Life's Enemy - Part 2

By Lloyd Ellefson

Our God is worthy of all praise and honor and glory! He loves us, and is never against us! He desires everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth! Since God loves us, He cannot be our enemy, for an enemy is someone who hates us and wishes to harm us in some way. Those who hate God are His enemies - that is, until they learn to love Him! Obviously man has enemies, and he would naturally like to get rid of them. But very often he does not even know who his enemies are. His imaginative mind is a master of deception! Again we have to turn to the scriptures and listen to the Spirit to find out what God says on this subject.

Today we want to discuss the destruction of our last enemy! 1 Cor. 15:26 tells us that the last enemy to be abolished is death. That looks like an impossibility to us. Even if it were possible to destroy all bad habits, evil, drinking, debauchery, Pharisaism, etc., we could not do away with death. There is a physical death and a spiritual death. Living in the spiritual death that is in Adam incites and energizes us to participate in evil. We do it quite naturally; we don't need anyone to tell us to do wrong things. Laws which tell us to do good instead of evil only give us a guilty conscience.

Genesis 1 does not mention death, corruption, nor evil! But in Gen. 2 God spoke about death. God was the first one to mention death when He said, "But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:17) He informed Adam that disobedience to His word would result in death. Did Adam and Eve have any concept of the meaning of death? How could they, since they had never encountered death? Do people today know what death is? They think they know because they have seen the lifeless forms of physical bodies. But that death is not the subject of our discussion. The Adamic man does not know what death is because he is only acquainted with natural life and death - and that is not true life and death! He does not realize that he is dead in his transgressions and sins!

Those who were responsible for putting Jesus Christ on the cross, did it in their ignorance of the true meaning of life and death. That is why Jesus said, "Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." They did not understand what life is, because of their ignorance and delusion! Jesus came to bring life and an understanding of life. He said, "...I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly." (John 10:10)

In John 18:37 Jesus said, "... For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth." He came into the world to bear witness to the truth, because people did not have spiritual truth! In fact, Jesus said that all who came before Him were thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. (John 10:8) Those who came before Him had taken away truth. When truth is taken away, it is replaced with ignorance; this brings separation, evil and death.

The natural man is ignorant of both life and death! The extent of our understanding depends upon our spiritual growth. By now we know there is natural truth and spiritual truth. Jesus came to bear witness to spiritual truth; this was really needed! Ignorance of truth was causing people to walk in death and to experience death. I am not referring to the death of the physical body but to spiritual death. Jesus came into a world of people who were ignorant of life and death. Actually they were living in death, so He came to redeem them from their ignorance of true life and their separation from God. Separation from the life of God is death!

How did death come into the world? In Rom. 5:12 it says, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin..." The word WORLD is a system of rule; it does not refer to CREATION. A system is the opposite of CHAOS - that which is chaotic has no form, order, law or program. After God created the earth, He adorned it; He beautified it with the things we see in nature. He ordained a system according to which it would operate, rule and multiply. This rule was disrupted when Adam sinned. When Jesus came into this world, He saw a world that was keeping people under delusion and death. If we do not have the life of God, our thinking is in the death realm, and it separates us from Him. This is what happened in Genesis 3.

By one man sin came into the world, and death came because of sin. All disobedience is sin because it is the result of unbelief! (Heb. 3) When man sinned, God's warning of death came to pass, and man died! But that is not the end of the story! Jesus destroyed him who had the power of death! Since only God has power, how was this power transferred to satan (the devil or adversary)? He got it through deception and lies; he mesmerized humanity. Jesus said that satan is the father of lies. (John 8:45) The devil did not fall because someone lied to him; he has never been a beautiful angel. He is the father of lies, and there is no truth in him; he is a murderer from the beginning! That is, he was putting people to death from the beginning! There is no truth in him and there never was any truth in him!

How did Jesus destroy him who had the power of death? Satan got the power of death through lying and thus deluding mankind; he took advantage of the ignorance that was in man. In other words, the ignorance and delusion that resides in man gives death power. There is no ignorance and delusion in God! The old humanity is destroyed by the coming of Jesus Christ, the truth and the life. Truth destroys the lie!

Death is not the end of the story. Because Christ has been raised, those who have fallen asleep in Christ do not need to perish. "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished." (1 Cor. 15:17-18) What does he mean by "have fallen asleep"? Jesus equated death with sleep. After Lazarus died, Jesus referred to him as being asleep. In the natural, of course, he had died. Jesus said the same about Jairus's daughter. The people laughed Him to scorn because they knew she was dead - they were quite familiar with death. But Jesus knew the true meaning of death; He knew it was the sleep in Adam.

After God put Adam to sleep, Adam was not awakened until Christ, the light, the life-giving Spirit came in and began to awaken men from their sleep of death in Adam. "If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep." (1 Cor. 15:19-20) Jesus also entered this sleep, because His identification was complete with man, with the exception that He did not commit sin.

"For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:21-22) In Adam all die! This is an absolute! The consciousness of Adam is in the death realm; everyone with that consciousness is estranged from God. Death is separation from God. But how can we be separated from God when He is omnipresent and fills all things? He created all things; He is ever-present and so is His Christ (His Word, His Son). That means that we can only experience a separation from God when we are living in the delusion of our mind, understanding and consciousness.

Adam ate of that tree and entered into death of his own volition, knowing well what would happen. So why did Adam eat the fruit of the forbidden tree when he knew better? The tree provided a sensual seduction through the flesh. Aside from that it had nothing to do with Adam's disobedience. Adam had a fleshly body because he was formed out of this earth, and therefore minded the flesh. In the transgression it was actually Eve who was deceived - and she was a part of Adam. Adam probably reasoned that if Eve died and he didn't, there would be no possibility of the reproduction of his flesh and nature. So he may have done it to ensure the continuity of humanity.

There is more than one way of looking at this. In Rom. 5:14 Adam is called a type of Him who was to come. We know that Christ left His glory, took on flesh, identified with humanity's estrangement from God (which is death) to save us and receive a bride. He brought us into a relationship with God! However, Adam did not bring his bride into a relationship with God! Here that typology breaks down. That is something to think about. The scriptural typology infers that as ALL died in Adam, so ALL are made alive in Christ. Even as all humanity was in Adam, so all the new humanity is in Christ! "That, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (v.21)

Jesus came into the world and upset the rule which had been in the world. In His identification with humanity, He overcame the power of death. He did not die as a substitute for us! In order to understand and experience the life of Christ, we have to be IN HIM! We can only have a relationship with God when we are in Christ - having His mind and spirit! By one man sin entered the world and by one man there is a resurrection out of the rule of this world system. "For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead." (1 Cor. 15:21) Who are these two men? They are two representations of God - an earthy and a spiritual.

Let's take a closer look at resurrection. "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power." (vv. 42-43) Since man was ignorant, he didn't know truth nor the meaning of resurrection. Resurrection does not refer to the physical body being raised up; it is the body of Christ that is raised out of its old consciousness into a new consciousness! Before Jesus raised Lazarus He said, "I am the resurrection." Jesus did not need a resurrection - He IS the resurrection. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! When we have Christ's Spirit and find ourselves in a new consciousness, we are in resurrection. We are raised from the carnal mind of Adam into the spiritual mind of Christ.

"It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body." (v.44) Jesus Christ was raised a spiritual body. The resurrection body is a spiritual body of spirit, life and truth! Listen to this: "There IS a natural body and there IS a spiritual body!" Let's do away with the idea that the spiritual body is for the future - that it is coming! No, it is not coming, it is here! This is what it actually says! We have no trouble believing that there IS a natural body. But can we also believe that there IS a spiritual body, that Christ IS a life-giving Spirit, that we were baptized INTO Christ, that we have been baptized INTO His body of spirit, life and truth? Unbelief is rampant in this area. Yet the scriptures clearly state that "there is a spiritual body"!

"So also it is written, `The first man, Adam' (the first image of God, the first representation of God), `became a living soul'. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (v.45) The FIRST ADAM refers to natural man - the person we were in our consciousness before we were made alive. This is the man humanity is first conscious of. He needs to be redeemed from his lies and delusions, into the truth of God! Adam, the earthy image of God, was made a living soul, and the last Adam was made a life-giving Spirit! The last Adam is Jesus Christ! In God, the spiritual man (the Word) was first.

After Adam sinned he was separated from God in his consciousness. He tried to hide from God. And God asked a very meaningful question. He said, "Adam, where are you?" God asks us questions because He wants us to learn something - not because He doesn't know the answer. God knew where Adam was, but He also wanted Adam to know where he was in his consciousness.

"However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven." (v.46-47) We are either spiritually-minded or earthly-minded. Jesus said, "And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man ." (Jn. 3:13)

"As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." (vv.48-49) The earthy man sees Jesus as a physical man; he sees God sitting on a beautiful throne; he sees heaven as a place filled with awesome mansions - the beauty and grandeur of the building depending upon each person's works. That is an earthly testimony. We have been delivered from that! We know there is a natural, physical body, and a spiritual body. But most people's idea of a spiritual body is rather hazy. Many think it is like our physical body without its limitations. But it is entirely different! The spiritual body is a body of truth and life! If we live according to the natural body, we shall die; if we live according to the spiritual body, we shall live.

On the cross Jesus said, "It is finished". I believe He was saying that He had completed His pilgrimage on earth in His body of flesh and identification with sinful humanity! The beginning of the new man spells the end of the first Adam! This second man (Christ, the last Adam) is a life-giving Spirit; He understands life and is conscious of life; He has a relationship with God!

Now we shall bear the image of the heavenly! Heavenly images don't have earthy forms, but man can't understand that, so he reverts to earthy forms again. That is why we need to be raised out of the ignorance that resides in the death that is in Adam. Man's ignorance thinks we are separated from God and from having fellowship with Him, and that we can only have an impersonal relationship with God.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8:1) This is for today. Who is Christ today? He is the Son, the Word, the Spirit of God. For those who are IN Him, i.e. in His spiritual body, there is no condemnation. We are put in Him on the basis of repentance, and He gives us a new mind of spiritual realization. This changes us dramatically. Now we have more faith in the unseen things than in the seen!

This even helps our physical life; the law also helps us physically. If we live by the ten commandments, we will have a better life - but that is not the real life. Life is in the Spirit, and death is in the flesh! Death is terminal; death begins and death ends. Jesus Christ is life, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever! He never begins and He never ends because He is the living expression of God; He is the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the Son of God! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for they do not walk according to the flesh; they walk in obedience to the Spirit!

Many don't understand that the Spirit is received after repentance and forgiveness. After the Holy Spirit had been poured out, Peter preached his first sermon. (Acts 2) The people asked, "What shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (v.38) The repentance that just tries to get rid of sins is very superficial! To repent means to turn from that which causes us to sin. It means to turn away from ourselves, from our wrong ideas of God, from our nature, and from whom we think we are. After that we are to be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins. Now we have forgiveness or remission of our sins. Then we shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

"For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself." (v.39) This promise is for you and your children! Acts chapters 8, 10 and 19, contain the record of people receiving the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was usually given after repentance and water baptism, except when Peter was sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter thought the gospel was just for the Jews. He needed a lot of convincing before he would believe that the Gentiles were fellow-heirs with the Jews. So when he was speaking to Cornelius and his relatives, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message! They began speaking with tongues and exalting God. This convinced Peter that the Gentiles were also eligible for water baptism. This causes us to understand that the gift of the Holy Spirit does not automatically come with water baptism; they are separate experiences.

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." (Rom. 8:2) This law is IN Christ; it is not like the law of Moses which was written in tablets of stone and had to be obeyed by self-effort. Christ's life is ours when we are in Him. We are baptized INTO Christ! In Christ we have a new consciousness, a new realization and a new understanding! Christ takes away our darkness, ignorance, sin-consciousness, and the feeling of separation from God. Christ leads us into all truth because He is the truth! He leads us deeper into Himself!

The law of sin and death was given in the garden of Eden, long before the law of Moses existed. God told Adam that eating the fruit of the forbidden tree would cause him to die. Disobedience to the voice of God results in death! That is a law! The penalty for disobedience is death - it's NOT hell! The severest penalty for not keeping the law of Moses was physical death. Moses' law pointed out the external sinful actions; it brought the knowledge of sin so people could know why they were dying. "For through the law comes the knowledge of sin...having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth." (Rom. 3:20b; 2:20b) It's a form of truth; there is a formal knowledge of truth in the law.

The law of Moses operated for those who lived in consultation with their flesh. His law consisted of carnal commandments. We need to realize "the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching." (1 Tim. 1:9) The law is not for the righteous man!

Now we have another law - "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!" The Concordant Literal translation reads, "...for the spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus frees you from the law of sin and death." It sets us free from the law of sin and death. The spirit of the law brings death, but the Spirit of the law in Christ Jesus brings life! Jesus Christ is the Spirit of the new law. Those who are in Christ now operate in the Spirit. Christ Jesus delivers us from the law of sin and death.

"For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. 8:3) He came in the LIKENESS of sinful flesh; it doesn't say He was born of flesh; it says He was born of a woman, born under the law. "In order that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." (v.4) To walk "according to the Spirit" means to walk in obedience to what the Spirit is saying, and let the nature of the Spirit rule us!

"For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." (v.5) We can either mind the flesh or the Spirit. Minding the flesh comes naturally. We cried when we were hungry or uncomfortable even before we knew who our mother was or who we were. We simply minded the flesh. As we grew up, everything that came through our senses - our eyes, ears, taste, feelings, environment and experiences - became our teacher. We were conformed to this world and this creation; we all lived in the Adamic man.

"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (vv.6--8) The natural mind is hostile toward God! Now that Jesus Christ has come, He can give us His mind. His mind pleases God and subjects itself to His will!

It is exciting to know that in Christ we have the victory over every enemy of God - even over our natural mind! Those who are according to the Spirit, mind the things of the Spirit! The light of Christ Jesus does away with all the darkness in which we formerly dwelt! It does away with every enemy; it destroys death - the last enemy to be destroyed! May we truly learn to know what that means and live in the victory we have in Christ! Then we will be praising God continually!

May God bless you and may you grow in the revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ! Amen.

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