What do you think God is working out in your life? What is his chief purpose in saving you from a life of sin and from the judgement to come? realize that unless you can answer these questions, you will always struggle with the issues that really matter, some people feel that God’s chief business is to make them happy, rich or very successful, some others feel that God’s number one agenda is to make them miserable to stop them from enjoying life, they view God with suspicion and do their best to keep a ‘safe and respectable’ distance, not too close and not too far, in fact as far away as they can manage.
To understand God’s chief agenda in your life, there are three things you need to see clearly,
1. His purpose in creation for man
2. His plan revealed in Jesus
3. His purpose through the gospel
These three things will let you know what God is interested in working out in your life if you will let Him, seriously , you can hinder God from working out His highest and best purpose for your life and choose to live in His permissive will, far below the ideals he had in mind for you.
The greatest hindrance God has is that we have not been taught right so as to enable us believe right and cooperate with God in the process of unveiling His plan and purpose for our lives, we have been fed a diet of ‘feel good make me happy Christianity ‘that has taken us away from God’s heartbeat for our lives, mind you I’m not saying God does not want us happy, but we cannot be truly happy outside God’s plan for us. We make a mistake to think that goods will make us happy, but it doesn’t, what happens is that we want more and more and more, thinking that the more we have the happier we will be, but we soon realise that we can’t seem to have enough to be truly happy.
It takes more than goods to fill our happiness vacuum, only God can and he does that as we walk in the center of His will.
Okay, so what was God’s purpose for man in the beginning? For that we need to go back to the book of beginnings
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them,” Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Gen 1:26-28 NKJV
According to this account, God purpose was to make man in His own image and after his own likeness, what did this mean? It meant man was supposed to bear the character of God, he was supposed to function like God did, in other words He was a reproduction of God or a carbon copy of God.
This quality of being like God was certainly not a physical one because God is a spirit; it was a spiritual and functional likeness.
Because the first man was a God type, a reproduction of God, the bible describes him as the son of God (Luke 3: 38 ) so the concept of son ship is established to mean one who is begotten from and bears the essential characteristics of the from whom he comes.
Sometime ago a young man came to me and said God told him that he should be my son, and I said ‘hmnn, we’ll see, so one day he came visiting from his base in another city in Nigeria and as we talked he asked me ‘what do I expect from him in this father and son relationship? I understood where he was coming from, because in Nigeria many Servants of God ‘claimed’ sons and daughters and vice versa all for the purpose of either boosting followership, receiving money from their ‘sons and daughters’ and for the sons and daughters many times it was an opportunity to leverage on the platforms of their fathers for accelerated movements in ministry.
So in replying the young man, I turned the question on its head and asked him ‘what does a father principally give to a son’? In other words I was asking him what he expected to receive from the relationship, he had no ready answer, so I said to him ‘the first thing a father gives to his Son is his DNA, it is the DNA they share that establishes the relationship, there is natural DNA transmitted through the natural seed and there is Spiritual DNA transmitted through the word. In other words I was saying to him, ‘you are my son only to the degree that you share my DNA, my DNA will produce features in you identical to what is in me, if you don’t have my DNA you can’t be a son.’
God transmitted his DNA to Adam through the spoken word and that DNA enabled him to function like God. When Adam sinned against God and fell from grace, it was a fall far exceeding what he imagined it would be. He received a new DNA, a corrupted one, and he began to reproduce the image and likeness of another, the devil.
The fall of Adam changed everything for mankind, Adam died to God and began to live in death, which is the spiritual nature of the devil, this death was transmitted to all mankind because Adam could only reproduce after his own kind according to God’s law of reproduction.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned — (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Rom 5:12-14 NKJV
Many times when we talk about the fall we limit it to the lost blessings, position and privileges humanity suffered, but we miss greatest consequence of the fall which was the loss of our sonship and our capacity to function on this earth like God, we lost the inherent ability to produce the character of God, which will include his love, righteousness, justice and holiness not to talk of our sense of authority and dominion.
So what was God’s plan for man in creation? It was the duplication of himself upon the face of the earth, do you realise that the earth before the fall was a duplicate of heaven? Yes! The earth came out of heaven just as man came out of God. God’s desire was to create a heaven like world on the earth, now you understand why Jesus taught his disciples to pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’
This earth as we know it and indeed man are far outside God’s original design and purpose, the reason why Christ came was to reveal that purpose and to kick start the process of restoration.
God’s plan revealed in Christ
Jesus is the wonder of God’s salvation and the revealer of the divine purpose that was lost in the beginning.
What was God’s likeness? How did he function, how did he think? We had no idea, the Old Testament saints found God a mystery, they considered his ways past finding out, they just didn’t understand him! To be sure some of them had a greater understanding of him than others but generally they were all shrouded in darkness.
This is understandable the Old Testament was not designed to reveal him in his trueness, it was a merely a shadow, a pointer and indicator of God and His righteousness.
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things,
Heb 10:1 NKJV
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Col 2:16-18 NKJV
The first thing to say about Jesus is that he is the son of God, what did that mean?
It simply meant that he bore the image and likeness of God, he carried God’s DNA and was the reflection of Him that he came out of.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her,”Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her,”The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:26-35 NKJV
Why the virgin birth?
Jesus had to be born free from the corrupted DNA which Adam transmitted to his seed, he was the product of the action of God’s word and Spirit, does this remind you of Adam? The difference between Jesus and Adam were twofold, firstly, the Word had to undertake the task of incarnating and being a man and secondly, Jesus needed to come through a human vessel to qualify for the work of redemption for only like can truly redeem like. ( This is the law of the kinsman redeemer)
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:14-16 NKJV
This is why God said in Genesis 3, the seed of the woman, not the man will bruise the head of the serpent.
So we see the Son of God, Jesus at the beginning of his redemptive program just as we saw Adam, the son of God at the beginning of creation, now the old creation is about to give way to the new.
I saw something significant some time back, God putting his seal of approval on the Son even before the Son had begun any kind of ministry
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Matt 3:16-17 NKJV
Why did God do this? Jesus had done nothing up until that time to recommend him to God, I believe that what God was doing was similar to the statement he made in Genesis where he declared all that he had done as very good. Jesus is the ideal if I may so prototype, he was the reproduction of the father, God took pleasure in him because he was the Son.
Something about sons
There is a significant use of the description son as opposed to child which we must understand, Jesus began his development as a child but emerged as a son. Children speak of immaturity, under development and an absence of responsibility, the Child has the Fathers DNA but he has not been trained and grown to the place where he can reflect the heart of the father.
We see this process play out in the life of Jesus
And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Luke 2:40 NKJV
Paul put this in a different way
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
Gal 4:1-2 NKJV
Nobody puts serious matters in the hands of a child, so Jesus grew and became a Son. The Son has developed the fullness of his father’s DNA he has come to a place of maturity and responsibility, he looks like, talks like and even thinks like his father.
Jesus is the Son of God and as the Son of God he is the revealer of
The nature and character of the Father.
What has hidden in the Old Testament has suddenly become unveiled, no wonder Jesus said
He that has seen me has seen the Father,
Was this a physical likeness or a spiritual and functional similitude? Jesus himself told us clearly God is a spirit and those who worship him must do so in spirit and in truth.
And again I and the Father are one.
It was a very serious matter to the Jews for a man to claim that God was his father, and they didn’t find it funny when Jesus said so, they even tried to kill him! Why? Because they understood that y saying God is my Father you were saying I’m same as God, I share the same DNA, the same qualities, the same nature as God.
For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
John 5:16-19 NKJV
Jesus showed us clearly what it was to be made in the image and likeness of God, He showed us how the first Adam was designed to function and how we are designed to function as the children of the new creation.
Jesus came to show you your true potential
When you see Jesus what do you see? Jesus is the revelation of what you can be when your true potential in God is fully developed, when you have made the transition from being a child of God to a son of God. When you see the faith, character, holiness, simplicity and beauty of Christ you see God and you see you. It is more than the miracles; it is living a life of the miraculous, a supernatural life, a life of limitless possibilities. Some of God’s precious children have seen this and gone further down that road than others but I believe this generation will witness a company of people that will not only see this but begin to live in it.
This is our promised land
God promised the children of Israel a land flowing with milk and honey; I have always wondered what this means to the Church of Jesus Christ because I believe that we are a parallel to the nation of Israel. I know it cannot be heaven because there are no giants in heaven to conquer, what is it then?
It is the continuous appreciation and possession of the Christ Life within the you, a place where nothing limits you as nothing limited Christ, a place of continual dependence on God and supernatural manifestations of his power, grace, supply and life. This is my land flowing with milk and honey, a place where you are progressively living out the will of God for your life. Amen!
In the book of Hebrews he is described as the express image of the person of God and the brightness of his image, now you see why.
Compare the language of Hebrews 1:3 and Genesis 1:26 and you will find that one is an intention and the other a fulfilment.
I believe this is clear to us God’s plan is the revelation of His sons on the earth.
Jesus came to reverse the consequences of the fall and establish the kingdom of God on the earth
The fall had spiritual and physical consequences, we will consider them in a bit more detail later but we can see from the ministry of Jesus what he did
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
Matt 4:23-25 NKJV
Jesus began to undo the works of the devil; all of these awful conditions were introduced into the earth as a result of the fall. Jesus came with a mandate to bring the kingdom of God to the earth and in doing this he had to overthrow the rule and oppression of satan in the lives of the people.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Acts 10:38-39 NKJV
God’s kingdom is a kingdom of love and liberty, after the fall, satan established a legal hold over the earth, he became th ruler of the darkness of this earth and consequently he began to perpetrate his wickedness in the lives of people. Jesus came to break his hold and re establish God’s kingdom.
Once somebody said to a friend in my hearing, I used to believe in God but I don’t now, because i don’t understand how there can be a God and all these terrible things are happening, even to children’ the person didn’t understand how the fall gave satan the dominion over the earth, that is until Jesus came to break that dominion for those who will believe.
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Matt 4:8-10 NKJV
I need to point out that God’s plan of restoration has begun but will be fully consummated at the second coming of Jesus, who will appear to put even death under His feet, until then the gospel is preached and men are called to repentance and faith.
God’s plan unveiled through the gospel
It is possible to write two or three books from just this one header alone, because though the plan is simple it was wrought in such a wonderful way in order that the fullness of God’s prophetic purpose through Christ may be revealed.
The first thing the redemptive work of Jesus offered us was deliverance from our sins
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matt 1:20-21 NKJV
There are three things to bear in mind concerning His salvation, these are deliverance from the guilt of sin, the consequence of sin and the power of sin, all these are included in the concept of salvation
God’s judgement on Adam was clear
The day you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that day you will surely die. It was a clear statement of the consequences of a wrong choice.
We need to get this clear, actions have consequences, Adam had a choice but he chose to believe the testimony of the devil over and above the testimony of God, but come to think about it, did Adam really die that day? Some would say no, he lived another couple of hundred years after the incident and had children, but in truth he died that day to God, this helps us understand the nature of God, when God spoke to Adam, natural death or life was not in play, God spoke to Adam spirit to spirit, Adam spiritual demise was symbolised by his being driven out of the garden, away from the ree of life, in other words he was driven out of the presence of God and herein is the nature of spiritual death, a separation from the life and presence of God.
Adam’s physical death was the natural consequence of his separation from the sustaining life of God and His presence
Our guilt is clearly established before God
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
I have spoken severally about the consequence of Adam’s rebellion, corrupted DNA, loss of citizenship of God’s kingdom, his subjugation to the kingdom of the devil and its consequences, such as sickness, disease, poverty, fear oppression etc, the corruption of the world and the introduction of death and sin as the new nature of the fallen man etc
The gospel offered us a new beginning, a new nature, deliverance from the power of the devil’s kingdom, healing by the stripes of Jesus, redemption by the blood, restored citizenship and a change of status and privilege before God. By changing our nature, the power of sin was broken and we received the inherent ability to live according to the demands of righteousness, God’s righteousness and not one obtained by our effort and activity.
This scripture in 2 Corinthians says it all
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Cor 5:17 NKJV
This new creation is exactly like Jesus in potential, in Christ we have received the power to become the sons of God ( John 1:12) Now we must grow up into him who is the head of all things to fulfil that potential.
The Child must become the Son
Back to the beginning
Let me come back to the question I asked in the beginning, ‘what on earth is God up to in your life?
God is working in your life to bring you into the revelation of sons that is his chief purpose and goal through the gospel.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Rom 8:29-30 NKJV
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:10 NKJV
God is working to bring many sons to glory, you understand it was from glory that man fell, so it is to glory he is being restored, just so that you may understand, Jesus is referred to as the brightness of the glory of God, so in this context God’s glory is a representation of all that he is.
God is unable to do this if we do not understand his purposes through redemption, our inability or maybe unwillingness to align ourselves with this understanding means that at best we will remain children unable to live up to God’s purpose in the gospel.
Paul the apostle had a clear revelation of this and he pursued it all his life, sometimes we in the ministry fail to realise that preaching the gospel is a gift becoming a son is a process, we have many in ministry to day who are children and because of this they are unable to fulfil their high calling in Christ.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:12-14 NKJV
Jesus head of a new creation
Jesus is the head of a new creation; all who have believed in him have received eternal life and have become a part of that new creation. For many people the new birth experience is the beginning and the end of their new creation walk and this is because they have not understood the nature of the new birth.
Paul said to the Colossian Church
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Col 2:6-7 NKJV
Salvation is both a past, present and futuristic experience, as we walk with Christ he makes us more and more like himself through the agency of his word and Spirit.
Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Cor 3:12-18 NKJV
The thing to see here is that without a revelation of what we are speaking of, when you look into the word of God all you will see are nice stories, commandments and principles, but with a revelation of this truth you see Jesus and you are transformed into his image by the Spirit because the inalienable law of the spirit is simply you become what you look upon.
The vision of many Christians is become born again, try and live a good life, seek for God’s blessings for a comfortable life, die and go to heaven! In fact a well known Church has as its stated objective to take as many people as possible to heaven, while this is a very noble objective, I do not believe that is God’s vision.
God’s vision for the Church transcends what just going to heaven; it is the revelation and manifestation of the sons of God upon the earth, an answer to the cry of the earth for deliverance from the grip and power of the devil.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Rom 8:19-20 NKJV
Jesus himself was an answer to the cry of humanity for deliverance and restoration and in this last days He will yet answer that same cry through the lives and ministries of the sons of God who have an understanding of God’s purpose in salvation and are walking with Jesus daily trusting him for the unfolding of the Christ life within them.