Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy.

Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.

In honor, giving preference to one another.

Fervent in spirit, not lagging in diligence; serving the Lord.

Rejoicing in hope.

Patient in tribulation.

Continuing steadfastly in prayer.

Distributing to the needs of the saints.

Given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Repay no one evil for evil.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Be of the same mind toward one another.

Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.

Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:9-18.

Image and Likeness

I have been very puzzled these past couple of weeks about why so much emphasis on male and female? The Holy Spirit quickened in my spirit where this notion comes from in the interpretation of the Bible.

Okay, so the creation story says:

God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.     Genesis 1:27.

Applying some sort of logic we arrive at, a) God created mankind male and female. b)God created mankind in His own image. c) therefore, God is male and female, and the attributes of God can be classified as male and female.

I find this logic to be false because, a) the statement can just as easily be interpreted that both male and female were created in the image of God, without God divvying up Himself between male and female; b) divine attributes of God can not easily or coherently be divided into male and female, as revealed by His Name and mentioned before to be considered the divine attributes in Rabbinical teaching:

Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”                                                                  Exodus 34:5-7.

and c) we have a deeper revelation in Christ, and that God is perfecting us in spirit, into the Image of His Son By the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord.

 

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.                    2 Corinthians 3:17.

In Christ, by the Spirit of the Lord, there is no male and female. I find that very liberating!

I would now like to go ahead and explain what I have come to understand by being: the image and likeness of God.

Jumping in at the seventh day we find:

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Genesis 2:3.

So why does the scripture say “God created and made”. Going back to the beginning to that famous verse:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1.   

“The heaven and the earth”, is called a merism, and means to combine two contrasting words to denote an entirety.

In the beginning can easily be translated, “at first” or “The first thing God did was create everything.”

Then He proceeded to make it. How did He proceed? By speaking. (what, never heard that one before? me either, the Holy Spirit showed me.)

So what does it mean to create? Creativity is in the imagination. The sculptor sees the completed work in the block of marble with his imagination, only then does he proceed to work. In what way is man most like God and distinguished from the rest of creation.  1. The power to speak, which is huge because God displayed the power to make so much simply by speaking, after creating it all in His imagination.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21.

Secondly, we have the power of imagination, to be creative, does that not make us after God’s image. Why did the first judgment come after 600 years?

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5.

My understanding is profoundly satisfied by the notion that the image of God is conveyed by our ability to imagine, to create ideas and then convey them through the power of speech. This is why what we say is so important that Jesus said:

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.                     Matthew 12:36,37.

Striving to speak the truth in love.

A Gift from God

There is a very well known passage from the Bible that opens Chapter Three of the book Ecclesiastes:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Even became a hit song in the Sixties by The Byrds! Today let’s delve a little further into his thought process.

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:9-11.

Ecclesiastes is called a wisdom book, and your contributions now adds the wisdom of experience. This is a gift from God, to provide a greater service to others from what we have gained from simply living life.

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,  and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12&13.

Life is temporal, but the gifts of God which we receive in this life, are eternal. The only thing that we take with us from life is the spiritual gifts God puts in us, which we receive FROM ABOVE.

I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past. Ecclesiastes 3:14&15.

And so the true wisdom of experience is to rightly discern the Holy, and to know the Holy One.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding. Proverbs 9:10.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  John 17:3.

But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil. Hebrew 5:14.

I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1&2.

Lagniappe: Proverbs 9:1-12.

The Effect to Righteousness

The work of righteousness will be peace,                                                                                  And the effect of righteousness,                                                                                                    quietness and assurance forever.                                                                                                                        Isaiah 32:17

“The effect” Hebrew avodah [H5656] literally-service.

Used 44 times in the book Numbers alone, primarily to describe service toward God’s tabernacle performed by the Priests and Levites, as well as prohibition of all work on a Sabbath.

The derivation is from man’s original calling: to serve.

Avad [H5647] to serve. (21 times in Numbers)

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15.

And after the Fall:

Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. Genesis 3:23.

This quickly devolved into servitude of man to man.

Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. Genesis 14:4.

Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. Genesis 15:3.

And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.  Exodus 1:14.

This was to prepare them for a life of service to God.

So He said, “I will surely be with you. So that will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt: you will serve God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12.

We serve the Lord with the heart of a stranger and sojourner in this world.

Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.                                                                                     Exodus 23:9.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.                                     Psalm 39:12.

These all died in faith without receiving the things promised—but they saw them and welcomed them from afar, and they confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth.                                                                                                                                   Hebrews 11:13.

 

You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of memorial was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not.                                              Malachi 3:14-18.

Abide in Truth

Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!”   John 8:31&32.

Greek: meno[G3306]-to abide, remain, continue, endures.

Don’t work for food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him, God the Father has put the seal of approval.” John 6:27.

An abiding Joy:

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.                                                                                                                                   John 15:11.

Abide in Liberty:

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.                                                                                             1 John 3:9.

Abide in Love:

Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love!                                John 15:9.

Abide in Light:

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46.

Abide in the Father and the Son:

Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.             1 John 2:24.

From Above

Yeshua answered him, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3.

To be born from above means to receive (the spirit of) life from the very Source of Life.

The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaks. The One who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, He testifies to that; yet no one receives His testimony.Whoever receives His testimony has certified that God is true.The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Ruach without limit.The Father loves the Son and has given everything into His hand. He who trusts in the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:31-36.

The eternal life from above is available now and received by trust (acts of faith, not mental assent); it is not an “after death experience”.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. By His will, He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created. James 1:17&18.

Yeshua said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. If you don’t believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” John 8:23&24.

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2.

Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above—where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of God. Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. Colossians 3:1-3.

Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct let him show his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth.This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, nonspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil practice.But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in shalom by those who make shalom. James 3:13-18.

But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Ruach, let us also walk by the Ruach. Let us not become conceited—provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26.

But to each person is given the manifestation of the Ruach for the benefit of all. For to one is given through the Ruach a word of wisdom, to another a word of knowledge according to the same Ruach, to another faith by the same Ruach, to another gifts of healings by the one Ruach,  to another workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Ruach activates all these things, distributing to each person individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:17.

So then, brothers and sisters, we do not owe anything to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Ruach you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For all who are led by the Ruach Elohim, these are sons of God. Romans 8:12-14.

The Word of Our Testimony

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not be afraid or worry about their threats. Instead sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason(logos) for the hope that is in you, yet with humility and reverence—keeping a clear conscience so that, whatever you are accused of, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Messiah may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good (if it is God’s will) than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:13-17.

We are instructed in this passage to “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks for a reason(logos) for the hope that is in you”. This verse gives an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Greek: logos. Over 65% of the time, logos is simply and banally translated word, giving us the vaguest notion of the meaning that is being conveyed. We have an expression in English to convey the point of getting to the heart of the matter for clarity in conveying the truth. We say that for “all intents and purposes”, something to be true. The Logos of God conveys in a very pure sense His intent and purpose behind His creation. This is why the Son of God is described by John as “The Word”, The Logos. Because of this fact, Jesus can say of Himself:

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13.

The Truth that the Son of God is His Logos is fully expressed for “all intents and purposes” in this one verse:

“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power;For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”                                                Revelation 4:11.

Consider now another example where logos is used, but simply translating as “word” failed to convey enough information, so another choice of words is utilized.

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,  until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen.   Acts 1:1&2.

Here Luke opens his second book by referring to his first book, which we call the Gospel of Luke, as the former account(logos). He refers to his first book as a logos, in which he describes his “intents and purposes”in the opening verses.

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us,  just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus(lover and beloved of God), that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. Luke 1:1-4.

So we see Luke describe his logos as a narrative “set in order” from first to last to convey a  “perfect understanding”. This “orderly account” is to insure the certainty of the things that we are instructed and hold fast to in faith.

Now returning to our primary text, if we are to give “our logos for the hope that is in us”, we must establish ourselves firmly in the context of an orderly account based on a perfect (mature) understanding of the word and work of God in our life.

We are to be judged by what is found of us in “the Lambs Book of Life”. Will there be a full account found there, or will we be just a footnote in someone else’s logos. This is exactly what we are being called to do with our life as a narrative of the Work of His Spirit. This is the correct understanding of the statement: “we overcome by the word(logos) of our testimony.

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death.  Revelation 12:11.

In the hope of eternal life,

The Remembrancer