Newness Of Life

The good news of God’s kingdom is that through Christ He is always doing a new work, and in Christ He is making all things new. For that which is old is passed away, and that which is passed away can sustain no man in the ongoing work of God. The Lord walks onward, calling men to “Follow Me,” and gives little time to the hesitant.

Only an abiding movement in He who abides forever, the Word of the Lord, even the Son of God, is able to keep us walking in His newness; “For behold,” He says: “I do a new thing… Behold: I make all things new.”

A race is not finished or won by simply acknowledging that the finish line is already behind us at the starting point, and so we need not run. He who does not run the race to cross the “it is finished” line for himself is disqualified. The Spirit will not empower the pilgrim who desires no progress. The doctrine of our faith reveals itself vain in a life which possesses not the faith itself to manifest the ready obedience of one who loves God and the brethren. Our participation in the Body and Blood of Christ is not merely passive but also active. The same Apostle Paul who used the illustration of a race is also he who wrote, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth…” There is a Rest into which we fail to enter apart from striving to enter into it. There is a spiritual maturity, or even true Life itself, that may be left untouched for a lifetime by being content with what is behind. In Paul’s case, those things were mostly religious credentials, and what men tend to perceive as spiritual acumen worthy of praise. No doubt these also became even his accomplishments as an apostle of Christ.

The Greek word Paul uses for “forgetting” means…

Forgetting.

Things which are forgotten are things which have no bearing upon a man’s decisions going forward; and hold not even a peripheral sway over his lightest considerations. He who forgets is free of the things forgotten. He who cannot walk as though former things are forgotten has not fully dealt with the matters of his inner heart before the Lord. Whether they be matters of outright sin or matters of pride in a good spiritual estate; the Lord would have every man walk with humble simplicity in what is newly set before their feet by the light of the Spirit.

The man who continually deals with God in all his inner motives, thoughts, and intentions remains a free vessel, at liberty for honorable use in God’s house. The man who neglects the stewarding of his own heart becomes unable to contain the ever new wine of the vintage of Life, and fades into a life of paralysis and defeat.

The still and quiet whispers of the Spirit of Christ are the invitation into a broader walk in the true calling of each one. Let every heart hear and walk after He who calls them.

Anatomy Of A Fall – Ezekiel 28

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18



In a day of much going to-and-fro, in a day of the increase of knowledge and of what many falsely call “wisdom,” it behoves us to never lose sight of the cause of every fall, and the root of all wickedness.

The scriptures have set forth as an example before us the fall of the Covering Cherub, Son of the Dawn as he was properly called at one time; from which we ourselves are given a warning through the manner of his fall, and insight as to the source of his corruption.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.
Ezekiel 28:15 (NASB)

The words of Ezekiel reveal to us that this heavenly being was blameless in all his ways from the day he was created. God makes nothing unrighteous. No wickedness, no corruption, nor any moral evil, results from His design. That which arises contrary within them are derived from a turning of their will away from His good purpose, which, in turn, curses their generations also.

[We only see that the Lord “creates evil” and “forms darkness,” as the prophet Isaiah expressed, in the sense of letting loose upon the wicked the very calamity inherent within their crooked ways – this action on His part is not a moral evil, but only an “evil” in the sense of what we might call “evil tidings”: an omen of great trouble and righteous judgement upon the workers of iniquity. (See Isaiah 45:7 KJV)]

For He entrusted His creatures from the beginning to learn righteousness, after having created them blameless; perhaps similar to the way in which Jesus Himself would come to learn righteousness from infancy as an inherently blameless man – though His case differs in that His being very God assured no possibility of a fall on His part; so that through faith we might share in the blameless nature of His righteous blood.

Therefore, see how the corruption of Lucifer is described: “unrighteousness was found in you.” Unrighteousness is not a thing created by the fallen one, nor is evil an existing force which he came to embrace; yet iniquity came to be “found” in him. For God’s whole creation was blameless, and everything about it; but not having yet been perfected, there remained a capacity for the creature to deny the Creator’s art of perfecting, and and in so denying, to become what appeared to be a foul mark upon the canvas of His universe, and what sounded to be a dissident chord in the symphony of His magnum opus – what horror! For faith was always that through which the grace of God would perfect His creation; but the innovations of the self-reliant heart, puffed up in its self-percieved achievement and insight, have ever since been the undoing of faith within the creature, causing it to wander from the grace which sustained it, bringing forth sin unto death. “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” And so we ought always to be mindful that pride is the root of all evil.

Thus, in describing the fall of Lucifer through Ezekiel, the Lord reveals the innovations of pride in its self-reliance:

By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.
Ezekiel 28:16a (NASB)

“By the abundance of your trade” – Some translations render “trade” as “merchandising”. The proud heart takes what God has graciously bestowed only to make a name for itself and to turn the gift into a means of profiting over others. There is no greater a mockery of God’s grace than to put any price upon it less than that of the Life of His Son. And so this is precisely what the false prophets do in following after their father the Devil. They remove from men the only way to the kingdom of heaven through the incentivizing of self-deception, not even entering in themselves; having traded the Life of the Son for the false wisdom of the fallen Cherub: the enlightenment of self-exalting wisdom over the Life of God found in humility through faith.

“…you were (became) internally filled with violence, and you sinned…” – The exaltation of self over the plan of God and the seeing of His fellow creatures through the lens of personal agendas is always at their expense; and the more grand one’s opinion of one’s own insight, the more inflated will be the sense of entitlement to climb and grasp over the heads of others for that which has not been granted of God. The further a soul travels down this path, the more senseless he becomes to casually neglecting the good of another or violating their dignity without conscience. The more righteous he deems his own cause, though it be not God’s, the more he will tend to think himself the righteous hand of God’s vengeance upon those who inconvenience his vision for the world around him. He will use his gifts and everything within his power to do violence, whether directly or indirectly, to those whom he has made his enemies; though none asked to be such. Every spiritual matter becomes to him a competition of unrighteous jealousy, though he will not admit it; and so in his mind he accuses everyone else of the very hypocrisy of which he is truly most guilty.

And how did this unrighteous jealousy arise? We may have an insight by the name “Lucifer” itself. His name means light bringer, and describes a truly noble trait. He was made to radiate a measure of true light bestowed upon him by God. But what did God say in the beginning when He laid the foundations of the earth? “Let there be light!” The scripture tells us that at this time, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” For this unapproachable light, which was at that moment revealed through the spoken word of of God before His heavenly creatures, had no equal; and it was not to be fully comprehended by any except He from whom it proceeded. It may have been this first revelation of the Light of the World which provoked the light bringer to jealousy, not accepting his rightful place.

In any case, through the Word of God such light has gone forth that no darkness can overcome it, and the fate of all the unrighteousness that sprang forth thence was forever sealed from its very inception. All that the Father has willed and designed is of such perfect wisdom and prudence that even when His creatures should rebel, the ultimate undoing of their evil schemes is seeded within the schemes themselves. What first appeared as a foul mark upon the Master’s canvas has been enshrined in the beauty of His victory over it to show forth His untold wisdom in the reconciliation of the redeemed; and what first sounded as a dissident chord in the Great Composer’s symphony has been transposed within the richness of its manifold harmonies to pay tribute to His glory. His light shines forth into all the kosmos, and its purpose shall not ever be impeded. There is no darkness at all in God; and by its very nature, no darkness can abide in His presence.

“…therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.” – In scripture, the “mountain of God” is the place of the meeting of His assembly, or His “divine council” (Psalm 82, 1Kings 22:19-22). So to cast the fallen one from this place denotes the worthlessness of his new-found “wisdom”. God needs no counsellor; therefore the wisdom of those sons of God which sit at His council are considered not for their wisdom over God, but for their unique expression of the wisdom that is from God. And that wisdom is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” But such was not the attitude of he who became enamoured with himself over that which was the gift of God.

Therefore the Lord says of the one who squandered this highest of heavenly privilege, becoming a creature of darkness and falsity:

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Ezekiel 28:16 (NASB)

“I have destroyed you from…” – today we find this a curious turn of phrase. We know that the one undergoing this punishment was not unmade; therefore we might say that this “destroying from” denotes such an utter separation of the condemned from his designated place, such a cleansing of the temple from its unworthy inhabitant, that the temple itself reflects no trace of him ever having occupied its space, nor even so much as having breathed its air. He has been so completely removed from his original place, that were the temple of God a sentient being, its pillars would have no memory of his walking between them, nor its blessed walls remember so much as an echo of the former songs of his devising.

But new are the feet of them that now walk between its pillars, and new shall ever be the songs which resound through the courts of heaven; for the True Conductor arranged His masterpiece, and has only begun to strike its first notes through the mouths of the redeemed. Let us therefore be quick in faith and constant in humility, as mere instruments laying hold of the sweet melody of His grace.

For consider the Devil, and see from what a great height he fell:

“…from the midst of the stones of fire.” – How heavy are these words, and how frightening should they be to us all! Who has seen the stones of fire, much less walked in their midst? Wouldn’t such status be reserved for one great in the knowledge of the holy? And wouldn’t such a place also sanctify the one occupying it ever the more swiftly, so as to become immune to all vanity? Yet one who dwelt in such a radiance of holiness has indeed become vain. Therefore let no man suppose himself to be without the possibility danger, presuming upon the grace of God: within which presumption lie the very seeds of pride.

And so the Lord says,

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
Ezekiel 28:17a (NASB)

Here at last we come to the heart of the matter. The anointed cherub possessed true divine beauty and had lain hold of true Godly wisdom, so much so that they are described as your beauty… your knowledge” – which he had attained by the grace of God, and surely knew it once. Hence, it was not for any lack of these that he fell, nor even for a lack of knowing from whence they had proceeded.

But the test of every soul, from which even this mighty one was not exempt, is the test of a grateful devotion; which makes no idol of the increase of heavenly splendor within itself, but only glorifies He whose grace bestows its continued sustenance. The failure inherent within the sin of pride is the failure to continue by the grace of God. It was the failure of Lucifer to say in his heart “Thy grace is sufficient for me: Thy strength is made perfect in my weakness.” For even the heavenly creature which has always lived without blame is fully and forever indebted to the Lord of Hosts for every gift bestowed upon it, being weak apart from God, and grows in its consecration according to its humble offerings of thanksgiving.

Ah, but what did this one begin to do in light of the unsearchable riches of God’s abundant gifts?

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty…” – This marks the beginning of sinful pride. The effect produced has become gloried in above the One through whom it was ever possible. The heart has turned from He who gave it every good thing unto congratulating its own capacity for those good things to abide within it. “Surely,” he reasons within himself, “I have come to sustain this splendor, which the Lord graciously bestowed upon me, according to my own tendancy for righteousness, by which I have learned to walk.” But have you not seen, O fallen one, how that righteous tendancy in itself is a yet greater gift, for which you ought to fall down in humble adoration before the Giver of such grace upon grace? But you have seized upon it to make much of your splendor rather than of He through whom your splendor was given: therefore it has been stripped away; and you are left to crawl in its absence, and to deceive by the false light which you have since contrived.

“You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.” – In saying that his wisdom became corrupted, it is revealed that his wisdom was once uncorrupt. It was not his wisdom that corrupted him, but rather the attitude in which he began to hold it. We see here his wisdom described as the cause for his splendor, or the good soil from which righteousness had bloomed to splendidly array him in the clean garments of heavenly beauty. Yet “by reason of” this resultant splendor, the wisdom from which it had flowed became corrupted.

Yet isn’t the splendor a good thing? We have no reason to believe that it it wasn’t. What then is meant by the phrase, “by reason of your splendor”? Simply put, the lifting up of the cherub’s heart was seemingly justified to his proud mind because of his elevated wisdom. He considered the possession of wisdom, which was manifest in his splendor, to be a justification to feel entitled to walk in a path of his own making, to sing a melody in praise of his own sanctity, and to have a kingdom unto himself. For as we have already established, he had begun to see his beauty as a grace not of God, but of his own worthiness – though at first he may not have said it even to himself this way, as self-deception works with great subtlety.

So it is not the abundance of wisdom in itself that brought him to this self-justifying posture of heart; for we know that had he truly consulted the heavenly wisdom – which he indeed possessed – he would have found it rebuking all such thoughts. But he who has committed to a path of self-reliance must by necessity heed no warning against it, though wisdom has called out to him at every turn.

Therefore, those which rebel against the Living God must lie and must continue to lie – primarily to themselves, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” And those who so lie, and do not relent in their self-deception, build an entire world about themselves; which they themselves come to believe with such a sincerity that their false light appears as divine as the holy angels unto those who are likewise quick to trust their own hearts, not being grounded in the Truth. Thus the Devil is called by Christ the father of lies; for he was first to lie, and he precedes all others in spinning a web of lies to defend himself against the inevitability of the truth. Hence, his lies are of the most primary and essential untruth and unreality; since he contended at first with all of heaven against He in whom and according to whom is all truth.

And so, because he came to contradict the One whose very Name is The Truth, the very manner of his fall has become the lie, and has been falsely conveyed by his nameless whispers to the ears of all men, that they may sympathize with him as the misunderstood victim of an unjust God.

Therefore, lest such a deception be left with any excuse in the world, the punishment of God is perfect:

I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you.
Ezekiel 28:17b (NASB)

The ultimate fruit of sinful pride is shame and exposure. The casting down of the fallen cherub is a warning, especially to rulers – but indeed to every man – that the Lord will share no glory with another, and cannot be fooled by the hypocrite. God has revealed this to every heart, so that the more any man puffs himself up, the more conviction of the truth he must suppress in unrighteousness, and the more he must lie to himself in order to evade the hound of repentance which seeks to bear down upon him. And that gift of repentance is not granted to the fallen angels, some of whom Christ visited in prison to declare His victory; but only among men has He become incarnate: so that the hordes of the Devil are vicious toward men, seeking always to subvert their course to salvation. But the Lord has set His Day of vengeance, and He will not delay.

So let the kings renounce any allegiance to the accuser of the brethren, whereby they seek the destruction of God’s people; for he will always betray their trust, and they will find him only to be a purveyor of death to them. O kings, O judges, O legislators: do you not see him who was cast to the ground, who was made to partake in dust? His fall is set before you, and you know it within your own hearts. The same shall be your lot if you do not pay obesience to the Son of God.

For He is full of mercy, and abounding in steadfast love; but He will not leave the guilty unpunished. By him kings both rule and fall. It is He that overturns the kings from their thrones and rips their kingdoms from them; because they do not exalt or praise Him, or humbly acknowledge whence the kingdom was given to them. In the Day of His rule, shame fills the faces of the wicked; but those who recognize the Son of Man are blessed.

Learn the wisdom of King Nebuchadnezzar, who thought himself a god among men, and was cursed to become as a beast of the field; and who, after coming back to his senses, glorified the God of Daniel as King of kings and Lord of lords, “whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase” – and so his kingdom was returned to him, and all its glory. Humble yourself before the time; for you do not know the Day of your visitation, or what example the God of heaven will make of you should you walk in that delusion of the serpent.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 2:10-12 (ESV)

The horrors into which the powers of darkness have drawn the rulers of earth will be their downfall, and the lot of the righteous will always prevail over them. For although they cannot see it, the kingdom of God permeates the whole earth, and the Lord is seated above its heaven, undefeated.

Poem – “He Has Made The Tyrants Shake”

Spurgeon Sermon Excerpt: “Christ Crucified”

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:23-24

Charles H. Spurgeon:

What contempt hath God poured upon the wisdom of this world! How hath he brought it to nought, and made it appear as nothing. He has allowed it to work out its own conclusions, and prove its own folly.

Men boasted that they were wise; they said that they could find out God to perfection; and in order that their folly might be refuted once and forever, God gave them the opportunity of so doing.

He said,

“Worldly wisdom, I will try thee. Thou sayest that thou art mighty, that thine intellect is vast and comprehensive, that thine eye is keen, and thou canst find all secrets; now, behold, I try thee; I give thee one great problem to solve. Here is the universe; stars make its canopy, fields and flowers adorn it, and the floods roll o’er its surface; My Name is written therein; the invisible things of God may be clearly seen in the things which are made.

Philosophy, I give thee this problem – find Me out. Here are My works – find Me out. Discover in the wondrous world which I have made, the way to worship Me acceptably. I give thee space enough to do it – there are data enough. Behold the clouds, the earth, and the stars. I give thee time enough; I will give thee four thousand years, and I will not interfere; but thou shalt do as thou wilt with thine own world. I will give thee men enough; for I will make great minds and vast, whom thou shalt call lords of earth; thou shalt have orators, thou shalt have philosophers.

Find Me out, O reason; find Me out, O wisdom; find Me out, if thou canst; find Me out unto perfection; and if thou canst not, then shut thy mouth forever, and then will I teach thee that the wisdom of God is wiser than the wisdom of man; yea, that the foolishness of God is wiser than men.”

No Contingency Plan

HE indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world…
1 Peter 1:20 (NKJV)

There was always going to be an incarnation, no matter what. God was always going to continually fashion man after the manner of the Image of the Invisible God, who for that purpose was caused to become the firstborn of all creation, “the Lamb having been slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev 13:8, LITV)

There is no contingency plan.
God is never thwarted.

For by Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

Amen.

“Let My People Go”

One of the greatest lies that the Bride of Christ has yet to fully overcome in history is the lie that Christ’s authority is passed tangibly down through men by way of institution.

Even the defectors from Rome – the protestants – and also the ancient institutions of the east, have not avoided this great pitfall, no matter their very poor excuses and semantic wizardry.

As John records,

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me that an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is of the Jews.
But an hour is coming, and now is, that the true worshippers will worship the Father in more localized tabernacles.”

Oh wait, He didn’t say that last bit.
Remind me, what exactly did He “institute”?

A member of Christ’s body is one whom Christ Has purchased with His own blood and in whom the Spirit dwells by HIS impartation. That any man was instrumental is incidental to the invisible workings of God Himself.

They may gather in a particular place; but it is only those who are born of the Spirit of Christ that are the tabernacle.
One may teach; but the authority is in the word of Christ alone.
One may prophesy; but the authority is in the Spirit of Christ alone.

Now, many can understand all of this, and say “amen” to these things, yet still remain under the aforementioned lie.

1) They still suppose that some particular tradition of the governing of the local assembly (although it has become sub-local by way of extra-local institutions) is somehow blessed by God, or that at the very least, that it is inherently acceptable to Him.

This could not be further from the truth. That God has done so in certain times past, or even presently meets men in the midst of it, is no endorsement; it is rather a calling out to “come up hither.” The jealousy of carnal men is provoked when they are confronted with this truth, and they are often quick to condemn to eternal fire any who would dare point this out; for their livelihood and self-delusion depends entirely upon they system which they perpetuate.

2) They fear that those who are lead by the Spirit will easily fall into the gnostic and pagan storm of deception that has (always) filled the horizon. This is foolish. For if the accused “unchurched” (as they call them) christians truly remain under the authority of the Holy Spirit, then they shall not be drawn away after another.

This fear is based upon an experience with carnal men who were full of themselves, and not of the Spirit, who were drawn away into even greater error than that from which they departed. Yet such things are unavoidable with or without an institution; therefore this is not an argument. That men are corrupt and self-serving is no excuse to therefore set up earthly institutions to represent the spiritual reality. If anything, it is an argument against such.

3) They will agree that Jesus is the only head, the only mediator, the only priest of the new covenant, and the only good shepherd; yet they insist that these truths become “balanced” in a “practical application” via the institutional methods of man.

But there is no more practical application possible than that which the Holy Spirit Himself can execute; and He, unlike men and their institutions, cannot be infiltrated or driven off course; He will rather (if only we allowed Him) drive such maladies away from His temple, which are His people.

The more absurd objection which now inevitably becomes raised is that if we are lead by what is unseen, how will men know for certain what God is doing, without an institution to represent it? The answer is that to know what God is doing, one must be walking by the Spirit. Again, institutions are no more immune to infiltration, or corruption in general, than any one of their members.

The design of an organic Body is such that it develops immunity to corruption; the design of an institution is such that it cannot help but incubate and feed into corruption.

To set up institutions as the bellweather of God’s movings is to miss God Himself. For if anything, it men who are lead of the Spirit that are the bellweather; but even these can only be perceived by those who are likewise lead. And if anyone does not approve of this arrangement, then he does not trust the Lord with His own people, and cannot be trusted with their care. Unfortunately this is the mindset of almost every man who is considered to be a teacher or spiritual father in our day. They do not truly believe that the Holy Spirit can lead God’s people into all truth.

Therefore, they ought not boast in their knowledge of the scriptures, which say,

“The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice; but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who has received birth from the Spirit.”
John 3:8 (LITV)

The institutional system that has lorded over God’s people is a mockery of the incarnation of Christ, who said, “a body you have prepared for Me.” For He became man in order to raise us unto partaking in the divine nature; but the trappings of manmade institutions only obstruct this resurrection from among the dead. For the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in a human BODY; and a day is dawning in which the redeemed are breathed upon anew by the Spirit of the Living God; and as a Body like unto His, will rise as in Ezekiel’s vision.

And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:13-14

A child can understand the most basic spiritual implications of when Paul said that God “does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”

Nor do children need our “correction” when they read and simply understand Jesus’ words when He said, “where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”

If we were truly wise and understanding as serpents, as He commanded us to be in this age, then we would come to Him as the little children; not being drawn under so-called spiritual authority of top-heavy men and their lifeless, corporate fictions.

But where are those who know these things and will continue to heed the call of the Bridegroom? Will they remain hiding in the shadows of the ruins, or will they begin to partake in the life of Christ’s Body?

Jesus Christ has already declared, “Let My people go.” He has already been leading as many of His children as will follow Him into the wilderness. He has already parted for them the Red Sea. He has already drowned the armies of Pharaoh. Now He springs forth streams in the desert, and sends down manna to eat; and yet they grumble, not trusting Him to lead them into the promised land.

He WILL find those ready to obey His voice.

“And all with one mind began to beg off.
The first said to him, I have bought a field, and I have need to go out and see it; I ask you, have me excused.
And another said, I bought five yoke of oxen and I am going to try them out; I ask you, have me excused.
And another said, I married a wife, and for this reason I am not able to come.
And the lord said to the slave, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.
For I say to you that not one of those men who had been invited shall taste of my supper.”

And great crowds came together to Him. And turning, He said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Luke14:18-20, 23-26 (LITV)

Gregory of Nyssa – Quote on Running The Race

“For in the same way that the start of death is the end of life, so too ceasing from the contest of virtue marks the start of the course of wickedness.”

– Gregory of Nyssa [A.D. 335-395]


Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…

Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)


“A Body You Have Prepared For Me”

I have written before that the fulcrum point of the gospel of Christ is His cross; and this is true.

Yet it must also be said that the over-arching essence of the gospel is the resurrection power of the incarnate Word, whereby we are made partakers in the divine nature. For our hope is not only in the final atoning sacrifice for sins, but even now much more in the resurrection life of God in Christ, which overcomes the power of sin & death at work in us, for our conformity into His likeness.

For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, by much more, having been reconciled, we will be saved by His life.
Romans 5:10 (LEB)

For just as the Father has life in Himself, thus also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself.
John 5:26 (LEB)

That Son of Man, hidden in ages past, through whom all things created have come into being; He is the true Tree of Life in the paradise of God. Of His branches are borne the leaves of the hidden manna and the fruit of God’s Life in every season. Of His mind is taught wisdom: the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of the Holy One. In His blood is written the testament of the better covenant; in His body is mediated the exchange of our death for His Life.

He made the One who did not know sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we could become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (LEB)

Of all the Sons of God, only the uncreated Son of God’s very being is the divine person in whom the ministry of reconciliation must be mediated to the fallen sons of men.

Therefore the scriptures say,

No one has seen God at any time; the one and only, God, the One who is in the bosom of the Father – that One has made Him known.
John 1:18 (LEB)

And the apostle which wrote of the blood of that Christ as speaking “better things” than the blood of Abel, opens his entire treatise by writing not only of the blood of Christ speaking, but even the very person of Christ Himself:

In these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
Hebrews 1:2 (LEB)

And of what does Christ’s person (more than only His blood) speak? It speaks of being a son both of God and of man.

For the Son by whom the Godhead made the world was always to be the Light of Life unto all men. As He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, so was that last Adam indeed the first Son of Man. He was always to be the One by whom the man Adam and his wife Eve were to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God, whose image they bore. He is the true Tree of Life from whose branch we became cut off by our lust for the fulfillment of self-ascension unto that which was not our place.

For no plan of God has changed; and by that Son of Man, with whom dwells all righteousness, He still has determined that the seed of men will yet overcome their estrangement from Eden; by taking upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh, not only to atone for its sins as High Priest, but even to condemn sin in the flesh itself, “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:4 ESV)

This is to say that, although the serpent in his rebellion promised man apotheosis – even man, whose portion in Christ was already allotted to be theosis unto the likeness of the image of the invisible God – the plan of God’s mystery has still not been diverted in the least; but in Christ it rather prevails unto all of creation, and particularly unto men, without dilution or delay. For He has taken His own place as the new Adam at the right hand of the Head of Days, in whom all that are grafted into His lineage by way of the Spirit’s generation may begin to partake in the divine nature.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:22-23 (ESV)

Having been awakened from seep, we now groan for that which is only natural in God’s order. For in God’s design there is no tension between the human and divine natures intermingled in one person – such was the intended design for man. It is only sin and death that brings tension between the two. But Christ, being both fully God, and also more human than any man (being without sin), has restored the way for the whole creation to be transformed and made fit for His dwelling there, beginning with man, as He commanded at first in the garden.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:24-25 (ESV)

In saying that we do not yet see it, the apostle Paul has the end result in mind. But our being saved through the hope of this end has begun already, and ought to be becoming manifest in each soul. There is no excuse for resignation to the seeming fatefullness of sin’s so easily continued presence. For then we render the sacrifice of Christ of no more use to us than the sacrifices of the old covenant – which were powerless to remove sins – of which one apostle said:

But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, He said,
“Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but a body have You prepared for Me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book.'”
Hebrews 10:3-7 (ESV)

So we see that the greatest power of the cross is found in the nature of He who was hanged upon it: since in this particular matter He says not, “a cross you have prepared;” but rather in this instance, “a body you have prepared.”

For the death that He would die was in order to put an end to all atoning sacrifice and offering, and “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness…” (Dan 9)
But the body in which He would live, die, and be resurrected was prepared in order to be the means through which God’s very Life and nature might be recapitulated in us, whose newness of life is being made after the likeness of the divinely natured Man, Christ, who is the firstfruits of the incarnate resurrection.

For by His death He put away the old; but in His resurrection He began to make all things new. For as the life is in the blood, so is it manifest in the body. And as by the spilling of His blood are our souls purchased, much more by the resurrection of His body are we being transfigured by the resurrection Life of His flesh, in whom we live – if indeed we have died with Him.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:19-22 (ESV)


“He who, by sheer inclination of His will, established the beginning of all creation, seen and unseen, before all the ages and before that beginning of created beings, had an ineffably good plan for those creatures.
The plan was for Him to mingle, without change on His part, with human nature by true hypostatic union, to unite human nature to Himself while remaining immutable, so that He might become a man, as He alone knew how, and so that He might deify humanity in union with Himself.
Also, according to this plan, it is clear that God wisely divided “the ages” between those intended for God to become human, and those intended for humanity to become divine.”

– Maximus the Confessor