Have you ever cupped the wrinkled face of an elderly woman in your hands . . . someone who has forgotten her children’s names and the man who once shared her life, to summon forth the one who still lives and remembers on the other side of her mind’s confusion? I have. And when I spoke her name, a luminous clarity suddenly shot through the cloudy blue of her eyes and she surfaced, fully registering the moment, looking deep into my eyes, connecting with a smile, fully lucid for a moment . . . before she disappeared again.
It has been like that in many pivotal moments of my life, when God has engineered a clarifying moment that has called my name, summoning “someone better than me” out of my embroiled passions. And, for a moment, someone wiser, clearer, stronger became. I found myself more capable, more loving, gracious, selfless, delighting in doing good . . . and I felt like I could go on forever. But, each time this has happened, she has faded away and I’ve limped on again.
This is not a case of multiple personalities; this is Biblical reality borne out.
Paul describes two men within himself: one that is renewed, delighting in the law, walking in the Spirit. . . the other unchanged, embroiled in the messy passions of the unregnerate flesh. (Romans 7:21-25)
John emphatically declares that that nature which is born of God is incapable of sin (I John 6:3,9; 5:18), but then says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-9) Both statements can only be true if each is describing a different nature: one that sins and one that cannot.
Before I understood the two natures, I tried my best to tame my “natural man” — my familiar old self — into a better version of itself. I worked hard to make it nice, cover its flaws, beat it into submission, shape it and grow it into what I wanted to become. But, this was futile, an abysmal waste of time and effort.
The old nature cannot take on the new nature. It’s impossible. Oh, if you’re young and strong, energetic and determined, you might be able to fake it for a while. But when you eventually tire and are worn down and beaten up by life, guess what comes roaring back stronger than ever?
The old has to die for the new to become.
The new nature is a new being, “born of God” as John describes it. She is perfect, whole, fully functional, more true to you than your old self could ever be. . . more true to God than you could ever be. She is alive to Him, able to hear Him, full of God, moving with Him — wiser, stronger, clearer and undiminished in her gifts. And she will never sin; it’s impossible for her to think or speak or act sinfully, because she has the mind of Christ, Who lives and breathes in her.
The New Testament makes some pretty outrageous statements about her, about who we are in Christ. Those statements are all true, but are they valid descriptions of me and you?
The hour is late. It is time for the church to stop making the excuse “we’re only human.” This thinking has all but destroyed The Message that God is summoning forth a new creation from us . . . a new man . . . who is more than human. A race of new beings is being summoned out of mankind.
Once you see this, it revolutionizes your reading of Scripture and your entire take on earth’s history. Even more importantly, it revolutionizes your understanding of the capacity God has given you and the potential that is at stake in what you choose . . . for you see . . . the old has to die for the new to become.
Star Wars is not that far from reality. Eons ago, in another realm deeper than our cosmos, a revolt occurred in which one of the most powerful, captivatingly beautiful beings ever created turned evil and recruited one-third of Heaven’s host with him in his rebellion. (Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Jude 6) In a brazen attempt to vaunt himself above God, Lucifer (also called Satan), was thrown down and the real contest began. At issue were the suggestive accusations the enemy flung like poison darts into the universe: questions about God’s character and goodness, His right to rule, His capacity to rule, His wisdom and justice.
The book of Job gives us a window into the role of mankind in this showdown between God and Satan. It seems that God has made His relationship with man — one of the weakest and least powerful creatures of the universe — His object lesson. In an unfolding super drama, which the enemy and all interested parties get to watch, each of Satan’s accusations will be fully resolved and put to rest.
What is at stake is a comparison that forever settles every allegation concerning God’s character, goodness and wisdom:
Luciferian might, beauty and power corrupting itself to betray God — is being compared to — the weakness and vulnerability of easily deceived mankind betraying God, died for by God, forgiven by God and brought into never-ever-anticipated union with God, to become a singular creature of might, beauty and power incapable of ever betraying Him.
The brilliance and wisdom of God is that He is taking the tragedy of The Fall and forcing it to serve a higher purpose than our never having fallen at all.
Somewhere along the way, our obsession with “getting saved” has kept many Christians from seeing the big picture. We’re so set on getting “fire insurance” and our ticket to heaven that we’ve had little heart for God’s reputation and His cosmic stake in mankind.
A new being unlike anything before
From Genesis to Revelation, we glimpse what God is doing with and through mankind, bringing forth a creature different than anything else in the cosmos. Seraphim, cherubim, angels and all other beings throughout His realms are all created. Man was also created. But out of mankind, God is bringing forth something new — a new being unlike any other — having God’s uncreated nature in it.
This new being is the only being to have partaken of the Lamb of God. [i]. The only one in whom The Son of God lives. The only being that actually has His heart and mind. The only being to possess the very life of God in itself. The only being capable of receiving His fullness. God is summoning forth a new being, unlike any before: made in His likeness, of His kind, capable of being an able partner with Him like no other being in creation.
But how can this be?
In the New Testament,
the term that expresses the awe and hiddenness of this mystery is
The Bride of Christ.
Once we grasp that this is what God has been working for throughout the ages, the journey He has been taking, and the backdrop for all of man’s history . . . it will revolutionize our reading of the Bible and our interpretation of why God let’s things happen the way He does.
The almighty God loves each one of us tenderly, and He is concerned for every detail of our lives. But His chief goal is not to keep the world safe and happy, nothing bad from ever happening, and to keep hell from breaking loose. He is intent on summoning forth this new creation out of mankind — which takes a crucible — a crucible of life and death in which the old will die so that the new can become.
From the beginning
In Eden, mankind was created. And in Eden’s crucible of temptation, mankind fell. But before that — before the foundation of the earth — there was a crucible for God, in which The Lamb was slain. This means that the Fall of mankind was not only foreseen by God before it ever took place, but when it happened, He already had a means to deal with it.
When the Son of God took on mortal flesh to enter into history to shed His blood on a lonely cross driven into Earth’s most hallowed ground — and then rose again — it was the crucible from which divine power and authority was unleashed. Power stronger and authority greater than the death holding mankind.
The crucible of the cross and the resurrection did not “make up” for the Fall, giving us back what we had lost, returning us to our original footing. Rather, it made possible the union of God with man so that He could give birth to a new creature possessing His own uncreated nature.
Christ was both human and divine, becoming as we are, so that we could become as He is. Believers are not a people whose human nature is incrementally improved by their own effort, but a race of new beings who express His uncreated nature in them.
Life out of death, the principle behind becoming
Just as Adam was put into a deep sleep, and Eve was fashioned out of the rib taken from his side, so that woman could become Adam’s own kind . . . Jesus Christ went into deep sleep, so that the Bride of Christ could be taken from His wounded side, to become His own kind. [ii]
Life out of death marks His kind. Life out of death is the principle operating behind, beneath and throughout our becoming the invincible creature we are meant-to-be. This is why believers throughout every age have not been afraid of death or suffering. They’ve instinctively understood the crucible in which they choose, each and every day, between death and life. . . for one nature or the other.
The shattering blow, the pain, the disappointments and injustices, every one of your life’s trials — Beloved, your God is not blind or deaf or uncaring — these are the crucible from which He is summoning you, His new creation forth.
This is why James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. . . ” (James 1:2-3) The unveiled reality of the truth was so apparent to him . . . the invincibility of knowing that in a thousand deaths we die with Him, one who is magnificently beyond all that we could think or imagine rises with Him.
Each death we die is a release of the new creation from the hold of the old . . .
The principle behind becoming is that we must die in order that she might live. Jesus fulfilled this principle first . . . and His bride demonstrates it ever after.
God help us to begin to see our trials this way . . . to rejoice with certainty knowing . . . that this is how the Bride of Christ becomes.
The universe is watching.
[i] Matt 26:26-28
While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
[ii] I want to give credit to Terry Bennett for his teachings on The Bride of Christ, for through them God has greatly amplified the big picture for me, which I’ve sensed and glimpsed in fragment form for decades . . . but like a puzzle, Terry’s teaching has put the pieces together for me.