But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and subsequently the most unpracticed tenet of the Christian faith is the biblical precept of The Spiritual Man.
Spiritual Christianity is like a fantasy to many believers!
That is to say that in the lives of most believers it is more of a fashion than a lifestyle. That is to say that it is more ornamental or decorative than substantive.
This may be, for those seeking to live the spiritual kingdom life, the most important post you have read here
Many Christian believers know what the bible says about the spiritual realm. They know that the holy scriptures of our faith speaks of angels and demons and they know that God is spirit and that He has a Spirit.
The question here is: what do Christians really believe about their faith?
According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life/US Religious Landscape Survey:
"Most Americans also have a non-dogmatic approach when it comes to interpreting the tenets of their own religion. For instance, more than two-thirds of adults affiliated with a religious tradition agree that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their faith, a pattern that occurs in nearly all traditions. The exceptions are Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, 54% and 77% of whom, respectively, say there is only one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion."
"The lack of dogmatism in American religion may well reflect the great diversity of religious affiliation, beliefs and practices in the U.S. For example, while more than nine-in-ten Americans (92%) believe in the existence of God or a universal spirit, there is considerable variation in the nature and certainty of this belief. Six-in-ten adults believe that God is a person with whom people can have a relationship; but one-in-four – including about half of Jews and Hindus – see God as an impersonal force. And while roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they are absolutely certain of God’s existence, more than one-in-five (22%) are less certain in their belief."
What this study does is put into context why spiritually minded Christians see what they see when they view the Christian faith, as they rightly should, as a whole. It explains why we see so many non spiritual or carnally minded Christians within the faith today. Subsequently it also explains exactly why the body of Christ is as divided as it is rather than it being united as was the will of our Lord!
Great Diversity in Core Religious Beliefs
Americans display a high degree of similarity on some basic religious beliefs. For instance, Americans are nearly unanimous in saying they believe in God (92%), and large majorities believe in life after death (74%) and believe that Scripture is the word of God (63%). But a closer look reveals considerable diversity with respect to both the certainty and the nature of these beliefs. Americans’ beliefs about God are a good example of this diversity. Nearly all adults (92%) say they believe in God or a universal spirit, including seven-in-ten of the unaffiliated. Indeed, one-in-five people who identify themselves as atheist (21%) and a majority of those who identify themselves as agnostic (55%) express a belief in God or a universal spirit.
Both the certainty and nature of belief in God, however, vary widely across religious groups. Overwhelming majorities of some groups – including Jehovah’s Witnesses (93%), members of evangelical (90%) and historically black (90%) Protestant churches, and Mormons (90%) – say they are absolutely certain that God exists. Although a large percentage of members of other religious groups also express absolute certainty about God’s existence, they exhibit comparatively less unanimity; for instance, roughly seven-in-ten members of mainline Protestant churches (73%), Catholics (72%) and Orthodox Christians (71%) are absolutely certain that God exists. Like their Christian counterparts, majorities of Jews (83%), Buddhists (75%), Hindus (92%) and the unaffiliated (70%) express a belief in God, but these groups tend to be less certain in their belief; only 57% of Hindus, and fewer than half of Jews (41%), Buddhists (39%) and the unaffiliated (36%) say they are absolutely certain of God’s existence.
Belief in the Supernatural
As with belief in life after death, belief in the supernatural is also quite common. Nearly eight-in-ten American adults (79%), for instance, agree that miracles still occur today as in ancient times. But here again, the intensity with which people hold these beliefs varies considerably across religious groups. For instance, eight-in-ten Mormons completely agree that miracles still occur today, as do large majorities of members of evangelical (61%) and historically black (58%) Protestant churches. Members of other religious groups, on the other hand, are less certain, with fewer than half saying they completely agree that miracles still occur today.
Similar patterns exist with respect to beliefs about the existence of angels and demons. Nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) believe that angels and demons are active in the world. Majorities of Jehovah’s Witnesses (78%), members of evangelical (61%) and historically black (59%) Protestant churches, and Mormons (59%) are completely convinced of the existence of angels and demons. In stark contrast, majorities of Jews (73%), Buddhists (56%), Hindus (55%) and the unaffiliated (54%) do not believe that angels and demons are active in the world.
Authority of Scripture and Tradition
More than six-in-ten Americans (63%), including majorities of many religious traditions, view their religion’s sacred texts as the word of God. This belief tends to be most common among Christians. More than eight-in-ten Jehovah’s Witnesses (92%), Mormons (91%) and members of evangelical (88%) and historically black (84%) Protestant churches view the Bible as the word of God, as do majorities of Catholics (62%), mainline Protestants (61%) and Orthodox Christians (59%). Muslims, too, hold a high view of Scripture, with 86% viewing the Koran as the word of God. By contrast, Buddhists (67%), the unaffiliated (64%), Jews (53%) and Hindus (47%) are more likely to view the Scripture as the work of men than as the word of God. While a large majority of Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God, the various Christian traditions are divided over whether or not the Bible should be interpreted literally, word for word. For example, a majority of members of historically black (62%) and evangelical (59%) Protestant churches say the Bible should be interpreted literally. By comparison, mainline Protestants, Catholics and Mormons are more likely to say the Bible, though the word of God, should not be interpreted literally. A plurality of adults (44%) who are affiliated with a particular faith say their religion should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices. Roughly one-third (35%) say their religion should adjust to new circumstances, and one-eighth (12%) say their religion should adopt modern beliefs and practices. Majorities of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of evangelical churches, along with nearly half of members of historically black churches, say their religion should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices. By contrast, majorities of members of mainline churches and Catholics, as well as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, favor adjusting to new circumstances or adopting modern beliefs and practices.
Now the reason I posted these sections of this Pew study is to illustrate how much the Christian church is outside of the doctrines and will of our Lord Christ Jesus who calls His disciples to form ONE body of Christ on earth who are like minded and of ONE accord:
(Ephesians 4:13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
(Ephesians 4:14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(Ephesians 4:15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
(Ephesians 4:16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
You see brothers and sisters the plain truth is that if you believe that the doctrine of denominational-ism aligns with the will and instructions of our Lord, you have been deceived and are in error.
Are the members of denominational church congregations "fitly joined together and compacted" as is a whole body?
Have the members of denominational church congregations grown up "into Him in ALL things"?
Are the members of denominational church congregations of one mind and one spirit?
Are the members of denominational church congregations like minded and of one accord?
No matter how much one attempts to rationalize away the truth, the scriptural answer found in the word of God is a resounding NO!
There is only ONE God, ONE Son, ONE Holy Spirit, ONE Way, ONE Truth and ONE Life.
There is only ONE way to the Father and ONE doctrine of His Son, Out Lord Jesus!
The question here is: are you mature enough, are you humble enough, are you willing enough, are you ready to repent and receive the word of truth that you might begin to live the true spiritual life?
Are you one of the 21%?
Let's Get Started!
But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
As we know there are two covenants within our scriptures; one of the flesh (the bondwoman) and one by promise (the promise of the Father, the promise of the Holy Spirit who came through Christ). The former a life of death (spiritual death) and the other of life (spiritual life).
(John 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.
(John 3:6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(John 3:7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Being born of water is a phrase that Nicodemus understood to be one speaking of the Jewish ritual of purification by water liken to the baptism of John. This is of the old covenant for people of the flesh because water can not purify the spirit it only cleanses the flesh.
Under the old covenant ceremonial law the priest could not enter into the Holy Place while he was "unclean" nor could the High Priest enter into the Holy of Holies (both within the Tabernacle of God which was a type and shadow of the Kingdom of God) while unclean or he would be immediately struck dead upon entering into the presence of a Most Holy God.
Now Jesus was, during His time on earth, the manifestation of the Tabernacle (dwelling place - kingdom) of God on earth because the Father was in Him!
(Matthew 12:28) But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
You see the major problem within the church today is that a majority of it's members are still waiting for something to come (the kingdom of God) that has been here on earth for over 2,000 years!
The reasons for this, in part, are because, as we learned from the Pew study:
"A plurality of adults (44%) who are affiliated with a particular faith say their religion should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices."
"Roughly one-third (35%) say their religion should adjust to new circumstances (in this case revelation knowledge).
Therefore it might be said that some 79% of Christians are immovable in their doctrine!
That means that only 21% of Christians might be willing to accept something that does not line up with their doctrines, customs and traditions (what they presently believe).
Well, I say praise God for that 21% who have humble and teachable spirits!
Personally, being raised Roman Catholic (RC) I can testify to the truth of the above. Most Roman Catholics are virtually immovable in their doctrine and refuse to give up customs and traditions that are clearly not in alignment with new testament scriptures. But the same can be said of all denominational churches. In fact it is this self-righteousness arrogance which is the very thing which keeps the body of Christ divided. Each believing that they have the market on truth cornered. But there is only one truth and, liken to the law, half truths are unacceptable, we must accept the whole truth and keep the whole law, not just the ones we are in agreement with.
When I left the RC church some 42 years ago I did so solely because I had seen things being said and done that just didn't line up with what was written in the bible and when I questioned the pastor about them, purly out of a desire to understand, I was rebuked by him with great anger. He did not even attempt to enlighten me through scriptures.
Haven't you experienced this during your walk with God?
Has anyone ever become angry with you for questioning what they believe or correcting their doctrine even when it was done out of true brotherly or sisterly love? And not for the sake of being right rather for the scriptural edification of the body. That is the expression of a carnal and haughty mind!
In my opinion, based on my personal experiences both in and out of ministry, I believe that the 79% figure mentioned above is just about right! Think about it in the context of your own experiences. What say ye?
Therefore, if Christians have not been previously taught about the spiritual life, if they have not been given knowledge of the spirit, soul and body, if they have not been taught about angelic ministry and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, if they have not been told that they are born again spiritual beings or that they are literally new creations in Christ, some 79% of these people will more than likely reject these scriptural truths when confronted with them!
Subsequently these people can not and will not enter into the kingdom of God and live in the Spirit during their earthen lifetimes. Unless they Repent (change the way they think)!
Now I am not claiming that these people are unsaved! God Forbid!
What I am saying however is that they can not enter into the Kingdom of God on earth which arrived when Jesus cast out devils by the spirit of God over 2,000 years ago.
Our Lord was surely correct when He prophetically said :
(Matthew 7:13) Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
(Matthew 7:14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
There are some who believe that Jesus is talking about our next life, that life after physical death. This is simply not true. The Greek word used here, translated into the English word "life" is the word ζωή - zōē which means "life" as compared to the word ψυχή - psuchē, which is also translated into the English word "life", but means breath (the breath of life), that is, (by implication) spirit.
Therefore the "life" being spoken of here is obviously the life we are presently living in the flesh.
To illustrate this distinction let's take one look at the way psuchē is used in scriptures:
(Matthew 6:25) Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life (psuchē), what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life (psuchē) more than meat, and the body than raiment?
What our Lord is saying here is that "the life" (the spiritual life while in the body) is more than what we eat or drink to sustain the body and more important than the body itself which is only raiment for the spirit!
You see zōē means of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypo-static (relating to the persons of the Trinity) “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature.
So the very first thing that the spiritual man/woman must come to believe in faith, is that he/she is a spirit being inhabiting a mortal body and not a mortal body which houses our spirit!
You are not the person that you see in the mirror every morning. You are not the body type that you clothe. You are born again spirit being who has "the life" within them. And that life is the same life that our Lord Jesus had within His earthen body! Glory to God!
The Brain, Heart and Mind
The next thing that we must understand is that the physical human brain is not the mind because scriptures tell us that the mind has a spirit:
(Ephesians 4:23) And be renewed (ἀνανεόω - ananēoō renovate - reform) in the spirit of your mind;
In fact we do not even think with our brain we think with our heart:
(Proverbs 23:7) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
The mind, for the purpose of illustration, is that part which stands between the brain and the heart, as seen in the image on the left.
The brain is nothing more than a fleshy hard drive. It stores sensual information. Everything that we see, hear, smell, taste and feel (with our body) is stored in the brain. But the brain does not think!
(Matthew 9:4) And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
(Mark 12:34) out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh
(Matthew 15:17) Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
(Matthew 15:18) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
Now Watch This!
(John 13:2) And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
Are You Beginning To See?
As spiritually born again beings we receive information in two ways:
1) Sensually (through the five senses) which is deposited into our brain
2) Spiritually (through the Holy Spirit) which is deposited into our heart.
As carnal beings we could only receive information sensually.
Now, sensual information can travel from the brain into the heart. That is why people think, speak and act out things that are not of God (not of the Spirit). These are the things of the world, physical, natural, carnal things, which enter into us through our natural senses.
This is where the mind comes into play, so to speak. You see the mind stands between the brain and the heart and it serves as a filter or buffer between the two. As carnal beings our minds have been trained to allow worldly information to pass into our hearts.
That is why we are told:
(Romans 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
be not conformed (συσχηματίζω - suschēmatizō - fashioned after) to THIS world (αἰών - aiōn - age - period of time) but be ye transformed (μεταμορφόω - metamorphoō - change, transfigure) by the renewing (ἀνακαίνωσις anakainōsis renovation) of your mind.
There must be a radical change in the inner man (spiritual man) for one to live rightly in this evil age, “by the renewing of your mind” (tēi anakainōsei tou noos).
The new birth, the new mind, the new (kainos) man, being made into the image of Christ.
The New Man
The "new man" is the person who has received salvation through receiving Christ Jesus as Savior:
(John 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:
(John 1:13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
We who have received Christ, who were born again of God, not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man have been the power (ἐξουσία - exousia - privilege, that is, (subjectively)ability, force (dunamis), capacity, competency, freedom) TO BECOME the sons of God.
Now this is very important to understand. When we are spiritually born again we are giving the privilege to become something that we were not before. Carnal to Spiritual! We are made spiritually perfect in every way.
For more information see: Salvation Is An Inside Job
The Proverbial Rub
(John 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth (ζωοποιέω - zōopoieō - made alive); the flesh (body) profiteth nothing:
You see the way God's plan for the redemption of man works is that He first changes us within (the inner man). But the body does not profit because we still think, speak and act as the old man. The reason for this is because we, as is the Godhead (Father - Son (The Word) - Holy Spirit) are tripartite beings (spirit - soul - body) and albeit we have changed in spirit our soul and body have not changed.
As new creations in Christ we are in reality spiritual babes who have to learn how to eat, drink, think, walk, talk and operate within the spiritual realm. Simply stated we now have two natures within us. A carnal nature (the old man) and a new spiritual nature (the new man).
The process of change from the old to the new happens like this:
Salvation - Sanctification - Regeneration - Transformation
Salvation (believing in Christ) is a completed work.
Sanctification (being cleaned by the blood of Christ) is a complete continuous work.
Regeneration (spiritually reborn) is a completed work.
Transformation (renewing the mind) is a continuous work in progress.
The only work that we have left to do is to allow God to renew the spirit of our mind thought the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things and guides onto all truth of the word of God (Jesus said that His words are spirit and that they are life).
Now keep in mind that we read the word of God with our natural eyes and we hear the word of God with our natural ears. When we renew our mind we are literally training it. And we are supposed to do so under this guideline:
(2 Corinthians 10:3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(2 Corinthians 10:4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
(2 Corinthians 10:5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
You see the two natures within us are at constant war with each other. The old man at war with the new man. The ways of the world (the ways of Satan, the prince of the power of the air <Eph 2:2> and the ruler of this world <Joh 12:31>) against the ways of God.
Therefore when we renew our minds we train them to only allow those things which conform to the obedience of Christ to travel from our brain into our heart! In that way our heart remains pure and unpoluted with the things of the world.
(Matthew 5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Shall see God (ton theon opsontai). Without holiness no man will see the Lord in heaven (Heb 12:14). The Beatific Vision is only possible here on earth to those with pure hearts. No other can see the King now. Sin befogs and beclouds the heart so that one cannot see God. Purity has here its widest sense and includes everything.
The Beatific Vision is the ultimate direct communication between God and the individual person that is tied into revelation knowledge or biblically speaking, receiving rhema word (Logos) from God.
Read More about The Rhema Word of God
An example of the Beatific Vision can be seen in the example of the conversion of Paul on the Damascus Road in Acts 9
An example of this revelation knowledge or rhema word being received by man from God:
(Matthew 16:16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(Matthew 16:17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Now I know that this is a lot to digest so we will stop here for the time being. I can assure you however that it is really not all that complicated. If fact God designed this plan to be simple. It is not complicated and it is not difficult. All that it required of us is that we put our faith in God and His word.
By not conforming to the ways of the world, and receiving only the word of God into our hearts, we keep our hearts undefiled and pure and we will hear from God. It may be divine revelation from the written word (Logos - the Word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order, identified in the Gospel of John with the second person of the Trinity incarnate in Jesus Christ), or it might be a small still voice from deep within us, (rhema word - literally means an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically). Examples are found in Luke 1:38; 3:2; 5:5; and Acts 11:16) or it might be a dream or vision).
In any event this revelation knowledge, that comes directly from the throne-room of God, is available to you, the spiritual man/woman, through our Lord Jesus (The Word) - through the indwelling Holy Spirit - through our spirit (the inner man) and into our hearts.