The Bride of Christ, a Review.
In the beginning of man’s habitation of the earth, God described and set in motion his intention that a ‘man’ would serve him even as a son entering into a family business who manages the whole of the earth and all the creatures and natural resources therein available. The Plan of God has never been changed but only delayed in its fulfillment. Actually, we do not know how long Adam and his wife ruled in the earth and it might have been a short time which is easy for us to accept because of the compression of time that seems to take place in the few pages of Scripture devoted their unblemished rule. We just don’t know how much time passed between Genesis 2: 7 and Genesis 3:7. A day, a year, a millennium, several millennia? We cannot say, but truly the time involved is not important to us compared to the other important ideas of a relational nature that are timeless in importance and eternal in consequence.
The purpose of this article is to summarize the events of Genesis 3 and connect them to the concept of Abiding In Christ, let us step back a little and review what took place in what we call the “fall of man.”
The charge and purpose of God with regard to the rulership and oversight of the earth was placed in the purview of a creature, called Adam, one who came from the dirt, to function as one from the earth but moreover, as a Son with the life of YHWH. YHWH is also called LORD, Father, or simply, God. It is fair to say that God’s purpose was much higher that to build a robotic machine, a droid, but rather to have a Son in charge of a portion of the family business, administration of the planet, and to do this out of continuing relationship with the Father of a spiritual family and fellowship with other Sons as well. If one considers the physical universe with uncountable stars, planets, gasses, vacuums, fires, and even ‘black holes’, then the whole idea of an earth kingdom seems small and perhaps there are other aspects of The Plan that we are unaware of, but that will be given to us in due course. Limitations of time seem to be of little consequence as long as the Plan is done according to the thinking and purpose of YHWH.
The Plan is no small thing to the multitudes of spiritual beings who live and function in a dimension or realm mostly unknown to those who are alive upon the earth. We could draw on Biblical references to spiritual beings such as angels, demons, devils, spirits, watchers, or heavenly hosts and come away still without much understanding of their positions, functions or how we might relate to them in positive or negative ways. In day to day practice, we know that there are ‘good and bad’ spirits, but we have little understanding of how to differentiate between holy and evil or how to interact with either.
There is much mystery concerning principalities, powers and rulers of this present age in heavenly places, but they must be considered from the biblical accounts if we are to successfully and finally be related to YHWH in a relationship that serves Him and accomplishes His plan for man and government of the earth. The things that we can be certain of from Scripture that pertain directly to us in the here and now are these:
Rebellion toward God and disobedience to him began in the spirit,
in heavenly place and was not natural to man. Bringing man under the control of
or into submission by obedience to a spirit called Satan, the serpent, was
originated in the spiritual universe and constitutes more of a spiritual
rebellion and coupe of the ruler ship of God generally than the mere turning of
man away from God in service and worship.
Man and woman chose, by free will, to turn away from the central ideas of submission and obedience to God in order to enhance themselves and to be able to function independently of God particularly within the area of determining what is ‘right’ and what is wrong’ apart from God and perhaps in contradiction to the verdicts and principles of life conduct that had always flowed from God to them. The con of Satan was they would, as gods, make determinations, judgments, and put into action their own plans of what to do and how to do it. This describes for us the core of sinfulness and the continuing philosophy of men today and in ourselves. The ‘original sin’ came as a lie and that lie is perpetuated today and supported by many religions and philosophies. Where ever the idea is communicated that man, you and me, are free to function independently of God to decide our own course and our own methodologies for walking out that course, we are following in the steps of Adam and Eve, and serving Satan unawares. The only objective for us can be to bring ourselves, by free will and conscious determination, into alignment with the mind and will of God to serve him and worship alone. Worship conceptually contains the element of respecting him enough to faithfully follow his daily direction.
2. The first man, Adam, is considered by God to be a species of men who are disqualified from being His sons because of selfish interests causing disobedience and less than perfect representation of the character and kingdom of God. This failure of a whole species would not mean an end of The Plan, but rather that a different means would be used to accomplish the end of The Plan. Additionally, there is a provision whereby those that are born into Adam might join into a redemptive provision of the Plan and through it, escape the promised eradication of the rebels and servants of Satan. This provision is that man might die, progressively, ahead of the final judgment and be reborn, progressively, as a new man, a new species of man, who is under the ownership of Jesus Christ, the perfect and proven man. Remember the Plan is to have a race of creatures rule the earth on behalf of YHWH (the personal name of Him) who are just like him and in fact, manifestations of and physical, practicing, living beings who are his Words in flesh. “Oh!, that’s Jesus”, you might say, and I would say,” yes, Jesus and all those who are in him.” We bring in the concept of Abiding in Him here and state the overall objective of Abiding to be the personal and individual transformation to become the Word of God. The only means by which this can happen is by entering and maintaining an Abiding relationship in which the death and rebirth process takes place. This process cannot take place otherwise or we will find that the only thing that is happening is a repeat performance of Genesis 3 where the man or woman think that by their own volition and mental action choose to be ‘saved’. One will find that this is merely a replay of the serpent’s con and that man will continue to purpose self enhancement and to be as god if only on a very small scale. Thus the fundamental reality of man’s continuing relationship with the spirit Satan or his servants must be recognized. This relationship is spiritual and the remedies are spiritual. No man will enter fellowship with God except those who are In Christ Jesus and who have broken or are in the active process of renouncing and destroying the influences of evil spirits.
The end is certain, even if it takes a long time by our
reckoning. Jesus came from heaven and took on a fleshly body to prove the
original concept of God’s creature who would be just like Him and who would
faithfully demonstrate what a Son is, the living Word. The old man Adam is of
the earth and is not at all from heaven or of the same quality of spirit as
Jesus. The transformation of the natural man, Adam, into the spiritual man,
Christ, is in process. As many species have become extinct and no longer live,
the old man is rapidly coming to his end and will be found no more, extinct.
Only those who Abide (remain, live, stay continually, cling to) in Christ so as
to be converted will survive. The Secret Place and its promised protection is
only discovered by those who are in a vine/branch relationship with Jesus.
The replacement of Satan’s government by the government of Jesus Christ will shortly be upon us. (the birth pains have begun have they not?) The Day of the Lord is at hand, a day of fire and burning of all the enemies of God, those who have chosen to be independent, disobedient, self willed and self serving. All those in Adam are known as those who decide for themselves that is right or wrong apart from God and for desiring to be little gods for the pleasures of the moment.
4. God has so loved the world that he gave it the very best he had to give. This is Jesus, the God man living in flesh, and of course, to all those that are Abiding in him. All others will be purged away as the spiritual man of God trumps all others.
Surely, my review of the overview of spirituality will be familiar and compatible with the readers understanding. If there is anything written thus far that confounds the reader, let him enter the Secret Place to obtain understanding and clarity for the one who holds all wisdom and knowledge.
Look again at the familiar idea that Eve was taken out of Adam, bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. This occurred before the fall and is instructive for us. This same phenomenon of procedure will occur again in the restoration of man (the new man) and the installation of the government of God in the earth. The concept is clear that the mate or helper or spouse of Christ, described as The Bride, will be taken out him, bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. As you will notice, this concept is incompatible with ideas that by knowledge of the gospel and of the sacrifice of Jesus that salvation is imputed to any and all and that when they die, they will go to heaven and dwell with God and Jesus forever.
A commonly held idea among Christians is that theirs is an imputed righteousness only. This idea disallows the conversion and sanctification needed to become a new creature in whom the righteousness of Christ is inherent, genuine and real. If imputation is taken to mean only the way God considers us, or sees us, wink-wink, and not a changed nature then the error of the natural man is present. This is the error of self justification and the denial of the prospect of being changed into a new kind of man, the Christ man.
To the natural man, imputed character quality marginalizes the prospect and promise of true transformation through death and resurrection. This gospel can be labeled as the gospel of Adam where the old man is the center of focus for God who lives to serve and save everyone. We could also call it the gospel of Satan as there is a spiritual inspiration given daily to the natural man from a spiritual source. I apologize for calling these theological ideas ‘gospel’ as there is only one gospel and that is the Gospel of Christ. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is far different than, “God loves you and wants to make you happy and will take you to heaven forever.”
This idea is not put forth with much emphasis in the church world today. The ideas that one can enter into the secret place of the most high where he will meet and relate with Jesus by the Holy Spirit and begin and eventually complete the process of being grafted into the vine. It is from those branches that the bride will emerge at the end of time, whether they lived and died in an earlier time, or are just coming in at the close of the day. Only Branches will comprise the Bride. They will have oil ready to go out and meet the Bridegroom. Those who have not chosen to or that have not learned how to Abide will be those virgins who have not the sufficient amount oil for the journey. And these, those without sufficient oil, will call themselves Christians and yet live life for themselves, their personal advantage, and their pleasures. Life in an Abiding relationship in preparation for marriage will cause one to forgo these personal benefits as they seek to love God with every breath eagerly dying in the process.
It must be obvious that if the Bride of Christ is taken from within him, then she/he devote the time to going into Him and to remaining in Him in real time. Abiding is to be a description of continuous relationship with Jesus. One can choose not to abide, but I hope that the reader will consider the costs and the potentials available only to those who are In Christ Jesus.