How Does God Look at You?
Seeing yourself and the world from God’s point of viewLorraine Day, M.D.
How does God look at you and me? You may think it is impossible for human beings to understand the mind of God, yet that is what God wants. He came to this earth in the form of Jesus Christ so we could see the way He lived, thought, and acted.
And He promises to come into us and dwell in us, when we finally recognize our need for Jesus Christ to run our life completely.
We communicate with God through prayer. God communicates with us through His Word the Bible and through nature. Christians often appreciate being out in nature because it’s relaxing and beautiful. But God created everything as it is for a much greater purpose.
God’s creation is not only fascinating to study, but everything in creation - everything in this life - is meant to teach us something spiritually, to teach us about God’s character and His relationship to us.
We study the physical to understand the spiritual.
Let’s review a Powerfully important law of biblical interpretation given by Jesus, Himself!
The First is Physical and the Second is Always Spiritual.
When Jesus received a nighttime visit from Nicodemus, a Pharisee - a prestigious leader of the Organized Church of the day, Jesus revealed an immensely important truth about the interpretation of Scripture. (John, Chapter 3)
Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be “born again”, more properly translated “born from above.” Nicodemus was confused and responded:
“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” John 3:4
Nicodemus only understood the first birth, the physical birth of a child, a birth that can be detected with the five senses, particularly in this instance, sight, sound, and touch. Nicodemus, even though a Pharisee, a respected leader of the Organized Church of the time, only understood through his five senses. He could not understand spiritual things.
The Bible describes the type of man Nicodemus was, an unfortunate model mirrored by most Christians today. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says:
“The natural (soulish) man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they (spiritual things) are spiritually discerned.”
Those who are “soulish” gain all their information through their five senses rather than having revelation knowledge, which is the ability to understand spiritual things, the ability to understand things from God’s point of view.
Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about a spiritual re-birth, a second birth that is totally spiritual, a birth that cannot be detected with the five senses. Jesus said this spiritual re-birth is like the wind - a process that cannot be detected by the five senses. Only the result can be detected.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you can hear the sound of it, but you cannot tell from where it comes or where it goes. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit (literal translation = breath). John 3:8
In this conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus revealed an immensely important rule for interpretation of Scripture, a rule that has been virtually completely missed by the Christian Church. He said that the first birth is a physical birth - but the second birth, being born again (or, more properly, being born from above) is a spiritual re-birth.
The first is physical. The second is spiritual.
This rule for Biblical interpretation is given again by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:44-49: “There is a natural (soulish - physical) body, and there is a spiritual body (This does NOT mean a “ghost.” This means a person who can understand spiritual things.)
“However, that was NOT first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (soulish or physical); and AFTERWARD that which is spiritual.”
(Rule: The FIRST is ALWAYS physical (natural or “soulish). The SECOND is ALWAYS spiritual)
“The first man is of the earth, earthy (made of dust): the second man is the Lord from heaven (spiritual).” (Jesus was a physical human being. He was NOT a wafting ghost, but He is called “Spiritual” because He understood Spiritual things, even in His human form.)
God wants to take us from being soulish - understanding ONLY what we perceive with our five senses - to being spiritual, understanding revelation knowledge, understanding God’s word from HIS point of view.
“As is the earthy (those made from dust), such are they also that are earthy (soulish): and as is the heavenly (Spiritual), such are they also that are heavenly (able to understand spiritual - heavenly - things).
“And as we have borne the image of the earthy (the man of dust - Adam - who was a living “soul” - “soulish”), we SHALL ALSO bear the image of the heavenly (we will become able to understand spiritual things - we will have the spirit and mind of Christ living in us).”
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood (the “soulish” man) cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:48-50
The object of sanctification is to be transformed by Christ from being a “soulish” man or woman to a man or woman who can understand spiritual things, one who has the “mind of Christ.” Only those who have had their hearts and minds transformed by receiving the disposition of Christ, those who have become able to understand spiritual things, can inherit the kingdom of God.
Old and New Testaments
The Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. How much better it would be if we referred to them as the FIRST Testament and the SECOND Testament, then it would be much easier to perceive this truth.
The First (or Old) Testament portrays God’s Plan of Salvation in physical terms, such as a physical lamb sacrificed for the Israelite’s sin, symbolizing the future sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God, for the sins of the world in the second (New) Testament.
In the First (Old)Testament, there was a physical temple, a building, where God’s presence dwelt - in the Most Holy Place. In the Second (New) Testament, the “temple” is no longer a physical building, instead, it is our body - where God’s presence now dwells. God says:
“Know ye not that your BODY is the temple of the Holy Spirit (Breath), which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19
In the First (Old) Testament, the Israelites, in the wilderness, were fed manna, a light bread, looking forward to Jesus as the “Bread from Heaven,” in the Second (New) Testament. John 6:48,40,41
In the First (Old) Testament, the lampstand shedding light in the Sanctuary looks forward to Jesus as the Light of the World, in the Second (New) Testament.
The Laver of water in the Sanctuary in the First (Old) Testament looks forward to Jesus as the Living Water, in the Second (New) Testament.
The Early (or First) Rain (Day of Pentecost) had physical manifestations. Christ’s apostles spoke in many different known languages of the time. The Latter (or Second) Rain, that will occur right before Jesus comes again, will not have physical manifestations. Instead, it will be like Jesus’ description of being “born again.” It will be a spiritual outpouring, a change in the hearts of the people. It will not be possible to detect the Latter Rain by physical manifestations. What occurs will occur silently. Only the results of the Latter Rain will be apparent. (Please see the study on the Latter Rain)
In the First (Old) Testament, literal fire physically devoured Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Second (New) Testament, the city of Sodom symbolizes “Sin,” and “fire: represents God’s plan to spiritually “burn” the sin out of our lives by His “fiery law.” The Second type of fire is spiritual fire, NOT physical, fire.
Sodom symbolizes sin:
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city (Babylon - Symbolizing Sin) which spiritually is called Sodom. . . Revelation 11:8
God refers to His law as a “fiery law.”
“The Lord came from Sinai. . . and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them. Deuteronomy 33:2
Coals of Fire: This fire is NOT literal. It is symbolic or spiritual fire.
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20
“But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap.
And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord and offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:2,3
This obviously is not literal fire. God is talking about spiritual purification. This also explains the next chapter in Malachi, chapter 4, that has routinely been misinterpreted as literal “burning.”
“For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
We know that the Bible was written as continuous prose, and was not broken up into chapters until many centuries after it was written. The Bible writers were inspired, but the chapter break-points were not inspired. The fourth chapter of Malachi should follow directly after chapter 3, without a break.
The “burning” described in Malachi 4:1, is the result of the refining and purifying in the Refiner’s (spiritual) fire. It is God “burning” the sin out of the sinner’s life by His “fiery” law.
Everything God has created, provided, and instituted for our physical life is meant to teach us spiritual lessons, for instance:
Marriage between a man and a woman symbolizes Jesus Christ as the Groom and His “called ones” His ecclesia as His bride. He loves us so much He was willing to die for us, the way a husband should be willing to die for His wife.
He exhibits His character of love to us, even when we were sinners, the way a husband should exhibit the character of Jesus Christ to his wife and his family.
Adam and Eve were created as one being. When a man and woman marry, God tells us they should become “one flesh.” The goal of redemption is that we become one with Jesus Christ. When He dwells in us, we will exhibit His character, disposition, strength, courage, patience, love, joy, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control the fruits of God’s spirit (breath) of holiness (text).
The Jealous God
God refers to Himself as a Jealous God in Ex 20:5; 34:14; Num. 5:14,30; Deut 4:24 and many other Old Testament texts, suggesting that God watches us lovingly and closely, like a faithful and passionate bridegroom watches over his betrothed.
God created each of the angels separately, but when it came to human beings, He created only Adam and Eve who in themselves contained all the genetic material for the entire human race. Angels cannot reproduce, something that makes Satan (an angel himself, although an admittedly an Evil angel), very angry. Human beings give birth to helpless babies, symbolizing how helpless we are in our feeble initial attempts at learning to be like Christ.
God nurtures us, in our Christian walk, as a mother nurtures her infant
In Genesis 17:1, God said to Abram: “I am El Shaddai (literal translation). Walk before Me and be perfect.” So why did the Lord choose to reveal Himself using this distinctive name to Abram?
Most English translations render El Shaddai as “God Almighty,” probably because the translators of the Septuagint (i.e., the Greek translation of the Old Testament) thought Shaddai came from a root verb (shadad) that means “to overpower” or “to destroy.” The Latin Vulgate likewise translated Shaddai as “omnipotens” (from which we get our English word omnipotent). God is so overpowering that He is considered “Almighty.”
Jacob’s blessing given in Genesis 49:15, however, indicates that Shaddai might be related to the word for breasts (shadaim), indicating sufficiency and nourishment (i.e., “blessings of the breasts and of the womb.”
The literal translation of the Hebrew word “El Shaddai” is “many breasted God” of which the goddess Diana the many-breasted pagan goddess of the Ephesians was the counterfeit of the real El Shaddai. (Acts 19:23-41)
El Shaddai is used almost exclusively in reference to the three great patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and (according to Exodus 6:2-3) was the primary name by which God was known to the founders of Israel, the “children” of El Shaddai, whom He nourished from their infancy as a kind and loving parent, only to see them reject Him completely and follow pagan gods.
Children obviously begin as babies, but over time they grow up. Babies are fragile and must be treated very gently. And early on, they don’t know right from wrong. But as they grow up, they need to be taught by their parents.
God is very gentle with us when we are young in our Christian walk. But as we begin to progress, He expects more from us. When we sin, He disciplines us by allowing us to reap what we have sown.
Through human beings giving birth to babies and the parents watching their babies develop, first by sitting up, then crawling, then walking, then talking, often the child must try many times before mastering these developmental milestones.
How does a mother view her child as he tries to walk, stumbling and falling many times before he gets it right? Does she look at him disdainfully as though he is unworthy of her love? Or does she delight in the progress he makes, helping him up when he falls, and praising him for his effort?
Obviously, the latter. And that’s the way God looks at us His children as we stumble in our Christian walk. He is always there to help us up and praise us as we move forward.
Even though, looking back over our children’s growth from a baby to an adult, it seems like it happened in the blink of an eye, it really took many years for our children to reach maturity. And we, their parents, were there the whole time, helping them learn to make good decisions, encouraging them in their efforts, praising them for their accomplishments.
God does the same with us. He never views us with disdain, as unworthy wretched sinners, as so many ministers love to preach, because He knows full well that He is slowly changing us into His image, no matter how long it takes. Everything He has planned for our life the good and (what we consider as) the bad has a purpose: the purpose of helping us realize that we need God to run our life.
God loves His children (us), just like we love our children
The total absurdity that the “Christian” church about a literal hellfire proves that NO ONE in the “Christian” church is thinking! God is described as a “Loving” God, but if a person does not “love Him back” God will torture that person in hellfire for billions and billions and billions of years with NO end. God will not even allow that person to die and be out of his misery.
Would any sane person EVER treat his or her own children that way? Of course not! But the Christian church says that “God is God and He can do anything He wants.” But the reason God set up the human race in families is to show us how much we love our children and to show us that God loves His own children (all of us) even MORE and He would NEVER treat His children in such a horrific way.
We discipline our children to turn them back to right-doing (the definition of righteousness). We don’t discipline our children by burning them to death!
God also disciplines us by allowing us to reap what we have sown with the ultimate goal of “turning us back to right-doing (righteousness).”
“Judgment shall return unto righteousness.” Judgment turns us back to righteousness (right-doing).” Psalm 94:15
“. . . for when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (right-doing).” Isaiah 26:9
God’s judgments are designed to turn us back to right-doing NOT to torture us forever in hellfire.
How could the “Christian” church be so blind!
We need food good food - three times a day, to keep us nourished and physically alive and healthy. We also need spiritual food high quality spiritual nourishment - to keep us alive spiritually: primarily the diligent study of God’s Word and fervent prayer, symbolized by manna in the wilderness Jesus - the “bread from heaven” and the table of shewbread in the sanctuary in the wilderness and in the temple in Jerusalem.
We are told to “eat” Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood (John 6:55), which symbolizes our devouring His Word.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God. . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:1,14
“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die (he will have eonian life).
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall have eonian life. And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
“The Jews (Judeans) therefore quarrelled among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no (eonian) life in you.
“Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eonian life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.
“As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even shall he live because of Me.
“This is the bread that came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eateth of this bread hath life eonian (eonian life the life of Christ in him). John 6:48-58
Without breathing in air, no one would be alive. And that oxygen we breathe in must be carried to every cell in our body. Similarly, we need God’s “breath of holiness” (mistranslated “Holy Spirit”) to invade every part of our spiritual life to keep us alive spiritually. That is eonian life or the character and disposition of Jesus Christ manifested in our life, as He takes over every part of our life.
It takes oil to keep the lamp - the light and truth of Jesus Christ - burning brightly: fervent prayer, symbolized by the oil in the lamps of the Ten Virgins waiting for the Bridegroom, and the oil in the lampstand in the sanctuary in the wilderness and the temple in Jerusalem.
The Priest waved the incense in front of the curtain that hid the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place, signifying our prayers ascending to heaven.
“And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail.” Lev 16:12
Without water, we cannot stay alive physically. And without the water of life living water we cannot stay alive spiritually. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well:
“If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.. . .
“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a fountain of water springing up into eonian life.” John 4:10,13,14
“And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him who thirsts of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Rev 21:6
Even our anatomy the way God created us anatomically teaches us a spiritual lesson
Christ is the head; we are the body
“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body: is it therefore not of the body?
“And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
“If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
“But now hath GOD (not the “church”) set the members every one of them In the body, as it hath pleased HIM.
“And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now are they many members, yet but one body.
“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. (None of the followers of Jesus Christ can tell each other what to do).
“Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more weak, are necessary. . .
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members individually.
“And GOD (not the “church”) hath appointed these in the ecclesia (among His followers), first apostles (followers of Christ), secondarily prophets (those who speak for God not those who foretell the future), thirdly teachers, after that those who do wonderful mighty works (literal translation), then gifts of cures (literal translation), helps (those who give relief), pilotage (literal translation those who help “steer the ship”), diversities of languages.
“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all doers of mighty works? Have all the gifts of cures? Do all speak in many languages? Do all interpret?
“But desire earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way. 1 Cor 12:28
Notice that it is GOD - and NOT the “church” - that appoints those in the ecclesia to do certain things. Notice again that it is GOD who does the appointing; these people are NOT self-appointed nor can one follower of Jesus tell another follower of Jesus what he should be doing!
And now Paul tells us what that “best gift” the more excellent way - is.
“Though I speak with the languages of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
“And though I have prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned (as a martyr), and have not love, it profits me nothing.
“Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love does not boast about itself, is not arrogant.
“Doth not behave rudely, seeketh not things for her own self, is not easily provoked, keeps no account of evil
“Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth
“Bears all things, believes all things, expects all things, endures all things.
“Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall cease: whether there be speaking in languages, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
“But when that which is complete is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (I grew up and became mature in Christ)
For now we see through a mirror dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
“And now abideth faith, expectation, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:1-13
God is telling us that no matter what HE (NOT the “church”) appoints us to do in His ecclesia His group of followers it doesn’t amount to anything unless we exhibit the love of Jesus Christ in our heart.
Jesus, as an embryo, was placed in Mary’s womb. He came from outside of her.
“What was true of the Virgin Mary in the history of the Son of God’s birth on earth is true of every saint. God’s Son is born into me through the direct act of God. If the Son of God has been born into my human flesh, then am I allowing His holy innocence, simplicity, and oneness with the Father the opportunity to exhibit itself in me? Is God’s will being fulfilled in that His Son has been formed in me (see Galatians 4:19) or have I carefully pushed Him to one side?” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, August 8
Contrary to New Age thinking and to Secular Humanism, we cannot find “god” by looking inside ourselves. The true God Jesus Christ comes into us from outside ourselves.
“Christ in you the hope (expectation) of glory.” Col 1:27
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Rev 3:20
“He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. John 6:56
Why are we here on this earth?
“The typical view of the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling (Psalm 91:1,10) the place where you are at one with God.
“If you are a child of God, you will certainly encounter adversities, but Jesus says you should not be surprised when they come.
‘In this world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ John 16:13
“He is saying, ‘There is nothing for you to fear.” The same people who refused to talk about their adversities before they were saved often complain and worry after being born again because they have the wrong idea of what it means to live the life of a saint.
“God does not give us overcoming life - - He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength.
“God never gives us strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment. Our temptation is to face adversities from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” even when seemingly defeated by adversities, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, August 2
Being a Christian means we can be surround by trouble, often trouble that we don’t understand, but as long as we are holding on to the hand of Jesus Christ who knows everything and knows why we must go through it, we have nothing to fear. He promises to never give us more than we can bear, and we are never subjected to vicarious violence. Everything we go through is absolutely necessary for our becoming one with Jesus Christ. Every bit of trouble we have has a purpose. And the purpose is: to learn to KNOW God and to learn to TRUST God.
How does God turn our Natural life into a Spiritual life?
God’s goal for our life is to take us from the natural from only understanding sense knowledge those things that we can understand through our five senses, to understanding spiritual things, seeing ourselves and our world through God’s eyes.
How does God take us from the physical to the spiritual?
An excellent illustration is given to us by the disciples. Before Pentecost, the disciples only understood in sense knowledge terms.
Woman at the Well
In John 4:1-42, we are told of Jesus’ walk through Samaria and meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
“Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give Me a drink. (For His disciples were gone away unto the city to buy food.) John 4:6-8
The Samaritan woman recognized that this Man was an Israelite and she was shocked that He spoke to her since Israelites didn’t associate with “half-breeds” The Samaritans occupied Samaria, the area formerly known as the Kingdom of Israel. They would have been of mixed Israelite and Arab descent, since the Assyrians had transferred large number of Arabs and others to Samaria after the overthrow of Israel.
Jesus talked with her about the difference between physical water in the well and spiritual “living water” that He could provide for her.
“Jesus said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water (in the physical well) shall thirst again:
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into eonian life.” John 4:13,14
But the woman at the well, just as the disciples would subsequently demonstrate, only understood Jesus in physical, natural terms.
“The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither must come hither to draw.” John 4:15
Jesus knew she didn’t understand the spiritual lesson He was attempting to teach her, so He answered:
“Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
“The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
“For thou has had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
“The woman saith unto Him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what. We know that we worship: for salvation is out of Judea.” (Literal translation = Salvation is in Christ who was born in Bethlehem in Judea.)
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit (spiritually NOT in sense knowledge) and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.
“God is Spirit (Spiritual in fact God is invisible according to Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17; Heb 11:27) and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit (spiritually they must understand spiritual things) and in truth.
“The woman saith unto Him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things.
“Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He.” John 4:16-16
What an overwhelming thrill it must have been for this Samaritan woman to realize she was talking to the long-awaited Messiah. In Jesus’ entire 3 1/2 year ministry He only told two people directly that He was the Messiah: this woman at the well, and the man born blind (John 9:1-41).
“And upon this came His disciples, and were astonished that He talked with this (Samaritan) woman. . .
“In the meanwhile, His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, eat.
“But He said unto them, I have food to eat that ye know not of.
“Therefore said the disciples one to another, Has anyone brought Him something to eat? (They understood only in sense knowledge)
Jesus saith unto them, My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:26-34
It is obvious in this Bible story that neither the disciples nor the woman at the well understood spiritual things.
The Death of Lazarus
In John, Chapter 11, the disciples again demonstrate their lack of spiritual understanding.
“And after that He saith (to His disciples), Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake Him out of sleep.
“Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well.
“Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:11-14
One aside to this text is the fact that the majority of Christians believe that when a person dies he goes directly to heaven or hell alive in spirit form even though in this passage Jesus, Himself, refers to death as a sleep in which the person knows nothing. And even more astonishing is that Christians derisively refer to this as “soul sleep” even though Jesus Christ tells us directly that when a person is dead, he is asleep and knows nothing.
“The living know that they shall die, but the dead know NOTHING.” Eccl 9:5
When did the disciples begin to understand Spiritual things?
Only after they had been through severe trouble! Only when they thought Christ had died permanently, and may not have been their Messiah. Only when the disciples were all cowards and ran away and left Him (except John) because they feared for their own life. Only when their utter shame and intense sorrow overwhelmed them. Only when they understood that they needed Christ to open their eyes and change their hearts.
Only then did they begin to understand Spiritual things.
When did that happen?
At Pentecost, after they had fervently prayed and studied the Scriptures for 50 days, while hiding in the upper room. In Acts, Chapter 2, God filled the disciples with His “breath of holiness” so they could understand Spiritual things.
What happens to a person when he or she is filled with God’s breath of holiness (mistranslated “Holy Spirit”)?
· Jesus becomes the center of your life.
· You want to spend time with the Lord every day in Bible study and prayer.
· The salvation of everyone else in the world is as important to you as your own.
· You would be a Christian even if there were no heaven or hell.
· You realize that the major issue in life is not your salvation but God’s reputation. Are you representing Him properly?
· You delight in keeping God’s commandments.
· You will never say, “Is this information necessary for my salvation” because you will want to learn everything possible about the Lord.
· You are no longer afraid of persecution and you will speak boldly for the Lord, teaching and preaching the true gospel.
· You will be able to understand Spiritual things.
Peter’s behavior after Pentecost is a good illustration of what happens when one receives God’s breath of holiness. Rather than being a coward and running away to save his life as he had done when Jesus was being crucified, Peter became bold in preaching the truth to those who crucified Christ, saying:
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. . .
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:22,23,36
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians, chapter 4:
Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not,
But have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, is He who hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. . .
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen (physical things) but at the things which are not seen (spiritual things): for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:1-18
Our warfare is not against sin
“Our warfare is not against sin; we can never fight against sin Jesus Christ conquered that in His redemption of us. The conflict is waged over turning our natural life into a spiritual life. This is never done easily, nor does God intend that it be so. It is accomplished only through a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense that He makes our character holy. He makes us holy in the sense that He has made us innocent before Him.
“And when we have to turn that innocence into holy character through the moral choices we make. These choices are continually opposed and hostile to the things of our natural life which have become so deeply entrenched- the very things that raise themselves up as fortified barriers ‘against’ the knowledge of God.’
“We can either turn back, making ourselves of no value to the kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things allowing Jesus to bring another son to glory (see Hebrews 2:10).” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, September 8