Sunday, November 2, 2008

Flesh of My Flesh

The body of man is nourished in the following manner. He sits before a plate of food he has chosen with fork in hand; he begins by loading the fork with whatever is on his plate. He places the food in his mouth and begins to chew. If the food suits his taste he will continue to chew and the digestion process begins; he chews until the food is manageable to swallow. As it is swallowed it enters his stomach and the digestion process is completed and then it is assimilated to the body; and if it is the proper diet, with exercise, it adds strength and growth to the body; resulting in maturity and extended life. If he insists on eating an improper diet it will result in stunted growth and early death. If he does not like the taste of the food, most of the time he will expel it in some manner.

We nourish our soul in like manner. When we chose that which is pleasant to the eyes and ears and we began to look upon and hear, metaphorically speaking, we are “eating” or “digesting and assimilating,” that is to say, we are “seeing, listening and believing,” thus feeding the inner man. That by which we have nourished the soul is absorbed and becomes part of our “being;” and if it is the proper diet, with exercise, it adds strength and healthy growth to the soul, resulting in maturity and eternal life. If we have chosen an improper diet it results in an unhealthy soul that ends in death. If we do not like what we see and hear we reject it by turning away.

Many times the appearance of and the taste for food that consists of a healthy diet for the body must be cultivated. The same is true for the soul of man. He must have a hunger for the beauty and truth of God (Matthew 5:6); and only the Holy Spirit can develop and cultivate that hunger (John 6:44).

There are many types, symbols, metaphors, shadows, foreshadows, parables and etc. in the Holy Bible. Yeshua often spoke in parables and also made use of metaphors in His teachings. We wrote the above metaphor to help us understand the following Scripture. . Though it may not be stated in the exact science we trust it will serve to the readers benefit. It will also further help to understand if we are reminded that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14 NASU) and they called Him Yeshua. Though the following words of our Lord seems to be a disagreeable expression to our delicate senses, especially our hearing---here “you must eat” means to “listen” and “believe” and imbibe or absorb His words and become one with Him.

“Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, ‘How can this man give us His flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever’.”

(John 6:52-58 NASU)

When Yeshua said, “you must eat of my flesh and drink of my blood” (John 1:14) he is speaking a metaphor, for He also said,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

(John 6:63d NASU)

Therefore, translating the metaphor, He is speaking thus; you must be brought into life again in the following manner or you have no life in you. To have eternal life you must listen to my words and believe and the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (Luke 1:35); as you believe you will absorb or assimilate my words into your being and by the power of the Holy Spirit, they will create you a new creature; you will become like me; you will put on my nature and characteristics. As you listen to and receive my words you are drinking My blood also, that is to say, My life and spirit; as you drink, my life and spirit will enter into your veins and flow through them until My life and spirit is imbued in every fiber and element of your being as clothe receives the dye. You will be My bride, “flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone” (Genesis 2:23); you will be My glory and My body in the earth. Selah.

The Apostles understood these things. The Apostle Peter wrote:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY’.”

(1st Peter 1:14-16 NASU)

This command “you shall be holy, for I am holy” was first addressed to the Israelites, but Peter equally applies it to believers in Christ. The foundation of the command is, that we profess to belong to Him, and by belonging to Him we are to be like Him.

In the letter of 1st John we find these words:

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

(1st John 3:9 NASU)

The Apostle speaks here of the “new creature” who is brought into life of the “seed,” which is the Living Word of God, thus he cannot sin. It is the old sin nature of the flesh that sins; the flesh wars against the spirit or the new creature, thus he must be crucified.

The Apostle Paul spoke these words to the Galatians,

“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you —”

(Galatians 4:19 NASU)

When he says, “until Christ is formed in you” he is saying, I must continue to labor with you until you absorb the gospel of Yeshua and become wholly imbued with His spirit---that you may become as He is---the living word of God in the earth.

He wrote these words to the church at Rome:

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

(Romans 13:14 NASU)

The phrase to “put on” a person, seems to be a harsh expression; here it means to “listen” and “believe” and imbibe or absorb His word, and “make no provisions for the flesh in regard to its lusts” in order that the old sin nature die that it may not hinder the “new creature” who is created in the image of God.

Again, in the book of Galatians we find these words:

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

(Galatians 3:27 NASU)

For those of you who were baptized into Christ, that is, you have absorbed, you have been totally submerged in the “Living Word” by the Holy Spirit, “have clothed yourselves with Christ.” This is typed by the water baptism; you were buried a sinner and raised up a “new creature” clothed in Christ.

Now returning to the Gospel according to John:

“These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?’ But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father’.”

(John 6:59-65 NASU)

Our Lord does not deny that these teachings seemed difficult, and hence he indicated that if any man believed it was proof that God had opened his mind. It was not expected that by their intellect they would understand and embrace His words. Again, if any man believed, it would be from revelation by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:17).

“As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God’.”

(John 6:66-69 NASU)

Will you continue to walk with Him or will you find these things too difficult and turn away in unbelief?

James C Sanford

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