Monday, May 31, 2010

Two Trees

There were many trees in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9). Yet, only two were spoken of specifically by God: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The one if eaten would give life forever (Gen. 3:22), the other, instant death (Gen. 2:17). One was of life; the other was of knowledge and resulted in death. Of all the trees in the garden, only one was not to be eaten, the one that would cause them to die. Eve, and then Adam, because of the subtle instigation of the Serpent, chose death.

This act of disobedience was sin. The result, the wages of sin, was death (Rom. 6:23). Their sin and its consequences have been passed on to the entire human race (Rom. 5:12). Before salvation, we were all dead in our offenses and sins (Eph. 2:1-5). The good news is that on the cross Jesus nullified death and brought life to all who would believe and receive the free gift of eternal life (II Tim. 1:10).

Just as in the garden, where the determining factor was related to eating, so also has been the case for all the generations that followed. Eventually Jesus came as the bread of life from heaven (John 6:32-35). Bread must be eaten, not studied, for it to nourish, strengthen, and satisfy. The knowledge of the bread alone will do none of these.

Jesus must also be eaten. He told His disciples that those who eat Him shall live because of Him and live forever (John 6:51, 57). It was not His physical body that must be eaten, but His words which are spirit and give life (John 6:63). The Spirit, which is the resurrected Christ (I Cor. 15:45) can now be taken in as food for nourishment, strength, and satisfaction. He is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14). He is the bread, the food, of life. We cannot have true and everlasting life from physical food alone. No, this life can only be imparted to us by the words that come from God (Matt. 4:4). Christ Himself as the Spirit is the Word from God given as food for us. We can now eat of this heavenly, spiritual food by coming to Him and believing and trusting in Him not only at the beginning of our Christian life, but day by day and moment by moment the rest of our lives and through eternity.

But there is a problem. Just as the Serpent worked on the mind of Eve to deceive her and cause her to eat of the wrong tree which brought in spiritual death, he now works on the minds of the saints (II Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-17) to bring them into death and frustrate their enjoyment of eating Christ, their food of life.

I believe a big part of the deception is to confuse the nature of the two trees. Rather than the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it becomes the tree of good verses the tree of evil, both of which come from the same tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A good illustration of this in the Bible is when Peter, according to his human love and sympathy, of which to most would seem very "good", strongly exhorted Jesus not to go to the cross to die. The Lord's response was both shocking and revealing. He called Peter Satan and told him that he was not setting his mind on the things of God but on the things of man (Matt. 16:21-23). He was eating from the wrong tree. If Jesus would have agreed with Peter's advice, we would all remain dead in our sins forever.

As believers in Christ, we should not live and walk according to our knowledge of good and evil, but according to life, the life of God within us. Our minds need to be renewed (Eph. 4:17-23). This renewing will transform us to have the mind of Christ (Rom. 12:2). If we are to truly live a life that is pleasing to God, we must learn to live and walk and be led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18, 25). If not, we will be operating from the wrong source, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Jesus modeled this living for us. One example that illustrates this truth is the way Jesus responded to the death of Lazarus (John 11:1-45). Contrary to what seemed to be good and right, Jesus, knowing the sickness of Lazarus, delayed until he died. If He was living in the realm of the knowledge of good and evil and according to the thoughts of man, He would have rushed to the scene to rescue Lazarus from death. But Jesus lived and walked according to the life and leading of His Father. He operated from a different source then those who saw the situation as needing immediate response. Jesus was not a man-pleaser, but only did what was pleasing to His Father (John 8:28-29). The result was glory to God and a wonderful testimony of His life-giving, resurrection power!

We are exhorted in the New Testament to set our minds on the things which are above (Col. 3:1-4). The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:6). We are no longer to walk in the vanity of our unrenewed natural minds as we did before we were saved (Eph. 4:17-18). As believers in Christ, we are to be partakers of the divine life and nature (II Pet. 1:4). Only then will we be able to both enjoy and express the fruits of this life, such as, love, joy, peace, rest, hope, the ability to be long-suffering with rejoicing, kindness, meekness, and may others. But, if with our unrenewed minds we focus on the things of the flesh, we will experience spiritual death with its byproducts: anxiety, depression, hopelessness, fear, restlessness, jealousy, dissatisfaction etc.

Therefore, may we all learn to come back to the tree of life and live and walk according to the life of God in us instead of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the death tree. May the Devil, the ancient Serpent, not longer deceive the children of God to be under the influence and control of thoughts that are not according to God and contrary to the word of God. To him who overcomes, to him will be given to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7).

So remember, eat Jesus the bread of life, feed on the life-giving word of God, and live and walk by His Spirit. Then you will daily defeat the enemy and have life and peace and live forever! Glory be to God!

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Monday, May 3, 2010


Welcome back dear friends. I apologize for the interruption of my weekly blog due to a crashed computer and a significant change in my work schedule. I still intend, by the grace of God, to complete my 52 postings of crucial, misunderstood, and neglected biblical topics. Thank you for coming back, and I hope you will be blessed, nourished, and encouraged by these writings.

Also, if any of you have topics that you would like presented, mention them in the comment box at the end of each blog. I will then consider including them according to the Lord's leading.

Are you saved? If so, what does that mean? How did it happen? What are you saved from? Can you lose your salvation? These are great and serious questions that everyone, non-Christians and Christians alike, most definitely should ask themselves.

The scope of this topic requires a book, not just a blog. Hebrews 2:3 rightly calls it "so great a salvation" and says that it is something that should not be neglected. This week I will briefly cover the initial aspect of salvation, the beginning of salvation, and leave matters such as "working out your own salvation" (Phil. 2:12), being "saved to the uttermost" (Heb. 7:25), and "receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (I Pet. 1:9) for another time.

Everyone needs salvation!

Salvation is not just for certain people; it is for the entire human race. Romans 3:23 says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Sin has its source in disobedience to God and results in seperation from Him. Since all have sinned, salvation is essential for anyone and everyone to have a restored relationship with God.

The Bible not only says that we all have sinned, but that we were also once dead in our offenses and sins (Eph. 2:1, 5). Sin leads to death (Rom. 5:12, 6:23). Salvation not only saves us from sin, but also from the condition of spiritual death. Throught salvation, one passes out of death into life (I John 3:14) having received God's gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23)

Because of the disobedience that resulted in sin and death, apart from salvation, the entire human race has come under God's condemnation (Rom. 5:16, 18). Salvation is God's way of delivering people from condemnation to justification (Mark 16:16; John 3:16-18).

The unfortunate destiny of those who reject God's salvation, is eternity in the Lake of Fire (Matt. 13:49-50; 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:10, 15; 21:8). This is not God's desire, but the consequences of man's choice to reject God and His free gift of salvation.

God desires salvation for everyone!

God desires that everyone would be saved (I Tim. 2:4). Christ died as a ransom for all (I Tim. 2:6). And so, the grace of God is here bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2:11). In fact, the Bible tells us that God does not intend that any would perish, but that all would advance to repentence (II Pet. 3:9). Salvation is God's desire and intention for all.

Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone!

Salvation is only possible because of the redemption accomplished by Christ on the cross (I Tim. 2:6; John 3:16-18). He is the unique source of salvation (Heb. 2:10; 5:9). There is salvation in no other; in His name alone must all men be saved (Acts 4:12).

Salvation is by grace through faith!

As there is only one source of salvation - the Lord Jesus Christ, there is only one way of salvation - faith (Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31). Salvation cannot be attained by the good intentions and efforts of man. Salvation is God's free gift given by the grace of God to all those who truely believe (Eph. 2:8).

In conclusion:

1. All have sinned, were dead, condemned, and destined for the Lake of Fire.

2. God really wants everyone to be saved.

3. The work of Christ on the cross accomplished God's unique way of salvation.

4. Through faith in Christ, by the grace of God, the free gift of salvation can be yours.

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