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1. Good News
There is no part of me that is not in Christ and there is no part of me that Christ is not in. To try to talk about myself as if I am somehow separate in any possible way from the person of the Lord Jesus Christ is to talk words that have no meaning, that make no sense.
There were two trees in the garden; there are two ways by which we know God. God created both trees out from Himself; both are pure and holy and good.
God created angels and animals to know Him by the first tree,and He created man to know Him by the second. The first tree was knowledge about God; those who ate of it must have the strength and the wisdom to understand what God wants and to do it. God gave man neither ability; He created man weak.
The second tree was the Person of God Himself. God did not make man to know about God; He created man to contain Himself.
Jesus said,"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." He said,"In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." John 14
Paul said, "Jesus Christ . . . in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." Ephesians. 2
God did not create you and me to know about Him, to know what is right and to know what is wrong, to do what is right and not to do what is wrong. He created us to be filled with Himself, that He might live through us.
In order for that to work, God made us weak.
The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are free to abandon the tree of knowledge and live wholly and utterly in the tree of life. We are free to turn our backs on the tree of knowledge and never consider it again.
Jesus said that the tree of life is available to those who overcome, that is, to those who let go of the tree of knowledge and pass over to the tree of life. The difference between the two trees is really quite extreme.
We just do not have to put up with the tree of knowledge any longer; we are free to live forever in the tree of life - good news indeed!
However, there is only one door into the tree of life. In fact, there is a massive barrier, a great wall, with only one small door. That door is Galatians 2:20.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
So much of Christian talk is a discussion of seeing the world out of the tree of knowledge. All one can ever do in response to dear believers who want to discuss various Christian topics and issues out of the tree of knowledge is point to the door, over and over, simply point to the door. If they can see the door and pass through it, now we can enjoy the rich fellowship of Christ together.
But our fellowship can only be Christ. There can be no fellowship with or within the tree of knowledge.
So what is the tree of knowledge?
Those who live in the thinking of the tree of knowledge see themselves as one person and the Lord Jesus Christ as someone else. They believe that they have surrendered themselves to another person, Jesus - partly. They believe that God now teaches them what is right and wrong, what He expects of them, mostly through Bible verses, but also by hearing His voice. Now that they know what God expects of them, they can do it. At the same time, they also believe that they are not "dead." Rather, they imagine that they are "bad" and must somehow "die" to some self life. This is difficult because they always wake up the next morning. Then, they believe that God, separate from themselves, sometimes helps them do what they know is "right." This is how almost all Christians live and think and speak.
So when we hear other believers saying these kinds of things in one form or another (and these parts of the tree of knowledge appear in many different forms), all we can do is point to the door. Over and over, point to the door. It is the door of Galatians 2:20 by which we pass out of death and into life.
Now, Christ lives in the hearts of all believers, no matter how they think or see. But so many are able to look at themselves and completely fail to see Christ.
I know that is very difficult to understand or believe. It is, in fact, a terrible and incredible defect. How can the King of glory fill me with all power and might, the Creator of the universe, the resurrected Christ in all majesty filling my heart with all of His infinite glory and power and I not see Him? This is a defect indeed.
If we find ourselves in the presence of Almighty God in the Holiest place in heaven, everything else vanishes and the King is the only thing we see.
But our heart is already the Holiest place in heaven, it is the throne of the King; we are filled all the time with all the fullness of God in all power and all holiness. And we don't see Him?
What is the door to the tree of life? "I am crucified with Christ."
That's it. It's done, it's finished, it's over with.
There is no Daniel Yordy that "needs to die." I have no self to die to. Nor does God say anywhere that I should "put my flesh nature to the death of the cross." That phrase is something made up inside the tree of knowledge.
I am already dead to sin. That means that I have no connection to sin and sin has no connection to me.
Now, here is the extraordinary revelation of the tree of life. Having accepted that I am already dead, when I simply accept that God is, in fact, telling me the truth, then the next thing I realize is that I am still alive!
If God is telling me the truth, that I am already dead, the work of the cross is 100% complete in my life, and if I can also see that I am still alive, all I can do is what Paul does in Galatians 2:20. "Hey, it's not me, it's Christ, only it's me, only it's Christ."
And now I know that all that I am is now Christ Himself living as me in this world. I am now living and thinking and seeing in the tree of life.
I am not a self separate from Christ; there is no self. That is the lie of the serpent right from the start, and it was never ever true. The cross is complete, and I am one spirit with God. Christ is my life; I have no other life.
To put my "self" to death is to put Christ to death; such talk is nonsense. There is no part of me that is not in Christ and there is no part of me that Christ is not in.
To try to talk about myself as if I am somehow separate in any possible way from the person of the Lord Jesus Christ is to talk words that have no meaning, that make no sense. I find myself no longer able to relate with or even to comprehend such talk.
I am not an evangelist. I have no gift for such a thing. I do not limit God; if God did bless me with such an experience, I would be filled with humble joy, and I honor those to whom the Lord has given a true gift of leading lost people into the loving embrace of Jesus.
But such is not my calling or ministry, and I do not come under condemnation by anyone who has some external definition of what "Christ" looks like in an outward way. I know already what Christ "looks like," He looks like me and you, and we look like Him. Actually, it is much more than "look like." We are one with Him, there is no meaningful distinction.
However, the river of life from God is flowing out of me all the time. Every individual person I pass by is caught in the eddies and swirls of life flowing out of me in the spiritual realms. They are impacted by Christ in me even when I say nothing. My students enter into the Spirit of Christ extending out from me when they enter my classroom, and they are continually moved upon by that Spirit whether they know it or not.
When I say, "The river of life flows out of me all the time," I'm not making anything happen. I'm just stating something that is true.
When we gather together, Christ is gathering together. When we build one another up in the Lord, Christ is lifted up. When Christ is lifted up, He, in power in the heavens, draws all men to Himself. It's a simple equation and absolutely true.
Now, here is an incredible thing about living, speaking, thinking, and seeing in the tree of life. We now look at all the verses in the Bible, and they no longer have anything to do with knowing some things about God and what He expects us to do. Suddenly, we see all that God speaks as living life, as the person of Jesus, the One who is our life, who sits enthroned in our hearts. It's not that the Bible verses now mean something different, per se, it's that we are entirely different. Before we had tried to live as Christians separate from Christ, now all that God speaks is living life flowing through us at all times. We are one with all God speaks. We are the living word.
Christ is our life; we have no other life.
Most Christians live a little bit in both trees. Christ is their life; they just don't know it. God gives a taste of life to those who live in their minds in the tree of knowledge. Their heart is drawn to life, but their mind is captured by knowledge. They know in their heart that Christ is their life, but they think in their minds that they can know what God wants and can at least try to do it.
The idea that we are a self (a god - that is, an angel like the serpent) trying to bend our self to God's will is the serpent's lie. Galatians 2:20 takes us back out of that lie and into all the fullness of God.
I am already dead, buried, and forgotten. But hey, I'm still alive! Only it's not "me" at all, it's the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in person, only I'm still here for He fills me! My flesh? Me, tootling along in this body of messy humanity? Every part of the life I live in the flesh comes out of the living faith of my Savior, the triumphant King of Glory, the One who fills my heart. Every part of my life in the flesh is the expression of the faith of Jesus Himself . . . My flesh is His flesh! Galatians 2:20 & Ephesians 5:30 (My paraphrase)
I know that - though I am created weak, with tremendous capacity but no ability whatsoever - He is my life. I find this rising up in my heart: "There is no distinction between Christ and me; to put me down in any way is to put Him down." He and I are one, walking together in an intimacy of knowing one another heart to heart that allows no shadow of separation. Of course He is the Life and I am the vessel, but that is not a distinction of separation, it is an operation of quality.
That is the tree of life. Eat of it and never stop eating.
The writer of Hebrews places our jeopardy as Christians upon this one huge IF. We are partakers of Christ IF - we continue in all confidence and boldness in all that God speaks right into the Holiest of All, seated upon the very throne of Heaven.
Confidence that Christ Himself is our life and that we have no other life, boldness to go forward in Life wherever and whatever Christ is, cleansed always by the blood, made perfect in holiness, without ever drawing back for one moment.
God calls this unstoppable boldness "faith," and He says most clearly that faith is the ONLY thing that pleases Him.
So when I hear dear believers in Christ using verses they find in the Bible out of the thinking of the tree of knowledge, all I can ever do in response is point to the door. I am beyond accusation or condemnation. I will never meet anyone's definition of Christ; I refuse to try. No matter how much "authority from God" is claimed, it cannot touch me. My response will only ever be, spoken in kindness, in tenderness, with a meek and quiet heart, but spoken out of mighty rivers of power in the heavens.
"My dear brother, my dear sister, wonderful news! Good news! Christ is the only life you have. Christ, in all that He is, is all that you are. You have absolutely not one iota of any other life, no flesh life, no self life, no Adamic life. [Hint: you are already dead!]
"You, all of you, are entirely a new creation. Old things are indeed passed away, they exist no more. Everything about you, your flesh, your humanity, your person, your soul, your mind, your will, your emotions are all entirely brand new. And everything you are is entirely of God."
This is very, very good news, indeed it is the gospel. And so, I guess, I am an evangelist after all. Oh, that all my brothers and sisters in Christ would discover the good news.