IN HIS IMAGE
The Body of Christ at large today suffers from a severe identity crisis. Years of man-made religion has been woven into the simple truth of the gospel, and, as a result, Christians today are poor, beat-up, oppressed, and have a spiritual low self-esteem. This is not Gods will for His children. In fact, His plan is for us to be just as He is, full of His life.
The Bible states in II Timothy 4:3 that the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine. This is the majority of the Body of Christ today; most Christians have only been given enough teaching of the gospel to merely gravitate around the cross, but there is so much more than that! The cross was the inevitable pathway that Jesus had to endure to bring us to the Father. The real life of Christianity begins with an empty tomb!
In this book, we will open the Word of God and reveal the truth therein about who we really are in the Lord, what it means to bear His image, and how we are conformed to His image. The Body of Christ has been robbed for too long of its birthrights, its inheritance
IN HIS FOREKNOWLEDGE, HE SAW HIS OWN
Theres something so awesome about God that makes Him who He is; God is not bound by time. He sees everything as one big, panoramic now. For example, when He stood at the beginning of the creation of man, He saw the final judgment of man. Before He ever created man, he knew that we would sin and rebel against Him.
Only one thing could have driven the Lord to create us, knowing the mess that we would make: love. God created us, although He knew that we would become His enemies, and from His view, we already were His enemies. Nevertheless, God also saw a people He could create for His own; a people who would look like Him, act like Him, be like Him. In hope of this people who would desire to be His own, He created man.
27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He (the Father) foreknew, these He predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son, that He (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
From the Fathers view, eternity lays bare before Him; past, present, and future. Before we even existed, He knew those who would love and serve Him and those who would not. He knew this because He saw the end while He was at the beginning.
This is how the Father foreknew those who were His own; He saw who would endure in Him until the end. Those ones whom He saw at the end, He called, knowing that they would need to hear His voice in order to put them on the path to His salvation that they had entered.
The Father already had a Son, Jesus; but he wanted to have more children. So He created man so that He might establish a family; those whom He foreknew would become His children. Of course, He wanted His family to look like Him so he predetermined or predestined them to look like Jesus, His only begotten Son.
Jesus was right there with the Father when all this took place. He said, Let Us make man in Our image, Jesus; according to our likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). Since in You dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, they will become like You. When they become like You, theyll become like Me, for You are the image of Me.
Hebrews 1:3 describes Jesus in this way:
3 Who, being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person...
This is what happened when God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. The Father wanted us to be like Himself. Therefore, we would all become like Jesus.
Now there was one minor detail that would have to be worked-out. You see, the Father knew that Adam was going to break fellowship with Him through his rebellion. So how was man going to be brought back into fellowship with God so that His plan for a family would come to pass? How could man be justified and made righteous again?
Someone would have to go and take the sin of the people away from them so that they would be justified in the sight of God. This was Jesus.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus is named the Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World (Rev. 13:8)? This is why.
Once the Father created man, the mold was set. Everything God creates reproduces after its own kind (Gen.1:21). So a fallen Adam could only beget more fallen Adams. How could this be rectified? God would have to create another Adam, one that would once again be in fellowship with Him, who would not sin.
I Corinthians 15:45-49
45 And so it is written, The first Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from Heaven.
48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust (physically), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (spiritually).
Jesus: there was no one else who could get the job done. Jesus was going to have to enter the earth realm as a man and lead those who the Father foresaw would choose Him back into fellowship.
The only way Jesus could come to earth in the form of man without being a begotten son of Adam was if he were born outside of the Adamic seed. This is because God reckons sin through the bloodline of the fathers (Exodus 20:5). God would have to be His Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit, who carries out Gods plans and purposes.
His arrival into the earth realm had to be heralded by a supernatural sign to show to the world that the Messiah, their savior to bring them back to God, had come. Jesus was to be born of a virgin, Mary. With this plan, there could be no denying the deity of Jesus. He had no natural father. His true Father is God.
Jesus, being the full embodiment of the Godhead, would show to all the world the nature, attributes, and characteristics of the Father because He was the image of Him. Those who accepted His ways and confessed that He was Lord could, by their faith, receive what God intended for His own.
God intended for us to be conformed to His image. If we conform to the image of Jesus, we become like the Father. That is why Jesus could say, If youve seen Me, youve seen the Father. (John 14:9).
In the fullness of time, after Jesus work on earth was complete, Jesus own blood would have to be spilled for the justification of the people who believed on Him; those same ones whom the Father foresaw.
Why did Jesus have to be sacrificed? Because without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin (Hebr.9:22). No other man could have died for the sins of the people because every other man on earth was born of the seed of Adam; they had guilty blood. Jesus blood was innocent.
As Jesus knelt down to pray in the garden of Gethsemane, He knew what lay ahead of Him. It was something Jesus had never experienced before -- separation from the Father. He was about to take on the cup of iniquity of our sins that He might bear our sins on the cross; He was to pay for our salvation with His life.
Matthew 26:38-39, 42
38 Then Jesus said to them, His disciples, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.
39 He went a little further and fell on His face and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.
42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.
Luke 22:43-44 states:
43 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
44 And, being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Jesus laid down His life, and the devil, through those who serve him, crucified Jesus. He had become the scapegoat for our sins. He took the cup of iniquity of our sins upon Himself in the garden of Gethsemene. His innocent blood was shed for our guiltiness.
Jesus died in hope. His soul descended into Hades where He paid for our sins; He went to Hell for us (Ephesians 4:9-10).
For three days and three nights He was bound in the heart of the earth.
The devil thought that he had succeeded in thwarting Gods plan of salvation by killing the Lord Jesus. On the contrary, he fulfilled it; Satan had been tricked!
After three days, the innocent blood of Jesus cried out; justice was served! The guilty had been punished, and so the innocent must be freed! Satan had shed innocent blood!
At that moment, the life of the Father that Jesus possessed in Himself could not be held captive any longer! Jesus rose from the grave, having deposited the guilty sin of the people in Hell where it belonged. He was once again in fellowship with the Father.
Jesus then said:
18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore!!! Amen!!! And I have the keys of Hades and Death.
Jesus had kicked the door of the devils office in and taken the keys of Hades and Death. Hell No Longer Had Dominion Over Jesus -- Death No Longer Had Dominion Over Jesus!!! Jesus won the victory!
Then Jesus walked across the gulf of Hades and Abrahams Bosom and He led captivity captive (Eph. 4:8). Those who had died in faith under the Old Covenant looking ahead to Messiah received their salvation; they ascended with Jesus to the right hand of God! There was evidence of their resurrection in Jerusalem:
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
53 And coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
The curse of the Adamic seed has been broken! We no longer have to have a sinful spirit. We can be alive to God!
From that point, all those who believed on Jesus, and do believe on Him, simply must, by faith, look back and receive Jesus and His sacrifice in order to be saved.
The Father brought us full circle back to the state in which Adam was before he fell. Our spirits became born-again, alive to God.
Now we are in a position for God to fulfill in us His original plans and purposes: to conform us into the image of Jesus so that we will be in the image of the Father.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BEAR HIS IMAGE
The word image in Romans 8:29 is the word eikon. Literally, it means a statue or profile, a representation, and a resemblance.
In Hebrew the word is tselem. It means to shade; a phantom or an illusion.
So the Father predestined for us to be a profile of Jesus, to bear a resemblance to Jesus, to be the phantom of Jesus.
Imagery uses pictures or 3-D representations to convey ideas, thoughts, personality, appearance, or attributes of some other form or entity.
We as Christians are the imagery that should convey Jesus ideas, His thoughts, His personality, and His attributes to the world.
II Corinthians 3:18
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into that same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord.
We can look at ourselves and see the glory of God; moreover the world can look at us and see the glory of God. The more we grow in the spirit, the more accurate of an image our lives bear of Jesus. Its like a camera that is out of focus at first. As it is adjusted, it becomes a clean, clear image. We are the same way. When we receive the Lord, we take on His image. That image doesnt fully represent the Lord until the Spirit fine-tunes us into maturity.
Lets take a Side Journey for a moment:
Notice that we are transformed more and more into the image of Jesus by the spirit of the Lord. This process is not external; it is internal. So why does the church continue to try to redeem the flesh?
Trying to transform the flesh wont profit you anything!
The result of those actions is that you begin to try to justify yourself and declare yourself righteous by something youve done. This can defraud you of your reward! You say, Look how holy I am, God; look at what Ive given up for you. Surely you have to accept me now. By saying that, youre telling God that the blood of Jesus wasnt enough to make you worthy or to justify you in His sight!
You vow not to cut your hair or wear that demon make-up or drink that demon alcohol or wear those ungodly pants,. You promise not to taste, touch, or handle. None of those things will affect your relationship with God!
Dont you know?!! Its not what goes into a man that defiles him (his flesh), its what comes out of a man (from his heart) that defiles him (Mark 7:9-23).
Fool! You are making the Word of God of no effect!
Read Galatians 3:1-25 and John 6:63.
Jesus came to give you abundant life, not bondage!
He says whatever you do, do it to the glory of God (I Cor.10:31-32), not bringing shame to His Name. Enjoy the abundant life that He has given you! That will bring glory to His Name! It will also give the world something worthwhile to want.
Until we allow the Spirit of the Lord to mold and shape us into the image of Jesus, we will not be effective ambassadors of Christ.
The Holy Spirit will shape us if we just allow Him to.
We Will Have Certain Qualities That Will Identify Us
as Being in the Image of Jesus
We all generally carry around with us some sort of identification. This identification is some type of official document such as a birth certificate or drivers license that is issued by a recognized higher authority. This higher authority bears witness of whom you are.
As Christians, we have certain markers that identify us as being in the Lord. They are the attributes and characteristics consistent with the image of the Lord Jesus that you take upon yourself when you become born-again. These markers manifest in word and deed.
Herein lies the salvation process. You see, many people may have what we call altar experiences, but they do not really become born-again. You know that the experience was real if you bear some sort of imagery consistent with the death of the old man (the Adamite who sins from his heart) and the life of the new creature that was born in Christ Jesus. These attributes will be readily visible. Otherwise youve not truly taken on the Christ-like nature, and you are not born-again.
Now, this does not mean that you will never sin as a Christian, but it does mean that you wont be sinning because it comes natural to you, as part of your nature. Your prayer will be, Lord, help me not to sin today. And if you do sin, you simply repent and go about your business because the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MARKERS THAT IDENTIFY US AS
BEING IN THE IMAGE OF THE LORD JESUS?
We are No Longer Slaves of Sin
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
We became baptized into the Body of Christ when we became born-again. At that time, we were identified with Jesus in His death and burial. Our old man, the Adamite, died and was buried. Water baptism is an outward manifestation of this inward baptism that we entered.
So when the Father saw Jesus die, He saw us die. And from Chapter One we know that the Father had to see us die because we were guilty of sin; justice had to be served. Praise God that Jesus paid the price of our guiltiness for us!
When He saw Jesus resurrected, He saw us resurrected.
So, because of sin, we were buried with Jesus in baptism, so that just as Jesus was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too should walk in newness of life.
Not only do we become all that Jesus was in His death, we also become all that Jesus is in His resurrection.
When we walk in the newness of life that Jesus provided for us, we do not allow sin to have dominion over us. On the contrary, we reckon ourselves as dead to sin.
Romans 6:5-8, 11-14
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection?
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace.
We have been freed from sin because that body of sin was crucified with Jesus; therefore, we should not allow sin to reign in our bodies.
Besides the obvious, this includes gluttony. Gluttony is very simply eating more food than your body needs. The result is obesity. No, from a medical standpoint, there is no gland problem, and it is not in your genes. Obesity is gluttony - pure and simple.
Do you know that it is impossible to gain weight unless you eat? Your body takes excess food that you eat and stores it as fat. Now, the older you get, you may have to eat less because you most likely will not be as active and your metabolic rate tends to slow down. But you should not allow yourself to become overweight. When youre overweight, youre allowing food to have dominion over you, and Jesus would not have you bound to anything.
Not to mention that when youre overweight you open your body up to attack from the enemy through sickness and disease.
Colossians 3:1-9 states
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is our life appears then you also will appear with Him in glory.
5 Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.
7 In which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth,
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.
That dead and buried body of sin has many ugly attributes to it. Praise God that we are no longer living in that old body of sin! We are free from it. So we should not allow any of those ugly attributes to continue in our lives.
When we become born-again, we should cease from fornicating, uncleanness or licentiousness; undue passion; evil desire; covetousness; idolatry; lying; filthy language should not pass from our mouths; anger; wrath; malice; or blasphemy.
Any sexual attention that you attract or sexual contact that you make other than with your spouse is a sin! If youre expressing undue passion with someone other than your spouse, you need to repent.
We know that anger, in and of itself, is not wrong because Jesus got angry. If its a sin to get angry, and Jesus did it, then He is disqualified to be our savior and were all still in sin. So, obviously, this scripture is talking about sinning because were angry.
There are two types of anger: righteous indignation, and anger without just cause. The latter is a result of the old man reigning in our lives.
Righteous indignation is when you have a justified reason for being angry; a legitimate wrong has been done. This is what Jesus expressed when He went into the temple and found merchants there buying and selling goods. This was His Fathers house, and they were dishonoring what it was, treating it just like any other building. So Jesus knocked their tables over! There was just cause for his anger.
Another example of righteous indignation distinguishes between killing and murder. When Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, took a javelin and ran it through a man of Israel and a Midianite woman that he had taken for himself, he did not murder them (Numbers 25). No, He obeyed the Lord and executed judgment on His behalf! The men of Israel had played the harlot with the women of Moab, and they even bowed down to Baal! God was highly upset! He had sent a plague upon them because they opened the doorway for the devil to afflict them through their disobedience and sin.
Is God a murderer? No! But He does execute judgment on the guilty! This is righteous indignation.
Anger without just cause is just the opposite. People get angry if you just look at them. Dont you dare talk about their momma, or theyre ready to fight! Theyre in the flesh. Then they open their big mouths and blurt out a slur of expletives! We also call this expression of anger an outburst of wrath; it is inappropriate and unjustified. This the kind of anger that God is warning us about. This anger leads to sin, and it can also lead to murder.
Do you know that you dont have to cuss ? Being angry isnt a reason to use course language. In fact, if you curse when youre angry, you need to examine your heart to find out what ugliness is inside of you. Out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaks (Matt.12:34). Anger is merely acting as a stimulus for your own sin to come out. You need to deal with whatever ugliness you have in your heart so that you can get it out of your life.
A mature Christian will find other ways in which to express his anger. For example, you can use substitute words to express your anger -- Jesus did! He called the Pharisees and Sadducees a Brood of Vipers (Matthew 3:7)!
Ephesians 4:26-27 says to be angry, but sin not. Dont let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Dont hold a grudge.
A mature godly man will be slow to anger and slow to speak (James 1:19-20). Do you know why God wants us to be slow to anger and to speak? Because He is; He is long-suffering and patient.
Verse nine says, do not lie; it is part of the old man, and he is dead. Jesus said in Matthew 5:37
37 Let your Yes be yes and your No no. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Youre only as good as your word is. If people cant rely on you to keep your word, how can you expect them to receive anything you have to say to them about Jesus? You disqualify yourself; you are aligning yourself with the devil.
You want to hold God to His word, but your own word is worthless! Youre being a hypocrite! God is not mocked -- He knows! Do you think that He is going to trust you with His words if you cannot be trusted with your own words?
When youre late, your yes has become no, and youre of the evil one. If you write a check, knowing that at that moment in time that there is no money in the bank to cover it, youre lying. The moment you sign your name to that check, youre saying that theres money in the bank to back it up. You are not operating in faith if you write a check believing that God will provide the funds needed to cover that check in a couple of days. Youre being foolish. Youre lying.
If you say youre going to do something, do it. If you know you cant do it, then say no! Be someone that people know they can count on. Be someone that God knows He can count on.
To sum it all up, youre old man is dead and buried; dont bring him back to life. Keep him crucified.
It is only spiritual immaturity that allows him to continue to reign in your life. If you continue in that, the result will be all manner of carnal and fleshly behavior that will allow the devil to continue to have place to mess up your life.
Heres the scenario: your life never seems to go right. Your bodies are sick, and your finances are a disaster. Your mind realm is all messed-up; youre depressed, oppressed, beat-down. You say, Oh, I feel so bad, and you do. Its because you give the devil ammunition to beat you upside the head through your immaturity. Youre restless, jumping from job to job, always walking around with a frown on your face.
Get out of the flesh, and grow-up! Be obedient to the Word, and keep that flesh crucified. It is an act of your will! If you dont, eventually the result of your behavior will be shipwreck in your life and, eventually, premature death.
Do you know that you can wake up in the morning with a smile on your face, and you can keep that smile all day? Its your birthright as a child of God! He came to give you a good and happy life. But you will never have it unless you heed these words.
Death No Longer Has Dominion Over Us
Another marker in being identified with the Lord Jesus is that death no longer has dominion over us because of the life of the Father that is in us through Christ Jesus.
We call this life zoe, and it literally means the life of the Father.
This life was granted unto Jesus even in the beginning of the creation of man:
1 In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He (Jesus) was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him (Jesus), and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The Father granted the same life that flowed from Himself to also flow from the Son. In fact, He gave to Jesus the job of restoring all things to the earth which had been lost during the rebellion of Lucifer, which had resulted in it becoming dark and without form and void. When the Father sent Jesus to the earth, He said, Let there be Light, and there was light because there was Jesus. He is the Light of the World. The Father saw that the Light was good and he called it Day to separate it from the darkness that had already done its work on the earth. The Father called it Night. So we see that the Day and Night or Light and Dark being referred to in Genesis 1:1-5 concerns spiritual matters, not natural ones. This is easy to see since the celestial ordinances of day and night were not instituted until day four of the creation of the earth.
Having received the commission from the Father, being full of His life and faith and power, the Lord Jesus then set about to make and sustain all things pertaining to life on this earth. This culminated in the making of man so that Jesus, being the firstborn of many brethren, could present to the Father a family that was made in His image. They would be His people, and He would be their God.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Nothing in the universe is self-sustaining, in and of itself, apart from the Father. Through the life of the Father in Jesus, all things were created. Until death entered the earth through sin, everything subsisted and flowed in the life of the Father. Once sin came, death was born. The earth and the inhabitants thereof, who had been separated from God through sin, no longer subsisted in the life of the Father-- they merely existed.
Jesus entered the earth realm to bring those who loved God and kept His commandments back to the life that flowed from the Father, that they might once again subsist from the Father.
The life of the Father was granted unto the Son. Therefore, Jesus could say,
25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.
He could boldly say believe on Me, the Son, and you will not die, because life has been granted to Me from the Father to give to those who believe on Me.
6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus was able to give us life through faith in Him because He paid for our sins to be removed with His own body.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread (by faith receive the sacrifice of His body), he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
Jesus purchased zoe for us with His own blood. This means that we have to change our thinking here a little. Just what is everlasting life? When does zoe begin for us?
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (crucified).
15 That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
We are saved the moment we receive Jesus as Lord; we become born-again. It is at that time that we receive zoe. Let me say it this way: we receive everlasting life the moment we receive Jesus because the life of God fills us and replaces that old sinful spirit with a new one that is alive to God.
So, in order to find out what zoe includes, lets see what Jesus life included:
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9 Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Just what is death? Death is merely a separation. It is not ceasing to exist. Physical death is separation of your soul and spirit from your body. Spiritual death is separation of your soul and spirit from God.
So Jesus had Zoe in Him from the beginning, but it wasnt until He purchased with His body our salvation did we receive the life of the Father. If you have Zoe in you, death (physical or spiritual) has no dominion over you. The only way physical death can have dominion over you is if you allow death to overtake you.
Jesus was full of Zoe, but he abdicated His dominion over physical and spiritual death by taking and drinking the cup of our iniquity. For a time, He forfeited Zoe so that He might take it up again, bringing with Him a loadful of brethren!
17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
He died spiritually and physically on account of sin once for all of mankind. Verse nine states that he dies (spiritually and physically) no more. He paid the price for us once; that is all that was necessary.
Once justice was served, Jesus once again walked in His life, and death could not hold Him.
Now, death (physical or spiritual) no longer has dominion over Him because of the Life of the Father in Him. And death (physical or spiritual) no longer has dominion over us because of the life of the Father in us.
Much of the Body of Christ at large today fails to recognize that death has no dominion over us. Death is our enemy. It entered into the earth realm because of the sin of Adam. It is part of the curse on the ground that God spoke to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Since death was given its power by the spoken word of the Father in the Garden, it is able to exert its influence on anything derived from the ground. Because the body of man is formed from the earth, death will continue to inexorably draw the body back to the ground from which it was formed. It will continue to do this until the curse on the ground is lifted. This will occur at the End of the Age when the Lord will restore the earth yet again and put the last enemy, death, under foot.
Although death must eventually receive our bodies back to the ground, because of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, it no longer has the right to receive our bodies before the number of our days are fulfilled or to ravage our bodies with sickness and disease. Although it is appointed for man once to die, we should be making the appointment instead of allowing the devil to make it for us. Due to our relationship with Jesus, our destinies have clearly been placed in our own hands; all things are ours-- even death and life.
I Corinthians 3:21-22
21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:
22 Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come - all are yours.
We are like Jesus was; we have the authority to retain our physical lives, and we have the authority to lay down our physical lives so that death would receive them.
18 No one takes it (My life) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.
Death cannot just come up and snatch you away! You dont have to walk in fear like the rest of the world walks! We dont have to wonder whats waiting for us around the bend, afraid that the next moment will be our last.
The world should be afraid because they are under the dominion of Satan, but we are not! We have angels watching over us to protect us. They bear us up in their hands lest we dash our foot upon a stone (Psalm 91:11-13).
Death has no dominion over you! So why do you continue to serve death with your mouths? You say, Oh, I might get hit by a car. I might get sick. Im going to die with cancer. I hope I dont die.
The only way death can come upon you is if you lay your life down; and many Christians lay their lives down every day.
How do they do this?
21 Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
The words that you speak give or deny the devil access to your lives. If you speak what Gods Word says about who you are in Him and what authority is yours by virtue of being in the Lord Jesus, youll live. The devil will not be able to rob you of what is yours. But if you speak contrary to what the Word of God says about who you are and what authority you have, the devils going to have access to you. The devils not a nice guy. Hell torment you until you either make a stand in line with the Word of God or until he succeeds in shaking you off of your faith and killing you.
Besides the words of your mouth, another way that death can have dominion over you is by allowing sin to reign in your mortal body. Sin estranges us from God, and it is the doorway to death:
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.
If Adam had never sinned, none of us would ever die physically. But because sin did enter the earth realm, death followed.
Jesus death resulted in the burial of our body of sin; thus it is dead. No longer should sin reign in our bodies because the body of sin was done away with (Romans 6:6).
If you take your body out of the loop by reckoning it as dead in Christ Jesus, then death has nothing on which to grasp. On the other hand, if you dig-up your buried body out of the ground and let it start running amuck, death will seek you out. In other words, you give death license to afflict you by allowing sin in your life, and he will seize the opportunity to take you out!
There is one other very deceiving doorway that death will use to sneak into your lives and rob you. That doorway is through religion.
Religion is a framework for death because it denies the power of the blood of Jesus to make one righteous. Thus sin abounds. Remember the side journey in chapter one? From that note, we see that religion deals with the external, the flesh. It does not deal with the internal, the spirit. This is very dangerous because religion can give one the illusion of godliness without having any part of God:
20 Therefore if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations --
21 Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle
22 Which all concern things which perish with the using according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
If you have separated yourself spiritually from the grip of the world, why as though you still lived under its dominion do you subject yourself to worldly things?
Religion gives you an appearance of wisdom but not true wisdom. It presents a false humility, not genuine, life-changing humility.
They are man-made rules and regulations that dont change your relationship with God one bit for the better. If you continue in religion, it will eventually rob you of the fruit of your relationship with Jesus because you will seek to be justified by those laws. You will fall from grace.
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Everything about religion involves things that perish with the using, according to the commandments and doctrines of men-- not God.
Jesus tells us that the traditions of men make the Word of God of no effect (Matt. 15:6). It robs the life and power out of the Word of God.
Be on guard against this for it will surely hinder your relationship with God.
So dont serve death with your mouth, your body, or through religion. You can walk in confidence every day of your life, knowing that when you close your eyes at night that you shall open them in the morning.
If death shows up to try to take you, say, The person you seek is dead, and the life that I live, I live though Christ Jesus. Since He has conquered you, I also stand before you as a conqueror. You are early for your appointment, for I have not yet completed the number of my days. Therefore, Im not going anywhere, Mr. Death, till I get good and ready! And Im not ready yet; so go! And death will obey you.
Precious few Christians ever avail themselves of their dominion over death. They would rather believe the lie that God is just some monster playing games with their very existence, giving and taking life at His whim.
They say, The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Yes, the Lord giveth, but its the devil that taketh away! Statements such as that simply betray ignorance of the Word of God. Job didnt have the Word of God; so he didnt know any better. We, under the New Covenant, not only have the Word, but we also have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are without excuse!
Eventually, if the Lord tarries, we will die physically due to our bodies aging because of the curse on the land. But remember we, not the devil, should be deciding our appointment for death. If you let him make the appointment, hell take you out of your body kicking and screaming at the age of 20, 30, or 40 years old. God promises us at least 70 years of life in Psalms 90:10. The Lord wants to satisfy you with long life (Psalms 91:16).
Jesus experienced a death for us that we will never have to. For those three days and three nights He was in torment, being in Hell for us so that we would not have to go there. We were the guilty ones; that was our destiny until Jesus changed it by His death. Only love could have motivated Him to do that for us, and only love could have allowed the Father to let it happen. So dont esteem lightly that sacrifice, that purchase. Walk in the fullness of the life He bought for you. Dont allow the blood of Jesus to have been spilled in vain.
THINGS THAT BEAR WITNESS TO OUR
IDENTIFICATION WITH THE LORD JESUS
There are several things that bear witness to our identification with the Lord Jesus. A witness is something that speaks in agreement with another in order to establish a truth. Jesus said in Matthew 18:16
16 ... that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
So the Lord has provided several witnesses for us of our salvation. The first witness is the Holy Spirit:
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
14 Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
By virtue of having trusted in the Lord through the gospel of our salvation and having believed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
What is a seal?
It is a marker that identifies something as authentic.
For example, back in the Old Testament when kings would make a proclamation, they would melt wax and pour it on the document, thereby sealing the decree. The king would then take his ring, and press it into the hot wax. The ring was called a signet ring because it was a one-of-a-kind ring that bore the kings emblem of his personage on it. The impression of the kings signet ring authenticated the document as being genuinely from the throne of the king. This guarded against counterfeiting. When the recipient of the document would see the impression of the kings ring on it, he knew that the decree was authentic.
In like manner, God sealed us with the Holy Spirit. He authenticated to all that would see us that we truly belong to the Lord. Whenever anyone in the spirit-world, the Prince of the Powers of the Air, would see us, he would see the seal of the Holy Spirit on our foreheads. This sealing process is another identification of being in the Lord Jesus.
In the End Times, Satan will seek to counterfeit this seal through the Antichrist.
We can receive the Holy Spirit at any time after we have become born-again. We know that we have received Him the same way the apostles knew that they had received Him; we will speak in tongues. Of course, religion has made this statement highly controversial, so I suggest that you read the following scriptures for yourself if you are not clear on this doctrine: Acts 1:4-5,8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 10:44-48; and Acts 19:1-12.
Those Christians who havent received the Holy Spirit dont have as strong of a witness to their salvation as one who has. This does not mean that they are any less children of God, but it does mean that theyve not yet received the power of God to help them overcome in this life. Thus, they are much more easily overcome by the trials of life and the fiery darts of the devil.
I John 5:6 states:
6 This is He who came by water and blood-- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
So, it is much better to have the Holy Spirit than not. He bears witness, and His witness is very compelling because He is truth. He doesnt merely speak truth.
We also have our own spirits that bear witness to our being identified with the Lord Jesus.
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
When we become born-again, our own spirit says, I am alive to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am in communion with the Father through the Lord Jesus.
The Word, the Son himself, also bears witness of our salvation. He does this just as we can declare who we are if someone asks us. He bears witness that we are in His image, too.
I John 5:7-8
7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
So, whether we are in heaven or on the earth, we have three witnesses of our identification with the Lord Jesus. In heaven, the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. On the earth we have the Holy Spirit, the water, and the blood of Jesus.
The water that bears witness on earth refers to two things. For one, it refers to the water of baptism which identifies us with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. When we rise up out of that baptism water, it is symbolic of us rising from the dead, a new creature in Christ Jesus. The water here is also referring to the Holy Spirit Himself; He is the Living Water that those who drink of Him will never thirst again. His water will become in those who believe on Jesus a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life, (John 7:37-39).
Lets take a Side Journey...
There is a certain denomination that misinterprets this scripture to mean that in order to be saved, you must be baptized in water. This is not true because it is clear from the Word that it is eminently possible to be saved without ever being baptized in water. For example, the man who was crucified alongside Jesus confessed Him as Lord by asking Him to remember him when He came into His kingdom. This statement gave evidence of the mans faith in Jesus resurrection. Although he knew the fate of Jesus would be the same as his; to die on that cross, he asked Jesus to remember Him when He entered into the glory that he had evidently heard Jesus talk about during His ministry. This statement showed that the man believed that the Father would raise Jesus from the dead. Jesus said that the man would be with Him in paradise. That man was obviously not baptized in water-- he hung there and died. Nevertheless, Jesus said that he was saved.
The blood talked about here is the shed blood of Jesus. How can blood bear witness? It is done the same way that Abels blood bore witness that he was murdered. The Lord said, Abels blood cries out from the ground, (Genesis 4:10). This is a apparently a deep spiritual principle that is in operation.
All three witnesses in heaven and all three witnesses on earth agree as one, and they all bear witness of one another. For this reason, you cannot claim to have the Father without the Son. If you do, youre making the Father out to be a liar because He testifies of the Son.
I John 5:9-12
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.
10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Jehovahs Witnesses try to make this claim of having the Father without the Son, but you cant have the Father without the Son. If you do, youre making God out to be a liar for He said of Jesus, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, (Matthew 3:16-17).
We have all of these witnesses to our identification so that we can know that we have eternal life.
I John 5:13
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
This should make you want to jump and shout!!! We dont have to simply believe or hope that we have eternal life, we can know that we have it! The Word of God has declared it! So, if you believed on Jesus and you did not receive eternal life, then God lied. And we all know that God is not a man that He should lie; in fact, it is impossible for Him to lie and still be God (Hebrews 6:18).
Those people who debate the truthfulness of the Word of God fail to recognize that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. After all, if Darwin is right, were all worm food anyway! But if the Word of God is true, wouldnt you rather have eternal life? If the Word of God is true (which we know that it is), youre going to have eternal something, whether it be life or death. After we die, it is too late to believe then. With this in mind, only a fool would not believe the Word of God, seeing that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The difference between us and the world is that we have hope. Hope is an earnest expectation or desire with at least a certain degree of assurance that what were hoping for will come to pass. It is the underpinnings of faith because faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).
People of the world dont have hope, thus they cannot see past today. Tomorrow is hidden from them because of the god of this world. That is why their attitude is to eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.
We, on the other hand, have hope. But if that hope is only in this life, we are the most pitiable of all people (I Cor. 15:19). But, no, we have witnesses to assure us of the hope we have of our salvation. And the immutable Word of God convinces us that our hope is not in vain. The Father has not left us without witnesses on which to pin our hopes.
Knowing this, we can be confident that we have eternal life; we have zoe.
We can walk boldly in the Lord in every aspect of being identified with Him. Now that should give you cause for rejoicing!
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF
BEARING HIS IMAGE?
We Will Look Like Him
I Corinthians 15:49
49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man.
Jesus looked like Adam did physically, but spiritually He was much different from Adam after he sinned. It is the same difference as is between night and day: unrighteous and righteous.
Until we became born-again, we looked like Adam spiritually-- unrighteous.
Once we became born-again, we looked like Jesus spiritually-- righteous.
II Corinthians 3:18
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
We Will Have the Same Effect on the World That Jesus Did
Did you happen to notice that the world is not too fond of Jesus?
For example, in September of 1995, Canada was debating a law that will not allow the name of Jesus to be said over public media because it is found to be offensive to some people. In one of the national football leagues, the men can no longer kneel down after a touchdown because it has a religious overtone to it, and this is not acceptable. The Lord has long since been kicked out of our schools and courts. There was a US. judge in 1995 who was sued to have a copy of the Ten Commandments that he had hanging-up on the wall of his courtroom taken down. The World Council of Churches recently published the politically correct Bible that takes out any and all offensive phrases from the Word of God. In it, the Lords prayer reads: Our Father and Mother who are in Heaven. There are no longer any references to light and dark in this new Bible because it might offend someone who is dark.
When you begin to look like Jesus, you and the world will stop getting along.
We Will Smell Like Jesus
II Corinthians 2:14-16
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?
We bear the image of the Lord Jesus, so we carry His scent. All people can smell that scent, and the effect of His scent upon them is based upon how they smell Him. Take heed how you smell Him! To those people who are searching for God, Jesus smells like life to them, leading to life. To those people who are perishing and have rejected God, He smells like death to them, leading to death.
Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a room certain people get very uncomfortable around you? You have a very negative effect on people that you have not personally done anything to offend them? This is because you smell like death to them. They are perishing and dont want to be saved, and youre carrying the aroma of Jesus.
What does Jesus smell like? He smells like liberty, love, truth, patience, righteousness, and judgment. These are the essences of the aroma of Christ. When someone smells these things and they are offensive to them, it is because theyre perishing.
Many Christians, when they come to know the truth about the Word of God, get offended because of the baggage that they bring with them. They struggle with religious baggage, bondage, immaturity, and the flesh. All of these things will hinder us in our growth in the Lord. This is different from when Jesus smells like death to you. When you are wrestling with baggage, you continue to press on in your relationship with the Lord, and you continue to seek Him even though you are being pushed to grow up spiritually.
However, when Jesus smells like death to you, the last place you want to be is anywhere near Him or His light. You smell the aroma of Jesus and run to somewhere that you know is dark because you hate the very existence of the Light. As a Christian, the only way that you will not have this heinous, negative effect on the world is if you are not emanating the aroma of Christ. What is it about the aroma of Jesus that is offensive? The Word.
12 For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word of God cuts like a knife into the soul and spirit, separating between the two. When it is used by a skillful swordsman, one who carries the aroma, people will blame the swordsman. You never blame a sword for someone being stabbed, but you certainly blame the one who did the stabbing. The sword is useless without the hand that wields it. In this case, the Word is useless without the mouth that speaks it.
We Will Be Hated and Persecuted Like Him
Here is where the rubber meets the road in our Christianity. This is where we find out who is really committed to the Lord and who is not.
Christians have no problem with putting a fish on the back of their car or having pictures of Jesus hanging up or wearing a cross around their neck. But when your Christianity begins to go deeper than that, you are then faced with a world that hates Jesus. Precious few Christians are willing to endure that; they only want to look a little bit like Him. They dont want to fully bear His image. Which are you? God cant use you very much if youre in the latter group.
18 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet, because you are not of this world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things they will do to you for My Names sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
If youre one of those people who doesnt want anyone to hate you, forget it. Someone is going to hate you. Wouldnt you rather it be the world than God? If you were of the world, it would love you; the world loves its own. So the only way that the world will hate you is if you are not of it, and the only place you can go to get out of the world is in the bosom of Jesus. You cannot straddle both camps. If you do things Gods way, the world will hate you. If you do things the worlds way, God will hate you.
Once Jesus was anointed at about the age of 30 to walk in the ministry to which He was called, to judge the world, He began to carry that cutting aroma. We carry that same aroma because we are speaking His Words. They will hate us without cause just as they hated Jesus without cause (John 15:25). The more we bear His image, the more we will smell like Him. The more we smell like Him, the more we will be hated without cause.
Who cares if the world hates you? You can never please people anyway! People are fickle. That is why Jesus didnt receive their praises because He knew what was in their hearts. The very same people who were waving palm branches yelling, Hosanna, Hosanna, were shouting, Crucify Him! five days later.
Sadly, the church today is a chameleon. Pastors are conformed to every image other than that of Jesus, thus the people have no accurate example of Jesus with which to be conformed. They preach what they think the people want to hear. This is why the people stagnate and do not grow spiritually.
The only thing that will cause you as a Christian to grow spiritually is to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus. When you cannot see a mold of Jesus in your Man of God, whose duty it is to show you how to be more like Jesus, you dont have a clear picture of what and who you are supposed to be. Paul said, Imitate me as I imitate Christ (I Cor.11:1). Hebrews 13:7 says that we are to follow the faith of those who rule over us, those Men of God that He gave to us. This cannot happen if the Man of God refuses to be conformed into His image. If the mold is wrong, everything that you stamp out with it will also be wrong.
They would rather be men-pleasers than to be hated without cause. This should not be. The Word may offend people, but it will sure make a difference in their lives. But no, they would rather be loved by the people rather than loved by God. How tragic.
James 4:4 states:
4 ...Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
So, when you come under attack and are persecuted for the sake of the gospel, dont be surprised.
I Peter 4:12-14
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christs sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified.
Christians come to me when various trials or tribulations come their way, and they want to know where they missed it. You dont necessarily have to have missed it for trials and tribulations to come your way. Just the fact that youre breathing as a Christian is reason enough for you to come under attack. The devil is your enemy, and he seeks to destroy you. These fiery trials come with the territory of being identified with Jesus.
Rejoice when you are persecuted, that you have been counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus! Dont tuck your tail and run! In fact, blessed are you that the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you! When they speak wrongfully about you, they are blaspheming Gods Holy Spirit. That is not a good thing to do!
This is why we, as Christians, are so dangerous. People dont realize who you are; you dont realize just who you are. If you did, you would carry yourselves differently. You would walk more fully in the image of Jesus. It would cause you to be bold, striking fear in the heart of the world. They will never embrace or agree with you, but they will certainly stay out of your way for fear of the power and glory of God operating through you. If you are reproved or reviled, make sure that those accusations are not legitimate (I Peter 4:15-18). You dont want to bring shame to the Body of Christ.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF
BEARING HIS IMAGE?
We Will Inherit All That He Has and Does
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
An heir is one who is entitled to something by virtue of blood. It entails passing on materiality based on the bloodline. For example, when you depart the earth, your children become entitled to all the possessions that you have because of the bloodline. They are your heirs. When we become born-again, we become heirs of our Father God and joint heirs with Jesus!
What is our inheritance? All that God has!
Galatians 4:1-7 says:
1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,
2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
3 Even so, we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 To redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father!
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
From verse one, we see that as long as an heir is a child, he cannot receive his inheritance. This is because a child cannot be trusted to take care of something. Even though the child may be master of everything, he cannot walk in the benefit if his inheritance.
Even so, we as Christians cannot be trusted with all of our inheritance until we are mature and responsible enough to handle it. This is why it is so important for you to grow and mature spiritually. The Lord wants to grant you your inheritance, but you must be ready to receive it.
The Lord has placed guardians and stewards over you (Men of God) to guard you from the one who seeks to rob you of your inheritance-- the devil. It is their job to guard, teach, protect, and prepare you to walk in your inheritance. If the Pastor that you are sitting under is not doing this, you should check I Timothy 3:1-7 to see if he is qualified to be a Man of God or if he has usurped the position. If he does not meet those qualifications, you need to get you and yours and go find another Man of God to sit under who is qualified to prepare you to receive what is yours.
WHAT DID WE INHERIT?
We inherit zoe, the everlasting life of the Father. As discussed in chapter two, we receive zoe when we become born-again. It takes effect in our lives at that point, and it carries with it many awesome benefits such as freedom from sin, and death no longer has dominion over us.
You may refer back to Chapter Two for more details on zoe.
We Inherited Health
III John 1:2
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
Health is the absence of sickness and disease.
Jesus paid for our bodies to be made whole with the stripes that He bore:
I Peter 2:24
24 Who Himself (Jesus) bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed.
Why did God want our bodies to be made whole? The price that Jesus paid for us to inherit Zoe was very high. The Father wouldnt allow Jesus to pay that high of a price for Zoe just to put it into leaking, broken-down vessels! We had to have functionally sound vessels, ones that operated the way He had originally intended. They had to be able to contain zoe. Jesus had restored what the cankerworm had eaten, what rust had destroyed!
How do you receive this part of your inheritance? You receive it by faith. You dare to believe Gods Word and speak it concerning your walking in health and healing. When your body comes under attack, you rebuke it and command it to go away because by Jesus stripes YOU WERE HEALED! Then just thank and praise the Lord for healing you, not letting anything contrary to that come out of your mouth. This is an exercise in faith, and your healing will surely come to pass.
Remember, we walk by faith and not by sight. Our bodies must be healed because Jesus said they were. Just as sure as your sins are forgiven, your body is healed! Now thats powerful!
We Inherited Prosperity
Prosperity is the only part of our inheritance that has strings attached to it; the rest is ours for the taking. So what are the strings? Read III John verse 2 again. It says that the Lord wants us to prosper in all things, and He has a overabundant inheritance for us as His heirs.
The problem with an inheritance is that it violates that laws of sowing and reaping, thus most heirs waste their inheritance.
.In the parable in Luke 15:11-22, the heir son wanted to receive his inheritance before it was time. He took the money and spent it on riotous, wasteful living. When his money ran out because of his poor stewardship, he hooked himself up to the system (creditors), and became a slave to it. The heir in this parable is referred to as the prodigal son.
The Father gave us this parable to illustrate what happens when we dont learn how to be good stewards of money before we receive more. He knows that we would act just as this prodigal son did if He gave us our inheritance before we proved ourselves faithful. God is not a fool!
Read Luke 16:1-12. It is the story of the unjust steward. A steward is someone who is given charge over someone elses possessions to manage them. He has to give account for the possessions to the owner of the possessions. In this parable, the steward was not being faithful with the owners goods; he was wasting them. Verse 10 explains the principle that God uses to determine when we are ready to receive our inheritance of prosperity.
10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
If youre faithful, it doesnt matter how much has been committed to your keeping. You will be faithful with it whether you have a little or whether you have much.
The Father knows that He can entrust us with His prosperity when we prove ourselves faithful with the little that we have now. He wants us to be a good steward of His things. So we must learn how to be one before He will give to us this portion of our inheritance. Did you know that nothing that you possess is your own? It all belongs to God. The very bodies that you use to go to work in every day are the same bodies that Jesus purchased with His own blood. They are His; He bought them. They are merely in your care until the time that He picks up his purchase. Therefore we must become faithful stewards of His things.
What does God mean when He calls us to be faithful stewards? How do we prove to Him that we are?
Malachi 3:8-11 states
8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, In what have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed therefore with a curse, For you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of Hosts, If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the Lord of Hosts.
This is the only time that I am aware of where the Lord challenges us to test Him. He says that if you bring all the tithes (the tenth part of your gross increase) into the storehouse, He will open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing upon us that we do not have room to receive it. He will rebuke the devil off of our finances, and we shall prosper in all our ways. You see, by tithing, youre saying to God that you are being faithful with the little. Therefore, He can and will entrust you with much.
Whether you pay your tithe to God or the devils money system, you will pay your tithe to someone. God only asks for 10%; the world makes you pay 18-31% interest. Not to mention that God promises you an overabundant return on your giving. Whereas, the devils system will suck you dry until you are bound to it for the rest of your life. If you are faithful with your finances, you will be able to pay for most everything with cash and own them. Get faithful with your finances and you wont have to be paying J.C. Penny.
When my wife and I got married in 1980, the first check that I have record of writing was a tithe check. At that time, our salary was $485.00 a month; our rent was $270.00 a month. That left us $215.00 to live on, and $48.50 of it was paid in tithes. We trusted God. Suffice it to say, our tithe is considerably higher today.
Had we not been faithful with the $48.50 sixteen years ago, we wouldnt be faithful now. He who is faithful in what is least is also faithful in much.
Read Matthew 25:14-18. This is the story of the talents. Do you ever wonder why the last guy only received one talent? Its because the Lord knew that he was unfaithful and couldnt be trusted with more than that. Verse 20-29 illustrates how the stewards who were faithful with their talents received their inheritance, but for the one who was unfaithful, even what he had was taken away from him.
If youre unfaithful, the devil is right there to snatch-up every little seed that you put on the ground because there is no faith there to protect it and guard it. Its your faith that enables God to make the seed germinate and produce fruit in due season. But when youre not faithful, youre not sowing your seed with faith, and what little seed you plant, even that is taken away from you.
The unfaithful steward knew that God uses vessels in order to sow, that He may reap where He has not sown, gather where He has not scattered seed. So why didnt He sow into something good for the master so that he might get an increase? He was unfaithful and thus unprofitable.
God doesnt want us to turn out to be this outcast. So we must learn to be good stewards of all that is Gods-- everything. Otherwise, if we are unfaithful with another mans things, who will give us our own (Luke 16:12)? For this reason, the Father put certain provisions in the Word regarding receiving our inheritance of prosperity.
II Corinthians 9:1-5 talks about giving to the ministering of the saints (giving to the church) as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
II Cor. 9:6-7, 8-11
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give such as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
From the scriptures above, we see that you should give as you purpose in your heart, not because you feel obligated to give. God doesnt want money that you dont really want to give! It surprises God that you have the audacity to begrudge Him of what belongs to Him! Remember? You are merely the steward of His stuff. Give cheerfully and you will see the benefit:
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
9 As it is written: He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
11 While you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
Now thats powerful! However, if you never sow the seed, theres nothing for God to work with. Thus, you get no inheritance.
God, who supplies seed to the sower, will supply and multiply the seed that you have sown. God will use your tithe to further the kingdom of God and abundantly supply for the Man of God you are under as well. If anyone should be prosperous, it should be him since he holds your very lives in the balance. He has words of Truth and Life that he brings to bear in your lives to deliver your souls from Hell! He shouldnt be driving a beat-up, bald-tired car and be wearing thread-bare clothes! He should be much more highly esteemed than Michael Jordan or Mario Andretti who cant do a thing for your soul! So why do you get offended because the Man of God, your example of Jesus, is well off? You have a heart condition! Which is more important your soul or your money? If it is your soul, then why would you trust the Man of God with your soul, the greater, and not your money, the lessor?
Back to your faithfulness: Did you know that God keeps a balance sheet? You see, He is efficient, and He does not break the rules. He works through the system that He has ordained. For example, during the captivity of the Children of Israel in Egypt, when the time came for them to be delivered, Pharaoh refused to cooperate and release the people. Finally, after the nation of Egypt suffered through a number of plagues, Pharaoh relented and let the people go. The last plague resulted from releasing the death angel to indiscriminately destroy the firstborn of every creature in Egypt, both man and beast. God, however, spared the firstborn of Israel by instructing them to put the blood of a lamb over their doorposts. When the death angel saw this, he would pass over that house. Thus the lives of the firstborn of Israel became consecrated to God (Ex 13:1-16, Num. 3:40-51, 18:15-18). As a memorial, whatever opened the womb among the children of Israel, whether man or beast, was sanctified unto the Lord because He had moved with a strong hand to deliver the people from their oppressors as promised.
Now this Passover blood was a type of, or shadow of, the great sacrifice of the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. As such, this Passover blood cried out. It needed to be balanced because innocent blood that is spilled, and not required of the hand of the one who spilled it, is spilled in vain. In other words, justice demands that blood cries out for blood. The laws of righteousness require that those who spill innocent blood must die. God, however, intervened by receiving unto Himself those on whose behalf the blood was spilled. This was to be accomplished by the sacrifice of all the firstborn of Israel, that the cry of the innocent blood be satisfied.
Thus the Lord required that all the firstborn clean animals of the nation of Israel be sacrificed, and all the firstborn unclean ones be redeemed or substituted for by clean ones who were subsequently sacrificed. With regards to the firstborn male humans, those who were directly spared by the blood of the Passover lamb, were redeemed with an equivalent number of Levites (accounting for all by 273 of the firstborn males of the Children of Israel). The Levites were then sanctified unto the Lord to serve His purposes. The remaining 273 firstborn males as well as all subsequent ones were redeemed by bringing 5 shekels of silver to the Levites in the sanctuary. Thus by this eloquent plan, God managed to both save the people and yet satisfy the demands of justice.
Now this shadow of things to come serves as an extraordinary corollary to the great Lamb of God who also shed innocent blood which cried out for justice. And in like manner, the Father also redeemed those on whose behalf the blood was shed by sanctifying them unto Himself. They are those who are willing to believe in the power of that blood to save them. From this, we can really see the extent to which God will go to have everything balanced and in order.
What does this have to do with prosperity, you ask? Well, God works the same way with our finances. When we have needs and are crying out to Him, He checks His balance sheet to see if there is anything in our account.
Did you know that you have a heavenly bank account? You do! You make a deposit every time you sow into the kingdom of God. You cant put money into Jesus hands, but you can put it into the Man of Gods hand. If you use the system that God has placed in the earth realm to bless His children, it is credited to your account in heaven!
Phillipians 4:15-17, 18-19
15 Now you Phillipians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
16 For even in Thessalonica, you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
When you give to the Man of God, its not that he seeks your gift of money, but he seeks the fruit that abounds to your account. A wise shepherd will show his sheep how to attain their inheritance from the Lord. It is his job to instruct you on how to play by Gods rules. Once again, God brings a return for your giving:
18 Indeed I have all and abound, I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
What does the Father have to give us?
8 The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of Hosts.
The silver and the gold is the real wealth of this world, and it all belongs to God. And if it belongs to God, it belongs to us. We have an inheritance in it.
However, Gods wealth is another thing that Adam yielded to the devil through sin. It is under his control as god of this world. He even thinks it is his, but it is not. It is ours. However, because it is under his control when it is used to serve the ends of the devil, it has become tainted; it has become unrighteous. Thus the Father calls it unrighteous mammon.
When we give our tithe faithfully to the Lord, He takes it and shows it to the devil to prove that we have played the game according to His rules. Then this tenth part which has been set apart by God as belonging to Him is exempt from Satans control, and it becomes a channel through which God can bless His children. In this way, the devil cannot hinder you from being blessed, even though he has taken what belongs to God and sequestered it to be given to whom he wishes. Any wealth that we obtain apart from obedience to the law of sowing and reaping, we have essentially embezzled from the devil. He is, of course, then free to require it of us at any time. If we are faithful in sowing, God will also be faithful in causing us to reap. Then when we receive a portion of our inheritance, the wealth once again becomes righteous, untainted by the devil, because now its back in Gods hands.
Proverbs 13:22 says that
22b The wealth of the wicked has been stored up for the righteous.
As of yet, the righteous havent been found faithful, and the devil has been able to use the money for himself and his servants.
We, as the Body of Christ, have been just scraping by financially, not fully walking in the zoe of God; not able to establish His Covenant on earth because it takes money to do it; not able to promote the gospel the way that they should; not able to live the abundant life of full joy that Jesus died for them to live. We are stingy and are only hurting ourselves. We dont trust God, and we dont believe His Word.
God has given us the power to get the wealth, but we have to prove ourselves faithful (Deut.8:18).
38 Give, and it will be given unto you; good measure, pressed-down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
Youd better make sure that youre in a good storehouse, a church that is being faithful with the finances, where your seed will bear fruit. Its not up to you as the sheep to decide where the money should go, but you can tell just by looking around and listening if it is a good storehouse.
Gods kingdom here on earth should represent Him! There are no run-down shacks in the kingdom of God! Every glimpse weve gotten into the kingdom of God has been glorious: streets of gold, fiery stones, giant pearl gates, precious gems. This is what Gods house looks like! If were going to represent Him, we should not be showing Him as poor because He is not. Nor does He want us poor.
The Lord gives us the unrighteous mammon to test our faithfulness. Will we be faithful with it and give back to God the portion that He asks of us? Or do we want our inheritance so that we can be greedy with it and spend it all on our pleasures? If we are stingy with God, He will be stingy with us.
James 4:1-3 talks about how we as Christians do not receive what we ask God for because we ask with the wrong heart, for the wrong reasons. We have proven ourselves to be unfaithful rather than faithful. Until we get our heart right with God, we will not receive any of our inheritance that we are asking of Him. Be faithful with your finances, giving to God what is Gods, and He will find you to be a good steward of His things. Thus, He will entrust you with much.
We Inherited Joy
Take a moment to read John 15:1-6. John 15:7-8, 9-10, 11 states:
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
From the two verses stated above, we find that the Father gives us what we desire because we abide in Jesus. It glorifies Him to do this for us.
How do we know if we are abiding in Him? How do we abide in His love?
9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Fathers commandments and abide in His love.
So, we are abiding in His love when we are keeping His commandments. That is all that is required.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that your joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
If we are abiding in His love, it is impossible for His joy to depart from us. This is the key to living a joyful, overcoming life-- learn to abide in Him. When you learn to abide in Him, you wont struggle in your personal walk with Him, in your marriage, or in your soul-realm. You wont be sour. If His Words are abiding in you, you cannot help but be joyful. There is nothing that the world can throw at you that the Word of God hasnt given you a defense for; not sickness, not finances, not calamity-- it is all covered! The world may throw you a curve or two, but if His Words are abiding in you, you will hit it out of the ballpark.
If there is any area of your life that you are not overcoming in, theres a reason why. Examine the area, consult the scriptures, apply the Word, make the correction, the hindrance disappears, and the joy returns.
If you are having problems in your marriage and you and your spouse are not on one accord, check to see: Are His Words abiding in both of you? Is the husband being a covering to his family? Is he giving honor to his wife as unto the weaker vessel? Is he being a good steward in the household? Is he being the High Priest of his home? Is the wife in subjection to her husband, being submissive to him as unto the Lord? Is she loving her husband? Is she being a good steward of her home? If these things are not in place, His Words are not abiding in you, and this is why your marriage is suffering.
His words have to be real in your heart, and if they are, youll be joyful and overcome this world.
Jesus came to give us joy. Therefore we should not be walking around miserable like the world does. No, we can understand why the devils servants are miserable because there is nothing joyful about being in his clutches. On the other hand, those of us who know Jesus, have every reason to be joyful. It is our strength as Christians (Neh.8:10). Therefore, if you dont have joy as a Christian, you are weak and easy prey for the devil. He will just toy with you until he finally kills you.
So abide in Him and His love by letting His Words abide in you and you in them. Then you will receive what Jesus died for you to have-- His joy in you.
We Inherited Victory Over Our Enemies!
Read Colossians 2:11-14. Verse 15 states:
15 (Jesus) having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
This verse tells us that Jesus has disarmed our enemies! He has taken away the weapons that the Satanic hoard uses to destroy us!
Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us that we wrestle against the principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places; all of the Satanic hoard. Those are the ones Jesus has disarmed! They have no weapons against us! They can only try to deceive us into thinking that they do so that we open a doorway for them to through fear or unbelief.
We, on the other hand, are armed for war! We have the whole armor of God in which we clothe ourselves: our waist is girded with truth; we are wearing the breastplate of righteousness; our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; we take-up the shield of faith that we use to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one; we wear the helmet of salvation; and we wage war with the sword of the Spirit-- Gods Word! We pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit where the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and speaks the words that we do not know to speak!
We are loaded with weapons, and the enemy is naked before us! The devil walks around as a roaring lion, but he has no teeth! All he can do is speak lies to us to try to get us to believe them, but if we are abiding in His Words, we know that he cant touch us! And as long as we are abiding in Him, we will overcome the world as well!
John 16:33 states:
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Judgment Has Been Committed Unto Us
In John chapter 20, Jesus had appeared to His disciples before He ascended on high to be with the Father. After presenting Himself to them, alive from the dead, He gave them instructions. He told them that He was sending them out into the world, and prophetically he blew on them telling them to receive the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus said,
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
What did Jesus mean by that? He meant that just as judgment was given unto Him by the Father, we as His Body would also walk in that judgment.
This is a heavy responsibility to bear as Christians. He is warning us to be careful how we conduct ourselves in this world because our judgment will stand. We should be very mindful about not being immature because we could be guilty of retaining anothers sins by our words.
I Cor. 6:2-3 states:
2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more things pertaining to this life?
What more proof do you need? The scriptures say it all.
How then do we become skilled in judgment? Hebrews 5:12-14 tells us that we become skilled in judgment by being mature and by use and practice of the Word; by abiding in Him. Take heed how you carry yourselves! Dont be guilty of retaining ones sins wrongfully.
We Will Do the Works That He Does
12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father.
Jesus said that we would do the same works He did. What works did He do? He healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons. He set the captives free, healed the broken hearted, preached deliverance to those who were bound. We will do these same things if we believe what Jesus said. By the power of His Name and His anointing, we will speak His Words, and they will come to pass for us just as they came to pass for Him.
15 And Jesus said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My Name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;
18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover!
Jesus said it, I believe it, so I do it, and it comes to pass.
Now to Sum It All Up
In conclusion, now that I have shown you who you are because of your identification with the Lord Jesus and what your inheritance is as His children, I have one last thought to leave with you:
If you want to know what God is like, look at yourselves. We have been made in His Image, according to His likeness. You will never be able to depict Him in any other created thing other than yourself; no statue, or icon, or image will show you the Father. On the contrary, it will only bring you idolatry. When you try to seek Him through any image, you destroy the element of faith that is necessary in order to come to God.
When you truly begin to see yourselves in the image of God, which you are, and you abide in Him, you will finally begin to understand what the Father meant when He said,
I said, You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High (Psalms 82:6, John 10:34-38). He is the Most High God, the God of gods, and our being gods by virtue of being His children doesnt make Him any less God. It does, however, make us what He intended us to be; like Him. We are gods.
Praise the Lord!
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