the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
We are learning what it means to be a son of God, realizing God’s great
plan and purposes involved. One of
the most important rights of sonship is that of inheritance.
Heirship depends entirely upon our relationship with God.
When we were born again, born of God, we became children of God and
consequently potential inheritors of
all that pertains to our Almighty Father. One
inherits in the country of his parentage and according to the laws of that land.
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that in order to enter into the Kingdom of
God human beings have to be born again — of the Spirit.
The Kingdom of God is the realm or land of our inheritance, and that
great land is entered by birth. It
is there in the land of the Kingdom of God that we are able to see, enter,
possess and inherit Christ as our All-in-all.
Sometimes when a person inherits money or an estate, conditions are laid
down which must be fulfilled before that person can receive his inheritance.
That principle is also true in the Kingdom of God.
For instance, one of the conditions in the Kingdom is that the full
inheritance is given only upon our reaching spiritual maturity.
Another condition is overcoming the world, the flesh, and the devil.
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and he shall be my son”
(Rev. 21:7). To be poor
in spirit is yet another condition for inheriting, as Jesus taught,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat.
5:3). We must also undergo a mighty
change in order to receive our
inheritance, for “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor.
15:50). Only those who possess the
spirit of ministering to and serving
their needy brethren and the groaning creation shall have any inheritance in the
Kingdom, for it was to those who saw the Lord hungry, and gave Him food; who saw
the Lord thirsty, and gave Him drink; who saw the Lord naked, and clothed Him;
who saw the Lord sick, and visited Him, and in prison, and went to Him; it is to
these that the King says, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mat.
There are four classes of people in relation to the Kingdom of God today.
There are those who see the Kingdom. Then
there are those who enter the Kingdom.
After that there are some who press their way in to possess
the Kingdom. And finally there is a
people that inherits the Kingdom.
To see the Kingdom is vision or revelation.
To enter the Kingdom is exploration, as when the
spies went in and spied out the land of Canaan. To possess the Kingdom means appropriation,
as when Joshua led the children of Israel to conquer the land.
And to inherit the Kingdom is to fully
and permanently utilize all of its riches, abundance, provisions and position; and to fulfill all of its
responsibilities and exercise all of its powers, as Israel did once the land
was fully possessed. That is
the power and glory of inheritance in the Kingdom of God!
POOR IN SPIRIT
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
(Mat. 5:3). It seems strange to say
that the poor in spirit inherit the Kingdom of Heaven; rather it would seem that
the rich in spirit should inherit the Kingdom!
There is a great depth here that can only be plumbed by the wisdom of
God. The things of the spirit are
always contrary to the logic of the natural mind. Only when we are willing to reject our minds and our wisdom
does God draw nigh to us and give us light, true light. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because
they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).
It is in that glorious sermon called “The Sermon on the Mount” that
Jesus reveals this great truth. The
Sermon on the Mount announces the laws or principles of the Kingdom of God.
The giving of the Kingdom of Heaven to the poor
in spirit sets the tone for these laws.
To be poor in spirit does not mean to be lacking in spirit, but indicates
an attitude of heart. The Greek
word used for poor is PTOCHOS. It
is one of two words for “poor” in the Greek language.
While the other word, PENES, is used to describe one who has fewer
possessions, and has to work hard for a living, the word PTOCHOS describes the
man who has absolutely nothing at all. It
means a pauper or a beggar. It has
connections with the root word PROSSEIN which means to couch or cower.
It describes the poverty of one who has been beaten to his knees.
To be “poor in spirit” is to become like Jesus, who “made Himself
of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7). For,
“though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor
(pstchos), that ye through His poverty
might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9).
Ah, we cannot come to be taught of God feeling within ourselves that we
are understanding, we are wisdom, we are power, we are
creators, we are kings and rulers, or
that we have anything that commends
itself to God. We must be poor
in spirit, poor in attitude — unclothed of self.
The word “spirit” is used many times to describe an attitude of heart
or a state of mind. If we say of someone, “He has a good spirit,” we don’t
mean that he has an holy angel or a well-mannered ghost living inside of him.
We mean that he has a good attitude, disposition, temperament,
personality, demeanor, and expression. The
beatitudes are just that — attitudes of being. They
are the BE-ATTITUDES, the very attitudes the sons of God must become. Jesus said in effect, “The attitude of a poor person is the
same attitude that will help you to inherit the Kingdom of God.”
But He does not mean by this that we are to be spiritually
destitute! We must realize that
we are the “branch” dependent upon the Root and the Vine just as the
firstborn Son testified of Himself, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son
can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things
soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
I can of mine own self do nothing:
as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek
not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (Jn.
5:19,30). It follows then that the
poor in spirit are actually the rich in spirit!
Poor in spirit means “renounced in spirit.”
Yielding up everything of self — selfishness,
self-assertiveness, self-interest — that we may gain
Christ. One Greek scholar has said
that poor in spirit comes closer in the Greek to mean “teachable in spirit.”
Ah, that hits the nail on the head!
“Blessed are the teachable in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of
Heaven.” Have you ever observed
one who knows everything (in his own estimation), how far from happiness and
fulfillment he really is? Being
rich in his own eyes he is extremely impoverished, for no one can add of their
wealth to him. The poor in spirit
are poor enough to receive — they are receptive
in spirit, willing to break old habits and ways and thought- patterns and
mind-sets and take new ones. Right
on the threshold of the Kingdom of God we encounter an act of renunciation from
the deepest depths of our being. This
is just the opposite of the sociology and psychology being taught in the
colleges and universities. In many
schools they teach “self-assertiveness,” “take,” and “realize.”
But the Kingdom of God will not sanction such concepts.
To be happy and blessed you must be poor
in spirit, renounced in spirit, teachable
in spirit, pliable in spirit, and receptive
in spirit. Receptive to all that
God is, to all that God does, and
to all that God is saying by His Spirit. You
must be pliable in the Master’s
hands at all times and in all situations. You
must have an ear to hear, and a heart to respond.
You must know and think and be nothing of yourself.
You don’t just belong to the Kingdom, and you don’t bring anything to
the Kingdom. But the Kingdom is
yours! All the resources of the
Kingdom are at the disposal of the renounced-poor-teachable-pliable-receptive.
The Kingdom is within you, and it also reaches to the lowest hell and
beyond the farthest star. All the
powers of the Kingdom are centered
in you, not in your self, but in Christ
your life. “It is no longer
I, but Christ that liveth in me.” That
is the glory of the poor in Spirit!
The saintly George MacDonald has beautifully expressed the truth in these
inspiring words: “The poor, the beggars in spirit, the humble men of heart,
the unambitious, the unselfish; those who never despise men, and never seek
their praises; the lowly, who see nothing to admire in themselves, therefore
cannot seek to be admired of others; the men who give themselves away —
are the freemen of the Kingdom, these are the citizens of the New Jerusalem.
The men who are aware of their own essential poverty; not
the men who are poor in friends, poor in influence, poor in acquirements, poor
in money, but those who are poor in spirit, who feel themselves poor creatures; who know nothing to be pleased with
themselves for, and desire nothing to make them think well of themselves; who
know that they need much to make their life worth living; these humble ones are
the poor whom the Lord calls blessed. The
gate of the Kingdom begins to open to such a man.
“Whatever such a man has attained to, he straightway forgets; it is
part of him and behind him. His
business is with what he has not, with the things that lie above and before him.
The man who is proud of anything he thinks he has reached, has not
reached it. He is but proud of
himself, and imagining a cause for his pride.
If he had reached, he would already have begun to forget.
He who delights in contemplating whereunto he has attained, is not merely
sliding back; he is already in the dirt of self-satisfaction.
The gate of the Kingdom is closed, and he outside.
The man who does not house self has room to be his real self — God’s eternal idea of him. He lives eternally; in virtue of the creative power present
in him with momently unimpeded creation, he is.
How should there be in him one thought of ruling or commanding or
surpassing! He can imagine no
bliss, no good in being greater than some one else.
He would lift every man to the embrace of the Father.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they are of the same spirit as God,
and of nature the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs”
DOES NOT INHERIT...
The apostle Paul by the wisdom of the Spirit given to him, said, “Now
this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;
neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (I Cor. 15:50).
If there is one lesson we are learning from all the sex scandals,
unethical conduct, fraud and financial
shenanigans coming out of the government in Washington it is the lesson of the
depravity of the human nature and the corruption of the carnal mind. The carnal manifestations that have come out of the religious
systems over the past couple decades are not one whit better than the events in
Washington or what is transpiring in the vilest section of an inner city.
We are disgusted with the fleshiness and corruption on every hand, and I
am sure I get an “Amen” from many who read these lines.
Corruption of one kind or another has destroyed the Lord’s people as
well as His temple except for the holy
remnant. Corruption cannot inherit the Kingdom of God! Therefore
there must be a mighty victory over corruption in the life of every one who
cherishes the beautiful hope of sonship. We
must be changed!
The perfect example we have been given of one who has been changed into
the full glory of the Kingdom of God is Jesus.
He is the first Son to overcome the dominion of corruption, and He is our
example. As Jesus conquered by the
Spirit of Life from God, so is it given to every one of His younger brothers to
overcome in this day. To be
changed, we must be cleansed and purged of every vestige of the carnal mind and
every work of the flesh. Our
omnipotent Lord who lives within us is completing the work He began when He
saved us by His grace. He is
bringing us to completion and perfection by manifesting the power of the Kingdom
of God within us. Christ is
reigning in mighty power upon the throne of our lives, by the Spirit.
When He has completed His cleansing, purifying, transforming work within
us, we shall be fully prepared for the last trump transformation — the
redemption of our body. Paul wrote
to the Romans, telling them that the whole creation travaileth in pain together
for deliverance from the bondage of
corruption. But I must remark
that the corruptibleness of “flesh and blood” — the body —
but an infinitesimal part of the great and dreadful realm of corruption.
The Holy Spirit, speaking through the apostle Peter, has given us these
blessed words of divine understanding. “According
as His divine power has given us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these
ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped
the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:3-4).
The Amplified Bible renders verse four, “By means of these He has
bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them
you may escape from the moral decay, rottenness and corruption that is in the world because
of covetousness (lust and greed) and become sharers of the divine nature.”
And J. B. Phillips has beautifully translated, “It is through this
generosity that God’s greatest and most precious promises have become
available to us men, making it possible for you to escape
the inevitable disintegration that lust produces in the world and to share
in God’s essential nature.” Corruption
is thus far more than the aging process in our mortal bodies which eventually
leads to physical death and dissolution.
The word corruption is from the Greek PHTHORA meaning “to destroy by
bringing into a worse state or inferior condition.”
According to Romans 8:20-21, the whole creation, animate and inanimate,
is subject to the bondage of corruption. Corruption
is so universal and absolute that it was formalized about one hundred years ago
into a fundamental law now called The Second Law of Thermodynamics.
This law states that “all systems,
if left to themselves, tend to become degraded and disordered, and
deteriorate.” Physical systems,
whether watches or suns, eventually wear out.
Organisms grow old and die. Instead
of life and growth there is decay and death.
There is no permanency in anything physical.
This universal law of the cosmos is diametrically opposed to the theory
of evolution which supposes a progressive improvement and refinement of living
From the very heart of events from the dawn of creation this law of
corruption has been manifested in the things that are made.
The fall of Adam into sin, separation, sorrow, pain and death, is the
very first sad example of the law of corruption. Man has ever been the object of God’s solicitude and care.
Man came from the hand of God created in His image and likeness, crowned
with glory and honor, and given dominion over all the works of God’s hands.
Gradually, however, subjected as he was to this gross material realm,
formed of the dust of the ground, the cycle of his career turned downward from
his high plane upon which God had placed him, until he reached the depths of
disaster. The race of Cain was a
filthy, perverted race; they were hateful and violent and they were murderers.
They were boastful and vile in the extreme, and would have nothing to do
with the God that made them. They
were the offspring of a murderer who slew his brother.
They filled the earth with their lust, violence, and evil, until even the
righteous line of Seth was corrupted and they were so bad that the scripture
says that “their thoughts” and all the “intents of their hearts” were
“only evil continually.” They
were so bad that God could not wait for them to die, and another generation to
arise, but in order to re-establish some order in the earth He had to sweep all
of them off the earth into hell.
Noah alone, out of all the families of the earth, was perfect in his
generation and found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
His uncles and aunts were not righteous. His brothers and sisters were not righteous.
His cousins and nephews and nieces were not righteous.
They were all corrupt. How
do we know this? They were all
swept away in the judgment of the flood! Only
eight souls out of an entire civilization were spared.
Righteousness started afresh in the earth with Noah and his seed.
But this did not help, for man’s one obsession and inborn trait all
through the centuries has been rebellion and backsliding and faithlessness.
And so again God made a new provision.
So far, His saints had freely mixed with the world.
But now He purposed to segregate them from the world.
He purposed to remove them from the idolatrous influence of the ungodly.
And so, beginning with Abraham, He began this segregation.
He called Abraham out from the world and promised him a land, an
inheritance. When once in this
land, his seed were to destroy completely, even to the last man, the heathen who
dwelt there. “Thou shalt save
alive nothing that breatheth: but thou shalt utterly destroy them.”
Here was a truly remarkable and wholly new provision.
For in Egypt God took His church and made a nation of them.
And then He led them out of Egypt with many infallible signs and wonders
and miracles. He divided the sea
for them: the same sea in which their enemies perished.
He gave them a tabernacle and sanctuary, patterned after the true
Sanctuary on High, and there He condescended to have His very presence dwell
among them continually. He gave
them a perfect set of national laws written by the finger of God Himself on
stone. He showed them His power.
He fed them with manna from heaven.
He preserved their clothing and shoes throughout the whole period of
forty years of wanderings in the wilderness.
And yet, in spite of God’s manifest love and care, their very first
act, when Moses left them to go up into the mount of God, was to make a golden
calf and fall down to it! Talk
Read the account of their sojourn in the wilderness.
Read the accounts of their idolatry after they entered their own land.
Yes, the first thing they did upon coming into their promised land was
the exact opposite of what God commanded them.
Instead of destroying their enemies completely, they began making
covenants with them. No wonder God
says concerning them, “But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the
wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments...and
my sabbaths they greatly polluted” (Eze. 20:13).
No wonder God says, “I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out
my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and
would none of my reproof...they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of
the Lord” (Prov. 1:24-29). And
friend, human nature has not changed one particle in all the years.
Believers as a whole (the popular church) are just as wayward and
rebellious now as they ever were. God’s
church has ever been “a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not
good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoketh me to anger continually
to my face” (Isa. 65:2-3). And it
was not to the fleshly Israel of old, but the New Testament Church that the Lord
Jesus sent this piercing rebuke, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against
thee...remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the
first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy
candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. Thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who
taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat
things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight
against them with the sword of my mouth. I
know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or
hot. So then because thou art
lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Obviously, the law of corruption was still at work!
Let us go on. God intended
that His saints, as long as they obeyed Him and walked with Him, should be
masters of the earth. They were:
that is, until God, because of their sins and backslidings, had to cut them off.
He was very lenient with them. He
made more than one new provision following their rebellions from Him.
He gave them every consideration and every opportunity to reign over the
earth. For did not He tell them
that if they would hearken unto Him, “thou shalt be blessed above all
people”? (Deut. 7:14). “And the
Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised
thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high
above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour”
(Deut. 26:18-19). “If thou shalt
hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God...the Lord thy God will
set thee on high above all nations of the earth” (Deut. 28:1). Ah, here was great provision made which would enable God’s
people to dominate the whole world! And
they did enjoy that heritage of power and honor for a time.
Consider the Patriarchs, and Job. Consider
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, of whom God witnessed that they were very great.
And then consider king David, and consider king Solomon in all his glory,
a glory so resplendent that even the Queen of Sheba witnessed, “Howbeit I
believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it, and, behold,
the half was not told me: the wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I
heard” (I Kings 10:7).
But then there came a change. A
new order was introduced. For, in
spite of all of God’s provisions and blessings, His people went from bad to
worse. And here is the result,
foretold by Moses in the wilderness. He
told them that if they would not keep God’s commandments then, instead of
being masters of the earth, “the Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before
thine enemies...thou...SHALT BE REMOVED INTO ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE EARTH”
(Deut. 28:15-25). Of all the
physical proofs of the inspiration and infallible accuracy of the prophecies of
the Bible, there is no proof that can compare to that great sign of signs which
is the NATION OF ISRAEL. In 721
B.C. the northern house of Israel was carried into captivity into Assyria and
consequently disappeared from the page of history so suddenly and completely it
was as though the land of their captivity swallowed them up.
Historically, however, the ten tribes escaped their captivity and through
various migrations became scattered throughout the continent of Europe, just as
the Lord had said.
The house of Judah finally experienced the same fate. Some thirty-five years after Jesus prophesied the destruction
of Jerusalem, the wrath was poured out. Jerusalem
fell, and great was the fall thereof! Signal,
terrible, and unparalleled was the Jewish war, ending with the siege and capture
of Jerusalem by the Roman general, Titus. It
needs a pen dipped in fire and in blood to write the story in its true colors!
The sufferings and miseries that overtook the Jewish nation in that age,
are all but indescribable, the very record of them is appalling.
And they have been scattered for two millenniums through all nations just
as the Lord said. In this sordid
picture of the unceasing degeneration of the human race, as well as God’s own
people, we receive the unimpeachable testimony of the universal LAW OF
CORRUPTION. Ah, my beloved, if you
think corruption refers only to the mortal body, you are badly mistaken.
It runs much deeper than that. Science
states that “all systems, if left to themselves, tend to become degraded and
disordered, and deteriorate.” God
puts it this way: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall
come. For men shall be lovers of
their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to
parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false
accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors,
heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of
godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Tim.
Oh what a stormy sea the world has sailed from Adam’s transgression
until now! What indescribable
travail the earth has seen under the curse of bondage
to corruption! And not just
man, not alone the earth, but the whole
creation was made subject to this vanity and it is the whole creation that
now groans with a sort of universal travail, waiting for the sons of God to
reach the glory and honor of adoption, waiting for the transfigured family of
sons at last to speak the wonderful words of life and deliverance.
In the throes of corruption all things are propelled by the swirling
momentum of the downward spiral to
destruction, utterly helpless and powerless to invent any method of preventing
the ultimate catastrophe.
The dark foreboding and terror of every creature and all things is not
unlike that of the victim of punishment by the Hohenstaufen house in Germany.
One of the methods of punishment, it is said, was to incarcerate the
victim in a luxuriously appointed room. Instead
of feeling any special remorse, he was rather delighted with his lot.
In a day or two, however, the prisoner realized his illusionment.
He noticed, as he arose each morning, that the walls had slightly
contracted. At first he could
scarcely conceive of it. He
examined the space closely and found his fears verified.
He watched the movement very closely, and sure enough, they were
gradually contracting. In oiled and
silent grooves these heavy metal walls were gradually drawing closer and closer.
He was startled, and placed all manner of objects to check the oncoming
tide. But it was all in vain.
The walls were irresistible in their progress.
It dawned upon him that this beautiful luxurious room was a deceptive
When he realized that this comfortably and beautifully furnished room
was to be his death cell and the place of his doom, invariably cold
perspiration poured out of his temples and he cried out frantically for help.
But no response came. The
metal walls simply gave back a hollow echo and continued to draw closer. When the furniture had been demolished by the pressure and
the walls had come so close he could not do anything but stand upright, he
placed his back to the wall, and bracing himself with his hands and feet, he
tried with one superhuman effort to withstand his doom. But the walls were not to be gainsaid; they were not to be
denied of their prey. Finally the
walls crushed him to death. Is this
not the sense of every man who beholds the ravishing power of corruption in his
body? As old age appears, with its
multiplied physical weaknesses, degeneration, ailments and limitations, they
feel themselves crowded to the wall and think they are daily approaching their
fatal and final end. Unable to make
any further resistance, they passively submit themselves to the inevitable and
slip away quietly from this world. Behold
in this, my friend, the awesome power of the BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION!
The crumbling ruins of ancient civilizations buried beneath the swirling
sands of ages bear silent testimony to the unrelenting power of corruption. Proud
empires which like the towering mount Everest dominated the lives and fortunes
of multitudes of men and vast stretches of global real estate, have disappeared
from even the memory of those now dwelling upon the earth.
In the afterglow of a thousand battlefields, in the shattered dreams of
kings and world conquerors, in the light of treachery, moral decay, and
spiritual bankruptcy, the word of God standeth invincibly true.
Mighty empires and nations that with the vaunted pride of wealth,
commerce, education, refinement, and disciplined armies controlled the souls of
men have all eventually fallen and crumbled to dust beneath their own weight,
becoming like the dust of a summer threshing floor and the wind blew them away.
The universe itself is no less subject to the bondage of corruption.
As a recent article in Discover magazine reported, six or seven billion years from now the
sun will begin to die, but it will not die alone. When the sun runs out of hydrogen fuel at its core and begins
burning the hydrogen, helium, and heavier elements in its outer layers, it will
swell tremendously, expanding out to earth's orbit. In its death throes it will swell into a red giant star,
engulfing and incinerating Mercury, Venus, and Earth. Life on earth — if indeed any still exists — will surely
end. A like fate awaits every star
and planet in every solar system in all the two hundred billion known galaxies
that make up the universe. Everything
is winding down and burning out. In
the light of this solemn knowledge let us reflect again upon the Holy Spirit’s
sacred message of hope and deliverance, “For the earnest expectation of the
creation waiteth for the manifestation of
the sons of God. For the
creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who
hath subjected the same in hope. Because
the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious
liberty of the children of God. For
we know that the whole creation
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to
wit, the redemption of our body”
(Rom. 8:19-23). Lift up your heads
and rejoice! O creation — the sun will not
burn itself out, the earth will not be
incinerated, the universe will not
collapse, the myriad worlds scattered through space will not pass away, because the creation itself shall also be delivered
from the bondage of corruption into the
glorious liberty of the sons of God! What
a word! What a hope!
Universal deliverance from the
bondage of corruption! The reversal
of the Second Law of Thermodynamics! No
wonder the earnest expectation of all creation WAITS FOR THE MANIFESTATION OF
THE SONS OF GOD! Hallelujah!
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither does
corruption inherit incorruption. The
message is clear — we must be changed!
That is what it means. Mortal
flesh and corrupted blood cannot inherit the Kingdom realm of God.
As long as our bodies remain in the vile form they are now in, they
cannot inherit that eternal sphere. “Neither
doth corruption inherit incorruption.” Standing
alone these words sound as though that which is corruptible is beyond hope.
The body of corruption would go to the grave with no hope of resurrection
or change forever. And it would
mean exactly that were it not for the qualifying message that follows.
“Behold, I show you a mystery...this
corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality. So
when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have
put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory” (I Cor. 15:50-54).
No one can deny it — we must be changed, spirit, soul, and body!
Only by a mighty quickening of divine life can soul and body inherit the
Kingdom. The apostle does not say
that the body cannot inherit the
Kingdom, merely that flesh and blood
cannot inherit the Kingdom. The
word of God has made it very clear that our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,
“shall change our vile body, that it
may be fashioned like unto His glorious
body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all
things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:21). The
vile body of flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, but the changed body
does indeed inherit the Kingdom. Oh,
the mystery of it!
Very few of the Lord’s people understand the great truth that there are
two bodies, but the truth is that
“there is a NATURAL BODY, and there
is a SPIRITUAL BODY” (I Cor.
15:44). Many seem to think that the
spiritual body will be the natural body changed or transformed.
But that is not what the apostle tells us.
It is not said that there IS a natural body, and some glad day after
while there SHALL BE a spiritual body. No!
“There IS a natural body, and there IS a spiritual body.”
Both bodies are a present tense reality.
The natural body is the body of the outward man, whereas the spiritual
body is the body of the inward man. That
is why Paul in another place assures us, “Though our outward man perish, yet
the inward man is renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16).
The outward-man has a body and that body is perishing — we all know
that! But few understand that the inward-man also has a body that
is renewed, being raised up within us,
day by day. The outer-man body is
the flesh and blood body inherited from Adam.
The inner-man body is the glorious resurrection body of Jesus Christ
inherited from Him. Just as the
outer-man body is not given to us “ready-made,” but following conception in
our mother’s womb is gradually formed
over a number of months, and continues to be formed for years until we reach
adulthood; so the inner-man body is not given to us “ready made,” but
subsequent to our begettal as children of God the spiritual resurrection body of
Jesus is formed in us by the life of Christ raised up in us, progressively
fashioned as we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” And just as the outer-man body is from earth, so the
inner-man body is from the Lord from heaven.
The first is a natural and earthly body; the second is a spiritual and
The inner-man body is the spiritual body.
The inner man body is our house from heaven. So the apostle continues by showing how it is that the
inner-man body exists even if the outer-man body is dissolved or passes away.
But God’s highest purpose is that the outer-man body be
caught up into, and swallowed up by,
the inner-man body. Hear what the
Holy Spirit would teach us in these words of wisdom and understanding: “For we
know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (the outer-man body) were
dissolved (dies, decays), we (still) have
a building of God (the inner-man body) eternal in the heavens. For in this (the outer-man body) we groan, earnestly desiring
to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven (the inner-man body, the
Christ body): if so be that being clothed (having the inner-man body) we shall
not be found naked (a dis-embodied spirit).
For we that are in this tabernacle (the outer-man body) do groan, being
burdened: not for that we would be unclothed (not have any body), but clothed
upon (with the inner-man body), that mortality (the outer-man body) might be swallowed
up of life (the inner-man body). Now
He that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto
us the firstfruits of the Spirit” (II Cor. 5:1-5).
The only way for corruption to put
on incorruption, and for mortality to put
on immortality is for the outer-man natural body to be swallowed up into
the inner-man spiritual body so that the two BECOME ONE — the mortal made
immortal by the resurrection body of Jesus Christ formed within the inward man.
That is precisely why Paul says that we are not burdened to be unclothed,
that is, to die and put off the outer-man body, but we are burdened to be clothed
upon, that is, to put on the inner-man body over
top of the outer-man body, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Oh, the wonder of it!
Our bodily change and full salvation is promised by our Lord.
We ourselves, along with all creation, groan within ourselves, waiting
for the adoption, that is, THE
REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY. This honor
of adoption, which means the redemption of our outer-man body, the universal
Adamic body, belongs to all the sons of God. It is the
work of the Holy Spirit within us, as Paul also explained, “If the Spirit of
Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ
from the dead shall also QUICKEN (MAKE ALIVE) YOUR MORTAL BODIES BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU” (Rom. 8:11).
And now, already, praise be to God, we “have received the spirit
of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the
children of God, and if children, then heirs;
heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him,
that we may also be GLORIFIED TOGETHER” (Rom. 8:15-17).
This, then, in some small part is the honor and glory for which the sons
of God seek — the glory of incorruption
and the honor of adoption.
How glorious is the race now set before us!
How marvelous and wonderful is it all!
Blessed be the Lord who hath called us unto His
Kingdom and glory!
The Kingdom of God is the realm of incorruption and immortality! And we cannot fully inherit that which is immortal while we
are in a mortal state. We must be
changed! We must put on
incorruption! We must put on
immortality! The only way we can
inherit the fullness of the Kingdom of God with our whole being is for us to be
changed. Although we began in some
small way to see the Kingdom when we
were first born again, and through the experiences of Christ began to enter into the Kingdom, and now by faith and obedience are beginning
to possess our land, the fullness of
the Kingdom can only be inherited by
being changed into the incorruptible, immortal, imperishable, eternal life of
Christ. The corruption of these
mortal bodies and carnal minds cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
If we are to rule and reign with Christ in His incorruptible throne of
glory and power, we must be changed into His image and likeness.
Nothing short of the divine nature can handle such glory and power
without prostituting it.
Let me make very plain that all who are now entering and possessing the
Kingdom have indeed already escaped
corruption! That will sound
incredible and unbelievable to many who read these lines.
But I must point out that corruption is not the same as mortality,
although these terms are often used interchangeably by religious people.
They do not bear the same meaning at all.
Corruption and mortality are not two ways of saying the same thing.
On the one hand, mortality is the state
of being liable to death. On the
other hand, corruption is the process
by which death works. We are mortal
because we are corruptible, but we are
not corruptible because we are mortal.
In physical terms we can illustrate it by saying that the aging
process is corruption, whereas mortality is the condition that underlies the aging process, and the final result of
the aging process.
The Word of God does not tell us that any man has fully escaped mortality, and indeed none has except our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing
of our Lord Jesus Christ: who only hath
immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto...” (I
Tim. 6:14,16). The apostle Peter
does tell us, however, that the saints of God have been made partakers of the
divine nature, “having escaped the corruption
that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:4).
Having escaped! Having escaped corruption!
Having escaped the very corruption that was brought into the world by
lust, by the lust or desire of mother Eve when she “saw that the tree was good for
food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired (lusted after) to make one wise...” (Gen. 3:6).
What does this wonderful word mean to us?
Where and when and how have we escaped the corruption that is in the
world? Ah, my beloved, corruption
is the process of dissolution that
leads to death, the downward spiral by
which all things in the universe are being reduced to a worse state or inferior
condition. All organisms age and
grow old. All food spoils.
All mountains erode. All
mechanical things wear out. All
societies break down in moral decay. Every
kingdom and empire weakens and finally collapses.
Every spiritual movement, historical and current, eventually stagnates
and goes into apostasy. Evil men
and seducers wax worse and worse. Suns
and stars burn out and self-destruct. There
is a universal law of corruption, the bondage that enslaves every visible and
invisible thing of the cosmos. The
movement is always down, down, down.
And that’s how it was in my life until that blessed day when Christ
appeared and I was born again by the incorruptible
seed of the word of God that liveth and abideth forever. A divine and incorruptible life was injected into my reality
and in that wonderful moment old things passed away and all things became new.
By that heavenly and divine intervention my course was changed, my
direction reversed, my movement turned up-side-down.
Instead of continuing the downward journey, I commenced an upward climb.
And now I can truthfully and joyfully testify — I am no longer getting
worse — I AM GETTING BETTER!
Oh, yes! I
AM GETTING BETTER! I am now
learning of Christ. I am growing up
into Him in all things. I am
putting on the mind of Christ. I am
receiving His chastisements and experiencing His dealings.
I am tasting the powers of the world to come.
I am apprehending His righteousness, peace, and joy.
I am eating His word and drinking His life.
I am overcoming sins, weaknesses, unbelief, problems, fears, and
obstacles of every kind. I am
putting off the old man, and putting on the new man.
Daily, continually, progressively, unceasingly, from glory to glory I AM
BEING CHANGED! No longer am I being
reduced to a worse state and an inferior condition — I am now being
transformed by the renewing of my mind into a better
state, into a superior condition!
I have escaped the irresistible downward plunge — I have escaped
CORRUPTION! Oh, hallelu-yah!
I am now incorruptible — on my way up
instead of down!
This truth of incorruption is far too important to be passed over without
earnest consideration. The
wonderful truth is that incorruption leads
to immortality. This
corruptible must put on incorruption before
this mortal can be empowered to put on immortality.
That is the precise and significant order in the Word of God.
God’s purpose in man’s redemption is not to just deliver us from the
penalty of our sins, but to re-create us, to make a new creature of us, a new
kind of man in the image of Him who created us.
Having been molded and fashioned after the image of the first man, we
have now begun to put off that likeness and to put on the image and likeness of
the second man, the Lord from heaven. We
must put off the image of the earthy, and put on the image of the heavenly; we
must be changed from the natural, earthly, living creatures we first were to be
re-fashioned as spiritual, heavenly ones. This
is not an option, it is a must; it is not discretional, it is mandatory
if we are to inherit the Kingdom. So
the scriptures declare, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we
shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
My! what a purpose this is. It
staggers the imagination to contemplate such a change; but change we must if we
are to inherit the promises.
Incorruption is the process of man’s “fall” being REVERSED!
If one is watching a program on his VCR and decides to stop and rewind it
to see a scene again, he is simply reversing what he has previously seen with
his eyes. It is comical sometimes
to watch the people running backwards, and bodies rising from the ground to the
roof of a building. You can see a
vase that was smashed into a thousand pieces put together again, or a car that
wrecked, back up and become as it was before.
Whatever you saw was restored to its beginning by passing through the
motion in reverse. And this is
exactly what incorruption is: THE FALL
OF MAN IN REVERSE! It means a
progressive rising up again into that oneness in God that man knew in his bright
beginning. The order
of Adam first being alive, then sinning, then becoming more and more
vile, and finally dying, is put in reverse.
From that death we stand up again in the spiritual
life of Christ within. Then
we proceed to obedience, overcoming, and
transformation into the image of God — and the last enemy that shall be
destroyed is death!
When we were first begotten of God our bodies were not “changed”
or made “immortal” at that time, but when that birthing of God’s
Spirit took place the life of Christ began
to be raised up in us. In that
blessed moment the ego of old Adam laid down in us and died, while the new
creation man was conceived within the womb of our flesh.
Corruption put on incorruption!
Truly the resurrection had dawned within our bosom.
But our outer-man bodies saw no change.
The spirit within, which first died in that long ago Eden, centuries
before Adam’s body died, has been quickened by the Spirit of life from God and
caused to stand up from the realm of separation and death.
We have experienced the resurrection of our spirit, and now there must
follow the resurrection of our soul. We
have experienced the standing up again of our spirit, and now the awakening and
rising up of our minds, emotions, wills and desires into the mind, emotion, will
and desire of Christ is taking place. Through
the process of incorruption all the spiritual faculties that were lost in the
fall of Adam are being restored to the elect by the operation of God.
All that was lost shall be regained.
It is more than merely coming to life again, it is the orderly
restoration of the totality of our original state of being including all the
mighty spiritual faculties, capacities, abilities, and all wisdom and knowledge.
Such awesome powers do not belong in a mortal body, nor would we want an
immortal body apart from those powers! That
is why God has arranged that the final, ultimate, crowning event of this
restoration will shed itself in the REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY.
At that blessed moment we shall have fully
inherited the Kingdom of God!
The spiritual world of the Kingdom of Heaven is a world with which we
become familiar as we walk in the Spirit of God and experience more and more our
union with the Father; a world so wonderfully real that all who once have had
their eyes opened to it beg to remain within its celestial precincts, never more
to return to the lowly estate and level of the natural man.
It follows of necessity that man’s being, because it is unsuited to the
spiritual world, must be changed by the power of God.
A bird would need a mighty change to be able to live under the water, or
a fish to live in the air; but the Lord promises a much more striking change to
those who are predestinated to be manifested as the sons of God with power.
With what anticipation do we wait for this glorious manifestation!
Meantime we are taught to believe: “We look for the Saviour, the Lord
Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body...”
This is not meant merely for revelation, to be left for the future; for
the full development of our life in sonship we must seek to enter into it and
appropriate it. We do this as we
learn to triumph over death on every level.
We do it as we learn to look to Christ as the Lord of our body, claiming
its entire consecration, securing even here and now victory over the terrible
dominion sin has had in the body. “Sin,
when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).
We do it as we allow the powers of the coming age to possess us, and to
lift us up into a life in the heavenly places, to enlarge our hearts and our
hopes, and to anticipate here and now, the things that have never entered into
the heart of man to conceive.
Sons of God! Seek after incorruption and immortality.
Let this be the crown of your life in sonship.
Do not seek immortality in your physical body first, or only, apart from
incorruption in your thoughts, emotions, desires, ambitions, will, purposes,
hopes, dreams, attitudes, and actions. Seek
to live an incorruptible life, to walk
an incorruptible walk, as that which
will lead you to glory and immortality. Nothing
will prepare you for immortality more than faithfulness in every step of
putting on the MIND OF CHRIST. The
experience of His power to make you holy, spirit, soul, and body, will quicken
you to a power that shall not cease its work until the sin that causes death has
been abolished in your being. As
you seek to experience within yourself to the full, the power of HIS
TRANSFORMING LIFE, your heart will be enlarged to see the position the sons of
God have been destined to occupy in the universe, as having all things made
subject to them, and you shall for your part be fitted to live worthy of that
high and holy calling! Can you not see how it is that incorruption leads to immortality? Immortality is the ultimate end of the process of
incorruption, just as human maturity is the end of the process of physical and
This glorious realm of immortality that lies beyond the power of
temptation, sin, limitation, sickness, sorrow and death belongs to the sons of
God, but, blessed be God! it is likewise the hope of ALL CREATION. The creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage
of corruption to begin its journey into the spiritual dimension of
immortality in the Kingdom of God. Creation
is not groaning for another revival, nor for another evangelistic campaign, nor
for another healing campaign, nor for more gifts of the Spirit, nor for more
apostles, prophets and teachers, nor for more signs, wonders and miracles, nor
yet for 144,000 flaming evangelists just like Jesus when He walked the shores of
blue Galilee. For two millenniums
we have had revival after revival, healing upon healing, signs and wonders and
miracles in abundance, New Testament Churches with their five-fold ministries,
and none of them have ever brought forth the fullness of the Kingdom of God on
earth, nor has even one of them or all of them together ever delivered the
creation from the bondage of corruption! The
creation continues to groan in its bondage and we ourselves, groan within
ourselves, as we wait for the disclosing of our sonship — the redemption of
our bodies! It is not another
“patch-up” job we want, not a re-run of previous moves of God, but a full
and complete and eternal deliverance from the whole dreadful realm of
limitation, imperfection and death!
Jesus is the first of the firstfruits of this glorious victory.
The sons of God are the firstfruits, redeemed from among men (Rev. 14:5).
All creation is the harvest that follows. It was necessary that after having lived in the flesh and
overcome all things, Jesus should be resurrected Himself by the power and glory
of the Father, that He might be able then to minister even that resurrection
life to a firstfruit company; that they, in turn, apprehending all that pertains
to that life, might be able then to minister it to the rest of creation.
For this creation waits expectantly!
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