Posts Tagged ‘2 Cor 5:21’

Clothed in Glory

It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering, as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.

“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)

God’s Original Intent:

The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. This means they walked together in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a covering) and God’s Honor (atmosphere).

The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:

The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing and they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.

Losing the Glory:

However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish?

Hearing God’s Voice:

The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear.

Spiritual Death:

We are able to see a powerful expression of God’s Fathering love in the moments following the broken relationship. God, seemingly unaware of man’s location, calls out to man and asks him of his connection to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God says, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen 3:11)

Spiritual Life:

Then God makes the first sacrifice, in order to clothe them properly.  ”The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God would spill the blood of a lamb; one of His created beings, to provide a garment suitable to cover human shame. This would serve as humanity’s first revelation that spiritual life is in the Blood.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

Our spiritual death has its connection to sin by the loss of our covering (God’s Glory) and our relationship (God’s Honor) based on His Presence (Holy Spirit atmosphere). Yet the Apostle Paul goes on to tell us of the reality of God’s grace… God’s favorable actions toward us who trust in Christ Jesus. He  tells us that God has restored access to His Glory and Honor in the free gift of salvation. Access to all that was lost could be restored through the Blood of Jesus. 

“We have been freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).

The Gospel of Restored Glory:

This good news cannot be overstated, because it is not accomplished by anything man can do (Rom 3:20)(2 Cor 5:21). God proved His love by sending Jesus to die for us, in our place and for the spiritual relationship to be restored that once was established in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that when anyone turns to God in faith, a veil is lifted from their hearts and they are enabled to behold the Glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:16-4:6). As believers who continue to look into that Glory a transformation takes place, whereby we are being changed into the same image (God’s original intent) from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).

Jesus Said – Be Clothed In Glory: Power from On High!

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city (Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49)

Bold As A Lion

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Prov. 28:1)

Jesus Christ has given me an inheritance of righteousness and I claim it as my own. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21) and I reign in life (Rom. 5:17). In fact, I’m bold as a lion, because of all that He has accomplished for me… and in me. The above verse tells us, “The righteous are bold as a lion”. Its walking in the revelation of a person’s right standing with God that makes them confident and bold as a lion. If you can accept the truth; that in Christ there is forgiveness for sin and right standing with God, then you too can have the boldness of a lion. By simple faith, you will never again need to fear your circumstances or look at someone else’s life and feel unworthy.

You can say, “I have the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to me by faith. I have cast aside my filthy rags for garments that are white as snow!”

It is time to stop struggling. If the devil comes to you and says, “You’re no good, you have no righteousness.” You can answer, “I know I am unworthy in myself! I have no righteousness, but I do have the righteousness of Jesus Christ. His Blood, shed for me has cleansed me from all sin! I’ve failed God; fallen from Glory, but I have an Advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ, The Righteous King of Glory!” Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God who died; yet was risen and still remains as our Great High Priest before the Throne of God making intercession for the Saints, declaring the sufficiency of His own sacrifice. He will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. And we; as a People of Praise, shall rejoice with Him at His coming… knowing that we are like Him, bold as a lion in His righteousness.

Evil Days:

When you stand in the midst of evil, you will not have to tremble (1 Jn. 4:17-18). Stop thinking, “What have I to offer God? What did I do right or wrong?” No, you come bold as a lion to the Throne of Grace and find mercy and receive grace in the time of need (Heb. 4:16). Jesus has made all grace abound to you; so that in believing, you might have joy and boldness in your fellowship with God.

Freedom to do Good Works:

Living by faith and receiving the gift of righteousness, sets us free to walk in power and do good works. Good works done in fear bring no glory to God — they must flow out of a loving heart… a joyful heart. Walking in supernatural power is possible to those who have a revelation of their inheritance! Christ’s perfect righteousness has become our source of confidence… no more bondage to fear.

Its time to awaken the heart of the lion and move in faith- Courageous & Bold!

New Covenant Believing

Most churches have not understood the reality of New Covenant Believing. The challenge is that the Spirit of the Lord has set us free and we are not sure what we should do with our religious standards! Trying to fulfill the Old Testament Law has caused us to loose sight of “grace through faith” and minimize the very power of the New Covenant itself. Many denominational structures have become very good at mixing the Old Covenant instituted by Moses with the New Covenant ratified by the Blood of Jesus. They have forgotten that the Old Covenant has become obsolete while the New Covenant is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

The New Covenant of Liberty:

It is our freedom… our Day of Jubilee if you will! Jesus said, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” (Jn. 8:36). The problem with living under religious systems is that they tend to teach the burdens of faith, rather than the freedom of belief. Stepping away from grace will always lead to a loss of freedom in Christ. But Christ has made us free to celebrate and worship in the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Understanding Covenantal Seasons:

The Old Covenant brought death (and always will), because it was designed to be a “tutor” that would bring us to Christ. The New Covenant brings life as the morning speaks of a New Day, because it reveals the victory over sin and the wealth of strength offered to the believer by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:1-11). Make a note of the word “believer”, its not a title, but an activity. You see, the central goal of the Old Covenant is to behold our sin and make sacrifices according to how we have fallen from Glory (Rom. 3:23), but the goal of the New Covenant is to behold the Glory of God as it is revealed in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6), and experienced in our personal transformation (2 Cor. 3:4-18). This means we are called to worship and celebration by what we see in the eyes of Jesus. Our praise is motivated by the fact that we are moving from one level of Glory to another level of Glory by the Spirit of the Lord… its our freedom in Christ.

How Jesus has Set Us Free:

Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I call you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:15). Jesus gave His disciples some of the most amazing secrets, like keys to His Father’s heart. And He made it clear that the things He was telling them would need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand and walk out daily (Jn. 16:12-15). Obedience was not going to be bound to a set of rules, but a hearing and perceptive ear. As these disciples were able to hear the voice of the Spirit, they would begin to obey the purposes of God by relationship and honor… “friendship”.

Favor & Fellowship:

The Holy Spirit is changing us and it effects our behavior, our attitudes and our believing. To live in the freedom of listening to the Holy Spirit’s Voice releases two powerful realities… favor and fellowship. Knowing you are loved and accepted by God allows you the freedom to grow in the knowledge of the Glory of God as you look into the face of Jesus. When we live in relationship, we experience the power of love and the freedom that comes to those who walk honorably toward the heart of the friend. In this case God is calling us to see ourself as His friend, His Child and His Chosen One.

Living by Human Standards:

Living by human standards distorts our view of real friendship. When we find ourselves unable to live up to the standards set by those we perceive to be more mature than us, it releases guilt, shame and issues of condemnation. When we live according to some arbitrary religious standard and find ourselves successful without the need of relationship, we become vulnerable to personal pride and boasting. It doesn’t make having some basic standards wrong, it just means they are subjective and difficult to measure in changing times and cultures.

Jesus came to do away with the measurements on all levels and substitute His life for any standard, perceived or real… we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Christ became our “Standard Bearer” so that we could walk in freedom. Being led by the Holy Spirit; and feeling the joy of a living relationship with the Father, is New Covenant Believing. Its a freedom to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit and live out of the abundance of our growing knowledge of Christ’s victory at the cross.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)

The Glory

What if I told you that there is a place beyond the Presence of God… would you call me a heretic, lunatic or mystic?

Let me speak to the issue of the Glory of God! It is both a Secret Place, where God speaks to us face to face and a Spiritual Realm, where supernatural authority is established within our lives. It is a Place where we begin to truly see… and manifest the riches of the invisible stuff of heaven into our natural reality on Earth. We as Christ’s followers, are called to a “walk” that is able to please God and release the inheritance of spiritual resource into our daily life. But do we understand the Glory of God or just take life as it is presented to us everyday. I want to enlarge your thinking, because the day has come; whereby God is wanting to increase the “knowledge of the Glory of God”… to a level that would be as recognizable as the way the “water covers the sea”.

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

The Apostle Paul spoke about the Glory in terms of an ongoing ministry that began in the Old Testament and advanced into the New Testament. He said that the Ministry of Moses had a Glory that was so strong that the people would cover the face of Moses, because it would shine with the Glory that rested upon him as he ministered face to face before God in the Wilderness Tabernacle. Yet Paul said that the Glory of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit was even greater and more precious to behold (2 Cor. 3:7-18). His message was that our lives are transformed by the Glory as we behold Christ more and more… as we fellowship with the Father and experience the working of the Holy Spirit. He used illustrations from the Old Testament like the Glory Cloud that followed the Hebrew People in the wilderness or the Ark of the Covenant as the fire rested upon the Mercy seat… these images were to encourage us to recognize that our lives are changing as we learn to walk in the Glory of God and behold Jesus as the Glory of the Father (Heb 1:1-4). Notice verse 3 speaks of Jesus as the brightness or manifestation of the beauty of the Fathers Glory and the express image of His person.

Spiritual Atmosphere Heavenly in Nature:

Interesting that the Apostle Paul also speaks of the Glory as a Realm of God’s spiritual atmosphere… an atmosphere that is heavenly in nature. It was in the Garden of Eden as God walked with Adam in the “cool” (ruach/spirit/glory realm) of the day (Gen. 3:8). In other words God was sharing His Glory with Adam before the fall… as they walked together and shared fellowship and communion. This Glory made Adam feel loved, accepted and comfortable without clothes, for he was naked and unashamed until after the fall – after sin came into the Garden experience. Notice that Adam was not alone, yet the woman that accompanied Adam was not named until after the fall: because they were living together naked and unashamed. They lived in harmony, as one in the Glory with the Father, but after sin comes shame and guilt become the overwhelming atmosphere. It was in the fallen state that Adam names the Woman Eve, because he was now very aware of their differences rather than comfortable in their unity with the Father.

As the Glory Lifted:

Now this happens because the Glory had lifted… note that God comes into the Garden to find that man is hiding himself and that he was covering himself with leaves… man was meeting his own need, and hiding in disobedience and shame.

  • Psalm 8:5 tells us that God had “crowned” or clothed man in Glory at creation.
  • Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8 & Ephesians 5:17-18 tells us He wants to do it again in the Holy Spirit as we are filled to overflowing with His Power.
  • Isaiah 43:1-7 tells us that God created man for His Glory… it speaks of “man” as Jacob and that God had formed man in His Glory, redeemed man by His Glory and called man to His Glory… so that man could live as he was created to live – in the Glory of God.

Riches in the Glory Realm:

The Apostle Paul says (Phil. 4:19) that all of his needs were met according to the riches in the Glory in Christ. This is an amazing revelation to know that we can have our needs met as we learn to walk in the Glory Realms with God as Adam experienced before the fall. Indeed Jesus has restored access to the Garden of Eden… by becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13) so that we could become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). We can live with all of our needs met and teach as Jesus taught (Jn. 14:12-14)… to walk as Children of His Glory (Jn. 17:22-24).

The Church is to be a Glorious Bride – fully clothed in Glory, the apparel of Loving Fellowship!

Set Free By Christ!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Gal. 2:20-21)

Almost all denominations of Christianity have valued portions of the Laws of Moses (Mosaic Covenant) and added them to the New Covenant established by Christ. Without being aware of it, this has made most Christians guilty of the whole Mosaic Law… which says it all must be kept. At the same time, there becomes a growing hypocrisy in our understanding of the New Covenant. We teach about grace, and want the guidance of the Holy Spirit; but keep mixing it with Laws that no longer serve the same purpose for the Christian Believer as they did for the Jew. This is not to say that we cannot learn many wonderful truths from the Mosaic Law. We are just no longer bound relationally with God through that “spiritual agreement”. We are in covenant relationship with God through a New Covenant ratified by Jesus Christ, not by Moses!

The Issue is Spiritual Freedom:

The fact that most churches have not understood this vital point, has caused us to loose sight of ”grace through faith” and minimize the very power of the New Covenant itself. Most denominations have become very good at mixing the Old Covenant instituted by Moses with the New Covenant. They have forgotten that the Old Covenant has become obsolete while the New Covenant is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It is our freedom. The problem is that there are consequences to stepping away from grace… a loss of freedom.

The Issue of Life or Death:

It all has to do with what you “behold” or set as your standard of relational truth! One covenant brought death (and always will); the other brings Life (Rom. 8:2). If you believe any of the Old Covenant is still binding to a believer in Christ, then it will become the basis of your perception of obedience. We must, however; read what the Apostle Paul has to say about the cornerstone of the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandments (2 Cor 3:4-18). The central goal of the Old Covenant is to behold our sin and make sacrifices according to how we have fallen from glory (Rom. 3:23), but the goal of the New Covenant is to behold the Glory of God as it reveals itself in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6) and is manifesting itself in our personal transformation (2 Cor 3:17-18). We are moving from one level of glory to another level of glory by the Spirit of the Lord… its our freedom in Christ.

Again… “We are moving from one level of glory to another level of glory by the Spirit of the Lord.” That’s our freedom in Christ!

How Jesus has Set Us Free:

The Holy Spirit is changing us… and it effects our behavior, our attitudes and our giving. Yet, to live under the law of obligation (like the tithe or circumcision) actually releases two deceptive realities… shame or pride. Both of these problems are “religious spirits” that aim to rule our behavior and limit our relationship with the Lord Jesus and those in the Body of Christ. When we find ourselves unable to live up to the standards set by those more mature than us, it releases a false sense of guilt, shame and condemnation. When we live according to some arbitrary religious standard and find ourselves successful without the need of faith, we become vulnerable to personal pride and boasting.

Jesus came to do away with the “measurements” on all levels and substitute His life for any standard – perceived or real… we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). He became our standard bearer so that we could walk in freedom, being led by the Holy Spirit and feeling the joy of a living relationship with the Father. Its a freedom to live, grow and serve as God would have us serve. Its not a license to sin any longer, but a freedom to live by faith and relationship with Christ, through the Holy Spirit… and where the Spirit of the Lord is – there is liberty!

Whom the Son sets free – is free indeed! (Jn. 8:36)

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