'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
By the time the last article was finished, everything was beginning to look very discouraging. In fact, I was reluctant to end the first part of this two-part article that way. However, what was given in part one was to show the natural result and reality of life lived in our flesh which is not real LIFE. It was intended to be a very short overview, to set the stage for contrast with the wonderful things to come. They are called "The Gospel" the Good News (Grk). Don’t we all love GOOD NEWS! It gives us a new "lease on life" as the saying goes. And the saying is very accurate in this regard. Life is everything. It is the most important subject we can imagine.
Life is a word we hear in some context almost every day, and it is used so often as to be almost a casual subject. We all possess it of course, or I would not we stroking the keys on this computer, and you would not be viewing it. Its part of what we call LIFE - breathing in and out. Moving about. Living. Relating to others. Doing. Enjoying. Accomplishing. So many adjectives we could use, and never exhaust the subject of "life". Without comprehending all the physical-psychological, ethereal, and spiritual aspects of just what life IS, we know when we have it. We all experience this nebulous and almost indefinable condition called LIFE! We take it so for granted - until it is threatened...Our physical lives are given to us in order to experience just a taste of what "life" IS, but not the full reality of it. We experience many of what we call "bad" things as well as "good" things in this physical life. This provides contrast. But all of us desire a life with all GOOD and no BAD - that would be real life indeed!
There is extremely "good news" about LIFE - that is now awaiting you...
In that garden, the "Garden of Eden", was another "tree". Very simply and unpretentiously, it was called ‘The Tree of Life". What a contrast, even in terminology, between "tree of the knowledge of good and evil", and "tree of live". It amounts to a contrast between death and life, a theme sprinkled throughout scripture (Deuteronomy 30:19). Notice part of a verse in Genesis mentioned in the previous two articles, that seem like an afterthought:
"And he Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us [the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit], to know [how to distinguish between] good and evil and blessing and calamity; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever--" (Genesis 3:22 AmpBible) It is curious that the statement in the Hebrew is an unfinished thought. A footnote on this comments: "(a) This sentence is left unfinished, as if to hasten to avert the tragedy suggested of men living on forever in their now fallen state." This is he second time the "tree of life is mentioned in God’s Word - the first being in Genesis 2:9 in conjunction with "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". Apparently, if Adam and Eve had not sinned by eating of the other tree, they would have eventually been allowed to eat of the "Tree of Life" - and "live forever"! It is heartbreaking to realized what was LOST! What was lost not only for Adam and Eve, for all of creation and humanity. That is the BAD NEWS. This world, in the main, is still partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It still remains available to all, as all are descendents of Adam and Eve.
However, the "Tree of Life" remains also!
So there IS HOPE, pictured by the "other tree" which remains. It has not been cut off forever from being accessible - this is the GOOD NEWS! It is only available because of one event - when Jesus the Christ was put on the CROSS. That cross was first a "tree", and is so referred to in the New Testament. "And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from THE TREE, and laid him in a sepulcher" (Acts 13:29). "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on THE TREE, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).
WE NOW HAVE ACCESS TO THAT TREE!
Jesus Christ has MADE it accessible by sanctifying a "tree", and turning His cross into the 'TREE OF LIFE"! The "flaming sword" that guarded the tree of life of Genesis has now been turned the OTHER WAY, and now points TOWARD Jesus on the cross, now our tree of eternal life (John 14:6)!
For many years during my early walk with God, I was puzzled at the heavy emphasis on the CROSS. So many Christian hymns, worship songs and music spoke over and over about "the cross"! Now I feel that I have come to realize and understand more deeply WHY...His cross is the "tree of life" for all, now...all of the world... you, and me, everyone who will come to it (John 3:16). Jesus turned the flaming sword away from being a threat to mankind, into a flaming sword of the Holy Spirit pointing the WAY - the ONLY Way - to eternal life. His blood shed on that "cross" turned it into our "TREE OF LIFE". What He accomplished on that cross now ENLIVENS it - the cross now, allegorically, "lives" for you and for me. The cross, that has now been transformed into a "Tree of Life", is a living tree! As such, it BEARS FRUIT! "But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law that can bring a charge]" (Galatians 5:22-23). Those who partake of Jesus Christ's tree of life, are also considered to have "crucified" their fallen natures so that they can bear fruit of righteousness. "And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires" (v. 24).
Notice in Revelation: "He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7). The glorified and ascended Jesus Christ is writing to one of the seven churches, and specifically states that repentance is necessary if His audience is to be allowed to eat of the "tree of life" in the "Paradise of God". There is little doubt that this is a reference to the first Paradise, the original "Garden of Eden" as being typical of the eternal Paradise of chapter 22. Also notice: "Through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations". (Revelation 22:2). In the new Jerusalem, there will be the "tree of life" of which the NATIONS may partake of. Notice also that the word "tree" is singular, but is described as being on each side of the river...there is only ONE "tree of LIFE"!
The WAY BACK to the Tree of Life that was once CLOSED is now revealed. It now says: "OPEN"! -but it was opened by a very high price (1 Corinthians 6:20)!
Someone has observed that every major Christian revival in history was preceded by a great outbreak of Christian fervor and emphasis on the "blood" - the blood that Christ shed on the cross, which turned it into the "Tree of Life" for us. I do not doubt that this is essentially true. We have the absolute assurance that without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Access to ETERNAL LIFE has been granted...by the BLOOD...on a cross sanctified unto a Tree of Life, by the Lamb of God. Now, when you and I die, as described in Ecclesiastes 12, it does not have to be ALL OVER. But the penalty AND reward are the same as originally in the Garden of Eden. The wages (results) of sin, of rejecting Christ's payment for our right to partake of the Tree of Life, is continued confinement to the world outside the garden, and finally ETERNAL death (Romans 6:23).
Paradise was lost...for all of us. But the way back has been purchased by Christ's blood on a cross, that He has made our "TREE OF LIFE". By this, and more, He has PROVEN how much He and God the Father loves us (John 3:16). They have given us a little taste of "life" now, but we can be resurrected to experience REAL LIFE - not just for a few years, but always (John 6:47,54)!
Will you turn from eating of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"? This is the way of eternal death. We have all eaten of it, no matter who we are (Romans 3:23). Turn now toward the Tree of Life and eat of it, and LIVE FOREVER. A choice must be made - by me, by you, by all (Deuteronomy 30:19). If we make no choice, then the wrong choice has been made - automatically. There is only one reason Jesus asks you to reject the tree of death and to choose Him, the spiritual "Tree of Life" - it is because He has loved you so much, and still loves you so very much. Walk away from your life of living off the fruit of that other tree. Commit your whole being to Jesus Christ, and He will feed you the fruit of REAL LIFE! When you do, you will finally be FREE - free from the results of living outside the "garden" of eternal life. Turn the care of your life over to Him. For He cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7)! You can then take into your heart and spirit the very life of Christ Himself (John 6:47-51) He has CONFIRMED it, by DYING on a "tree"...HE will now be your "TREE OF LIFE"!
"Blessed (happy and to be envied) are those who clean their garments (repent of their sins), that they may have the authority and right to the TREE OF LIFE and to ENTER THROUGH THE GATES INTO THE CITY" (Revelation 22:14).
My prayer is that this will be GOOD NEWS to you...so good, that you will CHOOSE LIFE - life that will never end - in PARADISE! (Luke 23:43)
"Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live" - John 11:25 (AmpBible).
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