Leviticus 5-6 / Psalm 105 / 1 Corinthians 14
When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
That which Paul termed childish and imperfect was the spirit's work of propping up the sons in Corinth to be fighting against the animal nature that was still living inside them. Specifically in this passage he's referring to prophesies, tongues and knowledge, which worked to allow them to initially believe. After a while they needed to move out from under that "crutch," because their reliance on the miraculous was tending toward keeping them from the better and higher thing that starts to become a part of the fabric of the son who is growing up into the Father. Knowing the Father and His purpose incrementally more fully and being fully known by Him is becoming engulfed by the love of His purpose. That we would know our place in that plan and purpose is the source of the son's new identity in the new way of the Father he has been born into.
I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
The hidden love comes from the knowledge of our identity, not just being guessed at or hoped for but understood, which can only come by moving along in the life that has been born into the son. It is very much like the food that the firstborn Son spoke of to the men who hadn't yet even been born into the Father's family, although the intention was present to make them sons. Doing the will of the Father goes against what the animal naturally wants, needs and craves to be doing. Doing what is pleasing to the Father (not pleasing to us) and starting to want to do that over what the animal wants to do all the time is moving into that area of the son who is taking food for himself, not just being fed the food of the miraculous all the time which can carry him along but only for so long.
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men (animals driven by instinct)?
A mere man is merely the animal in its native state—what all the humans develop into in their puberty phase. Then they grow more and more set in those ways until they expire. The sons of God are chosen and given the choice which they have to keep making, against the animal and for the Father. A significant number of the Corinthians (though not all of them) made the choice for the Father because they experienced so many miraculous things among themselves (cf. with the Israelites coming out of Egypt), but then they refused to "grow up," which meant denying their animal cravings and indulgences. That work is the cooperative effort that the son pitches in, to aid his transformation because in effect it is his true declaration that he wants to be a son and not an animal, even though it's so much easier just staying in the latter camp, fulfilling its instinctual modes that it keeps throwing up into the son's mind and heart.
I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast.
Paul's characteristic drive reflects the nature of the developed son without all the props he needs because of the old nature still inhibiting him from knowing and being fully known .Throughout this section and letter Paul's talking about the gifts of the spirit, which were provided to these humans to keep them believing in what couldn't be believed because of its character—being supernatural yet hidden, undeniable (in those in whom it existed) yet unverifiable and unlike any natural thing they could relate to. It was a thing that was so different from and against what these sons were able to accept and fully embrace that they needed all these gifts, which confirmed the life and brought them back to the place they kept straying from.
The mere man who wants to get something for himself reads about Paul and wants to attain to the same kind of "godliness," which is the excuse of so many self-appointed "teachers" of the lies of men (that they're doing the work of the gods). They stand up in front of their flock spewing lies about the jesus god, the spirit god and the devil god; about hell and the immortal soul and how all of the "good people" are all going to heaven. As they do it they collect that valuable currency of having their emotional and egotistical drive to survive satisfied by the gullible sheep who happily give pastor dumbass the payment he requires, because they also think they'll be getting something from the gods because of their conformity to that inane system, fully created and maintained by humans, for their sake in every way. Perhaps these men should go and get manager jobs somewhere, so they could have their underlings and satisfy that craving in a less dangerous way than by dispensing lies about the God they cannot know because they love the lies too much.
God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
The thing that Paul was trying to urge on them that was more important than the supernatural gifts that got their attention and carried them along for a time, was the unity of their community, the true brotherhood of the family of God. It was the fulfillment of the message that God wanted the Israelites to embrace—to love Him beyond and before everything else, and to treat their brothers with the same amount of love, care and respect with which they tend to their own needs, which is a direct attack against what was naturally in them because of the curse of the animal. It is the original impetus for him writing the letter, which he launches into just after the salutation in the first chapter, affirming the positive to them before introducing the problem to ease the blow of the criticism about what they were being carried away to doing and being, in the name of the God who chose to reveal Himself.
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."
This is a human thing to do, because the instinctual craving to be unique and different; the one who is right, better, special and good—in the context of this first century setting, necessarily and unfortunately at the expense of your brother—is so strong and powerful a component of the animal nature. The propensity to be the way we crave to be because of the instinct that we can't control will always tend to create the effect within the brotherhood that is opposite to that which the Father wanted from His own sons. Although for competitive animals living in a world full of the same it's the only mode to adhere to, because it's all that makes sense.
When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
Humans always want to be a certain way (first, not last) because of the drive of instinct to get that for themselves. It exists on such a hidden level that it isn't even apparent that it is anything at all, especially something to be observed about themselves. The way of the humans is to compete on such a level without that engagement in competition even being a thing, other than just the way it is, so why bring it up. The humans are all about attaining to a level of superior understanding about how the world works, as though it's something that pays some kind of dividends, when in the reality of their own observations, everything just becomes nothing, so in a rational sense—really, what's the point of all the constant effort. Yet they do not desist from their constant struggle to catch the wind.
In the world of the humans, the sons are last like little children or retarded people—not like the grown men who assume they're blessed because they're not like the one who seems slight—because it is the most powerful and living way to say that the nature that drives the humans is wrong, evil and must be denied in order to find the Father. The way of the humans is what the sons have to become separated from if they are to find their true Father and be known by Him.
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
That animal nature will make us require all sorts of "propping up" with the gifts of the miraculous supernatural events that first made us aware of this hidden life, and have brought us to the point where we are—still on the path that leads to the Father. This is the nature of the audience whom Paul is addressing in this letter (sons who needed to be propped up with gifts, who needed milk like babies instead of meat like more mature, stable sons). The new life that had come to these Corinthians was very confusing and difficult because of its nature of being so unfamiliar than what they knew or were able in their condition to accept. In other words, these were sons who needed a lot of this propping up with all these "gifts of the spirit," which isn't a bad thing because nothing given by God is bad. They were unwilling to become given over to the way of the more advanced son like Paul, who wasn't caught up in all the need for outward signs and wonders all the time because he was willing to be conformed. The gifts are ultimately to provide reassurance, so aren't the end-all of the life of the son, but more like something that helps him believe when it's too hard otherwise, because the life of the son is so different, unfamiliar and hard to accept and embrace. It is that which is the antithesis of what the humans have, so it is expected to be hard.
It wasn't that Paul didn't experience signs and wonders, or that what was living in Paul was base or normal. He was filled with the power of the life of God, what the humans cannot attain to unless it is specifically given to them. The life of the Father and the Son was living in Paul more strongly than the life and nature of the animal, so that Paul knew a more subtle, yet stable way of being as the Father wanted him to be—at peace with Him and the Son because he chose the right and rejected the wrong, and the new life was healthy and strong in him instead of the old way of the human, driven by the instincts of fulfilling its inherent cravings, lusts and needs, and appeasing all the animal fears. He didn't have to keep "laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death," because he didn't entertain the human things that wanted to lead him all the time. Therefore he could advance past that stage of repeatedly falling, repenting and being restored to a place of fellowship with the Teacher, which is what happens when we purposely choose to be carried away by the sinful nature, doing the things we've been personally instructed to refrain from by the voice of the Teacher who instructs us how to be good sons.
Paul had a peace with God because the ways of the animal were dropping off from him, and he was being driven by another nature, of the good son who was singular in his ambition to please the Father and the Son instead of himself, who knew that the only important thing was the true family of God. That's what he was trying to convince these Corinthian believers about, that for the animal everything matters and all day long it will be plagued with all the worries and distractions about how to satisfy its cravings and appease its fears (like making sure it was in the best, most right group). For the sons of God, nothing matters except the family. The only thing that matters is being in the place of being fully known by the Father, and knowing His singular purpose, finding the peace and love that comes with that knowledge of heart.
Getting to the point of becoming this—one who knows how to choose the right and reject the wrong because he possesses the nature of the son instead of the animal—comes from time spent listening to the Teacher inside him instead of the alternative, the only thing he ever heard before; the animal, the serpent, the adversary and deceiver. It comes from choosing the right and rejecting the wrong, which is the hard way because what is in us so loves and craves the wrong that to deny it is like purposely killing our selves. We can only do it if we see it for what it is instead of conspiring with it to hide it and what we are and want to hang on to from the Father, which is to choose the wrong and reject the right.
It's hard to see the enemy that we're fighting against, because the enemy is so close and dear to us. It isn't outside our selves, but inside us—in our thoughts as it was in Jesus' thoughts when it tempted him. It is the way we grew up into, what we learned and never would have suspected as anything bad unless we were visited by the Father who chose us out of the world to become His own sons, who are able to see what no one else can see because He is giving us eyes to see and ears to hear about the secret things that can lead us to Him. If not, we just remain as we were, human animals with all our instinctual senses and cravings intact, which will efficiently lead us through our natural existence until we are no more.
Fine for the humans because that nature accomplishes for them and for the Father what both need—a definite and distinct separation from each other—yet for the sons of God it is the enemy, the deceiver and adversary because of that very purpose it is designed to keep the humans away from God. So when it's still in the sons, they are effectively being kept away from the Father, and it has that negative, undesirable effect in them which has to be undone. That is the work of the life that is in them, the voice of the teacher, who is showing them the way to be that they are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with—the way to the Father that leads to a different place than all the other humans' path leads.
And he sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true.
I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
The disciples didn't fully believe Jesus when he told them this because the counselor and comforter who would instruct them in the truth about their true Father had not yet been given to them. He (the unseen life of the Father and Son) would allow them to be freed from their animal natures, that which was dictated by what they could see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their earthly minds. When the spirit came to live in them, he (Son and Father in pure spirit form) enlightened them to all of what the OT stories within the scriptures pointed to; that is, him—the fulfillment of what Joseph was a copy of.
The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.
The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.
That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
The vindication of everything Jesus said and did and the giving of the new covenant, the new way to please God and become His true people (sons), is manifested in Him raising Jesus from the grave, fulfilling His promise to Jesus by lifting him out of the prison of death, by the power only God has. That is the same power which also transforms us from dead to living. It moves us from the camp of mere human to son of God.
He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
And if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit, who lives in you.
Giving life to our mortal bodies, the bodies of mere men, means what once was defined by death, confined to this inferior creation where everything exists only to die will have life in it because our Father has promised us that He will remember us, as He remembered the firstborn Son. That life is not what the humans know as life, which is merely temporarily existing. That life begins with the seed of the spirit living in us, waking us up to the reality of the existence of God, albeit in another dimension altogether invisible and fleeting to the humans. Then it grows, and as it grows it gets bigger, and the old life gets smaller.
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,
But God found fault with the people and said:
"The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
The true house of Israel, those who will be raised, was not every last one of the humans who were born to the clans by an earthly ancestry. They are the ones who believed God and wanted Him more than what the others ran after (the human loves and aspirations). The true sons of Abraham were not his natural sons, but those who inherited his invisible traits, of seeing the God who was invisible, and believing what He said over what his natural faculties told him was true. Those who have the ability to believe and not shrink back are the true sons of Abraham, and the true house of Israel, the "descendants of Israel who will never cease to be a nation before God."
The new covenant is invisible, and the terms of it are secretly written on the hearts of those who have been chosen to have the Father revealed to them by the Son who is spirit and able to teach them powerfully by the living word, his invisible voice which can be perceived only by those who have been chosen to perceive it. They look just like the other ones to all who have not been given eyes to see. The difference is the spirit, living inside them, which they can recognize and the other ones who also possess it within them, those who have eyes to see the invisible God.
All of God's power now is invisible and secret, which makes everything extremely efficient. Either I have the authentic seal, deposit and guarantee living in me or I don't. There are no shades of maybe I'm saved or maybe I'm not, maybe I've done enough to please God or maybe I will be rejected. Those who have been chosen will know they have been chosen; not by what any of the humans tell them but by the voice of the living word who speaks inside them because he lives to tell them they are sons of God, and to teach them how to be good sons. He can communicate on a different level than that which is bound by physical limitations. When we hear the truth then we can understand the lie, that which all our life we assumed was truth. He speaks the truth, because he is the truth; God's word is truth, and he is God's word.
Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' "
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but Jesus the one and only Son, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.