Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 12/02/07
The Study of Romans 9,10,11.
Glory Experienced in the Life of the Believer.
We remain on this earth in a dark world. Church-age believers exist in this world having three very effective and dangerous enemies that are sources of darkness. All of these sources are vigorously intent on putting darkness where God’s glory should be.
Our first enemy is Satan, who stands on this earth and works hard to darken our hearts, thereby replacing the glory that could, and should, be there. ACT 26:18 “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” If you allow Satan to have dominion over you, then you will live in darkness rather than the glory that God has restored to you as a free gift.
Our second enemy is the world system, or the cosmic system, that is controlled by the kingdom of darkness; the organized army of fallen angels who function under the command of Satan. EPH 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  The world system, which is the cosmic system, is a place without God, and is therefore a very dark place. Sadly, many people love that darkness more than they love the light or the glory of Christ. JOH 3:16-21, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Our third enemy is the agent within, the old sin nature. The old sin nature desires to control your soul with the result that you will be minus the filling of the Holy Spirit, and reside in the darkness of the cosmic system. The Church-age believer is restored to the full glory of God through Jesus Christ at the moment of salvation; however, the believer can be shrouded in the darkness of his enemies by failing to learn and use the spiritual skills that God has provided. You need to make a volitional decision to not let this happen. Your pre-salvation veil has been removed in Christ (2CO 3:14), but you can refuse to see by being darkened in your understanding. This is done by living like an unbeliever in the cosmic system. EPH 4:18 “being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;” However remember that if you feel like a failure, God did not leave you alone in this endeavor. God has given us all many post-salvation grace provisions so that we may walk in the glory that God has so graciously restored to us at the cost of His Son, Jesus Christ. But, when we recover, we must get back to basic principles; we must get back and running with those spiritual skills or mechanics.
The first spiritual skill is the provision that God foresaw for our failures, the rebound technique. First is the provision for failure. When you allow one or all of your three enemies to darken your heart, you are given the grace provision of problem solving device #1, the rebound technique. Let’s look at 1Jo in a bit more detail: In verse 6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;” The Greek word for darkness is skotos, which means darkness to the extent that there is a total absence of light. To be in darkness in this life is a bad place to be, especially when you are a born again believer in the Church-age who has been given free reign of God’s glory. The word skotos is used in reference to the Lake of Fire in MAT 25:30 “And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Skotos is used in reference to the darkness that existed before restoration. Skotos is used in reference to the plague of darkness that covered Egypt while the Israelites had light within their dwellings (EXO 10:21;EXO 14:20 (Septuagint)) Skotos symbolizes the discipline of Israel for their disobedience (DEU 28:29 (Septuagint)). Skotosrefers to the Tribulation period which is the worst time this earth will ever see (JOE 2:2 (Septuagint)). Skotos denotes the spiritual condition of blindness (ISA 59:9 (Septuagint)). Skotos is used for severe Divine discipline (LAM 3:1-6 (Septuagint)).
In the New Testament: Skotos is used for influence of the kingdom of darkness over the believer’s soul (EPH 6:12), intellectual darkness (ROM 2:19), spiritual darkness (2CO 6:14; COL 1:13; 1TH 5:4-5; 1PE 2:9; 1JO 1:6), having an evil eye (MAT 6:23), the status quo of the unbeliever (EPH 5:8), and life in the cosmic system (2CO 6:14). You can see the depth and degree of the hurt that you can do to yourself if you continue to walk in darkness while you sojourn on this earth. In eternity this will never be a problem because all darkness will have been eradicated forever. REV 21:23And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” However, we are not sitting comfy in eternity yet, so what about today? It is only now, in time, that you have a choice to walk in the darkness, or to walk in the light. What is the solution if any of the many forms of darkness that we have just seen enters into your soul? The word soul is emphasized here instead of life because darkness in your life in inevitable, but darkness in your soul is optional. Remember the important principle that adversity is inevitable, but stress is optional. However, when we do fail (and we all will), and we do allow darkness to enter our soul, what is the grace provision given by God? It is Spiritual skill #1: the Rebound technique. This problem solving device always works to bring us out of the darkness because Christ entered the darkness for each and every one of us so that we would never be lost in the dark again. MAT 27:45-46, “Now from the sixth hour darkness [skotos] fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’”
Again in 1JO 1:6-10, “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. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” Notice how the Holy Spirit emphasizes twice in this passage that we will sin. All sin hurts us; we should not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatever a man sows this he will also reap, but notice that through 1JO 1:9 we are restored to the light, which is fellowship with God, and the curse is turned into a blessing. The frequent use of the rebound technique is the first step in taking your positional glory and turning it into experiential glory in your post-salvation experience. That is spiritual skill #1.
Spiritual skill #2: Perception, Metabolization and Application (PMA) of Bible doctrine. Isn’t it amazing how the Word of God all fits together to teach us this great spiritual life from a hundred different angles. Because of this, we should never quit! We need to spend the time learning the word of God every day; remember the Word of God says to “buy the truth and sell it not.” The spiritual life in the beginning for you will be like a fresh opened box of a large jigsaw puzzle. You’ll struggle at the beginning to fit pieces together, trying to force pieces together that shouldn’t go together. You’ll get frustrated at times and even think about pouring it all back into the box and quitting. However, if you’re patient, and you persevere, and you don’t quit, bigger and bigger chunks of the puzzle will come together. Then you will be in a truly wonderful place of contentment, regardless of the circumstances you are in.
So, you can’t quit now, after a while you see it coming together, and with time you know that it will be finished in a wonderful way. In the Church-age you have the Holy Spirit helping you to put even the impossible pieces together. At the time you might think it’s luck that certain pieces went together, but there is no luck in the Christian way of life; there is only the providence of God giving you all the tools that you need, and all by means of His grace. 2CO 3:12-14, “Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.” Since the believer is placed in Christ at the moment of salvation, the veil is lifted at the moment of salvation and therefore the glory of God is restored positionally at the moment of salvation. 1CO 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Yet Paul addresses the experiential glory that is transferred from Christ to the believer through his consistent intake of the Word of God.
2CO 3:15-18, “But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
By means of the perception and metabolization of the Word of God, under the filling of God the Holy Spirit, the glory of Lord is transformed to the believer as the believer’s heart is transformed. What is the mirror from which we see the glory of the Lord, and are then transformed from His glory to our own glory? Well, if we remember that there are no chapter breaks in the original language and writing of the Bible, and we read on, we see more of the context in which the Holy Spirit writes through the Apostle Paul. 2CO 4:1-6, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness (skotos),’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
The knowledge of the glory of God is revealed through the Word of God, and more specifically in the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. Further proof that Paul is referring to the PMA of Bible doctrine in 2Co 3 is found in JAM 1:23-25, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.”
The one who perceives a lot of doctrine, but does not metabolize it, either because he is not filled with the Holy Spirit, or he doesn’t believe the doctrine, is just a hearer of the Word. The believer who perceives and metabolizes, but does not apply the doctrine to his life is really no better. Both are like someone who has seen himself in a mirror, and seen who he really is, and then leaves and forgets what kind of person he is. We are all simply sinners saved by grace, earning and/or deserving nothing but death, but yet all given the opportunity to be saved by the slain Lamb of God. The mirror here is obviously the Word of God and the mirror of the Word of God shows us exactly who we are: Sinners, saved by grace. The mirror of the word of God also shows us the glory of Christ, and when we focus on that glory, and get our eyes off of ourselves we will experience Christ’s glory slowly becoming an experiential part of us. What a marvelous system God has devised. This transformation does not happen overnight. It takes years of dedication to the Word of God. It takes knowing that He finished your puzzle in eternity past, and that finished puzzle is going to be beautiful, but it is going to take time.
There is comfort in this as well; it will take a long time for Christ’s glory to be fully transferred to your experience, but you just need to hear,
believe, and apply Bible doctrine under the filling of the Holy Spirit and God will do the transforming. ROM 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Learn God’s Word and you will be transformed. The mystery doctrine of the Church-age is the full revelation of Christ and His glory, which was hidden from the Old Testament saints (COL 1:25-28). The believer who is complete in Christ has been completely transformed to the glory of Christ. These believers are also a guarantee of the Crown of Glory for their right pastor/teacher.
Back to 2CO 3:17-18, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face [why is our face unveiled? In Christ we have the mentorship of the Holy Spirit] beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”There are some wonderful doctrinal principles here that only the original language can open up to us. The phrase beholding as in a mirror is the Greek word katoptrizomai, which means to show in a mirror, to make or to reflect. The present tense means that we should do this habitually. It is in the middle voice which means you are to look at yourself, not others. The Greek word for transformed is metamorphoo which means to be transformed. In the present tense it means that you will be continually transformed as you take in the Word of God on a daily basis. If you don’t do this continually, you will not be transformed. It is in the passive voice and means that God will do the transforming if, and only if, you will just stay positive to the Word of God. Therefore, spiritual skills #1 and #2 are necessary if you wish to experience the riches of the glory of Christ in your life. This equals a peace and contentment that goes beyond understanding. Glory is also linked to the PPOG for your life.
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