the life of love hates no one. This is the awesomeness of God’s grace at work in those who have relationship with Christ.
God’s life of love is lived through us only as we let Him guide us to understand Love. Whilst it’s possible for all humans to mimic actions of love, wisdom and have worldly peace, only those whom Love dwells in and with can live the life of peace, wisdom and love which is the fruit of the Spirit (Actions motivated by Love) Galatians 5:22. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes had the doctrine of Love, acted lovingly towards some people but never lived the life of love Matthew 23:1-2 3, 4 and 5. Even Hitler had people he acted lovingly towards. Anything short of God living through us can mean anything but the life of love.
The bible never refers to action(s) as love rather, it’s the Spirit behind the action(s) which accord to God’s word that is referred to as Love. Paul the Apostle clarified this delicate divide when he said, ‘giving away all of our possession and submitting to die in the place of another person can be done yet not in or by Love’ 1 Corinthians 13: 3, 1-2. This is why Paul distinctly referred to the work of the Thessalonian church as “labour of love” 1 Thessalonians 1:3. Not all labour or action is of or done by love.
Many of Jesus’s labours or actions don’t pass our human estimation of what love and politeness is because He lived the life of love led by the Spirit to please His Father first and foremost. Maybe you’re thinking, this is precarious. Yes, it is! However, Romans 8:14 and 1 Corinthians 2:15 explains it well. It’s the true life of love.
As said earlier, although Love is latent, the Spirit makes Love or God manifest in actions. For this reason, Peter exhorted the Church thus, ‘Above all, let Love grow earnestly or deeply in you —towards everyone because Love covers or forgives a multitude of sins’ 1 John 3:23. Notice Peter’s exhortation syncs with the second greatest command of God to His people both in the Old and New Testament Matthew 22:39. The command to love others or one another deeply is given only to those who have God or Christ since no one can love another in the sense God desires without Him or Christ. So, the fulfilment of this command is predicated on the first command to love (Have) God with all of our being (spirit, soul and body) Matthew 22:38, 1 John 4:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
How can we truly love one another earnestly?
When we let Love or Christ fill our soul and motivate us, our love for one another deepens. Then, our “thinking” (covert) and “actions” (overt) towards everyone and especially “people of the household of faith” becomes as Christ (As He is so are we in this world) Galatians 6:10, Matthew 10:42.
It’s important to reiterate that action(s) is/are not what is referred to as love rather, it’s the Person that motivates our action(s). Hence, the life of love is a lifestyle of loving our brothers and forgiving 1 John 4:20-21,Matthew 7:12.
How does Love forgive or cover a multitude of sins?
James the Apostle explained it when he said, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back,let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins”. If we’re motivated by Love to reach out to those who don’t have Christ or derailing brothers, love will save them from death by forgiving (covering) their sins. The action of reaching out is not the love. The reaching out can be of self and not love. This is why verse 1 of Galatians 6 said, “you who are spiritual” meaning, you are motivated by love — let meekness govern your reaching out as exhibited in Paul’s speech, “for love’s sake” Philemon 1:8-9.
Christ needs to grow deeply in us because none of us by ourselves can love and forgive sins in the sense God desires without Love being deeply rooted in us. It’s Love that covers or forgives (not overlooks) a multitude of sins. Only Love can forgive sins.
To forgive others so that we can be forgiven is not exactly God’s ideal of forgiveness. This type of forgiveness is self-motivated, cheap, ineffective, full of guile, null and void. Oh! Don’t worry I forgive, I forgive you! Really?! Where is the healing and reconciliation!? Forgiving is something only God can do through us and it has immediate healing and a reconciling effect both on the person forgiveness is flowing out from and the recipient of the forgiveness Matthew 6:15.
The Church (People of grace or power) are admonished, “confess your sins (faults) one to another… ” So that forgiveness, healing and reconciliation flow freely through us for one another to the praise of God James 5:16, 1 John 5:17.
The uniqueness of the church’s purpose and mission is pivoted on and driven by Love. So, we know, the start and end of our Christian life is Love. Every temptation we Christians face is a temptation to step out of love. Therefore, Jesus’ strongest admonition to His sheep is, “abide in me and I in you”. Outside of Love all of our good deeds can be anything but far from love.
God’s heart towards mankind is love (Christ). Those who reject the life of love sentence themselves to the wrath of the second death because, the day of judgement is a day of the revelation of perfected love 1 John 4:17, Romans 8:19. The Church’s purpose is to live the life of love with His many sided wisdom in pursuing her mission of pointing the world to Christ.
Living the life of Love is beautiful with implications summarized thus: Christ by the Holy Spirit will live through us to please His Father just as He did during His earthly ministry and not to please everyone and be loved by everyone. The whole essence of living the life of love is for God’s glory which enhances our well-being now and forever.
To claim to be born again while one is not, is to put a burden on oneself that one will never be able to bear. To be lured into this mistake, is to be set up to join a special kind of sinners labeled hypocrites (religious bad men). As put by C.S. Lewis, “of all the bad men religious bad men are the worst”. To them are reserved the gloom of utter darkness 2 Pet 2:17, Jude 1:13NLT, 1-23.
Eph 2:8-9, tells a deep story in a simple way. The gift is not to be claimed, it is to be received! If a gift is being distributed and you have not received yours, go to the giver and ask to receive—but, if you shout out you have received when you have not, you’re setting up yourself to be by-passed.
Every gift has responsibility that goes with it. The responsibility is to love the giver and be prepared to be a giver too. Those that receive gifts are empowered to give. The gift of salvation requires the receiver to give his or herself soul to the giver (God). This is the burden of the Lord. No sinner can bear the burden of taking the yoke of the Lord Matt 11:29. Let’s understand this mystery. The Lord’s yoke is His desire for the soul of man. He gave us Christ because He wants our souls. Every spiritual matter that must be manifest on earth passes through the human soul Rom 12:1-2.
Born again—that is, regeneration of the human heart or spirit is a gift. A powerful gift! This gift is not an event—it is a Person, it is Christ making His own self present in the heart. It is Him making the heart godly. The human heart that is stony becomes fleshy Ezekiel 11:19. It is a miracle—an unequalled miracle into the redemption journey. A journeying into the full status of the image of the redeemer (Christ Jesus)!
This gift of redemption when accepted, places the arsenal of God at ones disposal whether the receiver recognizes it or not. It is given because the redemption journey is fraught with unimaginable battles—battles that mere men can’t bear nor win Rev 3:5, 12, Zech 4:6. Battles which even the most decorated army general that have ever lived or will ever live can’t stand.
The weapons needed for these battles can’t be made with human hands and is a daily battle Matt 6:34. The weapons that win this battles are those tried seven times in the furnace of fire (a kind unknown to man) Ps 12:6, Eph 6:11, 13. Good intentions are no weapons for this pilgrim journey. Peter’s good intention of not wanting to hear that Jesus will die Matt 16:21-23 and, cutting off a guard’s ears was declared a carnal weapon with no eternal benefit Matt 26:51-52. Over-comers are those who yield to the Spirit of Christ that works within them Col 1:29. It is the hope of glory!
The Canaan the redeemed are journeying to is not earthly but heavenly Heb 11:10. For the prize of this heavenly home, those called are empowered, given a single vision and a fountain full of Immanuel’s blood and angelic protection. If you’re born again, you’re given these privileges even if you’re not yet aware Matt 6:22.
The apostolic, prophetic and teaching dimensions of Christ are laid upon some parts of His body to expose these privileges to His Church (Those who have received the gift of salvation or redemption).
It is preposterous to claim you’re in the military while you’re not. The Cross that enrolls civilians (sinners) is standing in front of you right now where you are. Receive Him! Titus 2:11, John 3:16, Rom 10:10.
Dear friend, this is the love of God—that is, the gift of redemption (Christ Jesus). All who receive Him become soldiers—when they are not in battle front, they are in training not engaging in civilian affairs 2 Tim 2:4. When they are no more present on earth, they are on vacation that last for eternity. Indeed, RIP. They Rest In Peace—in the bosom of the Prince of Peace. Peace (God’s kind) which they had only a measure of while on earth 1 John 3:2, 1 Cor 13:12, 1 John 3:3.
May the Godof hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. May the Godofpeace be with you all. Amen. Rom 15:13, 33.
Jude 1:24-25, Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
The Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” (John 5:16-17 NLT)
A true knowledge of the Lord Jesus will reverse a good many of our ideas, and a good many of our procedures. A true knowledge of Christ and union with Christ, with all that that means, will make us go to work in entirely the opposite way from that in which we have been accustomed to go. We shall come to be governed by this one consideration, that it is not what we would do for the Lord, but what the Lord would do through us, that is alone to rule. It is a very testing way. You can hardly believe, unless you have been the same way, how often and intensely and bitterly the enemy fights and tempts you to come down on to a lower position, and to take up things again for God and launch big schemes, enter upon big undertakings, set up some thing on the earth that can be seen, because all those who are governed by that standard of things seen have said: “You see, you are doing nothing! Show us what you are doing! You cannot show us anything for it all!” Satan does work on that line. To the flesh that is not easy. To go on with God and have nothing to show for it, never to be able to have the work written up in the papers, to publish no reports, nor statistics, and yet to know in your heart of hearts that, although it is hidden, something is going on, and that you cannot do otherwise than you are doing, is far from being a path of ease to the flesh.
It is a testing way, but, blessed be God, if we do endure the testing and go on patiently with Him, in His time, when that flesh has been finally laid low; when the voice of natural ambition is no longer sounding and having influence, and we are now utterly at the place where if things are not going to be of the Lord then there is not going to be anything at all, the Lord has a free way, and He is able to indicate that all the time something has been going on. He shows how He has been at work, and how that in time there will be manifested a work of God, a work that shall have such a large percentage of spiritual value and meaning in it that you are very glad, after all, that you walked with God and not with men in the work of God.
An invitation to be part of the wall of God’s city is like negotiating for a piece of land. The scriptures liken the heart of man to earth or land Heb 6:7. If the owner sells it to Christ, He occupies it and starts building immediately on the foundation work first. It is on this grounds that true apostles and prophets come in but not to serve tables—they’re not interested in the politicking of those who are yet to grasp the essence of the faith or city to which they’ve been admitted Acts 6:1-4, Rom 14:17. This is not to say that they don’t humbly participate in helping serve the body in practical day to day needs. On the contrary, they definitely do.
I AM SAYING IT IS NOT THE BURDEN OF THE GIFT INFUSED IN THEIR HEARTS. Theirs is to build a firm foundation of Christ IN the hearts of God’s people through doctrine, prayers and signs and wonders by the Holy Spirit Eph 2:20, Acts 2:42, 5:12, 2 Pet 3:2, Jude 1:17. Nicholas Sperling captured this truth when he said, “Everyone leaves footprints in your memory, but you only truly remember the ones that leave footprints in your heart”.
Therefore, the Apostles’ doctrine is Christ himself. It is Christ served as milk, meat and strong meat to those who are born into Him Who is the Head, light and life of the city. The Apostolic doctrines (not men’s apostolic creed) are aimed to call man back to the foundation of God’s intent which is, to worship and serve Him in spirit and truth John 4:23. This is what it means to be properly laid on the foundation of the wall of His city. The strength of the walls is in God.
Their doctrines or teachings refine and polish the lively stones of God and prevent them from succumbing to the tricks of the devil. Such tricks cajole them to put their physical needs above their spiritual needs and seek spiritual help and satisfaction from devils Matt 4:1-11. Obviously, it leads to untold bondages that harden the heart.
It will sound modest and more acceptable to many if it is said that the apostolic doctrines places equal emphasis on our physical and spiritual needs but, unfortunately, it is not the case. They explicitly say that our spiritual need is above and superior to our material needs Col 3:2, Matt 6:21. I hope the holy Spirit has revealed this truth to you!
Apostolic doctrines follow the example Jesus gave of Lazarus
Though he failed woefully in the things of material needs and wants, he made a huge success of his spiritual life by valuing his spiritual needs more than the material to the end of his earthly existence Matt 10:22, Rev 2:26. Praise God! Lazarus made it Luke 16:22-23. The grace of God in him was not in vain. He triumphed by grace. Please note the emphasis is not on poverty but of what holds higher priority in the heart—the heart which is of more importance to God unlike man 1 Sam 16:7.
The same example is portrayed to us with Job’s life. He had all the wealth that can be desired yet, his heart was firmly established not in the wealth but in God. But, given man’s usual outward way of judging things, Job may have been seen as consumed with thinking only of wealth, riches and pleasure. Especially, given he was a hard working man who had no room for laziness because laziness is not godly character. Even the devil was convinced that the wealth was the motivation for Job loving God so much.
So, upon this mortal man, the heavens and earth are to know if, man that God created can love God above self, matter and Satan. The contest was balanced and just—God had already sacrificed the Lamb which Job could rely on and, Satan had permission to exert his entire dimension on Job except kill him. It is worth bearing in mind that Job was not aware of the reason for his situation and because he did not know that God had restricted Satan from killing him, he was subject to think that death would take him.
The result of the contest was astonishing! Job—a mortal man defeated Satan by relying on God’s grace in his life. Though, for a season of his life, his material needs and wants eluded him severely, he proved he valued more his spiritual needs by loving God more than those things. He did not just brag, “My redeemer lives and loves me” but, also, I love my redeemer too! And, his perseverance proved it.
I hope and pray that in the differential areas God calls you and I to prove our love for him, we will hold forth with a thankful heart for His praise and glory which translates to our eternal glory Rom 8:17. This is why the Apostles doctrines condense and focus believers to the core purpose of our salvation in Christ. It helps the Church to discern false doctrines coming from self acclaimed Apostles, Prophets and Teachers Rev 2:2.
Paul made a big bold claim in I Cor 15:2 which needs close attention. Part (a) of the claim is this: The gospel he preached saves! And, part (b) states, “if you hold fast to the word I preached to you” this is saying that holding on to the word he preached is what guarantees being saved to the utmost. In part (c), failure to understand and hold on to living in the gospel culminates to a vain belief that does not accomplish God’s redemptive purpose. Paul was not in doubt that he was preaching Christ and nothing else Gal 4:19. Since it is only Christ that saves, preaching any other word other than Christ could have been a big bold waste of time. True apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, shepherds and miracle workers and helpers, take their source from Christ! Examine yours!
Paul in Rom 16: 17-18, warns the Church about deviating from the apostolic teaching. His conclusion is that those who do so, serve their belly. Here, their belly does not just speak about food but, materialism which is governed by Mammon (Satan). In 1 Cor 6:13, he clarifies to us further why the church must stay put on the foundation. So, he is saying that the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets is not given to help the church set her heart and mind on the temporal but on Christ Who lives in her as the Chief corner Stone.
Dear reader, judge every teaching and find out for yourself what it ultimately calls your heart and mind towards. If you’re sincere and diligent about this, you’ll grow in discernment by His word and the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Apostles or Prophets who claim to come from God with a special anointing or mandate to help the church with the following things are false OR derailed:
Impart anointing to singles to get married
Has special anointing to pray and make every barren woman in their organization or attending their seminar to conceive
Raise specific end-time warriors
Liberate Christian people from poverty
Impart uncommon wisdom to make you an inventor or become “successful”
Sowing seeds of xyz amount of currency to (their companies registered as charities and christened ministries) in other to become millionaires and billionaires
To reveal the evils of our parents/grandparents that’s causing us earthly problems etc
The sin of our grandparents that has troubled mankind is the sin of Adam and Eve. Those who seek refuge in Christ are delivered from that kingdom of darkness and put into the kingdom of Light Col 1:13.
Beloved in Christ, you and I are therefore commanded to walk in the light as precious stones of God’s wall beautifying the four corners of His city. No darkness is ever powerful enough to come into light and survive.
But, be alert for we’re in a generation where we’re religiously, philosophically, psychologically, metaphysically, economically, socially and politically being persuaded daily to step out from the light into darkness. Don’t give in! You and I have the grace of God to ignore silly persuasions like those who have gone before us to join the great cloud of witnesses above.
We need to trust God to bring us to the place where we’re valuing, treasuring and enjoying our relationship with CHRIST JESUS above all else! Paul described such a place as, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” Phil 1:21. For this cause, we’re to rejoice always and pray ceaselessly! 1 Thess 5:16-17.
But, if we’re in the Spirit (kingdom of light) yet, choose to step into darkness, we then make ourselves susceptible to be bitten by the serpent (the king of darkness) that is always waiting to bite Gal 5:25, 1 Pet 5:8. In which case, we must repent from accusing the pain of our bite on people who have finished their earthly business and gone.
While no Christian (those truly regenerated by grace through faith in Christ) is more righteous or holier than another, our level of diligence in loving God, reverencing Him by departing from evil and enjoying Him presently is definitely not the same.
No one enjoys God and grows in grace without an increasing knowledge of Christ and obedience to Him 2 Pet 3:18, Eph 1:17 NLT, Phil 3:10-11. By obedience to Him, I mean obedience to the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has set all who are in Him free from the law of sin and death (Ten Commandments amplified).
Those set free from the Old law are brought into the New Law Rom 8. Therefore, God does not have a people without Law. Those who follow the voice of Christ gain abundant life (a depth of Christ’ life) and peace even in the midst of tribulation Rom 8:6, John 5:25.
In Acts 9, Saul heard Christ’s voice and giving his heart to Him, came into life and peace with a new name as Paul! He never stopped listening to His voice as a law unto him. This brought him into Christ’s abundant life John 10:10. Paul’s life as we read in the scriptures is an encouraging RESULT for all who will live by the voice of the Holy Spirit (the Law of life in Christ).
Therefore, our invitation is to be weak in ourselves and consequently, be strong in Christ Jesus!
The apostolic doctrines state without ambiguity that God loves mankind and, for that reason, He seeks our love. John recorded the question which “The Apostle of the church” that is Christ Heb 3:1, posed for you and I to answer. “___, do you love me morethanthese?” John 21:15. PLEASE don’t fill in Peter’s name in the blank. He finished his earthly ministry to God by following the law of life in Christ. The law of life in Christ, leads His people to be refined, polished and fitted to their place in His glorious city.
The precious stones of God’s city are the embodiment of the measure and power of Christ Rev 21:9-27. Because of this, all the powers of darkness can’t prevail! Matt 16:18. May God be praised forever—for He has loved His city with an everlasting love! Amen.
May the grace and peace of Christ abound to you as you think upon Christ!
Scriptures establishes that as believer, we cannot have true growth in Christ and be strong except we’re first weak in ourselves. It means that the measure to which a Christian retains his or her own strength is the same measure to which the person is weak in Christ. This pill (truth) is hard to swallow, but if it’s taken, it cures the sickness of being weak in Christ.
Until this truth is understood, accepted and applied to oneself, praying aright and without ceasing will be hard and, humility will remain mere talk.
At the present time, a major problem confronting the Church is her weakness Rev 3:1-3. The message of God to the seven churches representing the gatherings of His people then, as well as the Church today, points to how God views His people’s weaknesses.
A dependence on the Holy Spirit in studying His message to the churches shows clearly that God does not kill His people because of their weaknesses. But, neither does He take it lightly that His people should continue in weakness.
His invitation is always that His people should become over-comers and inheritors of good Rom 12:21.
Peter the apostle gives us the clue why God wants us to always overcome evil in 2 Pet 2:19, “For by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage”. This is the reason why Paul and others always unashamedly declared that their bondage or prisoner status was only to Christ and not the devil Eph. 4:1, Eph. 6:6.
So, we are either in bondage to good or evil depending on our choice—that is, based on who we submit to.
Each time we submit, we are either being refined and polished as precious stones, or sadly giving room for our gift of a heart of flesh to be hardened Ezekiel 11:19, Heb 3:13. If we yield to Christ, we enter into bondage to righteousness (Christ). This is a beautiful thing! Conversely, if we yield to the devil we enter into slavery to do his mischievousness. This is ugly!
God does not want any stone that is ‘not precious’ but in bondage, to form part of the wall of His city. Hardened hearts are not precious stones! Therefore, He has established that every stone en-grafted into His city be laid properly on the foundation of His wall Rev 21:1-27, Eph 4:12-15. How is this to happen?
Well, Paul the apostle tells us, “The Foundation being Christ Jesus is laid and no other foundation can be laid—no other is accepted by God”. This Foundation is laid by the holy apostles with the prophets Eph 2:20.
In the next post, we will look at the apostle’s doctrine and how they help us answer the question asked earlier–how is this to happen?