Questions and Answers - Part 2

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

Read the first part of this article.

In 1 Cor. 6:20 it says, "For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body." Did we belong to Satan before we were bought with a price, and was the price paid to Satan?

In John 8:37-44 Jesus told the Jews that although they were Abraham's offspring, they were of their father the devil because they did not believe the truth. The devil is a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies. Those who do not believe God have the devil's nature, and the devil has become their ruler. This occurred through artful deception, but God never gave the devil a legal deed of ownership. Sovereignty has always belonged to God.

Before we were bought with a price we were slaves of our natural lusts and desires, and of men. We were slaves of Satan, but he did not legally own us; he usurped the rule over us illegally. Some Christians teach that we belonged to the devil, and that the price needed to be paid to the devil, and that the devil named the price - but that would be ridiculous! Nothing could be farther from the truth! This idea would imply that Jesus had to obey the devil in order to redeem us - and obeying the devil is always sin!

Since we were slaves to our natural lusts, we needed to be freed from our bondage. In order to redeem us it cost Jesus Christ His glory with the Father and the humiliation of being lowered into an identity with sinful humanity. As a result He received false accusations and rejection by His own people. He had to endure a lot of physical and spiritual suffering, even the excruciating pain, shame and humiliation of death on a cross! This was the price He paid for our salvation and redemption in His obedience and submission to the will of God!

2. In 1 Corinthians 15:50 it says, "Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable", and in v. 53 it says, "For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality." How do these verses fit together and how can mortality put on immortality?

These are good questions. Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, we know that flesh and blood can never become immortal. Inheritance is something we get because of our relationship to the one who has died. Flesh and blood is perishable, so it cannot have a relationship with truth, and therefore it cannot inherit the kingdom of God. This shows us the impossibility of the perishable ever becoming imperishable. Corruption is inherent in its composition, and everything that is perishable has to die. Our Adamic humanity has corruption and death in the core of its being, so it can never become good. Mortality describes this condition of eventual death. Immortality, on the other hand, does not contain anything that is perishable, so it has to do with a quality of life in which there is no corruption.

As we compare these verses, we see that one verse speaks about inheritance and the other speaks of putting on imperishable qualities. Yet the question remains, "How can the perishable be clothed in imperishable qualities?" Wouldn't that just change the external appearance? And we know that God is always concerned with our internal state of being, not with external appearance. So let's look at some other scriptures that deal with "put on".

In Colossians 3 we are told to put off the old self and to put on the new self. Our new self is described as having a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; and beyond these things we are to put on love. We cannot put on something that we don't have. A woman may say that she does not have a thing to wear, when in fact she has a closet full of clothes. She doesn't actually mean that she has nothing to wear; she means that she has nothing she wants to wear, or that she thinks is suitable for the occasion. Similarly, we may prefer to live in our dirty old comfortable clothes rather than those that are supplied by the Holy Spirit, or we may be under the delusion that we don't have them. If we have the Holy Spirit, we have all these attributes in the Holy Spirit. However, we need to use them; they are not to be left hanging in our closet! We are to put on the new self; we are to wear our new clothes that God has given us!

In Christ we are a new creation, perfect and complete. Christ's love has been poured into our hearts in the Holy Spirit. The Christ in us is has the power to overcome the perishable to which we are still clinging. His power is available to us, but we have to appropriate it. We have to avail ourselves of that which is ours in Christ! In other words, we have to put on Christ (our new self) and live according to who we are (our new self). To put on these qualities means to put them into practice so that we experientially become who we truly are. This is to take place while we are still living in our mortal bodies. These qualities belong to immortality, and therefore they cannot be corrupted! As we live according to who we are in Christ, we are putting on immortality!

3. In Colossians 1:27 it says, "Christ in you, the hope of glory", and in John 6:56 it says, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in Him." How can Christ be in us and we in Him?

This looks pretty impossible, doesn't it? The story is told of a little boy in England who had only seen steep, slanted roofs, so he asked his Sunday school teacher how King David had been able to walk on the roof? His teacher had a very simple answer, "With God all things are possible." Well, we want a better answer than that!

Let's look at nature and see if we have examples there. Have you ever looked up at the sky and watched the clouds move silently along their airborne path? Then you saw two clouds merge and become one cloud. Did you stop to wonder about the miracle? Cloud one was in cloud two and two was in one, and together they had become one! Even so Christ wants us to be one with Him!

Jesus used an even better illustration from nature to illustrate this. He said, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in Him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) The branches are in the vine, and the life-giving sap from the vine flows into the branches, making them alive, beautiful, healthy and fruitful! As we abide in Him, His life in us will keep us healthy spiritually, and produce fruit that will give life to others! What a beautiful example of the oneness that we have in Christ, yet it is His life in us that produces the growth and the fruit!

4. In Hebrews 8:1 it says, "We have such a high priest who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heaven," and in Revelation 3:21 it says, "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." Can you please explain to me how one throne can accommodate the Father, Jesus, and the overcomers?

In the natural this could present a problem. An earthly king or queen will not share the throne with others. If we look at spiritual realities in the natural realm, we will have many problems. For example, how can Jesus sit on the right hand of God when God is omnipresent? Where is His right hand? How can God sit on a throne when He is everywhere? If we think of Jesus Christ as a physical person, how can He be in you and me and in every Christian and sit on the right hand of the Father and in us at the same time? But God is not a man; He is spirit. In Him we live and move and have our being! We cannot downgrade God to a human figure, neither can we downgrade Christ to a human figure, because Christ is now spirit. When our thinking reduces Christ to a mere human being, He is no longer spirit . Humanity forms many false images of God because they are produced by human thinking. In order to know God, He has to reveal Himself to us. All our false images of God disappear when we receive revelation knowledge of who He is.

The throne of God is not a physical throne somewhere beyond the blue. His throne represents His authority, power and rule! His rule is not forced upon us - like the rule of the governments we are familiar with. In order to have his rule WITHIN us, we have to submit our will to God's will. We cannot do His will through the striving and zealousness of the flesh! Our natural mind has many reasons for insisting that God's will is not the best for us. In order for us to have the faith that the Father's will is best, we need a revelation of His love and goodness. We need to have a relationship with the Father in Christ even as Jesus had. It was Christ's relationship with the Father that enabled Him to believe that the Father's will for Him was the best, even when it involved pain, torture and suffering! His intimacy and depth of relationship with the Father enabled Him to submit His will to the Father's will, and to remain obedient even when He had the power to come down from the cross! Our depth of obedience grows in direct proportion to our intimacy with the Father in Christ. The more we truly learn to know God, the greater will be our trust in His perfect will for us and for the world. Obedience to the directives of the Holy Spirit keeps us from doing our own will, and makes us overcomers.

Obedience is the key to overcoming all the nations (strongholds) within us that are warring against the rule of God. God has given overcomers a wonderful promise, namely, that they can rule together with Him! They can be trusted to carry out His will because they have learned that God's way is the best way! All who are obedient to the Spirit will walk in agreement with God. They participate in the rule and authority of God. So we see that the throne of God is not a physical throne in the sky somewhere, but that it symbolizes His rule and authority. Sitting on the throne with God symbolizes our agreement with the rule of God and our participation in His authority! Since we have come into complete agreement with His rule, we can be trusted to obey His instructions!

5. What is the meaning of resurrection, and when will it occur?

In our teenage years we thought it meant the resurrection of our physical bodies, and that God needed our physical body to change it into a form that did not contain corruption. We wondered how God would recreate those who had been eaten by cannibals or animals, and those who drowned and had been eaten by fish. And what if these fish were later caught and eaten by people? These are the fruitless deliberations of the natural mind.

In John 11:25-26 Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die." He is life and truth! When Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life," He was speaking of a present reality. He was not referring to the past or to the future. Neither was He speaking of a historical event. Jesus IS the resurrection and the life! When He is in us, the resurrection is in us! It is operating in us to raise us out of our sleep of death, (our natural carnal mind) to a spiritual consciousness. Jesus came to take us out of our realm of vanity (our death and our darkness) to bring us into a new consciousness of life. This truth is imparted to us as we feed on the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ.

The spiritual word of God has no bread, meat or drink value to the natural man because he cannot assimilate it. The natural man can only eat and drink in a natural environment; he can only sustain and reproduce a natural life. But we know that Jesus Christ is our bread of life, and He is our drink of spiritual understanding; He is our life! When He is here, resurrection is here. When we are in Christ we have been resurrected out of the death we were in. Everything that is in resurrection has already been raised from the dead!

Martha said that her brother would rise again in the resurrection on the last day. Her understanding was not based on reality, because she did not know that Jesus Christ is the resurrection. Martha's idea of resurrection was for the body to be raised back to life. Jesus' understanding was greater. When He said, "I am the resurrection and the life," He was speaking of a life that can never die; it continues to live even though the body dies.

Recognizing that He is the resurrection, takes resurrection out of the natural realm and puts it into the spiritual realm. In resurrection something dead is made alive. In Eph. 2:1,4-5 we read, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." . Paul tells us that we were all dead in our trespasses and sins. There is no exception! Only in Christ can we be made alive! So when we are born of the Spirit, we are raised or resurrected out of death and given life! We are put into Christ, the resurrection! His life becomes our life! What a glorious resurrection!

6. Does the end justify the means? For example, many people accept Christ because they don't want to be cast into an eternal hell. So is it acceptable to preach and teach that there is a physical eternal hell even though that teaching defiles the nature of God and contradicts the teaching of the scriptures?

Christ is the truth, and everything that does not have its source in truth, is a lie. Many teach an eternal hell, because they believe there is one. They teach this out of ignorance, but this does not make it right. In fact, it brings us into a fear relationship with God. God wants intimacy that is rooted in love! A marriage relationship rooted in fear is not a good relationship. God wants us to know His love and grace!

Abraham may have thought that the end justifies the means, for he instructed his wife to say that she was his sister. This lie was birthed in fear; it did not come out of faith. He reasoned that it was not a complete lie because she was his half-sister. This brought about a rebuke from a pagan king.

Jesus only spoke the truth, and He is our pattern! The popular saying, "The end justifies the means," is rooted in the pride of selfhood. Humanity thinks it can chart its own course by making the right choices and guaranteeing that those choices will bring about the desired results. This idea comes out of the carnal mind of man, and Paul tells us that this mind is in the death realm. The life nature that is ours in Christ is devoid of all deceitfulness and all lies and all corruption. If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the deeds of the flesh!

7. In Rom. 8:1 it says, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Yet we are told that some day we will all have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. What is the difference between God's judgment and condemnation? Why do we still have to fear God's judgment if there is no condemnation in Christ?

A judgment is a statement of truth. Without truth, a true judgment cannot be made. Only someone who has true knowledge can make a true judgment. In a court of law, the judge makes a decision based on the knowledge he has received. He may declare the accused innocent or guilty. If he is found guilty, censure or a penalty of some kind is placed on him. This declaration of guilt together with its resulting punishment is called condemnation. We say, "He was condemned to die."

Keeping in mind the difference between judgment and condemnation, let's look at your question again. Why is there no condemnation in Christ? On the cross Jesus prayed and said, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing?" And in 2 Cor. 5:19 we read that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself". This means that all sin, past, present and future, was forgiven on the cross. In Christ all our sins are forgiven!

The judgment seat of Christ is always, because Christ is the truth, and truth judges everything that is not truth. Whenever God's light and truth reveals our error, we need to agree with Him and judge the error to be sin. This releases us from our bondage to that sin and we can be set free. Therefore we have every reason to rejoice that His true judgment is given us. Our judgment, that everything that is not of faith is sin, is an agreement with God's judgment, so we will never be judged on that again! Since God's judgments are true, we can rejoice that His judgments are not against those who are in Christ, but against the dross that still clings to us!

8. In Luke 22:15-16 Jesus said, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Why would He desire to eat the Passover together with His disciples before He suffered?

Jesus saw that the Old Covenant could not free people from their bondage to sin. He saw the religiosity and corruption of the people that He loved; He saw their need! He knew how much better the New Covenant would be! I believe He could hardly wait to introduce the New Covenant to them! But He had to wait for the Father's timing, and that would be during the last celebration of the Passover that foreshadowed His death. Christ's declaration that he would never again celebrate the Passover with natural elements meant that the old was passing away. The natural was passing away, and the fulfillment was at hand. The fulfillment is always in the spiritual realm! He said, "I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." (Mark 14:25) The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, and everything in His kingdom is in the spiritual realm. It is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! (Rom. 14:17) His kingdom is in the Holy Spirit, so it could not be established until the Holy Spirit was poured out!

Furthermore, Jesus gave His disciples some wine to drink and said, "This is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many." (Mark 14:24) Then He broke some bread and said, "Take it; this is My body." This is the last time Jesus celebrated the Passover with natural elements. After its fulfillment, the natural is no longer valid. It is now celebrated spiritually. For this reason He said that He would drink it new. The new spiritual celebration is called the Lord's Supper. This is a time when we come together to feed on Christ - the truth! It is a time when we test ourselves to see if we are in the faith! "Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test." (2 Cor. 13:5) We are not to examine the old Adamic man and confess his sins. We are to recognize that we are a new creation in Christ, and this new creation needs spiritual food. Our Lord feeds us with truth and gives us His blood (i.e., His sense of being) to drink. As we feed on the revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ we will grow spiritually. This is eating and drinking it new with Him!

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