The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 01-03-99
1TI 2:3-4 "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [epignosis] knowledge of the truth."
This verse tells us exactly what the will of God is and that will is two-fold: first that all men be saved and secondly that believers in Christ aspire to the truth of God, His plan, purpose, and will. Of course we know that because God's sovereign will co-exists with man's free will, not all will be saved and not all believers will come to the truth of God believed and executed in their lives. To love someone you must come to intimately know that person, how then does invisible God become the object of our love, i.e., true love which is based on knowledge? Many believers have a topical working knowledge of God which is nothing more that what is known of in the Greek as gnosis. Gnosis is truth perceived in the left lobe of the brain, mind, or what is called in the Greek, the nous. This is the point at which most believers stop. But, the knowledge spoken of in 1TI 2:4 is truth taken beyond the mind, it is truth believed and then cycled into the right lobe of the brain, what the Bible refers to as the heart which in the Greek is known as the kardia.
Common sense will tell you that when the Bible refers to one's heart that it does not mean the actual cardio-vascular muscle since a muscle does not possess the ability to think. So, the term "heart" refers then, to that part of the brain where knowledge which has been believed or metabolized resides. This is known as epignosis knowledge and is available for application. Gnosis knowledge cannot be applied in the spiritual realm since it has not been assimilated for launching purposes. If the proper knowledge is not positioned on the launching pad of the soul then that knowledge is not available for deployment in the spiritual life, it's very simple. Why then does God even make mention of such a simple desire on His part. Because it all rests on faith in Jesus Christ, not faith in self. And this faith, though verbally acclaimed by most is rarely actualized in the lives of believers. The faith directed toward the person of Jesus Christ for salvation and the faith directed toward the mind of Christ (word of God) for the execution of predestination excludes man's power and man's merit. This becomes a problem for the majority of Christianity who endeavor to "do" things for God. Most think that the spiritual realm requires doing things for God, when in reality, it is based on what God has done for us. The transformation involved in the B part of God's will of 1TI 2:4 is in the passive voice and depends on the divine power of God, not man's power. The transformation toward the spiritual life begins in the Gnosis Stage, i.e., the reception stage. This reception stage is divided into four segments:
1- The communication of Bible doctrine by one's Pastor-teacher.
2- The information is then received and understood in the believer's human spirit.
3- Then the information is ushered into the left lobe where it is becomes gnosis.
4- Then the information understood in the left lobe is either rejected or believed and if believed is pushed into the right lobe becoming epignosis knowledge.
Note that this four stage process is all based on faith perception empowered by the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit makes it understandable to us in our human spirit which He gave to us at the moment of salvation. The unbeliever, being dichotomous (body and soul) does not possess a human spirit and therefore cannot understand the things of God. Then, after the believer receives this information into the human spirit and understands it, it moves to the left lobe where it is believed and transferred into the right lobe where it becomes power. When this power is launched and executed, or rather, applied, it becomes wisdom which in the Greek is known as sophia. This four step procedure is the process for spiritual advancement.
The Gnosis Stage requires the believer's positive volition toward doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit to ensure concentration, academic discipline, good manners, and poise. The gnosis stage is what brings about the frame of reference needed for secondary spiritual revelations, i.e., doctrines built on doctrines. So, it all begins with the believer's consent to receive the word, then God the Holy Spirit teaches the human spirit by taking the word taught (logos) and transferring it into spiritual food. This spiritual information is brought into the left lobe where it becomes gnosis knowledge. Only after gnosis is mixed with faith does the spiritual information become epignosis in the right lobe.
There are two great conversions which take place in this process. The first is the believer's positive volition toward the word, allowing God the Holy Spirit to convert logos to spiritual phenomena. The second, is God the Holy Spirit's conversion of gnosis to epignosis. Without the enabling ministry of God the Holy Spirit we could never grow spiritually, JOH 14:26. We cannot change ourselves, the transformation must come from God, 2CO 3:18. The word of God is spirit and life, JOH 6:63. Those in the flesh cannot please God, Rom 8:8. The human I.Q. is never a frame of reference for the perception of doctrine, it is always the human spirit and our residence in predestination which opens to us our spiritual frame of reference. JAM 1:22 notes this type of believer as a doer of the word. A doer of the word is a believer who has metabolized truth after hearing it and thereafter applies that epignosis knowledge to his life. Spiritual advance comes not only by receiving and retaining the word, but lastly through recall or application of the word-believed to life experiences. Only then is it categorized as wisdom.
There is a vast difference between gnosis doctrine and epignosis doctrine. Gnosis doctrine is on the staging area for metabolization, whereas epignosis doctrine is positioned for actual deployment, for the production of momentum in the execution of God's plan. The spiritual life is not attained through gnosis, what makes the believer spiritual is epignosis knowledge applied.
There are six principles concerning reception comprehension and its proper order:
1- The believer learns how to reside in predestination, that is, he understands how to recover and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
2- In one's scale of values, Bible doctrine/the word of God becomes the #1 priority in life.
3- Through residence in God's plan and good academic discipline, the believer fulfills the reception stage.
4- This doesn't mean that just because the believer is filled with the Spirit he will always understand everything being taught since learning is progressive. Knowledge is built on knowledge.
5- Reception comprehension alone does not result in spiritual growth.
6- The completion or execution of reception comprehension is a critical stage of the spiritual life, why, because in between gnosis and epignosis is humility, PSA 119:103; JER 15:16; PRO 16:20; PSA 22:26.
Many possess a great zeal for God but without epignosis doctrine there is not capacity and no power to execute the spiritual life, Rom 10:1-2. Truth received, believed and executed is the only way for the believer to obtain the objective in the spiritual realm. The objective of course being, to glorify God in the angelic conflict. The pattern for our victory was established by our Lord Jesus Christ incarnate. EPH 4:13b tells us that we can actually grow up spiritually to the very measure of stature of fullness arrived at by Jesus Christ in His own personal attainment of spiritual maturity. But, it takes being filled with epignosis doctrine, that is how we walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, COL 1:9-10. Such a manner is never arrived at but is an ongoing process through life on earth. That is why there is such an attack made upon the communication of the word of God. Without it there would be no avenue to spiritual growth.
The meaning of life... of your life, resides in Christ. What exactly does that mean? Well, your objective, your destiny, and you plan for this life is all laid out in the word of God communicated by one's prepared pastor-teacher, received, believed and applied by the believer filled with the power of the Spirit. Our salvation was secured by way of faith toward the person of Christ, thereafter our spiritual life is secured by faith in the mind of Christ, the word of God. There is one thing that stands in our way, arrogance. Arrogance likes to make doctrine one's servant rather than one's master. All of us harbor some measure of arrogance in our souls but the word of God is that which provides the believer with the ability to rid himself of the hold arrogance wields. For God to make a change in your life requires faith on your part and though it may sound simple, faith in God goes against human nature. God cannot set us free from our wretched selves if we will not let go. Many believers hold out against God even unbeknown to themselves by latching on to their own understanding and own resources never fully relying on God and His provisions.
If the spiritual life is not appropriated the antithesis is inadvertently welcomed into the believer's life, temporal death. Temporal death is a spiritual death in which the believer is separated from God in time, JAM 1:15. Point being, the word does not profit those who do not unite it with faith, HEB 4:1-2.