Knowing our Source Part 1

As we come to the end of another year it means we are also at the beginning of a new year. It seems appropriate in this season that we understand our heavenly Father. At times we use the word Abba to refer to Him but the original Hebrew word is Ab. So what does it mean? The word Ab, father, is first used in Genesis 2:24 where Adam refers to a man leaving his father and mother. The term father is applied to Yahweh a few places in the OT, three of which are in Psalms.

5  A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. Psalm 68:5 (NKJV)

26  He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ Psalm 89:26 (NKJV)

13  As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. Psalm 103:13 (NKJV)

The meaning of the word Ab is to be a father, ancestor or progenitor. In 1 Samuel 25:14 we are introduced to Abigail, who later became one of David’s wives. Her name means father or source of joy or delight.

So why bring in Abigail when talking about fathers? To highlight that the word Ab is not focused on gender. Ab captures not just the idea of being a father or ancestor, it is also about being a source. I believe our Father wants us to know that He is our source. No matter what other places, people or things we look to, He wants us to know that He is our true source. That means He is the origin of our life, the source that sustains us and our future provision.

So as we end this year I pray that as we look back we will see how He has sustained us and as we look forward we will anticipate Him sustaining us in the coming year.

In my next post I will open up Ephesians 1 in relation to the role of our Father.

Two Realities Part 4

I noted that in this post I would look at the eternal internal realm we are called to live from. Hebrew 4 references this reality.

8  For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9  There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10  For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11  Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 14  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Hebrews 4:8-14 (NKJV)

There is a lot in this passage but the key is the last phrase in the last verse, “let us hold fast our confession.” Confession of what? The context above connects rest to salvation yet few Christians I know believe in or function from this rest. Why is that? One, I think it is because we don’t believe it and two, if we do believe it we don’t hold fast to believing it.

There are external realities and eternal internal realities. It is a question of which are we holding fast to and confessing. There is war, famine, murder and a host of other evils in the world. That is part of the external reality we face. We also have very good experiences of love, pleasure and peace, other aspects of our external reality. These things change, ebb and flow. They are neither static nor eternal. Yet, in the midst of these things we are called to live from the eternal internal reality. The scriptures below are a sample of the eternal internal reality we possess.

4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, Ephesians 1:4 (NKJV)

5  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Ephesians 2:5 (NKJV)

2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 (NKJV)

18  We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. 1 John 5:18 (NKJV)

1  If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NKJV)

The scriptures above are in the order they appear in the NT with the exception of the last passage because it sums up the reality of the rest. We are to set our thinking and affections on things above. If we let scripture inform scripture we can see how this was laid out in the OT.

3  And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:3 (NKJV)

13  Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts That the peoples labor to feed the fire, And nations weary themselves in vain? 14  For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:13-14 (NKJV)

In the two passages above Isaiah had a prophetic encounter where he was experiencing the reality of the eternal internal realm. This is what lives within the one who has been born again! Habakkuk was sharing what we see from an external perspective. He saw from an earthly perspective what would be unveiled in the fullness of time. Isaiah was exposed to what was from an eternal perspective. Our perspective determines whether we function from rest. We need to exercise effort to stay in rest but it changes how we see. So, what perspective do we have? Are we regularly living from the reality of the eternal internal realm?

Two Realities Part 3

A key step in understanding the idea of two realities is Jesus interaction with Nicodemus in John 3.

3  Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5  Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3-5 (NKJV)

When Jesus spoke of seeing the kingdom and then followed it up with referring to entering the kingdom was He just being casual in His speech or simply referring to conversion as seeing and death/translation as entering the kingdom? Prior to answering that, in the spirit of letting scripture interpret scripture, what did Paul say about the kingdom of God?

17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 (NKJV)

In describing the kingdom Paul referred to a state of being rather than a place. When Jesus spoke of ‘seeing’ the meaning of the word in Greek in this context is that of perceiving or realizing something. Jesus was telling Nicodemus, and by extension us, that we need to be born again to perceive the activity of the kingdom in our lives. The word ‘enter’ means simply that, to enter or go into.

So why the distinction? I believe we can be born again and become aware of another reality. This is like the key to unlock the door. We have arrived at the door and opened it. We now look into this strange new building and become aware of activity that is new and wonderful. However, we now have a choice as to whether we continue through the doorway. How do we know if we have entered into the kingdom? We look at whether our lives are marked by what Paul described. Do kingdom realities pervade out thoughts and actions? Does His presence and purpose overshadow our life? Do we have a desire for His word and worship? Are our thoughts drawn to Jesus presence during the day? Do we look forward to just being with Him?

These things mark whether we have learned to live in these two realities that mark our lives once we have crossed the threshold through the new birth.

In my next post I will look at the eternal internal realm we are called to live from.

Two Realities Part 2

I referenced the passage below in my last post looking at the greater reality of the spiritual realm in Hebrews 1.

1  God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:1-3 (NKJV)

My point was that the spiritual realm is more real than the natural realm. Part of what highlights this is that the natural realm was birthed by the spiritual realm, and as per the passage above, is sustained by the spiritual realm. What else is important in that realm? What about the application of Jesus blood in this greater realm? What about His role as Priest in this realm? Hebrews 9 contrasts the tabernacle of Moses and the earthly sanctuary, a copy of the heavenly one, with what took place in the eternal realm.

11  But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13  For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14  how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15  And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:11-15 (NKJV)

When Jesus blood was being poured out on earth at the cross it was also being poured out in the spirit realm in the heavenly tabernacle on the Mercy Seat. What did Jesus obtain for us as our High Priest? Verse 12 says His shed blood obtained for us ‘eternal redemption’ and is able to cleanse our conscience. Verse 15 tells us that His blood also purchased this ‘eternal inheritance’ for those who walked in faith but died under the old covenant.

I recommend reading and studying all of Hebrews because it is primarily about contrasting the benefits of the old and new covenants. Jesus as a sacrifice, the Lamb of God, offered His body and blood. As High Priest He applied it in the real realm, the spiritual one. See the passage below.

11  And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12  But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13  from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:11-14 (NKJV)

Do we get the power of the language? Jesus has by the one offering of Himself perfected forever those who are being transformed into His image. His one time work had eternal efficacy. That is the meaning of the verse below from earlier in Hebrews.

25  Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV)

Jesus one time sacrifice was the ultimate act of intercession bridging the gap between humanity and God and eternally opening the door for all who would receive Him. Does it get any better than that?

Rita Springer This Blood