“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” 2Tim,1:9,10
When the Lord appeared to Abraham, or Moses, or Gideon, or Mary, He spoke to each of them, called each of them, by a name they had never heard before. From the moment He did that, they could only walk into the supernatural calling of God for their lives, by accepting the name, the eternal identity, that God had always had for them (Father of many nations, deliverer of my people, mighty warrior, Mother of the Lord). You can only walk in that name, that destiny, with one response; “Be it done unto me according to your Word” (Luke.1:38). That’s why Mary is such a role model for the birthing and formation of the life of Christ in a believer.
Here we see the circumcision of the heart, by the living Word. When God speaks your eternal name, there is a putting off/cutting off of your old life, to enable you to walk in His new name, His eternal name. His new life, His eternal life. His Word is sharp enough to cut us free from living a soulish earthly life and rise into our heavenly name, His eternal name for us, granted to us in Christ Jesus before we were conceived (2Tim.1:9). It was from the day of His circumcision, that Mary’s child was called Jesus, the name given by an angel before He was conceived (Luke2:21)
His new name for you, allows you to transcend your old life; to rise up a new person! A name that God has for you which transcends your mortal life, could also be called your immortal name. Now read 2Tim.1:10 again. “…but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” Such names, eternal callings, are revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. We are used to thinking of immortality as going one way; on and on into the future. But in the plan and purposes of God, immortality goes back as well as forward. When it says that the appearance of Christ brought immortality to light, it doesn’t just mean that Christ revealed eternal life as a life that went on and on into the future, but He revealed that, to God, our lives were in His heart from before the world began (Eph.1:5, Rom.8:30).
“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you? Before you were born I set you apart….” Who did the Lord say that to? These words were spoken to the prophet Jeremiah (Jer.1:5). Believing He said that to Jeremiah won’t change your life. But believing He is saying it to you will! Can you believe He says that to you? This is how God has always spoken to His people.
Question: When God says Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you? Which you, is He talking about?
- to Jeremiah, He was talking about the Jeremiah who would be a prophet to the nations.
- To Abraham, He was talking about the patriarch of Israel.
- To Gideon He was talking about the mighty warrior
- To Mary He was talking about the one destined to carry and nurture the Christ child.
Didn’t he know that when He spoke to Abraham, Abraham had achieved nothing of his destiny in the flesh. That he was living in barreness? Yes, but he wasn’t speaking to Abraham according to his mortal record but his immortal calling. Didn’t he know that when He spoke to Gideon, that Gideon had achieved nothing of his destiny in the flesh, that he was living in fear? Yes, but he wasn’t speaking to Gideon according to his mortal record but according to his immortal calling. Didn’t He know when He spoke to Mary, that she had achieved nothing of her eternal destiny in the flesh, that there was nothing to recommend a girl living in the humblest of circumstances to be the mother of our Lord? Yes, but he wasn’t speaking to Mary according to her mortal record, but according to her immortal calling.
Now you may say, but Phelim, those were special people and God may have had an immortal, eternal name for them, but I don’t see many angels appearing to people these days to tell them their eternal name. That’s because God doesn’t need to use angels these days to tell people of their immortal calling, because since the appearing of Christ, immortality is now brought to light by another means. God has purposed another means through which men and women hear their true name in Christ. How are such callings, such names now revealed? Look again at v10. “…but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,”
If the gospel you are sitting under doesn’t reveal your immortal calling to you, it is not the glorious eternal gospel that Paul preached (Rom.8:30, Eph.1:5, Eph.4:23,24, Col.2:20). If the gospel you are sitting under does not address you, reveal to you, God’s name for you ‘in Christ’, then you are not being equipped to live in that new life, because faith comes by hearing (Rom.10:17, Eph.4:15). It is in hearing God speak to you as ‘in Christ’, the eternal one, that you are graced (empowered) to live that in Christ, eternal life, because Words from God are spirit and they are life. Only His word to you lifts you into the eternal realm, lifts your thinking from the things that are passing away and sets your mind on things that will never pass away; Christ and all whose lives are hidden with Him in God (2Cor.4:18, Col.3:1-4)
That’s why on hearing Gideon’s astonishment and questions on how he could possibly do what was being asked of him, the Lord, in effect, simply kept repeating “You will do it, because I have spoken to you” (Judges 6:13-16). In other words, God believes His Words are eternal words, with the power to impart eternal destinies. How much faith does God have in His word? Enough to see you as whom He declares you to be, (not whom your earthly record declares you to be).
In Christ, God declares you to be a saint. But until your mind is renewed to Christ, you can only think of yourself as a sinner. If you can hear God’s words to you, spoken from the eternal realm, of your destiny in Christ, then that life is birthed and forms in you, through the power imparted by such words, for what comes with His words, are spirit and life; Holy Spirit and eternal life (John 6:63).
When you were a child and your mum or dad asked you several times to do something and you kept asking “why”, eventually, in frustration they may have said “Because I say so. That’s why!” Listen carefully. The Holy Spirit, sees from the eternal realm, the end from the beginning. He is the Holy Spirit of Him who has sat down in rest because all that needs to be done has been done. He never ever speaks to you in frustration or anger, as if He was hoping that you would achieve something for Him and now you have disappointed Him. His love for you and His name for you, are not changed by your performance. Why? Because He was never depending on you! All that was required to be done, for you and Him to live as one, He is not looking for you to do, because the living Word; Christ, already did all that was necessary and proclaimed it before all of creation from the Cross; “It is finished (accomplished, paid in full)” (John.19:30)
That’s why to preach the gospel is not to preach you, but to preach Christ! If you keep coming to a New Covenant ministry, looking for some nice talks on how you can be a better Christian, then you will be sorely disappointed, because we don’t preach you, we preach Christ! Some people would say to me, “Phelim, why don’t you preach more about sin?” Because I have such confidence in the power of a gospel that points to Christ and what He has done and so little confidence in a gospel that points to me and what I have not done. I grew up for decades in a church culture that threatened me with hell and damnation if I didn’t repent, but never gave me a gospel that enabled me to repent, for as Paul declared to the Romans, the very power of the gospel is that the righteousness of God is revealed as the gift of God in Christ. Any ‘gospel’ that obscures the truth, that in effect keeps pointing to me and saying “so what are you going to do for God”, rather than pointing to Christ, is no gospel at all (Gal.1:6-9). I will never be ashamed of preaching the gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24), of preaching Christ, not you. This is especially true as I see more and more the power of this gospel to transform my own life and others, who have given up attempting to establish our own righteousness and submitted to the righteousness, the name, that comes from God; the body of Christ, His precious bride (Rom.10:3,4).
‘In Christ’, your old ‘trying to please God’ life, your old ‘separated from God by your sins’ life was put to death and you were born again, fully pleasing to God, because according to 1Cor.1:30, Christ has become for us our righteousness, our holiness and our redemption. Yes, that is a totally different way of thinking from old time religion, from a Law mixed with Grace culture. A mixed gospel leads to a mixed experience, where you feel holy enough to be pleasing to Him one week, but unholy enough to be displeasing to Him the next, where you feel good enough to take communion one day, but not good enough to take it the next because you are living from your soul, not your spirit (who is in union with God’s Spirit) and “the mind governed by the flesh is death (separation), but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace (oneness). (Rom.8:6, 1Cor.6:17)
So yes, to start to think of yourself from God’s perspective, to start to live from your Spirit, rather than your soul, (your feelings), requires of you and I a total change in the way we think, a metanoia, a repentance. That is why, as a minister of the New Covenant, I refuse to speak to you in the language of the Old Covenant, as if you are only flesh and blood, for all ministers of reconciliation, (as ministers of the Spirit that gives life and not the letter that kills through condemnation), have been instructed to regard no man after the flesh, but after the Spirit, for it is in speaking to you by the Spirit, that repentance, this metanoia, this totally new way of thinking and so living, is gifted to you. (2Cor.3:1-18, 2Cor.5:16-21)
Repentance is not a work of the flesh, but a gift of God’s Spirit that comes through His Word (Acts 11:18). It is the Word of God that is the power of God unto repentance, but how are men to repent if they are not given such words from the Spirit? (Rom.10:14). It is as you keep hearing your new name in Christ, that you can start to draw your eternal identity from who He declares you to be, rather than from your record in the flesh, (what you do or don’t do). Then you will begin to understand what scripture means when it says that you can lay aside that old self by “being renewed in the spirit of your mind so that you can put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Eph.4:23,24)
How much faith does God have in His word? Enough to see you, as whom He declares you to be! This is why the Holy Spirit can only speak to people, as God sees them to be from His eternal perspective. This is why Jesus did not address people as they appeared to be in this earthly realm; cut off from God, sick or dead, because when the eternal God speaks His words over you, words that are spirit and life, you cannot remain cut off from God, sick or dead! (John 11:43,44)
When we realise, that as people of the Spirit, children of God, that our words too can impart spirit, can determine how we think and so how we live, then we will start to be much more careful of how we speak to others and how we speak to ourselves. Each of us as children, were formed by the words spoken over us by our parents because the words of a parent aren’t just spoken over us, but into us. Those words form the picture of ourselves by which we live, the image we live from. Christ’s words to His Church, are Christ’s words into His Church. His Words are His spirit and His life. (Eph.5:25-33) True words from God’s Spirit conform men to His eternal image of man and God in union; Christ. His life was birthed in us and is being formed and growing in us, through the power in His Words spoken over us and into us (Luke 1:38, Gal.4:19)
Everything earthly parents teach their children, is guided by this truth, that there is a mature person whom their words are forming their child into. It is amazing to look back at photographs of us as children and to gaze on all that immaturity and naivety and to see ourselves today. We wonder at our far we have come and how much we have changed. We look at that picture of us as young children and think to ourselves, “Wow. Who knew? Who would have thought it, that this child would become the person I am today?” Well actually, someone did think of it. Your parents thought like that!
They cared for you and educated you and clothed you and fed you and looked after your every need because although there was a time when you were crawling around on all fours and would be quite happy to eat off the floor and do your business on the floor, your parents never saw you as a dog, never saw you as a cute little pet to keep. They always saw you, as growing into a person like them, because they knew something you didn’t. They knew that despite what you were behaving like, you were not a dog. They knew that you had their DNA in you and over time, with the right nourishment and environment, you would grow to be just like them.
Words that are genuinely of the Holy Spirit, always bring believers into maturity, into a growing recognition of the fullness of Christ in them. His words always grow believers up into Christ (Eph.4:11-16). Ephesians 4 declares that to be exactly the purpose of the ascension ministry gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher, for the growing up of believers into Christ, not into good living church goers, but into Christ. So if you, believer, have been raised with Christ, then set your minds on things higher than going to church. Set you mind on things above, (in the eternal realm), not on the earth below, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Col.3:1-4)
If you are a believer, then in the same way as a child is not a dog, you are not a mere man. You don’t have to live like an unbeliever, who lives “in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.” (Eph 4:17,18)
Is it possible for believers, to harden their hearts against the gospel and never grow up into the maturity of sonship, into thinking of themselves and God as one life? (John 17:21). Is it possible for believers, those who have been raised with Christ, to live a mere natural earthly religious life, thinking of themselves as mere men separated from God by their sin, rather than temples of the Holy Spirit, the very habitation of God? (John 14:23, 1Cor.3:16, 1Cor.3:3). Anyone who has been around the church for any length of time, knows that its more than possible. Such immaturity has become the widespread normal state of the body of Christ, for a church that has not grown to see that they are the habitation of God, will always be seeking a visitation from God. (2Kings 6:17, Acts 3:6)
When you cannot see what God has done, you will spend your life waiting for something better, waiting for immortality (Prov.13:12). Believer, hear the gospel that brings immortality to light, the gospel that calls you by the name given you, before you were conceived. Hear the gospel that declares that in Christ there has been a circumcision, for in Him you have been cut off from death and raised up to eternal life.
On the first Christmas, God used angels to declare His eternal words, but now all those who proclaim this good news, this gospel that brings great joy to all people, are His heavenly messengers and much more, for to all who receive His Word, comes the power to be children of God (John 1:12). By the power of this glorious eternal gospel, the Church is now the heavenly host, rising up as shining messengers of God, declaring “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”