POSITIONAL TRUTHPOSITIONAL TRUTH (PT) - WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST
There are 2 kinds of truth:
1. Experiential truth (ET) is the truth of things that are seen, felt and experienced by our senses. It is also called Temporal truth because it is subject to change.
2. Positional truth (PT) is what is true about us, by virtue of our position from our birth, whatever our feelings or performance may be. It is unchanging and independant of how we feel or whether we have had a good day or not. For example, I am ‘Walker’, by being born ‘in Walker’, whether I feel like ‘Walker’ or not. There are certain things about me (like looks and natural abilities) that are automatically true because of my birth, and that I cannot change. There is a position and nature that I inherited from my birth. Certain characteristics (like being male) are defined from birth. These things don’t depend on my works, but on my birth. The outward manifestion of these things may change as I grow up, but they were already in me by birth.
In Adam, we have some very bad PT, and nothing we can do can change that. Only if God gives us a new-Birth! Just by being born in Adam we are a sinner, death-doomed, under the curse, belonging to the kingdom of darkness, with a future destiny of judgement and condemnation in hell. This was true simply by virtue of our position in Adam from birth, and we could do nothing to change that. What we needed was another birth, a second birth, a new-birth giving us a new position (Jn 3)
That is why Jesus said: “You must be born-again.” When we accepted Christ we were put IN CHRIST and He came into our spirits. Now IN CHRIST, we have a completely new PT, not because of what we do or don’t do, but simply because of who we are by the new-birth. Romans 5:12-21 is the classic passage that describes the change in PT from being in Adam to being in Christ. Just as we were automatically under the power of sin and death in Adam, so we are under the power of righteousness and life in Christ. “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:19). “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1Cor 15:22). Thus our PT in Christ is all GRACE, because it is what God has done for us and in us. It is ours simply by virtue of our new birth and new position in Christ. We can take no credit for it, and it is not affected by our works. Our new PT in Christ includes the truths of our our New-Nature and Life, our New-Relationship with God, our New-Kingdom, Inheritance, and Destiny. It’s the truth who we really are IN CHRIST, through the New-Birth.
Man (like God) is trinitarian: he is a spirit, he has a soul (mind, will, emotions) and lives in a body. In the New-Birth it is the man’s spirit (inner-man) that is reborn (regenerated) as a New-Man (John 3:3-7). Therefore our PT in Christ tells us what is now true in our spirit. PT is unseen, it is the truth about our inner spirit-man. It is beyond our senses. We can only know about it through the Word of God. It is eternal, unchanging, independant of our feelings, successes and failures.
*New-Nature and life: “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh (who we are in Adam) Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (a New-Man in his spirit); old things (the Old-Man with all its old PT) have passed away; behold, all things (in the spirit and in our PT) have become new. Now all things (in the New-Creation spirit) are of God” (2Corinthians 5:16-18). We are a New-Creation, belonging to a new-species of mankind made after the image of our new head Christ (the 2nd Adam), just as we were made after the image of our first head, Adam.
We possessed Eternal Life in our spirits from the moment we trusted in Christ (John 3:16): “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1John 5:11,12).
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become (be made in truth and life) the righteousness of God in Him” (2Cor 5:21).
We are not just declared righteous by God (by justification),
we have been made righteous by nature, in our spirit (by regeneration).
We are now: “the new man which was created according to God (in His image), in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
Through the New-Birth the fruit of the spirit (LOVE) is already in your spirit with all its flavours of love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, self-control, faithfulness etc.
“The love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us” (Romans 5:5)
“We know that whoever is born of God (the reborn spirit) does not sin (we may sin, but it does not come from our spirit which is perfect); but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him (the armour of God protects the New-Man from all evil)” (1John 5:18).
The new-man has already risen with Christ above sin, death and all the power of satan: “when we were dead in trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together with Christ, and made us sit together with Christ in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (he will bring us into the full manifestation and experience of our PT). For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:5-10). The origin of the new-man is the resurrection of Christ and therefore his nature consists of the resurrection life of Christ which has already overcome sin, sickness, death, curse, satan and all evil.
Therefore we are overcomers: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” ( 1John 4:4).
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1John 5:4,5).
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
“God has not given us (believers) a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind” (2Timothy 1:7).
*New Relationship with God:
We are SONS OF GOD in Christ (John 1:12,13; Galatians 3:26).
*New Kingdom: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13).
“In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9,10).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
*New Destiny (GLORY): “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
PT v ET.
* PT is not an experience or expression. It is beyond our natural senses, we can only know it from the Word of God, illuminated by the Spirit (1Cor 2:7-12).
ET is what is manifested to our senses.
* PT is not progressive, but is perfect at salvation. It is eternal, and unchanging.
ET changes and depends on many outward factors. Our experience and expression of our salvation should grow. It is a ongoing process in our soul and life.
* PT is not related to human merit. ET depends on whether we do the word or not.
* All believers are equal in positional truth (even carnal christians - 1Cor 1:2),
but we are all different in ET (our expression and experience of PT).
*PT is not mind games- it is really true. It is accomplished already in our spirit.
Build your life on the foundation of PT: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen (ET), but at the things which are not seen (PT). For the things which are seen (ET) are temporary, but the things which are not seen (PT) are eternal” (2Corinthians 4:17,18).
To have a strong Christian life and to grow, we need to focus on PT, whatever is happening in our lives. We need to meditate on PT, especially when facing troubles, pressures and afflictions.
It is the foundation rock of truth we can base our life on, because it is unchanging (Matthew 7:24-27). Whatever is going on around us, whatever we are feeling, whatever storms hit, we are still a child of God, a new-creation destined for glory etc! If we base our life and self-image on PT, then our house will stand when the storms hit. Those who build their lives on (spiritual) feelings and experiences are very vulnerable to setbacks. We don’t live out from our feelings (which change) but from our PT (the unchanging Word). PT must become the basis for our life and actions. Any good feelings are a bonus. PT is always true, because we are in Christ (whether we feel it or not). Don’t put too much onus on your feelings, but on what the Word says. Feelings come and go.
KNOWING PT is of great importance, for it is the foundational truth we need to change our self-image and build a strong Christian life.
KNOWING THE TRUTH.
We have seen the Positional Truth of who we are in Christ and who he is in us. This describes what God has already accomplished in our recreated spirit by the New-Birth. It is a perfect work of His grace. It is always true, independant of our feelings and works. But it is not enough for these things to be true in be spirits, for we want to also experience and express these realities in our lives. We want to see the manifestation of the life of God within, so people can see we are a New Creation. Our Christian life and growth is not about getting what we don’t have, but in expressing outwardly what is already true in our spirit, releasing what we have within (e.g. the fruit of spirit), becoming in our walk what we truly are in our spiritual -being, living out the truth of who we are in Christ. This process of change from the inside out is called TRANSFORMATION.
Transformation is the Greek work ‘Metamorphisis’ and is used 3 times in the New-Testament. In each case it describes the process whereby the true nature and glory that was hidden within, is now outwardly revealed for all to see. The classic example is the metamorphisis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The beautiful butterfly is there but hidden within the outer shell. By the process of metamorphisis it breaks through (which involves exertion on its part which makes its wings strong).We may look like a caterpillar on the outside, but on the inside (in our spirit) there is a butterfly trying to break out and spread its wings and fly.
1. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was TRANSFIGURED (lit: metamorphisised) before them with glory shining out of Him. The glory of God was there all the time, but it was hidden within. But now it was manifested, expressed and released outwardly. Likewise, by the New-Birth the Holy-Spirit and the nature and glory of Christ is in our spirit. God wants it manifested to the world.
2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED (a metamorphisis) by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). The world tries to squeeze (mold) us from the outside to make us conform to its image, but God is working to transform us from the inside out. He has saved our spirit. Now we must ‘be transformed’, that is we must cooperate (work) with the transformation that God is working within us. God has worked salvation into our spirit, and by His Spirit He is now working in our soul the desire and power to do His good pleasure, so we must ‘work out our own SALVATION’ (which God has worked within us) (Phil 2:12,13).
3. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (seeing ourselves in the Word of God), are being TRANSFORMED into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Corinthians 3:18). We already have the glory (nature) of Christ within. The Holy-Spirit is now working a transformation process, whereby our outward life is being changed into the likeness of the inward glory, from one degree of glory to the next. It is a change from the inside out.
There are three keys to the transformation of our life and character (spirit, soul, and body).
(1) Our SPIRIT must be born-again, which happens when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
(2) Our SOUL (mind) must receive the truth (PT) of the Word of God. We must be a hearer of the Word.
(3) Our BODY must act on the truth. We must be also be a doer of the Word. In other words, the Holy-Spirit must come into our spirit, truth must come into our soul and obedience must come into our body. The transformation is complete when we do the Word by faith, but before we can do it we must know it
Thus, once we are born-again the next key is KNOWING the TRUTH (P.T). Jesus said: “If the Son makes you free (from sin), you shall be free indeed” and “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (it is not just the truth that sets you free, but knowing it!)” (John 8:36,32).
He is speaking of two freedoms here. The first is the result of a single, direct, perfect work of the Son. The second is the result of a process of gaining knowledge, through continuing in His Word (v31). The first is the freedom from sin that our spirit receives in the New Birth. Jesus did a perfect work, and we are free indeed (this is now PT). Now the issue is bringing forth, living out and experiencing that new-life and freedom we already have in the spirit (so that it is not just PT, but becomes ET in our life). Jesus gives the key to this: “you shall know the truth (the PT of who we are in Christ, and what He has done in us) and the truth (you know) shall make you free (you will experience the freedom )" (v32). PT is true whether you believe it or not, but until you know the truth, you will not experience it. KNOWING and BELIEVING P.T is essential for transformation (manifestation of the truth).
Romans 12:2: “do not be conformed to this world (the world’s pressure tries squeeze you into its mold, from outside to in), but be TRANSFORMED (this is a change from inside to out)....”
How can this transformation take place?: “be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind (by meditation on PT) that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” The key to transformation is the renewing of our mind, so that we know the truth (PT), for only then can we express it. The perfect will of God is PT, it is what God has already put in our spirit, and what He wants us to show forth in our life. To prove the will of God (PT) means to put it to the test in our life, by acting on it and demonstrating it works. We do this by offering our bodies (tongues, hands, feet, ears, eyes etc) as a living sacrifice to express what is in our spirit (PT). We can only do this if we KNOW PT - the mercies of God (v1). Thus the key to showing forth the will (the love, joy, wisdom, righteousness, peace...) of God in our lives, is for our minds to be renewed by the Word.
Ephesians 4:23,24: “be renewed in the spirit of your mind and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Our new spirit-man is a perfect holy creation of God (that’s PT). Now God wants us to PUT ON the new man, like we put on our clothes. We possess these clothes of righteousness, love and joy within our spirit, but they are hidden unless we put them on, so that they show on the outside where people can see them. So again we are talking about transformation. The PUTTING ON is referring to our ACTIONS (such as walking in love) as the passage goes on to make clear. It is acting out who we are in Christ (PT). However, before we can put on the new man, we must know who he is - that he is created in God’s image, in His righteousness. Thus we must first be renewed in the spirit of our mind. This is not something we can do by ourselves, by our own will-power. We must be renewed. In other words, we must God perform this renewal in us, by receiving His Word (truth) into our minds (souls). Only His Word has the power to renew our minds, but we must receive and believe it. His Word will change the spirit of our mind. That is, it changes the attitudes and motivations of our thinking, so that it lines up in agreement with the attitude of our spirit. Thus in Christ we have a spirit of humility. The Word will renew our mind into the image of our spirit, forming the attitude of humility within, so that we can express (put on) this humilty in our actions of loving service to others. In this way we become conformed to the image of Christ. Thus, our mind must first be renewed to know the truth that we are a new-man created after God, before we can put on the new-man by faith, and see and experience his love and humility in our lives.
This is why the New-Testament writers don’t just give commands: “do this, don’t do that.” They want to bring about transformation, not just outward conformation. To do this, they must first give their hearers PT, for they must first know the truth. They say: “You are a New-Creation - know it - believe it, reckon on it!” Then they say: “OK, now you know you are a new creation, live like it!”
Paul especially, builds a strong foundation of positional truth first, before he makes his appeal to live a certain way. For example the first 3 chapters of Ephesians is all positional truth. Only then does he say: “I, therefore, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (4:1). Then Ephesians 4-6 contains alot of application, but even then, whenever he calls for them to live a certain way, he bases it on a piece of PT.
Romans 1-11 is mostly PT. Only then in 12:1 does he say: “In view of the mercies of God (the PT of chapters 1-11) present your bodies as a living sacrifice.” In the remaining chapters of Romans, Paul gives the practical ways to live out the PT he had given.
An example of this is 1Corinthians 6:18-20: “Flee sexual immorality...(WHY?)...
do you not KNOW (they ought to know this PT) that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body which is God's.” Paul is renewing their mind to KNOW the PT, that they are a Temple of the Holy-Spirit. Once they know this, they can and should choose to glorify God in their body (lifestyle).
Romans 6 is another classic example of PT (v1-11), followed by application (v12-14). He puts great emphasis on us KNOWING PT: ‘do you not know’, ‘knowing this’, ‘knowing that’ (v3,6,9) and RECKONING on PT (counting it as established fact, as a basis for all our actions): “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v11). We can only KNOW and RECKON on the truth by abiding (meditating) in the Word.
James 1:21-25: “(First) receive with meekness the implanted word (PT), which is able to save your souls (we must first renew our minds so that we know the truth). But (2) be doers of the Word (put PT into action), and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (transformation is only accomplished when you act on the truth you know). For if anyone is a hearer of the WORD and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a MIRROR (the Word is a spiritual mirror that will reveal who we are in Christ, if we look at it); for he observes himself, goes away, and forgets immediately what kind of man he was (a quick look in the mirror won’t renew the mind or acheive a changed life). But he who looks (intently) into the perfect LAW of LIBERTY (seeing who he is in the spirit, sees that he has been set FREE from the power of sin, curse and satan) and continues (to meditate) in it (the Word) and is not a forgetful hearer (this one who continues in the Word will know the truth, and it will change his self-image, so that he is always conscious of PT), but a doer of the work (keep looking in the mirror until you ‘know that you know’ it - then you will be able to live it), this one will be blessed in what he does.” He will only experience the life of God when he acts on PT, but first of all he must know it.
We have seen that Positional-Truth (PT) tells us who we are as New-Creations in Christ, through the rebirth of our spirit. However, to express and to experience this reality in our life, we must know the truth (PT). Jesus said: “You shall know the truth (PT), and the truth (you know) shall make you free” (John 8:32). This is the truth found in the Word of God (v31). What is this truth? It is the perfect work of Christ setting our spirit free from sin, curse and death by the miracle of New-Birth: “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Once we know and believe the truth, we can act upon it, and thus release the new-life within.
So, God has changed our spirit, and now wants us to receive a transformation, whereby the glory within our spirit is released and manifested in our life.
The first step for this to happen is KNOWING the TRUTH of the Word.
Why is this ESSENTIAL to our TRANSFORMATION?
Man is spirit-soul-body (1Thessalonians 5:23), a triune being created in the image of the Triune God. We are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Think of 3 concentric circles. The inner one is the spirit, which is designed to be in direct contact with God (who is Spirit). The middle one is the soul (our mind, will, emotions composing our personality) and which contacts the realm of thought. The outer one is the body that contacts the physical world. We were designed as a Temple (a dwelling-place of God), and so the Old-Testament Temple buildings were made according to the 3-fold pattern of man (they were a physical image of God’s true Temples). Thus our spirit is the holy of holies, designed to be lit by the glory of God dwelling within. Our soul is the holy-place, illuminated by the seven-branched Menorah (the light of the Spirit through the Word). Our body is the outer-court, lit by the natural light of the world. Now when Adam fell, the glory left the Temple and the spirit died, leaving sin in dominion. Though reproduction, sin (the sin-nature) was transmitted through the flesh so that every man was also spiritually dead. Then Christ came as a sinless Temple (through the virgin birth), filled with the Holy-Spirit. Through His death and resurrection, He became the prototype New-Creation Temple. Now, all who believe in Him receive a perfect reborn spirit, indwelt by the Holy-Spirit, and thus become true Temples of the Living God: “do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you” (1Cor 6:19). Our old wineskin (spirit) was renewed by being rubbed with the oil of the Spirit, so that it could now contain the new-wine of the Spirit.
Thus the Holy-Spirit (God’s glory) came to live inside our reborn spirit. He abides in our holy-of-holies (spirit) and wants to flow out through our soul and body (John 7:37-39). He has already done a perfect work of saving our spirit. He is presently working our sanctification from within, forming the character of Christ in our soul (the saving of our soul - James 1:21) through the process of transformation, whereby the life and nature of Christ in our spirit is expressed in our lives (through us knowing and doing the Word). The Spirit both illuminates the Word to us, and then helps us to do it (Phil 2:12,13).
Finally, when the future resurrection (salvation) of our body is accomplished, our transformation will be complete and the glory of God within our spirit, will be fully manifested. Then our whole being will be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29, 1Thessalonians 5:23).
Thus, our reborn spirit has been changed into the likeness of the risen Christ, and this new-life (the fruit of the spirit) wants to flow out into our lives, but it has to go through our soul first. Only when our mind is changed by KNOWING the TRUTH (PT), can this glory shine through. The truth produces an image in our soul corresponding to the reality in our spirit. When the two are in agreement, the spirit can flow through the soul unhindered. Moreover, it is only when the soul possesses the truth (the Word), can the faith be present (Rom 10:17) to act on the Word (PT), and it is by this action that the blessing is released (Jas 1:25).
Therefore it is essential to KNOW the TRUTH of the freedom, power and blessing possessed by our spirit, before we can experience this freedom.
Thus, because of the way we are made, the next step after God saves our spirit must be the salvation (renewal) of our soul (mind) by the Word of God (PT), for the soul is the channel through which the spirit must flow into our lives. When our thoughts and actions line up with the spirit, then God’s life will flow forth. Therefore our mind must be changed first, for we must act on the basis of our thinking. The condition of our soul determines the outflow of our spirit (Prov 4:20-23).
Proverbs says: “as a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”
KNOWING PT will change our SELF-IMAGE (in our soul), so that we see ourselves as we really are in Christ, which in turn will change the whole way we live. Thus our TRANSFORMATION is through REVELATION, presently through the mirror of God’s Word (James 1:21-25, 2Cor 3:16-18, Rom= 12:3), but later we shall see perfectly, and thus be fully transformed to be like Christ:
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a MIRROR (the Word); then (at the rapture) we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three abide (eternally in our spirit): faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (seeing this love in the mirror of 1Cor 13 we should walk in it)” (1Cor 13:12,13).
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1John 3:2).
This shows that we are revealed outwardly, according to the revelation we have of who we really are. This is the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). You will be amazed at how dynamic the real you is! Much of what think is your personality is from Adam, most of the real you has yet to be seen! It is a continual discovery.
James 1:21-25 describes this process of transformation: “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (Firstly, we must know the truth of who we are in Christ. So, we must receive God’s word, which has the power to renew our minds, removing the blindness and opening our eyes). But (also) be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the WORD and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a MIRROR (the Word is a spiritual mirror that reveals who we are in Christ); for he observes himself, goes away, and forgets immediately what kind of man he was. But he who looks (intently) into the perfect LAW OF LIBERTY (seeing himself in the mirror, that his spirit has been set free and that it is full of love, joy, peace etc) and continues (to meditate) in it (the Word) and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
James is saying that a transformation is only accomplished when we act in line with our spirit, but that we can only do this after a careful look in the mirror of the Word, so that whatever false ideas are covering (veiling) our soul, are replaced by the truth, so that our self-image is changed. Thus we must really know the truth by revelation, before we can live and experience it. Confessiing the Word is a great way to renew the mind, for it helps keep the mirror up in front of us. Say again and again: “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2Timothy 1:7). It is a discovery of who we are and then acting it out.
The Temple had a thick veil in the Holy-Place, so that even when the glory was there, it was mostly unseen by Israel, being hidden behind the veil. This veil represents unbelief. “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe (the minds of unbelievers are covered with a veil of unbelief, preventing the glory of Christ entering them), lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” But when they believe in Christ, the veil is parted and God’s glorious light shines into their spirit and they are reborn: “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness (in Genesis 1), who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure (we posesss this glory in our spirit, but we still live) in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2Cor 4:3-7).
2Corinthians 3:7-17 talks about this New Covenant glory in Christ, by contrasting it with the glory of the Old-Covenant as shown in Moses. The old glory was: (1) external (2) veiled, and (3) fading, being temporary in nature. The new glory is:(1) internal (2) unveiled and (3) increasing in manifestation.
In v14-17, Paul describes the transformation from glory to glory in a one who believes in Christ: “their minds were blinded (unbelief). For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil (of unbelief) is (only) taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart (they cannot see the glory of Christ) ” (v14,15).
Firstly, when a man receives Christ, enough of the veil is removed, so that the Spirit can come in and recreate his spirit (the man just needs a basic faith in Christ to be born-again, so there is still much of the veil remaining). “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord , the veil (of unbelief) is taken away” (v16). So: “ Now (in a New-Covenant believer) the Lord is the Spirit; and WHERE the SPIRIT of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY” (v17, John 8:36). WHERE is the Spirit now? He is IN US by the New-Birth-in our reborn spirit! The glory of God is now in us-giving our spirit complete liberty from sin!
Next, he describes the ongoing process of transformation in a believer, for the soul of a believer can still covered in unbelief and ignorance (an unrenewed mind), so that the glory of Christ is trapped within the spirit (holy of holies). The Spirit wants to flow out as rivers of life and glory, but He is prevented by this veil of unbelief. As our mind is renewed, this veil is removed from our soul, and God’s glory can shine through. Our soul is like a colourful stain-glass window , covered over by a dark curtain. As we come into the knowledge of PT, the veil over our heart is removed, so the spiritual-life can flow out and our true personality can be seen.
v16 literally says: “when one turns to the Lord, the veil (of unbelief) is (being) taken away.” It is a process. As we come to know PT, the veil recedes and more glory can shine through: “But we all (believers) with unveiled face (in faith) beholding as in a MIRROR (of the Word) the GLORY of the Lord, are being TRANSFORMED into the same IMAGE from (one level of) glory to (another level of) glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (v18).
The key to transformation is looking in the Mirror. What do we see in a mirror? We see ourselves in the spirit - we see: ‘the glory of the Lord’!
According to the image of glory that we see in the mirror (and act upon in faith), that degree of glory can be manifested in our lives. This is an ongoing process for, as we keep beholding the Word, the face of our heart is unveiled more and more, and the self-image we see is of more and more glory, which can then released through us. Thus we are transformed from the inside out, from glory to glory.
This process (sanctification) is directed and empowered by God’s Spirit.
ACTING ON PT. We saw that we are a spirit-soul-body Temple of God.
For us to be changed to be like Jesus (sanctification) something has to happen
(1) in our spirit, (2) in our soul and (3) in our body.
God changes us from the inside out. First of all He changes our spirit.
(1) Our SPIRIT must be born-again, which happens when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The Holy-Spirit recreates our spirit, and then He comes to indwell it. Now that He is within us, He is working from within to transform our whole life (Rom 12:2; 2Cor 3:18), changing us into the likeness of Christ, just as our spirit has already been changed. Transformation is the process of an outward change, produced from an inner-life being worked out. It is not enough for our spirit to come alive and be saved, we need to express and experience this new-life in our soul and body (life).
(2) Our SOUL (mind) must receive the truth (PT) of the Word of God.
This is the next necessary step. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind to PT (Rom12:2). Knowing PT foundational for being transformed into living a strong Christian life. We must (1) know the truth and then (2) do it. PT is all God’s grace; it does not depend on our works, feelings or performance. It is unchanging, eternal and perfect, equally true for all believers, and only discovered by revelation (through the Word and prayer). As we hear the Word and pray for the Holy-Spirit’s revelation, He will illuminate to us. We must KNOW the PT of what God has already done in our spirit by the New Birth, allowing the Word to form the attitudes of Christ within our soul (Phil 2:5), for only as our soul lines up in agreement with our spirit can the Christ-life within shine through. As our mind is renewed, the veil (of ignorance and unbelief) is removed from our soul and God’s glory can shine through. Knowing PT changes our self-image, so that we see ourselves as we really are in Christ. Then our life will rise to this new level, for: “as a man thinks in his heart, so he is (outwardly).” Our speech and actions will always correspond to what we believe about ourselves. Thus, we will walk and talk differently, expressing the PT we believe. When our thoughts and actions line up with our spirit, the life within will manifest without and we will experience the truth of our New-Birth, Life and Position in Christ. Thus experiencing the truth, depends on us knowing (believing) PT, for only then can we express it.
(3) Our BODY must be yielded to God to walk in PT. As well as knowing the Word (PT), we must also obey the truth, being a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only, adding corresponding actions to our faith. This is the final key to our Transformation. Knowing PT is the essential first step, but the transformation is not complete, until we live (act) it out. In this we must lean on the Help of the Spirit, who supplies us with the desire, power and wisdom we need to do this. Thus PT tells us: God has poured out His LOVE into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us (Rom 5:5). Once we know that God’s love is in our spirit, by faith we can act in love, and then it will released, manifested and experienced. In this way we lay hold of the eternal life within us (1Timothy 6:12).
In Summary: 1. You are a new-creation in Christ (in your spirit).
2. You must know that you are a new-creation in Christ (in your soul).
3. You must live like a new-creation in Christ (in your body).
This is the ultimate proof that you really believe it.
Do you believe you are New-Creation? Then prove it! Live like it!
How? Meditate on PT (so you know and reckon on it) and then ACT LIKE IT IS TRUE for you.
Walking in PT, is walking by faith in the Word. This requires us, knowing who we are in our spirit (indwelt by the Holy-Spirit), reckoning on it, and living out from that reality. It is believing the Word of God (concerning who we are in Christ and His power working in us by the Holy-Spirit), and living accordingly, in dependance upon the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is a constant choice, but until you know PT, you can’t even make that choice - you will just live out of the natural (the flesh).
Phil 2:12,13: “WORK OUT your own SALVATION (within your spirit) with fear and trembling (in obedience to God’s Word); for it is God (the Holy-Spirit) who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” The PT is: God has worked salvation within our spirit. His Spirit is now in us, working to help us work it out in our life. Now, we are to work out what God has worked within us, by the power of His Spirit. The Christian life is expressing what God has already done in our spirit.
Ephesians 5:9,10: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord (in Christ), WALK as children of light (for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth).” Here Paul gives some wonderful PT. Our spirits have been changed from darkness to light, for through the new-birth we are ‘children (born) of light.’ Since we are born of light, we are now by nature ‘light.’ It is our spirit that shines as light - this is confirmed by the fact that the radiation of light is described as the fruit of ‘the spirit’. The spirit of man is designed to be the lamp of the Lord, energised by the oil of the Spirit (Proverbs 20:27). Light describes the radiant nature of Christ, composed of the various colours known as the fruit of the spirit, which together form a unified bright white light of Love. The word ‘fruit’ indicates that these qualities are produced by and issue forth from our spirit. This ‘fruit of the spirit’, is the fruit of our human spirit, indwelt and energised by the Holy-Spirit. Thus our spirit is light and is radiating love, joy, peace to and through our souls. Having given this PT, Paul says: “walk as children of light.”
Thus, knowing that we ARE light (by nature), we are to WALK as light (in lifestyle). We are to express in our daily life who we really are in our spirit. We are to walk in the PT, that our spirit is filled with and radiating the fruit. As we walk as light, the light will shine through us
Galatians 5:22-25: “The fruit of the spirit (the nature of our spirit and the life being produced from it, by the power of the Spirit) is LOVE, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control....
If we LIVE (are alive) in the spirit, let us also WALK in the spirit.”
Having given the PT that our spirit is alive with love, joy, peace.., Paul urges us to walk (live) by (under the power of these spiritual forces). God has made us alive, so now by faith in this PT and depending on the Spirit, we are to express this new-life in corresponding actions. Then the life (fruit) within will be seen.
This is how Paul teaches. He always starts by giving us PT, and once we know it, he urges us to do it. This is living ‘under grace’: “We are not under LAW but under GRACE” (Romans 6:14).
Transformation happens when you: (1) Know PT, and then (2) Act on it. Thus Ephesians 1-3 is all PT, then in chapters 4-6, Paul urges them to act on this truth (and even then before he tells us to live a certain way, he first reminds them of relevant PT). Only when the foundation of PT is laid, does Paul call us to act on it. We must believe the PT (reckon on it as true), before we can live it out. Likewise in Romans 1-11, Paul mostly lays a strong foundation of PT, before telling us how to apply it and live it out (in Romans 12-15).
Romans 12:1-2 are transitional verses introducing a new section of the book where Paul teaches us how to apply PT to our lives. In v1,2 he speaks to those who know PT (from Romans 1-11) calling (pleading with) us to now put it into practice in our lives, so that we will be transformed:
“I beseech you THEREFORE, brethren, by the MERCIES of God (PT) that you present your BODIES a living sacrifice (to do God’s will - he urges us to obey God’s will, to live out the PT we now know), holy, acceptable to God (We are to present our hands to God to do His work, our feet to go where He wants, our ears to hear His Words, our tongues to speak praise to God and grace to men), which is your reasonable (rational) service (for this is not a forced or unthinking obedience, but obedient action that should proceed freely from our knowing the truth of God’s grace).
And do not be conformed to this world (don’t let the world squeeze you into its way of living by pressures from the outside-in), but be transformed (let God’s life and nature within you be released to the outside) (1) by the renewing of your mind (to the MERCIES of God working within you), (2) that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
To ‘prove’ is to put something to the test to show its genuineness. Thus we are to act on the will of God (PT), and thereby demonstrate in our life, the reality of PT through the resulting transformation. Here he again says that, before we can live out PT, and thus prove out its reality in our life, we must know it.
Thus God accomplishes transformation in us (1) by us first allowing His Word to renew our minds and (2) then by us proving it out by our corresponding actions. The transformation is only complete when we act on the Word, having first allowed it to change our thinking. On the basis of the revelation of PT (God’s Mercies), he appeals to us to let it so change our thinking, that our minds are completely renewed by it, for then we can work it out in our lives and experience the transformation whereby Christ’s life, nature and power within, is manifested without. Romans 12-15 then focuses on the detailed outworking of v1,2 based on the PT of Romans 1-11.
(1) KNOW PT: “Receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls” (we must first renew our mind to PT by hearing the Word, which is able to change our thinking if we give it our attention)
(2) DO PT: “But (this is not enough, for we must also) be DOERS of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (we deceive ourselves if we think that transformation happens by hearing alone for we must also do it).
Transformation fails to happen when there is no DOING,
but this is probably due to a lack of KNOWING:
“For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a DOER, he is like a man observing his natural face in a Mirror; for he (quickly) observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”
If we fail to fulfil (1) by not meditating on PT until we really KNOW it,
then we will also fail to fulfil (2) by not doing it. Knowing PT must come first.
Now he describes a successful Transformation: “But he who looks (intently) into the perfect LAW of LIBERTY (he sees himself in Christ in the spiritual mirror of the Word) and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer (he continues looking until the PT-image of himself in Christ, and of Christ in him, is an abiding part of his consciousness and self-image, so that wherever he is, he remembers who he is in Christ and acts accordingly) but (is) a DOER of the WORK, this one will be BLESSED in what he DOES (or ‘he is blessed in His doing’)” (cf. Joshua 1:8). Notice that he only experiences the blessing (the release of God’s life and power) when he ACTS on PT. Then he has Transformation! When we align our life to the will of God (PT), we will experience the life of God (transformation), but first we must really know the will of God (PT), by meditating in the Mirror.
When, by faith, we walk in love, God’s love will fill us and flow through us.
PUTTING ON THE NEW-MAN. We have seen that our transformation requires: (1) Our SPIRIT to be REBORN, then (2) our MIND to be renewed by KNOWING THE TRUTH (PT), and then (3) Our BODY to be offered to God as a living sacrifice to DO the will of God (PT). Then the new-life of Christ in our spirit will be manifested. One of the best analogies of ACTING and living out PT is the PUTTING ON of NEW CLOTHING. Our Old-Man was revealed by the outer clothing of unrighteous attitudes and actions that belonged to our old-life. Now in Christ, the Old-(spirit) Man has been crucified (Rom 6:6), we have put him off (Eph 4:22, Col 3:9) and have put on the new Man (Eph 4:24, Col 3:10), we are clothed with Christ and His righteousness (Galatians 3:27, Isaiah 61:10), thus our spirit has become a New-Creation (2Cor 5:17).
Now we are to reveal the New-Man within, by STRIPPING OFF the clothes (the attitudes and actions) that belonged to the Old-Man, and PUTTING ON the clothes (attitudes and actions) of the New-Man. After Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life, the next step was taking off his old clothes of death (John 11:44). Imagine a prisoner just out of jail. Does he stay in the prison clothes of his old life. No! A new position and life requires new clothes.
Romans 13:11-14: “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep...Therefore let us CAST OFF the works of darkness (the clothing of night) and let us PUT ON the armour (clothing) of light (of the new-man -see Eph 6:11-18). Let us walk properly, as in the day (wearing clothing suitable for the day), not in (the night-clothes of) revelry, drunkenness, lewdness, lust, strife and envy.
But PUT ON (the clothes of) the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (doing the works of darkness, the clothing of night). Christians, out of fellowship with God (asleep) are sleep-walking in pyjamas, dressed for darkness, stumbling around with their spiritual eyes closed, heading for a fall.
1Peter 2:1: “LAYING aside (stripping off) all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking.”
1Peter 3:3-5: “Do not let your ADORNMENT be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or PUTTING ON fine apparel - rather let it be (the ADORNMENT of) the hidden Man of the heart (the new-Man), with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also ADORNED (clothed) themselves (showing forth the inner-beauty of their spirit in their outward attitudes and actions, especially in their marriages) being submissive to their own husbands.”
1Timothy 2:8-10,15b: “I desire...that the women ADORN THEMSELVES in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, WITH GOOD WORKS... (then v11-15a is parenthetical, giving special teaching for wives, before the thought is completed in v15b, note the change from ‘women’ to ‘woman’ and then back to ‘women’)....if they (the women) continue in (the spirit of) faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” Thus we are to adorn ourselves outwardly with good-works, but these works must originate from the New-Man within (grace not law). Thus we clothe ourselves by walking in the fruit of the spirit (faith, love, holiness, self-control), and the fruit will manifested in us.
Colossians 3:8-15: “Now you yourselves are to PUT OFF all these (take off these clothes and throw them away): anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since (in the New-Birth) you have put off the Old Man with his deeds (his old-clothes), and have put on the New Man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.... where Christ is all and in all. Therefore (because of this PT) as the elect of God, holy and beloved, PUT ON (in your attitudes and actions the clothing of) tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Above all these things (as your most visible clothing) PUT ON LOVE, the bond of perfection. ”
Ephesians 4:20-24: “You have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth (PT) is in Jesus.
You were taught, concerning your former conduct, (1) that you (have) put off the Old Man (which was being corrupted by its deceitful lusts) and (2) to be (continually) renewed in the spirit (attitude) of your mind (by receiving PT, especially on the fruit of the spirit, our mind abides under the spirit of the New-Man, so that we develop the mental-attitudes of Christ, such as love and humility), and (3) that you (have) put on the New Man (in the rebirth of our spirit), which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Then, on the basis of this PT, v25-32 describes the old clothes (actions) that we should PUT OFF, and the new clothes (of the New-Man) that we should PUT ON in their place. When we were born-again, we put on the New-Man who is created by God in perfection. He is in us, but is hidden, unless we put on his clothes (actions) just like we put on our natural clothes. It is our responsibility to dress ourselves in the new clothes. As we put on the corresponding actions of the New-Man, we also bring forth the life of the New-Man, so that we are also clothed outwardly with the power of Christ flowing from within (Luke 24:49, Acts 2:4). Thus our new spiritual clothing is works of love, filled with the spirit (fruit) of love, or (to put it another way) the spirit of love manifested in works of love.
To get changed (transformed) spiritually, we must (1) know that we are a New-Man in Christ, who has been translated from darkness to light. Then (2) we put off and throw away the old soiled clothes (actions) that belonged to the night. And, knowing (from the Word) that we possess new clothes (of love, humility etc) suitable for the daylight, we lay hold of them by faith (1Tim 6:11,12), and put them on in our attitudes and actions, like taking a cloak and wrapping it around us, so that they become our outer clothing as we walk in this world. Thus, once our mind is renewed to PT, we can bring forth the life of the New-Man by our actions of faith and be thus clothed with the light of Christ (transformation).
Everyday we choose whether to wear the dirty, worn-out clothes that belonged to the Old-Man, or to put on the brand new clothes of the New-Man. People don’t see our spirit directly, but they see the clothes (attitudes and actions) we wear. Should we dress for Church? Yes - in clothes (actions) of humility, love, peace, and it’s good to look nice too! When we put on the new clothes we still have flesh underneath, but all people can see is the clothing (the sin-nature is neutralised- Romans 6:6). The flesh is now covered by Christ’s power, so we look better!
People justify letting their flesh-rule (and not putting on the clothes of the New-Man) by saying: “I will just be myself. I am not going to put on an act.” But that is like waking up and putting nothing on and going out into the world undressed (or in dirty pyjamas)! We will just see your flesh and the works of the Old-Man. No thanks! You would not want to inflict your selfish flesh on others and it’s embarrassing for you! Don’t be proud of your old-clothes (that belong to your old-life), displaying them in your lifestyle, as if they were the real you, for that’s not you anymore (2Cor 5:16,17). Who is the real you? The Old Man or the New-Man? Don’t act ‘naturally’ but super-naturally, clothing yourself with Christ. We are meant to PUT ON, but it’s not putting on an act, but it is living out by faith the reality of who we really are in the New-Man. We are being ourselves in the spirit, rather than just being ourselves in the flesh - and we will then discover our real life, nature and personality. We become naturally supernatural. The choice is between being ruled by the flesh (who we are in Adam) or the spirit (who we are in Christ). Now you might be used to wearing those old clothes, and (by habit) be very comfortable in them. The new clothes may at first seem strange, and not seem to fit so comfortably or naturally, because you are not used to them, but the more you put them on, the more they will fit you comfortably. Soon you will look at the corrupted old-clothes (ways), and say: “that’s not me, how could I have ever worn those old things?”
There are 2 kinds of systems we can live under and 2 different ways we can motivate a person: LAW and GRACE.
1. LAW (stick and carrot) is external (outside in) - Do this/don’t do this or you will be punished. Its Limitations: It works in a temporary way by conformation, but does not transform (does not reach your spirit). What happens if no one is watching, inspecting, rewarding-do you still do good and refuse evil. If you do it’s your CHARACTER, you are living out from who you are, not because you are being forced to do it. You don’t steal-good -but it it because you are afraid of getting caught? What if you had 100% certainty of getting £1000-with no danger of being punished - then we will see your character.
2. GRACE is internal (already in your spirit) and transformational. Grace teaches us: you are a new creation...know it...then live it - act like it is so. Do it, not because of what people think about you, because thats who you are. When you live under grace then you transform and the real character of Christ is formed in you (from inside out).
“We are not under LAW but under GRACE” (Romans 6:14,15) means that God wants to work in our lives on the basis of GRACE rather than LAW.
1Corinthians 6:18-20 shows both motivations being used together:
v18 LAW: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body (LAW - sowing sin and reaping the curse).
v19,20 GRACE: “Your body is a Temple of the Holy-Spirit, so glorify God with it."