Ephesians 5:25-27 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” NKJV
As we consider the Plan of God and acknowledge that it has never ceased in the Heart of God we should examine some Old Testament types and shadows. God uses them to direct us from the natural to what He has in mind in the spiritual. What flesh cannot and could not do the Spirit can. Paul informed us that the Old Testament was written as an example for us in the New. God gave us the Old Testament for more than history but also for education, so we could learn His principles and purposes and apply them in our lives spiritually. We also learn from Paul that God’s process is “first the natural then the spiritual.” The Old Testament points us to the New and as what we see “in the natural” in the Old testifies to us of what God’s plan is for the Spiritual.
An example of that can be seen in the deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. This, I believe, is clearly a type of the Church (Christ’s Body) coming out of bondage and enslavement to liberty and freedom. In Egypt, we see sin and man’s system. God’s covenant people are called out and set free by the miraculous hand of God. A beautiful truth, often missed, is that there were SPOILS in their exodus. They did not go out empty handed. As they departed and were liberated Pharaoh and his army were decimated by the hand of God and if we can receive it, the wilderness was spiritual boot camp or training ground for the fulfillment of the Promise. They crossed Jordan which is a type of “death” but it is death to self so they could then function and entered Canaan which is a picture of the Place of Victory. Victory, here and now!
God has no Plan by which we can take a shortcut through the wilderness. You cannot get to the Promised Land without going through the wilderness. The Tabernacle helps us to understand this truth and as we examine this reality we can learn WHERE we are and WHERE God is taking us, and we learn, order and His process. He takes us step by step, line upon line, and precept upon precept. No steps are omitted or bypassed. Adam failed, but Jesus, the Last Adam came and restored us legally all that was lost. He has given gifts, anointing, and abilities to fulfill His Covenant. We must move into Him fully to gain this reality experientially rather than simply doctrinally or judicially.
- THE CHURCH IS CHRIST’S BODY.
If we are to understand our authority and position we must look to and at Jesus. He has dominion, is fruitful, and fully manifests the Father in all He said and did on earth. By His Work on the Cross and through God’s Covenant we are the Body of Christ and we have legally and judicially been restored to that position Adam lost. Isaiah 61, fulfilled in Jesus is to be a current reality in His Body, the Church. John 14:12, fulfilled in Jesus was promised to His Body, the Church and is to be expected in today’s world.
The transition revealed in the name change of Abraham is significant. He was Abram but became Abraham. The name change reflected both a character change and purpose change in his life. He transitioned from a heathen idolater who worshiped the moon to the man of faith he became. His Promise was that he would become a Great Nation, be Blessed, have Fame & Honor, be a Blessing, Bless his friends and curse his foes and that through him ALL THE NATIONS could be Blessed. He was 75 when this word came to him. He was married but childless and was probably already resigning himself to the probability that he and Sari would have no children of their own. Then the Promise came and that revealed the Problem. How would he be a great nation if he had no heir? His human reason was poised to shipwreck his participation in the Promise. Human reason is not always a friend of God’s Promises or Purposes.
The Promise was clear. God said, “Go forth…” He set out for Canaan, the Place of Promise. He knew where he was going. God then told him, “I will give you and your descendants the land…” But he had no descendants so the Promise revealed the Problem. He faced difficulties in the pursuit of the Promise and Purpose of God but in it all, he maintained his confidence in “El Shaddai” and rested in God’s sufficiency. Human, reason often asks questions rooted in doubt but faith says, “I may not see it or comprehend how it can be but God is sufficient for me!”
In Egypt he allowed deception to enter through lying about his relationship with his wife. Later, he listened to her counsel and Ishmael was produced rather than fully trusting God. In Genesis 17 God returned and reaffirmed the Promise and Covenant and gave him his name change. The story is amazing and when Paul tells the story in Romans 4 his tells us that “Abraham, staggered not…” WHAT? He became what God said but at the initial moment of hearing the Promise he staggered. It is not the momentary but the eventuality that is most important. Abraham had God’s Promise and knew WHERE God wanted to take him but he could not see HOW he could get there. Finally, he rested in God’s Promise and received the fulfillment.
God gives you and me a Promise and wants that Promise to become a Hope and that Hope to become a Dream or Vision and that produces Faith to achieve the Promise. Where are you now in your spiritual walk? God has given you a Promise, Hope, Dream, and Expectation and you may be vacillating between two points and may be near casting away your confidence. You may have even produced an Ishmael or two in the process but take heart, God wants to help you get back to where you got off course and achieve the Dream. Resist being shipwrecked by Human Reason and place your confidence in God’s Promise.
May the Lord richly bless you as you go through this day and the rest of your life!