Walking in the Light of Sonship

Religious Performance

1 John 1:6-7
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 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.

In scripture, Light is a metaphor for truth. Darkness is a metaphor for an absence of truth.  More specifically, darkness means we are in deception (believing a lie).  Often times, this reflects core beliefs about what we think about God, others, and ourselves.

I used to look at the phrase ‘walk in the light’ as an issue of performance, of needing to walk perfectly in purity and holiness. Sure, I can make choices that help (agree with Holy Spirit), but there’s a religious deception that shifts the focus from God to me. No works of the flesh will be glorified in His sight. The context of the scripture (looking at what precedes the text), is not one of sin, but rather of fellowship. Amazing how our orphan and religious training causes us to miss the context of scripture.
   

Fellowship

1 John 1:3 (NIV)
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Koinōnia is the Greek word used for fellowship. It also means community, communion, joint participation, intimacy, and to share.

When we walk in the light (truth), we are walking as sons and daughters where we have fellowship with the Father, with the Son, and with one another.

Galatians 4:6-7
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir *through God.

Abba is of course, Aramaic for ‘daddy’ which shocks the religious systems. Jesus came to reveal God as love.

When we walk as orphans and not as sons and daughters of our heavenly papa, we don’t have fellowship with each other. Walls of pride, fear, shame, and condemnation separate us from one another and from God. When we walk in our redeemed nature as sons and daughters, we walk in our true identity where what others think about us and what we think about ourselves pale in comparison to what God thinks about us. When I know how much I’m loved and accepted as a son, I don’t need walls to separate me from others (perfect love casts out fear).

Are you walking as a son or daughter?

What Goodness Looks Like

I used to struggle with a phrase thrown around my spiritual community, “God is Good all the time.” Like a good Berean though, I searched the matter out in scripture. The one who leads us into all the truth connected three parts of scripture together for me.

So what does ‘good’ look like?

The answers are found in Exodus and we need to follow the whole interchange between God and Moses to see the truth.

Moses asks to see the glory of God.

Exodus 33:17
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

God responds with the answer that he’s about to reveal.

Exodus 33:18
And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”

We often think “glory” is just a manifestation such as a cloud, but God is a spiritual reality inside the cloud. Moses asks for the glory to be revealed, God answers with revealing his goodness (and His name).

Glory = Goodness of God

In the Hebrew understanding, a name (H8034 – Shem) represents the essence of what something is. When God reveals His name to Moses, he is revealing His essence.

Chapter breaks aren’t in the original texts and sometimes cause us to miss the full dialog between God and man.

The revelation comes in chapter 34, where God responds with what he told Moses he would show him.

Exodus 34:6-7
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate [H7349] and gracious [H2587], slow to anger [H750,H639], and abounding [7227] in lovingkindness [H2617] and *truth [H571];
who keeps lovingkindness [H2617] for thousands, who forgives [H5375] iniquity [H5771], transgression [H6588] and sin [H2403].”

In these two verses, God’s goodness is revealed by the following seven Hebrew words:

1. Rachuwm (H7349) – Compassion. To fondle, to love, be merciful, the womb, bowels, cherishing a fetus. Wow!
2. Channuwn (H2587) – Gracious. To show favor, bestow, to bend or stoop in kindness towards an inferior. My latest working definition for grace is God’s power to do that which we can’t do for ourselves. By grace you are saved. My grace is sufficient for you.
3. Arek Aphim (H750,H639) – Slow to Anger. Literally long in the nostrils. God is so patient (longsuffering) with us.
4. Rab Checed (H7227,H2617)– Abounding lovingkindness. Mercy. Steadfast love. Best represented as a three-fold cord of love, kindness, and steadfastness.
5. Emeth (H571) – Truth, stability, certainty, trustworthiness.
6. Natsar (H5341) – Keeps, guards, preserves, watches over, keep close.
7. Nasa (H5375) – Forgives. To lift up, bear, accept, carry.
Avon (H5771) – Iniquity. To be twisted, bent, perverted. Sometimes comes through generation lines.
Pesha (H6588) – Transgression. Best characterized as rebellion.
Chattaath (H2403) – Sin. Missing the mark of God’s best. Often human failure.

Glory = Goodness = Nature of God (God’s DNA) revealed to man

1. Compassion
2. Grace
3. Slow to Anger
4. Love (Mercy)
5. Truth
6. Protects
7. Forgiveness of Iniquity, Transgression, and Sin (FITS)

You’ll notice that these seven attributes are reflected in the character of God’s goodness in Psalm 103 (David’s revelation).

You’ll notice that these seven attributes are reflected in the character of God’s love described in 1 Corinthians 13 (Paul’s revelation).

I’ll leave looking at these characteristics of goodness to you, the reader. Prepare to be encouraged!

Rightly Formed Righteousness

Righteousness is the Hebrew word “tsedeq”.  It is also translated as justice, or rightness.  My working definition is living in right relationship with God, with man, and with ourselves.

How is righteousness to be formed in us?

Isaiah 64:5-6

You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? 

For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Isaiah asks “We meet the one who rejoices in doing righteousness, who remembers God in his ways.  We continue them in a long time.  Shall we be saved?” 

I know there are things that I have done trying to be holy for a long time.  My efforts towards righteousness don’t seem to amount to much.

What’s interesting is studying out the Hebrew for the two words translated as “filthy garment.”  The Hebrew is as follows:

  • Beged (H899) – Clothing or covering
  • Ed (H5707) – While this is translated as filthy, it also means “witness.”  Blood serves as a witness of righteousness or its lack.

Could it be that our own efforts of righteousness testify against us? 

Paul’s writings in both Romans and Ephesians say the following:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

The Greek word for saved is “sozo.”  “Sozo” is an amazingly rich word, translated as preserve, make whole, heal, save, deliver.  Grace is God’s indwelling power to do that which we can’t do.  I can’t save myself. 

If I could, I am boasting of my own efforts to be righteous or become righteous.  Hmmm, sounds like the tree of pride and self rather than the tree of life (Jesus).

The problem is we think we are the ones forming our spiritual formation rather than recognizes that it can only come from God.  Are there things we can do to foster it?  Absolutely.  Can we make it happen?  No.

Religiously, we think we are the Potter, the one who can shape or form our righteousness. 

Isaiah 64:8

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

In Romans 10:3, the problems of self-righteousness are revealed.

For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  We miss the grace of God when trying to establish our righteousness apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 10:4 goes on to say:

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

It can only be through the righteousness of Christ.  The process is akin to gold being refined through fire.  God help us to be still and know.

Rhythm of the Spirit

I had a dream a few years ago remarkably contrasting the rhythm of the flesh versus the rhythm of the spirit.  I’ve been hearing a scripture in my spirit which I believe points to the rhythm of the spirit.  If we look at scripture and the life Jesus lived and modeled, I see something interesting.  In John chapter 10, Jesus has caused someone who was blind to be able to see.  He proceeds to describe himself as the “door” and “the good shepherd,” and then he says this:

John 10:17-18

“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

The commandment Jesus received from God was to lay his life down and to take it up again.  This is to be done in accordance with the spirit.  God loves a cheerful giver.  OK, Daddy, what do you want me to be doing right now?  Should I lay my life down for someone else [love your neighbor]?  Or, should I take it back in order to establish place a healthy boundary [love God and self].

I see both in the life of Jesus.  Most of the time, we see Jesus laying his life down for someone else.  There were also times he established healthy boundaries in accordance with the spirit and in obedience to God.  Think about the times he just went away to be alone with God [take it up again] or when it seemed that God had another plan.

We see a similar picture with Moses in Exodus chapter 4.

Exodus 4:2-5

The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.”  Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

The Hebrew word for staff has it root word as ‘natah’, meaning to be stretched out, extend, or an offering.  A staff would represent someone’s authority and the things they lean upon for life.

In obedience to God, Moses was to lay his life down for the sake of others.  Moses reaction in the natural was to run from it.

What do I see symbolically?  Moses would take up his life again by laying hold of what was at the end of the sign.  I believe the sign points to the life of Christ, laying His life down and becoming a curse for us.  He had to willingly become the tail so he could become the head and we could become the body.

The Hebrew word for caught is the word ‘chazaq’, meaning to strengthen, be resolute, become courageous.  Laying hold of Christ would be what would make him strong and allow him to take up a resurrected life.

So what does this mean for me?  I believe a life lesson in learning the rhythm of the spirit.

God, what would you have me do right now?  Lay down my life, or take it up again?

 

The scriptures testify of Me

Midrash is the Jewish practice where the Jews would discuss and reason together about the deeper meaning of the scriptures.  Let us reason together.  I named the Facebook group after this Hebrew word.

John 5:39 (NLT) says:

You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!

We need a spirit of revelation to open up our understanding so that we see Jesus in old covenant scriptures.  They reveal Jesus in some intriguing and beautiful ways.

I use Blue Letter Bible and print out scripture with the Strong’s numbers shown.  I then take an expanded Strong’s dictionary and study out the Hebrew words that catch my attention.  I’ve listed the Strong’s numbers below (Hxxxx).

Take a look at this verse in Nehemiah 8:15 (NASB):

So they proclaimed and circulated a proclamation in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hills, and bring olive branches and wild olive branches, myrtle branches, palm branches and branches of other leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.”

The picture of building a booth is a wonderful picture of Christ being built in us.  We are a spiritual house or Tabernacle in Jesus.  Christ in us, the hope of glory.  Do you see it in the text?

Here are some interesting words in the Hebrew text:

  • Zayith (Olive) H2132; forms an oil for illumination and anointing when crushed.
  • · Aleh (leaf – translated branches in the English text) H5929, leaf or leafage also means to ascend, or go up. We ascend to be with Christ, seated with Him in heavenly places.  The leaves were for the healing of the nations.
  • · Shemen (wild olive, pine in KJV which is incorrect) H8081, means fat, fatness, or the oil of anointing.  The oil of anointing makes us fat spiritually.  The anointing [fatness] breaks the yoke of bondage [makes our necks fat].
  • · Hadac (myrtle) H1918, is where the Hebrew name Hadassa comes from meaning bride and joy.  Hadassa was Esther’s Jewish name in scripture.  We are the bride of Jesus and His joy is our strength.  How about bride of joy as being part of the walls of our spiritual house?
  • · Tamar (palm) H8558; is a symbol of righteousness (stands upright).  We carry the righteousness of Christ in our spiritual houses as part of His righteousness being imputed to us.
  • · Ets (tree) H6086, Jesus is the tree of life.  We ascend in Him for life, love, and that which satisfies.
  • · Ribowth (thick or other) H5687; actually is translated as intertwined.  Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are all intertwined and wrapped up in each other.
  • · Cukkah (booth) H5521; this is a temporary tabernacle like our earthen vessels where the habitation of God is to dwell.  Christ in us, the hope of glory.

 

If I were to paraphrase this somehow with some of the deeper meaning, I might try something like this as a deeper understanding of Nehemiah 8:15:

 

Make a declaration to the people of God that they are to ascend in Christ and be seated with me in heavenly places.  Build up your spiritual house by pouring yourself out to demonstrate my love.  Seek my anointing so that you will be spiritually rich.  Seek my righteousness and be my Bride of Joy all wrapped up in me.  I desire to make a habitation with you forever.

 

New Covenant Job

I believe the book of Job is an amazing prophetic picture pointing to Jesus (all scripture testifies of him). Job has children who don’t want to follow him or his God. Job is in a place where he thinks his righteousness is from his integrity, and prays in fear for his kids. Elihu is the prototype for Elijah, a prophet who prepares Job’s heart for the way of the Lord. Job has a face to face encounter with God and is restored to a new life. Job 42:5 [I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You]. His friendships are restored, his fortunes are doubly restored, and he receives a new family. This time it’s a spiritual family.

Job 42:13-15 reveals something unprecedented in scripture.
He had seven sons and three daughters.
He named the first Jemimah, and the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch.
In all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers.

Seven is the number of completion. Three is the number of the Holy Spirit, and the female can often represent the Holy Spirit’s attributes (comforter). The father giving the daughters an inheritance among the brothers wasn’t done by the patriarchs of Job’s day, but this reflects Job seeing Jesus, the face of God. There is no righteousness apart from Christ. There is no male or female in Christ. The word for ‘fair’ is beautiful. The sons aren’t even named here. The daughters are. Isn’t that interesting? The names of the daughters are beautiful and reflect what has happened to Job and his new understanding of God. Jemimah means ‘day-by-day’ which Job now understands as a daily communion with Jesus. Keziah is where we get the word Cassia. Cassia is a bark similar to cinnamon, but it is harvested by peeling the bark away. People often associate smells of cinnamon with Jesus. I see this as that when the outer appearances are stripped away, Jesus is revealed, releasing the fragrance of Christ. Keren-happuch is poorly translated as “horn of antimony”. Studying out the Hebrew, the same root word for horn [H7160], also means to shine or send out rays (radiance). Antimony is better translated as paint. This too points to new covenant beauty and I would summarize this as “I am making my bride beautiful, painted with my radiance.”