This post continues the chapters of the new book Christ in You – The Hope of Glory.
Death of Initiative
The first chapter of this book declared the value of taking a wider view of the work of God, for as we observe the end Yahweh has in mind for His sons we can better comprehend those things which are to be our present experience. Yahweh is looking for sons to whom He can impart His own omnipotent power and authority. In order to entrust the powers of the age to come to sons, these sons must be fully formed in Yahweh’s own image. To fall short in any measure in attaining to the character of God would result in incalculable harm to the creation.
Consider the message of the following passage from the gospels:
And they went, and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make arrangements for Him. And they did not receive Him, because He was journeying with His face toward Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
Suppose Yahweh had granted James and John the power and authority to do whatever came into their heart BEFORE they learned the nature of the Spirit of Christ. These “sons of thunder” would have left smoking ruins all around in their misguided zeal for their Lord. Yahweh will bequeath an even greater power to His sons in the age to come, and therefore it is an absolute necessity that they come into a strict conformity to the Spirit of Christ.
The sons of God must learn a deep humility. They must not consider that any thought or ambition arising from the soul of man is of value. Walking humbly before God requires that a man move only at the command of God, doing nothing that arises out from self. It is an acknowledgment that only Yahweh is the source of righteous judgment and all goodness. Man can only act in righteousness and goodness when he has perfectly comprehended the mind and will of the Father.
He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge…
Righteous judgment is not arrived at by a rational examination of the facts. Even if we have a moral code to guide us and we apply all diligence to understand all the facts of a matter, our rational mind will not lead us to righteous judgment. The prophet Isaiah testified that the coming Messiah would not judge after the manner of men. The Son of God would not evaluate situations as He received input through His natural senses and then weighed the matter in His soul. The Messiah would judge with righteousness.
The majority in Christendom today overwhelmingly form their judgments according to the report of their senses as they weigh the facts in their soul. Many know of no other way to judge a matter. Little do they realize that they are operating out of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and they have not begun to judge things in righteousness. How often have unrighteous actions been upheld by Christian men, and righteous actions condemned? All the while those making the judgments think their thoughts are right and in keeping with the mind of Christ.
“They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father, or Me.”
If we do not know Christ or the Father, even as James and John did not know the Spirit they were of, we will make judgments that are antagonistic to the judgments of God. You may believe you would never misjudge things so badly, yet if you judge any matter by the seeing of the eye or the hearing of the ear, you are already on the wrong track and operating contrary to the example of the firstborn Son of God.
Suppose you saw a man confessing the name of Christ and he was casting out a demon, speaking forth the word of God, or even performing a miracle. Would you not conclude that such an one must be walking in righteousness? Would you not judge that this person must certainly be one of God’s favorite sons, and walking in the pleasure of Yahweh? Yahshua did not judge in this way.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
I scarcely believe there is a Christian today who would judge things as Yahshua did in this Scripture. Most would stand up alongside these and say, “But Lord, they were confessing Your name and doing many good works. They were casting out Satan. How can you condemn these as lawless?” If we judge events by what our eyes see and ears hear we will stumble badly. We will end up approving that which Christ condemns and condemning that which He approves.
It is pride to think that we can judge matters ourselves and come to a righteous understanding of a matter. The soul of man, no matter how educated in the things of God, is inadequate for the task of making righteous judgments. There is one unfailing source of righteous judgment in all of creation, and that is Yahweh. We only know righteousness, and we only judge a matter fairly, as we receive His mind and thoughts. This is how Yahshua judged all things. He looked to the Father and received His judgment.
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
It was not the hearing of the ear that Yahshua referred to in these words. It was hearing by the Spirit. Yahshua never did anything of His own initiative. He did not even speak a word of His own initiative, but only spoke the words the Father commanded Him to speak. Yahshua was at perfect rest in His soul. Yahshua did not allow His soul to direct His activities, or even to influence His actions. He stilled His soul and at every decision He looked to the mind of the Father and did only what He observed the Father doing.
Yahshua said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”
With these words Yahshua was declaring that the very thing that sustained Him and gave Him life was knowing the Father’s will and doing it. Anything less than this was a work of death. We ONLY know the will of the Father in any instance, we only comprehend His mind and thoughts, as they are imparted to us by the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 2:10-16
The Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The apostle Paul declares, “we have received… the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God.” Many Christians will say, “Yes, this is true. Therefore my judgments are right.” DO NOT BE DECEIVED! Do you not understand that the soul of man has received the ability to judge right and wrong, good and evil, by eating of the forbidden fruit in the garden? This soulish sense of judgment is ALWAYS with us, and it is distorted and twisted, arising from our fallen humanity. The vast majority of Christians examine the facts as they are apprehended by the seeing of the eye and the hearing of the ear, and they look inside to discern what is the good path and what is the evil path. They think they have arrived at the mind of God when they have only consulted with their own soul.
Are you able to discern between the voice of your soul and the voice of the Spirit of God? Most Christians are failing to divide between them.
For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The apostle is declaring that there is a Sabbath rest for all of God’s sons to enter. Yet like the Israelites in the wilderness, the vast majority fail to enter in. The Sabbath rest before the sons of God today is defined as coming to an end of our own works; “the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” Walking in Sabbath rest is manifested by doing nothing unless we have received it from the Father. This is what Christ was saying when He declared, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” You can call Christ “Lord” all day long, but if the works you are doing originated in your own soul then you have not begun to do the will of the Father.
Most Christians have almost no concept of the peril of being directed by their own soul. They consider that it is enough that they try to live a moral life, and that they devote some of their time to good works. Such a life is detestable to the Father. Yahweh does not want man to offer Him the fruit of his own soul. He wants man to die to self (soul) and begin to be directed and empowered in all things by the indwelling Spirit of Christ.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate… even his own life (psuche, soul), he cannot be My disciple.”
If you still live the life of your soul, being led of your own natural mind, willing things from your Adamic soul, pursuing the pleasures and desires of the natural man, then you cannot be Christ’s disciple. The reason one must hate their own soul is that they dare not be directed by it if they would follow Christ, for He never was directed by His soul. He did only those things the Father showed Him to do. The disciple of Christ must do the same.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Yahshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
This was Christ’s meaning when He said many would come to Him on the day of judgment saying they did many good works in His name, but He would declare them lawless. These Christians were lawless because they did not submit to the leading of the Spirit in their works. They chose works according to the direction of their own soul. To do so is to be lawless, for a lawless man or woman has removed themselves out from under the rightful authority and have usurped this position. As disciples of Christ we must walk as Christ walked. He only did those things He saw the Father doing, and He was so perfect in this that He did not even speak a word of His own initiative. He only spoke that which the Father gave Him a command to speak.
“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.”
“The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”
How was the Father abiding in Yahshua? It was by the indwelling Spirit. Yahshua yielded to the indwelling Spirit in all things, and so must all who would be a disciple of Christ. Many who confess Christ as Lord are in great peril of being cast away as lawless.
The Scriptures provide numerous types and shadows to teach us this vital truth, and to instruct us in the path that all the sons of God must take. As we have seen, the Israelites in the wilderness serve as one profound type that has been cited by the author of the book of Hebrews.
Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.
How does one fall short of entering into His rest? By failing to cease from their own works, those works that their soul would declare to them as being worthy and honorable. We must die to the voice of the soul of man and be led by the by the indwelling Spirit after the pattern of the firstborn Son of God. We have also seen that Joseph serves as a type of those who attain to the number of the firstborn. Joseph’s slavery in the house of one of Pharaoh’s ministers, and his later imprisonment in Pharaoh’s jail, is a type and shadow of those whose natural choices and activities are ended, and they now live to do the will of another. Only those who have been so trained to cease from their own works in order to do the works God has prepared for them will be qualified to rule and reign after the similitude of Joseph.
Another type and shadow of this same truth is observed in the words of Christ to Peter.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go…” And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”
Although Yahshua was prophesying of the type of death Peter would die, His words were also a spiritual parable. When a Christian is young and immature spiritually, they go wherever they wish and do as they please. They are led of their own soul. In order to become spiritually mature a believer must no longer do so. They must surrender to the will of God in all things. They must yield to the Spirit and go where their own soul would not choose to go.
Yahshua established the pattern. His soul did not choose the cross. God chose it for Him. In Gethsemane Christ’s soul was brought to a place of death, and He fully surrendered to the will of the Father.
Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”
Christ accepted the cross before Him, and there is a cross appointed to every disciple. It may not be a literal cross such as Yahshua and Peter faced, but there is a Gethsemane appointed to every disciple where the desire of their soul must die in order that we might live only for the will of the Father.
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.“
Gethsemane is where the initiative of man dies. It is where we trade our will, for the will of God. It is the place where every longing, desire, thought, ambition, and will arising from the soul of man is crucified until only the will of the Father remains.
This is an exceedingly difficult matter to bring the saints to understand. We will never be fitted to receive the power and authority of the ages to come until we humble ourselves and become as little children before our Father in heaven. Little children expect their father to instruct them in all things. Little children are taught to obey without argument, and we must become as little children before our Father. We must hear from Him and do as He instructs us in all things. As we grow older we must never abandon the attitude of seeking to do exactly those things that are pleasing to our Father. He has given to us His Spirit to indwell us that we might know His will in every instance.
How did Yahshua know what to do, and what not to do, in each circumstance? He was led of the Spirit in all things. He observed what His Father was doing, and He did precisely what He saw.
Yahshua therefore answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.”
My heart is grieved as I observe among Christians an independence from the Spirit of God. I deplore the church’s doctrines which suggest the saints need not be led of the Spirit in the particular circumstances of their lives. Our training as sons after the image of Christ mandates that it is the Spirit that lead us in all things.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Yahweh has not called His sons in training to be led of their own intellect. He has not told them to develop a code of Scriptural precepts and principles which they can use to evaluate all of life’s decisions. He wants His sons to be children of the Spirit.
II Corinthians 3:6
It is He Who has qualified us, making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant of salvation through Christ, not ministers of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code of the Law kills, but the Holy Spirit makes alive.
This present life serves as a training ground for the sons of God. Yahweh must bring His sons to an end of independent living. He must break them of making decisions that arise from the soul. He seeks sons who are intent upon His will and desire only. He does not want any man to presume that he knows what God would do in a particular situation. Yahweh wants all His sons to look to Him in all things. We are to see what works He is doing, and we are to do them in like manner. We are to hear His judgment in every matter, and then judge the same. We must not seek our will, but live for our Father’s will and pleasure.
A large part of our problem in arriving at God’s mind is that our priorities and goals are not the same as His. When we encounter great trials our immediate thought is to be delivered from the distress, sorrow, or injury. When we are brought to a Gethsemane, our soul will say, “Father, let this cup of suffering pass from me.” It is at this point that we must yield to the Spirit and declare, “Yet not my will, but Your will be done.” Yahweh is looking to what we will one day be, and He chooses our circumstances, trials and cross to best promote our growth as sons.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares Yahweh. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Some have adopted a mindset where they believe they are to study the Scriptures that they might become adequate in themselves to make life decisions. Some have become so arrogant in this that they begin to demand of God that He do their bidding. They think this attitude is pleasing to the Father, yet such an attitude is foreign to the life of Christ. Yahshua was meek and humble, and He only did those things the Father commanded Him to do. He made no demands Himself.
We are not to do any works arising out from self. We are to allow the indwelling Spirit of Christ to reveal to us God’s will, and provide the power to do that will.
The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
As sons of God in training to share the glory, power and authority of our Father in heaven, we must die to our own soul’s leadership and direction. We must become sons in whom the Father abides and performs His works. This He seeks to do through the indwelling Spirit of Christ.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”
This verse has been quoted often in Christendom, but it is rarely experienced. At the end of this age there must come forth a firstfruits group of sons who make it a living reality. Their declaration and experience must become “it is no longer I who live.” The Spirit of Christ within must guide in all their works and activities, and it must be the strength which God supplies that accomplishes all things. The sons of God must no longer be directed by their soul. They must live for the pleasure of the Father.
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