BY: JOHN STOLWYK
“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from everyone of us.” (Acts 17:27)
“When Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And no man after that dared ask him any question.” (Mark 12:34)
“Neither shall they say, ‘Lo here! or, lo there!’ for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
“…the word is near you, even in you mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” (Romans 10:8)
Adam awoke in a dark cave not knowing what had happened to him. He knew only that he was naked and that he was afraid of God. This was not a process for him; it was an instantaneous ‘reality’. Remember the saying: If God seems far away, guess who moved? Moved for most people has a physical connotation. Adam’s focus was that he still lived in his body (the only thing that had ‘moved’).
In contrast, our spirit is awakened in the birth from above. We become aware of God and all He is. More importantly, though, it brings us into a realm of the spirit that has always been. Eternal life has nothing to do with time (quantity); it has everything to do with the quality. If we are progressing towards anything in the Christian life except recognition of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, then His Life in us is not complete. In other words, “God has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) We have been made complete in Him. We lack nothing because we possess the Life of The One who is perfect.
Law keeping and self improvement plans will never restrain nor will they change the carnal mind. God is not into improving ‘our life’; He is all about imparting ‘His life’ into us. Those who are born from above (for this is what Jn 3:3 means) have in them the incorruptible seed of God’s Life. This seed will produce after its own kind, God’s Life through us. We must understand that the carnal mind is at war with God and will never be subjected to the will of God because its nature is in opposition to God. Converting the carnal mind is impossible. Our old man was crucified with Him. In Adam all die. There is nothing God wants us to do with the carnal mind, but reckon ourselves dead to its deceptive nature.
We are told plainly that we have the mind of Christ. This is not something we are trying to obtain, or maintain or even grow into, unless you understand that growth means a greater awareness of Christ. It is not that we are getting more of Him or anything like that. Many people believe this, but that is only ‘spiritual evolution,’ a thought that is contrary to everything in the New Covenant. We are New Creations in Christ; the old has passed away and the new has come. Some may ask why so many Christians struggle with becoming more like Christ? This is because ‘becoming like Christ’ is not the will of God. This is the same lie from the garden: Hey, Adam, don’t you want to be like God? God’s will is to manifest Christ’s Life already resident in you, through you. No man can improve on His Life because it is perfect and it is yours already!
Contrary to present beliefs, when we ‘became’ Christians, we did not receive Jesus ‘into our life,’ but we received him ‘as our life’. One is improvement; the other is replacement. James tells us to receive with meekness the already implanted word. It takes meekness to receive the righteousness of God through Christ. If we think we are trying to improve on our former life, we will be robbed of living in His Life. Paul said, “... it is no longer I that lives, but Christ lives in me… the life which I now live I live by the faith of the son of God…” (Gal. 2:20) It takes faith to believe that His life is already in you.
The fullness of Christ, who is the express image of God’s person, lives in us. We do not receive installments of Christ, but the indwelling of His nature. That is the mystery of the gospel that is now revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) We who are called have been justified, sanctified and glorified.
Jesus came and condemned sin in the flesh. False teaching accommodates the actions of the flesh as ‘a normal battle’ – a battle that entails a process of deliverance. Nothing is further from the truth. The word is very clear that there is provision ‘for’ sin but never ‘to’ sin. Jesus’ deliverance is complete and final and only those who walk in the faith of Christ can realize this, for it is a revelation hid from the wise and prudent and from the carnal and natural man. We are as dead to sin now as we will ever be! How shall we who are dead to sin live in it any longer? We are urged to cast down these imaginations and bring every thought into the obedience of Christ. We live by the faith and life of another – this is the gospel. We are not trying to improve our life if we see that it has been replaced by His.
AWAKENING, THE [John Stolwyk] 1