This post is partially extracted from the video link – https://youtu.be/lpiQdRd9DSc and blended with personal insights.
The video is about Getting into Word to produce disciples of Christ, Part 1.
The video draws attention to the traits of a disciple of Christ, where their focus is on the divine alignment and divine assignment.
The topic of discipleship is close to my heart for a few reasons. Firstly, making disciples is the great commission of Mat28.
Mat28:19 does not say to convert the unbeliever by saying the sinner’s prayer of Rom10:9-10 but to make disciples that observe the Lord’s commandments (Mat28:20).
This post is the 1st post of 3 posts.
To support this focus, the video posed the question – what is the critical issue facing the body of Christ (BoC)?
Spiritual maturity is the critical issue and need facing the BoC for the spiritual health of Christ-likeness. Spiritual maturity is not predicated on the age as a Christian or status in the 5-fold ministry.
The opposite of spiritual maturity is spiritual indifference or apathy. Spiritual apathy produces non-disciples believers and pseudo-disciple believers.
A non-disciple is indifferent and avoids the matters of God. Such a person calls on God and avoids the call of God. The pseudo-disciple lacks an adequate spiritual compass.
Spiritual maturity is not-
1. Spiritual knowledge is not spiritual maturity. A person can have much spiritual knowledge but lead a carnal life.
2. Spiritual zeal is not spiritual maturity.
3. Spiritual activism that leads to spiritual titles or valued positions is not spiritual maturity.
4. Spiritual giftedness is not spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is about divine alignment and divine assignment as measured by the Word of God.
1. Divine alignment – About submission and obedience to God’s will by valuing the truth in His Word through revelations and spiritual awakening.
This alignment will take the view as created spiritual beings and not only physical beings.
2. Divine assignment – About living a life of repentance, meekness, and having a servant’s heart. By taking this view, we are carrying out earthly assignments with eternal value.
To expand on the challenges of spiritual apathy, the video draws from the Parable of the Sower expounded in post 2 out of 3, titled Discipleship and Spiritual Apathy.
Post 5 of the Christians and Money Series concluded RELATIONSHIPS issues are at the heart of Man’s helplessness to serve two Masters, God and Mammon.
This Post 6 frames the spiritual application of the Christians and Money Series. Due to each post’s word limit, there will be a Post 7 to articulate the natural application to support Man’s goal to serve God and not Mammon.
Post 6 is content-heavy. Further aggravating readability, the subject matter is complicated and abstract, which challenges clarity to see how the parts are gathering together as a whole. It is challenging to feel comfortable in a big forest with diverse flora and fauna.
The first section, Awareness and Creation out of Destruction, clarifies that the goals set out in Post 1 were met by seeding awareness to create the required focus and shift in values to support God’s Alternative that restores the RELATIONSHIPS. See Post 3 and 4 for details of these RELATIONSHIPS.
The second section, Individual Hope vs. Collective Hope, reveals money’s spiritual application, which is the individual’s goal of soul salvation. God uses money and RELATIONSHIPS as the context to test Man’s soul to save the soul. This section explains the nature of spirit, soul, and body salvation to avoid confusion among them. This section also describes how the new covenant’s soul salvation is different and more valuable than the old covenant in-terms of approach and outcomes.
The third section, Soul Salvation and Money, offers why soul salvation is essential to fulfilling God’s and Man’s core interest.
I found Post 6 very challenging to narrate compared to the other posts. It is foreseeable that Post 6 will evolve as a live document to reflect these challenges.
Post 1 mentioned that this series has 2 goals. It will be helpful to see how the previous 5 posts have supported these 2 goals.
In-summary Posts 1 to 5 have shown that, instead of focusing on the RELATIONSHIPS, Man has created surrogates, such as money, to substitute the RELATIONSHIPS God offered. Men find comfort through these surrogates to free themselves from the worry of the future and provide a sense of purpose and meaning on earth, albeit temporal, hedonic, and suffer marginal utility. Man’s choices carry the weight of eternal consequences.
This new awareness seeds new realizations. This seeding is possible because awareness sifts the chaff of Man’s realities from God’s. For the chaff has deceived Man’s senses with an apparent value that’s temporal and pleasure-seeking, diminishing the eternal value of RELATIONSHIPS.
The clarity of this awareness helps Man to look away from future worries and focus on God’s promise to provide for their future needs.
This approach draws from the same truth of the parable of the sower in Mat13. These series are sowing seeds in the heart of readers.
In-summary Posts 1 to 5 have shown that surrogates dominate Man’s relationships through institutionalization, affecting the secular, religious, and personal domains. These institutionalized relationships being bureaucratic and social, are transactional and profit-seeking.
Breaking the existing mold supports the shift from what the heart used to value, which is the temporal pleasures of this world, but instead to appreciate the eternal rewards and divine glory. Often money is the means to attain these temporal values. Likewise, God uses money as the context for achieving His alternative to restore Man’s broken RELATIONSHIPS.
This idea of creation emerging from Destruction is original with God (John12:24).
However, Post 5 ended on a despairing note of the unavoidable Age of acute mortality of Mat24:7 and Luke21:10-11, naturally posing the question – Why may one ask, what is the purpose of this Christian and Money Series since the bitter end appears inevitable?
Notwithstanding the grim events of Mat24:7, this new focus and shift in values are the foundations to support SOUL salvation, which is the spiritual application of money. It is needful to recognize that soul salvation is an individual experience and not for collective humanity.
Humanity lacks the collective will to change its current trajectory of self-harm and destination of self-destruction. Therefore, humanity foreseeably continues to meander in its self created domain of darkness.
What is soul salvation? Post 3 briefly introduced the concept of Soul salvation. Firstly, God has offered Man three types of salvation that correspond to Man’s spirit, soul, and body. Collectively, they represent God’s plan for Man to attain divinity.
John3 explains spiritual salvation occurs when the spirit is born again begat by the Holy Spirit (John3:6). Spiritual salvation is a gift of God (Eph2:8-9), obtained by confessing that Jesus is the savior (forgiveness of sins) and believing in His resurrection, according to Rom10:9 and Heb10:12. Spiritual salvation guarantees a place in heaven. See the post “Once Saved Always Saved: Proof” for a deeper understanding of the scriptural basis to substantiate this claim of a heavenly membership guarantee.
Paul introduced salvation of the body in 1Co15. He calls this saved body a spiritual body. This body’s nature is eternal (undying), incorruptible, imbued in power, and glorious. This body is preserved in heaven by the power of God (1Pet1:5).
Peter calls this spiritual body the living hope of believers (1Pet1:3). The spiritual body’s promise is the source of hope for believers on earth, so they do not despair in their earthly suffering. Because God “owes” Man the body, He (God the Father) offered the Holy Spirit to each believer as a promissory note (IOU) (2Co1:22) as an assurance of the promised spiritual body. God gives the spiritual body in the 1st resurrection mentioned in Rev20:5, which marks Jesus’ conquest over death (Rev20:10) on behalf of Man.
In-summary, both spiritual salvation and body salvation are gifts from God. Man’s part is to believe God at His word. However, the matter is very different for soul salvation.
Peter, in 1Pet1:9, describes soul salvation. Soul salvation is highly variable, where each believer has a different degree of soul salvation. Jesus has perfect soul salvation (Heb2:10,5:8-9) among all the sons of God.
Faith is the raw ingredient to support Man’s soul salvation. God the Father, the impartial Judge (1Pet1:17), tests this faith to validate Genuity thru fiery trials of wrongful suffering doing good expressed in sincere brotherly love (2nd Commandment) mentioned in 1Pet1:7, 9 and 22, 1Pet2:19 and 1Pet3:17. Soul salvation is commonly known as the Holy Spirit’s sanctification (1Pet1:2) by faith works cited in James2 to respect Man’s free will by offering Man choices in life.
Confusion, debate, and controversy commonly emerge when one fails or refuses to distinguish between spiritual justification-salvation, a gift of the born again spirit, and soul justification-salvation, which requires Man’s effort as the primary component.
Why is human effort key to soul salvation? God values and honors free choice, even above the salvation of Man. The power to wield free will resides in Man’s soul. God the Father presented Jesus the option in the Garden of Gethsamane to die at the cross or abandon ship (Mat26:38-39), and this choice grieved His soul. Jesus’ SOUL was perfected in the weakness of submission when He obeyed His Father’s will to die at the cross (Heb2:10,5:8-9). Man who calls Jesus, Master (John15:20), are not exempted from the soul salvation test of suffering to perfect their soul.
Peter reminded Man of this truth when he presented Jesus as the model example for Man to emulate in this regard (1Pet4:1, 2:21). Because soul salvation requires suffering, Peter in 1Pet4:18 recognized the difficulty of soul salvation by saying, “If the righteous one is sacredly (with difficulty) saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”.
Apart from preserving Man’s free will and perfecting the soul, Soul salvation has the goal to produce eternal glory (2Co4:16-18, 1Pet4:14) and satisfy the charge of the hypocrisy against Man’s professed sincere faith and love for God that was laid by Satan against Job (and Man) in Job1:9-11.
This eternal glory is the final unit of measure of each person’s degree of soul salvation. To support this view, Paul, in 1Co15:41, recognized that glory is unique between individuals. Glory being the unit of measure, stems from the relationship between soul salvation and glory. Soul salvation produces glory, according to 2Co4:16-18. Therefore evidence of the degree of soul salvation can be inferred by the quantity of eternal glory the soul possesses.
The correlation of soul salvation and glory holds great significance for Man than this simple correlation. The new covenant soul’s salvation glory is different and more valuable than the glory that Adam and Eve received from God in Eden. Man forfeited their glory (Rom3:23) when Adam and Eve sinned by partaking the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen3). In the New Covenant, God cannot confiscate Man’s glory, like what happened in Eden due to sin. There are two reasons for this.
This lengthy introduction is necessary to explain soul salvation as the basis for spiritual application with wealth-money as the context.
God recognized the power of treasures to captivate Man’s heart. Mat6:21, Jesus framed this by saying, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be (reside).” God wants Man to realize and value RELATIONSHIPS as true treasures so that Man’s heart chooses to reside in a relationship with God. The 2 commandments of Love (Mat22:36-40) embody God’s Word, All the Law (His purpose), and the Prophets (His will).
RELATIONSHIPS have an actual value similar to money or wealth on earth. The two posts dedicated to exploring this value are as follows.
Notwithstanding what these two posts have covered, It is needful to reiterate two aspects to support this post 6’s narrative.
1st Commandment and 2nd Commandment-
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And He said to him,” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
“This is the great and foremost Commandment.
“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
“On these two commandments depend (hang) the whole Law and the Prophets.”
God gave these two Commandments to Man, but He has also imposed these same 2 Commandments onto Himself as evidenced in the giving of His Son for Man’s salvation. God’s sense of Justice demands that both Man and God fulfill these two Commandments alike.
The second need of God is to perform His role as the impartial Judge mentioned in 1Pet1:17, which James says is also the only One that can save or destroy in Jam4:12.
With the above understanding, Mat22:36-40 needs rephrasing to account for God imposing these Commandments onto Himself.
1st Commandment rephrased, the “I,” “My” and “Myself” is God referring to Himself
– “I SHALL LOVE MYSELF WITH ALL MY HEART, AND WITH ALL MY SOUL, AND WITH ALL MY MIND.’
The 1st Commandment is a demanding love. In the original form, God is demanding Man’s, undivided love. In the rephrased form, God requires that He honors His Self-Love. Thus God as Judge is upholding both the 1st and 2nd Love Commandments’ sanctity.
In the old covenant, God imposed this demanding loving on Man’s soul that carried the death penalty due to sin (Eze18:20). Although the new covenant has absolved Man from eternal death due to sin, God’s Justice to uphold the 1st Commandment demands that Man’s soul does not receive the same “scott free” treatment as the born again spirit or resurrected body. But instead, the soul (including Jesus’ soul) needs to suffer wrongfully (1Pet2:19) and be tested by fiery trials (1Pet1:7). Money and wealth play a central role in providing the context for these wrongful suffering and fiery trials.
2nd Commandment rephrased ‘I SHALL LOVE MAN AS MYSELF.’
The 2nd Commandment is a giving, sacrificial love. In its original form, God is demanding Man love his fellow man as himself. In the rephrased form, it is God demanding Himself to love Man as Himself. This sacrificial love was given as a gift with no contribution needed or desired of man (Eph2:8-9). The blood and body of Christ paid for this love gift for God to fulfill His 2nd Commandment towards Man.
God accepted Christ’s blood as the payment for the forgiveness of sins (Eph1:7). The blood also provided the medium similar to the shedding of blood during natural childbirth for the Holy Spirit, like a mother, to give birth to Man’s born again spirit (John3:6). I am aware that this view is unorthodox, but the elements come together naturally validated by childbirth’s natural experience.
God accepted Christ’s earthly body as the medium to construct the resurrected divine body of God (Col2:9). God retained Jesus’ earthly body as a medium for the resurrected body of the risen Jesus still bears the piercing scars (John20:27).
This need for social recognition emerged in the prodigal Son’s parable when the elder vented his frustration over this matter in Luke15:29-30. God, Himself demonstrates this trait. This observation is not surprising, given that God made Man in His image (Gen1:27).
God used human terms to describe His desire to engage with Man relationally. He uses the relational words such as Father (Mat5:45), brother (Mat28:10), bridegroom, a friend (John15:15), and lover to express (the Book of Song of Solomon, Eze16:8) His uniqueness and desire to be valued in those roles. Therefore, for this reason, Man’s desire for uniqueness and worth is legitimate in the eyes of God.
Tragically, instead of receiving reciprocated respect and appreciation, Man spurns and despises God’s sincere, repeated pleas. The Book of Ezekiel Chapter 16 is one comprehensive example of Man’s unsightly response invoking God’s wrath.
Through soul salvation, God has created the means for Man to differentiate themselves uniquely from one another in terms that both God and Man values. Notably, the soul salvation that produces heavenly wealth on earth and the eternal rewards of 1Co3 are often earned in-tandem due to the soul salvation experiences.
The eternal glory indicates how much the transformed soul of that individual is similar to Christ, Christ-likeness. Christ is the supreme ruler of the 1000 years earth rule mentioned in Rev20:6. In this verse, believers raised in the 1st resurrection will co-reign with Christ during this period. It is my view that God confers greater authority to those who have significant eternal glory as this glory commensurates with their degree of Christ-likeness.
The parable of the Minas in Luke 19 provides the basis for this claim. This parable is known for describing the 2nd coming of Christ in Rev20. In this parable, God rewards faithfulness in MONEY matters by giving cities to the said person to rule. For the person with higher monetary returns, God will correspondingly give more cities. Post 7 will discuss the natural application drawing from this parable.
The spiritual application shows faithfulness in money produces eternal glory. This glory is rewarded by God with more significant amounts of authority to co-rule with Christ. Therefore God’s plans for Man are practical, for it satisfies Man’s desire for uniqueness and enhancing their worth in the eyes of their kind, and more importantly, with God.
Money is the context, the battleground, and the means for God to test Man’s soul for its professed sincere love for Him and others. God has offered Man eternal incentives of eternal glory and rewards to incentivize Man to focus on Him by not worrying about the future and not to succumb to the temporal pleasures of this world.
God has gone thru great trouble with high stakes in-order that both God and Man fulfill and experience the fullness of the balanced RELATIONSHIPS of the 1st and 2nd Commandment.
Post 7 natural application, although more concrete and practical, is similarly content-heavy.