Whatever was used in the creation of a thing, will be needed for the preservation of that thing.
Sea creatures were called out of the sea at creation and need to constantly be in the water for the optimization of their potentials right down to their survival. The same is true for plants and the rest of creation.
With that said, God called us out of Himself and it would, therefore, be safe to say that we need Him in order to operate at our level best and for the basic necessities of our survival. In Him we live, we move and we have our being is not an assertion from the most spiritual among us but a revelation to the most perceptive of us. WE NEED GOD.
I’d particularly like to focus on His presence being the expedient environment for us to grow. I’m of the opinion that for growth to transpire we need to embrace what: we have been, we are and we are becoming!”
WE HAVE BEEN:
Nowhere else are people so bold as to talk about who they have been. Paul declares with seeming pride that he was the chief of sinners. The pride, however, isn’t in what he was so much as in the power of grace that took him out from there. He persecuted the church, killed those who publicly admitted any acquaintance with Christ. It’s as though he is saying if God were to introduce a statute of limitations to His forgiveness then surely it would have started with me.
In the presence of God, we are free to admit what we had been because we are accepted yet our sin is not condoned. We are corrected but not condemned. His love is one that says “come as you are but I love you too much to keep you as you are”. We are changed there!
The hardest thing to accept about salvation is that we are made something we didn’t work to become. One minute I’m enslaved to sin and can by no means free myself and the next I’m the righteousness of God in Christ. As though in the blink of an eye my nature is completely changed but my circumstances and inclinations remain the same.
The surface contradiction in being children of God is that we are made righteous whilst still in need of an advocate to plead our case should we sin. We have the mind of Christ yet we still need to renew our minds with the Word of God. We are made something in our spirit that we haven’t become in our flesh. All that can originate feelings of hypocrisy as we affirm what the Word says we are in our spirit which we do not yet see in our flesh.
Noel Jones introduces or rather highlights the concept that “You cannot move from natural to spiritual without going through carnal. What that simply says is that the natural man cannot be considered as carnal as he has no impression of spirituality, in the biblical sense, whilst the spiritual man who still abides by his natural proclivities is labeled as carnal. That is, in essence, the reason our minds need to be renewed.
With that understanding, we need to identify with what we are in our spirit so our thoughts and actions can align with that.
WE ARE BECOMING:
The question of whether we are becoming or changing into someone either better or worse is one that can attract no argument. As stated above, there is a process to getting our flesh to upsurge towards who we are in our spirit. Rather than prove that we are constantly changing, I would like to look at how we accomplish the congruency of spirit and flesh.
- The Bible says that “when Christ appears we shall become like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”
As we begin to see Christ as He is then we are also changed into the same image. I believe that, though the context of that scripture is about His second coming, it can be appropriated to our characters now. Therefore the quest of being Christ-like is not one where we stop doing certain things and substitute them with more spiritual things, but it is a journey into seeing Him as He is truly revealed in His Word.
- Jesus also states that those who remain in Him bear much fruit. He makes a typology of Himself as a vine and us as branches. He says that branches cannot bear fruit by themselves but need to be connected to the vine. I believe there is some connectedness with where Paul admonishes the Galatians to bear the “fruit of the Spirit”. Bear with me, as I attempt to bridge the gap between these two scriptures.
2.1. As intonated above, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Naturally, a branch cut off from the stem cannot produce any fruit.
2.2. We are meant to bear the fruit of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of which we see exemplified by Christ throughout His earthly ministry. So we can deduce from that that we would be most like Christ were we to exhibit those qualities.
2.3. My submission is that we (the branches) cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit (become like Christ) without being grafted into Christ (the stem). This cannot be a once off or inconsistent endeavor because as soon as the branch separates from the stem then it is cut off from the source of its ‘production capacities’.
In order for us to see Christ as He is, we need to continuously behold Him as He is revealed in the Word. Being grafted into Him suggests a perpetual intimacy with Him.
We are children of God and a parent produces after his kind. The Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus for that He called Himself the Son of God thereby making Himself equal with God. They saw it as blasphemy. He is the Firstborn of all the sons of God, which we also became by adoption. This is why in the psalms, David says, “Ye are gods.” Not because we are equal with God but because we have the essence of God. Long before he formed us from the dust of the earth, He had created us from Himself and breathed His Spirit into the dust that He had formed and we became a living soul. It is not out of a haughty spirit that we say we are the very righteousness of God but that is what Christ made us by His death. All that we are we can freely embrace in the presence of God. We can only have the audacity to call ourselves children of God in His Presence.