The Tree of Life
As Christians, we receive our Salvation through grace. However, it often seems that as soon as we are saved we return to the old ways and old style of living our life. We act as if we are not aware of the fact that as born-again Christians we are not to live life as unbelievers do. I want to point out here I am not talking about sin, rather I am talking about a different mindset. I am talking about how we are to operate and think in a different manner than the unsaved do. How do we live an abundant life and live on a different level than those who do not walk with God? How do we live at the “Tree of Life” and also live in the Kingdom of God?
John 3:5-7: Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 18:36: Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
John 17:16: They (Christians) are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Jesus tells us unless we are “born-again,” we can not enter into the Kingdom of God. So, before anyone can move into these Heavenly realms they must receive salvation at the cross of Jesus and acknowledge his/her sins, give up on all “dead works of religion” and repent. Salvation is free for the taking but we first must see the need for Jesus.
Remember, a “Born-Again believer” has been spiritually transported into a new world, a new way of doing things (let me reiterate, I am not talking about sin here – I am talking about a different mindset, a different way of thinking). A current stumbling block in this new thinking pattern is how the Church presents salvation. The invitation is often; come and receive Jesus and one day you can go to heaven. The act of receiving Jesus is only our ticket to heaven, a free pass. This is true, but unfortunately going to heaven is only a byproduct of receiving salvation. Salvation is:
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3) and then learning how to live in the kingdom that Jesus was talking about.
Recent statistics – based on research polls, share some very unsettling facts; we as Christians are not much different from those who are non-Christians, especially in the areas of divorce rates, credit card debt, teenager problems, sex addictions and other addictions. I personally believe that if we compare a good morally unsaved person with a Christian, we will find that there is not much difference between the two. I think unsaved people look at us and see no difference or no benefit in being a Christian. Because of this perceived lack of difference, I believe the progress in evangelism has been thwarted. Especially when non-saved individuals see Christians striving to be more like the world, seeking after the world’s riches and all the lures this world has to offer. Rather, the world should be looking at us and envying what we have in the church.
These are sad facts and they are problematic. How can we remedy this?
Let’s move to the solution
God is the creator of the universe, He created it all. Not only does He know how to create but He also knows how things work and how they are to be maintained. God created our bodies, He created our marriages, our health, our spirit and He gives us direction on how to keep these creations in perfect working order. So as we enter into this new life, remember we are new creations, the old has passed away.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
John 17:16: They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
So what does this mean? When we put these verses together what does it mean to be a new creation while the old things have passed away? What does it mean that believers are not of this world?
Does it just mean that we are now saved and are waiting to die while living as good as we can on this planet? I do not believe this can be true; that this is all there is to a saved life.
Let me explain; by saying the old things have passed away and all things are new, I believe Jesus is talking about how we live and view our new life. What are the old things? Our sin natures, our sinful attitudes, how we lived our lives and how we conducted ourselves. As a “Believer” our view of life has been changed, what we viewed as normal in the past is now changed. We have new and better promises based on a New Covenant. If you are not aware what is in the New Covenant nor how we are to live within this New Covenant, you will not be aware of all your benefits as a child of God.
John 10:10: The thief (Satan, religion) comes to kill, steal and destroy…
When we understand these two verses, then we can understand how Satan and or religion can come in and destroy our lives.
Read Hosea 4:6 carefully; My people are destroyed! God is letting us know that as God’s people, we can be destroyed (although not lose our salvation). Satan can and will destroy a Christian’s life when they lack the knowledge or they have rejected the knowledge in God’s Salvation. This happens when a Christian has accepted Jesus as Savior and now believes he/she is going to heaven without believing or understanding there is more than just going to church, bible reading and acting as good as they can.
What I am simply saying is that we Christians are not of this world, we do not have to participate in the things that the world has to offer! We should not think we are just average or even normal people any longer. We are covenant people who have inherited a covenant with God. We do not have to participate in sickness, disease, financial problems or fear that pertains to the world. We can live on a plane that is far higher than this world has to offer. That is what I believe Jesus was talking about when he said; “they are not of this world.” He was saying we are in this world but we do not have to be part of this world.
I see so many Christians living in fear. Christians are watching the same evening news that tells of all the upcoming epidemics, the collapse of the financial world and how violence is overtaking our nation as non-believers are, without understanding or realizing we are different. As born-again believers we get caught up in groupthink, thinking we are all the same, the same as non-believers! NO, we are not! As Christians, we live under the protection of the New Covenant and we have different promises altogether than those non-believers who do not live under the New Covenant.
When we say “we are saved” or “we have received Salvation” most average Christian’s believe that Jesus died on the cross and forgave their sins, but they stop there, not believing or understanding anymore.
However, when we read and understand what the meanings are for saved and salvation in the Greek language, we find a whole different meaning.
sótéria (salvation): deliverance, salvation
Definition; welfare, prosperity, deliverance, preservation, salvation, safety.
sózó (saved): to save
Definition: I save, heal, preserve, rescue.
So when a Christian says: I have received Salvation, they are literally saying I have received God’s Welfare, His prosperity, His deliverance, His preservation, His salvation, His safety,
When you say, I am saved; you are saying I am saved, I am healed, I am preserved, I am rescued.
These words are all-inclusive and they are all yours when you say I am saved!
These promises are already yours the moment you receive Jesus. You are in His family and as the adopting parent, God makes Himself responsible, just as a loving human father does who takes care of his children.
As an adopting father myself, when I took on my wife’s children in Guatemala I became responsible to love them, accept them, and to make sure they are taken care of medically. I am also responsible to make sure they have the proper provisions to live; shelter, clothing, and food. I am their father, and God our adopting Father is no different. He takes His Fatherhood seriously.
God shall supply provision:
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.(NKJV)
God healed you:
Psalms 103:3: Who forgives all your iniquities (sins), Who heals all your diseases,
So if you believe God has forgiven all your sins as in this verse, notice it also states He heals all your diseases.
Here is a quick example from the Word of God of a young man, who although lived in this world also lived above this world in God’s kingdom promises.
Let us look at David versus Goliath. How could this teenage kid kill an oversized monster, (over 9 foot tall), who also was a seasoned warrior in battle? This is not normal! We could write it off as a miracle of God, God’s sovereign hand at work, but if we study it closer we will learn it was not. This was a boy who knew His covenant and his destiny, he did not kill Goliath accidentally.
If we write this off as a sovereign act of God, why didn’t Saul or another man kill Goliath? Why didn’t God move on His own behalf like we read so many times in the Old Testament and kill Goliath Himself? He did not do either!
So what was different about David? What made this young boy so different than King Saul or any mighty warrior in his army? If we read carefully we will notice that when David heard Goliath’s big mouth, his response was very unusual;
1 Samuel 17: 36: Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”
If you look deeper into this scripture, when David called Goliath an uncircumcised Philistine, he was saying this ungodly person who has no covenant with God, is no match for those who have a covenant with God! David was referring to the Old Testament Covenant that Israel had with God. David was stating this fact, we are in this world but we are not of this world and or limited by the natural law that governs a person who has no covenant.
David in the natural was no match for Goliath! He had no chance as a NORMAL man but he was not normal, he had a covenant with God and he knew it and knew how to apply it. The results were supernatural. We are no longer natural, we are born again and are supernatural in our spirits. There is another thing to understand, King Saul and all the members of his army also had the same covenant with God but because of natural circumstances (Goliath’s size and demeanor), they were more aware of their circumstances than they were aware of God promises and covenant with them.
So they were about to perish due to their lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) or their unbelief that hindered them. They saw themselves as normal men but David saw himself in the light of God’s Word and how God saw him.
David had yet another advantage, a special Word from God, that he would be victorious over Goliath. This gave him an advantage over every man in Saul’s army. He had a Rhema Word (a personal word) from the mouth of God! If you remember scripture, in a previous chapter David was anointed by Samuel the prophet, as the next King of Israel. So God personally told David, he would be the successor to King Saul, in other words – the next king. When David faced Goliath it was a battle to the death! Because David was to become the next king of Israel and he had not yet fulfilled that destiny, David knew he would not die in the battle. So if one person had to die, Goliath with all his size, his might and his armor would draw the unlucky straw.
Goliath was going to die because of God’s Word to David! David could not die in this battle as God is never wrong! So David in faith, not only used his Old Testament Covenant but he also used his Rhema word or promise from God, then stood and acted in faith. He knew he was not going to die that day and the victory was his before the fight even started. That is how we can apply the covenant of God. Or, if we choose, we can follow King Saul and his men – this of course, would be how not to follow the covenant. We can learn from both in this history lesson.
David went on to kill Goliath and then later went on to be the greatest natural king that Israel ever had. If David never took the time to study and stand in faith based on God’s Word to him in the covenant and to him personally (Rhema Word), David would have never have made it to the destiny God planned for him.
So today are you going to be like David or be like the majority who, like King Saul and his army, lived like those without a covenant and therefore missed their destiny. If we look carefully, we can see the correlation to those then and those who live in the church today. Only the very few (Billy Graham, DL Moody etc.) make it to what God calls them to be and change the world. The rest live like King Saul and his army. They live in fear and never do what God calls them to do. It was Saul’s job to kill Goliath but God needed to send a boy who knew how to live in God’s promise.
So when you hear of the next flu season coming, the next economic downturn, or the doctor’s bad report, tell yourself – I am in this world but I am not of this world. I will not take part in this. I am healed in the name of Jesus and no pestilence can harm me (Psalm 91). When the economy is failing, remind yourself that God is your supply and not this economy and definitely not your job. Grab hold of your promises in the New Covenant, find those scriptures and stand on them, act on them and know that you are blessed and highly favored of God. Remember the Spirit realm is the parent of this physical world and not vice-versa. When you act on the things of the Spirit world, you change the reality of this world. That was the secret of David and all the great men of the Bible.