The $64,000 Question

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August 26, 2021

1 Corinthians 2:12 (NIV)

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

CONSIDER THIS

Here’s the $64,000 question: Do I understand what God has freely given me? Do you? 

The answer, undoubtedly, is yes and no. I know what I know. I also know that there is far more of God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—that I do not know than I do know. 

Finally, I am learning to read the Bible more like a last will and testament than an instruction guide. I am learning to read it as the “last will and testament of God.” Whereas for most of my Bible reading life, I have read it as a book of “if-then” statements. If I do this, then God will do this. I call that “functional” or “transactional” faith. In the Bible, God has revealed what he has freely given us. It is ours. We now have stewardship over it to appropriate it, spend it, share it, save it, and so forth. That is what faith is, moving on the truth of the reality, not hoping the reality is true. 

The big problem we have is we do not understand this. We think God is somehow holding it back from us; that there is something we must do in order to get it. It calls to mind the one line email from a Daily Text reader the other day. 

“It’s so maddening to me that I find this so clear, so beautiful, and so completely unattainable.”

How can you attain what has already been given? That is why it is maddening. Let’s say you left me $1m in your last will and testament. You passed on to glory and the will was read and I got the news. The money was transferred into my bank even. Now, what if I kept asking the executor to give me that money? That would be the definition of maddening—for the executor, for me and even for you. 

Well, that’s our situation. We are praying for what has already been done. We are asking for what has already been freely given to us. This is the meaning of moving in faith. It is to move from a transactional approach to a transcendent one. It is not, “I do this so you will do that.” No, it is, “You did that, now I can do this.” 

I have been crucified with Christ. I have been raised with Christ. The old HAS passed away. The new IS come. I no longer live. Christ lives in me. 

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

This is all at once the most important and the most difficult concept for people to grasp. 

We seem to be able to grasp this with respect to the first half of the gospel—that there is nothing we have done or can do to earn or merit the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. We can only receive it freely as a gift freely given; once and for all—and yet over and over and over again. The exact same thing is true with respect to the second half of the gospel. We can only receive it freely as a gift freely given; once and for all—and yet over and over and over again. This is what the “Spirit who is from God” is doing in us, remaking our mind, renewing our heart, energizing our spirit, strengthening our inner person, even mending our physical bodies. This is the second half of the gospel—all by grace through faith. We just have to get over the “God would you please do this” mentality and into the “Jesus you have done and are doing this” faith. 

THE PRAYER

Jesus, I belong to you. You are my Lord and my God. I receive your life in exchange for my life, all of it, right now. I no longer live. You live in me. I can never attain it and I will never have to, for you have attained it all and you are in me. I have been crucified with you. I have been raised with you. Everything in you is mine, and everything is mine in you. And everything in me is yours. The old has gone. The new is come. I have put off the old self with its deceitful desires and I have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of my Creator, created to be like you in righteousness and holiness, in beauty and splendor, in love divine all love’s excelling.

I receive this life which is all at once perfected and yet being transformed with ever increasing glory, from one degree of glory to the next, and all of this from you Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit. I am filled to the measure of all the fullness of God and yet it is a fullness that ever admits more. I now live in your Kingdom and this new way of asking and receiving, of seeking and finding, of knocking and opening for I have you. You are the treasure buried in a field and I have found you, and for joy I exchange everything I have for that field and the joy of finding you and being found by you over and over and over again and being found in you with a righteousness and goodness and love not my own but from that comes from you, first to last. You are my longing fulfilled. You are my answered prayer. You are my all in all. Amen, Amen—it is so. 

THE QUESTION

So were you taught this way of the second half of the Gospel in your discipleship? Or were you, too, taught more of a self-improvement, sin management, Jesus-ish version of the Christian life? How’s your holy discontent going?  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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