Part 1 Paul’s Progression from a Pharisee
A Christian’s Roadmap to Spiritual Growth
Christ accomplished salvation at the cross and said, “It is finished.” Christ comes to us now in spirit, not to do a new work, but to reinforce in us the Work He has done. He comes to us in His forever construct of being “the same yesterday, today and forever,” to open our eyes to concepts about Himself. He then shows us how to implement and actualize them now, one revelation at a time until He is fully realized in us, until we are fully transformed and transfigured into His Glorious image.
We have this promise in 1 John 3 We know that when He comes and is revealed, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone that hath this hope in them, purifieth themselves, even as He is pure. Yes, we have this hope, this aspiration and we have this cause and effect to be like Him. This is what it means to be godly, meaning, like the Son of God.
Just as Christ said, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him”. If you accept Him as He is.
We don’t need to physically die or wait for some 2nd coming man from heaven to deliver us from the ills of this age. We already have the cure. That’s what salvation means. For this we have a Savior. “God sent His Son not into the world to condemn the world but to save.” (John 3.17) He doesn’t come to rescue us later.
Peter tells us that “we have everything that pertains to God-like -ness, having escaped the corruption in the world. Check it out. (2 Peter 1)
At Paul’s conversion Christ came to him and said, “I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.” Meaning Christ would come to Paul on numerous occasions, in His forever construct, to show Himself and to unveil Himself. Why? So that we could become what we see because we see Him as He is. It is as; we behold as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord. We are transfigured into the self same image, from the Glory to the Glory, as by the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3.18)
This Light, that Paul witnessed was 7 times brighter than humanly possible, would make multiple appearances over time to complete Paul’s conversion, showing to us that the only work left to do is the inner, invisible work of conversion and transfiguration.
Paul could only understand and assimilate so much at a time. Even as Christ said to the eleven, “I still have many things to say to you, however you cannot bear them now.” Because of these truths, we can see that the greater revelation of who Christ is, is developed through successive visitations and revelations.
Paul’s Epistles show this progression. Paul started out with some distorted Pharisaic views. From those views he needed to be cleansed and transformed. We should not be surprised that his Epistles would display these transformations, that are seen in the form of contradictions and inconsistencies of the things Paul writes. With this we can understand the order in which he wrote them. Why? Because his writings show his growth. His later Epistles override his earlier statements.
In Ephesians Paul said, “How that by revelation Christ made known to me the mystery as I have briefly written already.” Showing us that Paul learned something new, and that Christ made good on His continual appearances. That He is not restricted to just 1st and 2nd comings as many erroneously suppose. He is the, “Behold l stand at the door and knock” so you can understand His coming is even now. So don’t expect Him to show up in a form where you can shake His hand and pat him on the shoulder.
Thomas said he would only believe in the resurrected Christ if he could stick his fingers in Christ’s wounds. Thomas was able to do so after Christ appeared to him “in another form.” Mark 16.12 and John 16.19 “The doors were shut and the disciples were assembled, Jesus came and (mysteriously)
stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”
The truth is Christ said, “Wherever two or more are gathered in My name, there am I in your midst.” His Kingdom is proverbially at hand, but not carnally manifested. He manifested Himself to His disciples behind closed doors, without using the doors. Normal flesh cannot do this. Flesh and blood does not inherit the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 15.50). So He doesn’t appear like that.
We can see that Paul’s 1st Epistles were still influenced by his Pharisaic roots, while his later Epistles were clearer and more developed in New Covenant realities. This is because Christ showed Paul mysteries and consecutive revelations to accomplish this.
Paul was in transition, so we must understand that not all scripture has equal value. If it did, Christ would not have countered Satan’s scripture with another, “For it is written.” ( Matthew 4)
Paul could not understand the full message all at once, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to either. We should see a continual growth pattern over time.
With this in mind, let us not be found stuck on introductory concepts of the faith. Like the writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection (an attainable goal), not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.”
Warning: if you find yourself on your knees at the cross with continual confessions of fighting Satan and sin, you are not getting the gospel. God begat no beggars. God sent His Son to the cross to become our sin, so we don’t have to. For on Him was laid the iniquity of us all, and by His stripes we are healed,” if you can learn to accept this.
It is at the cross that we drop off our Adamic curse and leave with the blessing. We set our sights on the upward call of God in Christ, not the curse of the stench of sin laid on the Son. He is risen!
Our full inheritance is “in Christ,” our new residence. As John said, “He who sins has neither seen Him or known Him and (in Him) there is no sin.” Are you (in Him)? Why are you hanging out at the cross grovelling as tho our Christ is still hanging? He is risen.
Sin is not your job, your focus or your calling. Heavenly Glory is. You give Satan power by dwelling on the stench. Christ is our Passover lamb and even the Israelite’s were told to “eat it in haste,” you need to get up and move forward. Get as far away from that as you can because scripture is your delivery mechanism.
You are called to godliness, which is God’s likeness and glory. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But we have the Gospel that restores this.
“In Adam” the was glory lost. “In Christ” the Glory is restored. If you are “in Christ” you are no longer part of the Adamic race, you are fallen no more. Because He is risen, and you accept His payment, you are risen too. You have to learn to see yourself as God sees you, and He sees His Son in you. You are joint heirs of the things of God.
With any inheritance there must be a death to implement it and Christ died. The New Covenant is signed in His blood to expire the Old Covenant and there will be no 3rd covenant. Christ said He was finished, He hung His head and ceased in the flesh. He took our death to die no more, He died for sin to deal with it once. He defeated Satan who was not His battle but man’s. As a man Jesus recaptured the Glory from Satan that he stole from humanity in the Garden. Christ now gives it back to those who have faith in Him. “We are in Him” this is true.
This is why we are baptized into His death; to walk in newness of life, Resurrection life. As Paul said to “recon your old body dead. These are the basic principles of faith that set you free. Satan, sin and death have no hold on us any more. In this way we become the Elect. Amen!
We start out with carnal mindsets. Kind of like a detective saying, “Give me just the facts please, I want to see the evidence.” Like Thomas said, “Let me put my fingers in the holes in your hands.” Of which Christ replied; but more blessed are those who do not see and yet believe” because we get what carnal eyes can’t see.
You see, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Meaning, these consecutive revelations for Paul and ourselves never take place in the physical realm; however, the conversion of the inner man of the spirit affects the carnal man tremendously.
The new body is like the Lord’s from Heaven as Paul learned. “44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 As we have borne the image of the man of dust, we can also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (1 Corinthians 15)
At this point, Paul still did not understand the new birth for the new body, that both bodies can simultaneously exist. That as a caterpillar cannot understand the life and flight of a butterfly, so, too, the carnal senses cannot experience the life of faith. Otherwise Christ would not have said “seeing with their eyes they see not, and hearing with their ears they hear not, for it is with the heart that one must see in here to understand the things of God. This is why Christ told Nicodemus that, “Ye must be born again,” and this one is not from the womb. Unless one has new sensory receptors, they cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God, which is why they expect a kingdom made on earth because they are yet carnal. This is why Paul prayed that the eyes of your understanding may be opened to know the hope of your calling.
Many of us have learned how to put off the old and put on the new, as Paul learned by the time he wrote Colossians 3, “Since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and you have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge in the image and likeness of Him who created us.” This is to be a foregone conclusion. These words are fulfilled in Paul, and in those of us who have followed this transition by the Holy Spirit.
God’s things are compositionally different. That is why, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3) This is the composition that can appear behind closed doors, or that can resemble a gardner, or a stranger on the road to Emmaus.
This is our journey and why scripture calls us pilgrims and sojourners. To follow Christ to where He is. In the book of Acts, the believers were called the people of “The Way” first, because they were going somewhere. Where? Jerusalem, but not the one in Israel. They were going to Heavenly Jerusalem. This is why those who loved Jerusalem on earth persecuted the ones with heavenly aspirations. The same goes today, even as Paul explained through Jacob and Esau of old that those of the flesh always persecute and reject those of the spirit.
This is what Christ meant when He said, “Let us go up from here.” Meaning through these consecutive revelations, let us go up to Heavenly Jerusalem, “The Kingdom prepared from the foundations of the world.”
We must get this point; that a trade off takes place, old for new. Earthen, for Heavenly. Even as Paul instructed us to “cast off the bondwoman and her son. The two Jerusalem’s cannot simultaneously exist in importance in your mind. You have to love one and hate the other, to make the cut. “For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which is on earth, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all, ” which comes down from Heaven, whose construct is according to the measure of a man who is of an angel.” Like Peter learned to say that “we are living stones built up a habitation of God in the Spirit” which is God’s natural element that we’ve learned to associate with.
The same is true when Paul said in Romans 10, “So then all Israel shall be saved.” Was He talking of the Israel of that day which was a plot of land with fixtures? Or maybe the Israel that was a people walking through the desert? Are they the ones to be saved?
You see the first introduction of Israel with Moses and God saying, “Israel is my first born Son,” showing for us the real Israel is a type of Christ. The body of Christ. Of those who are in Christ. Even as Paul learned correctly in 1 Corinthians 10.
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
And even as we are associated in the body of Christ, so too the 12 tribes are associated in the Israel of Moses as Paul further expounds here;
18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?”
Paul shows us here that Old Testament visuals were given only to show invisible realities “in Christ,” the true Israel of the invisible. We who are “in Christ” are a part of the body of Christ and members of one another. Even as Christ quoted, “Lo, the volume of the book was written about Me,” affirming that all of scripture is given only to make visible, and knowable invisible realities with God “in Christ”. For us to assemble ourselves like His same self. And we are in Him this is true, in the Father and the Son.
Any other such application of Israel or Jerusalem, glorifies another. All glory to our Heavenly Father for teaching us these things. We are the body of Christ and in the true Israel who is Christ. The fulfillment of all things are in God’s Son. Amen! To take them out of His Son is to take them out of context and out of Christ.
God’s desire is that we fully enjoy Him now in His totality. As Paul learned that,”God has given us every spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” This is so we can enjoy the delicacies the Godhead enjoys even now, if we are “in Christ” the Son of God, and the only Israel that matters to the Father. Are you palating this? Taste and see that the Lord is good, with your new senses.
Will all of Israel be saved? But of course. But not the plot of land on earth. Dirt has no lasting purpose with God. The flesh came from it and to that it will return.
The idea that a modern day Israel with a modern day Jew as being beneficiaries of the scripture, is steeped in Phariseeism. Cut that off. Like Paul said of the circumcision, “I would that they would castrate themselves. Paul also confronted Peter publicly saying, “You being a Jew living in the manner of a gentile, why do you compel the gentiles to live as a Jew.” Showing for us Peter’s hypocrisy. Even Peter was in transition to help develop the Gospel.
With these principals in mind, we can see throughout Paul’s Epistles that he may flounder, but in his later writings he straightens them out. You can see the changes and exchanges take place. Old for new, visible for invisible, physical things for spiritual. Even as Christ spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well with these words, ” The time that is coming is already here when you will not worship the Father in Samaria or Jerusalem but in Spirit and Truth.” So we do, we are the true Israel of God of those who are in Christ called the Elect. Amen!
As always “The Kingdom of God is at Hand”