If the Man Jesus was the "First of First Fruits"; the one who now rules and reigns in a Glorified Human body, where does that place one if they are intstructed to follow in His Steps? What #fruit would we place ourselves and how is it that we are to be a fruit at all? God ordains it but how is it to be accomplished in/of us?
We too will be the first of the first fruits...if we die...to self and allow HIM to live again ... IN us and through us. Here is an Awesome article posted here previously...[b]He Must Increase[/b] by Chip Brogden http://www.watchman.net/articles/increase.html "He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30)." These seven words found in John 3:30 contain the entire mystery of Gods dealings with man from ages past to eternity future. "He [Christ] must increase." All of Gods works are towards this end of increasing Christ. In other words, everything God has done, is doing, and will do is related towards revealing His Son and bringing us into the full-knowledge (epignosis) of Him. The goal is for Christ to have the preeminence in all things, beginning with us individually as disciples, then with the Church, and finally with all creation, "that He may be All in All." He MUST increase. Isaiah tells us that there will be no end of the increase of His government and peace. In the beginning was the Word, and we can see how God has worked steadily from the beginning to increase Christ. From types and shadows in the Old Testament we see Christ coming into view. Then the Word is made flesh and dwells among us, and Christ is increased yet again. Next He comes to dwell within us, and this is a major increase. Finally, He begins to conform us to His own image through the indwelling Life. If we are growing up into Him then He is increasing daily. Eventually every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Beyond this, we are told that God will continue to reveal His Son in the ages to come, bringing us into depths and dimensions of Christ that we cannot fathom. God is not moving backward, but in the Son and through the Son, He moves steadily forward. Christ MUST increase. This is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Just as we cannot have gravity without having the law of gravity, so it is impossible to have the Life of the Lord but not have the Law of that Life. And the Law of Life is that Christ must increase. "But I must decrease." Why doesnt God reveal His Son to us, in all His glory, all at once? What prevents Christ from filling all things and having the preeminence now? Why do we not yet see all things submitted to Him? Because we must be decreased. If He is to become greater then I must become lesser. When Paul says, "Not I, but Christ," he is saying "He must increase, but I must decrease." Just as all things are working together towards Gods purpose of increasing Christ, so all things are working together towards decreasing us. It does not matter if we understand it or comprehend it. It does not matter if you believe in it or agree with it. You are being decreased just the same, and Christ is being increased. It MUST be so, therefore it IS so. Scientists call this decreasing "entropy", and it means, "inevitable and steady deterioration". We can observe this in creation. The present things are groaning and travailing in pain, deteriorating in order to make way for a new heaven and a new earth. We begin to die as soon as we are born. We can look in our own bodies for evidence of "inevitable and steady deterioration" as we move towards a redeemed body. But more importantly, WE, the "I", the "Self", is being decreased that Christ may fill us. How are we decreased? Let us say right away that it is not your duty to decrease yourself, to become an ascetic, and crawl around in the dirt in abject poverty. It is not an outward decreasing, but an inward decreasing, a coming to the end of ourselves. The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. Earlier, John said, "A man can have nothing except he receive it from heaven." Now we may have quite a bit, but if we obtained it from a source other than Christ, it amounts to nothing. Only those sufficiently decreased, the poor in spirit, can see this. This poverty cannot be achieved through self-effort. In fact, part of the decreasing process is the realization that I can do nothing of myself, including decreasing myself. Just as I cannot commit suicide by crucifixion, so I cannot crucify my flesh. The only way to learn this is to fail hundreds, even thousands of times. Then we will learn to say, "I have no confidence in the flesh." In the world we will experience temptations, testings, and trials. We will experience persecution, tribulation, and afflictions of soul and body. We will experience mistreatment and misunderstanding. It is not a question of God allowing or not allowing things to happen. It is part of living. Some things we do to ourselves, other things we do to each other. Our Father knows about every bird which falls to the ground, but He does not always prevent it from falling. What are we to learn from this? That our response to what happens is more important than what happens. Here is a mystery: one mans experience drives him to curse God, while another mans identical experience drives him to bless God. Your response to what happens is more important than what happens. If we see that offenses are bound to come, that there is no way to live in the world apart from what happens, then we must see that the difference between overcoming and not overcoming lies in our response to what happens. Paul did not pray to be weak so that he could be strong. Naturally speaking, we despise weakness. We prefer strength. But human strength is an illusion. It is not true strength. The Lord shows us His grace is made perfect (or, is matured) through our weakness. Now, Paul rejoices in his weakness, in his being decreased: for "when I am weak, then I am strong." To the degree that we accept the decrease of ourselves, to that degree will we experience the increasing of Christ. We cannot walk the narrow path until we have entered the narrow gate. But we cannot assume that because we have entered the narrow gate we are now finished. Most people lay stress on the gate, and their goal is to get people just far enough through the gate that they can claim salvation. That is where most of the Church sits today, just inside the narrow gate, rejoicing in a future salvation, a future heaven, a future return of Christ, and a future reward. But the narrow gate is only the beginning. The narrow gate only opens the door to the narrow way. It is the narrow way which leads to Life, and few find it. Fewer still walk to the end of it. Now what we are discussing is an event as well as a process. There is a once-and-for-all decision to follow Christ, but we have to keep on following. Entering the gate is a once-and-for-all event, but walking the path is a process. We gain everything when we enter the gate, but we must walk the path in order to now live out of what we have. We are new creations, but we are being changed daily into the image of Christ. We died with Christ once: yet we die daily. We were crucified with Him once: yet we take up the cross daily. We were raised with Him once: yet we experience His Life daily. We were ascended with Him and we were seated with Him in the heavenlies once: but we live out the heavenly position in our daily walk, daily ascending above the earth, above the natural, to sit with Him in His throne as overcomers. God wills that "all men would be saved (narrow gate) and would come to the full-knowledge [epignosis] of Truth (narrow way)." Those who merely enter the narrow gate have yet to satisfy Gods heart. There is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents, but as Arthur Katz has said, "Many are saved, but few are converted." It is Gods will, His desire, that we come to the end of ourselves so that Christ may have the preeminence in us. Jesus said, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." Hebrews tells us that Christ is the brightness of Gods glory, and the express image (or exact representation) of His person. Likewise, Gods purpose for us as disciples (and by extension, the Church) is "if you have seen a disciple, you have seen Jesus." The Christian is to be the brightness of Christs glory, and the exact representation of His person. I lack the vocabulary to express this adequately, but I trust the Lord will show us. This is beyond "mere salvation", this is conversion, this is conformity to the very image of Christ. He most certainly does not have the preeminence in us now, thus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." We have emphasized the Church for so long that we have lost sight of the individual disciples of which the Church consists. If one member lacks, the entire Body goes lacking. It is not so much a problem with the Church failing to apprehend its fullness as it is the individual disciples of the Lord failing to count the cost, suffer all as loss, and progress down the narrow way towards Christ as All in All. As the disciples go, so goes the Church. If Christ does not have the preeminence in the Church, it is because He does not have the preeminence in us as disciples. If we have truly entered the gate and are walking the path, if we have truly yielded our lives to Him and long to know Him, then everything we experience is working to increase Christ and decrease us. On the positive side, the Holy Spirit is working to bring us into a more perfect knowledge of Christ. The Spirit is increasing Him, leading us into "all Truth", towards epignosis. On the negative side, the principle of the Cross is working to decrease us, to bring us to the end of ourselves, to reduce us to nothing. Eastern mysticism has long been aware of this positive and negative at work, it has simply misunderstood what it means and misappropriated it towards an end other than Christ. They have observed a principle but lack the Truth to explain the principle. We must see that for every decrease of Self, Christ is increased. Even in our discussions we groan inwardly about having to die daily, having to give up our way and our will. We ought instead to be excited about Christ being increased, and how much He stands to gain in us and through us. He MUST increase, but you MUST decrease. It is better to relinquish everything now, on a voluntary basis, and lose our lives in order to gain our real Life. It is more glorious to enter the Kingdom out of a desire to give Christ the preeminence than to enter kicking and screaming and crying because we love ourselves too much. Make no mistake, if it is the Kingdom you seek, the Kingdom you will find, but you must be changed in order to enter therein. If you seek power from God you will have to accept weakness in yourself. If you want to rule with Him you must suffer with Him. If you want His Life you must give up your life. You can have either one you want, but you cannot have both. There is no increase without decrease, and there is no decrease without increase. May the Son be increased through these words. Amen.
And to add to the below, this from Chambers:The ministry of the unnoticedBlessed are the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3.The New Testament notices things which from our standards do not sem to count. Blessed are the poor in spirit, literally Blessed are the paupersan exceedingly commonplace thing! The preaching of to-day is apt to emphasize strength of will, beauty of characterthe things that are easily noticed. The phrase we hear so often, Decide for Christ, is an emphasis on something Our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him, a very different thing. At the basis of Jesus Christs Kingdom is the unaffected loveliness of the commonplace. The thing I am blessed in is my poverty. If I know I have no strength of will, no nobility of disposition, then Jesus saysBlessed are you, because it is through this poverty that I enter His Kingdom. I cannot enter His Kingdom as a good man or woman, I can only enter it as a complete pauper.The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always unconscious. Conscious influence is priggish and un-Christian. If I say, I wonder if I am of any use, I instantly lose the bloom of the touch of the Lord. He that believeth in Me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water. If I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord.Which are the people who have influenced us most? Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were influencing us. In the Christian life the implicit is never conscious; if it is conscious, it ceases to have this unaffected loveliness which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.Chambers, Oswald: My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI : Discovery House Publishers, 1993, c1935, S. August 21
Greg has some of GW North's sermons here on sermon index but this thread reminded me of one of his shorter books. These books are now 'out of print' but you can download a copy of [url=http://mp3.biblebase.com/download_45.html]The Representative Man[/url] here.
The style is a little archaic, but it is well worth reading it slowly.
Great piece, crssck. A hardy "Amen" to what the man said.....And your 'interspersed' scripture.Think for a moment that Adam was NOT divine and was to be groomed for it by moral choices given him until God could say to him, "Well done, Be transfigured into what I have purposed for you from the beginning". Man had to wait 4g yrs for the man Jesus, the last Adam, to do what the first Adam would not do; place the interest of God before all else, the way of the Cross.
Hi Orm,It is most impressive the manner that he takes you through this.
Man had to wait 4g yrs for the man Jesus, the last Adam, to do what the first Adam would not do; place the interest of God before all else, the way of the Cross.
More from this treasury by G.W. North ...[i]Many people today are seeking guidance. Among the most popular books upon Christian bookstalls are those about guidance. Jesus did not need guidance; when He was filled with the Spirit, He was led of the Spirit. From that moment His path was assured. He was to be the Way. Born; filled; anointed; led. That is the order of truth....The Holy Ghost comes to be leader.[/i]There is some very seemingly simple, fundamental truths in this small essay saints ..."Led"
That message of the Way of the Cross IS the gospel. For the New Born in Him, God will continually bring into circumstances to make us prove whether we will work out with determined concentration what He has worked in. This approach to Himself was designed by God from His beginning with Lucifer. Lucifer failed. Adam was to enter into it as the means, by a series of moral choices, to become a divine-son, one formed out of the red clay. He failed. There was no divine life in either of the two lives at the outset of their existence. After Adam's failure, mankind had to wait 4g yrs for another man to come on the scene who wouldn't. Jesus revealed what the "Way of the cross" was meant to accomplish in us, i.e., the means to accomplish a Transfiguration IN/UPON man for the Father, purposed in Himself. One thing that needs be remembered is before sin entered, the "Way of the Cross" was accessable. It can only be participated in by *sinless beings. After sin came the "Way" it was closed off making the "[b][u]Work[/u] of the Cross[/b]" necessary for restoring man's priviledge of "son-ship, heir-ship and throne-ship". When man views it as such he will see it as the "Pearl of Great Price", the "Treasure in the field". This revelation is given upon the new birth experience which does not necessarily happen at a confession of Christ. We may accept Christ, though that is never taught in the Bible as a means of securing the revelation of Him. With this understanding can be seen "Election" as in, He selects, He chooses, those to whom He will reveal Himself. Sanctification means a radical and absolute identification with Jesus until the springs of His life are the springs of my/your life. This is the process of one who enters when entering the "Way of the Cross". That the verse can make sense if seen in the light of the "Way of the Cross". Jesus wants us to face the life of our time in the power of the Holy Ghost. *Sinless participation can only be along that line, His. [i]*"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."[/i] 1 John 3:9 (KJV) Are we going to do it or are we going to keep preaching nothing but redemption to the same people every Sunday? --- and on this forum? Paul is always tremendously practical, he comes right down to where we live, he says we must work out the salvation God has worked in. "All power is given unto Me", said Jesus, and by the Holy Spirits presence we can do those things which please Godare we doing them? Are we being conformed to His Image? By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit we can bring every thought and imagination into captivity to the obedience of Christ and can keep this body the chaste temple of the Holy Ghost are we doing it? By the power of the Holy Spirit we can keep our communications with other people the exact expression of what God is working in usare we doing it? The proof that we have a healthy vigorous faith is that we are expressing it in our lives, and bearing testimony with our lips as to how it came about. "The life of Jesus from Bethlehem onwards is a picture of the sanctified life, and anything that would make our souls stagnate produces a distortion." Enter the pseudo center of the gospel, "Redemption". It has accomplished much in the Satanic purpose of getting man to fail in his calling; in causing man to embrace the minor instead of the Major in th emessage of Jesus Christ. Let me be clear: Redemption is the "work of the Cross" only Jesus could perform. Without it, the "way of the Cross" would remain inaccessible. However, He never meant for us to set up roadside stands and have "pep rallies", stopping everyone to tell them of how wonderful this Great man was who showed us the way back to God and all that He was going to do FOR US if we can just "hang in there". That was NOT the intent of Christ coming in Bodily form! This from Chambers that says much: "Jesus Christ is the Captain of our faith; He has gained the victory, consequently for us Satan is a conquered foe. When we are sanctified and have become His brethren we are put, not in the place of the first Adam, but in the place of the last Adam, where we live by the power and might of the [b]*faith [u]of[/u] the Son of God.[/b] We have to get rid of the idea that because Jesus was God He could not be tempted. Almighty God cannot be tempted, but in Jesus Christ we deal with God as man, a unique BeingGod-Man. It was as Son of Man that He fought the battle, and proved the possibility of victory. After His Baptism, Satan, by the direct permission of the Holy Ghost, tested the faith of Jesus: And straightway the Spirit driveth Him forth into the wilderness (Mark 1:12). Satan broke what Adam held straight off; but he could not break what Jesus held in His person though he tested Him in every conceivable way; therefore having Himself suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted." [b]* Why I prefer the KJV.[/b] And this that confirms what I have stated above: "When we are born again we get our first introduction into what God calls temptation. When we are sanctified we are not delivered from temptation, we are loosened into it; we are not free enough before either morally or spiritually to be tempted. Immediately we become His brethren we are free, and all these subtleties are at work. God does not shield any man or woman from any requirements of a full-grown man or woman. Luke 22:28 (But ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations) presents Our Lords view of His life as Man, viz., as one of temptations, not triumphs. When we are born again the Son of God is submitted to temptations in our individual lives, are we remaining loyal to Him in His temptations in us? When temptation comes, stand absolutely true to God no matter what it costs you, and you will find the onslaught leaves you with affinities higher and purer than ever before. Temptation overcome is the transfiguration of the natural into the spiritual and the establishment of conscious affinity with the purest and best." This is what Adam was to have accomplished in him had he entered into the "way of the Cross", after which he would have had the inclination to eat of the "Tree of Life"; to finalize his Transfifuration; to become, to participate as God is, in Human Flesh.
Jesus wants us to face the life of our time in the power of the Holy Ghost.
By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit we can bring every thought and imagination into captivity to the obedience of Christ and can keep this body the chaste temple of the Holy Ghost are we doing it? By the power of the Holy Spirit we can keep our communications with other people the exact expression of what God is working in usare we doing it? The proof that we have a healthy vigorous faith is that we are expressing it in our lives, and bearing testimony with our lips as to how it came about.
A question for you that I have greatly pondered: Given there was no way for man to rectify the wrong Adam did which prevented man from participating in thr "Way of the Cross", What do you believe was the "stop gap" measure God used to keep man until the "Fullness of Time" when Jesus would fulfill all for man's restoration/reconcilation?