"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'." (John 7:38)

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Clay Pots

"Then the disciples came to him and said, 'Do you know that when the Pharisees heard this saying they were offended?' And he replied, 'Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. Leave them! They are blind guides. If someone who is blind leads another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.'" (Matthew 15:12-14)

We can understand by these words Jesus spoke that humanity is indeed a mere clay vessel of various soils, and unless the Father plants His Spirit, it is of another spirit that has taken root and grown. Jesus is not speaking against man, though he may hear, for on the cross He prayed the Father to "...forgive them, for they know not what they do." He is speaking against the rebellious spirits that deceive those vessels of clay whom the Father did not plant; but those who belong to Him will eventually understand Him by the Spirit He will have planted within them. Because God is spirit, the rebuke is spiritual. Those in whom God has not planted Himself are blind and therefore will be susceptible to being led by blind spirits.This is illuminated in the following three scriptures.

In the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:37-39), Jesus' explanation was this; "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil...".

In Matthew 16:23, Jesus addresses Satan when rebuking Peter: "But He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men.' "

Speaking to His disciples, Jesus also states clearly who the eternal punishment is intended for in Matthew 23:41. "Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'" The Greek word used here for 'angels' is the same Greek word translated to 'messenger' in the following description for John the baptist.

"As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

'Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.'

"Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 11:7-15

Whether the usage pertains to man or angels, the ultimate source behind both alludes to the spirit of that entity, as revealed in Luke 1:8-16.

"Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.'"

John was separated from men for God's own use. It was determined that from the beginning of his life he would be full of the Holy Spirit.

Whether angel or man, it is the spirit of such that establishes the identity and fate of an entity.

"Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." (John 8:43-47)

We know our minds can not be enlightened to its depravity except by the truth revealed, and will not have the power to do so unless one has received the Holy Spirit. This is the elect God has chosen from among all the people. So, who is man that God is mindful of him? Humanity is important enough that the demon's focus and relentless efforts are invested on keeping us from knowing the truth and trusting in our only source of deliverance and salvation from this temporal world. Man was created for God's pleasure and being the apple of His eye, there is nothing Satan wants more than to destroy what God loves; which begs an answer for why there is only a 'remnant' that will be saved.

Man has been judged by God to be unrighteous until He causes man to put his faith in the work of the cross. This is God's sovereign design. The difficult reality is that not everyone born of women is chosen out of this world to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. He has raised up some for the purpose of revealing his holy nature through their depravity (Romans 9:21), to be led by wicked spirits against the elect that they may have the sure contrast and means necessary for this recognition, unto the work of sanctification. We can then be convinced that since man is incapable of anything but corruption, Jesus would not be trying to convince those absent of God's Spirit and election of their error, rather, in the view and presence of His disciples, as well as those to come, He is exposing the evil spirits and revealing the stark disagreement between God and sinful man; light and dark, good and evil, truth and lies, righteous and unrighteous, Holy and unholy.

You may argue then, to embrace Divine Election must mean that we are nothing more than 'spiritual robots'. Consider carefully the appointed struggles a child of God goes through, exclusive of any other creature. The work of sanctification occurs only within those God has chosen. Its end is the death of the natural spirit of man which began at birth in rebellion to God. Over the process of this death, His Spirit dwells among our depraved nature (a provision through His own covenant with the elect made possible only by the righteousness that comes by faith in the one who Himself was sinless yet unjustly suffered death). The mind becomes transformed, permeating the soul of the suffering child into a new creation unique from any other being. It is a process that breaks our selfish will and softens our hard hearts. We will become what is commonly known in our realm as 'Saints'. If there is anything left to us, it is this: the level of sanctification we receive will be proportionate to our willingness to submit to the promptings of the Holy Spirit throughout this process; promptings that ask us to let go of our own strength and understanding so that we may receive the very nature of God Himself. And, as His word states, there will be some saved as though through fire; a very serious reality.

This unique existence is far from being robotic and is reserved for those whom He has called to pass through from natural life to natural death, and from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ.

Let's go back to the story of John the baptist in Matthew 11. Jesus states that "...the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." How do we reconcile such a statement when he was clearly full of God's spirit from birth? I believe the answer is that John was ordained, separated, and protected from birth to carry out God's will, not having the same opportunity as those called to pass through a life of continuous sanctification by means of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to dwell in those called by God after He had risen. Therefore, the greatest in the kingdom spoken of here consists of those who have persevered through trials without a specific, mandated holy call on their lives. We may say that John's life would be closer to a 'robotic' life, thus making him the least in the kingdom of heaven. However, concerning those born among women, none is greater because up until John, Jesus was only prophesied about...John was the present prophet who 'prepared the way for the Lord'.


"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (1Corinthians 2:14)

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