ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
March 1, 2006
Paul's Three Commitments
II Corinthians 5
For the past several months, the emphasis of this newsletter has been a study on the Kingdom of God. The New Testament Bible Writers, who were the first-fruits and participants of the kingdom, held views that clarified what is often referred to as the "Household of Faith" and emphasized their kingdom participation by embracing a standard surpassing currently accepted protocol required of believers.
Before entering the heart of the study, a bit of ground preparation must precede the seed.
In II Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul sets up a base priority:
Paul's view is toward the eternal--that is the kingdom view. His concerns were not ego-structured or ego-centric. In kingdom view, there is little difference between earth and heaven, except a garment of flesh which will be exchanged for a garment of glory--same person, same Spirit direction. God designed this rationale for kingdom dwellers.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. NKJV
"The household of faith" may have different "front names," but Faith is their identifying family name. That household has a common DNA (the blood of Jesus), a common family tradition, a common moral and spiritual set of instructions, a common acculturation, a common method of interaction and a distinguishing mark (the seal of God). When the family of faith gathers, the topic of conversation is not the same as the world's. Communication is on a different level.
2 Corinthians 5:5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. NKJV
(Example: C.R. Faith conversing with George Faith has an "agenda of heaven" surrounding them while they discuss whatever be their topic. There is a mutuality, a communion, a joy of presence, which is the constant companion of their interaction. Their faith-walk determines the ground rules for all considerations; it is the underlayment on which is built that special word: Fellowship!)
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. NKJV
Based on this, the "we" of the following text is a different "we" than is found in most religious circles.
2 Corinthians 5:9-11 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. NKJV
To aim at being well pleasing to God
If a corporation determines its aim (more universally clothed in a "mission statement") and states that aim, it is reasonable to judge that corporate entity according to how close or far they come to it. If a hunter takes aim at target or game, he is judged by how close he comes to the target or bulls-eye. If a member of the household of faith takes aim at being well pleasing to God, this becomes the standard for his/her judgment. (Today's English Version broadens the word "aim," by using the phrase: "More than anything else.")
"More than anything else" takes in all of life's considerations. "To be well pleasing to Him" is THE most important of all endeavors; it is "more than anything else." "Well pleasing to Him" is in the forefront of all one's conversations, actions, labors and longings. This forefront is kept, not just to be prepared to "appear before the judgment seat of Christ," but in order to live under the constant smile of the Father. "Well pleasing" is not a minimal standard. (NT: 2101 Gr. euarestos (accepted, well pleasing) carries a meaning like this, "fully in agreement with.") For one to be "fully in agreement with" someone, such interaction must be mutual and consensual between the parties. The flow back and forth is not predicated on external influences. To maintain that status becomes the occupation of both parties. (It is one thing for "brethren to dwell together in unity," it is another for God and man to dwell together in unity!) It is this type of unity which is the basis for the coming together of the household of faith. The Father can enter in; He can depart and return freely through Person, revelation, word of knowledge, direction or comfort, to this kind of gathering. (Thousands have searched for a glimpse of such fellowship in the circles of religion and found pie suppers and singles events instead.)
To be well known to God
O', to be well known to God! For God to know one's person, one's voice, one's terms of endearment, one's habits, one's pleasures and pains and one's inner most being is of utmost concern. Such is more than a cold theology about omniscience; it is the same as when God called certain persons in the Old Testament, "Friend."
James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.
John 3:29 "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice.
Paul was well known in the throne room of the Most High. He was well received through the portals of prayer and revelation. Paul knew the voice of God, the voice of Jesus and the voice of the Spirit. He was well acquainted with the ways and manifestations of his Friends in heaven. He knew he was always welcome, always to be comforted and warmed by their words of love. Every believer has this potential, this honor through the blood; it is enough to cause weeping that so few manifest that which was essential to the life of Paul. With his first syllable of prayer, the heavens were attentive. The first groan of pain from a lichter's lash and the sound was heard in the halls of eternity. The resting saint often was visited by vision or dream which garnered no interruption but was as natural as breathing. "Well known to God" would befit the tomb of few, but would stand as testimony to thousands.
John 15:14-15 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. NKJV
To know no man after the flesh
Paul's "therefore" was his beginning of a summary statement based on his previous conclusions.
The determination to know all people by the Spirit is no light task. Almost every aspect of modern life flows counter to this. Social standing, community participation, linkage to acceptable groups, educational prowess and accumulated wealth bode as well in religious circles as in business formations. What if Paul's third commitment became the standard for fellowship?
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. NKJV
The Spirit must then reveal the man/woman rather than any outward consideration. If the Spirit introduces, maintains fellowship and determines course and conversation, what else is necessary?
One should look more deeply into this Scripture:
The witness of the Spirit obliterates all other considerations.
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. NKJV
"To know no man after the flesh" is an absolute for the Last Days. Deception, seduction and false witness make such introduction extremely important. If one is known in the Spirit, it is a different knowing than can be gained through the flesh. Many people are quite the opposite from their appearance and may well command personage in the heavenlies, though bearing the humblest of demeanor. Such is the evil spoken of dignitaries of the Last Days! To be known in the Spirit carries a credentialism foreign to religious systems. Instantly, one is known without introduction. Instantly, one is drawn without a word spoken. Instantly, the heart is fathomed, though a room filled with pratter deafens the human ear. Instantly, without interpreter or mediator, language differences fade. Instantly, a mutual understanding is contracted that no earthly calamity can break. Known by the Spirit and knowing by the Spirit is just different than what is experienced in today's networking society!
Paul's three commitments rise to be heard in this day of confusion and rhetoric. They supersede political correctness and offer the believer a world apart from the "accepted religious world." To embrace Paul's premise is to arrive at a place few occupy. May every reader "hear what the Spirit says."
Until Next month,
Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.
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