The importance of being cognizant of exactly who we are as Children of God can not over stated. Even more importantly that we acknowledge the reason for our being so. TO better do this it is important to understand our condition vs. our position in our lives.
After the transgression in the garden the condition of man was such that he continuously descended into a state of depravity. So much so that our Almighty and Holy God willed that the Earth be washed clean from the filth that was man through the great flood.
The flood did indeed cleanse the world but it did nothing about the sinful nature of man and the depravity which again manifested itself in the natural world. God did everything within the limitations He had set for Himself to deliver “His people” from His wrath. He continuously showed His mercy, His grace and His awesome power to man, yet man’s heart was far from Him. They constantly rejected and turned from Him.
Thousands of years pass after the flood and over that time man had become so morally bankrupt, so depraved, that God actually turned His back on His Creation, albeit for a short time.
The last old testament prophet used by God to speak to His creation through was the Prophet Malachi and these are the first words of his book:
(Mal 1:1) The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
And when God had finished speaking there was silence from Heaven for over 600 years.
Not a jot nor tittle not even a whisper from the Father of all that is seen and unseen. Not a word from the God who walked with man in the garden, who liberated His people from the bondage of the Egyptians and tabernacled with them in the desert.
This period of time is referred to by many scholars as the Trans-Testamental period. It was the end of the old testament age and the way God would deal with His people as well as the rest of humanity.
Notice the last words of God to man before heaven is shut up for 600 years:
(Mal 4:5) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
(Mal 4:6) And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
These words were also spoken by God through the prophet Isaiah:
(Isa 40:1) Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
(Isa 40:2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
(Isa 40:3) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
And Then after 600 years of darkness there was a glimmer of light!
(Joh 1:21) And they asked him (John he Baptist), What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
(Joh 1:22) Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
(Joh 1:23) He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
(Mat 11:7) And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
(Mat 11:8) But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
(Mat 11:9) But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
(Mat 11:10) For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
(Mat 11:11) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
(Mat 11:12) And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
(Mat 11:13) For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
(Mat 11:14) And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
(Mat 11:15) He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The ministry and person of John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the last written prophecy from God to man, marked the end of the old testament age and was the dispensation of the new covenant between God and man!
When the old testament dispensation ended man’s “condition ” was one of total depravity. His “position” was one of enmity with God and total separation from Him in every way.
The Purpose of The Law
It is important to note here, just as a side bar, that the law given to us by God was not in ancient times nor is it today designed to make man righteous in the site of God. The sole purpose of the law was to point out to man exactly how he falls short of the glory of God and to show us the way to living a life that is pleasing to Him.
This is precisely what Jesus came back to teach the Jews.
Our Lord said: ” I am the way, the truth, and the life, NO ONE comes to the father but through me”
Side Note: I love the Greek transliteration of this text which reads:
I am the way, the truth, and the life, “not yet one is coming toward the Father” if no through me.
Jesus Himself did not come to teach or preach to those who were “the heathen” in the eyes of the Jews, albeit He did not shut them out during His public ministry. He came to edify the Jews who were themselves heathens because they were following their own customs and traditions and not the ways of God!
It is for this reason that the Jews sought to murder our Lord. He rebuked everything that they were doing. In fact you would be hard pressed to find scriptures which denote Jesus giving His approval of the Jews in thought, word or deed.
That being said, in spite of the legalism of the Jews, in their strict abeyance and adjudication of the law, their condition and position had not changed in the site of God. What is important to understand here that it is not important how we see ourselves that matters rather how God sees us through His eyes. Amen!
Changing our Position
When we accept Jesus as our Savior and receive the Holy Spirit we become born again. We are fully equipped with the power to live the kingdom life through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are now spiritually alive and have within us every spiritual gift and blessing.
This speaks to our spiritual “condition” and not to our position. That is to say that it does not address how our position in our relationship with God has changed.
I have always found it interesting that in the old testament the phrase “His children” is only used 33 times within 33 verses of scripture. The phraise “My Children” is used 12 times in 12 verses. It is also important to note that the majority of the times this phrase is used the scripture is speaking in terms of a man’s relationship with his children. The phraise “My People” however is used some 221 times in 224 verses.
The reason I make this point is to illustrate the point that the relationship between God and “His people” was not intimate. It was as distant as a king to his subjects because this is the way the people saw God. They saw him as their ruler and not as their Father. Apparently God saw things the same way, in spite of the fact that it was ALWAYS His will to be a Father to them, because of the use of the phrase “my people”. The people did not see God as their Father and God did not see the people as His children.
It was God’s plan to seek out those who desired to be His children. This truth is proven in John 1:12.
(Joh 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
(Joh 1:13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Our God is not a God who deals with people with an iron fist in terms of our relationship with Him. He will not force one, by the rule of law, to accept Him or to love Him. It is the will of our Father that we make the decision of our own free will to have a, for lack of a better term, a parent-child relationship with Him.
The Jews obeyed the law. In so much that they kept the traditions and customs of the law. But their hearts were far from Him (Isa 29:13, Matt 15:8)!
New covenant believers on the other hand do not seek to please God out of fear of retribution rather in an attitude of gratitude and love. We have been given new hearts and seek to do the will of our Father simply because it is our hearts desire to please Him as His children.
Subsequently our position with God changes. We are no longer His people but we have become His children. Yes He is still Almighty. Yes He is still Awesome. Yes He is still Sovereign. And Yes He is still worthy of our Praise and Worship. Our God is indeed all of these things. He was so in the beginning and will be so for all of eternity!
Three things changed however in the light of the new covenant.
- God is no longer angry (at enmity) with those who receive Jesus.
- When He looks at us He sees us as His Children and not His people.
- When we sin He does not even see them because we have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and when He looks at us all He sees is a garment of righteousness which is the righteousness of Christ.
Consequently we can now have an actual relationship with God as our Father and we don’t have to approach His throne with fear, rather with gratitude, humility and reverence.
Changing Our Condition
When we become born again and re-establish our relationship with our Father through Jesus our condition begins to change spiritually. The word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit enters our spirit and begins to change our soul. When our soul becomes strong enough it begins to bring our flesh under submission to it.
Our flesh has no will of it’s own. It is and always has been and always will be subject to our desires (the desires of our soul). This is how our carnal or natural condition changes.
(Joh 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The words of our Lord Jesus are spirit and they can not be heard (understood) with the flesh. This is a tenet of our condition until we are born again and operating in the Spirit.
The disciples of Jesus for example, could not hear what He was saying especially when He spoke in parables. Jesus always had to teach them the meaning and even then they didn’t get the spirit of His words into their spirits. That is why Jesus said:
(Joh 3:5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
(Joh 3:6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(Joh 3:7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
(Joh 3:8) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
(Joh 16:12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
(Joh 16:13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
(Joh 16:14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
(Joh 16:15) All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
(Joh 16:16) A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
You see the apostles and the disciples who walked with, talked with, ate with and slept with Jesus for 3 1/2 years only heard His words with their natural ears, saw His works with their natural eyes and understood both with their natural understanding.
It was not until God opened their spiritual eyes, ears and understanding that they understood what was really going on around them.
Not until they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
This is something that many Christians don’t consider when reading the Bible. The apostles were not yet saved because Jesus had yet to offer up His life for us. In that same light they were not born again in spirit because the Holy Spirit had yet to come into the world to dwell within us. Yes it is true that they received an anointing to to the work which Jesus had sent them out to do. Receiving an anointing however is not being filled with the Holy Spirit. That is a work above and beyond the scope of being born again which will be discussed at a later time in another writing.
What I am claiming here is that first our spirit is reborn, then our souls are brought into subjection to our spirit which has become subject to God’s spirit, then when our souls have begun to see things from a kingdom perspective our flesh is brought into subjection of our will (our soul). That is the point in time where our condition begins to line up with our new position.
This is when we truly begin to become transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. This is when we begin to discover that Good and acceptable, and perfect will of God. This is when we begin to walk within His will and this is when our Father becomes pleased with us.
In closing brothers and sister I would like to add these final thoughts:
- The only part that we have to play in all of this is to subject our will’s to the will of God. That is to say we make a decision to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord and follow Him.
- We are able to follow Him through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and not of our own will.
- The work of our salvation and the restoration of our relationship with our Father is a finished work. Thank You Jesus!
- The work of our transformation into the image of Christ (changing our condition), which is a work in progress which is accomplished again through our submission to the unction of the Holy Spirit of God.
Less of us and more of Him.
We stand on His words and His ways, not ours.
We decrease and He increases.
This is how and why we can stand before our Father perfect in every way.
All for His Honor and Glory, not ours!
May God Richly Bless You All in the Name of Jesus! Amen!