BULAMANRIVER: Mission, Vision, and Value Statements, By Kiang P Lee

“Live the Triune Life…Change the World”

Greetings Friends! In this post I would like to share with our readers our Mission, Vision, and Value Statements so you are well aware of who we are, what is our mission, why is our mission purpose important, and how, where, and when do we carry out our mission.

The Bulamanriver Mission, Vision, and Values are shown below in abbreviated form, and follows with a detail exposition of each.

FATHERSHIP:

Mission: To Proclaim the Gift of the Father’s Love for Mankind. The Mission of the Father is to induct humans into the Love and Being of the Triune God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the “Triune Life,” in place of the “solitary life” which fallen man inherited from Satan. (Matt.28:18-20; John 3:16) The essence of God’s Love encapsulates every fiber of human expression in which he finds completeness in being.

SONSHIP:

Vision: To Disseminate the Good News of the Gift of Jesus Christ as Savior Who makes the “TriuneLife” possible for and in man. The Vision is Jesus frees man from the prison of the “solitary life” of the devil into the “Triune Life” of God. Jesus liberates us from the prison of fear and bondage of the fallen “solitary life” of the devil, and brings us into the life of Love and Freedom in the “Triune Life.” (John 14:6; John 3:16. 8:36; Rom.3:21-22, KJV; Gal.2:16, KJV; John 8:36)

FRIENDSHIP:

Value: To Articulate the gift of Friendship of the Holy Spirit in man. The Value is the Holy Spirit articulates the “Triune Life” on the human level by living in man as His temple. (1 Cor.6:19; John 16:13-14) Man is the riverbed and the Holy Spirit is the living waters which make man the BULAMANRIVER – the personification of the “Triune Life.” (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor.13)

In essence, the “Triune Life” is a person in whom the Mission, Vision, and Value, of the Triune God resides and lived-out. Hence, the work of the BULAMANRIVER in the world is encapsulated in the slogan: “Live the Triune Life…Change the World”

Exposition:

Let me first explain what the name of this blog site, BULAMANRIVER, means. Essentially, it explains who we are, what we do, and how and why we do it.

Cover of Book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living”

The etymology of BULAMANRIVER comes from three words: ‘bula,’ ‘man,’ and ‘river.’  Bula is a Fijian word which means “life.” (Fiji is an independent South Pacific Island nation). Man is God’s creation in whom God breathed the “breadth of life” or the spirit of life in man. (Gen. 2:7) River is the metaphor for God’s Love flowing in humans. (John 7: 37-39; Rom.5:5)

Therefore, Bulamanriver, conveys the meaning that “man has true life walking in God’s Love.” Of course, these three words also have biblical derivative: ‘life’ (bula) is a gift from God to humans (Gen.2:7); ‘man’ was created in God’s image and likeness (Gen.1:26-27), and ‘river’ pictures the flow of God-life in the human-life. (John 7:37-39) So, the Bulamanriver can be summed up from the following passage of scripture:

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.”  He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him” – John 7:37-39. 

The above passage expounds BULAMANRIVER scripturally as follows: man is the riverbed, who is the receptacle for the “living waters” of the Spirit of God (God-life/Love)which brings trues lifehe shares with his fellow humans. (Rom.5:5) Therefore, BULAMANRIVER is the depiction of the Christian believer. You, are the BULAMANRIVER. You are the riverbed, God’s receptacle, in which the “living waters” of the Spirit (Love) flow giving true life to your once dead spirit which the devil gave humans through Adam’s fall. (John 3:3,5)

Having explained the meaning, and having seen that You are the BULAMANRIVER, let me now spell out its Mission, Vision, and Value statements.

Mission

The Mission of the Bulamanriver Trinitarian Ministry is founded upon the words Jesus commissioned His followers shortly before He was received by angels to return to His Father in heaven, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt.28:18-20)

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The Trinity-Man Called to Enter and Live the “Triune Life” in Christ (Rublev’s Icon of Trinity, Wiki Commons)

The thrust of Jesus’ mission is founded upon what this passage authorizes the disciples and His followers to do: to “baptize humans into the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” It means to induct humans into the Life of the Triune God. It means to bring believers into the “Triune Life” of God. The image and Being of the Triune God is hardwired into two basic characters of His divine nature: Love and Freedom. The Bible declares, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). And, “If the Son sets you Free, you will be Free indeed” (John 8:36). God is not a ‘solitary’ God as many assume, He is a Tri-Personal God. A “solitary” person does not know how to Love. Only those who live in community can live in Loving relationship. Because God is Tri-Personal in His Being, He is three free Persons living in unified relationship of Love. The human personality is fashioned after the three free Persons of the Tri-Personal Being of God: Father, Son, and Spirit.

Man was robbed of this “Triune Life” when Satan deceived Adam, and, introduced his own deathly “solitary life” of Fear and Bondage through sin. From then on, man was living the “solitary life” of the devil in place of the “Triune Life” of God. The “solitary life” means man does what is right in his own eyes, in place of the collaborative “Triune Life.” (Prov.12:15; 30:12; 21:2).

So, the Mission is to enlighten the human mind of the Triune nature of God, and His call to be immersed in the “Triune Life” and so be fashioned and conformed in God’s image of Love and Freedom. (Gen.1:26-27, Rom.8:29) God’s creation in the universe and upon this earth is immersed in His Love we see all around us including man, but unlike everything created, man has to use his mind to reciprocate His Love; thereby, man has to exercise his God-given Freedom and choose to Love God through Christ.

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Jesus Prays The Disciples Live the “Triune Life” at the Last Supper-John 17:20-23 (Wiki Commons)

Vision 

The Vision explains the why and how of the Mission. The Vision is to bring humans into the nature of Love and Freedom of the “Triune Life” of God by freeing man from the prison of Fear and Bondage, the “solitary life,” Satan has imposed upon and incarcerated man ever since the fall of Adam. How is this done? Through faith!

Paul said, “He (God the Father) is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins” (Eph.1:7, NLT). By believing in Jesus Christ as personal Savior, man is immediately and directly freed from the bondage of Satan, and brought into God’s Loving union. In the realm of God, faith produces miracles. (Eph.1:13-14) Faith makes the reality of God happen in the spirit world. Just as faith imprisoned man because Adam and Eve believed the devil’s deceptive word, so we are freed from the devil when we believe in God’s Word (Jesus). This is the way God the Father has pre-arranged to bring man back to Himself – for “it is impossible to please God without faith” (Heb.11:6). Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the way to Love and Freedom. 

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Crucifixion of Jesus as mankind’s Savior and Mediator (Eugene Delacroix Wiki Commons)

So, the Vision of our work is to continue the work of Jesus to Free mankind from Fear and Bondage to the Love and Freedom man can experience in the “Triune Life” of God through faith in Jesus. Jesus is the Vision.

Value

The Value explains how we share and carry out the Vision the Bulamanriver Trinitarian Ministry. Paul said, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Rom.8:9b) God is a Tri-Personal God, thus, if you receive Jesus you receive the Holy Spirit as well, for both are hypostatically One God with the Father. The Holy Spirit is the core ingredient of BULAMANRIVER’s (man’s) Value.

Again quoting John, we see how the values of the “Triune Life” is inculcated in the believer through the Spirit’s move, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.”  He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him” (John 7:37-39). File:Gezi2.jpg

Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit (Pic: Wiki Commons)

With the Spirit as the core of the believer’s Value statement, He moves in us to accomplish God the Father’s purpose in His Son, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him. After God made that decision of what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name. After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself. And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun” (Rom.8:29-30). Paul explains the Value the Spirit brings in the Love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. This is the heart and essence of the Values we have in Christ which the Spirit makes happen in the believer. (John 16:14)

So man’s intrinsic Value is the act of surrendering to the move of the Spirit in his life, and allow Him to conform the personhood of man to the image of Jesus, God’s Son. (Rom.8:29) So, the Holy Spirit is the believer’s Value.

Today, the Spirit moves in believers to make known the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world – the primary mission and vision of the BULAMANRIVER Ministry. Man uses his gifts and various forms of media to publish and make the “Triune Life” of Jesus known to the world. The “Triune Life” is the Gospel, for from it we obtain all that’s necessary to make the Gospel work come to fruition. Jesus said this in His prayer to the Father before He was crucified about the “Triune Life” they shared from eternity, which the disciples have now embraced, which will become the cornerstone in their lives to make known the Gospel known, “That all of them may be One, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me (Gospel work). I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be One as We are One (“Triune Life”)— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete (Triune) unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me (Gospel work) and have Loved them even as You have Loved Me (from eternity)” (John 17:21-23, my emphasis throughout). The Spirit moves in man which makes this unity (“Triune Life”) possible, and demonstrates BULAMANRIVER’s value proposition in the Spirit’s life.

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Human Resurrection to Immortality Inaugurated by Jesus: Man’s Ultimate Hope, and Purpose & Mission of the Gospel (Wiki Commons)

And so, in all we do, and whatever we teach, in whatever forms fo media, we are commissioned to accomplish this three-fold objective of the Mission, Vision, and Value, of the BULAMANRIVER. Go, “Live the Triune Life…Change the World!”

(Web Site Address:  http//bulamanriver.com)

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,                                                                                                                                           Your Servant in Christ

Bulamanriver: The etymology of Bulamanriver comes from three words: ‘bula,’ ‘man,’ and ‘river.’  Bula is a Fijian word which means “life.” (Fiji is an independent South Pacific Island nation) Bulamanriver is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of the life of theBulamanriver, go to my website: www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver-The Miracle of Triune Living.”

** Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27)

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.  

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information. Thank you.

FAITH AS SEEN THROUGH GOD’S “TRIUNE LENS,” BY KIANG P LEE

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” (Luk.17:5)

Greetings Friends! Have you heard people say they have a weak faith? Even the disciples asked Jesus, “Increase our faith!” We all face this dilemma in our lives when it comes to faith. What is the answer? As always, let us find our answers through the lens of God’s “Triune Life.”** It is my hope that by the end of this post you will see your faith with an enlightened mind to help you face the future with renewed confidence in God our Father and His Son, Jesus. There’s an interesting point about faith that’s worthy of note in Luke 17. 

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Faith as Small as a Mustard Seed (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Faith is both a noun and a verb. As a noun there is only one faith. Paul said this, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph.4:4-6). As a verb, faith can be utilized various ways, in this post I would like to share two fundamental meanings of faith and its application. 

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (verb) He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’ (Luk.17:5-10). The parable of the mustard seed appears in parallel passages in other Gospels, but only Luke’s account is unique in that it carries the account of the master and the servant. 

Faith as a Grain – Quality not Quantity:

The disciples asked for faith in the sense of quantifying faith! By saying, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed,” Jesus is talking about the quality of faith, rather than the quantity of faith. We will see what I mean by “quality” a little later. In this passage from Luke, your Bible has a pause between V.5-6 and V.7-10 to indicate two unrelated topics. V.5-6 is about faith, and V.7-10 is a parable about the Master and Servant. But the Bible in its original format had no verse or chapter breaks we see in today’s version. Verses and chapters were introduced to help us navigate through different parts of the Bible. But it has its pros and cons, and one weakness is we are blinded by missing the context. Reading a small part is not always helpful when the author intended a book to be read through to the end. So, this passage speaks about a single topic, not two unrelated issues. It is about faith and reads from verse 5 to 10. The parable was simply Jesus way of explaining the meaning of the “mustard seed faith.” So, what has faith to do with the “master/servant” relationship?

Jesus Teaching Disciples the Mustard Seed Faith (Wiki Commons)

Two Faiths:

Jesus explains the ‘mustard seed faith’ in the context of the “Master/Servant” faith (verb), because it is distinct from but an essentially part of the believer’s “Father/Offspring” (Son/Daughter) faith (noun). The faith we express in terms of the “Father/Offspring” relationship has to do with our adoption into God’s eternal family through Jesus. One is foundational and unmoved (“Father/Child”), while the other is functional and mobile (“Master/Servant”). By ‘functional’ I mean something that is mobile and changes with time according to God’s move in the believer’s life, yet it has eternal  ramification. In one, God is our Father, while He is Master in the other.

What we see in our lives is identical with Jesus own life where His faith is applied in two contextual realities: the foundational “Father/Son” relationship He had from eternity with His Father, and the functional “Master/Servant” relationship in His role as Savior and Redeemer. The faith we express in the “Master/Servant” relationship is no different and has to do with God’s Work, principally as it relates to the work of the Gospel. God’s Work involves His labor of Love to save humanity from sin and eternal death. The oft quoted passage from John says, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17). That in a nutshell, is the very heart and soul of God’s Work. So, there are two faiths working interchangeably where one is built on top of the other and mutually dependent. One is expressed in form of a noun (“Father/Son”) relationship, and the other is a verb (“Master/Servant”) relationship.

Finding Answers Through the Triune Lense

As we dig into this passage we do so wearing the lens of God’s “Triune Life”** so we can arrive at the right explanation of this faith, or for that matter any other topic in the Bible. Jesus brings each of us into the picture of this “Master/Servant” faith: God is Master and we are His servants. Then Jesus asks, if we had a hired house servant, would we regard him as master and treat him with all the courtesies as a servant would in a role reversal? Is it okay that the master do the work he has paid a servant to do? Is that how this faith works? Of course not!

But what Jesus was getting at is, are we true servants, or do we sometimes regard God like a servant and we are the master? If we have initiated a role reversal to exist in our relationship with God, whether inadvertently or ignorantly, then the faith which keeps the “Master/Servant” relationship functioning properly has been compromised and made powerless and incapable. But if this “Master/Servant” faith is functioning correctly, even though it is small as a mustard seed, it will be powerful. 

Bear in mind, there are two faiths - intuitively we tend to overemphasize God’s role as a caring Father who provides for His children, and much less as our Master who wants us to participate in His Work. Humans are creatures of comfort and habit with the tendency to follow the path of least resistance. So we are more inclined towards His Fatherly qualities. As Father we tend to ask Him for our many mundane needs, but do we express the same enthusiasm for His role as Master and faithfully responding as servants in His Work of the Gospel. We assume we are entitled to a life without obstacles and setbacks as children, and we become perplexed not understanding the ground (faith) we are standing upon in such circumstances.

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The modern day so-called prosperity gospel is one such instance of regarding God as servant who is the source for all our wants and desires, minimizing or entirely failing at the servanthood role. Do we see the Christian life like a vacation cruise and God’s part is to indulge us with the blessed life of plenty? We exploit passages out of context like, “Faith is the evidence of things not seen,” where the “unseen things” are cravings for the material and sensual? (Heb.11:1) We just made God a servant for our selfish appetites and ambitions, and have become masters in the process.

When that happens, what we are seeing is the human version of faith which makes this role reversal a reality. But as we keep our pair of “Triune Life”** lens firmly in place, we’ll find that it is an altogether different faith which keeps the “Master/Servant” relationship healthy between God and the Christian. But though this role reversal may convey the outward appearance of the material and sensual, its underlying stimulus is spiritual self-righteousness (“solitary life”) due to deficiency of the Holy Spirit (“Triune Life”**). (Eph.5:18)  

Servanthood Faith    

The “Master/Servant” faith starts small like a mustard seed because servanthood is something which grows from a seed to a fruitful tree for the benefit of others. In the parable of the mustard seed Jesus taught, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matt.13:31-32). The “Master/Servant” faith maybe minuscule, but as long as it is a genuine article, the seed has the quality and character in its nature to do great things. Yes, Jesus was the greatest Servant of all even though He was a Son. He is called the “Suffering Servant” (Isa.53). As a servant, Paul said of Jesus, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience (servanthood) from the things which He suffered” (Heb.5:8, NASB, emphasis mine).

Jesus – The “Suffering Servant” 

A servant’s life usually takes effort, at times coupled with courage, humility, and unshakable determination, compared to living the sheltered life of a son or daughter. We live the abundant life as children enveloped in God’s incomprehensible Love. In response, children take responsibility for their Father’s Love by becoming Love themselves as He is Love. John makes this point clear for God’s children, “But anyone who does not Love does not know God, for God is Love…We know how much God Loves us, and we have put our trust in His Love. God is Love, and all who live in Love live in God, and God lives in them” (1 John 4:8,16; also 1 Cor.13; Gal.5:16-26). 

However, as a servant we may suffer hardships for the moment, but it is considered negligible when compared to the glorious future our Father and Master has in store  for us. (Rom.8:18) Jesus came as a “Suffering Servant,” and in His final moments at the cross, He cried to His Father, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt.27:46). Yes, as a servant we may feel seemingly forsaken at times, but we have His sure promise, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb.13:5b).

Before His death, Jesus taught His disciples the attitude of a servant by washing their feet. On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and secured our faith for all eternity. (1 Cor.15:17) As a servant Jesus fulfilled His Father’s work of redeeming mankind from sin, and endowing humanity with His Spirit to assure immortality in His eternal kingdom. (John 3:16; Tit.2:13-14; Rom.8:11)

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 Jesus Teaching Disciples Meaning of Servanthood and Humility by Washing Their Feet (Pic: Wiki Commons)

The faith based upon the “Father/Child” relationship is the rock foundation upon which the “Master/Servant” relationship is built. (Matt.7:24-27) However, the major portion of our lives will be lived out in the “Master/Servant” environment – the structure above ground which rests upon its foundation (“Father/Child”). The foundation is “unseen” but sure, and the structure upon it gives meaning, purpose, and destiny, in the believer’s life. The structure (“Master/Servant”) puts “meat” to our family responsibility by which we will be judged and rewarded:- ”His Master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!’” (Matt.25:23).

So, it goes without saying how vital this faith will be for us all, minuscule it may be from the outset. Our occupations and professions comes under the umbrella of the “Master/Servant” relationship. Paul said, “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were Working for the Lord rather than for people” (Eph.6:7). Your whole life is a platform for the Work of the Lord and His Gospel. You are the living, walking, talking, Gospel of Jesus. Peter tells us how  to use our platform, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord (Master). Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet.3:15, my emphasis). We must be careful to not turn our profession (gifts) for mere mundane material/financial benefits, for Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need (for this physical life)” (Mat..6:33, also 1 Cor.15:19).

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The Cross of Jesus – Symbol of the “Suffering Servant” (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Jesus – Still Serving Man as High Priest

For the most part, while we are God’s children, most of life is about being a servant. Therefore, it is imperative we have the prerequisite faith to help us live the role of a servant. The servanthood life is the extension of Jesus’ own life. Let’s keep in mind that Jesus’ role as Savior did not end at the cross, that was just the beginning. He continues to perform His role as Savior today as High Priest in heaven interceding on man’s behalf for all his faults and transgressions. So, He continues to serve mankind from heaven and through us as His servants on earth. (Heb.4:14-15; Eph.3:16-19) Servanthood begins with faith – the “Master/Servant” relationship is the engine of the servanthood faith. It is initially given in its minutest form (mustard seed) upon our conversion and grows from there into a tree.  

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High Priest in Israel in Full Ceremonial Regalia – Jesus Continues to Serve Mankind in His Role as High Priest in Heaven Today (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

Growing the “Mustard Seed Faith” in “Good Soil”

How do we deal with our “mustard seed faith” and make it grow? With our “Triune Life”** lens firmly in place, let’s see the first and most worthy thing we can do: we sow our “mustard seed faith” on good soil so it will bring forth a bountiful harvest. What is the good soil? Jesus gave a parable about the sower where the seeds fell on four different soil types (Matt.13:1-23). Jesus explains the sower is God the Father, the seed is God’s Word (Jesus), the four soil types represent people and how they respond to God’s Word. But it is only the “good soil” which receives the seed faith and brought forth fruit as Matthew records, “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matt.13:8).

Now, according to this parable, your “faith seed” (Word) is actually Jesus’ own personal faith, not our weak human faith. He is the personification of God’s Word – the ”mustard seed faith.” That explains why it can move a mountain, despite the fact it is small as a mustard seed. (Matt.17:20) Paul affirms how we take ownership of the only workable faith a servant can have to do his Master’s work, saying, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20, KJV). In another passage Paul reminds us, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe.” (Rom.3:22, AKJV) 

Mustard Seed – The Faith of Jesus

So, the “mustard seed faith” in Luke 17 is the faith of Jesus sown in you, the “good soil.” A pertinent word about perception and mindset, the “good soil” is not conveying the goodness of the human heart – that is what a person wearing the “solitary life” lens would see and like to believe. If anything the human heart is rotten to the core through and through. (see Jer.17:9; Mar.7:20-23) But rather the “good soil” (you) is the work of the Holy Spirit. He supplies the “living waters,” and prepares the “good soil” (you) to receive the seed (Jesus’ faith) sown by the Father. (John 7: 37-39; Gal.2:20). 

By having the ”Triune Life”** mindset (and lens), we are always asking how each individual Person of the Tri-Personal God is involved with our lives and salvation. The Father and Son cannot work on their own without the Spirit for they are of One substance and act as One. The “Master/Servant” faith (mustard seed) is always Jesus own personal faith. The “good soil” (man) is always the work of the Spirit. Therefore, only the Spirit (good soil/man) can receive Jesus’ faith (mustard seed) and give growth and true life. For there is no other way for the “Master/Servant” relationship to germinate and grow in humans except within God’s “Triune Life.”**

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Planting the Mustard Seed Faith in “Good Soil” (Pic: Wiki Commons)

So, rather than quantifying faith as it relates to the disciples’ question, Luke qualifies faith by personifying it as Jesus’ own faith in you. In all of this, we see God’s “Triune Life”** in motion: The Father sows the seed of His Son’s faith in the good soil (man) which the Spirit has prepared through watering. 

Human Faith Vs Jesus’ Faith 

Many Christians today do not know how to live “Master/Servant” relationship. If they are, they are trying to do it on their terms with their human faith, and it can never be done. And this is the crux of the problem as to why many believers say their faith is weak. It is weak because it is still our human faith and unsuited for the task of a true servant. The believer is still viewing life through the lens of his human “solitary life.” He must replace his “solitary life” lens with God’s “Triune Life”** lens. (Read more about the human faith at http://bulaman.webblogwidget.com/?p=2811).

This is what Jesus meant when He commissioned His followers to make disciples, “Baptize (induct) them in (into the life of) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matt.28:19, emphasis mine). This is foundational! Being baptized means to be “immersed” into God’s “Triune Life”** in a literal and real spiritual sense. If we do not get it right at this elementary level, then the “Master/Servant” structure being built on the foundation is flawed and will be found wanting. (Matt.7:24) We will find out soon enough our human faith is inadequate to do God’s Work. It is going to be the faith of Jesus, or nothing. It is the human faith which regards God as servant and man as master. It is man’s self-centered ego that is trying to execute what only the Holy Spirit can do in man.

Faith Turns to Gift and Calling 

Jesus’ own faith (mustard seed) is made reality in man by the gift of the Holy Spirit, who in turn makes us His dwelling (temple) so He can always keep us as “good soil” for Jesus’ living faith. (John 16:13-15; 1 Cor.3:16; 6:19) The Spirit empowers each believer to embrace his/her calling with the accompanying gift to do the Work of God. Paul clarifies the connection between grace, faith and gift, saying, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to each of us…in proportion to our faith, let us use them” (Rom. 12:6). You can read more about man’s calling (gift/faith) to do God’s Work in a post I wrote at: http://bulaman.webblogwidget.com/?p=3145    

Servants – Called to Induct (Baptize) Believers Into the “Triune Life” of God (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, Wiki Commons)

On the eve of Jesus’ departure from the earth as He was about to be taken into heaven by an angelic host, He commissioned His followers the highest work they will do in their “Master/Servant” relationship with Jesus, His Father, and the Spirit, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:18-20). Always be cognizant of God’s  sovereignty and take hope that His purpose is absolute.   

At the end of the day, Luke tells us to reflect upon God’s grace of gifting us with the faith of His Son, and respond with humility, ”I have done everything I was told to do, I am an unworthy servant, and I have only done my duty” (Luk.17:10).

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com. Thank you for visiting.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may God bless you with the faith of Jesus His Son and may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”** as a Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,                                                                                                                                   (Your Servant in Christ)

* Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life”** – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living.”

** Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us, as opposed to the “solitary life” of human self-expression. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27)

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise. 

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic InformationThank you.

 

 

A PARABLE THROUGH “TRINITARIAN” LENS,” BY KIANG P LEE

“Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? (Mark 4:21, MSG).

Greetings Friends the world over!

Jesus was a master in the art of communication. He did this through story-telling. These stories are more commonly called parables in the Bible. He told different kinds of stories to fit the life experience and maturity of His hearers. (Mar.4:33-34) To this day His stories has continued to be told and retold in many tongues and languages. The stories have been expressed in various art forms for millions to see. Jesus said of His parables, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more” (Mar.4:24). He is saying what you hear today may not seem like what they appear to be saying, but as you mature in your faith, you will understand things in a refreshing frame of mind as never before. Hence, his parables have this timeless and ageless effect upon us.   

I find that true for me, and no doubt for all those who heed the words of Jesus. In this post, I would like to share a perspective with my readers I have come to see in Jesus’ parables (stories) which has enlightened, inspired, and refreshed me spiritually. To get a fresh perspective of Jesus parable I will explain it from the vantage point of God’s Trinitarian lens. I have said before, this blog site is dedicated to helping readers learn the art of living the “Triune Life.”**

I will use one of Jesus’ parables as a prop and cue for His other stories and hopefully we can adopt the “Triune Life”** and embrace a new understanding and refreshing way of living. In chapter 4 of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus gave a very brief but succinct parable in just a single verse. It is the parable of the lamp. He gave it in the form of a question, “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? (Mark 4:21, MSG; also Matt.5:15). Then He explains its meaning, “We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open” (V.22).

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 Parable of the Lamp under The Basket (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Let us look at this parable through the Trinitarian lens, keeping Jesus’ meaning in mind. Looking through the Trinitarian lens means we are spiritually anchored in God’s Triune nature. God is Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. The final departing words Jesus gave His disciples before He was taken by angels to heaven was His commission to “go and baptize them (believers) into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt.28:19). It means to “induct” believers into the life of the Triune God. It means to teach disciples how to live the “Triune Life.”**

God is Trinitarian, and the moment we regard and relate with Him as a ‘solitary God’ we bring Him down to our human ‘solitary’ level, and render Him powerless. Yes, man must come out of his 1-dimensional life and rise up and above to God’s 3-dimensional form of living. Although man inherit his ’solitary being’ through Adam, he was created with the potential to be a ‘Triune being’ through Jesus, and have his mind and understanding functioning on God’s level of consciousness. 

So, Jesus is both God and man, the prophesied Immanuel -”God with us.” (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23) As Jesus is homoousiosly*** (same substance) unified to the Triune Godhead, He cannot speak by any other format other than His inherent union with His Father and the Holy Spirit. The three Persons of the Triune Godhead are indivisibly One. The act of One is always the act of all Three, making every act singular.

He confirmed this saying, “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own: I listen, then I decide. You can trust My decision because I’m not out to get My own way but only to carry out orders. If I were simply speaking on My own account, it would be an empty, self-serving witness. But an independent witness confirms Me, the most reliable Witness of all” (John 5:30-32, MSG). Jesus was pointing to His Father in heaven as the reliable Witness. He came to carry out the will of the One who sent Him. He did not come to do some solitary act of His own doing. In truth it is impossible for Him to do that, for He is homoousiosly*** (of one substance) One with His Father and the Spirit.

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 Jesus Proceeds from the Triune Godhead (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity)

For humans, we have become ’solitary beings’ from Adam’s fall and have the natural tendency to look at everything as revolving around man’s self-interest. Man always sees himself as the center of the universe with all else existing for his benefit. That is how man interpret and react to everything around him. Not so with Jesus. His whole world revolves around the God who is Love in His Trinitarian Being, and His eternal bond with His Father, the Holy Spirit, and with man who was created in God’s image and Triune likeness. (Gen.1:26)

So, let us look at this one-verse parable again, and see where Jesus was coming from when He spoke out of the depth of His divine Being as He is homoousiosly*** unified to the Father and the Spirit. He spoke through His Trinitarian nature and resisted His fallen solitary human nature. That’s how he lived His earthly life, resisting the pulls of His fallen solitary nature and turning to the Father and Spirit for direction. 

The first part, “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed?”  So, the lamp, being a source of light, refers to God’s Word, and since Jesus is the personified Word of God, it speaks of Jesus. How do I know that? Well, I do not look inward in myself for the answer, but turn to the source of truth – the Bible. The Psalmist said, “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psa.119:105). John quotes Jesus as saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Lamp stands for Jesus. Now, what does the “home” represent?

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Jesus Stands at the Door of Your Life and Knocks to Enter with His Lamp (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Jesus tells each of us, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Rev.3:20). “Home” represents you the believer. Mark speaks of bringing the Lamp “home.” Paul said, “Do you not know that you are a temple (home) of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16, NASB). When God instructed ancient Israel to construct a temple in the wilderness, and later in the nation of Israel, it was a metaphor for the true temple – every human life and mankind as a whole. (Rev.21:3; 1 Cor.3:16; 1 Pet.2:5)    

The second part of the verse says, “Don’t you put it (the Lamp) up on a “table” or on the “mantel”?” But what might the “mantel” be on which the Lamp rests? The “mantel” pictures the heart of man. If the house stands for man, then the mantel represents the “heart” of man. The heart pictures our Love for God and His Son. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt.22:37). The Lamp on the mantel becomes the mantelpiece in the home. The heart becomes the spiritual resting place for the Lamp. 

There is another aspect to this one-verse parable from Mark. It has to do with the “flame” in the Lamp. A Lamp goes hand in hand with the “flame” which gives it illumination. The flame represents the Holy Spirit. Remember what Jesus said about His own Triune existence from eternity, “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own” (John 5:30). With that in mind, Jesus tells us this in another parable about the Holy Spirit:-

Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matt.25:1-13).

Schadow,FW-Die klugen und törichten Jungfrauen-2.JPGParable of the 5 Foolish & the 5 Wise Virgins with Their Lamps (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

The “oil” which gives and keeps the Lamp ablaze is the Holy Spirit. The “oil” which keeps the Lamp burning is metaphor for God’s Love which the Spirit brings into our hearts. Paul said, “For we know how dearly God Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love” (Rom.5:5). Since we are speaking of all three Persons of the Triune Godhead, so how is the Father involved in this parable? The Father is the One who owns the Lamp. He is the Holder of the Lamp. John says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (Lamp), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (Spirit)” (John 3:16; also Eph.1:13-14). Paul says, “Be filled by the Spirit” (Eph.5:18b). Yes, as one fills a lamp with oil to keep its flame burning, we are to be filled with the Spirit.

What does that mean, and how do we keep the Lamp filled with spiritual oil to keep the spiritual flames ablaze? John MacArthur, in his commentary on Paul’s admonition says the Greek word for “be filled” is plerousthe. “A literal translation of the verb would read something like “be being kept filled.” The idea is one of keeping yourself constantly filled, as you yield moment by moment to the leading of the Spirit. It fits perfectly with the process of walking by the Spirit.” He goes on to say, “This phrase is not commanding empty Christians to acquire something they don’t already have. Each of us possesses the entire Holy Spirit from the time we repent and believe: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Rom.8:9-10). (Unquote)

However, while we have all of the Spirit in each of us, Ephesian 5:18, cautions us, “And don’t get drunk with wine… but be filled by the Spirit.” It explains to us that the mere presence of the Spirit does not equate to bearing Love-fruits (flame/light) in our lives. God’s Love is the flame of the Lamp (Jesus). We can live selfishly and recklessly, but we must learn to rely upon the Spirit’s lead and follow in His steps. The Spirit will not coerce us by force of will to follow His ways, but He will always speak to us in a “still small voice” by guiding us as the prophet said, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isa.30:21).

The reason many Christians do not live fulfilled lives is because they have lost the true concept of how to relate with the Trinitarian God and His Triune activity in man, and how to have a Loving relationship that is cultivated through the “Triune Life.”** Paul’s enumeration of the fruits (flame) of the Holy Spirit show how to live and be filled with the Spirit. (1Cor.13, Love Chapter) Jesus explains in the parallel parable in Matthew 15, “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (V.16). 

The object lesson here is to view and live life as Jesus did, living the “Triune Life.”** Again we remind ourselves of Jesus’ words, “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own.” This is the opposite of the way fallen man thinks and lives. Man does not know how “to wait upon the Lord” for His answers, and fight his self-will from doing what seems right to him. Again, the Psalmist says, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord” (Psa.27:14). The prophet said, “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isa.40:31).

Jesus, who is indivisibly one with His Father and the Spirit, is not a secret to be kept under wraps. He is God’s light that is not to be kept hidden from the world. He must burn constantly as a Lamp for all to see. It is not our light, but He is the Lamp, we are not the flame of the Lamp but the Spirit is, and we are the pedestal, the mantel on which He rests for the world to look to Him through us and be saved. This is the our role in living the “Triune Life.”** In so doing, we can fill the Lamp with the oil of the Spirit which keeps Lamp continuously alight, and say as He did, “I can of myself do nothing.”

Jesus represents our outward mobility with the message of the Gospel; our Heavenly Father gives us upward mobility who gives us hope; and the Spirit provides inward mobility by sanctifying us in our hearts with Love. I hope you have found this post beneficial, and thank you for visiting.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com 

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,

Bulamanriver: The etymology of Bulamanriver comes from three words: ‘bula,’ ‘man,’ and ‘river.’  Bula is a Fijian word which means “life.” (Fiji is an independent South Pacific Island nation) Bulamanriver is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website: www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver-The Miracle of Triune Living.”     

** Triune Life: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you the Bulamanriver*. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27)

*** Homoousias (Gk.ὁμοούσιος) means “of the same substance,” “of the same essence.”  Homo means “same” and ousia means “essence.”  The term was used by Athanasius in his correct teaching of the oneness of the Father and the Son in that they are the same substance, the same essence of divinity. The term was used in the Nicene Creed (and creeds thereafter) when it described Jesus as being of the same substance as the Father in its affirmation of the Trinity. (Matt Slick, carm.org)

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.  

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information. Thank you

“VISUALIZATION, WHAT IS IT?” BY KIANG P LEE

“Visualization and Meditation is the revelatory means by which the Spirit translates the reality of God into human life and living” (Kiang P Lee, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living”) 

Warm greetings to all my readers!

What is visualization, and why is it important to our physical and spiritual well-being? Visualization is an activity of the human mind. It embraces the basic truth of our humanity that we are not merely physical beings like unthinking animals, but we are spiritual beings with minds whose purpose is to understand his surroundings, visualize, and conceptualize into reality ideas for the good and service of all. 

We have allowed the inquisitiveness and imagination of our minds to be taken over by the glamor and appeal of the latest scandal, public frenzy, or entertainment plastered all over our media. We have given our minds to other mediums such that we no longer think for ourselves. Inadvertently or through ignorance we become prisoners of our own making because we have let our sensory responses lead us instead of allowing our creativity to dominate our thinking through visualization.

And life in general seems too busy with the mundane things which occupy our daily lives that we literally live like “animals” merely to exist, and fail to live our God-intended humanity by exercising the mind through visualization. We get caught up in the daily “survival mode” of living with little or no conceptualization of life and its awesome potential of being in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27)

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The Human Mind, Created to be Exercised Through Thoughts, Visualization & Meditation (Pic: Wiki Commons)

I would like to share an excerpt from my book, “Bulamanriver* – The Miracle of Triune Living” on this vital topic of visualization and meditation:

“We stand in God’s reality as He sees us in His Son, Jesus. We have been made to enjoy living in our Father’s presence (Rom. 5:1-2, 10:4; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Ps. 16:9, 11; Neh. 8:10; John 16:24). Everything else is a constant activity to achieve that one sacred end and purpose. Having this powerful picture imprinted in our minds calls for an equally powerful visualization. Visualization comes to us by the power of the Spirit. It’s the expression of the Spirit’s revelation, and is potent because as humans we exist in a diminished state of being from God. To come to know, appreciate, and respond to God in all His magnanimity and God-ness is something humanly impossible to do. We are human, and He is divine.

“We have no inkling of His magnificence and magnitude, for we have yet to spiritually come into His glorious presence. We struggle to find the words to adequately explain Him, for there is no word in any language to define God’s all-encompassing greatness and excellence in His Love (Isa. 46:5, 40:18, 12-17; Ps. 89:6). But the Spirit searches and reveals to us the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10). Humanly speaking, to try to imagine Someone who exists in supreme omnipotence is beyond mind-boggling and can’t be done without Herald’s** (Spirit) mediation. Is there any explanation for the whole universe existing and functioning in mathematical precision and order except to reveal Himself and acknowledge He exists to give man purpose? (Ps. 8:1-4).

“The reason we can’t fathom God’s greatness is because we exist in a diametrically opposite form of existence. Our whole paradigm to life is to live for ourselves. As the prophet rightly says, “We have turned everyone to his own way. Like sheep we have gone astray” (Isa. 53:6). We speak about becoming something in life, be rich, be well-traveled, be a sports personality, be the world’s best “whatever” – you fill the blank space. God lives for others, for He is Love. Man lives for himself. He can’t begin to control what the next second, or minute, or hour of his life will bring, let alone his future. He is fully self-absorbed yet entirely inadequate. God is Love and is wholly unconditional and outgoing in all He does. The contrast is like darkness from light (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; 1 John 4:7-8, 16).

“Pursuing our dreams on our own is like entering a war zone without being properly armed for a fight. You can rest assured the enemy will not make it a walk in the park for you, yet with Christ on your side you can’t fail. God is almighty, and power is His prerogative. When He imbues man with a mind through which man can exercise power, it is still God’s power to give and also to take away (Ps. 62:11; Rom. 15:13). Without Herald,** who imbues us with God’s divine Love, and bequeaths upon us His divine image and persona, we are nothing. He is our down-payment on eternity (Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 13:3).

“It may seem we have nothing compared to Him, but in God’s reality, in His Son we have been made to become everything to Him. (2 Cor. 6:10; Col. 2:9-10) Yes, how precious His unfailing Love, and how awesome His grand plans for man. Even in the midst of this splendor, we must remember we are still living in our fallen and weak humanity. We are in a battle to live this reality from our depraved condition into our saved condition (Rom. 7:25; 8:8, 13). Its hold upon our lives, still strong and influential, should not be underestimated, nor must it be exaggerated to paralyze us. The good news is that Jesus came and forever changed God’s complexion, so there is now our humanity in God through Jesus (Immanuel). We now must focus upon our lives as Bulamanrivers,* where Jesus and the Spirit fully cover us in “living waters” and mediate on our behalf, supplying all to make us complete and abundant in every way. (Zech. 4:6)

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God is Greater than Our Minds can Fathom or Imagine, But He Gave Man His Spirit to Help Comprehend Him in a Limited but Powerful Way (Pic: Wiki Commons)

“We face an ongoing battle against the flesh (fallen self) and our archenemy, the devil. Paul outlines for us a battle plan. We are up against far more than we can handle on our own. That is why only in the life of the Bulamanriver* do we find all the resources for this daily battle (Eph. 6:10-17). The weapons of truth, righteousness, faith, peace, and our end-game are more than words, but the Personified Word, Jesus Himself. He must become our vision of everything man has always desired and wants out of life.

It is in our visualization and meditation, we learn how to apply these weapons to our specific calling and purpose. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. Visualization is not some kind of mental gymnastics or spiritual workout. It’s the revelatory means by which the Spirit translates the reality of God into human life. Vision is holding out our future in Christ and making it our reality today, so it influences our innermost being in how we think and act. Everything around us is always at work trying to disengage us from that reality. However, we have a friend in the Spirit to empower us (Matt. 6:34; Rom. 15:13; John 16:8-11, 13-14).

“God is Spirit and we are mortal, and living joyfully in His presence is a spiritual experience which affects all our physical and mental capacities (John 4:24). It is a life of joy that holds us captivated in His Love because it overwhelms us and is bigger than us. So powerful is this life we are promised that even in our adversities the joy that undergirds our lives carries us through with hopeful expectation and faith. This vision is about our shared future in Christ and how we fit into that picture as individuals. If it doesn’t become our reality as much as it is God’s reality, we will perish; slowly but surely we will perish (Prov. 29:18). The degree to which this promised life becomes our reality is the same measure of God’s realism in our lives. Vision and meditation help make our calling become reality in our lives. The pulse of our “life-gift” on earth, together with our “core-gift” of immortality, beats in unison with the one life we have in Christ and all mankind.

Meditation Is Mediation

“Vision is enhanced through meditation. To live a life of continuous miraculous manifestation calls for a reality which does not exist within the human mind, but in the life of Jesus in the heavenly courts. Regrettably, visualization and meditation is a lost art in today’s fast-paced world. We all seem to be going somewhere fast, but where we’re headed seems more an illusion than ever. In the final analysis, the gnawing question is always “what was it all for, and what tangible contribution is it making in my life?” I hope we can give an honest answer and realize that it was all a chasing after wind (Eccl. 1:14). However, God holds out the promise of His Love to man: take it and live fully in this life, and forever in unbound joy in His presence. This is the life that’s truly life (1 Tim. 6:18-19; 4:8). We need to stop and reflect. Everything else is fleeting and of no value. Jesus asked, “What kind of a deal is it to get everything you want, and lose yourself?” (Matt. 16:26, The Message). We need to meditate on those words. Meditation is really the act of mediation. We are mediating for the dream-life which comes through miraculous events in the constant reality of our life, and finally takes us into God’s eternal presence.

“The practices of Eastern religions require the mind to be “emptied.” However, in biblical visualization and meditation, instead of emptying the mind, the meditator fills his mind with the purpose and dreams of God for his life. The person mediates God’s purpose in his life through meditation, by pondering the different circumstances he’s encountered and those he thinks he will encounter in his life as a Bulamanriver.* He meditates on how he will respond to these events, with the Spirit at his side giving counsel. Only then, in real life, will he respond harmoniously with his calling and dream-life. In meditation we often dwell on scriptures that relate to our circumstances, and we reinvigorate our “core-gifts” and how they relate to our present “life-gift.”

“Living a life of faith can best be described as perplexing. Since we are Bulamanrivers,* called by God, chosen and Loved, we assume we are entitled to a life without obstacles and setbacks. However, our experiences tell us otherwise. For the journey can be bewildering and painful at times. Let’s be clear, His favor never leaves us for a moment. It’s a battle between two opposites. For many it comes as a surprise, but in our vision of God’s sovereignty, His unbound grace and Love, we will understand things are not what they seem. For truly, in such moments as when we may be tired of waiting, He shows up at our side to comfort us, confirming His never-failing Love.

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Your Mind Is Like A House with Rooms, People, and Things (Surrounds), Visualization Attempts to Bring Meaning of Them All in Relation to Your Calling and Destiny in Christ. Everything is a Constant Activity to Achieve that One Sacred End and Purpose. (Pic: Wiki Commons)

“God’s reality for us has always been real to Him. It is for us to enter into His Triune reality and read the clear message in our vision of that reality. The vision arrives at different times and circumstances for different people as the Spirit moves them. The vision is one and always Jesus Christ. For He is the One our life must conform to if we are to enter God’s presence and live joyfully, and even now receive grace for living (Rom. 8:29; Ps. 16:11). Joy is the elixir that comes from that ongoing vision of God’s triune reality in us. In every time and age the revelation of Jesus as the Person in the Godhead who takes humanity back into the presence of the Godhead will always be a vision that brings life to those who are given the sight to “read and run with it.”

“Your meditation life begins with you as a Bulamanriver.* This is where Jesus is the life in you in the full-flowing river with miraculous powers. Meditate and visualize the ever-present reality of the Spirit flowing like “living waters.” Both Jesus and Herald** are all you need to bring creativity and abundance. When you wake each morning, before engaging the world in all its malevolence, meditate about becoming the Bulamanriver* that you are. Then meditate on the key features covered in this book. Visualize how to be, and what the “flow,” of the Bula man-river means in your life. For in the process, the very Trinitarian mind of God will give rise to a “unified life” in Christ undergirding all your thoughts, words, deeds, and emotions.

C.H. Spurgeon called this meditation process “the machine in which the raw material of knowledge is converted to its best use.” That knowledge is your life in Jesus as a Bulamanriver,* and in the flow from the life of the Spirit to your creative purpose and calling. Spurgeon points to people who know the Bible but know nothing of its power. The power to create your “life-gift” rests squarely upon the move of the Spirit. We must, with the help of the Spirit, ponder the words of life (Bible). We must keep falling back to the default mechanism of the Bulamanriver* in our vision of greatness in Christ. We must always cultivate gratitude and solitude in our place of abundance.

“Above all, be true to yourself as a Bulamanriver* in God’s hands. Visualize yourself as a full-flowing river streaming peacefully with the self-assurance in your purpose to give life to all you meet every single day. Be passionate. Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing. Sometimes you have to find the passion. It comes from inside you; it’s in the “living waters” that flow in you. Without vision, there is no passion and conviction. Passion means your dream-life holds an intense power over you. Conviction means the faith supplied by Herald,** who gives us the will to put to action our vision (Phil. 2:13). It is only through personal vision and passionate conviction that psychological freedom is attained in any meaningful sense of the word! We are admonished, “If we fail to hold this vision, the daily revelation from the Spirit which we are to live by, we will be of all men most miserable, and we will slowly but surely perish (1 Cor.15:19; Prov. 29:18).

“Remember, the Love of God is so intense it takes hold of us and changes us – provided we let Him bring us into His Triune existence as Bulamanrivers.* And so it is with joy, with prayer and patience, with faith and whatever we need to manifest “creative action” (Heb.7:23-25; Rom. 8:26-27, 34). We have goals and motives, whether we choose to face them or not. By visualizing your goals you confront the truth of your desires in a way that makes it apparent and allows you to deal with any contradictions. If I have no vision, I am driven by contradictory and unconscious motives. If I have a vision, then I have the freedom to resolve these conflicts and to hone, modify, and improve my “life-gift” to become the effective Bulamanriver* that I am already.” (End of Quote)

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living.”

** Herald is the name for the Holy Spirit I use to personalize and cherish His friendship in my life.

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise. 

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic InformationThank you. 

THE “HELPER MANDATE” GIVEN TO MAN AT CREATION, BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings Friends!

As that title of my post says, what is the “Helper Mandate?” When God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, He gave them the “helper mandate” to keep their relationship bound in the bond of Love. I would like to share an excerpt from my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living,” which speaks on this subject.

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Human Hand-Symbol of “Help” Mankind Give One Another and to Creation (Pic: Wiki Commons)

The Genesis “Helper Mandate”

“The first act of man in his relationship with another human is to use his God-given purpose to promote “creative living” with his fellowman. The purpose of gifts is to be creative as God is Creator. If gifts originate from the divine source, then man’s relationship with one another is mediated by the One who is inherently part of the gift – the Gift-Giver, Jesus – through the “living waters” of the Bulamanriver.* The creative aspect of this relationship was given at the beginning when Adam was created and the original “other” human was taken from him. There God uttered the first of three Genesis Mandates for man through Adam and Eve: to be a fitting “helper” for each other. Though the primary context for this instruction is marriage, the meaning is twofold. Since Eve was the only “other” human besides Adam, by extension she also represented our “neighbor,” whoever he or she may be. For the “helper” can be applied in every context, not necessarily matrimonial. I call this the “helper mandate.”

“Paul encouraged the Corinthians, saying we are “helpers of your joy” (2 Cor. 1:24, KJV). Further, he told the Romans, “Owe no man anything, except the debt of love” (Rom. 13:8; Gal. 6:2, KJV). Jesus reiterated man’s “helper mandate” when He said we are to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves” (Mark 12:31, emphasis added). The famed 23rd Psalm depicts God as the “helper” of mankind. So we see in all this that the “creative living” outline cannot be denied: to be a “helper.” The primary purpose of our calling therefore is ultimately to “help” one another and bring all mankind to unity with the “Triune God in Jesus.

Genesis “Dominion Mandate”

“We cease to be “helpers” when we violate man’s “dominion mandate.” What is the “dominion mandate”? It is the second Genesis Mandate that has two parts given to mankind by the Creator: how he is to interact and conduct himself with creation, and with his fellow humans. The first part is the “helper mandate” in man’s relation with his fellowman, while the “dominion mandate” explains man’s relation in his dominion over all creation, which doesn’t include dominion over another person (Gen. 1:26-31; 2:19-20). We are to “help” not “dominate” our fellow humans. Only God is man’s ruler because He is man’s Savior. We are to be man’s “helper,” not “ruler.”

“A person’s relationship with another is either creative or uncreative, productive or unproductive, but is hardly ever neutral. We make the mistake of trying to merge the two when it can’t be done, and we can be one or the other depending on which river we ride. There is no Savior of mankind except Jesus (John 3:16). Every single human is given equal and shared dominion over the earth under the Creator (Ps. 24:1; Eccl. 5:9, NKJV). The passage from Genesis makes clear the dual mandate of man’s dominion over the entire creation, and the mandate of being “helpers” of his fellowman.” (End of Quote). You may read more by obtaining a copy of my book on my website: www.bulamanriver.com.

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Throne – Symbol of “Dominion.” Jesus said, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3:21) (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Only when man can learn to live the creative life and “help” his fellowmen can he be given dominion to rule eternally with Christ. (Rev.5:10; 22:5; 3:21)

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living.”

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise. 

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic InformationThank you. 

“AS A MAN THINKS IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE” BY KIANG P LEE

Greeting Friends! I would like to share with you an excerpt from my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living.” (Chapter 5) The gist of it is related to the title stated above. It is my hope you will find it uplifting and beneficial.

“Thoughts become forms created in the mind to help us make choices. Forms are the result of “creative thinking” which leads to “creative action” and materializes into “creative works” (Eph. 2:10). The mind is also the “factory” for creating destructive thoughts. Everyone possesses two mindsets: one manages the conscious thoughts while the second manages the subconscious mind.

Divine Spark, 012215Thoughts Matter – What Does Yours Look Like? (Pic: Wiki Commons)

“That is how God made the mind to function, and it is well researched in scientific circles (Pro. 20:27). The subconscious mind is the underlying thought process which governs the conscious thoughts. It’s the sponsoring or core thought process. It’s the mindset that collects all your thought data and creates “form” out of them to be acted upon.

“Think about the law of gravity. We grow up discovering how to compensate for it as we learn to live within the limitations it allows us. All our acts and movements are done to compensate for it, so much so that we don’t give it second thought. We take gravity for granted, and becomes second nature to us. When we are up on a high elevation, we find something to hold onto for we are well aware what gravity is capable of doing to us. In a sense, our mind has its own “gravity” – our subconscious mind. Our conscious thoughts, all sixty thousand of them, have to compensate for this “gravitational” pull of our subconscious mind and what it is telling us. We gravitate to our subconscious-sponsored thought unconsciously. In other words, if there is a clash of thoughts between the conscious and the subconscious, the subconscious will win every time.

“For example, think about the important topic of money. A person may have a long-held belief that it is wrong to be rich. Perhaps his idea of money stems from his mistaken understanding of a passage from the Bible which states “For the love of money is a (not ‘the’) root of all kinds of evil; for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10, NKJV). His belief and idea about money is soldered into his subconscious mind. Yet, in his conscious thoughts, he plans to buy the most lavish and expensive things for his family. There is a clash of mindsets. What’s being pursued his sponsoring mindset will not allow him to achieve in a truly abundant way—at least not until he harmonizes his subconscious mind with his conscious thoughts about money.

File:How to know human nature- its inner states and outer forms (1919) (14784651435).jpgScience Attempting to Understand the Human Brain (Pic: Wiki Commons)

“This change happens at the “flush-out” stage, more commonly known as the point of forgiveness and repentance. (I will attempt to stay away from ‘religious’ terms so that the mind will not fall into the groove of legalism; that is how powerful words are to the subconscious mind.) The only other way is to pursue it deviously for his clash of values forces him down that path. Anything that’s acquired through such a manner is done out of fear and ultimately ends in lack and want. No matter how it may appear, it is all pretension and is hollow and will not be lasting.

“Money is not evil by itself – it’s the wrong use of money that’s evil. The bottom line on money is this: if money is a defense, and it is, and Jesus is our true defense, then money and Jesus are one and the same. Money becomes something virtuous for it is used to reflect Jesus. We don’t adore money but Jesus, our true defense (Eccl. 7:11-12). It would be pointless to have as much money as you would like if it cannot protect or defend you. True defense comes from Jesus, not money.

“We fail to learn to live within Love’s spiritual “gravity” as quickly as we do with physical gravity. It’s a process of thought and thought forms. On the physical level, we learn very quickly that we need a chair to break our fall when we sit, but we fail to equate the goodness of our heart with creatively living in our relations with God and man, which brings true success.

“Experts estimate that the mind thinks between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. That’s incredible. (http://www.successconsciousness.com/) So how do we take these many conscious thoughts that enter and influence our minds at a rate that boggles the mind and make sense of them? A Christian’s subconscious (sponsoring) thought is God’s Love. Love is the subconscious mindset that should govern all our thoughts. Love is another word for super-abundance.

“Therefore, the sponsoring thought always ends with abundance through the divine Love. Jesus said, “Those who have – more will be given; those who don’t – what they have will be taken” (Matt. 13:12 emphasis added). He is speaking of our underlying philosophy about life that’s welded to our subconscious mind, whether it is anchored in Love and abundance or fear and lack. The subconscious-sponsoring thought is the sieve that filters all our conscious thoughts to produce one inevitable form – abundance or want. The subconscious mindset determines if your thoughts fall on “good and rich ground” or difficult and poor ground. (Mar.4:8) Love is to our thought environment what gravity is to our physical environment. No matter how high we aim, our foot will rest ultimately on the ground of our sponsoring thought.

“If the Bible can be defined in one word, it is Love (Matt. 22:37-40). The Bible is the written Word of God, and Jesus is the Personified Word of God. So we have both the literal and the Personified Word of God. (John 1:14; 6:63) Paul says, for example, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on Love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col. 3:12-14). This is the manner our thought process is to function, and it can only be done Trinitarianly in the power of the Triune God through the power of the Spirit.

File:Love What is It.JPGGod’s Divine Love – Empowers Man’s Subconscious Mind (Pic: Wiki Commons)

“Now, this triune thought process is what create forms in the Spirit’s power in the “living waters.” (John 7: 38-39) They may not be the forms in the appearance of your personal “gift-life” for you and your family – that comes later as an outgrowth of this. Love is the rock-solid foundation upon which dreams are built. Your dream-life God alone will show you in due course; no one else can. This is the principle behind the basic premise that the little things done right will result in the bigger things taking care of themselves (Matt. 25:23, 6:33-34; Luke 16:10, 19:17).

“Therefore, the Bible is the basis from which we create forms of thought that lead to greater benefits, and they come without regret because they are founded on the principles of God’s Love. The Bible says we should pay heed to the foundation upon which we build our lives – whether it is on shifting sand or on the solid Rock, Jesus Himself (Matt. 7:24-27). The foundation determines whether the structure will stand the test of time and remain secure and stable. The Bible is the foundation of our thoughts for creating plans, desires, goals, and objectives – in one word, basic form of the Love of God.

“The Bible brings form and stability to our lives as long as Love is in our subconscious mindset and shapes the basis of our thought processes. Love is “creative action” because it is deliberately formed in the thought and acted out. To think like a Bulamanriver* is to think like God. To think like God is to think Love in all its manifestation (1 Cor. 13:1-13; Rom. 12 & 13; Gal. 5; Col. 3 & 4). Then we are to maintain this sound mind that comes consistently from the Spirit to keep our thoughts motivated by Love’s fruits (2 Tim. 1:7, NKJV).” (End of Quote) 

Truly, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov.23:7).

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living.”

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise. 

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic InformationThank you.

HOW TO LIVE THE “TRIUNE LIFE,” BY KIANG P LEE

“No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the Vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me” John 15:6

Greetings Friends! What does the “Triune Life” mean in practical, livable terms? I hope my share with you in this blog will enlighten you to the Christian life as it ought to be lived according to Scripture.

The most basic and pivotal knowledge man can have is to understand God is Trinitarian. For the Christian, the mention of the name of God, must always convey His Tri-Personal Being in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is not a “solitary” God as some religions espouse, He is a Trinitarian God. If a person’s concept of God is inaccurate and untrue, then there will always be something lacking and amiss in his relationship with God. No matter how much knowledge a person may claim to have of God, his dedication is misplaced and it does take its toll in the appeal and subtlety of Love’s nuances which will make all the difference. Even a person’s prayer can be amiss because his concept of God is flawed.

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Rublev’s Famous Icon of the Trinity (Wiki Commons)

In this blog site I have always advocated living the “Triune Life.” In the Q&A section I explained the “Triune Life” as a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in the believer. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27; Heb.8:10-12). Only a blessed life can result from such an obedient life made possible by the Spirit.” (Unquote)

But how does man, how does the believer, live the “Triune Life” on a day-to-day practical sense? I will share a passage from Scripture showing how the “Triune Life” is lived in the real-world sense. This is taken from John 15 in Jesus’ explanation of the vine and branches. Jesus, the second Person of the Triune Godhead said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. You are the branches. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples” (John 15:1, 4-8). What a beautiful metaphor of the “Triune Life” we have in the Tri-Personal Being of God that’s depicted here. And Jesus warns us the Gardner (Father) will “cut off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (V.2).

In this metaphor we see the Father and the Son mentioned clearly. And how about the Holy Spirit, since this is the “Triune Life” involving all three Persons of the Trinity.  In fact, the role of the Spirit takes the major portion of the passage, from John verses 9 to 17. Jesus made the Spirit’s involvement plain in Verse 26, “When the Advocate (Holy Spirit) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about Me.” Jesus continues to attest to this in Chapter 16, where He further vouch for the Spirit and promises, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you,” and “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (V.7 & V.13).In Verses 9 through 17, Jesus speaks of the Spirit’s work in the believer, “As the Father has Loved Me, so have I Loved you. Now, remain in My Love” (v.9). The work of Loving entails the work of the Spirit. (Rom.5:5)

How does a believer remain in Jesus’ Love? Jesus said “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My Love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His Love.”(V.10) We read the covenant promise earlier where the Spirit empowers us to obey God’s commands. (Ezek.36:27; Heb.8:10-12) Is Loving God and keeping His commands something we can do with our own human power and effort? Of course not! We were not born with this kind of divine Love in us to Love God in return as Jesus does the Father. This is where the Spirit enters the scene for He is the embodiment of God’s Love in man. Paul makes this clear, saying, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). That is the only way to Love God back and be true to His calling (command). There is no other way but through the Spirit’s presence and power (Love). The fruits produced and seen hanging off the branch (man) are the fruits of Love which reveal the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in the believer.

Paul explained to the Corinthians what these fruits are in detail, revealing the distinctive shades of God’s Love (1 Cor.13): the fruit of patience, the fruit of kindness, the fruit of contentedness, the fruit of being modest and unboastful, the fruit of humility, the fruit of honor, the fruit of unselfishness, the fruit of calmness and dignity, the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, the fruit of tolerance, the fruit of responsibility, the fruit of enduring hope, the fruit of steadfast perseverance, the fruit of joy, the fruit of peace, the fruit of goodness, the fruit of faith, the fruit of gentleness, the fruit of self-control, the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, the fruit of friendship, the fruit of sharing and generosity, the fruit of prayerfulness, the fruit of hospitality, etc. The Bible’s claim of God’s nature is made abundantly clear by John, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). He is not made of Love, He IS Love!

The fruits of Love amplified above tells us how the three Persons of the Trinity conduct Themselves towards each other from eternity. And now man (branch) is grafted into Jesus (vine) making the Love relationship with the Triune God and with his neighbors (other branches) possible.

Of course, it has to start with man receiving Jesus as personal Savior through repentance and forgiveness. On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up in the Spirit’s anointing and said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38).

Jesus Role in the “Triune Life”

Let us see Jesus’ role in the “Triune Life.” Jesus said, No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). To remain in the Son means to never stop believing in Him as our permanent and ongoing Mediator. It means to experience the Love of the Father for the Son which has been from eternity. (John 17:24). It means to be showered with the Father’s Love through the Son  and become a blessing. This is how the “Triune Life” is lived out with the Son’s participation in the life of the believer. Paul affirms, “In Christ you are made complete” (Col.2:10).

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Jesus is the Vine with Branch offshoots extending (Man) where Fruits Hang off (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

Father’s Role in the “Triune Life”

Let us see the Father’s role in the “Triune Life.” Jesus said, “My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples” (V.1-2, 8). This is how the “Triune Life” is lived with the Father’s commitment in the believer’s life. The Bible says, “we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness” (Heb.12:9-10). All blessings comes ultimately from the Father of lights, James tells us. (Jam.1:17).

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The Gardener Pruning The Branches to Make it more Fruitful (Pic: Wiki Commons) 

Spirit’s Role in the “Triune Life”

What about the Spirit’s role? As we have seen, although it is not explicit in this passage, it is implicit through the fruits hanging from the branches. The Spirit supplies the sap (Love) which flows like a river from the good soil the Gardner (Father) tends through the Vine (Son) and into the branch (man) which bears the Spirit’s fruits of Love. Jesus said“Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ (When He said “living water,” He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him.)” (John 7:38-39). So, this is the “Triune Life” where we see the Spirit supplying the flow of God’s Love in the believer. Paul further enlightens us about the Spirit’s work, saying, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16 NASB, also 6:19).

Jesus said you can see the presence of the Spirit, or conversely His absence, by the fruits of people’s actions, “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (Matt.7:16-20). You can say that if a believer is bearing the fruits of the Spirit then he can be likened to the “Tree of Life” that sustained Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, for it represented the Holy Spirit.

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Fruits, Evidence of the Work of the Spirit in the Believer (Pic: Wiki Commons)

There was another tree in Eden which our first parents were forbidden to go near: the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” (Gen.2:17) This tree bore fruits that were of exact reverse to the Tree of Life. Here we see two trees, one representing the “solitary life” (the Tree of Good and Evil), and the other represents the “Triune Life” (the Tree of Life). The “solitary life” is the life of self-determination where one does what seems right in his own eyes without the guidance or participation of the Tri-Personal God. It is the life of a person who is cut-off (branch) from the “Tree of Life.” The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represent Satan and the fruits of this worldly way of life which leads people ultimately to their own demise.

We must now ask this relevant question, what is the purpose of producing much fruit, for this is how the Father is glorified through man. (John 15:8)  In my book, “Bulamanriver, The Miracle of Triune Living,” I said on page 111, “Think about the fruit trees lining the riverbanks. Do we see the trees feasting upon their own fruits? That would make the trees self-destructive. In his fallen self, man thinks inwardly like that. He thinks what he has received from God is for his own “cannibalistic” appetite. No, the fruits are the imaginative life of God’s Love, sown as seeds that take root in the lives of others. We give, not clasp onto the Spirit’s fruits, so the “creative life” is always ready to regenerate new life through giving. The fruits are for the valley people (where the river flows), for their sustenance, and for others who come and “see and taste the goodness of the Lord,” the Creator flowing in you (Ps. 34:8 emphasis added). (End of quote) Love is always outgoing, it is never inward and self-indulgent.

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Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit (Wiki Commons)

Many see the Christian life like a fully paid never-ending vacation cruise where they will indulge in the blessed life of plenty. The Bible says no such thing, although the blessed life comes to man through a route that’s altogether different from what he imagines. The Spirit’s fruits is not for man’s selfish appetite, fruits are for the benefit of others so people are drawn to the Father by them. This is how we glorify God in our lives – by bearing more and more fruits for others to experience God. Jesus said, “My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). Yes, the believer lives a disciplined life in order to produce more fruits for the sustenance of the people God wants to show and give His Love.

The disciplined life brings its own blessing. The Bible states, “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.” (Prov.10:22) In other words, God’s blessing comes without the harmful stress of our human solitary efforts without His input and favor. The Lord’s blessing comes as the outgrowth of His and our calling, not because we are seeking to be blessed selfishly through greed and/or covetousness.

We live in an overtly self-indulgent world, which is diametrically opposite to the type of mindset needed to bear much spiritual fruit. The church at Corinth taught us that the mere presence of the Spirit does not equate to bearing much fruit in the believer. Paul said to the believers in Corinth, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18). Man’s free will (freedom) is a divine prerogative originating from God’s nature of Love. Humans can only be trained to Love through  freedom, not coercion. In all facets of the Christian life, fruit-bearing is the aim and purpose of life which requires deliberate (free) and conscious reliance on the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus’ metaphor of the vine and branches teaches and depicts the  authentic Christian life. It is regrettable that the reason many Christians do not live fulfilled lives is because they have lost the true concept of God and His triune activity in man, and how to have a Loving relationship is cultivated through the “Triune Life.”

What else does the fruits of the Spirit represent besides the different shades of God’s Love which demonstrates to us how to live the “Triune Life?”  The fruits are also metaphor for each of our gifts, talents, skills, abilities, and virtuous flair we are called to manifest God’s Love for and to others. Paul testifies to the end result of what Jesus did as our Savior after dying for human sins, “When He (Jesus) ascended on high, He took many captives and gave gifts to His people” (Eph.4:8). What Paul says here about gifts answers to Jesus’ promise of the Spirit, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you” (John 16:13). So, first and foremost, the primary gift is the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes and dwells in the believer as His temple. (1 Cor.3:16) God’s concept of a temple in which He dwells is not some brick and mortar edifice which can be destroyed by hands, but it has always been the heart and soul of man, as we read, “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Cor.6:16).  After a sinful life is washed clean by Jesus’ blood, the human life becomes the temple where God and man meet and communicate.

From this vantage point where man becomes God’s temple, the Spirit distributes various material gifts (art) that is needed to feed people with God’s Love (fruits). So we read the work of the Spirit in believers, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines” (1 Cor.12:7-11). Paul further says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph.2:10).

But gifts are not necessarily ecclesiastical or religious in nature. For the majority of Christians the gifts they have are of a ’secular’ nature, but it is the same Spirit working in all to bring glory to the Father. Paul said, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to each of us…in proportion to our faith, let us use them” (Rom. 12:6, ESV). Paul again said, “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Phil.2:13, AMP)

We are given the freedom to be whoever we want to become in our hearts. A person can be a plumber, or engineer, a doctor or gardener, an architect or builder, a marine biologist or fisherman, a basketball player or botanist, an entrepreneur or employee, or whatever the gift may be. Gifts may evolve as the Spirit supplies the faith according to a need. None of us is a superhuman who possesses all gifts. God has distributed gifts in every single human so that all of humanity reflect God’s image through the myriads of talents we see in people. It’s obvious that we all need each other because we all lack something in our lives which somebody else may have the gift to fill our needs and wants. That is how God made humans to need and help one another and show His Love to all mankind.

We use our gifts primarily for the sake of the gospel to glorify God. We desist from using our gifts for self-centered objectives just as nature teaches us that a tree cannot feed “cannibalistically” of its own fruits. Too many trade their gifts for motives of selfish mercenary gain instead of glorifying God. We can use our gifts for our own self-centered ends, or we can use them to serve others for God’s glory. The fruits of our gifts are given to others out of Love to fulfill a need as we willingly follow the direction of the Spirit. Whatever we do, Paul say we do “as if you are serving the Lord (first), not people” (Eph.6:7, my emphasis).

I hope this answers the meaning of the “Triune Life” as revealed in Scripture. It means to remain in Christ so we can experience firsthand the Love of the Father for the Son, and vice versa the Son for the Father. Remaining in the Son’s Love will afford us the  Father’s Love and we become more blessed and fruitful in the process. And the Spirit carries out the Love activity of the Father and Son as He sanctifies us. (John 16:13; 2 Thess.2:13)

The underpinning of the “Triune Life” is living a miraculous life, for to be in the hands of the living Triune God is nothing short of miraculous. And we see this openly displayed and experienced by the people who lived in Jesus’ day when He walked this earth. Yes, lepers were made whole again, the blind see, the lame walk, even the dead raised to life, and all manner of disease of the body, mind, and soul. (Act.10:38) The miraculous life is really the essence of the “Triune Life.” The final miracle is our resurrection into immortality where we will live the “Triune Life” forever.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a  Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,  

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise. N

Note: All information is copy-write material. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic InformationThank you.

MAN IS A “TRIUNE” BEING, BY KIANG P LEE

 

Greetings Friends! What do I mean by “man is a “triune” being?” It means that man as a whole person is composed of three elementary substances in his makeup. First, he is physical and material (that ought to be obvious to all). Second, man has a spiritual component which gives his brain mind-power; and thirdly, man is destined for immortality, and therefore forever united to his Creator and Sustainer, who is the Author and Finisher of his eternal destiny.

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Man, Standing in the Shadow of God His Creator (Pic: Wiki Commons)

These three basic makeup are revealed in the Bible. Let us begin with the third element as this is the Creator’s chief purpose for creating man: ‘man is destined for immortality and forever unified to his Creator.’ Humans are made in God’s immortal image and therefore has the potential for immortality as his birthright. Thereby, man holds a unique place in creation and the created order. In the book of Genesis, the Bible states, “When God created mankind, He made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And He named them “Mankind” when they were created” (Gen.5:1-2; also Gen.1:26-27). Hence, man’s entire destiny is forever tied to who God is in His immortal Being. Also, besides being immortal God’s image and likeness reveal who He IS. God, in His divine Being, is Trinitarian, meaning, He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God is not solitary as other religions espouse about their deities, God is three Persons in One Triune Godhead. (Matt.28:18-20) He is One but He is not solitary, He is Trinitarian. If God is Triune, then it follows that God is Love, for Love cannot exists in a solitary form of existence. (1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16) Love can only thrive in communion where there is more than one person. All of creation has the Creator’s underlying interconnected Triune Being – there is no other way God can create.

Therefore, nothing exists on its own (solitary), but mutually dependent and interconnected to reflect God who is identical in His Triune Being. Science has discovered how the universe works through Einstein’s theory of relativity, or in other words, we are part of one ginormous interconnected universe. Love is not defined by our human narrative of it, but by a wholly divine meaning, for Love is the means by which our interdependent world exists, beginning with man who is made in God’s Triune image and likeness.

Consequently, the Bible speaks repeatedly about man’s responsibility to behave relationally in God’s Triune image and likewise show Love (integration and fellowship) with his fellow human. One such passage says, “owe nothing to anyone except the debt to Love one another” (Rom.13:8, NLT). So, man’s destiny on this earth and beyond is forever tied to God’s divine Triune Personage of Love. God’s image is Love and He is immortal. He is not made of Love, He IS Love from eternity to eternity. (1 John 4:8, 16)     

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Man, Made in God’s Interconnected Triune Image (Reblev’s Icon of Trinity, Wiki Commons)

On the first element of man’s makeup of material existence, the Bibles says, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being… You will return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen.2:7; 3:19b). Though man has this temporary physical existence, he has this potential to become an immortal being, for therein lies his destiny. He is forever tied to the immortal image of His Creator. The Bible states, “For God Loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). So, in man’s physical existence man was headed to return to the dust from which he was taken because of sin, but by sacrificing His Son as the payment for human sins, God has secured man’s future of immortality with Him (third element).

On the second substance of man’s makeup, ‘man has a spiritual component which gives his brain mind-power,’ the Bible says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7a). In other words, though man’s physical makeup differentiates him from all other species of creation on earth, that is not what really sets him apart. What sets man apart is the freedom with which man uses his mind to think thoughts and thought-forms independently from one another, and how he wants to live his/her life. In other words, you are what you think!

You are set apart by your thinking not your physical appearance. It is your mind which decides who you are by the actions you take in life. The Bible tells us that we renew ourselves through our thought-processes, “Be you transformed by the renewing of your mind (your thoughts)” (Rom. 12:2).

Animals and other created species don’t think, they have preset instincts, but humans do because they are made in God’s image. To have mind power is the potential of humans replicated after the God-kind. When we see the great advances of human ingenuity in history and particularly in recent history, it’s truly mind-boggling to ponder and reflect upon. In areas of sciences, the arts, astronomy, technology, engineering, medicine, design and creativity, artificial intelligence, aeronautics and space exploration, etc, etc. All these and more reveal primarily the genius-mind of the Creator God after whom the human mind was fashioned.

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Man, Made to Reflect God with Human Mind (Pic: Wiki Commons)

So we know man got his ‘creative juices’ from the Creator God, but how does He channel it to man to do feats of such marvelous wonder? The Bible says that God “discerns thoughts from afar” (Psa.139:2). The Bible says further that “He knows the secrets of every heart” (Psa.44:21, NLB). How is it possible for God to know our thoughts? The Bible reveals God as omniscient (all-knowing/all-seeing), saying, “How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is infinite (beyond comprehension!)” (Psa.147:5).

Jesus walked this earth as God and man (Immanuel – God with us). The Bible shows He was able to read people’s thoughts, like, “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them…” (Matt.12:25). Another passage says, “But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man…(Luk.6:8) John declares, “He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25, NASB). While Jesus walked this earth as Immanuel He voluntarily suspended the use of certain divine prerogatives, but obviously these passages and others show He utilized His all-knowing powers.

Teacher of homiletics at the Dallas Regional Seminary, Reg Grant, said, “God has breathed into humans the breath of life, and in that breath we have absorbed the image of God in the immaterial essence of soul, spirit, mind, heart, and conscience, each contributing to the development of intellect, emotion, and will. Among all the animals that inhabit the planet, we humans possess the unique ability to think God’s thoughts.” (The Holy Spirit and Arts: www.bible.org) From the Trinitarian perspective Jesus is the Word (Logos) who speaks, and the Spirit is the Artist who produces, which the Genesis account of creation makes clear. Grant goes on, “The degree to which we yield to His appeal is the degree to which we will enjoy blessing and reward. Conversely, the degree to which we resist His appeal to conscience is the degree to which, among all creation, we will suffer loss and shame.”

What Grant says supports the biblical narrative about the human mind, “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his being” (Prov.20:27). Man was made and exists in God’s image, therefore, He has created the fund of knowledge to which man must live and appeal to His plans for humanity. Man’s spirit when united with God’s Spirit makes the human mind possible.

The Spirit lies ‘dormant’ giving man the prowess and genius of the human mind, waiting until as such time as a person becomes a believer by receiving Jesus, at which juncture the Spirit becomes ‘active’ in His primary role of sanctifying man, thus, making the third element of immortality possible. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Now, the Spirit lives in the man (believer) as a temple where God comes to reside and take up residence, making the “triune life” of God livable, and will resurrect man to immortality at God’s appointed time. (1 Cor.3:16; 6:19; Rom.15:16; 2 Thess.2:13; John 15:1-17; 1 Cor.15) Paul said, “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you” (Rom.8:11).

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Man’s Destiny - Human Made Immortal Like Jesus (Pic: Wiki Commons)

These are the three elements which unites man to God so he can exist in His Triune likeness. And throughout man’s life, he will have the sure hands of the Father, Son, and Spirit at his side to bring him to his purpose and destiny as a person made in God’s very likeness.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write to me in the space below, or email me at bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Blessings, 

Until we meet again in my next post, may the of God who ceaselessly expresses Himself through His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit who sanctifies enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life.” Be strong in the Lord’s joy!  

Kiang,

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Note: All information is copy-write. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information.

“SALVATION IS FROM THE JEWS (ISRAEL)” BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings Friends everywhere!

Can the Christian faith be fully understood and achieved without Israel? Is Israel an intrinsic part of salvation for the Christian? Many don’t think so. Many have discarded Israel as irrelevant to the Christian faith. They say Israel was part of the Old Covenant that was done away and been replaced by the New Covenant. They quote passages from Romans which says, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are no longer under the law (Old Covenant – the basis of the OC was the law or 10 Commandments), but under grace (New Covenant -the basis of the NC is Jesus Christ)” (Rom.6:14). Or, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor.5:17). Yet another says, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear” (Heb.8:13). 

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Israel, Led by a Pillar of Fire to Freedom from Egyptian Bondage and to Lead all Humanity to the True God (Pic: Wiki Commons)

All these passages and others must be understood within the framework of God’s overall plan of salvation for mankind from start to finish, including Israel. So, how does Israel fit into God’s plan of salvation for Christians today, and by extension all humanity? Israel’s role under the Old Covenant was to inculcate into humanity the proper “human instinct” that ought to guide the human mind to God’s purpose for humanity. The basis of the “human instinct” is the law or the 10 Commandments. The law has two broad applications as it relates to Love for God and Love for fellowman. (Mar.12:30-31) Much like “animal instinct” the Creator equipped in non-human creatures to depict their own kind, the “human instinct” reflects the God-kind in humans - ”God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). We recognize God through the “Love-kind,” that is His divine nature.

Think for a moment that prior to Israel’s nationhood, all the nations around Israel and for that matter in the world, had developed their own way of life or their choice of “human instinct” and communicated principally through their religious practices. The true God was unknown to them, leave alone His ways. Now God steps in through the nation of Israel and reveals His way of life through the law (10 Commandments). This “human instinct” is to guide man’s every thought, word, and deed, which will lead him finally to the true God and His purpose for creating mankind.

It is worthwhile to note that no nation was converted to God by Israel, that was not their purpose. Their calling was to inculcate and drum into humanity beginning with Israel the basic “human instinct” of God’s nature of Love He wanted mankind to understand and live by. Rather than changing the nations around, Israel was on a continuous war-footing with them. Israel’s war-mongering neighbors was a depiction of man’s natural revulsion against everything about the true God and His way of life.

It was a heavy responsibility to shoulder for Israel, so much so there was constant conflict and tension between Israel and God.  Karl Barth called it a “Love/hate” relationship. Israel desired the freedom they saw in the other nations around them who did what seemed right in their own eyes where they chose their own pattern of “human instinct.” In many instances Israel defied God and followed other nations. God corrected and brought them back and reminded them of their purpose and calling. But the pagan form of “human instinct” did not bring them the freedom they sought after, because true freedom would come by way of the prophesied Messiah which Israel played out in their ritualistic observances like the Passover and the day of atonement. Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ (the Messiah) came to set us free” (Gal.5:1). Instead, many of Israel’s neighbor-nations took the most horrendous form of living like sacrificing their own children to their gods.

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Moses with The Ten Commandments Written with God’s Hands (Pic: Wiki Commons)

Today, we can say the basic revelation of the “human instinct” (law/10 Commandments) has been sufficiently and indelibly imprinted in the human psyche that man cannot deny or dismiss it. Much of the laws of democratic nations finds its basis upon the 10 Commandments. And Israel’s existence today continues to remind mankind of the basic “human instinct” God wants to instill in humanity. That is Israel’s purpose which continues to this day. However, we ought to be guarded as our moral decline seems to slide at an alarming speed. Jonathan Sacks, the recent recipient of the coveted Templeton Prize, said in his acceptance speech that “inner directed” individuals with discipline are needed who are not fazed by moral reversal which have spelled the fall of every other empire and superpower in history. You may read Lord Templeton’s acceptance speech titled “Rediscovering Our Moral Purpose” at www.standpointmag.co.uk  

But true freedom, which Israel yearned for, would come by way of the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. In other words, freedom was the essential message of the New Covenant. True freedom’s means to be free from sin which is violation against the law. Freedom is not the right to choose your way that seems right to you. Ultimate freedom is where a person is living the Love of God in his or her life. Freedom from sin basically means the provision of a Savior in Jesus who absolves all infractions against the law. Hence, the New Covenant was ratified and sealed in Jesus’ blood that was shed for the forgiveness of human sin. As humans we can never be perfect in keeping the law because we sin by commission or omission. In other words, because we will stumble in staying true to God’s basic “human instinct,” He has provided a permanent Mediator in heaven who intercedes and absolves us from all infraction.

So in the final analysis, it is more about staying true to what Israel was called to teach humanity about the “human instinct” formed in God’s likeness than each infraction of the law because we have Jesus as a permanent Mediator at the Father’s right hand. Many times we focus on the infraction but miss the big picture. Israel’s purpose was not to keep reminding people of their infraction, although it is a fact which cannot be denied. But it was to reveal the basic “human instinct” God wants mankind to have, and His provision of a Mediator when there is infraction, thus bringing freedom.

Now, the New Covenant is expressed through the Holy Spirit, just as the expression of the Old Covenant is the law. The Spirit dwells in the believer and makes the person a temple for God, ushering freedom in Christ. (1 Cor.3:16-17) Both, the Spirit and the law are Love expressions, one inculcates our “human instinct” while the second brings “human freedom” through the provision of a Savior and Mediator. The Love expression of the Spirit is further broken down into the “fruits of the Spirit” which expounds God’s Love in greater detail. (1 Cor.13)

While the law brings death through sin, the Spirit brings freedom through Jesus and His cross. When the scripture say the Old Covenant “is obsolete and outdated,” It is not saying the law (“human instinct”) is no longer applicable or done away with, rather, it is stating the obvious truth that it’s death blow (sin) has been negated permanently in Christ who brings everlasting absolution to humans so the “human instinct” (Love) can be part of our nature in this life until we are made one with God in the resurrection to immortality in the next life.  Once immortal, man will have shed his sin-susceptible humanity and clothed in God’s holy spirit nature. (Rev.21-22)   

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For Centuries Sofers (Jewish Scribes) Have been Faithful to Their Mission of Proclaiming the Oracles of God for Mankind (Spaceboyjosh, Wiki Commons) 

Freedom is a double edged sword. Because man is naturally garbed in his God-given freedom to freely express himself or herself, it goes without saying that man is ignorant of, or can be misled, or both, about the “human instinct” we ought to adopt based upon God’s Love. Human history proves man has no conception of God’s “human instinct” based upon His law and His Love. So, why give man this double edged sword of freedom which history proves he constantly falls upon to his own demise. The reason for freedom must become obvious to man – in order to create children made in His own image and likeness, man must freely choose to Love God, just as He chose to freely Love us. Freedom is part of God’s divine nature and because we are made in His image we inherit freedom from God as His children. The Bible tells us “God is Love,” and the flip side of Love is freedom. Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ came to set us free.” (Gal.5:1). True freedom is to be free from the shackles of sin, not the right to do what one likes and fall into all kinds of harmful pitfalls. People today have many ideas and concepts of freedom, much of which are erroneous and damaging. True freedom is to be clothed in Love, and that can only happen when man is immortal like His Creator. There is no Love without divine freedom and no freedom without Love. They both go hand in hand, and you cannot have one without the other. Love and freedom is who God is in His divine nature. 

When a rich young man asked Jesus what he must do to attain eternal life (salvation), He quoted the Commandments to him. (Matt.19:16-19) The man answered, “All these I have kept since I was a boy, what do I still lack?” (Matt.19:20; Luk.18:21). Jesus then responded, “You still lack one thing. If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matt.19:21-22). In other words, the one thing the law lacks is its ability to  give one a free heart to truly Love God. And history proved that is what Israel lacked and needed most in its relationship with God. Jesus acknowledged this saying, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Matt.15:8). That is what the New Covenant brings through the Spirit’s power (Love). Jesus was referring to a person’s freedom to give his or her heart to God. His encounter with a ‘rich young man’ was incidental, he is talking of a principle which affects us all in every station of life – the freedom to be able to give one’s heart to the Lord’s purpose and man’s ultimate destiny (“come follow Me”).   

So, is Israel irrelevant to the Christian’s salvation? How would we know sin without the law? If it were not for the law (10 Commandments) which defines sin, how would we know what Jesus died to save us from? So Israel points us to the law and sin so we stand condemned under the Old Covenant, but that does not mean the law and the Old Covenant is bad and evil, as I said, it’s main purpose is to drum and instill into man the basic “human instinct” which guides our lives to God’s nature of Love. (Rom.7) So while the law condemns us, Christ appeared with the New Covenant of grace in the Spirit which brings us absolution, grace, peace, and freedom.  Paul said it this way, “God demonstrated  His own Love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8). So, both the old and new is now fused into a single expression of God’s salvation for man. Hence, Jesus said, “Salvation is from the Jews (Israel)” for the part they play in preserving the law to our day. The law does not save us, Christ does, and that’s how the two are blended into one, so we do not live under the old but New Covenant. Of course, the most vital reason “salvation is from the Jews” is because Jesus Himself is a Jew descended from the tribe of Judah. (Heb.7:14) So, we see that the law and the Messiah are from the same source. The two are made one in Jesus. 

So, when we see creatures of all kinds living and behaving through their built-in instincts the Creator has endowed in them, it reminds us that man also is endowed with his “human instinct,” but unlike creatures of non-human species, man has a mind fashioned in God’s image to freely choose to follow Him. That’s the huge difference. God’s desire above all else is that man choose to freely Love Him. That is why Love and freedom are prerogatives which man alone can exercise.

Israel do not believe Jesus was or is their prophesied Messiah. They look to a yet future Messiah that will come in glorious triumphant appearance to deliver and free them. However, it will turn out to be an utter shock and amazement for them to discover the Messiah and Jesus are one and the same Person. Paul said that God has brought this blindness upon Israel in order to bring the whole world (Gentiles) into the faith so all may be saved. (Rom.11 read all, esp. 25-29)  

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a  Bulamanriver.*  Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Kiang,  

Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Note: All information is copy-write. Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information.

“WE WILL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOR EVER AND EVER” (DAN.12:3) BY KIANG P. LEE

Greetings once more friends! The Bible is self-evident in its declaration that God’s purpose for creating man is to bless him with immortality so man can enter His divine presence and become His eternal children.

The Most Important Question About Life  

Is the belief in eternal life something viable for mortal humans, or is it just imagining a fool’s paradise? Why do millions believe death is not the end of our existence? Most religions have some form of belief in life after death. The ancient Egyptians practiced elaborate ceremonies to prepare the pharaohs for their next life. On the other hand, many more believe that like animals, once we die that is the end of everything, there is no afterlife. Someone said everyone is afraid to die, so this is how we deal with this fear through belief that there is a magical realm in which you will forever be reunited with your loved ones, and above all experience complete bliss for all eternity. Of course belief in immortality goes with the belief in the existence of a God who has the power to give immortal life to man. It is not my purpose to discuss the pros and cons of this topic which has been subject of debate for centuries, but to provide the Christian view of immortality which millions claim to believe, which same belief is revealed in the book of the Christian faith, the Bible.

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Fountain of Eternal Life, downtown Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Wiki Commons)

Christian View of Eternal Life

Though religions have different forms of belief about eternal life, they are not all identical with the Christian belief. The Christian concept of immortal life, based upon Bible revelation, is that eternal life is attained through belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and by a resurrection from the dead to immortal life. (1Thes. 4:16-17; 1Cor.15:12-58) Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lay down His life for the sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:7, 11, 27-28) The hope of the dead is the resurrection.

Bible ‘Silent’ about Afterlife

The Bible is virtually silent about the afterlife or what we will be doing there, but what is revealed is brief and magnificent in its splendor. We read this in Revelation 21 and 22. The Bible has much to say about what we ought to be doing here and now in this earthly life. For what we do on earth will ultimately determine our eternal future. Jesus said as much as we extend a hand of Love to our fellow humans, or lack of it, we are in reality doing it to Him. (Matt. 25:31-46) In other words, our actions have eternal consequences. In fact the entire Bible is about how to live life on earth, not the afterlife. If there’s an afterlife whether in heaven or hell as many presume, what then is the purpose of the resurrection which is clearly revealed in the Bible? The Bible teaches that the resurrection is man’s entry point into immortal life, not at death. (1 Cor. 15) It says prior to this we were all ‘asleep’ – for those who are dead – “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of the eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true, ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor. 15:51-54). Sleep is the symbol of death. (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; Job 14;12; Psa.13:3; Act.7:60)    

Resurrection at The ‘Last Day’

Whether we believe someone is in heaven or hell, it presupposes the judgment has taken place. But the Bible speaks of the judgment of all in the last day – yet future. The resurrection presupposes the dead will be raised in the future to be judged. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:44) Martha spoke to Jesus about the resurrection as it concerns Lazarus, “I know he (Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24; also, Rev.20:4-6, 11-13) There is no hint of a life after death until the resurrection. Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (V.25) The Hebrew thought on the other hand, predating the Greeks, is based upon scripture (Bible) which upholds the dead to be in their graves awaiting the resurrection. (Eccl.9:10; Psa.6:5; 16:8-11) The New Testament speaks eloquently about the resurrection to immortality. (1Cor.15:12-58; 1Thess.4:13-18)

Immortal Soul” Originated in Greek Philosophy

The common teaching in Western thought about the afterlife actually originated in Greek philosophy. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were prime proponents of the concept of the “immortal soul” which predated Christianity. Socrates explains death saying, “Is it not the separation of soul and body? And to be dead is the completion of this; when the soul exists in herself, and is released from the body and body is released from the soul, what is this but death.”** These are not words from the Bible, but by pagan philosophers. Socrates explained that the immortal soul, once freed from the body, is rewarded according to good deeds or punished for evil acts. The term “immortal soul” appears nowhere in the Bible. By presupposing the afterlife, and thereafter reward the good and punish evildoers, it follows that Western thought have the afterlife presented in two broad concepts: heaven for the good, and hell for the evildoers. This is not of Hebrew or biblical origin, but Greek philosophical thought.

Greek Paradigm

As a blogger claims, existence of a “immortal soul” (or immortal life), if it were assumed to be true would mean that death, the greatest absolution known – become suddenly meaningless. And that’s just the point, Jesus said, ”I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25) Jesus was not affirming the “immortal soul” concept, He qualified the afterlife by a resurrection. In Western thought, we have used Greek philosophy as the paradigm to filter and interpret the Bible, at least on this subject. Yet, the Bible warns us about adding to, or taking away, from the truth it reveals. (Rev.22:18-19) This passage from scripture was spoken in the context of mankind’s eternal inheritance (immortality) which God gives to mankind.  

Pope’s View on “Hell”

The Catholic Church has changed its teaching about a literal hell, when Pope John Paul II said, “Hell is symbolic and figurative of the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. Rather than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the Source of life and joy. Hell is a condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life.” Hell is not some place where evil doers are made to suffer in torment in an undead (everlasting) condition. Life on earth is a ‘hell’ for many. Only the fallen angels exist in an undead state for they were created spirits, man was made of the dust of the ground. As another blogger says, if we spent our mental and physical effort in consideration of future generations like we spend it on a form of afterlife, the world would be a better place to live. If the concept of the afterlife inherently demands of a judgment, then morality will be one’s compass in life, because handing judgment to a higher power forms part of moral consciousness. File:Fountain of Eternal Life.jpg

Fountain of Eternal Life, downtown Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Wiki Commons)

“Hell” – Hard Concept to Stomach

Hell is a difficult concept to stomach with a God who openly declares Himself a God who is Love in His Triune nature. He is not made of Love, He is Love. (1John 4:8) I don’t believe as humans we would want such a fate on another even if we have only an ounce of God’s Love in us. To suffer in hell fire in an undead state for eternity is unimaginable. So, are we suggesting man who is intrinsically evil, is more compassionate than God? God forbid! There is something amiss with this worldview as it contradicts God’s very basic nature of Love. God did say He made man from the dust, and to the dust he is to return. (Gen.3:19; also, Eccl.3:19-20; Psa.146:4; 115:17) That’s about a death as eternal as any if you think about it; but existing in an eternal undead state is not biblical. (Eccl.9:5; also, Job 14:12) Hell is the grave (sheol) where man return to dust, not some unknown place where evil-doers suffer in an undead state. In Hebrew thought, to be ‘alseep’ is the symbol of death. If I believe in the immortality of the soul the Greeks believe, then I’m expected to believe in a hell for the undead. 

“I Am The Resurrection And The Life!”

Immortal life in the Bible cannot be stated more clearly, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25a) Paul says, “There shall be a resurrection (future) of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” (Act.25:15) We are not judged immediately after death, there’s a future judgment day coming for all in the last day. The resurrection to immortality presupposes the existence of an eternal God who confers immortal life to man. Like all life forms which produce after their kind, the Creator God is no different. He is Creator of the universe and this earth which He made specifically for humans, and for man’s grand purpose. This demonstrates His sovereignty over all creation. The scripture reveals His purpose of creating mankind is to form man ultimately in His immortal image and likeness. At creation God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, so they may rule…So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Gen.1:26-27) This raises an obvious and legitimate question, what is God’s image? God is immortal in His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Spirit.

Why Jesus?

Why is Jesus central to man’s destiny to immortality? Now, consider that Jesus was the only human to ever have been begotten by the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus is eternally of one indivisible substance (homoousios***) in the Triune Godhead, He could not stop being God when He took upon Himself His human form through Mary His human mother. He was fully God and fully man. In other words, God and man are made one in Christ. The divine and the mortal become one in Christ. Hence, the prophet Isaiah was inspired to state a unique name for Jesus: Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23). Faith in this revelation about Jesus’ origin makes our faith in God’s purpose for man possible for He has given Himself as a ransom for our salvation.

It is logical to conclude that the Spirit, who is of and from the same homoousios*** union with the Son in the Triune Godhead, was instrumental and responsible for the human conception of Jesus. For how else could the Son have sprang but from an eternal home. Micah spoke of Jesus’ coming and origin, saying, “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Mic.5:2, NASB). As a man, Jesus voluntarily suspended the exercise of certain prerogatives of His divine attributes in order to assume our humanity through Mary. (Phi.2:7; Heb.4:15; Matt.26:51-54)

He lived a perfect life, was crucified as mankind’s Savior, was resurrected and ascended back to God and back to the glory He had with His Father in the Triune Godhead. By His bodily resurrection, He glorified our humanity in Himself and joined it to the Triune Life of God forever. He is the true and worthy human substitute doing the work of humanity’s High Priest from within the Triune Being of God for man’s physical and spiritual salvation.

Jesus – Only Human to Attain Immortality

Only one human has so far attained to the resurrection to immortality: He is Jesus, the Savior of mankind. This is the Gospel account of it, “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He is risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” (Matt.28:6) Here, we have an angelic messenger testifying to Jesus’ resurrection and by extension God’s plan to resurrect humans to immortality like Jesus’ own resurrection. Jesus paved the way for man’s immortal life by His own human resurrection to immortality. Paul gives the answer to man’s immortality, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (human made immortal), that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Rom.8:29, emphasis added)

So, human immortality is to resemble Jesus’ own immortality when He was resurrected from the dead. Jesus is the firstborn human made immortal, among the many that will follow in the future resurrection to immortality. He is the “firstborn” and only human who has attained human immortality. The “many” to follow awaits His second coming, Paul comforts the church with this hope, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1Thes. 4:16-17) This is man’s only hope for immortality!

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Man’s Destiny-To Shine Like Stars In the Nebulas (Pic: North American Nebula, NASA, Wiki Commons)

Man’s Purpose To Reign With Christ

Immortality is the heart and core of the Gospel message. It is the basis of man’s eternal reign on earth. (Gen.1:26b, 28). Man is to rule the earth in Love according to God’s image. Rulership is the prerogative of the Creator God He shares with man. So though we may deny man’s potential for eternal life, we cannot deny the human essence to reign because we exercise dominion everyday over this earth. Please note, it is not dominion over another human which is precluded in the Genesis dominion mandate. (Gen.1:26b, 28) As far as humans are concerned, we do not exercise rulership but relationship with people. Human relationship is governed by a continuous fulfillment of the “debt of Love” because we are all made in His image of Love. (Rom.13:8) Man was made to have dominion over all creation with the exception of man. How can the ruler be ruled? Jesus washed His disciples feet to show the humility needed to relate with our fellowmen. Jesus did not ‘rule’ His disciples, He served them, so ought we to do likewise. 

Immortality and Reign – Flipside of the Same Life

Rulership and immortality are prerogatives of God and flipside of the sole expression of God’s Being. To reign means one has the ability to sustain his reign into eternity. When it comes to God, you cannot accept one and deny the other – that’s His image. God rules eternally in Love. If you accept one, you accept both. Otherwise, what’s the point of dominion and reign if death is the end-all. Humans like to express this bent in his makeup for the afterlife by building monuments and legacies for themselves to be preserved for posterity. Humans think this way because he is made in the divine immortal likeness of the Creator. This poses a dilemma for those who don’t believe in man’s future immortal life. Man has exercised dominion over this earth, but the earth has remained while man has returned to its ashes from whence he was taken. Yet, the earth exists solely for man’s divine purpose. The Scripture says the earth groans and waits in eager expectation for the manifestation of man’s immortality as children of God. Why, because the earth’s ongoing meaning for existence in the universe is forever tied to God’s and man’s future upon it. “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” Yes, they will dwell in the new earth and in the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming from heaven as God’s gift. (Rom.8:18-23; Rev.21:1-4) 

All human dynasties die eventually, only Jesus’ dynasty is eternal and lives on forever. Paul enlightens us, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (kingdom/dominion), if indeed we suffer in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory (immortality).” (Rom.8:17, emphasis added) So we see rulership and immortality are one expression of God which He shares with those who become His children in faith. As the scripture say, “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1Cor.15:44) If there is to be reign, then there must of necessity be immortal life to eternalize man’s reign. He said this about man’s reign, “I appoint to you a kingdom, as My Father has appointed to me.” (Luk.22:29) 

Man’s Potential

Though man’s existence is temporary and ends in death, he has the potential for eternal life in the resurrection to reign in God’s eternal kingdom. Jesus said, “The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25b) Man’s immortality is secured in Jesus who, in Himself is the Personification of the resurrection. He said, “I AM the resurrection and the (true) life.” (John 11:25a) All life in the universe and this earth springs from, and is sustained by God, who is the Fountain of life, both physical and spiritual life. No human dies without His knowledge, not even a bird falls to the ground without His knowing, for all life springs from Him. He is omnipresent as He is omniscient. (Matt.10:29-31) Nothing created has life of its own, not even man. Only God is immortal and occupies true life. Life oozes out from Him, from whom all life forms are beneficiaries by His grace. Man is mortal, not immortal. Only the “uncreated” possesses immortality, the created possess mortality. Paul said to Timothy, “Who (God) alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” (1 Tim.6:6)  Of man, the scripture say, “For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same. As one dies, so does the other. They all have the same breadth, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” (Eccl.3:19-20)

What Happens at Death

The Spirit of God is the life-energy which envelopes our universe and all life forms upon this earth. Nothing can exist outside of God’s life-giving energy. The Spirit is the ‘divine spark’ (soul) which give the human mind his intellectual and spiritual faculties. Man has no self-sustaining immortality in him. Of all creatures, only man was blessed with the ‘divine spark’ (mind) to keep him connected to his Creator, for the purpose of remaking man in His image. Because man was formed in His image, the ‘divine spark’ (mind) enables him to live inter-dependently with his Creator, not independently apart from Him as some self-sustaining entity. (Gen.1:26-27) To the Greeks, belief in the “immortal soul” essentially means “uncreated” – not created. (“The immortality of the soul: a protest,” – #46 – Immortality)

How man uses his thoughts ultimately forms his subconscious mind which controls his life, whether for good or evil. Love is freedom, so man has to choose his thought process and thought form which will form his attitude to life. (read my blog post, “Penny for Your Thoughts,” 3/18/14) Also, this spiritual union show the vitality of the “Triune Life” whose underlying motivation is the collaborative, humble, inter-personal, and mutual way of life of the Trinitarian God. An independent self-sustaining life is non-existent in the “Triune Life.” Upon death, man returns to the earth from whence he was taken, and the ‘divine spark’ returns to the Spirit who gave it. (Eccl.12:6-7; 9:5; Gen.3:19; Psa.146:4; John 3:13; Psa.115:17; 89:48) At the return of Jesus, man is raised to give account in the judgment. (1 Thes.4:13-18; 2 Cor.5:10; Matt.12:36) 

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Fountain of Eternal Life, downtown Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Wiki Commons)

It All Comes Down to ‘Faith’

There is so much that can be said about this topic. It must be said the subject of man’s immortality has been debated for centuries, and will continue to be debated for a long time to come. Be that as it may, I have tried to expound its salient features as it concerns the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. I realize people will say they don’t believe the Bible is the last word on the subject. That may be so, but whatever position a person may take, they do express faith like Christians do. His faith rest upon the authority he has chosen to support on the subject. It is for us to question the validity and integrity of the authority we uphold and support. For Christians, it is the inspired word of the Bible, which they believe is authored by God Himself. (2 Tim.3:16; 2 Pet.1:21) It has survived for centuries, despite attempts to destroy it. When all is said and done, it is about our faith, isn’t it? Atheism is a faith which expresses disbelief in the existence of God and the supernatural. So accusing one’s faith in God as a ‘crutch,’ while expressing faith in the god of atheism, is hypocrisy usually found in the blind. 

The Biblical Account of Resurrection to Immortal Life

I close with this passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, “If the dead are not raised then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ is not raised your faith is futile; you are still in your sins…If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive…The body that is sown perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (1Cor.15:16-18, 22, 42-44)

Paul goes on to tell us of that miraculous moment of truth when suddenly, like being awakened from a deep slumber, we find ourselves in an indescribable and transformed state of existence. What does it feels like to be an immortalized human and be profusely alive and not dependent on our humanity for existence? No one knows how that feels like, but here’s how Paul describes it, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1Cor.15:51-57) The weight and credence of the Christian faith rests upon the promise of immortal life.

What was the Question?

Let’s pose the question we asked at first, is immortal life viable? Paul said if there is no resurrection to eternal life, then what is the point of it all? “If Christ is not raised then your faith is futile (empty). If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (Vs.17, 16, 32) But if there is a Higher Power, who calls man to a higher calling by making man in His Loving image, and who judges mankind, and confers immortality, then there is moral palpability in the way we live and in all we do in this earthly life.

Blessing:

Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you today and give you strength for authentic creative “Triune Living” as a Bula man-river.*

If you wish to read more, please obtain a copy of my book, “Bula Man-River – The Miracle of Triune Living,” from my web site: www.bulamanriver.com. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on bulamanriver@gmail.com.

Kiang

*The “Bula man-river” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. Man is the “riverbed” and the Spirit is the “living waters” that cover him and flows to all in his valley (destiny). (John 7:37-39) To read the many facets of life of the “Bula man-river,” go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book. Remember, when you purchase my book you lend a hand in Jesus’s Work, for all the proceeds go towards dispensing the Gospel worldwide. (Mark 9:41; Matt.28:28:18-20; Eph.2:10). Thank you for your support.

**Five Great Dialogues, 1969 P.93

*** Homoousias (Gk.ὁμοούσιος) means “of the same substance,” “of the same essence.”  Homo means “same” and ousia means “essence.”  The term was used by Athanasius in his correct teaching of the oneness of the Father and the Son in that they are the same substance, the same essence of divinity. The term was used in the Nicene Creed (and creeds thereafter) when it described Jesus as being of the same substance as the Father in its affirmation of the Trinity. (Matt Slick, carm.org)

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All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.