The Image and Likeness of Christ -- God's DNA
Lesson 3 of 4
We need some language to allow us to consider the spiritual processes that go on daily as we keep covenant with God. Being in covenant with God is a carefully laid out plan that assures that our faith meets God’s expectation perfectly and that the spiritual processes that need to take place to join us to God, are taking place.
For example: How do we please God? How does God strengthen us? How does suffering work with grace to produce the likeness of Christ? How are we to love one another? How is the conscience purged? How is the soul healed? How does God separate us from the world unto Himself? How do we live as a separate people to God? How do we allow Christ to represent us? What about overcoming? How do we overcome ourselves, the world, and the devil? How do we increase the kingdom of God? How is the fruit of Christ formed in us?
We need language to tell us what these things are and what they mean to God. We need language to assist us to give these things value in Christ, how these processes take place, and how to describe these experiences.
Let’s first of all see how language, when it applies to you, allows you to express yourself. Whether you are happy, or excited, or disappointed, or sad, language assists you to express yourself:
The joy, happiness, satisfaction, bond, and responsibility of parenthood; or worry, frustration, conflict, anger, or stress when things don’t go well. Language expresses YOU!
It is easy for us to express things that are natural to us. But, what about
when God expects us to express things that are not natural to us? Like godliness, faith, and virtue? How do you express these things of Christ?
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” It is clear what the will of God is: That we not to be conformed to this world, but transformed. What language do we use to describe these processes?
The problem is, if we do not have language to describe the processes of faith then we merely repeat what we have read, it does not become our experience of Christ.
Do you see? We need NEW language to express CHRIST!
God developed a special language to communicate to us the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that would be easy for us to understand Him and fellowship with Him. The language that God speaks is about this mystery of Christ, unfolding this work of Christ to us, showing us how He carries out these many processes when we are in covenant with Him. If we want to learn to speak God’s language, we will need an alphabet. God’s alphabet is the 12 Elements:
1. Grace 2. Faith
3. Righteousness 4. Justification
5. Sanctification 6. Holiness
7. Peace 8. Rest
9. Charity 10. Truth
11. Regeneration 12. Renewing of the Mind
These Elements join together according to special rules. They work in pairs and they also work together in tight coordination, they interact with one another. Each Element tells us about Jesus and breaks the language barrier between us and God.
If you want regeneration (the life of Christ manifested in the soul) you will need truth and charity and rest and holiness and grace and faith. You will need all the Elements. These Elements are the alphabet to the language of the covenant of Jesus Christ.
It is easy to learn to speak this language of the covenant. We need to think about some simple definitions to learn what each element in God’s alphabet means. What does grace mean, what does faith mean, what does righteousness mean, what does justification mean, what does sanctification mean, and so on.
Why Apostles Are Called "Fathers of the Faith"
We need to be instructed in a new language that will enable us know what God’s alphabet means to express Christ. Apostles are called “fathers” of the faith because they instruct the church in the language of the covenant.
Did you know: When apostles were no longer instructing the church, the Elements of the Gospel were no longer understood as the foundation of our faith. The Elements were understood to be words read in the Bible, but people failed to experience Christ because the elements were used to define the needs of the flesh and the soul’s experience of LACK rather than define Christ.
Take for example, the element grace. The soul, LACKING God’s love and covenant provisions, is ruled by fear, doubt, sin, and darkness, and thus suffers the loss of God’s strength and peace.
A person responds to the LACK the soul experiences by allowing the flesh to assign value to grace. The flesh does this by setting the conditions for grace to function for self, “Grace is all about me.” While claiming to stand on God's word, he is speaking the language of the flesh.
As a result we now have a situation where Christians speak the language of the flesh rather than the language of the covenant.
"And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.” Nehemiah 13:24
We are also in a situation where the church is needing to dethrone the self and trying to set Christ on the throne of the heart. But how was Christ removed from the throne of the heart in the first place?
The Language of the Flesh Speaks to You About Lack
The process of removing Christ from the throne of the heart began when the language of the flesh was used to describe God’s kingdom. The tongue of the flesh was allowed to define faith and as a result it ruled faith.
Know this: The flesh will always define God’s kingdom from the standpoint of lack, whereas God defines His kingdom by the virtues of Christ. (Romans 5:17 & 21) (Galatians 5:17)
WHY does the flesh do that? WHY does the flesh define God’s kingdom from the standpoint of LACK? It is helpful to understand that the flesh is merely speaking its native tongue, the language it learned from birth by its experience with sin and death.
The mother tongue of the flesh is that which the flesh learned to express from its father, the devil. The flesh expresses what it has seen and heard and learned of Satan, having been raised in the kingdom of darkness. Satan taught us his language of lack, need, pain, sorrow, fear, and anger.
Jesus said, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father,” John 8:38.
Can you see the birthright of your first birth and how Jesus was pointing that out for you? We learned a tradition of lack, sorrow, sin, and broken trust from our first birth -------- and learned to express that experience through language.
Everyone speaks the language of their own kind. Language expresses the tongue of your birth. The same is true for God. When we come in covenant with God, we are born again into God’s kingdom and family. The first thing we need to do is learn a new language. The language of Jesus Christ. The pure language of the Spirit. “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” Zephaniah 3:9
Language is For Communication
Let me take you back a couple of steps. We said that we need some language to allow us to consider the spiritual processes that go on daily as we keep covenant with God. Let’s think further about what language is.
Language is used for communication. God wants to communicate to us to bring us back to Him and share with us His kingdom. God is the Creator and Author of all things and He is the one who initiates communication to us.
Communication is information that dispenses from one party to another. When it is initiated there needs to be a response. Our communication starts with listening. God is telling us who He is, who Jesus Christ is and who we are in Him. God is tell us what He is expecting of us. He does not do this in a demanding way, but in a way by which He opens the door to show us His plan from the beginning of time to create an offspring of the Spirit.
We see God’s desire to communicate to us when considering each Element of the Gospel. God is communicating these things of Christ to us. When we think of communication we think of sharing with another person the pertinent details of our day or the task at hand that is to be accomplished.
We must understand that when God communicates to us it is about His plan, Jesus Christ and that plan is to produce an offspring of faith, an offspring of His Spirit. That is why Jesus Christ is called the “first born” of many “brethren”.
For you and I to be considered part of the household of God, God must plant His Spirit in us and He must from that point begin the transition of the soul that the image and likeness of His Son may take form in us. As our souls experience this transformation, our minds also change from the perspective of darkness to the ability to reason faith with the mind of Christ. (Romans 8:26-29, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, 1 Peter 1:3-4)
For any relationship to exist there has to be a certain degree of intimacy that needs to grow that trust also may increase. Each Element of the Gospel communicates this transformation so that we may know how to respond to God. Our relationship is based on this divine exchange. (John 17:3)
The Cornerstone of Communication is Christ
Lazarus had to come out of a kingdom and when he came out Jesus said, “Remove the grave clothes that confirm death’s power!” And so Jesus says the same to us, “Remove the false tokens and you will be free to serve Me.” The knowledge of Christ in the 12 Elements does that for us. It removes the tokens of death so we can be free to serve God.
When we now direct our attention to the sanctified tools of the Second Covenant we see that prayer is a tool that God has given to us for our response to communicate back to Him. Our priesthood is a tool that God provided for our response to communicate back to Him.
When we take this a bit further and think about the tool of tongues, here again we can see God’s desire to communicate with us on His level rather than the level of the flesh. We are given the language of heaven for prayer, we are given the heavenly tongue of angels to speak to God; And we can see how it all fits together with the corner stone of Jesus Christ and His knowledge. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
The tool of tongues cannot be isolated from the knowledge as it is truth that gives values to the tool that we may see in it the face of Jesus Christ and with faith in our hearts, use it. God gives us a new language (which we see in the tool of tongues and in the 12 Foundation Stones) to communicate to Him on His level, to reciprocate His likeness, and to express Christ.
To come into covenant with God one must expect a transition to take place, from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from ignorance to truth, from the language of our first birth to the language of our new birth in Christ. The mind has to change. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13)
The Mind Has to Change
I cannot stress enough the importance of learning God’s new language. That is why, in the next lesson, we are going to take some time to define each of the 12 Foundation Stones, which are the essential Elements of the Gospel. Defining the Elements of the Gospel is ground breaking. With this new education the church can at last return to her first love.
As you learn the 12 Foundation Stones you will also learn the importance of the Spiritual Tools of Jesus’ covenant and how prayer is one of those tools. You will begin to make the connection between your spiritual growth and the altar of Christ and regeneration. As the new life of Christ manifests your appreciation for God’s Government, Truth, and Spirit increases.
God gives us the language of the 12 elements that we may understand this change and new life in Christ. Satan taught us the tradition of the flesh, but Jesus teaches us the traditions of faith; the traditions of His kingdom. It is exciting to begin to learn to speak His covenant language.
Fellowship With God
Did you know that fellowship has to do with sharing the same language – sharing the same substance? We cannot expect to fellowship with God if we are speaking the language of the flesh and He is speaking the language of the covenant.
The language that God speaks is about this mystery of Christ. Jesus is the covenant. The language of the covenant unfolds this work of Christ to us, showing us how He carries out the many processes of salvation we are in covenant with Him.
The 12 Elements of the Gospel is Covenant Language
Think of the 12 elements of the gospel as learning how to speak God’s covenant language. Language is made up of letters. Letters make up words and words make up sentences. God is speaking to us of Christ.