THERE are, in essence, TWO ways offered today. One "Way" is to ask Jesus Christ HIMSELF to hide us IN HIMSELF who is HIMSELF "the express image of God" (Jesus said: "if you see Me, you see the Father) and ask JESUS HIMSELF to be our "all, and in all" on behalf of ALL who receive HIM. We must become small in our own sight, and remain humbled in the Light of Who HE is --becoming "as little children" in His sight. And instead of vaunting ourselves and trying to "be like Jesus" -we can ask JESUS HIMSELF to be Jesus, in us and for us...on our behalf. (All of Him, and none of us.)
Without a doubt, if we would all stop trying to be "LIKE HIM" and just ASK JESUS to HIMSELF be JESUS for us, then the WORLD would "see Him" by and through Christ in us the Hope of glory. But the world sees us/we ourselves TRYING TO BE "like God" instead of humbled in Him, so that "Jesus can be Jesus" for us! Many who could be won to Christ by Him are rejecting the Lord Himself because of our egotistical perversion of The Truth! Which is precisely Satan's plan: Believer's have been sold a bill of goods, the "lie" disguised as The Truth, accepting "another way, another word, another jesus" as the Truth and, as a result, men are trying to "be perfect and holy and righteous" and are walking around "trying to be like Jesus" --because men have been teaching men "another gospel" as "the way" -complete with "all signs and lying wonders"!
Man (refuses to lay down his life/give himself up to/in Christ -by agreeing with God concerning what man is not and can never be, accepting Jesus Christ as his replacement in everything!) although he makes quite a show of accepting Jesus Christ -then, he perverts the scripture to focus on himself. Instead of bearing witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, men teach men to declare who "he" (man) is in Christ-and what man thinks he can be... Man perverts God's written word using it for man's purposes, to get his share of the glory for himself under the guise of glorifying God alone. By combining scripture with mind-sciences, psychology, sociology etc. using everything at his disposal men teach men how to modify his behavior, to re-create and transform himself BY HIS OBEDIENCE "to the word" in a vain effort to perfect even resurrect "the man" which GOD (in Christ) has judged as "dead"! (Blind to the Truth -man continues to vaunt himself in opposition to, and in rebellious defiance of, the very Truth he claims to profess and proclaim!)
Man sings about submission, but will not submit to the will of God (which is that he is slain) in Christ! Man loves to sing about the "crown" he will have because of the cross, composing song after song about the glory of the cross, and he sings about how he loves the old rugged cross which he says he cherishes & he tells everyone that there's room at the cross -yet, he does anything and every thing EXCEPT take up his cross by getting on the Cross (with/in the death of Christ) and acknowledge that he himself must be "reckoned as dead" (reduced to "dust and ashes) through that Cross!
In other words, man continues to resist the plan of God and the "wisdom of God" IN CHRIST. Although man claims to accept the truth of our death in Christ -and although he professes acceptance of Him, -as man's REPLACEMENT (BY THE RISEN LORD JESUS CHRIST who hides us in Himself and stands in our stead -as the New Man) -yet, in reality man rejects the knowledge and wisdom of God: IN CHRIST. Man (mankind -including believers in the Lord Jesus Christ) still reject the Truth of (His) "faith and grace." IN REALITY, even believers reject the fact that man cannot be "like the Most High God," since nine out of ten Christians will tell you that they now believe that God (by His grace through Christ) has now given THEM the POWER to become "like Jesus".
Even as a "believer" (professing to believe the Truth) -man still vaunts himself (is unrepentant) --as a believer he does it by vaunting himself as "a son of God" and he is still rebels against the Truth (that he is replaced by and in "the person of" Jesus Christ...he lies against the Truth that Jesus Christ is God's only Begotten Son (in whom we are counted as dead and our lives hid, to become sons by adoption as "dust and ashes" members of His Body) and that Jesus Christ HIMSELF is the "Anointed" of the Father, the Christ of God.
In the Book of Matthew 24: 4, Jesus said: Take heed that no man deceive you, for many will come "in my Name" saying they are "the anointed" of God -i.e., Christ! There are now truly many who gather together in the name of a jesus, who publicly stand "in the temple of God" proclaiming themselves to be "as God" (like Jesus AKA: as God) chanting together in masse: saying: "I AM anointed"..."I AM anointed" -sounds like REAL humility to me! : - (
MAN created in the image of God (i.e., Adam) failed to obey God. Man even though he was created in the image of God -cannot be like God -who is perfect in all His ways. (And that man -who was created in the image and likeness of God has by God been replaced in/and by Jesus Christ, who is the Second Man and who is Himself the express image of the Father!)
Man is not capable of obedience, but he can ask HIM who is perfect in obedience to hide rebellious man in Jesus Christ, who is the New Man; man can ask Jesus to stand in our place and ask Jesus Himself to be obedience for us on our behalf. But because man is determined to have his share of the glory, through the devices of the enemy man has been seduced (the seduction of Christianity is the "great apostasy") into believing that "as a believer" empowered by Christ, man himself can now "be like" God...AKA, like Jesus (Christianized Humanism) And the unbeliever believes that he -man himself can be as god without Christ, by knowledge and skill and technology etc. (Humanism) ...but who is more deceived?
As a result of the rebellious condition of the natural mind of man which is enmity against the Spirit, i.e. man in his soul/mind, will, and feelings opposes the things OF the Spirit. When a man is carnally-minded in his thinking (whether he or she is a believer or not) because of the carnality of his own mind, and the stubbornness (idolatry) of his own will, the unbeliever is blind and cannot see and the carnally-minded believer (either ignorant of the Truth or choosing to rebel against it) "refuses to see" that man could never be and was never called to be "like God".
Men which are "yet carnal in their thinking" pervert the things of God (many in ignorance of the Truth) by striving to be like the Most High God by believing that man through science and man's technologies and by personal empowerment (perverting and miss-using spiritual gifts) through learning and knowledge (which man considers power) by activating the power of faith and pressing on to what man is still convinced is his high-calling: he yet believes in his rebellious heart that he can reach his ultimate potential: to be as God, AKA: "like Jesus".
It would be far better if we/all men would humble our haughty selves at the Feet of Him who IS God and admit that even though we were created in the image of God, after His likeness, we of our own selves disobedient, proud, boasters rebellious covenant breakers -who vaunt ourselves in our vain conceits...and that we have become "inventors of evil things" (false sciences, false teachings, false doctrines and a false gospel.) By the very act of thinking we can be or by trying to be like God (and/or like Jesus) we "fall from grace" by ignoring -not only the work of the cross of Christ, but we are also ignoring the judgment of Adam -and are putting ourselves back under both "the law and the judgment of Adam".
By striving to perfect ourselves in the flesh, (Christianized Humanism) -we do despite the Spirit of GRACE and place ourselves in defiant opposition to the will of God which He purposed in Christ!
According to the plan of God, in which He purposed "in Christ" (who was slain before the Foundation of the world) that "HE HIMSELF" might slay the "man of sin" (fallen man/Adam) and hide his life IN CHRIST -which is where he (man) was predestined to be "crucified with and then hidden in Christ" --in, by and through His Only Begotten Son our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ, who is Himself very God and His Christ.
We would do well to REPENT of our folly (the folly of men -humanism) and to acknowledge that we are men/Adam who cannot be "like Jesus" (because HE is God) and that we need HIM to hide us "in HIS likeness" -IN JESUS CHRIST who HIMSELF is the express image of the Father.
We do not become "little Jesus'" nor "little christs" and we are not Him, but we become "like Christ" or "like Him" only by being hidden IN HIM/and By Him -having "put on" Him/i.e., Jesus Christ. "BECAUSE we have (by His grace) been hidden in and by Him, then we shall not be ASHAMED AT HIS APPEARING for we know that when HE appears, then we shall be like Him for we shall see "HIM" as "HE" is!
Shall we (abuse the Grace of God) continue in sin, that grace may abound? God Forbid! HOW shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (cf. Rom 6:1, 2)
WE are to Walk in Newness of Life -but we "walk" by resting in Him" who is that "New Life." We "walk in newness of Life" by "resting" by faith in Him -which is by grace -and by grace means that it is by the faith of Him which GOD WORKS for us by/in/through Christ in us. (Him abiding in us and us abiding in Him) IN CHRIST means in and by Him who is that New Life!
And HOW do we "walk by resting" -by ASKING HIM. JESUS HIMSELF is the WORD OF GOD and HE HIMSELF is the POWER OF GOD. And whatsoever you ask of Him/ must be in His Name/which means in the person of and according to His purposes. And whatsoever we ask in His Name, then HE (God "in the person of" Jesus Christ) will HIMSELF do!
But many say "I have asked and He didn't..." James 4:3 tells us: We ask and receive not, BECAUSE we ask AMISS, -THAT YE MAY CONSUME IT UPON YOUR LUSTS. We have not, not just because we ask not, but because we (with our twisted doctrines, have lusted after "trying to have the power to perfect ourselves -or- be like Jesus) -Remember: if we ask any thing according to HIS will means according to His purpose -and His will/His purpose is to redeem us to Himself and grant us "repentance and rest" in HIM...it is HIS will/He has purposed to: hide us in Himself and to HIMSELF be our all, and in all -on behalf of all, who receive Him.
It is NOT however His will that we should in and of ourselves simply be empowered against sin. The weight of sin is God's testimony against man -that he himself cannot be (perfect and sinless) like God -and when we (in our own strength strive against sin, then our striving becomes losing!) Sin (which is man's trangression of the Law) then becomes the weight of the Law which is like a cruel taskmaster that is meant to drive us back to Him (that we might find both repentance and rest -which is in Him/of Him/by Him and through Him alone "In Christ".
It is not His will or according to His purpose for you to ask the Lord to give you (yourself) p-o-w-e-r or to personally enable you. Instead, it His will that you ask HIM to be the power that worketh "all things in Himself" on your behalf. ASK HIM to work all things/for you/as He wills according to His POWER/i.e., HIM!
Don't ask HIM to give you wisdom so that YOU YOURSELF can be "wise." Although the scripture does tell us: if any man lacks wisdom let him ask...the carnal understanding of our own minds tells us THAT means that we can be wise by/through what we are given, but there is a far better Way (to Him be the glory!) The "Spirit of the Word" will reveal some "thing" far better than the wisdom of Solomon!
Solomon with all the wisdom + understanding God gave him still blew it! And so will any of us, no matter how much w-i-s-d-o-m God could give us...(in our rejoicing in the gifts we all ought to consider Solomon -he still corrupted himself in spite of his gifts.) But a "better than Solomon" is here: Jesus Christ! Rather than asking amiss for: w-i-s-d-o-m for ourselves in order to make you yourself wise (only to fail in our misuse of the gifts -as did Solomon) ASK Jesus Christ to "HIMSELF" BE WISDOM unto you. Ask HIM "to be" Wisdom for you on your behalf! For it is written: that Jesus Christ has been made Wisdom unto us! No matter what things God gives to man, man himself will fail -he will always fall/come short of the glory of God, but Jesus NEVER fails! God commands us to be holy, as HE is Holy and to "be perfect" as our Father in heaven is perfect. By our interpretation and our understanding of His written word we fail to see HOW that command is fulfilled IN and BY JESUS CHRIST who is HIMSELF the fulfillment of E-V-E-R-Y requirement and command!
Although God commands you to be holy as He is, He knows that you cannot be holy (you cannot fulfill or meet His requirements, but Jesus Christ has already done so for us, on our behalf! Do not reject so great a gift by trying to fulfill in the flesh that which is begun in the Spirit! Do not ask HIM to make you holy -but instead just ask "HIM" (ask Jesus Himself) to be holiness "for you" on your behalf. HE is our Great High Priest who is not just our Advocate but our replacement, HE HIMSELF stands (in our place) before God and has HIMSELF become our HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.
Jesus Christ HIMSELF (in whom we are hid) has HIMSELF become "HOLINESS" for us, on our behalf. Do not "crucify the Son of God afresh" nor trample the Blood of the Son of God under foot by trying to "be holy" or by trying to perfect yourself by "dead works done in the flesh" but seek Him and ask Him, ask JESUS to be "HOLINESS" for you!
AND PATIENCE: if we ask Him to make us or give us patience, then He must also allow us to see that we cannot succeed in "being patient" because HE alone is perfect patience. Ask Him/Jesus Himself to be patience for you, on your behalf! AND CHASTITY, ask Him to be that -for you. and OBEDIENCE. ASK Jesus to HIMSELF "to be obedience" -for you, on your behalf! And HEARING...don't ask im to make you (dead Adam) able to hear His voice -we (ourselves) are naked, and wretched, and deaf, dumb and blind to the things of the Spirit, and we (ourselves) are carnally minded with what we do with the things of the Spirit! So ask Jesus HIMSELF to be HEARING for you. And SIGHT -ask Him to cause His Face to shine upon you, that you may see HIM! ask HIM to reveal the Father...And "right choices" - ASK HIM to be DISCERNMENT (for you) concerning whether a thing is of the Spirit of Truth (of Him) -or- if it is of the spirit of Error.
One of the greatest errors, our greatest folly in the churches today is that we have been led to believe that we (with our thimbleful of spiritual knowledge) can "discern" the Spirit of Truth from a spirit of Error by what-we-know in/of the word of God --in the conceit of the knowledge that we have gained, we try to weigh and measure (remember, the ephah and "wickedness" -weighing and measuring by the minds of men) things which can only be spiritually discerned by the Spirit of God. By doing what we do with our knowledge of the written word, we more often than not fail to ASK HIM (inquire of Him) who is HIMSELF the Living Word.
As a result of our folly, many believers have been deceived (in the vanity of our minds) by seducing spirits which beguile us (as Eve was beguiled) with twisted truth according to knowledge "about the written word"...taking advantage of the fact that we have come to think of and see ourselves as wise (even wise, like God) with our puny knowledge & our limited understanding of His word -many are fully convinced that the only-way-we-can-know "truth from error" is by our knowledge concerning God's written word -and we are even taught to call THAT PROCESS "spiritual discernment" which is exactly what Eve was made to think that she was doing!
Eve did NOT seek God's face, she did not INQUIRE OF THE LORD...AND SHE DID NOT defer to Him for His Counsel by His Spirit, so that HE/Christ could act on her behalf as Her Spiritual Head: she did not seek God asking Him for counsel by His Spirit "about what God had said" -and if she had sought the Lord, He would have uncovered the LIE for her by His Spirit and He would have foiled the devices of the enemy against her, -seeking THE LORD is what spiritual discernment really is!
Seek the Lord (while He may be found) ask, inquire of Him! Don't seek after knowledge itself: neither knowledge of good or knowledge of evil but seek the Face of HIM who is perfect in Knowledge and in Wisdom, i.e., seek the Knowledge OF GOD which is in the Face of Jesus Christ (which is not obtained by powers of reason, nor by human intellect, nor by our powers of perception, nor by the power of our will...) but rather by asking Jesus to Himself "be knowledge" for you, by the Spirit of the Knowledge of God in the revelation of: "Jesus Christ".
Most of what is taught in the churches concerning the "Word of God" is what men say the word of God is. Jesus asked a revealing question about how men interpret and try to discern the things of the Spirit for themselves when He asked them "whom do men say I am." In the context, Jesus was trying to teach His disciples (and us) about how the word of God is leavened by the doctrines of men --He warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees: some wise and learned men say...others debate the Truth and say...and some of this denominational persuasion say...but then JESUS asked His disciples: whom do ye say that "I AM"? and by a Sovereign act of God's grace the "knowledge of Jesus Christ" was given by revelation by the Spirit of Truth directly from the Father to Peter, who then declared: "THOU art the Christ, the Son of the Living God..."
When Jesus saw that the Father had blessed Peter with a revelation of Him by the Spirit of God (the very Spirit of Truth) -then Jesus declared: Blessed are thou, Simon (hearing) bar (born of) Jona (a Dove) for flesh and blood (learning/knowledge/and perception OF MAN) hath NOT REVEALED it unto thee, but My Father in Heaven. The Knowledge of God -which is: in the revelation of Jesus Christ is by GRACE... GRACE and TRUTH came by JESUS CHRIST revealed by the Spirit of the Father in "the revelation of Jesus Christ" who HIMSELF is the Living Word.
The LORD will reveal Himself in His written word, if we ask Him to grant us repentance from making idols out of what "men say it means" -the Pharisees could not hear Him because of what-they-knew-that-they-knew and so it is still today with religious men who stubbornly reject the Truth by the Spirit in favor of the counsel of their own minds in their own understanding of the word of God.
When Saul (whose name means: ask) was put in a position where he finally "asked of the Lord" then, in the Light of Who HE IS, Saul (changed his name and) became known as (Paul) "little".
Since YOUR conversion have YOU become "little"? or by flattery has the enemy seduced you to again vaunt yourself:, your calling, your ministry etc. by USING the things of God as means to do so. On the road to Damascus, Saul met the risen Lord and in the process, he became converted and an essential part of the fruit of that repentance and conversion was turning from the pride of man: how man perceives himself, his ways, his works, his knowledge etc. in his own sight. Is the fruit of YOUR conversion REALLY "nevertheless not I, me or my" but CHRIST, HE and HIM alone -or has it become who YOU are in Him! If we will ASK HIM to be our humility of hearts and minds...and BECOME AGAIN AS "little children" in His sight, He will grant His people "restoration and rest" -HE WILL RESTORE His people to Himself in Spirit and in Truth. By a Sovereign act of Grace in the revelation of Jesus Christ, God will restore the Body of Christ -which "thing" He will do for whosoever will ask...
IF ONLY WE WOULD REPENT and AGREE WITH HIM. While we are waiting on God, God is waiting on us to confess our sins, repent of our wicked ways and humble ourselves before Him acknowledging that NONE OF US knows anything yet -as we ought agreeing with God (who said that in His word because He wants us to know that the only man who knows as he ought to know is the Lord Himself, the Man, -Jesus Christ).
GOD IS WAITING FOR FRUIT OF OUR REPENTANCE: ACKNOWLEDGE Jesus Christ as the "Spiritual Man" (cf. 1Cor.15:47) and that "we" ourselves are "spiritual" only in that we "put on Him" who is the Spiritual Man, -not by putting on airs of spirituality (with our puny bits of knowledge) but by "putting on Christ" (who is perfect in wisdom and knowledge) -with ourselves, dead and hidden in Him (not I, but Christ!) IF we would all stop thinking of ourselves as so spiritually minded & just admit that we don't know as much as we think we know -and not even the half of what we ought to know, and -if we would humble ourselves and become as little children in His sight and just ASK HIM to reveal HIMSELF and ASK HIM to take us to His Written Word and confirm that Word by His Spirit, then HE would bless us with the "revelation of Jesus Christ" -in the hearts of His people!
There are many things which men "say the word of God says" who have not INQUIRED OF HIM concerning the scriptures, but have instead taught what they have been taught according to their own knowledge concerning the scriptures! There IS a great deal of difference between the two! The main purpose of the written word of God is to direct us to repentance and rest in HIM Who is Himself, the Living Word.
We need to repent of interpreting the scriptures from a man-centered perspective! How we do love to quote the scripture in the light of who we think we are! We boast about having the "Mind of Christ" -not knowing that having the "mind of Christ" means: assuming the attitude of heart that He had in His submission to the Father, in all things "worked the works" (as it is written: God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself) that the FATHER might do His will and work His works (in Christ) according to HIS good pleasure...though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered -shall not we, also?
Concerning "what men say" the word of God means -we are admonished to "test all things, prove all things and hold fast to that which is good" but NONE OF THIS can we do except by acknowledging the Spirit of God, -asking HIM for His counsel by His Spirit which HE WILL confirm for us throughout His written word -but not according to man's understanding of it -nor by what MEN SAY it means!
We need to repent of agreeing with men, -without first asking THE LORD! We need to repent of deciding for ourselves what is or is not "of His Spirit" -according to our own understanding of the word, -without ASKING THE LORD. And we need to repent of calling evil good and calling good evil, simply because we think we know. (Many will do EXACTLY THAT with this Letter -some will be so offended in their flesh -they will utterly reject it as evil. Still others will weigh and measure it using the false measure of their own mind/the soul (remember, "wickedness" and "our wicked ways" in weighing and measuring for ourselves according to our own knowledge of what "God hath said") -AND INSTEAD OF SUBMITTING IT TO HIM WHO IS THE LIVING WORD -INSTEAD OF DEFERRING TO THE LORD (asking Him to act as their spiritual Head) -INSTEAD OF SEEKING HIM FOR HIS COUNSEL BY HIS SPIRIT they too will cast it off as evil and they will feel fully justified in doing so -according to their knowledge "of the word" (just like the pharisees did) without ever having inquired of "The Lord".
The church's entire history (Catholic and Protestant alike -even Jewish for that matter) is littered, literally chock-full of men who SAY THEY speak the oracles of God...but the only One who can rightly divide the Word of Truth is Him who is the Word, and HE HIMSELF IS AVAILABLE to any who will SEEK HIS FACE!
Paul said it best: it was neither "earned nor learned" but was a gift of God's grace that was given by the revelation of Jesus Christ/who is Himself the Living Word. Not learned from "wise" scribes who knew every dot & tittle but by grace. Not taught by so-called much learned men with their muddy water & trampled down fodder -which Paul counted as but dung -for the excellency of the knowledge of God in Christ, and that by grace as it pleased the Father to reveal Him.
Jesus Himself was also saying that it was not "earned nor learned" but that it pleased the Father to hide these things from the wise...and to reveal them unto babes...(Mt.11:25) Jesus also said: "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Mt.18:3) we must be c-o-n-v-e-r-t-e-d from Adam's pride to the humility of that Holy Child Jesus! (Mt.13:9-15 cf. vs.15)