by Wade E Taylor
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“I live yet not I.” There is a process that we must go through in order to make this higher realm of our identity with Jesus a personal reality in our daily life experience. This is the end-time “witness” that will greatly affect the world – Jesus will become the manifest head of His Body, which (body) will have become so transparent, that only He will be seen.
“But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me….” Acts 1:8
In the original, the word translated “witness” is “martyr.” This means that I am to die to my self-life and its expression, in order to become the expression of the life and word of the Lord. Thus, I witness “to” Him, not a witness “of,” or “for” Him. As I come into a personal relationship with Jesus, and become one with Him in intent and purpose, His life is reflected through my life.
We are, by divine design in our creative makeup, capable of becoming this witness.
“So God created man in His own image….” Genesis 1:27
Through man’s transgression, this image (our spirit) was lost. In redemption it is restored, but must be developed (we grow into spiritual maturity).
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son….” Romans 8:29
The words “to be conformed” tell us that this is a process, to which we must submit ourselves.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NKJ
Not all Christians will respond to this opportunity to “press toward the mark for the high calling of God.” This is conditional. Thus, as we continue to “press,” or rise above all opposition, we become an “overcomer.”
Man was created to live on two levels of life, the earthly, and the heavenly. Therefore, the Lord breathed into Adam the breath of “lives.” This word is plural in the original. He was “formed” (soul) and then “breathed into” (spirit). Because man was created to be “dependent” (dust), he was placed in a probationary environment.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
Adam could not be “dependent,” unless he also had the opportunity to become “independent.” By abiding in a dependent state, his spirit could continue to commune with the Lord, which was the intention and desire of the Lord.
When Adam partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the part of Adam, which was “spirit,” died. Without this “impartation” of spirit that had been breathed into him, man is but “dust” (soul) and cannot rightly “cleave” to anyone or to anything, nor is he able to enter into the purpose for which he had been created, apart from a redemptive act by his Creator.
“And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and says to them, Receive you the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22
The natural man acts as he does because he cannot cleave. There is something that must be “added” to him so he can function in the purpose for which he had been created. Through redemption, the Lord must breathe “spirit” into him.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.” John 3:6-7
When we repent and receive Jesus as our personal Savior, that which Adam lost (spirit) is restored, and begins to function within us.
“As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” I Peter 2:2
As a spiritual baby, this restored part of our being (spirit) must be developed. After our “new birth” through redemption, there is a new consciousness of these two realms within our being: the earthly (soul realm), and the heavenly (spirit realm). The first relates to our natural life.
“And as we have borne the image of the earthly ….” I Corinthians 15:49
This is essential. For us to live in, and communicate with our environment, we must have a means whereby we are compatible with the earth realm. We easily relate to, and function in the “earth realm,” which is the place of our natural environment and life. But there is more, as our creation did not end with our identity with the earth realm of existence. The “breath of lives” (earthly – soul life, and, heavenly – spirit life) had been breathed into man.
“…We shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” I Corinthians 15:49
We were created to also function in the “spirit realm.” But, there is an active enemy who ever seeks to keep us “earth bound” – living in the soul realm. Therefore, we must come into a measure of “dependent” identity with the Lord, in order to function in this heavenly realm, in which there is available to us, ever increasing levels of relationship with the Lord.
This is a marvelous thing – the finite (man) can relate to and commune with the infinite (God) in the heavenly realms. And, we can become the visible “expression” of the life and ministry of the “corporate” Jesus, as the last three and one-half years of His ministry is fulfilled, in the establishing of the Millennial Kingdom of God.
Our spirit is recreated through a “new birth” in which these spiritual senses are restored and begin to develop. It is very important that we spend quality time “waiting upon the Lord” in order to develop our ability to “sense” (spirit), or “feel” (soul) His presence, and “hear” His voice, deep within us.
These spiritual senses are further developed and matured through our obedience to a process of “testing,” which is designed to draw us up into a higher realm of spiritual awareness, understanding, and experience.
As the Lord tested Adam by placing the tree of “life” and the tree of the “knowledge” of good and evil in the “midst” of the garden, we also must face a process in which we are tested to determine the outworking of the Lord’s purpose for us. Therefore, these two “trees” are placed in the pattern of each of our lives. The tree of life (spirit) represents our utter dependence upon, and trust in, the outworking of His purpose and provision for us. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (soul) represents our desire to be independent and choose for ourselves what is right or wrong.
Therefore, we must make a choice concerning these opposite pulls upon our being. We can choose to satisfy our soulish, sensual desires, as expressed in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; or we can choose the higher realm of spirituality, as expressed in the tree of life (over-comer). If we think more of these sensual desires than our spiritual desires, and then choose to satisfy them, our spirituality will progressively suffer loss until we no longer have spiritual perception, and we will die spiritually.
Because the Lord has given man so much, there is a severe penalty if he makes the wrong choice.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17
Jesus died on Calvary’s cross to become our covering for sin. But there is more in our redemption. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus demonstrated that the Shekinah had been embodied “within” Him, but was not available to us. Now, in His resurrection and ascension, the veil has been rent and a way has been made for us to enter into identification with Jesus in His abiding Shekinah Glory. The “flaming sword” is no longer a hindrance to our experiencing His manifest glory.
We can continue to abide in the “covering” for sin that Jesus provided through His shed blood upon the cross, receiving His forgiveness, but never coming back to the place that Adam (we) lost – that of being “clothed upon” with His Glory, and having our spiritual senses quickened.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18
When the Lord came to walk with Adam in the cool of the day, Adam hid from His presence. Then the Lord said, “Adam, where are you?” Adam answered this question and talked with the Lord. Notice that we can commune with the Lord in the realm of our soul and never come back to the place of full and open fellowship with Him.
Many are satisfied with only the redemptive covering that has been provided for them through the atonement of Jesus on the cross, and they feel comfortable to stay there. However, the Lord greatly desires us to come beyond this, and experience the “full redemption” of all that had been lost.
“Then said Jesus to His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
Just as Adam, through disobedience lost his “spirit life;” we must, through obedience, die to our “soul life.” This includes not only the provision of a covering for our sin, but also, the restoration of the original covering of the Shekinah, which will enable us to experience His abiding, manifest presence (visible glory).
The Lord is looking for those who desire a “full restoration” of all that was lost. These will walk with Him in the restored covering of His “Shekinah Glory” and will witness His manifest presence and power to the world in these last days, as Jesus expresses His life through them.
“Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3