The Anatomy of Salvation

It may seem strange to think of something like salvation having an anatomy.

Salvation, in and of itself, really does not have a true anatomy.  It does, however, affect our anatomy- our whole being of body, soul and spirit.

Anatomy is the study of the parts and internal workings of living organisms, especially as revealed by the dissection and separation of those parts.

What I am going to attempt to do is to dissect and separate all the parts that make us human beings- the parts that are seen and those that are unseen-and examine how each part works in relationship to the others.

Understanding these things help us to live a successful, Christ centered life and have a deeper appreciation for the gospel.  It will also help you understand what happens to you when you get saved, or accept Christ as your Savior. You will have a better grasp of how your salvation affects all aspects of you, and how that brings about the change the bible calls sanctification.

 We will learn how each of these three elements- the body, soul and spirit- are connected to one another so completely that you cannot separate them without causing a death.

                                                                     Death, in its very essence, is separation. 

I warn you that this is no quick study.  But the investment will offer eternal rewards if you take the time to sow into your heart and mind the seeds of Truth revealed in the bible!

So without any further delay, let us go to the operating table to begin our dissection and examination process and reveal the anatomy of our salvation!

THE SOUL

The very first thing that is vital to understand is that man was created to live in the realm of EARTH.

When God created Adam, He formed him from the dust, or the elements of the earth.  He breathed into him the life force of the earth, which is the soul (Genesis 2:7).  Adam was created as a being that was made to inhabit the earth and nowhere else.

The soul is the part of you that gives life to your physical body.   But the soul is more than just life, it is a specific life, it is YOUR life.  It is the part of you that makes up the essence of who you are as a person; your personality, your will and desires, your emotions, your intelligence, and your overall personal character. Your brain is a physical organ but your mind is the higher level thoughts that are birthed and processed there.

The bible says that your soul is identified in your blood.

Leviticus 17:14 says “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life.”

The word translated life here literally means soul.  Your soul is intrinsically connected to your blood, and your blood is a vital component to every cell in your body.   Only life on earth has a soul.  Only life of the earth has blood.  Therefore, any life of the earth that has blood also has a soul. Any living creature with blood possesses a living soul.

                  Yes, this means animals have souls.  But their souls are not equal to that of a man.

 Man was created as the highest form of soul, created in the image of God to have dominion over all other life and creation of earth.  

Your blood is your personal identifier.  Your blood is specific to you.  It carries in it your personal DNA which reveals not only that you are a human being, but also whose human you are; by exactly which parents you came from, and which parents they came from and so on.  It can reveal which genetic defects or diseases you are likely to inherit from your parents.  It can tell you which physical characteristic came from which parent (like red hair or blue eyes).  Everything about you is handed down to you from your parents in your blood.

Your blood is the source of your life.  It carries immunities and disease fighting elements in it.  It carries your very breath in it (oxygen).  That breath that God breathed into Adam on the day He created him gave him all that he needed to live and breathe and exist on the earth. 

Then the LORD God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (souecame a living being (soul). Genesis 2:7

Every cell of your body is dependent upon the components supplied in your blood.  Separated from it, your body would die.

THE BODY

Your physical body is the earthly house for your soul.  It is also uniquely YOU having traits and characteristics passed down to you from your parents.   It is the tangible part of your being.  It is also your identifier in that you have a body that is uniquely yours; no other person on earth has a body exactly like yours.

 It is a living organism that is animated, or brought to life, by your soul.     When the soul separates from the body, it causes the body to die. The body then decays and returns to the dust that it was made from.

Your body can be viewed as a vehicle for your soul.  It executes the commands that your mind wills it to do.  If you are thirsty, your mind tells your body to get something to drink.  It is also programmed to do things that your mind doesn’t consciously think about, such as breathe or digest food.

It is made up of matter and energy and was created to live in the realm of time and space.  It is made OF the earth in order to exist ON the earth. It is made of matter and energy and is subject to the physical laws of the earth (such as gravity, relativity, thermal dynamics, etc.).

 The body that we live in right now is considered temporary.  The bible calls it a tabernacle or a tent (2Corinthians 5:1-4, 2 Peter 1:13-14).    In our present state our bodies are not made to live forever, as those of us over 50 are well aware. Things start to wear out and break down.  We get weaker as time passes. 

In the same way that your house has doors that allow people and things to get inside, your body also has doors or “gateways” that allow access for things to enter into and affect your soul. 

These gateways are your five senses.

The organs of your body that carry information into your mind and heart- the eyes, the ears, the skin, the mouth and the nose- are access points into your soul.  Basically, every outward part of your body acts as a conduit to the innermost part of your being and can influence it either positively or negatively. 

Your body and soul are so intrinsically connected that what happens to one innately affects the other. What you see, what you hear, what you touch, what you put in your mouth or in your nose- can have a very real consequence to your soul.  Trauma and sickness, illicit drug and alcohol abuse, and sinful sexual behaviors are examples of things that you do with your body that can produce very wounding effects on the soul.  And, in the same way, when one’s soul is wounded it can manifest in physical ways, such as a sickness of the body.  

When we commit our bodies to sinful behaviors, we risk opening the doors of our “house” for demonic influence.  It is an invitation for evil or unclean spirits to enter into your soul and set up strongholds in your life.   They look for, and even create, opportunities for themselves to have a legal right to stake a claim in your “house”.  

We can also open up the doors of our soul to sinful influence when we do not control our emotions.  For example, when we give our hearts over to lustful thoughts, to anger and revenge, to covetous desires and feelings of discontent, we are providing opportunities for evil spirits to stake a claim in our lives.  These are all desires of the fallen flesh.  Some may argue that these feelings, especially the ones of the sexual kind, are natural.  Yes, they are very natural.  But your nature is broken and corrupt.  Even without the influence of outside forces, we have an inherent bent towards the things that are sinful and hostile towards God. We have to act in ways that are contrary to our nature if we want to live free of sin and evil influence.   

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”  Romans 6:12-13

This body and soul combination is what the bible often refers to as the “flesh”.  Sometimes we think this just means the body, or your skin, but most of the time it is referring to the physical body and the soul.  The bible tells us over and over that to live a life pleasing to God we cannot live our lives according to the flesh.

“…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 6:7-8

THE SPIRIT

As soul is the life force of earth, spirit is the life force of heaven. It is the life giving energy of the beings that belong to heavenly realm.

God is a Spirit (John 4:24).  Celestial beings (like angels) are spiritual beings.  Celestial beings do not have souls because they were not created to live in the realm of earth.  They do not have physical bodies or blood.

                 They have bodies that were created to live in the supernatural realm.  They have varying degrees of power, authority, function and glories. Spirit beings also have personalities, intelligence and a free will. They not bound by the natural laws of the earth but they can interact with the realm of earth.  In order to exist in the heavenly realm, or have the ability to partake in the kingdom of heaven, you must be spirit (1Corinthians 15:50).

THE FIRST SON OF GOD

When God created Adam, He formed his body from the dust and breathed into him his earthly life of soul, but He also imparted unto him life in his spirit.  Adam was God’s son.  He was made complete and perfect in every way; alive in body, soul and spirit.

Adam was made in the image of God.  This means that he was meant to represent or reflect God on earth, to rule and reign over the realm of earth as God ruled and reigned over the realm of heaven.  As the Son of God he had authority over all creation.   Adam could commune with God constantly, walking in His presence in perfect unbroken fellowship. The Spirit of God had a union with Adam’s spirit.  In this way, the will of God was never a mystery to him. 

But Adam was also created with a will of his own.  He was not created to be a robot, simply operating in mechanical style to perform the will of His Creator. 

No, God created Adam for fellowship, for community and for love.  Love is not supposed to be mechanical or programmed.  It must be exercised from a free will.  For Adam to truly be created in the likeness of his Father, he had to have the freedom to choose and that meant that Adam had to have mastery over his own will.

Adam was God’s son.                    That is who he was.

But he was also granted the position as the ruler over the earth,
yet under the ultimate authority and sovereignty of God the Father. This means that Adam was subject to the laws established by God.

When Adam partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3), he disobeyed the one law that God had set for him.  He usurped the authority that God had granted him.

Instead of obeying the will of God, Adam listened to the voice of the serpent, his wife and his own lustful desires. He willfully trespassed on property God told him was off limits.  He overstepped a boundary that God had established for him.                                                

This is known as sin.

God had warned Adam and Eve that on the day they ate of the forbidden tree they would die.  Genesis 2:16-17

And when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden a death did indeed occur.  The Spirit of a perfect and Holy God could no longer dwell within them because of their sin.  It had to separate from them, causing them to die spiritually.

Adam and Eve should have died physically that day also.  In other words, their souls should also have been demanded of them.  But God, in His mercy and grace, allowed a substitute to die in their place.    A life was given as a substitute for their life.  That innocent life covered their sinful ones just as its skin covered their nakedness. (Genesis 3:21)

It was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.

Because of that substitute, Adam and Eve were allowed to continue on in the earth alive, but their relationship to God had changed dramatically. 

Because the Spirit of God has departed from Adam, Adam is no longer considered Gods son.  I know this is hard for some people to understand, but scripturally, the only time someone is called the son or daughter of God is when they possess the Spirit of God.  Adam, when he had the indwelling of the Spirit of God, he was the son of God.  When he lost it, he became the son of the evil one (John 8:44, 1John 3:12).  Adam was no longer alive spiritually.  The curse of sin and death is attached to Adam and will be passed down to all his offspring (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 5:12).

Mankind has inherited this spiritual condition from Adam, since ultimately we are all his sons and daughters.   We are born into this natural world alive in body and soul, but dead in spirit.  We are born separated from God.

We HAVE a spirit, but it is without the heavenly life it was created for. 

Thankfully, God made a Way for us to be BORN AGAIN of the Spirit!And friends, this is REALLY GOOD NEWS!

To understand how all of it works, we have to go back to the idea of the value of life being connected to the blood.

The Old Covenant (or the Law of Moses), established a way for man, through Israel, to enter into relationship with God, albeit in a diminished way.  God set forth the terms (the 10 Commandments), that if men would follow them, God would dwell in their midst.  Of course, men would not be able to follow them all completely because men are inherently sinful, so God also established a sacrificial system so that men’s sins could be dealt with effectively enough to keep them in good standing before Him and so that His Glory could dwell on the earth as a testimony to all mankind of His Power and Presence.

God allowed a substitute payment for the sins of men in the sacrificial death of an animal.  The life of that animal, however, was not an equal payment.  The life or souls of an animal are not equal in value or worth.  But it was all that was available because the souls of mankind were corrupted by sin. The animal blood was at least innocent blood. So the blood, or life, of the sacrificial animal could act as a temporary covering until a man could be born that would offer His soul, or life, for the payment for the sins of men.

Jesus Christ was that man.

Christ came as a man, born into the realm of earth through a woman with a body of flesh and blood and a soul.  As Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, He was also the Son of God.  He was the Son of God just as Adam was the first son of God.  But even more than that, He existed as God long before He came to earth to be born of human flesh.  John 1:1-18.

Jesus was born of a virgin, meaning he did not have Adam as His father, He was born without the curse of sin and death attached to Adam through his blood. 

And Jesus did what Adam failed to do.  Jesus never trespassed against God.  He obeyed every commandment, every law and every directive from His Father.  He not only obeyed the Law of Moses, but He fulfilled it.  He never once acted according to His own will, but always obeyed the will of God through the Spirit that lived in Him. It was the very reason He came to earth, to do the will of His Father (John 4:34, 5:19, 5:30, 6:38).

In this way, He reversed the effect of Adams sin.  He reversed the work of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Christ was sinless in both ways; without inherited sin and without committing an act of sin.  Because He was without sin, the Spirit of God could come upon Him and remain (John 1:32).  He and the Father were one (John 10:30), as Adam and the Father were before Adam’s fall.

Christ did what Adam failed to do. He came to regain what Adam lost.

When Christ died on that Cross, He died for every son and daughter of Adam.  He took the penalty that is due us; both from the sin we inherited from our fallen earthly father and from the sin that we commit by willfully disobeying the laws of God.

He did for us what we could never do for ourselves.

He died for us, in our place; a man’s life in payment for the sins of men, an equal payment. The Old Covenant is finished, or completed.  No more animal sacrifices need ever be made again.  Christ fulfilled the Law of the First Covenant and established a New Covenant in His perfect blood; in His payment plan.

But there IS something that you do have to do.   There is a work that you do need to perform.

You have to Believe it. You have to accept it Personally

In doing this you have to acknowledge two things. 1. Who you are. 2. Who Christ is.

You have to recognize that you are born as a son or daughter of Adam into sin, dead in spirit and eternally separated from God.  It is not just an issue of what you have done (although it is also this) it is an issue of who you are.    This heritage makes you bent toward sinfulness, naturally desirous of things that God detests.  It is ingrained into your nature to lie, cheat, steal, and be disrespectful, selfish and proud.   Sin reigns in your mortal body.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t conquer it. You have bad habits, flaws in your character and do things you know are bad for you.    You sin because you are a sinner.   You have to come to a place that you recognize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.

Then you have to recognize that Christ is that Savior.

The next step is to humble yourself at the feet of Jesus and repent of your sinfulness.  You acknowledge before Him who and what you are.  If you are unwilling to do this very important step, you may as well save your breath. The first step in gaining eternal life and salvation from your sins in Jesus is repentance.

Once you have done this, you simply have to come to Him IN FAITH and ASK to receive Him as your Lord and Savior. The bible says that the only work you have to do to earn your eternal salvation is to BELIEVE (John 3:16,18, 36, 6:29).  Yep, that’s it.  No fancy rituals, no special ceremonies, absolutely nothing except believe that Christ is Who He says He is and believe that He did what needed done to make your life right before God on your behalf.

Putting all the pieces together

Now that we understand what the body, the soul and the spirit are, we need to understand how they affect each other when a person gets saved, or born again.

At the moment you ask by faith to receive Christ as your savior, the righteous blood of Jesus, or His LIFE, is applied to your life.  It is as though your sin debt has been wiped clean.   God now looks upon your life and sees the perfect, righteous life of Jesus instead. 

GETTING A NEW SPIRIT

Because your sin is removed, the Spirit of God can come in and unite with your spirit!  It can come into you and remain forever one with you, and in this way you are considered a new creation, alive in a way you have never been alive before!  (2 Corinthians 5:17)   And because you now possess the Spirit of God within you, you are once again considered the son or daughter of God (Romans 8:14-16).    The Spirit of God has just brought eternal LIFE into your spirit.   You have been BORN AGAIN.   You have received what the bible calls salvation, you have been saved from eternal death.

TRANSFORMING YOUR SOUL

Your soul goes through the process the bible calls sanctification.

Before your spirit has any sort of life in it, there was no competition for the fallen soul.  The spirit was sort of “absorbed” into the fallen nature of the soul and offered no resistance to the sin in your life.  But now that there is a new, Holy Life living in you, there is a conflict.  Now you have a resistance to the old, sinful, fallen flesh (or soul).

There is a reason we call the Spirit of God the “Holy Spirit”.  It is not just a title or a name, it is also His function

He comes to perform a work in you- to make you HOLY. To set you apart from the world and to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ.

You must understand that the flesh does not readily submit to this transformation.  In fact, it will object wholeheartedly! (Galations 5:17) It will resist your attempts to submit to the will of the Holy Spirit.  It has had its way for a very long time and it does not readily submit to a new master in the house!

But you have a choice to make: To walk (or live) according to the desires of the flesh (the sinful nature) or to walk according to the desires of the Spirit of God now living within you. (Galations 5:16-25)

Walking in the Spirit will lead you in obedience to the will of the Father, just as it did Jesus.  Walking in the Spirit involves separating yourself from the demands and desires of the world and your old, sinful nature.

“For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.” Romans 6:19

 Sometimes (most of the time) this involves suffering! We have to be willing to suffer the pains of “denying the flesh” in order to enjoy the rewards that Life in the Spirit produces.  The rewards include having a rich and intimate relationship with your Father in heaven, overcoming sin and escaping the spiritual and physical wounding that comes with it.

You must nurture the Spirit within you.  Praying and reading your bible feeds your Spirit.   It is the food it needs to grow and develop and become strong against the pull of the flesh and the world.

Praying and spending time reading the Word is like spending time with Jesus.  The Word of God and the Spirit of God work together to reveal the Person of Jesus Christ to you and in you.  To neglect the Word and prayer is to neglect your relationship with Christ.  To deny time with Christ is to deny yourself spiritual growth, strength and power.

As you grow in the Spirit, your flesh will become weaker.  Certain sins in your life that you once found hard to get freedom from will eventually lose its grip on you.  For some, this freedom and transformation comes quickly, for others it takes years.  Sometimes this involves a process of evicting demonic squatters that think they have the right to territory in your soul.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to you so that you can recognize their influence in your life. Then, if necessary, deny them residency and demand that they get out! Shine the Light of God’s Glory in the dark recesses of your heart and mind.

Do not fear. Stand firm in your faith. He who is in you is GREATER than he who is in the world!  And do not be concerned that if you fail and fall into sin again that you have lost your salvation.  All you have to do is confess your sin and repent of it (meaning to turn away from it) and start again anew.  Remember, the transforming process of sanctification takes time and diligence.

THE PROMISE OF A NEW BODY

As if this wasn’t enough, the new birth brings with it good news for your body also. 

After Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind, He was resurrected by the Spirit with a new body! Because of this, we also can look forward to a new resurrected body that is fit and equipped to inherit the kingdom of heaven. 

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body, it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy,We shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; Nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1Corinthians 15:42-44,48,49,50)

The bible says that when this happens, Death is swallowed up in victory!  And God gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Amen!  This is indeed great news!

TO SUM IT ALL UP

Can you believe this all started out as a simple anatomy lesson?

  To be honest, it took me years to figure this out and only then by the grace and tutoring of the Holy Spirit.  Once I understood how my body, soul and spirit all worked in relationship to each other it helped me to live a more successful Christian life.  I was able to recognize the difference between the work Christ had done in my spirit and the work He was still doing in my soul.  I was able to be to be more compassionate to others as I realized they were dealing with the effects of their own wounded souls.

It helped me to understand the whole gospel in ways I never had before; the virgin birth, the life of perfect obedience, His death on the cross, the resurrection and His ascension.  In new ways I was able to appreciate the value of Christ’s blood and the power it had to wipe away my sins.

Understanding all of those things compelled me to worship Him in a deeper, more personal way. 

And in the process of it all, I came to be healed of things I didn’t even know were broken.  And friend, we are all broken in some way. That is the real beauty of it all.  He comes to us in our weakness.  He comes to restore us. 

Christ came to redeem all the things that Adam lost.  He reclaims our place and position in the kingdom of God as His sons and daughters, He restores our power and authority, He renews us to eternal life- whole and complete once again in body, soul and spirit.

Let all the earth praise Him for the Good things He has done!

But When the Fullness of Time Came, God Sent Forth His Son…

As I was attempting to start my bible reading this morning, I was thumbing through some old notes I had taken from studies earlier in the year.  I came across something that I had written that I not only thought was profound, but perfect for the Christmas season.  I wanted to share it with you.  

But when the fullness of time came,  God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that we might recieve the adoption as sons.        Galations 4:4-5    

The essence of the Christmas story is summed up in the above verse.  The Christmas message is the gospel message.   

We all know the story.   

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,  to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the ]descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.  The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;  and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”  Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.  And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”  And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”     Luke 1:26-38

Christ was to be born in the flesh, born as a man from the seed of a woman.  He was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), and David, according to every prophesy foretold and every promise.  

He was born of the seed of the woman.  A prophesy fortold from as far back as Genesis 3.  He is the seed of the woman who is to crush the head of the serpent.   He could not be the son of Adam.  Adam had been cursed with death (Gen. 3:19). Every one born of Adam would carry that curse.  But not Eve.  She did not inherit that curse.  That is why Adam named her EVE, “because she was the mother of the LIVING.”  The only problem was, all children born unto her would have Adam for a father.   All children born of Adam would die.  Death would perpetuate through the seed of Adam. 

Christ did not have Adam for a father.  God was His Father. The curse of Adam was not passed down to Him.  He was born of the seed of the woman only. He would be the ONLY one born in such a way.   

Mary was of the “house” of David; the lineage of David.  And she found favor with God. This word”favor” is the same word translated as grace in the Hebrew.   Why was Mary favored?  I think it was because Mary’s heart was humble.  She had purposed in her heart to be a servant of God long before the angel of God came to her bearing his announcement.  

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

The Greek word translated  to “come upon”  (eperchomai) could also mean to come in to.  The word “overshadow” (episkiazo) means to cast a shade upon, to envelope in a haze of brilliancy, to invest with a preternatural influence.  

Think about it this way.  The Holy Spirit came upon the whole of Mary.  It encompassed her.  It covered her, became one with her.  Much like a husband would “cover” his wife.  Mary became the bondservant of the Lord, humbly offering herself basically as a wife would her husband. She submitted to Him fully, surrendering to His will.  She knew exactly what she was doing, what was being asked of her.  She was not unmarried and pregnant.  She was, in every sense, married to God, in order to bear His Son.  In her was the representation of Israel, wed to God in covenental relationship. 

Mary’s “blood seal” (the medical term is hymen) of her virginity had not been breached.  It remained intact, as she “knew no man“.   But God knew her.  Not in a physical way, but in a spiritual way.  The way God knows us when we accept Him and invite Him into our hearts to dwell as Lord and Savior.  He “comes into us”.   Mary believed Him.  She recieved Him and and came into her and concieved new life, the Life of the Son of God within her. 

It is the same thing that happens to us.  We believe Him, we recieve Him and the life of the Son of God is manifest within us.  

Mary’s blood seal was not broken until the Son of Man EXITED her birth canal.  Joseph, obedient to the word of God, entered into marriage covenant with Mary, took her into his house and gave her his name, but he did not “know” her (have sexual relationship with her)  until after Christ was born.  In a way, Joseph submitted to being Mary’s second husband.   Once Mary had bore the Son of God and gave Him the Name above all Names,  she was free to bear sons for Joseph’s name.  (And I will add that at this point, Mary could no longer be considered a virgin.)

I think the Holy Spirit came upon Mary at the conception of Christ and never left her.  I think He stayed with her the whole time of her pregnancy.   Why do I say this?  Because Luke 1:41 says that the baby in Elizabeth’s womb when she heard Mary’s greeting.  She stated “blessed are you among women, AND blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

May it be done to me according to your Word...”

And the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us…     

  In a way that we may not fully ever understand, the Word of God entered Mary’s womb.  It joined with her seed.  At that momentof conception the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Word made flesh. 

The life of the Spirit of God joined the life of the human race, entering into the realm of time and space within the confines of a body of flesh and blood.   A body specifically prepared for a specific purpose.  

For a perfect sacrifice.  The sacrifice to end all other sacrifices. 

In my next post, I want to consider what it meant for Christ to be “born under the law” and what that means for us. 

Until then, I pray you are blessed and humble before the Lord this holiday season as we are reminded of the miracle of His birth and the gift of eternal life found in His Name!  Amen! 

   

How Do We Get Home From Here?

GLINDA-  It’s all right.  You can get up, she’s gone.

The Munchkins all rise and start to move toward Glinda and Dorothy as Glinda speaks to them.

GLINDA- It’s all right.  You can all get up.

GLINDA- Pooh!  What a smell of sulphur!  I’m afraid you’ve made rather a bad enemy of the Wicked Witch of the West.  The sooner you get out of Oz altogether, the safer you’ll sleep, my dear.

DOROTHY- Oh, I’d give anything to get out of Oz altogether! But which is the way back to Kansas?  I can’t go the way I came.

GLINDA- No, that’s true. The only person who might know would be the great and wonderful Wizard of Oz himself!

DOROTHY- The Wizard of Oz?  Is he good or is he wicked?

GLINDA- Oh, very good, but very mysterious.  He lives in the Emerald City, and that’s a long journey from here. Did you bring your broomstick with you?

DOROTHY- No, I’m afraid I didn’t.

GLINDA- Well, then, you’ll have to walk.  The Munchkins will see you safely to the border of Munchkinland.  And remember, never let those ruby slippers off your feet for a moment, or you will be at the mercy of the Wicked Witch of the West.

DOROTHY- But, how do I start for Emerald City?

GLINDA- It’s always best to start at the beginning, and all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road.

DOROTHY- But… what happens if I…?

GLINDA- Just follow the Yellow Brick Road.

And the camera pans down to Dorothy’s ruby red clad feet to show us that she is standing at the point of the spiral shaped beginnings of the Yellow Brick Road inlaid within the midst of Munchkinland.  All the Munchkins gather around Dorothy as they point the way to the Emerald City and to the Great and Mysterious Oz, and her only hope of getting home.  “Just follow the Yellow Brick Road…”

 

We all have buried deep inside of us a desperate desire to go home.

Somehow, we know innately that this world is not our home, we ultimately do not belong here and we feel uneasy and discontent here no matter how appealing it may be at times.  Yes, we may have love and beauty and creature comforts in this world, but something of a Greater Love draws us, Something or Someone more beautiful than this existence can offer.  Sometimes it’s hard to explain, we can’t seem to put into words the dissatisfaction and longing we feel so deeply in our hearts.

 

Home.

Home to the love that loves us so completely in spite of our flaws.  Home to the love that shelters us in the worst of storms.  Home to the One who sits by our side and patiently waits for us to awaken from the illusion of our dreamy false realities.  Home to the arms that will encompass us in a perfect and consuming Peace; safe and warm and satisfied.

But how do we get there from here?  We can’t go the way we came.

And it’s a long journey from here.

Where do we find our Yellow Brick Road?

Which way to the Great and Powerful, this Mysterious “Oz”, who is our only hope of ever finding home?

The deeply ingrained longing for “home” is real.  It is a desire that transcends us; in other words, it doesn’t originate with us. That desire was planted there by our Creator.  It is a desire for Him and will only be satisfied in Him.  The problem we face is that so much of the world today not only doesn’t know Him, but they do not even entertain the possibility for His existence.  The world tells them that there is no Emerald City and there is no Great and Powerful Oz.  You can follow the Yellow Brick Road all you want, but it leads to nowhere.  What a hopeless state they are in!  It’s no wonder that so many people are committing suicide!  It’s no wonder so many today are escaping their realities with drugs and alcohol, or with pornography or video games or online shopping.  They know the craving is real.  They just have no idea how to satisfy it.  No matter with what they try or how much or how often, still they find themselves empty; hungry for a home they don’t know how to find.

But friends, I am here to tell you there is a Way.  There is a hope.  There is One who made a way for us to satisfy the desire for Home, Who indeed IS our Home.  And there is a Road that leads us there.

 

It’s simple to find.  And you do not have to start at the beginning.  You can start from wherever you are!

 

Your journey Home begins with your first believing in the Truth that there is a God who made you, who formed you intentionally and who desires to be known by you.  In this way, God our Creator is not like the Wizard of Oz who was “mysterious” so as only to hide the fact that he was not who he portrayed himself to be.  The Wizard of Oz was, in the end, just a man like everyone else.  Our God is not at all like anyone or anything else.  He is Who and What His word says He is and through His word He is revealed and knowable.  John 1:1-5, 9-13.

And that Word became a man, but not a man like anyone else (John 1:14). He was also God revealed to us in human form, clothed in flesh and blood, entering time and space in order to bridge the great divide that separated us from Him.  That great divide is the sin that we are born into, sin that we commit and sin that we cannot escape or deliver ourselves from.  Our sin is what separates us from our Home.  But the Word that became a man -Jesus Christ, came to pay the penalty for our sin, to die in our place, to satisfy the righteous requirements of God in our stead.  Because He did what we could never do for ourselves, we now have access to the “Great and Powerful” God, the only hope of ever satisfying the deepest longing and hunger of our souls.

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“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  John 14:1-6.

 

Our hearts long to be at home with our Father.  The only way to get home is through Jesus, who indeed IS the Way.  When we trust in the work He did for us on the Cross by shedding His perfect, sinless blood, our faith in that work gives us access to the Father.  The Holy Spirit comes like a dove and lights upon us and sinks down within us and takes up residence in our spirit.  He unites with our spirit in a way that resembles a marriage, we are made one with each other.  When God looks upon us, He sees that union and the holiness that is bestowed upon us through the Spirit.  We come to KNOW Him.

 

In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” John 14:20-21

 

It is no longer us He sees, but the Spirit of Christ within us.  Our identity has changed.  We are made a new creation.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  Now all these things are from God,who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.    2Corinthians 5:17-19

 

It really is a marvelous mystery!  And one you do not have to fully understand to reap the benefits from.  You only have to trust that it is true and accept that truth within your heart.  God performs the rest.

 

The next step in the process of going home is to follow.  Just as Dorothy had to follow the Yellow Brick Road, we have to follow Jesus.  Following Jesus is in every sense following the “Glory Road”.   Following Jesus and His commands keeps us in the center of Gods perfect will for our lives.  No matter where you are in this world; in a field of poisonous poppies or in the middle of the haunted forest surrounded by flying monkeys, if you are on the Glory Road you are going the right way.  God’s eyes are on you.

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.

 Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  John 14:23-27

 

 Following Christ means reading His word.  Following Christ means surrendering your will to His.  Following Christ means to live according to the Spirit and not according to our own sinful desires. And even that is something we cannot do in and of ourselves, but only as the Holy Spirit empowers us to do it.  Praise God that He has provided every need we have.

If we do these things according to the prescribed plan of God, we will find our way home.  In fact, we will find that we are already home in Him.   We will find that our desperate, unexplained longings are satisfied in Him.  The things of the world will, over time, fade away.  And we will rest in the hope that we will experience an eternity with the God of all creation, Who formed us for His good pleasure, to enjoy the riches of His Grace and Mercies, living in the Presence of His Glory forever!

Way better than Kansas!

Seeing Christ in Yom Kippur

Today at sundown the Jews will celebrate Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year.  It was the one day of the year when the High Priest could enter into the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies behind the veil where the Glory of God dwelled above the Mercy Seat in the Tent of Meeting or in the Temple.

The Priest would ready himself meticulously, performing all the requirements of cleansing and covering in order to present the offering for the entire nation of Israel for the year.  On this day, he represented the whole people.  He brings the blood of the perfect sacrifice in order to atone- or cover- the sins of the Nation for the entire year.

It was a rigorous ordeal.  It was a big responsibility.  If he were not prepared according to the mandates required by God, it could cost him his life.

And what were the requirements of the people this day?

To humble their souls before God.

 

“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord.

You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.

IF there is any soul who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.

As for any person who does work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.

You shall do no work at all.  It is to be a perpetual statue throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from the evening until  evening you shall keep your Sabbath.”     Leviticus 23:26-32

 

The Day of Atonement is a day that points to Jesus Christ.

Now of course, I am not Jewish, but the more I study the Word of God the more I come to appreciate the Feasts and Holy Days of the Jews.  I see Christ in all of them, which indeed is their whole purpose.

In this picture of the Day of Atonement, we see Christ as our High Priest, as the perfect sacrifice, and as our perfect rest.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:14-15

Christ is our perfect sacrifice, the unblemished Lamb; as the Son of God, born without the inherent sin connected to the seed of Adam.  This sacrifice done once and for all.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;  

and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,  how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  Hebrews 9:11-14

 

Christ is our Sabbath; our resting place.

Because of Christ’s finish work on the Cross, we no longer toil for our salvation, it is completed in Christ.   There is no longer any work to be done except to believe in that finished work.

 

“Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.

Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”   Hebrews9:23-28

“After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;  but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.    Hebrews 10:14

Since the work of God is wrought in Christ Jesus, since all is fulfilled on our behalf to satisfy the judgement of God in order to make us clean and holy before God, what is left for us to do?

To humble ourselves before the living God and recognize what He has done for us.

I am not Jewish, I know, but I love and know the God of the Jews, the God that presents Himself in the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament).   I see Him throughout it as I study His Word.  I see how it points to the New Covenant established and completed in Christ.

My offering before God on this day is to humble my soul before Him.

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

                                                                                      Hebrews 10:19-22               

What God desires of me is to actually do what He has provided me the ability to do; to enter into His Presence, to worship Him and commune with Him in the fellowship of His Holiness.  Oh God, I pray that we never lose appreciation for what He has done in order for us lowly, sinful souls to do that!  In Christ we are made clean!  In Christ we are prepared and clothed in order to enter behind the veil and into the Presence of His Glory!  We can do that every day, any moment, within a moment.   All because of the work Christ did!  We can rest in His mercy and in His love for us.

Today I choose to honor this special day that foreshadowed the coming of the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice that atoned for the sins of mankind, for the sins of mine- and yours if you choose to accept Him as such. Today I choose to humble myself before Him, to lay my very life at the foot of the cross where He bled and died for me.  Will you join me today in recognizing this holiday that may have started with the Jews but had its finish for the church?  It is not just theirs to celebrate, but ours as well.

Praise God for it!

Sometimes You Find that the Road Itself is a Destination

I love maps.  Sometimes when I am contemplating a trip somewhere, I will get a map out and start studying the area between where I am and where I want to go.  First, I will look for the major highways, calculate the distance I need to travel, and then figure the time it should take me to travel it. Then I will start looking for interesting things that may be encountered off the beaten path.   A couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to take a spontaneous road trip to Maine.  I was very excited because I had always wanted to travel to the New England area and the added bonus was that it was October and we would be able to take in the beauty of the fall foliage along the way.  Long before we packed the car and headed down the road, I was studying the map.  This was a road trip, so I didn’t want to over plan, I just wanted to have a destination in mind, have a rough idea how to get there, pack our clothes and a cooler, and just let the rest happen.  The whole time my husband was driving, I was navigating; atlas in one hand and google maps on my phone in the other.  The maps were a comfort to me.  Even though I was far from anything familiar, I was oriented. I was never lost. Oh I may have gotten us turned around a time or two.  I may have headed us down a road I didn’t really mean to go down. We had to negotiate a detour here and there, but we were never without knowing where we were or our ultimate destination.   And along the way, we got off the major highways and onto some pretty spectacular country roads with breathtaking views and country stores and we even stopped at a garage sale and found some New England “treasures”.  It was definitely a trip we will always remember.

The thing about that trip in particular is that while we had Maine as our goal, the trip wasn’t just about Maine.  It was about the road we traveled getting to Maine.  It was like the road itself was a destination. It was the unexpected wonders we encountered on the road between here and there.  It was the time we spent together in the car talking, musing about the sights we were seeing or the new food we were trying.  Maine was just beautiful when we finally got there.  What an awesome thing to finally experience the might of the Atlantic ocean from those rocky shores.  But in reality, the bulk of the memories we treasure now are the ones that were made on the road between here and there.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”

Ephesians 2:1-2

This was me before I knew Christ as my Savior.  I was truly lost in this world.  I had no direction.  I had no map.   The thing is I didn’t realize it at the time because I was so deceived and distracted,  busy chasing cheap and empty things that in the end left me feeling discontented, discouraged and depressed. And ultimately, I was on a fast track towards a destination of eternal death.

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.     Ephesian 2:3

 

A road is meant to lead you from one place to another, but in a sense, the road itself is a place.

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I started walking a much different road than the one I was on.    It was itself a place of transformation and refinement.

In scripture, the Glory of God is most often represented as a fire.  Fire does two things, and both of them transform the substance it which it comes into contact.  The fire will either destroy it or it will refine and purify it.   Sometimes it will simultaneously do both.

 

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are inviting the Spirit of God to dwell within us.  He takes up residence in our spirit and becomes one with us.  It is very much like entering into a covenant  relationship of marriage.  We must understand that we are committing our heart, mind, body and soul to Him.  He, in exchange, gives us His eternal, supernatural, holy life.  He comes into us to “make us holy” unto Him.  We now have the ability to know Him, to understand His word and to walk in His ways.  We have entered the “Glory Road”.

The fire of the Glory of God comes into us through the Holy Spirit.  It begins to burn away and refine things in our soul.     It begins its transformative work within us to conform us into the likeness of Christ.  This part of the sanctifying process and work of the Holy Spirit usually takes time, much like getting from one destination to another takes time.   It is by way of the walking that changes us.

 

Sometimes this burning away isn’t very pleasant, in fact, it most of the time it downright hurts.

But no matter how painful the course, we must stay true to it.  It is the only way it works.  It is the only way beauty can come up from the ashes.

 

We may stumble and fall. We may take wrong turns and think we are lost.  Sometimes the detours derail us.  But as long as we have the Spirit of God and His Word as our guide, we can stay oriented!  We can never truly be lost again.   Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s bad.  It just means it’s hard.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

The work of God is performed in us by walking with Him.   Enjoy the road, friends.  Understand that the road is part of the salvation experience and in fact, prepares you to reach your heavenly home.   May God bless you this day as you seek to follow Him and yeild your lives up to His refining Glory fires!

The Importance of Believing Rightly

Believing the wrong things can be very dangerous.

One time when my step-sister and I were kids we had taken a long board and laid it across a 55 gallon drum and used it as a teeter-totter.  After a while, we got bored with it and went inside to play with something else.  A short time afterwards, a friend of my step-dad came over and as they were standing around talking, the friend noticed our contraption and asked what we were doing with it.  My step-dad lied and told him we were using it as a ramp and jumping our dirt bikes on it.  Said friend supposed that if a couple of little girls could jump this homemade, Evil Knievel style ramp so could he.  After all, he did just ride his motorcycle over to our house.  Let’s just say it didn’t end well with the friend.   He should have never believed my step-dad… Very dangerous.

People often reject biblical Christianity because they don’t understand it.  Even people who consider themselves to be Christians often reject the parts of the bible they don’t understand.  Having the correct perceptions and perspectives are important; because it affects what we believe and what we understand to be truth.   What we perceive as truth will have a direct bearing on how we order our steps in life. It will determine who and what we value.

“What you see and what you hear depend a great deal on where you are standing.”    C.S Lewis

Perception, or the act of perceiving something, is basically the idea of how we filter incoming information.  We can perceive with any of our 5 senses; touching, tasting, smelling, seeing or hearing,  but it is more than just taking information on board. It is how we process it.  It is how we interpret the data we take in.

Perspective on the other hand, is the position from which we view the world outwardly.   As C. S. Lewis said, it is the view from which we stand. As a dental assistant, I sit on the left of the patient while the doctor sits to the right.  It is part of my job to make the doctor aware of things that he may not be able to see from his perspective; from his limited view from the right side of the chair.   It’s not that he is blind and cannot see, he just can’t see clearly from where he sits. From where we sit (or stand) in life will also determine how we process our incoming data.

We will believe what we perceive as truth.

What we believe defines our reality.

At one time in my life, I did not believe the bible was true.  Oh, I would have told you that I did, but the evidence of my life would have said otherwise.  The sum of my reality did not factor in seeing myself as a sinner, let alone being held eternally accountable for my thoughts or actions.  That was the direction I was walking.

 

But I had people in my life who were praying for me.

And God began to work through those prayers and I started to entertain the thought that perhaps I was believing wrong things.  I allowed the possibility to enter into my mind that perhaps my truth was really a lie; that God was not only real, but alive and well and in pursuit of my heart.

I picked up my old bible and began to seek to understand God and His word.

I started to believe differently.  My reality shifted.

This is why believing is so paramount to the Christian faith.  It is the act of changing your mind- from perceiving one thing as truth to perceiving another thing as truth.  It’s abandoning one reality and surrendering to another.  That is repentance in its most basic form.

 

God implores us in His Word to believe rightly.

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. John 3:36

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35

For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.  John 6:40

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this? ” John 11:25-26

And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.  He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.  I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” John 12:44-46

Do you get the idea that believing is important?  Look at all the promises that are afforded us by believing!  Salvation, forgiveness, eternal life, to never hunger or thirst for truth, the resurrection, and to never walk in darkness! And that’s just a few from the book of John! (And I didn’t even list John 3:16 here because I know you already know that one, right?  If you don’t, look it up!)

 

It is my hope that by spending time together studying the word, you will come to perceive God like never before.  I pray that it will change your perspective of yourself and the world around you.

Believing is the first step in salvation for a reason.  It opens up the doors for everything else the Spirit has to offer; to receiving, knowing and growing in your spiritual life.

As C. S. Lewis also once said, “We are what we believe we are.”

Just believe RIGHTLY!

All Roads may lead to Rome, but only one Road leads to Glory

 

I believe God has been inspiring me (maybe nagging me) to start this blog for quite some time- alright, longer than I care to admit.  It’s not that I wanted to be purposefully obstinate, it’s just that I am so completely ignorant of such technological matters.  It felt scary and overwhelming.  But finally I decided to dive in, and with much prayer and pleading with God for the grace and ability to do what I surely believed He wanted me to do, here I am- blogging.

Turns out it’s not really that hard to set up a blog.  There are plenty of helpful websites and Youtube videos to walk you through.  Now, it was just getting down to the task of actually writing something meaningful and intelligent.

 

I have been contemplating the content of my initial post for some time.  I don’t know why, but I felt like it really needed to be epic.  Again, I was putting too much pressure on myself and making this harder than it should be.   I just wanted to give a proper introduction of the “Glory Road” blog to the world, one that adequately reflected my reasons for taking on this venture.   Then this morning as I lay in bed in the early morning hours, it all started to come to me; the right words I was waiting for.

 

All Roads

There is an old proverb that says “All Roads lead to Rome”.   The saying got started back in the days of the ancient Roman Empire and was a testimony to the elaborate road systems they engineered, ultimately leading a traveler from any secondary city to the capital city of Rome.    (Now we use it as an expression to mean that there are many different ways to reach the same outcome or destination.)

12th Century French theologian Alain deLille wrote, “A thousand roads lead men forever to Rome”.

Rome was one of the largest and most civilized empires of the ancient world and contributed much to modern government, politics, law, literature, language and society in general.  The problem was they were plagued with blatant immorality.  They worshipped a pantheon of false and pagan dieties that incorporated sexual as well as other perversions into their religious practices.  They entertained themselves en masse with brutality (especially against Christians), baths and brothels. It is said that the ultimate fall of the Roman Empire came because of its internal moral decay.

A.W. Tozer writes in his book Whatever Happened to Worship?, “Rome went down like a great rotten tree. She still had military strength and the show of power on the outside.  But Rome had crumbled away on the inside.  Rome doted on plenty of food and drink and on circuses and pleasure and of course, on unbridled lust and immorality.   What great army put the Roman Empire down?  Rome fell to the barbarous hordes from the north- the Lombard, the Hun, and the Ostrogoth-people who were not worthy even to care for the shoes of the Romans.  Rome had become fat and weak and careless and unconcerned.  And Rome died.”

Christian, spiritually speaking, we do not want to be on any road that leads us to Rome, and unfortunately, in this world there are many.

Rome, in my analogy, leads to death and sin and destruction.

 

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13.

Friend, as followers of Jesus Christ, there is only one way for us, one road we want to be traveling on, and that is the road that leads us to the One True and Living God-  the Glory Road!

When The Lord led Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness, He led them by His Glory; a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.  The Glory cloud would descend onto the tent of meeting and there the Lord would speak with Moses “face to face”.  When Moses prayed and asked the Lord to ”let me  know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight,” the Lord responded by saying, “My Presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33.  God’s Glory is His Presence.

If you are a born again, Spirit filled believer of Jesus Christ, then that Glory resides within you.  “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one…” John 17:22.   (And, by the way, if you are NOT a born again, Spirit filled believer of Jesus Christ and would like to be,   go here – https://billygraham.org/story/how-to-be-born-again/).  This is where you start your journey!)

The Glory of God has descended upon you and you can now hear the voice of your Father leading you in the right way.  But you must harken unto that voice in obedience and follow Him fully.  That is what will keep you on that Glory Road.  “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1John 1:6-7

 

It is unbelievably easy to take a wrong turn.  It is just as easy to stumble and fall.  I’ve done this many times; so many times it’s embarrassing.  But to be perfectly honest, The Glory Road isn’t always the easiest way to travel.  It is sometimes very difficult and demanding, at times extremely painful.  It always requires a great deal of self-sacrifice and self-discipline. God will at times lead you in ways that will make you scratch your head and wonder if even He knows where He is going.

By the way, when (I would say “if” but who are we kidding?) you do lose your way and get off track, it’s just as easy to get right back on.  It only requires that you turn around (repent) and head back toward the Light.  It is in these times of wandering away, lost and confused, that God shows Himself to be a loving, gracious, forgiving and merciful God.   “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11.   If you stray, He will come looking for you (Matthew 18:12-14).

When we are born into this world we begin a journey of a lifetime.  You have the span of that lifetime to decide which Road you are going to travel; the Road that leads to Death and Darkness or the Road that leads to Light and Life.  “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of Life.’” John 8:12.

 

Don’t be afraid.  Man up and choose the right road, friend.  I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but I fear your time for choosing in running thin.

 

This is the purpose of the Glory Road blog, to stand in the hedges and the by- ways of all the roads leading to Rome and cry out, “You are going the wrong way!  The right way is over here!”

Help me point others to the narrow way.  Help me cry out to the lost, to those wondering in the dark deceived and misguided by the enemy of our souls.  Let us join together in unity and love and be a beacon of hope to a dying world.

If you have made it this far, then I thank you for taking the time to read my first blog post!  Please feel free to share and invite others to follow the Glory Road blog.  I pray that He uses it for His purposes and for His Glory!   God bless you!