Due to an impression in my spirit to present others with a brief account of the hope that is within as it has been revealed to me by the Lord, this is a formal testimony in the form of a statement of my faith pertaining to Eternal Life.
I of course believe, as do all true Christians that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ through the redemption of His blood sacrifice & not by good works or religion, but I have come to see that this is just the beginning of our salvation. Because we are a tri-partite being, all three parts have to be saved. Having a spirit, soul & a body it is our spirit that is saved at the point of our repentance and regeneration, while our soul ( the mind, will & emotions , which is also the center, source & container of our natural life) is in the process of being saved as we work out our salvation through the process of transformation while our body is to be saved (transfigured) at a later time.
Both our spirit in new birth & our body (at His return) are saved in an instant but our soul must go through a process in order to be made right. Positionally, our old man & nature has been terminated through the cross but it must be "worked out" in our experience through practical daily living in which we properly calibrate our way of living from that of the soul & the flesh to that of a spiritual man, from living by, for & to our own selves to that of living by, for & to the Lord for all things are from Him, through Him & to Him. Unfortunately we do not simply get saved & everything is made "right" when we die & go to heaven. This is a common but grave misconception from the pits of hell.
As a result, I believe that all Christians will be judged as referenced in Revelations & other scriptures, as to whether they have overcome the world & the flesh. Where-as one of the by-products of our very salvation should be the evidence of our consecration to God & His kingdom resulting in an alienation of this world & it's system being under the reign of Satan.
Those few saints who have overcome, will reign with Christ in the heavens during the millennium. The remainder will suffer after this life for the perfecting work concerning the soul. This explains the confusion over the many scriptures that seem to imply that salvation is not an absolute surety. (Note: At the point of our initial salvation we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a pledge & we surely know that what God says & does cannot be undone.)If we do not overcome in this life we do not lose our salvation but we do remain under a judgment in which we will suffer punishment & loss for having neglected so great a salvation. We are told that he who does not take up his cross & follow Him is not "worthy" of Him . When Christ took up His cross it was evident He forsook the will of His own soul & took upon Himself instead the will of the Father. It is implied as well that we do the same while we yet remain in our tent, our temporary dwelling in this world, no longer living for & according to the normal, or natural lusts & desires of mankind. There must therefore be evidenced in us a stark contrast between we & the rest of the world.
( This is contrary to today's popular teaching/philosophy that God wants to shower us with worldly blessings to our soul's content if only we will appropriate this by our faith, please or appease God (according to our own mind's thoughts), saying the right prayers, sowing monetary seed into human ministries, & etc. )
In this particular judgment of Christians , it is not based upon "works" but upon the source of our living in this world. If we continue to live by our soul & it's desires we do not abide in Christ & thus all works , no matter how seemingly good or fruitful will be lost in the fire. The main point or emphasis here therefore is not to be the works or even the fruit but the proper way of living or put another way, from what source we derive our life & living the soul or the spirit. Thus, the main point of recovery which the Lord wishes to accomplish in salvation is not simply justification that we be not condemned but rather imparting His life & glory into man. Thank God we are no longer under sentence but there must be a further work carried out in us for the saving to the uttermost.
Most Christians generally think of salvation as our being rescued & released from the punishment of hell for our sins & as a result we get to go to a utopian place called heaven where we & everyone & everything will be instantly made right. At best this is grossly over simplified & at worst it is the doctrine & devise of Satan to weaken & destroy God's children & to frustrate His manifold plan of recovering & glorifying all of His creation while rooting out the infectious cancer of Satan not only in man but throughout all heaven & earth.
This simple term then, that we loosely throw around (in heart & mind) is actually a very complex, comprehensive & manifold undertaking of God by which to deal with Satan & his damaging effects upon creation. God does not waste neither in work, nor time, nor in effects but all is wisely & efficiently calculated as One who sees, knows & possesses all & is being powerfully executed by His own divine council. It is far too complex to go into in detail but it is wonderful, marvelous, magnificent & majestic through & through. It was begun & completed by the alpha & the omega before the foundation of the world & yet within the dimension of time it is currently being played out wherein we ourselves are partakers of the church age just prior to the great tribulation. This leads me back to the main point of this letter concerning a thing we call salvation. It is a thing God calls Life. In all of creation there is both life & death. Death, whose origin & source is Satan is to be snuffed out, swallowed up & overcome by this very Life that has come into the world. That life is in you. It is God's remedy for Satan & the destruction of all that relates to death. Just as one puts out fire with water, so to God imparts His Life into you to snuff out Satan & his effects. This is more glorious & wonderful than what one could possibly articulate. It is the very mystery of godliness, it is Christ the Spirit in you. This is Life & this Life is God in Christ & Christ in you through the Holy Spirit residing in your spirit. Tragically though, this holy & magnificent treasure is encased within the deepest part of man unable to break through the hardened shell of the outer man by which Christ could be both served & made manifest & expressed in the world.
The reason for this is because the outer man , the soul, has now become an obstacle, a hindrance, & a stumbling block. Whereas before Christ, this soul-life was the only life we knew, it's all we had. After our new birth we gained a new Life, a much higher plane of life, a divine Life & this Life must now become the center & source of our life. (As it says, "In Him we live & move & have our being.) If we have a sense of resistance to this it is because of the "self" nature of the soul & it proves the scripture that the flesh sets itself against the spirit & the spirit against the flesh. One must give way to the other & this is only accomplished by a walk of faith in the accomplished work of the cross. The cross is God's predetermined remedy for dealing with the soul & it's life & then expressing Himself through man to the world to conquer Stan & the world. That is why Jesus said we must take up our cross, deny our soul-life & follow Him. This is the crucial point for all Christian's in dealing with the soul so that we may live & walk instead in our spirit. We are to be thus as one who presents himself to God as alive from the dead.
Our minds are further renewed by seeing the significance of baptism in which we pass from the world, leaving all behind (just as one who has died) & going unto the kingdom of God. Baptism is a symbolic testimony where we profess that we have left Egypt (the world & all it's goods) behind passing through the waters by God's mercy. From there we must pass through the wilderness unto the promised land. The wilderness represents our walk after our initial salvation while still on earth in our tent (temporary dwelling) & this walk is to be the further salvation of our soul unto transformation by faith so as to enter into the rest of God. This is a complete union & walk with the Spirit in our spirit. Just as not many entered in then, so today not many will do so. It is only a few, the first fruits, the overcomers, those who can lose themselves & gain Christ. Those who lose all, gain all. These are the 5 wise virgins who have the sufficient oil in their lamps but how few can lose all as they still look upon themselves & the things of this world with much affection. They simply cannot give up themselves & the world, considering all as loss so that they may gain Christ. We must see that Christ is the fruit of the tree of Life which we must eat for this ever nourishing Life. We must also see that we cannot eat from both trees at the same time. The 2 trees in the garden still remain as a choice we must all make. We stand in between the two & to partake of one or the other means we must go in one direction or the other. Either towards God in the spirit or towards Satan in the body. The soul stands in between & this movement is actually a move involving the transfer of our life & living from off center. We cannot go in two directions at the same time as it's either towards God or Satan ( & there is no other choice) , it's Life or death, blessing or curse, soul or spirit, light or darkness, the world or the Kingdom of God. These all concern the choice of the two trees. Hence, our daily choices of setting our minds on the things above, forsaking all & ever turning to the Lord in our spirit performs the very work of transforming our soul enabling God to permeate our soul with Himself. In doing thus, not only are we being saved to the uttermost, but in the very process we partake in His plan by manifesting & expressing His very life to the world. A testimony unto Life or death.
This world did not receive Christ in His day just as it does not today. The world is under the influence & reign of the anti-christ & is therefore in every way opposed to the kingdom of God. We may know that we are on the right path when we see that the world & all that is in it has lost it's savor & appeal to us & that more & more we are grieved as we walk through it feeling somewhat contaminated by it through it's contact with us. More & more we feel as aliens & strangers in this world since our very constitution within is changing to that of the Lord & His kingdom which is in stark contrast with this old world. For a Christian to love this world & it's glory is a very sad & tragic testimony. Just as it is impossible to be hot & cold at the same time, we cannot be a true Christian & love anything that is of this world for if anyone loves this world the love of the Father is not in him. As our Lord Himself was baptized ( not for sins ) but as a symbolic termination of His association with the world (just the same as one who has died) we too are told to follow Him in baptism & to lose our life in this world for His sake. If we do not & are not as the watchful virgins, not sober & alert & if not as little children we shall indeed suffer a great loss.
The enemy is very cunning & has introduced many doctrines into today's teachings which have served to almost make the church comatose. It is in a state of stupor, almost drunk on doctrines of demons which serve only to bind up Christians in a constant state of baby likeness. Christians today are ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth because they remain as a baby with constant need of milk as they cannot stomach or be nourished by the deeper working of Christ within. Instead, they rely upon the teachings, wisdom & philosophies of men neatly re-packaged with Christian verbiage. along with constant motivation & encouragement from one another to go on because they do not possess the living way. These strive to be & do good in a Christ-like way but by the power of the soul (mind, will, & emotions), hoping & praying that God will give them some additional power to go along with theirs so that they may become fruitful in their outward behavior or else they pray that God will give them the attributes of Christ (love, joy, peace, patience, & etc.) which He absolutely will not do. He cannot because He has only one way which is to graft Christ into us so that He Himself lives in us becoming our very life. Thus the new tree itself issues forth in real & genuine fruit. These however do err in trying the wrong way around by making the fruit good instead of making the tree good first. These then, do not walk in the spirit which is nothing less than walking by Christ's very life. This life does not need motivation or effort nor even great philosophical or theological learning or mastery on our part. To remain in a soulish state prevents Christians from having eyes to see & discern the deep truths of God no matter how much we study as all things are hidden from the mind of man as evidenced by Jesus telling Peter that flesh & blood did not reveal this to him (Him being the Christ) but it was only revealed by the Holy Spirit.
One cannot progress as long as he remains a soulish, carnal, worldly person. One must have an unfettered heart & a renewed mind in order to grow into spiritual maturity & this cannot happen within today's Christendom because of it's love of & attachment to the prosperity & natural things in this world. This love holds one in their soul & in the realm of the world. This maintains a veil separating us from the Lord in our spirit. We cannot be hot & cold at the same time, we cannot serve two masters & we cannot live out from the soul & spirit at one time. One of Satan's tactics today was introduced (as are most if not all) as a seemingly "good" Christian-like anecdote which is that we should love the Lord first, this second, that third & so on. First of all this is a virtual impossibility. All we can do is turn our hearts to the Lord & let Him direct our hearts accordingly by His mighty power & indwelling Life. If this takes His Life & power ( & we know it does) then how could we possibly have the power sufficient enough to not only love but to put all things in their proper order. This is still the work of the soul-life in self effort. We cannot & must not do this. We must be clear on this point that Christ is the answer, the anecdote, the sum of all things. God has only one answer for all man's concerns & ills & that is Christ & Him in you. When He looks upon on us He is to see Christ , if indeed we abide in Him. Abiding in Him in the proper way means that it is no longer I who live but Christ living in me. This is Christ & it is the only way. It is not that God distributes Christ's attributes to us but that through the relinquishing of our soul along with it's desires & it's limited powers (I.e. the mind, will & emotions) God imparts Christ's very life into us. Thus we are transformed from merely a soulish man ( as the rest of the world) to a spirit led man. To walk in the spirit is the only safe way for a Christian as all scripture is only spiritually discerned. God has hidden the way & the truth & the life from the hearts & minds of the carnal Christian man so that those who desire Him must swim against the tide & the masses, they must be willing to lose their life to find it.
Concerning scripture, we would do well to learn a lesson from Eve's encounter with Satan in not allowing our thoughts & affections to drift away from God & to drift away from or in adding or subtracting anything from what the Lord has actually said, as one of his old tricks is to twist or subvert God's word & it's meaning. To Eve Satan proposed a question about God's command saying "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?". This was a trick to pull her thinking & complete reliance upon God away. It was a challenge so successful that she replied in defiance "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. " She was so induced to challenge this command that she even lied in adding the words "neither shall ye touch it" to make the commandment seem even more incredulous. Here Satan first induced her to reason things out on her own apart from God. By appealing to her mind (her reasoning powers) , her will (in choosing) & emotions (through the faculties of taste, sight, feel, smell & even hearing) by means of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, Satan caused her soul to be stimulated & enlarged to the point of utilizing it exclusively, apart from God. Satan's deliberate plot was simply to get man to move from the position of total reliance upon God to utilizing the full potential of his own soul's innate powers along with this added knowledge of good & evil to enable himself to live as he himself chooses & determines apart from God. This tree actually represented all that Satan stood for & by eating of it implied complicity with Satan. By eating this fruit, Satan then entered man's body becoming metabolically infused into his being. Sin is the rebellion & disobedience to God, therefore Satan is the origin of sin & he caused man to side with him in the same manner making man sinful flesh. Because the body is in direct contact with the soul, it too was effected by Satan causing it to become the "self" nature in man, very much apart from & opposed to God. This Satan within us is what God must "undo" & it is accomplished by & through Christ by way of our being in Him through His cross, death, burial, resurrection, & glorification. With Satan having forcibly entering us causing our soul to be in conformity with His world & it's system it constituted us as enemies of God. ("As friendship with the world is enmity with God" & also "that which is highly thought of & desired by man is detestable to God.) God, on the other hand , in order to deal with & cancel out the works of Satan in man, rather appeals to the hearts of man in love, whereby those who respond favorably are instantly, miraculously & mysteriously reborn in the spirit. Whereupon God seals the Holy Spirit in us & proceeds to spread Himself outward from the innermost part of man in his spirit so as to transform the soul also into conformity with His divine Life which is on an infinitely higher plane of life. Here we can see the war between God & Satan being waged & fought within manall men. Satan already being in all men trying to manipulate & control them for his will in man's body & soul while God is appealing to all the hearts of men so as to enliven their deadened spirit. Herein the battle lines are drawn; those who reject God's loving provision for salvation are for Satan & his will. All that men need do to perform Satan's will is to reject God &/or to live by the soul-life. In this way even a soulish Christian can be on Satan's side & do his will. Sadly, few Christians side with God by turning from the soul-life to the spirit. Those who do are they that run the race so as to win the prize. The prize is the manifestation & expression of His Life through us. This is eternal life, to know God. To know God is to experience Him in this manner. The reward for doing so is also to reign with Him in the Millennial reign. These true over comers are rewarded by being chosen for this special task in God's furtherance of His recovery of all creation in that age. This is unfortunately where the soulish, worldly Christians will suffer loss & punishment.
Today' s prosperity teaching is a perfect example of Satan's stratagem. There are plenty of scriptures that can be twisted or manipulated enough to support the doctrine & it is very easily received because it appeals to our soulish, fleshly nature. Satan's purpose is well served in the process because it keeps men in a soulish state & thus impossible for them to become spiritual. Satan knows a man cannot seek the world & the kingdom at the same time & he knows very well through centuries of experience that one who pursues the things of the world will remain in a carnal, soulish state because where your treasure is there your heart will be also.
Another stratagem of Satan is through knowledge. We must be careful even when we touch scriptural knowledge because this relates to the tree of knowledge. We think that becoming a learned person in the word makes us mature & spiritual just as one can study in college to the point that he earns a degree. Having this knowledge learned thus makes him a physician, lawyer, engineer, professor & etc. This principle does not apply however in spiritual matters . It is somewhat like a man learning everything there is about sheep & then even attempting to live among them but he can never be one because it is a matter of constitution & life. Learning scriptures, teachings & doctrines does not necessarily change one's constitution it may even merely enlarges the mind of the soul. I myself have read many so-aptly-called self-help Christian books concerning how to live a proper life to the point that one day I realized that this would be a never ending need for a person as we know very little about the proper way to live. Psychologists are constantly dissecting every aspect of proper human behavior but even so one must inevitably come to the conclusion that acquiring the knowledge on behavior is not only never ending but that it does not contain any power to achieve the thing which is taught, learned & sought after. A crude illustration would be one who thoroughly studied all the intricacies of the game of football with all it's schemes, techniques & nuances. No matter how well he learned all these things, at the most all he could do with this knowledge would be to coach or teach others the game he would not be thus qualified to be an accomplished football player in his experience. Just as well, one could study to the point of being a scholar concerning Christ & yet still not possess Christ as his way of living. We can easily see this by the history of the so-called spiritual leaders in Jesus' day as they we were very learned & even had a religious zeal & yet could not recognize the one which all scripture was about. We must be careful here not to be arrogant about this because the same thing that kept them from recognizing this man as being God is the very same thing that may keep us from truly knowing or experiencing Christ in our spirit. We must clearly see that knowledge & even desire for God can be miss-placed & lead us into error. It is only those who seek God as He is in truth according to His terms & conditions that find Him. Jesus asked His disciples who men said that He was & they all had many opinions according to their own learning, biases & emotions. Peter knew & declared who He was & to this Jesus replied that this was not something that men could learn or acquire by learning but that it had to be revealed by the Holy Spirit. This is a crucial, fundamental point which we cannot afford to miss. If we miss this point we do not qualify to begin on our journey down the narrow path that leads to life. All spiritual things can only be seen through enlightenment by God. The point is that we must walk down the narrow, constricted path, being in the light as He is in the light. The world & all in it are in darkness, unable to see the light of the truth. If we are in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship & we may then begin to see & to know in that light. The light is in our spirit & the entrance is veiled by our soulish, worldly life. This must be dealt with so that we might truly abide in Him & He in us.
We must determine therefore, that from here on out we run the race so as to win the prize & enter into His rest. In a simplified way, we do this by taking up our cross & denying the selfish soul-life which cannot hear, see, know or experience God. In practical terms this means setting our hearts & minds on the things above forsaking all else & seeking only Him as our treasure. We seek Him & become nourished, built up, strengthened & established in spirit through being in a constant state of prayer, reading the word in the spirit, calling upon His name continually not only for help, but for guidance, for power, for servitude & for His will, by helping & serving others (within our own sphere), by listening to & reading proper & sound teachings about the Life & the church Life & being careful (sober & alert) to recognize & stay away from thoughts, words, sights & all other things which would serve to stimulate one's soul & thus entangle & enslave him therein. The extent to which we do these things, we also are brought into the spirit, the Holy of Holies wherein God resides & become partakers not only of Him & His Life but also the working out of His purpose & plan in the full recovery & glorification of His kingdom. To God be the glory & the power & the dominion & the kingdom forever. Come Lord Jesus.
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