Posted by: Rina | October 1, 2009

The Need for Reconciliation

The Work and the Person of the Holy Spirit

The role of the Holy Spirit in changing our identity is crucial.  He is the only one that can bring transformation in our lives and in our inner man.  Any attempt to change ourselves without the Holy Spirit will not produce any lasting holiness.  Therefore, it is the purpose of this chapter to attempt to detail the biblical effects of the Spirit of God. We will begin with the salvation experience, then proceed with sanctification, and finally, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Generally, when these three areas are received from the Spirit, the identity crises will resolve itself.  As you read, examine if all three of these areas are active in your spirituality.  If they are not, it may be the source of stumbling that is causing identity breakdown.

Role of the Holy Spirit
The Need for Reconciliation, Innocence Lost

Everything that God created was good. (Genesis 1:31)  God placed human beings, created in His image and likeness, in the middle of all this goodness.  Adam and Eve knew “good” by experience but they had no knowledge that life could be lived any other way.  They were completely innocent, having neither knowledge of good nor evil. Imagine how wonderful life must have been without the knowledge of evil!  Picture how different life would be without any exposure to evil.  Everything they experienced was good, and there was no comprehension of evil.   This was the original design of God.  He never intended for the human race to have knowledge of evil.  He knew evil existed and His great Love motivated Him to protect His children from it.  This was the world that Adam and Eve knew.  It was good in every aspect.  They enjoyed face to face fellowship with God.  They had no knowledge of evil even though it existed.  They were in perfect fellowship with God.  They were innocent.  The schematic for “good” was innocence.

Oftentimes, it is said that Adam and Eve ate either the “forbidden fruit” or “the apple”.  These descriptions fall far short of the significance of this tree.  The name of the tree was the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:17)  The fruit of this tree, when consumed, would provide the knowledge of both good and evil. (Genesis 3:5)  After eating this fruit, the “eyes” of Adam and Eve were “opened”. (Genesis 3:7)  Immediately, something changed in their souls.  Their innocence was lost and humans were elevated to a different spiritual status. (Genesis 3:22)  They now had the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam and Eve (and therefore their descendants) had acquired a knowledge that they were never meant to possess.  Adam and Eve had innately been “good” without this knowledge.  When they followed what God had said, the couldn‘t help but “consistently do good.”  With this new acquisition of knowledge, there became a choice where one had never before existed.  It now became difficult for them to consistently do “good”.  Examine the actions and efforts of the first couple after the fall.  Even when Adam and Eve thought they were “doing good” they really weren’t.  For instance, they knew they needed clothing, but their efforts were insufficient. (Genesis 3:7 & 21)  Observe the events that followed the opening of their eyes.  They had lost the ability to consistently walk in holiness.

The first realization that came to them after they ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil is that Adam and Even knew their own nakedness and they were “ashamed”.  (Shame is the first product of sin.) They recognized nudity and insufficiently covered themselves.  The second thing that happened is that they heard the sound of God walking in the garden, and they became fearful and hid themselves. (Fear is the second product of sin.  Sin destroys the fellowship with God.  We become afraid of His anger rather than secure in His love)  Lastly, Adam and Eve seek to blame others for their mistakes.  First, Adam blames Eve and then he blames God (Genesis 3:12) and then Eve blames the serpent (Genesis 3:13).  The curses of sin are pronounced.  Selfishness becomes natural. Their eyes were opened and they become focused on themselves.  They were attentive to their nakedness, their shame, their fear, and in an act of self-preservation, they blame others for their mistakes.  James Goll summarizes:  “Can you imagine, after Adam and Eve had known God, and He knew them, how quickly the spiritual climate changed?  As a result of their disobedience, they experienced instantaneous barriers to their intimacy with Him. Walls shot up.  After their sin, they plucked off leaves from the nearest bush as quickly as they could and sewed covering for themselves.   They were hiding form the Lord their creator for the first time in their lives. But God, in His passionate pursuit, was still drawing close.  A new reaction stirred within them as He drew near.  Preciously they had run toward the sound of His footsteps.  Now they ran in the opposite direction.  Before, their response had been for joy: ‘Oh, wow, it’s Father!’ Now it was dread and fear: ‘Oh no, it’s Father!’  They were guilt-ridden.  Never had they had such an emotional reaction or even such a thought before!  They had not known condemnation or fear or     shame.  Now, as a result of their disobedience, they ran and hid from the voice of God.” (1)
Human Beings from this point forward have always had the knowledge of good and evil.  This has become who we are as a people.  C.S. Lewis writes:  “First, human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.  Secondly, that they do in fact behave that way.  They know the Law of Nature (the innate knowledge of right and wrong, or good and evil); they break it.  These two facts are the foundation for all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in. (parenthetical note is mine for explanation.) (2)

The innocence that was once a reality becomes a loss.  It will never be recovered.  We will always have the “knowledge of good and evil.”  Consequently, selfishness has been birthed in the heart which renders us incapable of consistently doing “good”.

Reconciliation

Adam and Eve transgressed the divine command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and there was a dreadful consequence.  Sin caused a rift in the relationship between God and His children. Sin separated men from God.  Sin is defined as, “To depart voluntarily from the path of duty prescribed by God to man; Tooffend against right, against men or society.” (3)  Every human that has ever lived, except Jesus, has sinned.  The Bible states, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)   This sin keeps us from entering the Kingdom of God. For fellowship to be restored, a penalty for sin has to be paid.  A Holy God requires an atoning of sin, He can’t just excuse it or overlook it.  If He did, then He would prove Himself immoral.  The bible states that without the shedding of blood, there can be no atonement for sin. (Lev 17:11) Sin has a price.  It is death. (Romans 6:23)  God had warned of this death before our first parents ate of the tree.  Adam and Eve had to be removed from the garden because of their sin, and death was the result (Genesis 3:22).  Because the penalty of sin is death, a death had to occur in order to free us from the bondage of sin and thus, a sacrifice was required.  This is the Destiny of Jesus. He has reconciled us to the Father. Reconciliation, by definition, is to be called back into friendship the affections which have been alienated. (4)  Jesus, through His sacrifice, call us back into fellowship with God.  By His Sacrifice, mankind can once again enjoy His presence.  Our relationship with God can recommence.

The only way to enter the Kingdom of God is through the narrow gate.  That gate is the blood of Jesus (Matt 7:13, Luke 13:24).  His sacrifice gets us into the kingdom.  This causes a shift in the soul of mankind that is described as being “born again”. (John 3:3)  The Holy Spirit comes inside our hearts and causes a spiritual awakening.  Faith is the vehicle that leads to this experience.  A simple belief in what Jesus has done is sufficient.  The Bible states: “For by grace (unmerited favor, which is not deserved but given freely because of what Jesus has done and because of His Great Love for us) you have been saved (redeemed, forgiven, and justified of sin.) through faith (believing and trusting that the sacrifice of Christ is sufficient.) and not of yourself (All of our righteous deeds are not enough to save us.  In fact, they are like ‘filthy rags’ before God. (Isaiah 64:6) No work or “good” of our own can save us.  Sinlessness is required to enter the Kingdom, and no one has the ability to be consistently “good”.  We need the blood to cover even the smallest of sins. This necessitates a Savior.)  it is a gift (not earned, just received from the Father through Jesus.) from God. (Eph 2:8, parenthetical notes mine).

This Great God, who witnessed the loss of His children’s innocence, has provided a way for fellowship to be re-established.  It cost Him a price.  He gave His Son in sacrifice for us, so that we would be reconciled to the Himself.  It is a free gift from Him. This is such a powerful testimony to the love of God!  All that is required to reconnect with God is belief that Jesus died for your sins, and rose from the grave.  Only believe that Jesus has accomplished His Destiny and has paid the price for our sins.

Jesus’ shed blood has opened the door for us to embrace a new identity.  He took the punishment that we deserved in order to bring freedom.  When we believe this in our hearts, and confess it with our mouths, it is a creative force that leads us to spiritual awakening in our lives. (Romans 10:9-10) We become the dwelling place of God. In a resurrection appearance to the disciples, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).  In short, we are “born again” (John 3:3).  We are “saved”.  The Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and makes us a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). What an amazing fact.  The God of the universe, Creator of all things, comes to live inside of you and me by His Holy Spirit.  John G. Lake describes it like this, “Christ is at once the spotless descent of God into man and the sinless ascent of man into God.  And the Holy Spirit is the agent by which it is accomplished.” (5)  Suddenly, sin has no fulfillment anymore.  We begin to live a life that has God at the center.

The need for Power!
Because we have the knowledge of good and evil, we need the ability to choose good.  The coming of the Holy Spirit provides us with the power to choose good, for He provides power (more on this in the next section).  The ability to choose good over evil (selfishness) comes from the power of God.  Power to do good is a requirement for the human with the knowledge of good and evil.  Many times, people know what the right thing to do is, only to do it, would cause a loss to self.  Rather than do what is right, they choose to do what is evil, because to do what is right, would cause a loss of selfish interest.  The Holy Spirit provides the power and the fulfillment to do what is right in all circumstances.

The Cornerstone of the Foundation of Identity

What Jesus accomplished by His Great Selflessness, was more than just atoning of sin by His Blood.  He reconciled man to the Father.  This means that we can have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.  In fact, what Jesus did was to make the dwelling place of God inside the hearts of men.  This is the Great Destiny of Jesus and He still accomplishes it today.  If asked and earnestly sought, Jesus will be found.  If human beings will seek Him, something will happen.  Maybe not in an instant, but eventually they will be changed.  Only don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.

If you are captive to sin, His Destiny is to set you free.  If you are in need of healing, His Destiny is to heal you.  If you are in need of deliverance, His Destiny is to be the Deliverer.  The destiny of Jesus is to save body, soul, and spirit.  It is still available to any and all that will accept His Sacrifice and Gift.  An experience with God is essential.  One must be “born again” to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).  When this happens, you will be “in Christ” and the Holy Spirit will be put inside of you as a deposit, or the guarantee (2 Corinthians 5:5), that you are bound for heaven. God has ordained a destiny for you.  The cornerstone has been laid for a change in your identity.  If you are ready to take this step, then ask.  If you don’t know what to pray, here is a guideline that will help:

“Jesus, thank you for Your love.  Thank you that You died for my sins.  I repent of my sins.  Jesus, I believe that You died for me and rose again.  Jesus, I love You and give You my life.  I ask that You come into my life and take control of my life.  I receive You as my Lord and Savior.  From this point on I will love You, follow You, obey You and trust You.  In Jesus name,  Amen. (6)

Endnotes

1.  Goll, James, The Beginners Guide to Hearing God, Ventura CA, Regal books, From Gospel Light, 2004, 2008 page, 19-20.

2.  Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity, New York, New York, Macmillan Publishing Co, 1943, page 27.

3. Webster Noah, American Dictionary of the English Language 1828 edition, San Francisco, CA, Foundation for American Christian Education, 2006.

4.  Ibid.

5.  Liardon, Roberts, John G. Lake, The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings,  Albury Publishing, Tulsa OK,  1999  page 384.

6.  Ahn, Che’, How to Pray for Healing, Understanding and Releasing the Healing Power Available to Every Christian,  Ventura, CA, Regal books, 2004, page 26

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