Intro: We all know that the Devil or Satan is a liar and a deceiver. But has it ever occur to you what got Eve to fall for the Devil’s lie? Here’s what the Devil said after He engaged Eve to listen to him. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen. 3:5
The Devil is also known as “Lucifer, son of the morning,” in the NKJ version. He was the most beautiful and high ranking of the angels but became proud so now, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of dawn! You have been cast down to earth you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Isa. 14:12-14
Five times he said I will. Then Eve believed him and sinned, then gave Adam the forbidden fruit and he also ate. Adam willfully disobeyed God’s clear command and so both of them died spiritually. Because of Adam’s disobedience sin entered to all men and all died because all sinned. Thank God, in the council of the Godhead they planned to provide a Savior, to save man from the penalty of sin. “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”, the last Adam, a life giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first but the natural. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are also those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” 1 Cor. 15:45-49.
Who is this man from heaven? God, the Word, the second person of the Trinity, left heaven and came down and became flesh and dwelt among men. He came to give life to spirits who have died because of sin, even for one sin. And those who are given this life are born again, born in the spirit. They are the ones whom Paul referred to as those who are of heaven and chosen beforehand by God even today. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Eph. 1:4-6
Everyone God has chosen for salvation, He chose for a purpose, to be holy and blameless who will give glory to God. But can those who have been chosen and saved really become holy and blameless? Here’s what God says, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:11-12
What has God planned to do with those He has chosen to be saved? “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Rom. 8:29-30.
If this is God’s will and plan who does the work in accomplishing this? Is it us?
“Who does the work to make you like Jesus?”
“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Eph. 5:5:15b-27
First let us see the Biblical definition of the church and who belongs to it. “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 1 Cor. 12:12-13
Only those who have been saved and given the Holy Spirit can truly be a part of this body. Who is responsible in putting together the parts of the body? “But God has combined the members of the body… in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Cor. 12:24b, 18
Once God has combined you with the body of Christ, which He calls the church you become a vital part of the body of Christ doing its different functions. “Just as each one of us has one body with many members, and these members do not have all the same functions, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Rom. 12:4-5
This was affirmed by Cephas who was told by Jesus that he is now Peter meaning a stone. What he confessed about Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, Christ said He will build His church. And this is how He is building His church. “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 2:4-5
So, once you and I are saved because we were chosen by God the Father and given to His Son, saved by grace through His death and resurrection we are made holy. Holy is who God is. Adam was perfect when he was created because he was created in the image of God and he was holy. But with one sin, his body was defiled and was no longer holy. The last Adam, Jesus who came from heaven and became flesh is the only human who was holy from birth till His death for he never sinned. Even though he was made sin, the sin did not enter his heart. He bore the punishment of sin on his body as the sin bearer but His heart remained pure. So, “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Heb. 2:10-11
Who is the one who will work in us to be holy? Christ will. But here is how we are to respond to Christ for Him to work this out in us. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” 1 Pet. 1:13-14
How is Jesus Christ revealed to us? As we read the Word, the Holy Spirit will reveal the will of God and how Jesus lived His life in holiness. By responding to do the will of God in obedience, the grace of God is poured out in us to do the will of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit. That’s how important it is to read the Word of God daily? As His body we are reading the “Every day with Jesus Bible.”
What else does Christ do? “Cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” Water in the Bible has many references to the Word of God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:5
Some interpret this as being baptized. There is reference that this refers to the physical birth. But here’s the interpretation that is affirmed written by Peter. “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Pet. 1:23
When Jesus washed his disciple’s feet, He used water. Peter protested and didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus told him that “unless He washes his feet he has no part of him.” So if the water symbolizes the Word then when we sin, the Word of God will convict us of our sin through the Holy Spirit. Then as we confess our sins we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. This is also how we ought to walk. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
Is Christ’s cleansing a onetime act? No. This is going to be a lifetime work to make every member of the church radiant as His bride. We just recently went through the book of Revelation and it revealed Christ as the Bridegroom and the church His bride and there is going to be a wedding in heaven one day. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Rev. 19-7-8.
Who is the one who makes the bride ready? How do we make ourselves ready? Is it us who makes us ready or Christ? I submit to you that it is still the work of Christ to make His bride ready for the wedding. Here is what He said to His disciples. “I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
The fruit here means two things. The fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of God’s work through us in evangelism come when we are remaining fully in Christ. This happens when we die to self and Christ is the one living in us. Galatians 2:20
How does a radiant church look like? We are to be like Christ, just as He was, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful words. After he provided purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Heb. 1:3
What the people saw when Christ was in human form was the radiant light prophesied by Isaiah regarding the coming of Christ. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned”… “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”Isa. 9:2; 42:6
No doubt the light here is referring to Jesus who will come down from heaven and be the radiance of God’s holiness the exact representation of His divine nature and character. He is the last Adam, the second man from heaven. Although He laid aside His attributes of God as, His “Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence,” He is the God who created all things, the second person of the Trinity. He is the author of the New Covenant. His death and resurrection is the good news that saves. He is the One whom Paul says who does the work, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Phil. 2:13
This is how He works in us. “You however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Rom. 8:9
The Holy Spirit both represents God and Christ. He reveals the will of God and He lives the life of Christ in us. When we are in total submission to Christ as Lord, the Spirit empowers us to live the life of Christ when He was a man not as God. For we are to be conformed to the likeness his Son as man the last Adam, and not to be like God. And we will because this is the will of God. Without stain means that we become pure in the heart. The prayer and our desire should be like David’s, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Ps. 51:10
And when we sin, His blood purifies us from all sins after we confess. What does wrinkle mean in the spiritual? Our well pressed clothes after use gets wrinkled. What do we do to take out the wrinkle? Wash then heat up the flat iron especially if we are ironing a linen, it has to be very hot. This is the chastening we commonly refer to this as God’s spanking when we get out of line and walk not in the way of the Lord. The other blemishes are our personality. We all have different but faulty personalities. This is who I am as an individual. I have many blemishes that need to be removed. Who does the cutting off? It is the gardener who does the pruning to cut off dead branches. And this is what we are told will surely experience. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his good purpose.” Rom. 8:28
The continuing work of Christ is we will become more and more like Jesus, holy and blameless in our walk as we are being prepared for His wedding.
Christ works this out through the gospel that we are to live daily by this truth, “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
For the resurrected Christ to live in us we must die to self and Christ will work all these, that’s why He gets all the glory and in turn glorifies his Father.
Are you in total submission to the will of God yielding to the Lordship of Christ?