Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Divine Inspiration and Poverty of Spirit

Dear Father,
     I praise You that because You do not change, we are not destroyed. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness the Lord is a Light for me. I will bear Your indignation because I have sinned against You until You plead my case and execute justice for me. You will bring Your people into the Light and they will see Your righteousness (Micah 7:8-9). Please help me to use the Mind of Christ and the new heart that you have given me though there is an encircling gloom. I know that You are faithful to bring us through the sorrow and to refine us through it. Show Your people that Your Breathe gives Life to our souls. Give us the poverty of spirit that makes us know our inability to breathe apart from Your Divine Inspiration of the Holy Spirit's Word of Jesus. 
In Jesus Christ's Name,

Theme Song: Rescue

15 For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
“I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 “For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would grow faint before Me,
And the breath of those whom I have made.Is 57: 15-17

     God's purpose in this letter is to show us that all life is derived from His Breath of Life. The Breath of Life is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The Breath of Life brings eternal Life to those who are poor in spirit and judgement on the wicked. To be poor in spirit means that we are aware of the suffocation of our spirits apart from the Divine Breath. The Divine Breath is inhaled through the hearing, receiving, believing, and obeying of the Word of God. The Divine Breath [Holy Spirit] grants us faith to inhale the Divine Breath [Word of God] through our faith and obedience. When those who have the Spirit of God resist the devil and flee the evil patterns of the world with the faith and hope granted by the Spirit and Word, they may suffer intensely, but God will quickly restore them. Thus, all of the work of the Spirit and Word encompass the Breath of Life. 

I. The Breath of God

     The Breath of God, the Breath of Life, is the very source of the physical and spiritual life of all created things which "live and move and have their being" (Acts 17:28). When God created the first man He formed him from the dust of the ground and "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" and this man became a living being (Gen 2:7). From then on God gave breath and spirit to the people and their offspring who were spread out on and walking in the earth (Is 42:5). With the Divine Breath came life to all whom God has breathed upon. In His Hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:10). All breath of life that we have comes from Him. The Spirit of God has made us and the Breath of the Almighty gives us life (Job 33:4). The life of our mortal bodies is embedded in the Breath of the Creator God. Even as the two witnesses described in Revelations who came upon the earth to prophecy the Word of God were killed by the beast, "after the three and a half days, the Breath of Life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them" (Rev 11:11). The Divine Breath not only grants breath to our mortal bodies, but also is used to clear the heavens (Job 26:13), to make ice, and to freeze the expanse of the waters (Job 37:10). At the blast of the Breath of His Nostrils and His rebuke, the channels of water appeared and the foundations of the world were laid bare (Ps 18:15). All life is derived from the Divine Breath. 

     As we ponder on the Truth that creation declares the glory of God, may we remember the Breath of Life which is all around us and apart from which all that is mortal and all the created things could not be sustained. For the Breath of God is the Word of God and by the Word of God all things in heaven and on earth, invisible (i.e. the unseen realm) and visible, thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities were created by Him and for Him (Col 1:16). The Word of God, the Scriptures, have been inspired by God, that is, they have been breathed out from the Life of God (2 Tim 3:16). The Breath of Life is the Word of God. And as we have been granted an eternal Life by the Spirit, we acknowledge that the Breath of God brings eternal Life to our spirits. The Breath of Life is the Spirit. This Spiritual life that we are given by the Breath of God alone will endure forever. For as Jesus spoke "The Spirit gives Life; the flesh profits nothing; the Words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are Life" (John 6:63). Prior to His ascension He breathed on them and said to them "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). The Breath of God is the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life, the Living Word. Apart from the Breath of God, we could not have physical or Spiritual life. 
     Though we entered the world bearing the breath of physical life, we had no breath of Spiritual life. We were dead in our transgressions and sins (Eph 2:1) and we were as the dry bones described in Ezekiel. But as the regenerating work of the Spirit came to His people, their spirits were brought life by the Divine Breath. For with the resurrection of Christ, God, who is rich in love and mercy, has made us alive and we are saved by grace (Eph 2:4-5).

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.Ez 37

      In addition to bringing Spiritual life to all those who have received the Holy Spirit through the death and resurrection of Christ, the Breath of Life executes the judgments of God. His Breath kindles coals and a flame goes forth from His mouth (Job 41:21). At the time of the end Jesus, whose Name is the Word of God, will ride on a white horse and out of His mouth will come a double-edged Sword, the Word of God, by which He will execute judgement on the nations. The very Breath of Life, the Word of God, that flows from the mouth of God will destroy the breath of life of all mankind who had rejected His great salvation. (Rev 19:11-16). The lawless one who had deceived many will be revealed and slain with the Breath of God's Mouth and he will be brought to an end by the appearance of His coming (2 Thess 2:8). The Divine Breath is like an overflowing torrent which reaches to the neck, to shake the nations back and forth in a sieve, and to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridles which leads to ruin (Is 30:28). The very Breath of Life that brought eternal Life to us brings eternal destruction to the spirits of those who reject Him. 

But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.Is 11:4-5

     One aspect of the great deception of mankind administered through the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of the disobedience (Eph 2:2), is the lie that life can be brought about through something or someone apart from the Divine Breath. Herein lies the root of idolatry within the souls of those who live apart from the Word of God. This idolatry results in the living of mankind in the lusts of the flesh and the indulging of the desires of the flesh and of the mind causing them to be by nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3). For the understanding and the training and instruction in righteousness that came about from our breathing in of the Word of God could not be found in the idols of mankind. 

Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge;
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols;
For his molten images are deceitful,
And there is no breath in them.Jer 10:14

II. Poverty of Spirit

      Though God has given mortal life to all people, flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor 15:50). For as we have seen earlier in the "Living in the Eternal Realms" letter, those whose spirits are raised immortal will inherit the Kingdom of God forever. Jesus gave us a very important Truth in His Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:3

     Thus, only the spirits of mankind brought to Life by the Divine Breath are able to inherit the Kingdom of God. We will describe here what this poverty of spirit refers to. Our goal and ambition when reading this beatitude is to be poor in spirit so that we may inherit the Kingdom of God. We know that we could not derive such a state of the soul in our own striving and rely on the grace of the Holy Spirit to bring us to this place. As we understand the characteristics of the state of  those who are poor in spirit, may the Spirit cause our hearts to gravitate further towards this mindset. 

    The Greek word for "poor", ptochos, refers to the state of a beggar, a pauper, or one who is in distress. The Greek work for "spirit" used in Matt 5:3 is pneuma, the breath, vital principle, or mental disposition of a person. Pneuma also refers to the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. Taken together in light of the counsel of the Word of God, we understand that to be poor in spirit means that one is a beggar or pauper with regard to the Holy Spirit. One is in distress without the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, this distress accompanies an incapability to breath, a suffocation of the mental disposition and vital principle apart from the breathing in of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Breath. That is, apart from the filling iof the Holy Spirit and the breathing in of His Word, we cannot think straight, our hearts go "haywire" [as the people of this day call it], we fall into a state of distress, and great inner turmoil. We assume ourselves as living in spiritual poverty apart from the Divine Breath. We beg and plead for the Holy Spirit.  

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:13

     We are suffocating without the Divine Breath. Vital principle must indicate the principles which form the basis for our vitality, or life. Without the Holy Spirit we would have no sustenance of our lives, even our mortal lives. Our souls and bodies would draw near to the grave if we could not sense His Presence. We are like Moses who said "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here" (Ex 33:15). We are like Daniel who saw the vision that God had given him and said "How can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my Lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me" (Dan 10:16-17). 

      David's prayer in Psalm 119 shows us the perfect example of someone who is poor in spirit. This paragraph is taken from this chapter. His soul was crushed with longing after God's ordinances at all times (20). His soul cleaved to the dust and He desired to be revived according to His Word (25). He clung to God's testimonies and cried out to not be put to shame but to run in the way of His Commandments with the hope that God would enlarge his heart (31,32). He longed for God's precepts and sought revival through His righteousness (40). His comfort in his affliction [i.e. distress] was that God's Word revived Him. He knew that is was good for him to be afflicted so that he may learn God's Statutes (71). The Law from God's Mouth [the Divine Breath] was better to him than thousand of gold and silver pieces (72). His soul languished for God's salvation and he waited and his eyes failed with longing for God's Word [God's Breath] (81-82). Though he became like a wineskin in the smoke, he did not forget His Statutes (83). He was exceedingly afflicted (107) and he opened his mouth wide and panted while he longed for His Commandments (131). Trouble and anguish came upon him yet God's Commandments were his delight (143). He cried with all his heart for God to answer him and save him (145-146). He rose before dawn and cried for help, waited for God's Word [Divine Breath] (147). His eyes anticipated the night watches so that he may meditate on the Word [he was meditating on the Divine Breath]. He went astray like a lost sheep and asked God to seek His servant for he had not forgotten His Commands (176)...

     David, the man after God's heart, a man who was poor in spirit, was in great distress and affliction until he could breathe in the Word of God. He longed for the Spirit of God, the Presence of God. He hungered and thirsted for the Spirit and Word. His only delight and satisfaction were in the Word. Without the Divine Breath, he would have perished both physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, Spiritually... And he knew this very well.

     For there are many who do not know that they would perish without the Divine Breath. There are some who kindle fires and encircle themselves with the firebrands of their idolatry. They walk in the light of their idolatrous fires and yet from the Hand of God, they will receive their just punishment: they will lie down in torment (Is 50:11). These were like the Pharisees of whom Jesus said "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains" (John 9:40). Those who are not poor in spirit are by no means rich in their spirit. For though they claimed to be rich, they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked (Rev 3:17). Indeed without the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, their spirits were in poverty. But in the midst of their spiritual poverty, they refused to beg for the Holy Spirit. They refused to long for, hunger and thirst for, and earnestly desire the Divine Breath. They were tired by the length of their idolatrous road but they did not say "it is hopeless', but found renewal of their strength and did not faint (Is 57:10). Their hearts were hardened and the evil forces had deceived their spirits to think that no disaster awaited them and that they could find their breath of life in their idolatry.

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jer 29:13

     Without the Divine Breath [the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life], everyone suffocates. Those who are poor in spirit are in distress in their suffocation and cry out for the Divine Breath like a mendicant. Those who are not poor in spirit are deceived into thinking that they are breathing though their life wastes away and destruction awaits them.

III. Divine Inspiration

15 For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
“I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 “For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would grow faint before Me,
And the breath of those whom I have made.
17 “Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him;
I hid My face and was angry,
And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.
18 “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners,
19 Creating the praise of the lips.
Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord, “and I will heal him.”
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
For it cannot be quiet,
And its waters toss up refuse and mud.
21 “ There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” Is 57

     Divine inspiration refers to the breathing of God. When God breathed, the Scriptures were given to the prophets of God. Thus the Word of God that proceeds from the Mouth of God is the Breath of Life which alone can bring eternal Life and heavenly immortality to our spirits. The Word of God is to us the substance of the Breath of God that brings us eternal Life. Let us think of an earthly example to illustrate the process of our breathing in of the Word of God. If you were suffocating underwater and someone came to you with a canister of oxygen connected to a tube what would you do? You would bring the tube to your face and breath in the oxygen to save your life. In a similar way, our souls have been suffocating and now the Word of God is presented to us and because this Word contains the Life-giving Air, we need to set this Word up before our eyes and read It. And as we hear this Words the process of inhaling is the act of hearing with the intent to believe and obey, that is, to "incline our ears". As Jesus said "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey It" (Luke 11:28) and as the apostle John said "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the Words of this Prophecy, and heeds the things which are written in It; for the time is near" (Rev 1:3). The Word of God is in the book in your hands and in the words that you see, but unless you take these Words to heart through the faith that the Spirit gives to you, you have not inhaled the Divine Breath. To inhale the Divine Breath of the Word means that we receive and believe, hear and obey the Words that are presented to us. And when we have inhaled this Divine Breath the Scripture teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness so that we may be adequate and equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3). 

     We must acknowledge that without the Holy Spirit, we could not inhale the Divine Breath because we would be unable to receive the seed of the Word of God with the faith that encompasses the act of the inhalation. It is the Spirit who moves us to heed the Voice of God. It is the Spirit who grants us faith and repentance; He is referred to as the "Spirit of faith" (2 Cor 4:13). The Spirit is the Divine Breath. And the Word is the Divine Breath. For even the act of the Spirit to cause us to hear the Word of God occurs through the effects of the Word Itself. The Words of God are essential and fully adequate for all of the Work of the Spirit. For the Spirit Himself is the Word. Jesus's Words are Spirit and they are Life (John 6:63). The Word of God convicts us of our need for the Divine Breath by revealing to us our sin, His righteousness, and the coming judgement. In this sense the Spirit and the Word cause us to Breath in the Divine Breath through enabling us to believe and receive the Word of God. 

22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.John 20

     When we have Breathed in the Word we will surely see the revelation of the holiness of God: the glory of God. But we must continue to breathe in the Word in order to continue to see the glory of God. The viewing of the glory of God is what fills us with the love and eagerness to obey. But because we often fail to inhale the Divine Breath, we temporarily lose sight of the glory of God. And during these times when we cannot see the Light of His splendor, the Word encourages and exhorts us to obey His commands to restrain from evil and to pursue righteousness. We obey because by faith we know that the Light and glory that we had once seen would again be revealed in His time because we are His children. 

     There will be times dear family, when the Word of God will convict and exhort us to leave behind sin, and though we may not understand at the moment, in faith, we must obey. We are obeying because the Spirit has granted us faith to obey even through what seems like darkness. As the apostle Peter writes in the Scripture "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (I Peter 5:8-10). There will be times, numerous times, when God will call you to suffer to avoid sin, and you will experience suffering, an inward burning, during these times, but the Divine Breath will cause you to stand firm in your faith. The Word of God will encourage you that the God of all grace has called you to His eternal glory in Christ. We are promised to have suffering in our struggle against sin. We may end up resisting it to the point of death (Heb 12:4). Yes, there are times when our desires to obey will be so strong and glorious because we are seeing glimpses of His glory and we will not feel much pain in our obedience. But dear family, to be a follower of Christ, there will be times when you must obey with the faith that the Spirit grants you with the hope that the Word gives you though you temporarily suffer and feel the depths of the grave. 

Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.Is 50:10

      But He will only let you suffer a little while as we read in I Peter 5. He will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. We are all weak in our faith and we have much refining that we trust Him to accomplish before the work that He started in us is finished. For when our hearts are perfectly aligned with the Truth, then we will be at perfect peace in our obedience. He is bringing us to this place, but there is much that the Spirit must purge from within us so that our heart's desires are aligned with His Truth. He will do this with the Word. All of this work comes from the Divine Breath. 

 I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. Jer 32:40

Prayer Request: Dad is going to Maine for a week for a work conference. He is putting up a flier for a Bible study which would be open to conference attendees who are interested. And if you think of it, pray that I become more like Christ, not that my sorrow would be removed, but that I would be near to Him.

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