Living faith moves one to action that will help our brothers and sisters. In conjunction with this is the aspect of the need for corporate mindedness within of the Body of Christ. The early church possessed a corporate mindedness that was later lost and replaced by an individualistic mindset that preachers today actually base their ministries upon as they speak and teach the Word to people. Today we have ministers who preach to people in a style that relates to an individual "pilgrim's progress" type of walk rather than the proper and biblical corporate mentality that we see in the Apostles' teachings. "Pilgrim," in the John Bunyan story, journeyed all alone for quite some time. This is a misconception of the Christian walk. God is working in a Body called his Church, a group of called out ones, and not leading isolated pilgrims in separate journeys apart from one another. A Church is not a building christians attend, but is the true group of Christians themselves.
A "Pilgrim's Progress" mentality has replaced the corporate mindedness
that the church began with and this error is robbing God's people of great
blessings. There is more anointing when a body of believers together
praise than there is when one individual praises God. Bunyan's thoughts
were wonderful in regards to lessons we learn in our journeys, but he erred
in making it appear to be an isolated and lonely journey.
Peter said we must love one another and possess unfeigned love of the brethren. The aspect of love and the fellow believers is in view here. Let us begin this discussion by first of all looking at the aspect of animate love for the brethren, and then move on towards the aspect of the brethren-mindedness this love requires.
James spoke about faith that is animated and acts, and is fulfilled
in works towards our brothers. Note the issue of our relationship
with others in this teaching about faith and works. The issue regards
our brother and sister in the Lord. This targets the church and specifically
delineates the world from our "family" in Christ.
Matthew reads that Jesus looked for this kind of living faith that
would take a believer into glory. Without this "faith that works,"
we are lost.
Again Jesus, as well as James, mentions the brethren. According to the Sonship of Christ, Jesus is our brother. He is not brother to a sinner, since His Father is not the Father of the sinner. A sinner must repent and be born again in order to make God His Father. So this is talking about the Church again.
Notice that these people did not consciously do these things they did in order that they might be saved, but spontaneously did them as an automatic result of having living faith. We know this since they questioned Jesus about the time they fed Him and gave Him drink. They did not know they did these things to Jesus. So they were not people who checked off works from a list of "Things to do to go to heaven." They did not think, "Okay, I need to feed Jesus to go to Heaven, and feeding the least of those His brethren is feeding Him. So let me feed a neighbour." No. All they were aware of was their faith in Jesus. They knew they required faith to be saved. And that faith, after it was in them, then took over and caused them to spontaneously begin to commit good works. And no, they were not robots either. I am not saying they could not stop themselves from doing good, or that they "blacked out" and performed good works, and then came to consciousness afterwards without knowing what they did. God does not force us to do good. They simply felt it good to do good to others, but not for the need to be saved. They already were saved by the living faith. Had the lord come before they had a chance to do good deeds, their possession of living faith saved them. If the Lord tarried and they soon began to experience the faith moving them to do good deeds, that same living faith was the cause.
The reference to "sheep on the right hand" tells quite a tale! It implies manifest action in the form of good works. The kind of faith that saves has action that results. The right hand is a term used to speak about power and authority throughout the Bible. The sheep were said to be at the "right hand." The sheep at the right hand had active faith and love. We can see why they were placed at the right hand of God. God's "power" motivated them to do good works. If there is no such action then there is no saving faith. Saving faith truly unites us with God. And when we are united with God, we are united with everyone else who is united with God. It gives us the same heartbeat God has which is to help others. The believers hearts are knit together with God's heart, as it were.
We must have a relationship with God that is based upon experience. There must be practical love-action. Head-knowledge alone is useless. This kind of relationship, with experience that accompanies it, causes a reaction. That reaction is committing good works. The reaction does not save, though. It confirms real salvation, but does not itself save. Unless we have that reaction, we have inactive faith. Dead faith. Inactive faith cannot move us to do good works. God isn't looking for works, but is informing us that good works result from the goal He wants in us, which is living faith.
Living faith also makes you praise God unashamedly. (Whatever happened to the demonstrative worship and shouts of praise from the day of Pentecost? It is still around if you go to the right places). The reason for a fiery, living saint of God is the presence of living faith, too! (Intellectualism replaces heart-experience seems to be the cause of such so-called "sanctity" and lack of praise.)
How many of us can say we enjoy the following?:
At this time let us return to the scriptures in our opening textual reference and see the reasoning behind Peter's words.
Peter said we must purify our souls in obeying the truth. When
we obey the truth through the Spirit, our souls are cleansed! This
means we will no longer hate, nor envy, but will love instead. If
we find this is not occurring in our lives, then we must conclude that
we do not possess living faith, and we have not actually obeyed the truth.
We must love one another seeing we are born again of the Word of life.
Flesh is as grass, reads the Bible. This means flesh will fade away. The Word speaks about people who are said to be "of the flesh," and who "walk after the flesh." Those "after the flesh," who will pass away and not live forever, are known to be unable to manifest proper love for God. How could they? They are not empowered at God's right hand by His Spirit to live an animate faith. Galatians 5 adds thought to this and lists all the things that flesh will work in our lives. Flesh will make adulterers out of us, and liars, and jealous types, unless we have the Spirit of God and refuse to walk after the flesh.
Sinners and unbelievers do not have God's Spirit and therefore cannot choose which way to walk -- after the Spirit or after the flesh. They are secluded into flesh walking since that fleshly motivation is all they possess. They which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
The love of which we are speaking is not the kind of love that is natural and humanly engineered. Heathens cannot manifest this love since it is "of the Spirit." Note the term "Fruit of the Spirit." It is "of" God. It derives from God. Its God's own love that manifests through our lives due to the union we have with Him when fruit of the Spirit is present in a believer's life. Jesus implied this when He said a branch cannot bear fruit except it abide in the vine (John 15). And we cannot bear fruit of the Spirit except we have the Spirit of Christ in us. New Birth gives way for such living faith, because it is being born of the water and Spirit. We have the potential to walk after the Spirit and produce fruit of the Spirit when we have experienced the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In contrast to flesh that fades as grass, Peter said God's Word is
eternal. If we are born of that eternal Word, we will live forever,
unlike unregenerate flesh. This provides the opportunity for us to
an commit good deeds since the living Word by which we were born also produces
living Faith if we care to comprehend the Word and hear it. And this
living faith in turn produces works. So without good works coming
forth from our lives, we can trace the problem back to the fact that we
simply are not receiving the Word after we are born again, or we are simply
not born again. The Word both births us and afterwards it provides
us sincere milk by which we grow.
The fruit of the Spirit, such as love, is actually the fruit of the tree of Life. The issue is "living faith," remember. Life is in view here. And since it is of the Spirit, we know that it is of the same nature as the Life that was in the tree of Life. We will find that the Gospels teach that Jesus looks for this kind of fruit in our lives that we may enter glory. Of course, He knows who has it or not, but He is teaching us how we can tell if we are ready or not. If we are not ready to enter glory, we had better know why we are not ready and go about to discover how we may seek God for the remedy. It is vital we have fruit of the Spirit.
Having noted that we must cleanse ourselves by a birthing experience,
Peter then explained we must crave the sincere milk of the Word to continue
to grow after our new births.
Note the aspect of "newborn" babes. This refers to new birth as the opening text says in 1 Peter 1:23.
The Word of God birthed us and will also make us grow after we are
So we are born again by the Word and we grow by the sincere milk
of the Word. We must love one another and grow in that love.
And here the corporate mentality comes into play. By now we can see
that such a mentality is necessary for our entrance into glory! This
corporate love will erect a spiritual temple that is necessary for the
Spirit of the Lord to work amongst us! Peter taught this! Get
this. God cannot -- simply cannot -- manifest in this world unless
people (plural) unite in love. In 1 Peter 2, we see this taught after
the apostle wrote about the need to love one another seeing we are born
of the Word. We are meant to be lively stones and that implies lively
faith. Again the stress upon life is in view. This means we
will love one another in active love. Not merely in tongue or in
word, but in deed.
See the need for love? First Peter tells us to lay aside the things which separate and divide us from one another. Then we read that we must unite ourselves into a spiritual structure for God's Spirit to dwell in and work. Without unity with one another, by reason of divisive attitudes against one another, how can we unite and form a temple? We need love for one another in order to unite like this.
Why was Peter so concerned with this aspect? Simply because it was good? No. Peter knew it was God's requirement to have a Body in this world through whom He can manifest His Spirit. That is the entire reason God made Adam in His image and then told Adam to fill himself with the fruit of Life. God made Adam as a living vessel, formed like Him since that would best suit His need to fill a vessel and manifest Himself in the physical world. Then God told Adam to multiply and fill the earth. To multiply what? God wanted Adam to multiply himself so that there would be many "Adams" for God to fill and manifest through into this world. By eating the fruit of Life, Adam would have placed God's Spirit in him, since God is Life.
God does not dwell in physical buildings, no matter how beautiful
the stained glass windows appear. He allowed Solomon to build a temple
to shadow forth His real intention of dwelling inside a temple of lively
stones -- people. He dwells in the united hearts of believers that
comprise a spiritual house in the world for Him. He does not promote
an individualistic mindedness amongst His people. Yes, He does indwell
the individual believer, but that is for personal salvation. But
in regards to working in this world to touch unbelievers, He absolutely
requires a corporate body of believers. They are to "show forth"
praise. That means there is an outward work towards the people of
the world. "Showing something forth" is "making something visible"
We may genuinely be personally saved from sin, but the manner in
which the world will know that is by seeing us show forth His praise through
union with other believers. He did not say to do so isolatingly.
He said to do so in the context of being in a temple of many believers.
And God indeed desires the world to know that we are saved so that they
can reach out for the same experience. This is what John meant when
He said that God is invisible, but when we love one another people can
indirectly see God by seeing our visible fruit of the Spirit in action
-- love for one another in deed.
When we love one another, people see God in us. Notice that
we need another with us in order for people to see God in us. People
cannot see God in us as individual believers, but as a corporate Body of
loving believers. Isolationists do not fulfill this need. People
who never worship with a body of believers never fulfill this need.
The world cannot see inside your heart and tell that you love your brother. What this can only refer to is the outward love by way of action with our brother. And how can that occur if we are not physically with our brother or sister?
The work of God requires two or three to agree.
Once I discussed the pagan invasion into the church of heathenistic beliefs of the soul of man. Interestingly enough, that chat inspired some to speak of the hermits who cloistered themselves away from people. However, Jesus told us to reach the world -- to go into all the world -- not cloister ourselves away from the world like a hermit.
The Bible's description of separation from the world is not isolation from it. We are to be separate in activities and thought, not in physical division. We must unite with those also taken out of the world spiritually and erect a spiritual temple. But when we think that a literal building of stone and wood is holy, as does every false religion, and lose our concept of the Church being the called out people of God, we lose our effectiveness in this world. God can only move amongst united believers who love one another. A building has nothing to do with it. The New Testament Church is meant to be the only religion without a holy physical building.
We must cement ourselves one to another. With feelings and grudges in our hearts against one another, we divide from one another and hinder a spiritual building of God. This is what 2 Peter is telling us. We must build ourselves up as a community of believers in order to erect a sort of portal for the Spirit of God to enter our world of material matter by way of using our members to do good deeds and help others. John said the world knows God is real, though it cannot see Him, when it sees us love one another. Regardless of how correct we might think our doctrine to be, and no matter how much intellectual awareness we possess of Jesus' parables, records of His miracles, and despite the abundance of supernatural workings in our lives, unless we love one another and erect a spiritual temple of believers, we are utterly useless to God. Recall that the Corinthians came behind in no gift (1 Cor 1:7), but were so divided that Paul called them children and carnal (1 Cor 3:1-3). They performed miracles galore! But they were awful Christians! No wonder he taught them about love along with the gifts of the Spirit. God requires us to unite in love that He may dwell amongst us. Our independence of one another robs us and others of God's manifested presence.
Hermit-like existence is simply unbiblical and robs ourselves from God's manifested presence. It appears so "holy", yet is monstrous in its effects upon us.
Notice how Peter spoke to a group of believers, and not an isolated
individual. (How would the hermit relate to such words seeing he
is isolated from anybody else?)
"You" as lively "stones."
"You" are a peculiar "people."
The Bible speaks to people moreso than to individuals so far as the work of the Spirit is concerned. The vital need of unity evident in Peter's words of loving one another comes into clear focus when we realize these things.
Filthy souls filled with malice and guile cause the ruination of our lives, and costs us the loss of God's presence manifesting in our midst. It stops God from moving amongst us. We must cleanse our souls by obeying the truth "through the Spirit." The reference to the "Spirit" demands our recognition of a true experience of new birth that unites us with God's heart.
Let us unite until we are of one mind in desiring to see God move. Forget the individual differences and opinions. They all fall short in importance when aside the need to get God's Spirit into this world touching the heathen. I do not by any means condone ecumenicism. That is the seeking of fellowship at the expense of doctrine. No. All must believe the single doctrine of the Bible and unite together. Those who do not hold to that doctrine cannot unite for they are not even newborn of the Spirit anyhow. Notice that Peter mentions the need to obey the truth before he says anything about union. Think of it -- one mind. We can be so in accord until we erect a spiritual structure of habitation for the Lord that we will manifest one great mind: the mind of Christ.
Some might say that it is not necessary to physically fellowship
with other believers, but that in the Spirit we are always in unity
whether we are locally together or not. True. God can see us
in unity in the Spirit although we be far apart. But yet John still
stressed that people will not see God in us unless we love one another
outwardly, and that demands local fellowship. Whether it is in a
house meeting or a church building, we must fellowship locally with other
believers. And then we must carry on that fellowship in activity
outside our meeting places, yet still together, where the world can see
our love and thereby see God.
We read of 120 united priests who opened the way for God's Spirit
to fill the temple like a glory cloud. Does that sound familiar?
Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
On the day of Pentecost, 120 believers united with one accord in one place when God's Spirit fell and filled the house and themselves.
God cannot walk into a shaky spiritual structure any more than we can walk into a physical structure that is falling down. Saints of God must unite in solid love and praise that cements us together into a temple of believers. Without a structure cemented by love, God will not enter. Disunity of minds with all the thoughts fastened on lesser causes of individual quirks prohibits God from moving amongst a people. Love unites us together. Love has a way of making us work together. Even Paul taught the need to even forget personal liberties, if retaining them meant expending the precious commodity of a brother or sister who might be offended at those liberties and isolate from us. Many people miss this true message of 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14. He said the Kingdom of God is not built upon such small things like meat and drinks and what we may consider issues of personal concern, but upon the larger, unifying elements of righteousness, peace amongst one another, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Do anything to preserve that Holy Ghost joy in our fellow believer! The Corporate Body of Christ is the goal of God in this world. Sacrifice what you may deem to be perfectly lawful to yourself and your own walk for the sake of the greater need for the entire Body to walk and work in this world. The BODY of Christ is more necessary, in the whole, than the individual walk. Yes, an individual walk of each believer is necessary for a BODY to exist -- I know that. But Paul taught us that the individual walk points to the goal of a BODY of Christ. And therefore we must sacrifice whatever offends a brother or sister and causes them to disunite with the Body.
Unity in the Spirit builds up a temple for God to work in. Cloistered hermits deny God that opportunity to work by way of their part in uniting with believers. Not only were the 120 in one mind but also in one place (Acts 2:1). Hateful believers likewise deny God this opportunity. And if He cannot enter due to a lack of unity, then He cannot lead us as a Body.
Multitudes have been kept from real Spirit leading due to an invasion of pagan and heathen customs and ideas of buildings and temples being, in themselves, holy. Empirical Rome slaughtered Christians in arenas with the lions, but the worst attack came when it donned the guise of Christianity. This wolfen spirit of antichrist put upon itself the sheepskin of Christian appearances and dedicated its pagan temples to the followers of Christ. Some grapple and fuss over Easter and Christmas celebrations being pagan and never see the evil of the greater error of an incorrect concept of the human soul and the thought of holy buildings being amalgamated into our concept of apostolic thinking.
If God cannot lead us due to a lack of united and spiritual "temple-building"
of believers, then we are not His disciples.
Our holiness is not in our clothing or sanctimonious reputations.
It is in our lifestyles. We are not to fashion ourselves after the
worldly manner of hatefulness and self-seeking desires. Worldly attitudes
is the true worldliness
The holiness above (of attitudes) is the holiness Peter refers to
The difference of loving one another is the issue. Jesus said
this factor distinguishes His people from the world. This is true
holiness and separation.
Jesus said that the love factor truly separates you from the world. It distinguishes you as His disciples. The purpose and goal of obeying the truth is to live holily. And those who live lives in unfeigned, genuine love are those who are living holy lives. Our holiness of "thought" puts within us a pure heart. We must use that pure heart to love one another deeply, and that is corporate.
Oh, how we must see the need for corporate unity!
Now that we are born again of God's Word, we must grow and love one another in order to erect a spiritual temple. Make your goal that same desire to grow in love for one another. Since we know it comes by the Word of God, then let us crave that Word of God. Lower all other priorities you may place at the top of your list to make way for this goal of all goals.
Not only does faith come by the hearing of the word, but so does unfeigned love. You see, living faith causes us to act and commit good works because it is alive. We will love in deed. Since Paul used the term unfeigned love, we know that feigned, or faked, love exists. This is love that is not genuinely of the Spirit, and not real and is a put-on for people to see and resultingly think that we are true. But true love of God only comes from true birth and true feeding upon the Word of God. I must also point out that although we must love the lost souls of the world, this specific issue of love in the epistles is not talking about that. It is focused upon the love of the believers amongst one another alone. God is trying to get a spiritual temple constructed in the context of Peter's writings. Sinners cannot help us erect a spiritual temple of God since they are not lively stones made so by coming to the lively rock, Jesus Christ. Peter referred to believers when he wrote that we must love one another.
As a lion is at home in a pride of lions, a bird in a flock of birds,
and a fish in a school of other fish, the habitat of the Christian
is the Church. A "pilgrim" or Hermit who is isolated from
other believers is not at home, if he ever was born again. I am not
speaking about a cold, dry fellowship in a church building amongst unregenerate
souls, but a gathering of truly born again saints of God.
Paul wrote this passage. In Peter's letter, we find that he, too, stressed these very same three eternal elements. And these aspects demand a conscious experience amongst others around us
So we see it all ends up with reference to loving others. There is a constant stress of issue with these three elements throughout the entire Bible.
In speaking about working the gifts of the Spirit, Paul taught that earnestly coveting them can bring about that operation. We know that since the Corinthians manifested every gift of the Spirit (1 Cor 1:7). But he said a better way exists -- a way the Corinthians had not taken. That better way is by having deep love for one another with the thought of doing something about it. Love in action. It is obvious they had not taken this route since they divided and envied one another (1 Cor 3:1-3).
Picture it like going to the Tree of Life in the Garden. God is life and He is Love. The two elements go together inseparably. Jesus said He is "the way." And we find Paul saying there is a more excellent "way." Paul's more excellent "way" of love is actually God's own life itself. So, by saying Jesus is the Way, He said that He is love. We can all work miraculous faith and miracles, but yet we are useless to God without love. Why? Is not a miracle helpful in seeing people helped? Not in God's mind. Let me explain my point using Jesus' words in Matthew 7.
Jesus said many would come to Him saying they performed great wonders
and miracles in His name, professing faith in His Lordship. Yet He
will give them the unfortunate news that they cannot enter the Kingdom
since He did not know them. (Recall that Paul spoke of this same
issue in Galatians 5 when he wrote that the people who do works of iniquity
cannot inherit the Kingdom.) The word knew implies deep and
The miracle workers of Matthew 7:21-23 will not have eternal life since they did not know God. Let me clarify the ramifications of such a statement. There is a difference between simple love and knowing. God "loves" everyone, but He does not "know" everyone. He only knows those who love Him in return. Knowing involves two, whereas one may love a person and that other one may not respond with like love.
These "Lord, Lord" criers who performed miracles did not love their
brothers or sisters because we cannot say we love God if we do not love
our brothers and sisters. Jesus stated a fact that He never knew
them. So they had not that true love for God. Knowing involves
love on both parties behalves. Then Jesus called them workers of
iniquity. Were the miracles works of iniquity? No. The
iniquity was in their lack of love for their brothers, and therefore we
see the implication that they committed iniquity of divisions and hatred
as the Corinthians who had all the gifts of the Spirit, but who were yet
were envious and required the teaching of 1 Cor 13.
Blend these thoughts together with:
We have not eaten of the fruit from the tree of life if we do not have LOVE, regardless of the amount of miracles we have performed.
This brought out even clearer in Luke's account of the same conversation.
We see this aspect of living your brother in the context of the "Lord,
Lord" criers who did not know Jesus, proving that their predicament of
being lost involved their ill treatment of their brothers..
"Why call ye me Lord and do not the things I say?" What things? What did they do instead? They were trying to pull motes from their brothers' eyes while not seeing the beam in their own eye of criticism. And in the midst of all of this Jesus involved the aspect of a tree whose fruit is good, as in the tree of life, as opposed to a tree whose fruit is evil as in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is quite illuminating.
We must understand that good works may only be the good side of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And we know how damnable that tree was to Adam. We can see that the stress of religious good deeds to reward salvation is so wicked. We do need good works, but there is fine line here that we must clearly see lest we walk over it into salvation by works. Remember both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were both trees, so we have need of seeing a more detailed viewpoint in order to distinguish the proper fruit from the improper fruit.
These people told Jesus they did many wonderful works. Now, realize that the proper tree in the Garden of Eden for consumption was the tree of life. There is the aspect of life. Tie this in with the thought that James said living faith produces love in action. Dead, inactive faith and feigned faith may accompany good works, but these works are the result of a feigned faith. A counterfeit faith. A "put-on" faith that is mock and not genuine. Such works do not originate from any real faith but from a desire to make people think we possess faith and to feign salvation, while one continues in sin behind closed doors. There is a "good" side to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But it is not rooted in God's Life.
Fruit from the tree of Life produces living faith and
living active love, not simply love in word or tongue.
Jesus' flesh may have bled forth the life of the flesh, His blood, but He was spiritually eating of the tree of eternal life as He cried, "Not my will but thine be done." He was in a Garden called Gethsemane which might as well have been called the Garden of Eden, for in that term Gethsemane is the interpretation "Olive press". The abundance of olive trees in the garden gave rise to the name depicting an olive being pressed to ooze forth olive oil, which represents Holy Ghost flow. Olive oil was used to anoint priests and kings in Old Testament times, typical of the Spirit of God flowing forth to anoint and empower. We see Jesus bleeding His holy and sinless Blood forth in spiritual burden showing us a picture of a man with God's Spirit within allowing that Spirit to flow out from Him in physical visible action, typical of Fruit of the Spirit seen in our lives as we love in deed. When the Bible speaks of fruit of the Spirit being love and joy, etc., it means love and joy in action. Fruit is what we can see to let us know the tree is mature, so the fruit of the Spirit must be that which can be seen by others. When we are spiritually mature, we know how to let God's Life flow from our lives in physical and tangible action of love. A tree that is not mature cannot bear fruit.
When Jesus said, "not my will but thine be done," He was allowing the Life within Him to flow forth. He was the olive that was pressed to ooze forth anointing of the Spirit of God from within Him.
Jesus is looking for a Bride that loves Him and knows Him in order to bear fruit for Him, as Adam was in the Garden of Eden and found a woman made from his own side whom he knew who bore his children. The miracle workers of Matthew 7 did not know Him. They were not manifesting fruit for Him in the world. The gifts of the Spirit are not the fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus denied His own will and accepted His Father's will and looks
for a Bride who likewise denies her will and accepts His Father's
will. He wants a bride with His same convictions.
It is not simple agreement with God's will that is being taught here, but it is doing God's will that Jesus is looking for. That is linked with living faith and love. How else can we "do" God's will? In the discussion about the vine and the branch in John 15, Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing. And this doing corresponded to fruit on the branch. So exerting human good actions is feigned love. Its not genuinely His love. His love is the result of His Spirit in us flowing through and coming forth into manifested love.
We can have the ability to know what a person should or should not
do as the result of feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, but the Tree of Life is filled with God's love.
And having that Life in us does more than tell us what is good or
evil. Living faith works active love. Knowledge
of good and evil makes us judges, but love covers the multitude of sins.
Only One has been set up to be Judge in this spiritual Kingdom, and
it is not you nor I. It is God. Why be law-givers, eating the
fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, when we can be life-givers?
The woman handed Adam the fruit of Law -- the knowledge of good and
evil. She was in effect a law-giver. Eating that fruit made
them both self-protective and pointers of the fingers of accusation, as
judgmentalism and condemnation causes anybody influenced by it to similarly
Legalism abounds amongst pointing fingers, upholding what is right and wrong. Legalists cry our, "love the truth!" But they feignedly speak of "Love one another."
Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, of which Matthew 7 is part, Jesus
stressed the heart as opposed to concern over good works. The gifts
of God, Paul said, are temporal.
The gifts will only remain until that which is complete is come and
we enter the eternals. But the three things that exist now and will
continue to exist throughout eternity are faith, hope and charity.
Gifts will cease at the appearing of Christ, but not these three.
So we must not seek gifts above these three. Discipline yourself
in these three areas, for they are in the fruit of Life. These three
are eternal, and if a man eats them he will live forever.
"Keep" means to protect. In Adam's keeping and dressing of the Garden he was not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Likewise we must keep our hearts, but in doing so we must not eat a law-mentality that many ministers are handing out to their people. Such food makes us judges and finger-pointers. You can always tell where fruit of the knowledge of good and evil is being handed out -- the people there are severely judgmental. Adam was to guard the Garden and keep any evil influence outside the Garden. The Garden had to remain pure.
Peter said that our hearts are purified by obeying the truth.
Had Adam not eaten of the forbidden fruit, he would have obeyed the truth,
for God commanded him not to eat of it. So in allowing the Garden
to become defiled, he became defiled through disobedience. When we
defile our hearts by concentrating upon alien elements in contrast to the
things God wishes us to stress, such as knowledge of good and evil in stead
of life and love, we will defile our entire beings. I am not saying
we must compromise truth for the sake of loving everyone, but I am saying
that our concentration upon outward good and evil as opposed to the divine
instruction to centre upon Life is the error of Adam and continues
to be the error of mankind in general. And many Christians are repeating
Adam defiled the entire human race. He fell and entered Law -- the realm of the knowledge of good and evil. God's law is holy, but it was instituted to reveal to man his weaknesses and God's righteousness. God had to work with man in that manner since man threw himself into the thinking of good and evil. Adam died. Thorns grew forth from the ground that Adam was made from. This shows us what happened to his heart. Rots of bitterness sprung forth.
Adam's heart was contaminated after an openness that was intended
to be filled with the oneness of God's heart. God intended man to
fellowship Him. Fellowship. That's an important word.
No, this may not specify gathering in a church building every week, but it can involve that. Many argue and fuss when we say we must gather together for worship in a church building according to these verses, and they say that this is not necessarily speaking about such gatherings. I agree. But such gatherings do provide fulfillment of this command. It is not referring to a holy building, for God deems no building of this earth holy. We may do so in a building, but the gathering He has in mind is in spirit and unity. That is itself erects a temple whether we be in a house, or a gymnasium for the purpose of touching God together.
If holiness is corporate love and unity, and if that corporate love erects a temple, then we have a holy temple of believers.
Let us eat of this fruit of life. If we do, it will flow from
our hearts, since that which is in the heart will be that of which we speak....
From the heart flow the issue of life.
Two aspects of the Garden of Eden are in view in this verse. "Keep" and "life." Adam was to keep the Garden and eat fruit from the tree of life in order for that life to manifest through him.
Let the life that is within us be eternal life that is holy and from God, and not natural fallen life contaminated with negative feelings towards others and grudgings.
With a pure heart, a heart kept from contamination, Peter said we
must love one another. This is a Garden well kept! Kept from
judgmentalism. Law was judgment. Law condemned and sentenced
and its sentence was death. What a circle! People try to ever
be good and are ever judged into death. Is it not enlightening to
see how the Spirit gives life, and speaks of God's love?
Law points fingers, but love covers sins.
Law disrupts corporate unity. Law makes us compare ourselves
amongst ourselves. Again I stress that law is not unjust and unholy.
But when you put a holy law amongst carnal people, there is a clash and
problems arise and things are distorted. Notice how Paul explains
that carnal people cannot handle a spiritual law.
Paul could not handle the law in carnality because it messed him
up and caused him to react as follows:
His mindset of the knowledge of good and evil messed him up badly!
Notice the repetition of the terms "good" and "evil."
Law makes us compare ourselves with ourselves. Legalism joys in casting adulterous people to the ground to be stoned. It judges between ourselves thus inadvertently exalts ourselves by slinging mud on others when it is in our carnal hands. Legalistic church congregations are filled with rivalry and bitter feelings. Little does the Spirit of God move.
In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul wrote of taking brothers to a court of law. Talk about legalism! In the same chapter he referred to the temples of the Holy Ghost and implied the better need for corporate unity.
The Corinthians were "nothing", regardless of the abundance of spiritual
gifts (1 Cor 13:1-3).
The concept of the Bride is not understood by those who look with a perspective of individualistic Christianity. Only the corporate minded viewpoint can see the reality of the Bride of Christ. Modern churchianity concentrates upon the individual. Looking at buildings has somehow taken our sight off the corporate unity of believers. People enter auditoriums and never enter corporate unity. They sit and watch an actor portray a show as the minister speaks. Lifting up their own praises together as one has been replaced by watching a man act and perform.
The other end of the stick shows believers performing before God, who sit in their mental auditoriums. They try to perform to please God so much so as to incite Him to throw a rose of blessing for their great performance. Both are wrong.
We are meant to work together with God's Spirit. First we must construct a temple of corporate praise in love and unity for one another (this demands more than yourself!). Then God moves in and we labour together with Him.
The Bible focuses upon corporate unity. We must fellowship with each other in heart. One big heart that is joined with God smacks of love. Those who sit in isolation at home and have "church" in a hermit-like existence contradict their very vocabulary. Church is a group of fellowshipping believers.
Remember that Eve lost all she had when she was apart from Adam her husband. I need you so that I can get to glory with the Body.
Compare these two passages:
The light is unity of the Body of Christ with LOVE. Fellowship depends upon this love.
John had fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
He wants us to join them all.
Fellowship in the Spirit creates a temple for God to dwell in.
One who hates his brother has not entered the Garden and has no eternal
life in him..
Such a person may be as outwardly sanctimonious as can be, as the Pharisees were, and may know all that is good and evil there is to know, but there is no eating of the fruit of life in that one.
God laid down his life for us in His love. We ought to lay down our lives also. Our souls. Our natural lives. Our self-lives. Soulish people are selfish people.
Jesus' blood, figurative of the natural life, or soul, poured out as He cried, "Not my will but thine be done." He loved the Father. Lack of love causes one to cling and protect their own lives despite the need of others.
God so loved the world that He GAVE.
Compare the next two passages and note how faith and love are intertwined.
1 John 3:17 says there is no love of God in one who shuts up his
bowels of compassion when he sees a brother in need.
James said the same thing, and explained it as being dead faith and not
living faith. True faith will result in helping your brothers.
God made it so because He is concerned with a Body in this world
that is His Body.
The serpent entered the Garden and defiled it. It ruined the fellowship, bringing division and lack of unity. Eve considered herself and the wisdom she could acquire, rather than the whole concept of her union with Adam and their work for God. The corporate cause was lost from her mind.
If we do not keep our hearts knit together from division, we have
opened the door for the tempter to succeed in breaking up the greatest
thing in our lives -- our part in the Body of Christ. A pure
heart is kept from the serpents that divide and isolate with their isolationist,
individualistic concepts of the Christian.
The foundation of the temple is spoken of here. And the temple
is the corporate body of believers. (Connect this with Matthew 7:21-23).
Notice the need for people to join those who are pure in heart
and call upon the name of the Lord that he might manifest in their midst!
This erects a temple of God. Join the temple of corporate believers.
Form a corporate mindset about your entire concept ofd Christianity.
By observing Adam's need to "keep" the Garden as we must "keep" our hearts, we can see how that Life from the tree of life is connected with "keeping" our hearts. Fellowship exists in true definition of the word "Church": "Called out ones."
Let us issue forth life, and not judgment and Law. Let us then erect a temple of corporate unity amongst believers. It is not ascetic monasticism that God wants., It is corporate love and faith!