"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“Oneness with God—beyond theory!” April 2015. part 2.
To continue our study of our oneness with God, we will resort to Paul’s teachings on the subject. First of all, we must understand that Paul’s outline in doctrinal principles is not mere hypothetical allusions to possible scenarios. We will quickly notice that Paul’s idea of oneness with God had no basis in theory; but rather, they were treated as practical, personal experiences accomplished in Spirit. Let us begin where seemingly all new Christians begin: at the waters of baptism, with the intent of rising from that experience to walk in newness of life. (In Pentecostal Holiness, the newness of life is in this little song. “Things I used to do, I’ll do them no more it is great change since I was born. Friends I used to keep I’ll keep them no more! Lies I used to tell I’ll tell them no more.” The apostle asked: “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Was this meant to be a hypothetical statement? Was it meant to simply be a theory that is good for discussions in bible class? Paul went on:
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: (Soon we will see if Paul meant this to be a literal transaction.) that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Watch and see where this is taking us! “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (WHY?) For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6: 3-7. It is safe to conclude that Paul alluded to something real and tangible! He alluded to an actual living process between God and the penitent soul. The old man is buried in the waters of baptism and replaced by a new man created after the image of Jesus Christ. However, there is a baptism that immerses us into which is by the Holy Spirit and not mere water. 1 Cor. 12:13.
We must ask again if Paul referred simply to a theory that can be justified through a simple mental exercise. Or was he bringing to the table a power and a process that was for the most part unknown: into which many participated without knowing the full impact and Divine purpose woven into such actions? What I love about Paul’s teachings is the fact that he included himself first, thereby setting a pattern for others to follow and we learn faster by actual examples. His mindset paves the pathway over which we must tread if we must get equal results. Notice how the apostle left the door wide open through which we can enter.
We have come to know how Paul came to his conclusion of “oneness with Christ.” Here is one of his quotes that became of paramount importance to me, yet, it took me a number of years before I got to the substance and reality of what Paul alluded to. Let’s read: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me (or instead of me.) and the life which I now live in the flesh (Don’t let that slip from your mind. It is the life that Paul lived IN THE FLESH) I live by the faith (and faith is substance—Hebrews 11: 1) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
On what basis did Paul conclude that he died with Christ? What notion gave his ideas full credit? Did he discover a Divine process that added credence to his beliefs? The truth that now possessed his mortal being was so overwhelming and permanent that he wrote in the same letter the following: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Gal. 6:14.
Let us understand the dynamics at work in the very person of the apostle Paul. In his address to the people he said: “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” Acts 22:3. He wrote again: “And I profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Galatians 1: 14.
I like to say that this man could have been the next ruler in Israel. Judging by today’s standard and practices, if he walked into one of our most outstanding churches (local Assemblies) the congregation would stand and pay homage. He would be invited to speak at the National Cathedral here in Washington DC and address the joint session of Congress. But the revelation of him being crucified WITH CHRIST catapulted him into a distant heavenly realm and had him say: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, (but more than that) and do count them but dung (filth) that I may win Christ.” Philippians 3:7,8.
Have you seen a man or woman of God today that exhibits such abandonment for the merits of Jesus Christ? I dare say that the “filthy rich” (pardon the expression) clergy that have covered the entire face and landscape of Christendom today has no clue of the kind of sacrifice and total surrender to the dictates of Jesus Christ that Paul left for us on the record. Understand that Paul was not languishing in total remorse over all that he lost when Jesus Christ drafted him into the ministry on a dusty Damascus road. Not only did he lose all that was gain to him in his previous life; he counted them as filth!
PLEASE FOLLOW THIS CAREFULLY!! Let us examine what “IN CHRIST” entails. For instance, “If any man be “IN CHRIST” he is a new creation.” For the law of the Spirit of life “IN CHRIST” hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For we are his workmanship created “IN CHRIST JESUS.” He might gather together in one all things “IN CHRIST.” See 2nd Corinthians 5: 17; Romans 8: 2; Ephesians 2: 10; 1:10.
What do these “IN CHRIST” positions tell us? First of all, this is not a mere “catch phrase” much like a selling point on television. It is a dynamic process orchestrated by God himself out of himself. It is no doubt a process in which God brings us back into him: that is from our own perspective; because from the Divine aspect of things, we never left his family. The prodigal son down at the pig pen was still a son, and when he got back home there were no legal documents for him to sign to be reinstated as a son.
Let us back tract to a time long ago, when Abraham, on his way back from the battle of the kings met Melchizedek (after he had rescued his nephew Lot) who brought him bread and wine; and Abraham gave this great man a tithe of all the spoils. Genesis 14: 18-20. Let us connect the dots and see how marvelous this concept really is. Our attention moves forward to tithing in the New Testament, and brings to the forefront a man named Levi who happened to be a grandson of Abraham who lived 400 years after Abraham. The writer of Hebrews has this to say: “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father (at least 400 years before his birth) when Melchisedec (New Testament spelling) met him.” Hebrews 7:9, 10.
When viewed in its proper context, a brand new light shines upon us and brings new understanding to truths that have slipped between our fingers all these decades of bible studies and preaching the gospel. The scripture concludes emphatically, and without dispute or controversy: that since Levi was in the loins of his grandfather centuries before his actual birth, when tithes were paid by Abraham, Levi did too. Let us walk over to Ephesians 2: 10 and be practical and honest in our conclusions. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before (before the foundation of the world) ordained that we should walk in them.”
There is no need to stretch our imagination beyond reason so as to wrap our arms around this truth. God created us IN CHRIST JESUS and we are called “His workmanship” or his handy work. Hello! The most reasonable conclusion we can accept, based upon scripture is that whenever Jesus Christ came into being, we came into being also and are being presented to the world as God’s workmanship.
If this Word that was with God and was God; that came to earth as God’s visible expression, are we not part of the same? (The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, or tabernacle in use.) So our argument about our oneness with God is not a mere figment of our imagination. It is not an invention concocted by certain religious persons working with ulterior motives. A thousand times NO—NO—NO!
The question of paramount importance is “Where and when did Paul develop the belief and understanding of our lineage and ancestry going back to Christ? His letter to the Romans was written between A.D. 56 & 58: and to the Galatians about A.D. 55 & 60. So we can speculate whether his statement in Romans 6 (which we quoted) was born out of his experience in Galatians 2: 20 or vice versa. As far as we can see, no other New Testament writer introduced or taught this unique process. So why was Paul an exception in bringing forth this truth?
Here once again is Paul’s own account of how he acquired his ministry. “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11, 12. There were no teachers or full-fledged school of ministry where Paul could have been taught such monumental truths.
But between Romans and Galatians, which ever came first, Paul got the revelation of Divine Reproduction: and that truth totally revolutionized his entire life. This theme of Divine Reproduction is keenly noted by the apostle again to the Romans. “For whom he did foreknow (before we were born) he also did predestinate to be conformed (pattern after—made like unto) to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8: 29. Notice that Jesus Christ is meant to be the “firstborn” the eldest Son among a family of many brothers.
It is the calling of God, and the constant wooing of the Holy Spirit that we be conformed—fashioned after the exact image of the firstborn. But the very term “first born” suggests that there of necessity must be other borns: because in the absence of other sons being born into the family, Christ becomes the “only begotten” and indeed, he is called as such. Nevertheless, the overwhelming scriptural support is that he is the “firstborn” among a family of many brothers. Paul’s account that he was crucified with Christ does not necessarily have its roots in the born again experience as I thought for many years. Yes, out of this experience, he no doubt referred to being buried with Christ by baptism in the likeness of His death. But the idea of being crucified with Christ echoes back to being in his loins before the world began.
Let us not forget that: “we were chosen in Him (Christ Jesus) before the foundation of the world.” Ephesians 1: 4. How can we trace our path (our lineage and our heritage) back into God where we actually began? As if to make the process plain and accessible even to the faintest of minds, Jesus Christ introduced the concept of the New Birth. There are four components that are figured into the new birth process. Jesus alluded to a man being born of water and of the Spirit. But many have missed an important ingredient! “Being born again, (this suggests an ongoing process—being born) not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” 1st Peter 1:23. When preaching or teaching about the new birth, ministers seldom, if ever, refer to the fact that we are being born again by that incorruptible seed. (Making us ever existent just like the seed that abides forever.) Ladies and Gentlemen! We are not inventing concepts out of our vain imagination. We teach what the bible supports! Peter continued: “The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the WORD of the Lord (by which we are being born again) endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” verses 24, 25. Peter is asserting that the gospel of living word that abides forever, by which we are being born again is exactly what he is preaching. He added more truths to the born again concept. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be made partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2nd Peter 1: 4. Can you see where this “salvation business” is taking us? It is not merely about a sing and dance, and sharing in the gifts of the Spirit.
The ultimate goal of our salvation through the new birth is to allow the incorruptible Seed to germinate and release in us the divine essence of all that Jesus is as we partake of the divine nature. All of this is a single process that is designed to remove our mortality, so that divinity will be all that we possess and impart to others. Under this great umbrella of divine life giving substance there can be no place for sickness and death. The path and the substance for us to radiate God to the world have already been made available to us. Looking down the corridor of time through the telescopic lenses of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote: “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1st Corinthians 15:28. We could honestly read it this way: “That God shall be all; and all shall be God.” There shall be no room left for any other entity or intelligence. It will be ALL GOD from sea to shining sea! Hallelujah! Indeed: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11: 9. Ha! Yes! We bring good news as heralded by the writer of the Hebrews. “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for ALL shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” Hebrews 8:11.
Let us step back in time to determine if we can see through the shadows and somehow get a glimpse of God’s account of “ONENESS” with his creation, which he purposed in himself. There are two major events that occurred in the early morn of time, even before man had set one foot upon the earth. Watch this very closely! This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he HIM; Male and female created he THEM; and blessed them, and called their name (not names) Adam (both male and female were called by a single name—Adam) in the day when they were created.” In this single lesson God demonstrated his will and design for him to be ONE with his creation, and that which he created should also be in ONENESS with themselves.
Looking at another person standing aside as a separate being, Adam concluded: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and THEY shall BE ONE FLESH.” Genesis 2: 23, 24;5: 1, 2. God would not leave us to grapple and chase phantoms with no definitive answer or reason. In his wisdom it is stated that He would not leave himself without a witness. As gigantic and masterful the plan of the ages were, God began by constructing a “blue print” and the entrance of man upon the earth was the first act to bring his plan out of the invisible into the visible. But the record of scripture takes us all the way back, past the first people to set foot upon this planet.
David draws the curtains back and bids us walk in! “For thou possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect (before development into an embryo) and in thy book all my members were written , which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 13, 16. Can you wrap your arms around this profound and dynamic truth? David said that all his members were written in God’s book before there were any of them. Put your marker here! A child got a rude awakening from the Lord himself that sent the youth staggering and looking for excuse. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold I cannot speak: for I am a child.” Jeremiah 1:5, 6. Let us un-wrap this package to view the golden nuggets contained therein! When God said that he knew Jeremiah, it means that God knew him intimately like one friend to another: it meant that he actually existed as a real person—before God took him out of his mother’s womb. The term for this concept is that we pre-existed with God, and many Christians literally choke on this. For them, they began when they cried for the first time at birth. Are we teaching “false doctrines here?” Do we have scriptures to support these teachings? Frankly my Friends, I never write, teach, or preach a form of doctrinal belief that cannot be
undergirded and substantiated by scripture. Paul on the scene and brought us back in time, even before the world was. This is God’s wisdom on our behalf, in allowing us to look back before time was, and from that vantage point we are able to see God’s ultimate purpose in totality. “According as he hath chosen us in him (Jesus Christ) before the foundation of the world (Or before the worlds were founded, and before time began) that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us (meaning that we were pre-ordained, or elected and called before we were born) unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will.” Ephesians 1:4,5. Since we were with God and IN GOD before the world was, how did mankind become so strikingly “anti-God” and wayward beyond our imagination? It is the act of God! I know many will develop chills at this juncture, but read this: “Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return ye children of men” Psalm 90: 4. Notice the parallel line between God and his people to see the culprit that distorts our relationship with the Divine.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that is cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59: 1, 2. The biggest setback for mankind in relation to God is that the carnal man identifies with the soul-ish, beastly, part of man. He gravitates to the mundane and convinces himself that he is like all human being: prone to sin, sickness, and death. It is that beastly mindset that separates him from his God. But looking aside and away from the falsehood served to us as if on silver platters mainly by the church; as we retrace our origin in unison with the Spirit of the living God: back before time began, we are pleasantly surprised over the abundance of God’s goodness and grace that is always available to us. Looking beyond the turmoil and bedlam among a confused world, we are reassured by God’s word of our oneness with him.
Our oneness with Christ is on this basis! “For we are members of HIS BODY, of HIS FLESH, and of HIS BONES.” Ephesians 5: 30. Let us add the icing to the cake! “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Based upon these cardinal truths, oneness with God should eliminate, sin, sickness, disease, and death because we read: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1: 17. Notice that Jesus told some doubters that they shall die in their sins: but he never taught that we must die. Each time he encountered physical death he brought the dead back to life: he showed John that he has the keys of hell and death. He made mockery of principalities and powers in an open show of victory.
All hail Emmanuel! All hail King Jesus! Let heaven and earth give praise!
Royce O. Kennedy
Please be reminded to make your gifts payable to Royce Kennedy and not to the ministry. Thank you!