Saved to the uttermost

Wherefore remember, that ye being in times past, Gentiles in the flesh, who are (now) called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands, Eph 2:11.

We all know what the word circumcision means, but the circumcision “made by hands”? Is there any other kind?

Actually, there is. Colossians 2:9-12

In Christ dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And we are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands…

The definition of that kind if circumcision is given in the remainder of verse 11….”in putting off the body of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ….. and you being dead in your sins, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven all your tresspasses. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us…

Hold up. What does that mean? Ordinances of handwriting against us? Let’s let scripture interpret scripture here.

Ephesians 2:15 says ” (Christ) having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances for to make in Himself, one new man

This refers to the fact that at the cross, Jew and Gentile were no longer divided apart from each other, the Jews being the only ones with access to God via the priesthood and tabernacle or temple.

Christ fulfilled the law, and extended salvation to the Gentiles. The Jews were never saved by keeping the law. They were given the law to show them their guilt and need for a savior, but when He came, they were not looking for a savior, but a political leader who would finally give them their “rightful place” by defeating their enemies. They will still be looking for that when Antichrist cones.

The Ten Commandments were originally written with God’s own hand, but Moses broke that set of tablets in anger when he saw the people worshipping that golden calf. So God had Moses chisel up the second set. Kinda like how scribes have preserved scripture by hand painstakingly copying it to the jot and tittle, even though none of the original scrolls, the ones written by the apostles own hands,  have survived.

The circumcision of flesh not made by hands, refers to the spiritual surgical cutting off ( by God) of the flesh from the spirit, with the fine honed edge of that two-edged sword, the Word.

We practice water baptism because it is a recognition and visible representation of what happens at salvation. We are baptized into His life, and raised unto or into His resurrection.

Imagine salvation as a bowl. A place where an imaginary ever-present-tense crucifixion of Christ takes place.

When we call upon the name if Christ for salvation, imagine God literally picking you up, carrying you over to that bowl, and pouring you into Jesus, where you go through the Crucifixion inside the body of Christ, on the cross of Christ, while He bleeds, suffers, and lays down His life. Pretend you are something like a bacteria or parasite. Some infinitesimally tiny organism, in His body. When He gives up His life, You die, “in Him/with Him/Through Him. When He is buried, you are buried. When He is resurrected, you are resurrected.

This is all “the view from God’s perspective”.

As far as He is concerned, that is pretty much how it went, since He is not subject to time, it matters not that you got saved in 1990, and your grandma got saved in 1950. From where God sits, it all happened “at the same moment”.

To God, the Crucifixion is ever present-tense in that it is the actual means by which both the salvation of Old Testament saints, and New Testament saints, and even future tribulation saints will all have been saved. At some point, an angel will announce that “time shall be no more” and guess what? God is already standing in that timeless place. Time is a place, in that sense. Heaven and God are in a different “place”, outside of time. When we die or get raptured, we will all go to some region of that “place”. Hell is also in that “place”. The scriptures call that “place” eternity.

Flesh cannot enter that place. Maybe it would incinerate like a rocket re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. We don’t know, but this body is not fitting for the “physics” of that other place.

The human is a ” trinity” of sorts, like God is. (Obviously, not exactly the same). We are a spirit ( life force, if you will), wrapped in a soul, that travels around in a vehicle we call “a body”.

The spirit is that part of us with which we relate with others, including God, but our spirit cannot relate with ( know)God, when we are unsaved because the spirit we are born with, is dead. Stillborn because of a condition God calls “sin”.

Our soul, another part of the human “trinity”, is the part with which we emote and want, the “will” . It is self-Centered by nature, and it is the “heart” we speak of when we say “I feel in my heart, that this is the best course of action”.

But the scriptures actually tell us our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, Jeremiah 17:9.  The soul is the part through which we have self consciousness.

The body is that physical flesh with which we can interact with this physical world.

Psalm 139: 16 tells us the soul and spirit are distinct, and separable.

When we get saved, God performs a “spiritual operation” that puts off the body from the spirit like taking off clothing.

The new Spirit, Christ in form of Holy Spirit, moves in, replacing the dead spirit we were born with. There is spirit life, and there is body life.

One can have body-life, (temporal) and not eternal life in the sense of being connected to the source of all life.

Unsaved= dead spirit in live body.

Saved = living spirit in dead flesh.

The flesh becomes “dead” at salvation in the same sense the spirit was “dead” before Christ came in. Dead, but not dead to the uttermost, so to speak. Not insofar as the whole tripartite human, anyway.

The flesh is dead to the spirit, because the spirit is forever-after sealed in salvation. If we died in Jesus, and our flesh died to the new man/new spirit in us, how can anyone but God possibly reverse that process? And He has said He will not. So that’s that! He calls it the new birth for a reason. I personally have never heard of one instance of getting unborn in all of human history.

But where does the soul fit into all of this?

(It’s Christmas season, so I hope you guys won’t mind a gingerbread man.)

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The soul as middleman

Salvation delivers us from the penalty of sin, which is death.

But similar to how a bird born and raised in a cage, does not know it can fly free when the door is removed, our soul does not just automatically comprehend that it no longer is bound to the whims of the flesh. That has to be learned.

James 1:21 tells us to lay off all filthiness and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.

He is not addressing lost people. He is talking to believers. This is addressing that part of salvation we often refer to as sanctification.

Thy Word hath I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11.

Our saved, sealed spirit is untouchable to Satan. But he can vex our soul, like he did the “just man” Lot, and he can afflict our body like he did to Job.

There is this thing called authority. In this age, God has allowed Satan to be “the god of this world” with power to deceive, to spiritually blind people, to kill, to destroy lives even.

But there is authority we give satan too. Authority we yield to Satan when we don’t or won’t yield to and obey God. Disobedience moves us out from under His covering. It is implied permission, from Satan’s standpoint. God’s too, for that matter. It is not His problem we don’t read the whole book!

The soul is not sealed up. It has doors, or gates. Our 5 senses. The eyes are a gate. If we view filth, we usher in darkness. If we listen to wordly, satan-inspired music, we are giving the devil access to our soul through the ears. He can’t kill our soul, life is in the Spirit. (Our soul almost seems to hover betwixt life and death.) But he can contaminate it. He never stops whispering his lies. He can discourage  you, throw your past up in your face, tell you  that you won’t make it, ruin your testimony, besmirch the reputation of Christ through us. He can lie to us and foul up our perspectives and attitudes. But only because we let him.

Like the taste of beer and wine? Like the feel of moving to the beat, flaunting the body and making a show of self and bearing of flesh? You have that freedom, but there is a cost, a trade- off.  Not because God is punishing, though he will chasten His own, He will allow you to lay in the bed that you made, as our elders used to say, so be careful. What you sow, you reap. He is not interested in rescuing us. He wants to redeem and restore. I refer to spiritual laws here, principles. Not dogma. Not legalism.

When we choose faith, it is counted as righteousness. When we believe satan’s lies, contrary to what God promises, we believe Satan over God. That is not righteousness! We make God out to be a liar when we do that. Not on purpose, but same result.

Remember, the soul is the seat of emotions, feelings, affections, desires, and will. The body is just a vehicle and container suited to interaction in this present world. Our colleges are churning out young people who have been taught feelings are the arbiter of personal truths.  (Thus Alexandria Occasio-Cortez in congress, threatening Trump Jr over a meme)

When we get saved, our Spirit is set apart permanently from this world. Our flesh can never be redeemed, that is why it will be changed at the last trump. But the soul requires daily setting-apart and maintenance.

That is the principle of separation from the world and it’s ways, philosophies, language, music, and behavior, etc.

That means effort. Effort at what? Attendance at church? Serving at the soup kitchen? Handing out tracts?

No. Those things are a whole different arena. If we don’t tend to the soul, we are of no use in all those other endeavors we call “serving the Lord”

What good is an untrained and unarmed army?

What good are  riot police who get themselves maimed or killed because they did not bother to put on body armor and use their shield?

What good is a math teacher who did not study math herself?

What good is a doctor who did not learn anatomy?

What good is an engineer who never studied the laws of physics?

Our soul is “saved” daily by engrafting of the Word. (James 1:21). The Word is our armor, our life coach, our weapon, our food, our safety. The shoes of the gospel, that is the Word. The shield of faith, that comes from hearing the Word. The belt of truth? Word. The breastplate of righteousness. Word. The Sword of the Spirit, W.O.R.D.!!!!

Are we seeing a pattern here? I am not sure, but there seems to be an important message in here somewhere.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses accuse Christians of making our Bible into an idol. Ha. An idol is a false god. Shows what they know! Our Word is a person who is God.

The more of the Word in you, the more “sealed up” and impermeable your soul is, for as long as you continue to take it in.

If you add dirty water to your glass, it gets cloudy again. Add clean water, and eventually it gets clearer. Get the clean water as often as possible.

Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11

Abstain from fleshly lusts ( fleshly desires of any kind, not just sexual), that war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11.

This us the good fight of faith Paul challenged us to fight. Not against the evil of this lost world, God already won that, hands down! (Though if salt loses it’s saltiness, it is not good for preserving, and light hid under a bushel, or dimmed by lack of tending, is not helpful either) No, that fight refers, at least in part, to the fight against letting evil in, against the temptation to take it in partake of it,  to stop being diligent.

Just as our battle is not with flesh and blood, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.The things of the world are fleshy, the things of the Spirit are of the Spirit. They do not coexist. They do not cooperate. They are mutually exclusive, and mutually destructive of one another. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good! Romans 12:21.

When we read, study, meditate on the Word, listen to scripture and God-centered music, when we pray and praise, we seal up the cracks in the mortar, so to speak.

You are either going one direction or the other at any given time. And until we are in our glorified bodies and free from the very presence of sin, we will exist on that ever-changing continuum.

One step forward, two steps back. Mountain peaks, followed by the next valley our road takes us through. Making progress one day, losing ground the next. I hate that overused term “backsliding”. Especially when I am backsliding! ( Can I get a witness?)

Yep, as long as we gotta drag around this old Earth,  lugging that dead carcass, it has the potential to trip us up. That’s why Romans 6:11-13 is in the Bible. Reckon it dead.

“Reckon” is an accounting term. God reckons us righteous, even though we are made that way with the righteousness of Someone Else.

Present tense. We are justified. We are saved. We are righteous. But not with any righteousness that springs from ourselves.

On this side of time, some of that saving work is yet future, but God calls those things which are not, as though they were (Romans 4:17) because from where He stands, they are!!!

Where He stands it is always “now”.

We won’t catch up until we are “caught up” (harpazo). Only then will we be “saved to the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25).

Until then…

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thes 5:23.