Exodus 36 / Psalms 94-95 / 1 Corinthians 6
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already.
They were just being animals who needed to protect their rights, an instinctive thing to do and one that the humans naturally defend as an inherent right to keep and practice. The sons live according to a law and command that runs opposite to that which is inherent to the human animal. They have no animal rights to defend because what belongs to the animal is worthless, so it may as well just get stripped away from them if that's what's going to happen. The sons believe that the Father can give them what they need so there is no point in defending their rights from another son taking something from them, because they see the other sons differently than the humans see each other—not as competitive animals after the same thing they're after, but as someone whom the Father Himself has chosen and called to become part of His plan and purpose. If that one means so much to the Father that they are chosen to be in His family, they must be extraordinarily worthwhile, and it may be on a level that is not so easy to see, just like the Father is not easy to see.
Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
This is not an easy thing to be or do; it takes actually believing not in what seems to be but in what the Father has told us in the place where it's not very easy to see, because the world and the way of the humans is constantly reinforced in us every time we turn around. The fear that is naturally in us is significant, yet it is also hidden down deep in the places where we rather not acknowledge it, because we're naturally programmed to hide from its presence since we also think it's shameful to bear it, even though we are incubators and protectors of the stuff. As called sons we're constantly being shown that we can trust our new Father, but we also cave in and defer back to the fear that lives in us as though we were wild animals driven by the same thing that makes them run away at the first hint of us coming along. To have that wild animal nature driven out of us is the nature of the transformation from wild animal to son of God. If we weren't chosen to be transformed then we'd be living our lives out like the rest of the wild animals, who deal with that plague of being fear ridden by getting and acquiring for our selves, and defending our right to keep whatever we've built up around ourselves; which serves as the places we make to hide in, whatever makes us feel like we don't have any fear living inside us.
I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
It's funny, because the fear is actually the only thing living in side us to make us what we naturally are. Everything we do is a reaction to that fear and the need to appease it and at the same time cover it up because we're also inherently ashamed of it. The shame of being fear ridden animals naturally makes us want to hide, which is the state of death that the first humans chose for themselves when they trusted the animal—so they became wild animals themselves, and every way that they naturally are comes from that. Until we can see it in ourselves—which is difficult because of the same condition we're trying to see that propels us to not want to see, like a dragon eating its own tail—then we won't be able to really see it for what it actually is. When we can see it in our selves by admitting that it's there and understanding how it drives us to be a certain way, then we can start to become familiar with it and really begin to know it, because then we're not looking at it like it's theoretical subject matter that we need to keep at arm's length.
Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
The Corinthian believers were drifting back into that old nature of the animal who only wants to protect what it's naturally driven to consider valuable—its own interests—because like all animals that's all it knows to do because of the nature that's in them to be driven as such, in that way of the wild animal that's primarily driven to survive, and everything else falls in line with that drive, need, craving and urge—all of it just the instinct that is obviously in the humans, yet hardly observed. It's the same as the humans being driven to want to get something for themselves instead of being happy with what God had given to them, and deferring to His understanding of what was best for them. The animal nature in one son feeds on and encourages the animal nature in the other, which is why merely being humans, loving what they love and being what we naturally want to be isn't good, according to the Father, because if we are not in the mode of actively having it quashed in us day after day, then it grows like a virus and takes over—like yeast in a batch of bread.
Do you not know that the wicked (mere men who are not inherently good as they assume about themselves, but merely unclean animals like all the rest) will not inherit the kingdom of God (because they are not sons of God)?
The sons of God need to leave the world and the things of this life, what the humans love because the find them valuable, to the animals who aren't destined to inherit the kingdom of God. It's perfect, because they don't want it anyway; they only want what they love and run after, what actually designates who they love and serve (themselves). Those who truly want to find the truth about God; that is, find Him and the love that is real and true and doesn't go away, will do so when the ability to do so is revealed to them; otherwise they can only ever be what's in them to be. It's not up to us to find an agreement with what seems to be, because we aren't familiar enough with the wisdom that comes from the word where God lives (the spiritual world, "heaven, from above" in the text) to be able to know His thoughts and purpose.
The sons can't even necessarily find that agreement with their own selves and how they fit into the purpose of God unless it is being revealed. Nothing is automatic in this deal. All they can do is listen to the voice of the Teacher and respond, and keep walking toward the Father, which is saying yes, I want to be conformed to your way, which also means a turning of the back on our selves and all the things we think we have the right to have and keep. Of course we're going to try to find the animal agreement that makes us feel like we're okay all the time, because of the nature that's in us that drives us to keep finding it. That is the mechanism within the animal to appease the fear it inherently has, which usually happens by it finding some thing(s) to control, so it finds that agreement within itself that it controls its destiny and is doing so. It is properly providing for itself and not being irresponsible toward what it loves most.
It is not our plan and design that there are no shepherds in the world in the present time leading the children to their Father. We didn't design the darkness that has been in the world for so many hundreds of years. What matters is that we are listening to the voice that is speaking to us, and allowing it to change our mind and our heart before our Father, invisible to all the common animals. This may seem like the same drift toward self-preservation, but its purpose is much different because it means being given over to the Father's purpose, which is primarily that we can see what is true according to Him, not according to how the humans see, and think they know. For the animals, their loyalty and faithfulness begins, remains and ends with themselves (and/or their offspring, which actually is them by their DNA living in them). For the sons of God, their listening and being transformed into sons who are led by the good Shepherd instead of the animal, is for the purpose of themselves becoming shepherds, after the model of the Son.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
This way the true sons of God are born and live for the others who are also true sons of the Father, which is the only family that actually matters. It is the primary purpose of God for even creating everything we can see, so that He can pull His own sons from it as it has gone along since the beginning.
And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every wise-hearted man in whose heart the LORD had given wisdom, everyone whose heart moved him, to approach the task to do it. And all the wise people who were doing the holy task came, each man from his task that he was doing. And every wise-hearted man among the doers of the task made the Tabernacle.
This is the copy for the sons about how the life goes, once the Father and the Son (as One) reveals their truth to him. Not a life filled with spectacles and things to satisfy the cravings of the animal (how we assumed because we craved it would be for so long) but just an ordinary (naturally speaking) kind of wisdom in our heart—no more than just knowing the right thing to do (true wisdom) because that was put there by the life and word that had been planted in us. That wisdom, planted in our heart, keeps growing so we know what to do, even though the struggle between it and the nature that's in us will be huge, and the latter will keep overpowering that which is young for a long while. But the One who supernaturally planted that in us will protect the seed so it germinates, sprouts and grows up, vulnerable as it is to that thing which wants to crush it and blow it over, pull it out of the ground by its roots. The sons become caretakers of the other sons so that every one of them is like a shepherd, in the sense that they keep pointing each other back to the Father even if it's just because they are still there, still on the same path that leads to Him. That is enough because it's encouragement to keep going in the way that is so hard.
This all takes place in secret, hidden from the humans as Jesus truly was kept hidden from them. They were looking straight at the Messiah they had been waiting for and claimed to love, but they didn't recognize him because he wasn't what they wanted to see. They had already decided what they wanted him to look and act like, because that version would best suit their needs and satisfy their own cravings. That is the way of the animal, always ultimately looking after itself, in contrast to the son, who is trained up in the opposite way so that he can be a guardian over God's possessions, which is very unappealing to the animal in us. The old nature makes us want to fulfill what we crave, and needs validation and fulfillment according to the old way, where its hopes are also found.
The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.
The law of Moses pointed to and was a copy of the better thing—the living law and covenant that is planted in the son's heart by the Father when it's time for the revealing—just as everything that had to do with Abraham's natural descendents and all the words that were preserved by them pointed to the time when the Son would come to give the Father what He always wanted. The law couldn't go deep enough to address what lived in the hearts of the humans, which made them evil—the nature of the animal, the serpent the humans were bound to by the curse God put on them in Genesis 3. Because of the curse, God's family was bound to be separated from Him because that condition of unclean animal, the definition of the human bound to the animal, kept them from being near Him.
I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
The serpent that Moses put up on the pole is the natural copy of the spiritual reality, that which the humans cannot comprehend because they're natural. It's what the Son did in order to give the Father what He wanted—that those humans whom He desired to be His own sons, and close to Him, could have that curse undone in them.
When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.
The Son became the serpent so that the curse of the sons being inextricably bound to it could be lifted, and they could come near to their Father, where He wants them to be. The sons who lived in the first century knew this reality because it was spiritual information that was supernaturally put into them by the life that lived in them—the mechanism of the new covenant. The humans who could only see with their natural eyes, only saw a man strung up on a cross, then he was dead to them. The sons knew he was alive because he came back and told them the truth, because he lived in their hearts.
"Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men (those who were chosen to be drawn—the elect) to myself." He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
Why did he need to live inside their hearts? Because the old way wasn't good enough to make a son clean in the places where it actually matters to God, where the man is defined as what he actually is—clean or unclean. What the Son was able to do is unfathomable and complicated because his real work was done in the spiritual reality, not the natural. The Father lived inside his heart so that he was unlike all the humans; that is, uncontaminated by the animal nature that rules them, clean. But the Father could only live inside the one man, Jesus, because of that condition. The other sons were all lost.
What the Son did, when he went to the Father and become One with Him, was be able to actually live in the bodies of unclean humans, whom the Father desired to become sons, so that they could actually be transformed into sons of God by becoming separated from that condition of being ruled by, led by and therefore contaminated by that unclean animal nature. He became sort of a buffer between God and the unclean animals like Paul and the other chosen sons (the elect).
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Consider the way the animals hope for things, how they find their satisfactions and fulfillment. That shouldn't be difficult because we know it so well; it's still very much a part of our fabric. We hope for this and that all day, and from day to day also. To eat this, go there, fill our eyes with hope of what we could have, possess or be if we only had that thing or that product. If we had so much money we could get some babe to like us, or we could hold our physical beauty just a little longer. That means we could retain our desirability, acceptability among the humans—that we are still acceptable to them. We think about going somewhere new, which perks up our hope glands a little, the thought of enjoying sun, or relaxation, or a place where we can be inundated with people who all agree with us for an entire week (Bible school).
We put our hope in another job, another identity, learning something new that will give us this or that, new clothes, new movies, new books, new beauty products. We hope in our ability to produce a new song that sounds good, by which we can gain even the smallest bit of admiration, the allure of some little piece of greatness for ourselves, another tangible level of acceptance and worth. We hope in going to the mall, or the electronics store where we can be consumed by the possibilities of all the things we could have to placate that need in us to be satisfied and fulfilled. But the deal is they are all transitory. They last a little while and then we have to jump to another one, and that's what the humans do all their lives without even thinking about it—that's just the way things are.
In the beginning we also do this with the teaching of the spirit inside us as we constantly look for the new thing, the new validation that it is actually real, that we have been taken and are being singled out as something special to God, for a special purpose and a new identity. This will last until we begin to understand that the purpose of the Lord, and the presence of the spirit isn't about that, leapfrogging from one high to the next, one validation to the next.
What we start to see is that the spirit is there not to provide us with hope like that, because that is the old way, jumping from one transitory state of fulfillment to the next. Although it is something that the Lord provides for us when we are young, and only know that way of being fulfilled. It's like how everyone thinks that the spirit in the first century was all about a spectacular show for all the people to see and believe. Like a leader of the ecclesia telling me that I should be able to produce a miracle for them, to validate what I said. That's a little off point, because then we have to deal with the assumption on their part that the Lord would even desire to want them to see, hear, believe and be healed. But it reinforces the illustration of what people assume the spirit isn't, instead of what it is.
As Paul said, all the gifts that the Corinthian believers may have experienced for a while, the outward signs which were validating the truth of Jesus being the new and only way to God, were just for that purpose—to keep the young believers close to the Lord as Paul was. Being a spiritually mature son of God and bride of the Lord—totally hidden in his identity—he knew that what was not transitory, but what remained after those things could fall away once the believer was stronger, was faith, hope and love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
The nature of these three things contrasted with all the "gifts of the spirit" is interesting, because it speaks to what we've already established as the way of the animal regarding the temporary little moments of hope and fulfillment it relies on all day, all week, all year, all its life until that existence expires. The "gifts of the spirit" were temporary, they came and went as per the Lord's purpose and desire for whoever experienced or observed them in that moment they happened. Although important, they were nevertheless transitory, for a specific purpose at a specific time—however the effects of it could have lasted longer. When Paul says that what remains is faith, hope and love, he means that they're not episodic like the other things, but rather abiding, enduring.
Since we're talking about hope let's concentrate on that and forget about the other two for now. Let's consider the hope of the mere man, the human, the animal—which we've already discussed—versus the hope of the one who has been taken by the Lord, who willingly submits to his rule as his faithful bride, who has lost her identity in the world and taken on his instead, who is becoming hidden in it. The hope for that one becomes as Paul discusses it—not temporary like the other gifts, but a gift from the Lord to his faithful bride that abides and endures, so that she can abide and endure, and eventually learn to remain in him.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
The spirit is such that it comes to the man, it is born into the man and while he is young and unable to have real faith because all he knows is the old way, the Lord gives him the temporary gifts, the outright miraculous things that happen to him, in him, which keep drawing him back, making him believe in what his flesh—which is so strong—says isn't and can't be real. Its real nature, though, is to live, remain, endure within the man so that that flesh which was once so strong is slowly broken down by its presence in him. And the purpose of that is so he can be transformed from pure animal to pure son as he slowly moves along that spectrum—the flesh on one end, what he used to be, and the spirit on the other, what he is becoming.
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God.
I have to say becoming, because it is a slow movement along that spectrum. It is either one or the other in a certain sense, yes; but it isn't pure animal or pure son. It's pure animal or son with all the old traits and characteristics of the animal, and a little tiny seed of the spirit growing in him. Paul knew that these Corinthians were believers, but they were counting on so many of the old ways, of the animal, to drive them in their dealings with one another. When Paul says they were being sinful, he just meant that they were doing what they used to do, acting like humans, relying on that animal nature to fulfill them. Paul was way on the spirit side of the scale, and he was writing to a bunch of believers who were on the other end.
As we move along, we just know certain things as the ways of the flesh drop off and are replaced by the way of the spirit. Our hope becomes less and less driven by the little, transitory things that the animals run after. As we understand the enduring nature of the spirit that is growing in us, our hope is driven by that a little more and a little more, until what Paul says has happened for him starts becoming true for us also. Our hope becomes something fixed, unchanging, enduring so that we can live actually by the spirit instead of merely theoretically. Our hope becomes something that is just there all the time, not going away and then coming back.
The spirit (son nature, new way, way of God) gives life; the flesh (animal nature, old way, way of man) counts for nothing.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
So I say, live by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the animal nature. For the animal nature desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the animal nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.