Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thank you Lord, for the affirmation again

The purpose of this article is not to boast of what I have done. For what I have done, was done through the Lord. Apart from him, I can do nothing meaningful(John 15:5). The glory is His. I am just a willing vessel at the appropriate times, and that at those moments He was pleased to use me. This blog, and this entry served as a personal journal for me, in some way, a record of some of the things the Lord has done in and through me. In addition, it is my desire that it, including this entry, will bring encouragement to readers, especially when you see these things are happening in and through a lay person. Although I am an altar minister in my church, I am actually only a lay altar minister, I am not a staff or a paid pastor of the church, I am just a long time member of the church, doing the things I do on a volunteering basis. Of course, without the consent and support of the pastoral team and staff of the church, I would not have been able to do some of the things that I am currently doing. Still I must say, I cannot just write about everything I want since this is a public domain, and that people’s privacy must be observed. Also, I do not want the church to get any wrong idea and think that what I am doing in the church is for getting things to write about in this blog.

The 3 visions
Sorry, for the long opening. Actually, I just want to write about several things that happened over the last weekend (25-26 July 09), which I found to be noteworthy and comforting. Firstly, I released 3 visions over the weekend, one for each of the 3 weekend services. This is a first for me. Two of them were pictures/words of caution, one about our negative attitude towards expressions of worship. This one was more of a mental picture. The second one was a picture of a stretch of fence with a sudden jumping of the fence by someone, seen by me (in the vision) at the corner of my eye accompanied by a stir in my spirit. This was to be a caution to someone(s) who has(ve) overstepped/comtemplating overstepping the precepts of the Lord (the fence represented the precepts of the Lord put there to protect us). Words of caution/warning/rebuke are difficult words to release, especially for a lay person, to a congregation. I am grateful to my Senior Pastor for allowing me to release the word. May the Lord continue to bless him with discernments in the things of the spirit. He is a courageous man of God. The third was a picture of a young lady bound, possibly by excessive/unusual fear or guilt, and there was also a flight of stairs in the vision. It was that, perhaps, the Lord wanted to minister to people with excessive/unusual fear or guilt or suffering from compulsive disorders, like anger, etc. I also released some words on physical healing conditions for the services.

Spiritual Bethesda Pool
For some few weeks now, I have been witnessing some people being slain when I prayed for them at the front of the sanctuary. I believe this place in this church is a very special place. I believe it has been designated by God to be a place of healing, a spiritual Bethesda Pool. Whenever I can, on every Sunday morning, I would do “prayer walk” around this “pool”, praying for God to continue to use the place for healing and ministry, continue to pour forth his anointing into this pool, that His angels would continue to form “angel arch” over the pool, dropping healing essence or anointing into the pool. I once had a word from the Lord to form human arch over the pool. Because I was doing this “prayer walk thing” all by myself, each Sunday morning, about an hour before the first service, I was unable to do the arch. I told the Lord, to continue to do weekly prayer walking around the pool was ok for me but to involve others would be a little difficult for two reasons - one, that I believed what I believed about the area was because I had believed and appropriated a word of revelation released by one of the former pastors of the church but others might not believe, two, that it was not my intention to attract attention to what I had been doing, lest I be labeled a Pharisee – praying and doings things at front of the sanctuary that all may see and know. Of course, it was not that people could not see I was there, kneeling and praying, Sunday after Sunday, if they turned up a bit earlier, before the first services began, but at least I was doing things by myself quietly. In case you want to know what I did during the time of about an hour, I first prayed that the Lord would prepare me for the hour, do the prayer walk around the pool (there are 2 red lines, some 5 to 6 feets apart on the carpeted floor, marking the long “pool” at the front of the sanctuary), praying for God’s continued designation of the place, for the anointing to be poured forth, for the angels (healing ones, ministering ones, and even warring ones) to come, for the forming of the angel arch, for empowering of the ministers who would be ministering at the area (I must confess that at the beginning I only prayed for empowering for myself, how selfish!), for the worship team on the stage, and for the speaker of the morning [R. Watson, God used you to remind me to pray for speakers of the services]. When I finished the walk, I would kneel on the spot in front of where I normally sit (I normally sit in the first row, in front of the sanctuary), pray for my ministry (actually too big of a word to use for whatever that the Lord is doing through me, but what the hack, nothing wrong with thinking big and dreaming big with the Lord for things of the faith, and of the spirit, right?), intercede for some people (I make it a point to do this), and finally round off with asking the Lord to prepare me for the services of the morning - to worship Him, to serve Him in words of knowledge, prophesy, and be a vessel for Him to use in altar ministry time, also to feed on His word spoken through the speaker. By the way, from time to time, I do receive words of knowledge during this pre-service time. Oh, before I forget, I actually want to say that the church did eventually do the human arch around the pool – sometime this year, the church did a Fire Tunnel exercise as a finale of a series of teachings on supernatural living. I have the privilege of writing an email to the Senior Pastor, suggesting the sites for the tunnels; yes, you guessed it right, at front of the sanctuary between the 2 red lines. I did not receive a reply from the Senior Pastor or know whether he did read the email (sometimes, emails do get filtered by secretaries, you know) but all the same, 2 tunnels were formed on that occasion, one on the right and one on the left, from the centre of the “pool”. And the people proceeded from the seats via the central aisle, walked to the centre of the “pool” to enter either tunnel. For a few weeks prior to this, I had also been extending my prayer walk into the central aisle. I did not know why then, but on the night of Fire Tunneling, I knew why – the central aisle was to be used (In my usual prayer walk, as in currently, the central aisle is not included). Another thing, for readers from the same church, now you understand why I ministered so confidently at the front of the sanctuary – I believe I have the Lord with me, and I have the “home ground” advantage! Oops, Lord, a whole long para. ended up devoted to your spiritual Bethesda Pool in this church!

People slain
Ok, back to the things that happened. Yes, I was saying that I was witnessing some people being slain when I prayed for them during the altar ministry time at the front of the sanctuary. A couple of weeks before that the frequency was about every other week, one or two persons would be slain in one or more of the services. Then it went from every other week to every week, one or two persons would be slain when I ministered. I generally give words of knowledge and prophesy, and perform altar ministry (praying for people in ministry times). Of late, more got slain by other ministers as well, at the altar ministry times. Do I feel pressurized or jealous? Honestly, no but I care about whether or not I am still being used by the Lord, and I want to see growth in my “ministry”. I prayed for power and anointing for other ministers, didn’t I? I want to spur others on, don’t I? Yes, I just do not want to be “left behind”. I have come to believe and I think I still believe that when we “empower” others and spur others to greater heights, God will empower and anoint us further if our hearts are right. In any case, in all things, the prerogatives belong to God – if you do not want to intercede/pray/empower/impart/anoint, God could get someone else to do it. When we say we empower/impart/anoint, actually we really do nothing of the sort, it is God who does it, the source and giver is God, not us, we are just the vessels, and I believe it is a blessing that you and I can be willing vessels. If you are willing, you are already blessed, for being willing to be used by God is a blessing in itself. In another article, Trials and Temptations (James 1:2-18), I said that with godly wisdom for execution, we should always focused on the end result. I think it is not wrong to say, that’s how God is, God looks at the end result. He looks at what is going to be achieved at the end of the day - that is what is important to Him. Why do I say that? It is because He has the wisdom for execution all the time. When you have the wisdom for execution, what do you look at? Yes, you look at what you desire to achieve. Of course, for God, the end results of everything that He does are good because God is good all the time. What is the good end result here? People be healed, delivered and ministered to, the name of God be lifted up and glorified and men are drawn to God. Whether it is through me or through other ministers are matters of execution.

Take note of what is/isn't happening
Ah, so what happened last weekend, apart from the 3 visions given for the services? Another set of 3 things happened, even though for this weekend despite the fact that some people got slain by some other ministers but no one fell under the power of the Spirit when I prayed for the people – a surprise break! I am going to digress again, but bear with me. I think it is important that we be sensitive to what is going on, in and through us, in relation to our walk with the Lord. When we take note of what is happening we would be able to constantly check ourselves, do self-reflection to see if there are anything that went amiss (maybe our attitude was not right, our motive was not right, pride has gotten the better of us, maybe we have sinned, disobeyed God and God isn’t pleased about it). I am constantly reminding myself what Wilfred, a veteran itinerant preacher, said concerning moving in the supernatural –God can use anyone in the supernatural, even a sinful man or woman, an unwilling vessel, a baby or young Christian, but to continue to move in the supernatural with frequency and consistency, one has to grow. God expects the person to grow. If you are living in sin, you have to leave that sinful life, if you are an unwilling vessel, you have to learn to be willing, if you are a young Christian, you need to grow in the Word, etc (By the way, no one can claim that he/she has arrived), and we must all try to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet 1:16 and 2 Cor 7:1). Although, Wilfred said He has no theological degree or formal paper qualification, I believe his insight is correct. I now tell people that when you do natural things well, people may not attribute them to God because you maybe naturally endowed but when you do supernatural things consistently, people attribute them to God working in and through you – you have God’s name written all over you; in a way you represent God. Do you think that God will allow that if you still remain in your “undesirable” state? Or that when you allow yourselves to deteriorate into the “undesirable state”, would the Lord still continue to let you be his representative? Whether you are a prince or a princess, it is the same. Knowing your identity in God is important, but it doesn’t mean as a King’s son or daughter, you can do whatever you like. I know some of the readers are from the same church I am attending, and they have been exposed through overseas speakers, the importance of knowing our identity in God. Let us all bear in mind that [as we are taught and believed] all Christians are princes and princesses, and if that is so, then when one does not walk right with God, we just get, instead of a so and so commoner, a so and so prince or princess, like a sinful prince/princess, an unwilling prince/princess, a young prince/princess, or a prince/princess who is unwilling to practice holiness before the King whose is first and foremost, God the Holiness. Before God, our status of being a prince/princess is the same for everyone, when we are disobedient, we are just disobedient children. It is in relation to those outside, like the non-Christians and Satan and the principalities of darkness that our status as princes and princesses become very crucial and our own knowledge and belief in that, are very crucial. If you think that just because you are a prince or princess, you can call down fire and brimstones, you are mistaken. The Chinese has a saying that sounded something like this, “If royalty breaks the law, he/she gets the same punishment”; what more when in our kingdom of the Christians (Kingdom of God), there are no commoners! So, let us be obedient children before God, the Father, honour Him, please Him, bring Him joy, and share in His work.

Finally, the other set of 3 things
Sorry, folk, ok, I come back, get to the point and finish this off. The other set of 3 things are that I received 3 feedbacks. You see feedbacks/report-backs/testimonies are precious to us, who ministered in faith. They assure us, affirm us, increase our faith, spur us to do more for the Lord. Seeing some people slain maybe encouraging, getting feedback that people are healed or ministered to is even better. Thank you, Lord that you, not only give one but 3 feedbacks/report-backs at one go.

Firstly, a young man, a poly undergraduate whom I counseled and ministered to, for several Saturday evenings some months back, who had become a Christian but was holding onto the notion that being a Christian, one needn’t necessarily go to a church [representing fellowship and body], has now started going to church. After I stopped the counseling sessions several months back, I continued to intercede for this young man on Sundays. Yes, you read above that I intercede for people on Sundays, in the hour before the church first services. Last weekend, I saw this young man coming to church, I asked him about it, and he said that he had been coming to the church’s youth services, for 4 weeks already. I kept asking God to bring this young man into the fellowship of the church, now a breakthrough has taken place.

Secondly, a man I ministered healing to, several weeks ago at the altar ministry, came up to me at the church hospitality plaza last weekend and told me that his doctor had said that everything was alright for his colon. I could remember this man because of something he said. You see, if you give words of knowledge and prophesy regularly and prayed for many people regularly, you will not remember the words or the people particularly unless you made a point to remember the words or persons by recording them down or something peculiar happened. This man mentioned more than once, the previous diagnosis by his doctor that the “tube” was too small and he had problem moving his bowel. He was complaining about problems with his colons and bowel movement, but the word “tube” was kind of a strange term to use, and I remembered that. He told me then he would be re-visiting the doctor for further examinations. The man was happy and I was happy that his doctor has since cleared him.

Lastly, a woman told me that the Lord had given her a word for me, and that she had carried it for some times but had not had the occasion to give it to me. She said she even shared it with her children. This sister and her husband are somehow “special” when they got prayed for, by me. Actually, I do not get many feedbacks on people being healed when they are being prayed for, by me. I wish I get more of that. Well, Jesus, on one occasion only got one out of ten, so I should not complain. In Luke 17:11-17, we read:

11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" (Luke 17:11-17)

There must be times when I prayed for people, people do not get healed even subsequently over time, but when Jesus prayed for people, people got healed (v 17a). Yet we read that only one out of the 10 lepers came back to report of his healing, the other nine did not (People, what must we do when we got healed? Report back and give praise to God. Maybe some of the people do report back, to the church, and I was not aware). So, if people do not report back, I will still pray. Even if only one out of ten or more, gets healed, I will still pray. I prayed for this sister before, for her tearing eye conditions and she was healed (I shared this before, because she reported back, in a separate article – A Special Resurrection Sunday Indeed) several months ago. More recently, I prayed for her husband for pain and discomfort on the shoulder/shoulder blade area, and he experienced healing immediately. I remembered this occasion because, firstly, his wife was healed before, and secondly, the setting was not in church and a person received instant healing when prayed for, by me. Last weekend this couple came up to the front of the church sanctuary for prayer of resolve, to spend time with God as a family unit. I was actually far away from where they were standing, and for that particular session I was thinking that I could just pass, i.e. not going forth to pray for people (remember, I do what I do on a willing basis, I am not “on duty” as such). Then suddenly, I just felt I should pray for the couple. I quickly made my way to the couple and prayed for them. I felt “heat” when I lay hands on the couple’s foreheads, particularly for the husband. In fact the heat was so strong, I told the brother, the Lord’s anointing was upon him. It was after this that the wife said that she had the word for me sometime back. She kept apologizing that she did not tell me earlier. She said that the Lord’s word was that I was sincere when I prayed for people, and the Lord being pleased with my sincerity, heard and answered my prayers for others. What comforting words to hear. Thank you, Lord.

Pray for me
This is really a very roundabout and long-winded way of saying 2 sets of 3 things – a set of 3 visions and another set of 3 feedbacks/report-backs; but I hope you have enjoyed reading this and know a little bit more of me and what I do. There are reasons for the time being, for not being a little more personal, like publicly showing my photo on this blog site, revealing my age and where exactly I worship, etc. I hope those who read this blog, would pray for me, pray for my protection, pray that I can break all undesirable habits, be more holy as the Lord is holy, and not function in the flesh, and deliver only what God wants delivered, particularly in times of release of words of knowledge and prophesy.

Anthony Chia - Lord, may I always remember that much is given, much is expected (Luke 19:25-26)

PS: Comments/feedback are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me at: Or just email me so that I have a record of your email address to inform you of any updates on this blog.

Monday, July 27, 2009

No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

These are the words of Jesus Himself when He was asked by Nicodemus, a Pharisee and also a member of the Jewish Ruling Council, about how to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus told him that one must be born again:

John 3:4-7
4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'

Jesus said that we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. Being born again obviously did not mean re-entering the womb and coming out again. Jesus said that we must be born of water and the Spirit.

What does born of water mean?
Water is akin to washing, cleaning and cleansing, and the Word. In Biblical interpretation, we recognize “types” {as in say, a type of Christ, for example, the power of the brazen serpent (Num 21:6-9) is a type of power of the Cross.}, first (or earlier) mentions, and repeated associations. With these in mind, I like to refer you to Ezekiel 36:24-27 -

24 " 'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

I want to suggest to you that this is a “type” – “Entering the Kingdom of God” type. The Ezekiel verses talked about a gathering together of the Israelites after a scattering (also note that Ezekiel 36 itself is a prophesy – a foretelling (Eze 36:1)). Entering the Kingdom of God is about a gathering of the Christians to enter Christians’ eternal land, Heaven. With this in mind, now we will interpret the above verses in the Gospel of John.

I believe the key to the interpretation of born of water is found in verses 25 & 26 of Ezekiel 36. To be born of water is to be cleansed of all our unrighteousness resulted from sins. Although many Bible scholars referenced water to water baptism and said or implied that water baptism was what was referred to by “born of water”, I believe it is the underlying meaning of water baptism that was referred to by Jesus. Jesus was talking in a manner that was understandable to people at his time. Water baptism preached by John the Baptist was in essence, “repent and be cleansed”. We know that post John the Baptist and after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we first get cleansed by accepting Jesus into our lives. So to be born of water really means to accept Jesus, who is the Word personified, as the Lord and Saviour of your life – not water baptism. To enter the kingdom of God, you need to cleansed of your unrighteousness, resulted from sins, by the blood of Jesus, in other words, you need to be a Christian.

I believe a little bit more need to be said of this cleansing by the blood of Jesus. I felt led to elaborate. Firstly man comprises the body, soul and spirit (click this article on tripartite nature of man for more on this. You are advised to read this article in order to follow the argument in this para.). For eternal life after death, what matter are the soul and spirit. The body though needs to be sanctified as well, decays when we die. {added 05/08/2010: The resurrected body (imperishable) is important for eternal life, but here the reference is to the natural body (perishable body)} But the spirited soul lives on, in fact forever. I read verse 26 of Ezekiel as cleansing of the heart (perhaps the most important part of the soul) and the spirit. When we see the word “new”, it is logical to say that there was an old one. But the word “new” here, I submit to you that it is not new as in “throw away the old one and put in a new one”. What I believe is that the cleansing work of the blood of Jesus is so thorough that the heart and the spirit become as in their original intended condition (new). They are still the same heart or spirit, just changed. Why do I say that? This is because (as I pointed out in the article referenced in this same para. on the tripartite nature of man) the spirit cannot be simply chucked away and be substituted with a new one. A spirit created by God lives forever. A spirited soul (soul with his spirit) either ends up living forever in the Kingdom of God (in Heaven) or suffering in the lake of fire in Hell forever. So a new spirit really is an old spirit made new, and so, by like to like interpretation, a new heart of the soul is also really an old heart made new and is no longer hardened – both cleansed perfectly if the person in question is truly “converted”. I must also assert that it is my belief that upon cleansing, the heart or spirit maybe perfect but afterwards if you sin, it will not be. I believe (contrary to some others), in this life, perfection is momentary, but we are exhorted to be righteous and holy as God is holy.

If you want a New Testament verse to support the association of water, washing/cleansing and the Word (Jesus is the Word, personified – John 1:1-3), take a look at this:

….just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word (Eph 5:25b-26)

What about born of the Spirit?
Accordingly Ezekiel 36:27 give us the key to interpretation of what is meant by born of the Spirit.

Ezekiel 36:27 - And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

I believe the blood of Jesus cleanses all 3 parts of the man – body, soul and spirit. But this cleansing may not be sufficient for us, to be born of the Spirit is necessary. I believe a cleansed spirit still need to be quickened. If you have read my article on the tripartite man, you would have noticed that I have said the spirit of man not born again is in a very much “weakened” state. I believe the Apostle Paul understood this well and that was why he reiterated this saying in 1 Cor 15:45 –

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam[Jesus] was made a QUICKENING spirit. (1 Cor 15:45)

To be quickened is to come to life; to become alive; to become vivified or enlivened; hence, to exhibit signs of life; to move, as the fetus in the womb.

To quicken is to make alive; to vivify; to revive or resuscitate, as from death or an inanimate state; to make lively, active, or sprightly; to impart additional energy to; to excite, to stimulate; to hasten, to incite.

So, firstly, to be born of the Spirit is to have one’s spirit quickened by the Spirit of the Lord. So, Flesh gives birth to flesh, but "the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6) is referring to this quickening of the spirit of man by the Spirit of the Lord – Only a spirit (in this case, the Lord’s Spirit) can quicken a spirit. What happens is that God put the Spirit of the Lord in us (Eze 36:27a) and the Spirit of the Lord quickens us. Eze 36:27b said the Spirit will move us to follow God’s decrees and make us be careful to keep God’s laws. This is part of the quickening – to quicken include to hasten and to incite (to hasten and incite the following of God’s decrees and laws). Secondly, God’s putting of the Spirit of the Lord into us is God’s adoption of our spirits as sons. The Apostle Paul spelt it out very clearly to us in Rom 8:15 -

For you did not receive a Spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Rom 8:15) [Notice that I have capitalized the 1st appearance of the word “spirit” because of the capitalized second appearance of the word “spirit” as in the Spirit of sonship; for this reason, I also capitalized the word “him” in the verse.]

Just to support further my lines of argument, let us take a look at another passage on the same subject. Paul wrote in the Book of Titus as follows:

5he[Jesus] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

There is no inconsistency. Notice in the second part of verse 5, Paul used the words, “washing of rebirth” and “renewal by the Holy Spirit”. To me, the former could be taken to mean “cleansing unto(until it is like) new” and the latter, “of the spirit, being made new, into condition as of from the start”. Notice that the (spirit) renewal is by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. Paul, in verse 7 is referring to the same sonship that we looked at, in the earlier passage (Rom 8:15) which was also Paul’s writing. Here Paul is saying being sons, we are heirs in the Kingdom of God.

I also want to point out that the putting of the Holy Spirit by God into a person, at born again for the purpose of adopting the person's spirit as son is the first indwelling of Holy Spirit for the person as a Christian and is the first quickening of the spirit of a person as a Christian. This indwelling I called it, Adoption Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

[added 15 July 2010]You should also notice from the above exposition that the primary objective of Jesus giving of Himself as The Sacrificial Lamb is to restore or reestablish the righteousness state of ours to that before The Fall of Man (by Adam & Eve) in the Garden of Eden. In their righteous state, Adam and Eve still sinned, similarly, in our restored state we are capable of sinning, except that you and I cannot blame Adam or Eve anymore, and are answerable to God as to how we exercise our free-will.]

So what does born again mean? It means to be born of water and the Spirit. What does born of water mean? It means to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour and be cleansed by His blood. What does born of the Spirit mean? It means to be adopted by God as a son and be quickened by the Spirit of the LORD {Jehovah} (which is the Holy Spirit – Isaiah 11:2).

There are still a couple of things to be said before we end this discussion.
1. To be born of water is the work of Jesus. Jesus died and resurrected, and you need to believe in Him and accept Him as the Lord and Saviour; He forgives you and cleanses you.

2. To be born of the Spirit is the work of the Holy Spirit. This is not so clear cut. Let me explain:

Let us look again at 1 Cor 15:45 -

… The first man Adam was made a LIVING soul; the last Adam[Jesus] was made a QUICKENING spirit.

To start with, Adam is a soul and he became a LIVING soul when God gave him a spirit [a spirit lives forever], and so we say the first Adam was made a LIVING soul. Now to start with, Jesus is spirit [being one of the Triune God] and He became a QUICKENING spirit when GOD gave Him the Holy Spirit [the Holy Spirit was put into Jesus when He was “cleansed” by water by John the Baptist (to fulfill all righteousness)], and so we say the last Adam [Jesus] was made a QUICKENING spirit.

Jesus is the first-fruit, our fore-runner; as man, to fulfill all righteousness, He went through the whole process. We are followers after his footsteps. What I am sharing here could only have come from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not of my own.

3. So, following from the above, the Spirit that quickens is the Holy Spirit. There is no inconsistency, the sevenfold spirits [seven Spirits] of the Holy Spirit include the Spirit of the LORD {Jehovah} (Isaiah 11:2) – to understand more of the sevenfold spirits of God, look out for a separate article to come.

4. Why the need to be born of the Spirit? To appreciate the need to be born of water is not so difficult – the tripartite man needs to be forgiven and cleansed. Although I have mentioned the weakened state of the fallen spirit as the reason for the need of quickening, there is still the question of why the need for us to have the Holy Spirit in us. If you read my article on the tripartite man, you will find that I have said that the Holy Spirit was NOT put into man when God created man. Why was there not a need then to put the Holy Spirit into man, and subsequently a need? To fully explain this would entail a fuller and longer article touching on a number of controversial ideas, of which I believe I have some revelations. It suffices to say here that man’s having knowledge of good and evil was not part of the original plan of God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit was not necessary in the original plan. Man was created in the image of God, not as god (there are differences between originals and images). I believe by acquiring the knowledge of good and evil in the Fall, man is no longer able to cope with all that he needs to face in life without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and still hopes to come through victorious, the way God intended it. The indwelling and aid of Holy Spirit are needed. Despite the many speculations put forth to explain what is the "new creation" is all about, I believe this is the base perspective, and we should expound from this base.

5. On-going need to be cleansed and quickened. The reason I threw in point 4 above is so that we can appreciate what I am going to say for this point – we need to be cleansed and quickened on an on-going basis. These things when pushed to their conclusions would touch on touchy subjects such as “one saved is always saved” or “is it that we need to work on our salvation with fear and trembling?” If and when I feel led, perhaps some days, I would write on these issues, including those I avoided to elaborate in point 4 above. I have to, at least, mention here that although you need only to accept Jesus once, you need, on an on-going basis, to repent of your subsequent sins and be forgiven and cleansed by (the blood of ) Jesus (1 John 1:9)[added 11/07/2010: Those doubting if 1 John 1:9 is for believers, should read my separate article - "1 John 1:9 is for believers"]. Similarly, although you need only to be adopted once as son of God, you need to be quickened on an on-going basis. Be honest, how near are you to God? If you are far from the life source, you will weaken; and in case you are not aware, we “leak”! or if you want a more scientific analogy, in this fallen world, we are entropic. This will also lead us to other topics such as the needs for baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent infillings of the Holy Spirit – subject of other articles to come.

Anthony Chia - To be born again includes to be born of the Spirit

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @:
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Man is body, soul and spirit

So often we heard people quoting the above, and after a while we did the same. But do you really know it is from the Bible? How much do you understand concerning it? This is my understanding of the subject, and the key verse is in Gen 2:7 (KJV).

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7 (KJV)

The body
The body is plain enough – it is referring to the physical body, the flesh. The Word of God said that the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground – first part of Gen 2:7 (KJV). Our body comes from the dust of the ground, and when we die, our body decays. This is the physical part of us. When we die, it is destroyed, it has no part in life after death. The Word of God does talk about its replacement. For those destined for the Kingdom of God/Heaven, its replacement is an incorruptible body (1 Cor 15:52-54). So, is the physical body important in God’s eyes when we are still living on the earth? The answer is yes, and this is what the Apostle Paul wrote as benediction to the Thessalonians in his letter:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 The 5:23)

Paul also exhorts us, in Rom 6:12-13, not to let sins reign in our mortal bodies - not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (Rom 6:12-13)

But you may ask why (since it decays after we died)? I give you 2 reasons:

1. We are God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10a).

If you read the Creation story in the Bible, you will find God spoke things into being. But did you realize that for the creation of man, God did more than that? He formed man from the dust of the ground (Gen 2:7). How does one form a thing from dust? Imagine God took the trouble to mould and shape man into what we look like. And how did God create woman? God took a rib from the man and made the woman (Gen 2:22), probably in like fashion as He did for the making of man.

2. Our body is His temple.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Cor 6:19-20).

Now if you are a Christian, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God dwells in you. God made the physical man the way we are, God did not make our body to be like that of a cow or a snake. We are made the way we are and we must accept that, we should let ourselves be, the way God wants us to be. If you still do not catch what I am getting at, for a moment, think about what you know about the temples or the throne place or dwelling place of God. What kind of pictures do you get from the Bible about physical temples or throne place or dwelling place of God? For example, the place on Mt Horeb, where Moses saw the burning bush, it was a dwelling place (maybe for a while) of God (More about this in a separate article). What did God indicate to Moses about the physical surrounding? God said the place was holy, and that Moses was to take off his scandals. What about the Tabernacles of God (of Moses and David). God gave precise instructions on how everything was to be made, where they were to be placed, the layouts and dimensions, etc. So, do not tattoo your body, and do not defile your body. Do you know what the common thing is, in all the scenarios of God’s temple, throne place or dwelling place? Holiness. The Spirit of God is not called the HOLY Spirit for no reason.

The soul
We have now understood we have a body and that, that body is important to God, and He made it with the prospect of having his Spirit dwell in it. What then is the soul? Again we go back to Gen 2:7. We read in the last part, that it said, “and man became a living soul”. It is not easy to describe what exactly the “soul” is; the following words give good ideas of what the soul is:

A soul is a life or life individual (or some called life principle),
A soul is a being (1 Cor 15:45 NIV)

So, accordingly an animal has a soul, even a plant. When applied to man, the soul can be considered the “inner man” (as separate from the outer physical man). Therefore, one could say that a soul and a body add up to a life form (a life with a form).

When we talked about the non-physical “makeup” of a person, such things as a person’s personality (e.g. introvert, extrovert, etc), talent inclinations such as music, arts, etc, emotional tendencies, heart condition, etc, we are really referring to the soul, the very person as opposed to the physical body. So each person is unique because each is a unique soul.

The spirit
Now we will talk about the spirit. If a soul and a body make up a life with a form (life form), how does spirit comes into the picture? Again we look at Gen 2:7 (KJV).

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7 (KJV)

I submit to you that the breath of life is the spirit of man. God created the spirit of man when He breathed into man’s nostrils. I think it is NOT correct to say that by this action, God has put his Holy Spirit into man. I believe the correct way to look at this is that the breath of God created the spirit of man. This created spirit is what made us different from plants or animals. Plants and animals are living things, they have body and soul but no spirit.

Now if plants and animals without spirit can still live, why does God create a spirit in a man? Or why does the Gen 2:7 (KJV) still say “man became a LIVING soul” (a soul is already a life)? You see this word, “LIVING”, is also repeated in a related New Testament verse - 1 Cor 15:45 (KJV) - And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a LIVING soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. I give you 3 reasons for man to have a spirit:

1. God wanted to create us in His image (Gen 1:26-27). God is spirit (John 4:24a), so to be like Him, we are to have a spirit.

2. God is spirit, highest level of communion can only be spirit to spirit (1 Cor 2:14 – spiritual things are spiritually discerned, I believe having a spirit is necessary to receive aid from the Holy Spirit; John 4:24 – God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth)

3. To live in God’s world, Heaven, eternally, you need a spirit. A spirit lives forever.

Yes, I believe that a spirit lives forever. I do not think this belief is misplaced because the Bible does not speak of death of a spirit. In fact, the second death which is eternal suffering in lake of fire in Hell is not death in the way we, human understand it to be – become nothingness, but instead a spirit is still there, just constantly suffering. Even Satan and demons which are spirit in nature do not die, their ultimate destination is the same lake of fire in Hell, be “roasted” for all eternity. Do you now catch what I am trying to get at? In my opinion, the word, “LIVING” in verse 7 above is put there really because of the forever living nature of a spirit. With the creation of a spirit in man, the man’s soul became living in the sense that it shall live forever.

If you look at things this way, it would be right to say that animals and plants have no more existence or life when they die. They do not have a spirit that can live forever. If I am not mistaken, there is no mention of animals or plants getting resurrected or raptured to Heaven in the Bible.

I think it would not be complete if I do not address Gen 2:17, since it talked about death -

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Gen 2:17 NIV)

What was God really referring to when He said “You will surely die.” Obviously He was not referring to 1st death or the physical death because Adam and Eve did not die. In fact, God met up with them after the Fall, subsequently put them out of the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve lived to produce children (Cain, Abel and Seth). If you subscribe to what I said above, Adam and Eve could not die, they were with spirits. So what did the dying there mean? As is widely held, death here really was referring to separation from God, the very source of life. What cannot be reasonably deduced or discerned or not revealed by the Holy Spirit, we should not speculate too much, so I cannot say what exactly happened to the body, soul and spirit of Adam and Eve. But we know from Scriptures that with that Fall, the nature of man has become sinful and that man has been “marked” to go to Hell. The thing I believe would probably not be wrong to say is that the spirit (of man) had been somehow “weakened”. The argument for this is simply that separation from the very source of life, God, weakens. Apart from Jesus, the separation could get more worse and the spirit, weaker, until at the Great Separation, the separation is greatest, the spirited soul is in Hell, the spirit is weakest and in constant agony. It is only through the work of Jesus Christ that man is reconciled back to God. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a LIVING soul; the last Adam [Jesus] was made a QUICKENING spirit.( 1 Cor 15:45 KJV ) The understanding of the 2nd part of this verse will further support what I said about the spirit of man having been “weakened” (You can read more about it in an article to come).

A soul is a life. It is unique in that each has his/her own personality. A soul and a body make up a life form (life with a form). Man is a life form with a spirit. Because of this spirit, man’s soul lives forever. When a man dies, his body decays, his soul and spirit live on. The spirited soul can end up either in Hell (eternal suffering in the lake of fire) or Heaven (the Kingdom of God).

I believe what I have given here is a very easy to understand, explanation of what the body, soul and spirit of man is. Its simplicity does not necessarily mean it isn’t correct. I have looked at some Greek and Hebrew texts/references but I shall spare you the complexities. But more importantly, I believe I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit as I wrote.

You will find that some people, even scholars wrote about man being bipartite (body and soul). I believe this is not quite correct. Man is tripartite (body, soul and spirit). However, sometimes we do find that the words soul and spirit seemed to be used interchangeably in Bibles (inclusive of various translations).
This is not so confusing if you understood what I explained above. The soul for a man is a spirited soul.

Anthony Chia – I am a Tripartite man, my soul is a spirited soul.

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @: ... {click on it to reveal complete address}
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Trials and Temptations (James 1:2-18)

This article will be a little different from other articles so far. It takes the form of a commentary on a passage from the Bible talking about a particular topic or subject. I believe there will be some more articles of this kind in the future. (This will not fit into the category of "Daily Devotion", which some readers have requested. I know the common remarks that the articles are too long for "daily devotion". Sorry, currently I have no inclination to provide short articles. Articles will still tended to be more in-depth study of the Word.) Today, we look at the topic of "Trials and Temptations" from James 1:2-18.

The way to read this is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I would probably insert a section on "what we ought to have understood/learnt".

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. [The author, possibly James – the brother of Jesus, said, “Consider it pure joy”. How come he can look at trials in this way? I believe he is looking at the end result. The end result is that we become mature and complete, not lacking anything – what a wonderful end result; would you like that? We commonly heard it said that the end does not always justify the means. I think if we have godly WISDOM for execution, we should always fix our eyes on the end result.
Paul also exhorted us to fix our eyes on the end result – see 1 Cor 9:24 and Heb 12:1. Notice that the word, “whenever” is used here instead of “if”. Also notice that James was addressing Christians (“my brothers” used). What I am trying to say is that Christians WILL face trials of many kinds. People should not think that by becoming a Christian, their lives on earth will be smooth sailing. The Bible does not promise that. And Christians should not think that necessarily there is something wrong with themselves when they got hit with trials of many kinds; and we should not be too quick to judge other Christians on seeing that they are hit with trials of many kinds. James said we will face trials and we must hang in there, and when we do that, our suffering will produce perseverance. Perseverance produced by suffering will produce character and character, hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5).] 5If any of you lacks WISDOM, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. [But then you may say, “I do not have godly wisdom”. James told us to ask God for it. He said God will give it generously without fault. Any conditions attached? James said we must believe and not doubt (see also Mark 11:23). A doubting person is like a wave in the sea, blown and tossed by the wind; he is double minded, unstable in all he does. Such a person cannot expect to receive anything from God. I also believe implicitly, what we ask, has to be for a good END RESULT.] 9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. 12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. [Why did James “stick” this here, talking about low position, high position, and riches? I believe 2 things we are to learn here. Firstly, what is good end result to us may not necessarily be THE good end result in God’s eyes. I believe at times, God has a better end result or what we consider good is not good enough to Him. Or we may think a certain end is the end but God does not look at that end as the end, He has another end in mind and therefore another end result, different from ours. Secondly, a lot of our trials got to do with 2 things – pride and money. I believe James was talking about taking pride in only one position – that we have been given citizenships (Phil 3:20a) in the Kingdom of God. Those of us in low positions (poor, low status) should take pride that God despises not the lowly and accept us all the same (this is the high position of the lowly people); those of us who are in high positions (rich, high status) should take pride that the same God’s grace was at work, so much so as to cause us to accept the gift of life, and continues to work in us (the rich's low position because he can boast not of it). The rich man’s riches and status are not what will get him the salvation that he can boast about but it is grace of God that he has salvation. The Bible in Mat 19:24, stated that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. All worldly pride, glamour and money/riches will pass away. What matters are 2 things – whether one stood the test and whether one loves God. When you satisfied both, you will be assured of a place in the Kingdom of God. To stand the test, we have to persevere under trial.] 13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. [James, in addressing temptations, was saying God cannot be tempted by evil, and He does not tempt anyone. He (James) went on to explain how a temptation comes about and how if it is not handled correctly will lead to sin and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Again, here, Christians are included (in fact James was addressing the Christians). Therefore, what it means is that even if you are a Christian, if you having been tempted, got into sin and the sin, when it has become full-grown, it will lead to death. The death here is referring to the 2nd death – eternal suffering in the lake of fire in Hell. If you think that since you are already a Christian you will never go to Hell even if you sin and are unrepentant, I say, you better think again.] 16Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. [James reminded us not to be deceived. He also said that good and perfect gifts come from God who does not change. God has allowed us to be born-again as fore-runners of the many more He would save.]

[Added on 22 April 2010: It is interesting that, even though the theme of James 1 was on trials, James ended the chapter with theses verses of 16-18.

I believe perhaps, among those who faced trials, whom James was trying to encourage, were people who at some points in time, previously, were evidently used of God in many wonderful ways, perhaps, healed the sick, performed miracles, etc, but were now faced with trials. I believe he was trying to say that they should not, for a moment, think that what they were capable of accomplishing in the past, with the exercise of their spiritual gifts, were not from God {thus he said all good and perfect gift is from God}, or that God was fickle-minded and had abandoned them {thus he said God does not change like shifting shadows}. James said He chose; God chose to give them life through the Word. Implicit in that I believe James said that God loves them {despite their facing of trials}, for at the base of it all, love is a choice. When God chose to birth anyone of us {salvation}, He bound Himself to love us. Love is a choice, and the love that cometh from God’s choice of birth is an agape love.]

What we ought to have understood:

1. We should keep our heads up when faced with trials.

2. Christians are not exempted from trials.

3. We must persevere in our trials and keep our eyes on the end result.

4. Ask God for wisdom, and when we ask, believe and do not doubt.

5. Take pride only in one position – that we have been given citizenships to the Kingdom of God by God’s grace and that, that grace is still at work to keep us on the Way of Holiness which leads to the Kingdom (For more on Way of Holiness, click here).

6. Persevere in trials and love God are things to do for us to be assured of the crown of life.

7. Remember, God does not tempt us. He will chastise us because He loves us but does not tempt us. Temptation is an inducement to do evil or to sin. God cannot be doing that. However, He may allow situations of trials to come into our lives so that our faith may be tested to develop perseverance in us, and when that peseverance has finished it work, we may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. Temptations come by Satan directly, or by the workings of the fallen world, appealing to the cravings of our sinful nature.

8. We are tempted when because of our lack of self-control over our desires, be dragged away and enticed. Giving in to temptation gives birth to sin, and sin when full-grown leads to death.

9. Sins are sins, whether committed by Christians or non-Christians. The consequence of sin is the same, death, if not repented from and forgiven by God. Repent and ask God for forgiveness for your sins if you (Christians included) do not want to end up in Hell.

10. Be thankful to God that we are born-again and are fore-runners of the many more He would save. Thank Him also for all His good and perfect gifts to us, and his unchanging character.

Anthony Chia - Consider this: In place of worldly pride, glamour and riches, seek the peace and joy that come from knowing God. And adopt Paul’s attitude - I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:14)

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @:
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Spiritual Food

Spiritual food according to Jesus – every word that proceeds from the mouth of God

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mat 4:4) [also Deut 8:3].

You will remember that this was Jesus’ answer to Satan when He was tempted by Satan after His 40 days fast in the wilderness, when Satan suggested to Jesus to prove He was the Son of God by turning the stones to bread to eat since Jesus was hungry, having come out of a long fast. Jesus in answering Satan in that manner, was telling us that man is both physical and spiritual, the physical part of us needs to eat physical food (like bread) and the spiritual part of us needs to eat also and the food is every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Bible – Spiritual food?
If we say the Bible is the Word of God, then it must have originated from God, otherwise it would not be called the Word of God, would it? But does it always proceed from the mouth of God? From what I read in the Bible, God spoke His words. A key text is Isaiah 55:11 -

so is my word that GOES OUT FROM MY MOUTH: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11)

Even the Ten Commandments were spoken (whether it was spoken first or written first, it was not relevant, when it was spoken, it was to be food). Even Creation was spoken into being, if you read the Genesis story in the Bible. I believe God spoke most of the time, if not all the time (instead of just writing, for example). It does not matter in what form you received them, if it originated from word(s) that proceeded from the mouth of God, it is food to us.

The Ten Commandments for example was first spoken. Whether the people subsequently read from the stone tablets or heard them through Moses or any other person, it still originated from words that proceeded from the mouth of God. So if God spoke to an angel and the angel then told it to a man, say like Mary (Jesus’ mother), what was spoken was food too for the man (Mary, in this case). Likewise, in place of the angels if God uses the Holy Spirit, what is revealed or inspired by the Holy Spirit is food. Since the Bible is written by men and the belief is that these men were inspired by the Holy Spirit in their writings, the Bible is Spiritual food, indeed.

What about the manifestations of the Holy Spirit? Are they spiritual food?
What if God caused a man to have a dream, would that dream be food for the man? It would be if God spoke. I believe God speaks and the Holy Spirit hears and He brings the dream on. In that way, the dream was food for the man. Whether it is Old Testament or New Testament, the Holy Spirit always existed, being part of the Triune God. The New Testament talks about the Holy Spirit teaching, giving man the words to speak, speaking through man, giving utterances (tongues) to man. The Bible also talks about dreams (seeing pictures while asleep) and visions (seeing pictures while awake), and prophecies (speaking of what God wanted said) given by the Holy Spirit. Do dreams, visions and words of knowledge, wisdom and prophecies and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit qualify as food for us? The answer is yes.

What follows (of John 16:13) I believe is revelation to many, it was for me when it was first revealed to me (by the Holy Spirit). Why did I answer affirmatively for the last question above? It is because of the revelation in John 16:13.

But when he, the Spirit of truth [the Holy Spirit], comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he HEARS, and he will tell you what is yet to come (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit will speak what he hears. That means words proceeded from the mouth of God, and the Holy Spirit hears and then goes about doing what he does – guide, speak, inspire, reveal, give dreams, visions and words, prophecies, etc [collectively I called them manifestations of the Holy Spirit]. The manifestations of the Holy Spirit are food to us. I believe the Church has not accorded a high enough importance to this food relative to the Bible. This is fresh food, we should feed on it more. The so-called Rhema Word is actually food given through the Holy Spirit. I believe going forward my perspective of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit is changed. If a manifestation is of the Holy Spirit, it is food, I will eat it.

Perhaps we are living in the last days (not last day). If that is so, then Acts 2:17-18 (Joel 2:28-29) applies:

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy (Acts 2:17-18)

Have you wondered why God would want to do this? I believe God foresees the need for tailored food to given to the Body in the last days. And the Holy Spirit is the one bringing it.

This understanding is consistent with what Jesus said as spiritual food to us (Mat 4:4) and what Jesus himself said in John14:26. Jesus himself said when He went back to Heaven after Resurrection, the Holy Spirit will be sent to the believers and the Holy Spirit will teach the believers all things and remind believers everything Jesus had said to the believers.

Milk and solid food
Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 talked about different food for different stages of our spiritual growth. Paul seemed to say that if we are still with jealousy and are quarrelsome (v 3), and we boast of human wisdom and boast about men (v 18-21), we are still infants. Paul said for infants, you get milk, not solid food. The writer of the Book of Hebrew in Heb 5:12-14 talked about different food for different spiritual maturity (just like what we have in the physical realm, babies have milk, adults have solid food). Here (in verse 13), the writer used a more all encompassing word, “righteousness” to distinguish between infancy and adulthood. This righteousness I have come to term it as "active righteousness". After you have read the rest of this article, you will understand what is meant by active righteousness. The mature Christians, by constant use (of the words, gifts, etc of God) have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Such can feed on solid food.

How we grow
All of us have varying degree of difficulties over the time of our Christian walk in understanding the content of the Bible. Some things we did not understand previously, maybe now we understand. This is because we are growing. It would be a concern if over time we did not come to understand more of the Bible. But how do we grow?

First we start with faith. How does faith come? Faith comes by the HEARING, and HEARING by the word of God. This is not my quote. It is Paul’s quote in Roman 10:17 (NKJ). There is something powerful about the SPOKEN word of God. For faith to come, you need to HEAR, to hear, you need the word of God to be SPOKEN (to proceed from the mouth). There seemed to be a pattern here [reality bears it out] - if we release the word of God like God does it (by letting it proceed from the mouth), it will possess the kind of power that God intended it to have. (the power that God talked about in Isaiah 55:11 – see above) – this is revelation to me even as I write, the more excellent way is to SPEAK the word of God. I now must aspire to speak the word of God (not just write them like this), especially the revelations that I believe I received through the Holy Spirit. May the Lord open up the platforms/doors for me for this purpose.

Second, with faith we act. Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:17). James went further to elaborate with the life of Abraham. This is what is spoken of Abraham in this regard:

You see that his [Abraham’s] faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone (James 2:22-24).

James went on to cite the faith and deed of Rahab, the prostitute [you can read the full story at Joshua 2 & Joshua 6], and concluded in verse 26 as follows:

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead (James 2:26)

What am I saying? What I am saying is that we do not grow if we do not follow up our faith with action. The pattern is this: We feed on the word, the word brings faith, we are to act on the faith, in that way we grow, and then we go back to feed on the word again, faith again comes, again we act on the faith, and we grow further and we are able to feed on more solid food, and it is to go on and on. If you do not act or are without deed you won’t grow, and when you are not growing, the more solid food would not be suitable for you, i.e. they would not spur you further to greater good works, and without the works, again no growth, finally you ended up at where the writer of the Book of Hebrew talked about, in Heb 5:12 –

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again (Heb 5:12).

Are manifestations of the Holy Spirit solid food?
I have touched on Hebrew 5, verses 12 & 13. What the writer said in verse 14 is very interesting:

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:14)

What was the writer trying to say here? I believe the writer of the Book of Hebrew was painting to us a picture of a mature Christian. He was one who had done what I talked about above – about one who had repeatedly fed on the word, put the resultant faith into actions, grew and went back for more, over and over again. So, by “constant use”, the mature Christian has trained himself to know what is good and what is evil. A growing process obviously included learning and by learning, it meant we stumbled at times, we made mistakes at times but we learnt, including spiritual things, what is of the Holy Spirit, what is not, how to test and interpret spiritual things, what is the appropriate thing to do, what is not the appropriate thing to do, etc.

I believe manifestations of the Holy Spirit tended more to be solid food, although some people started younger (in the faith). Of course, age and time do not necessarily correctly indicate the maturity of the believers. The reservations of some quarters in the Body of Christ concerning the emphasis on the works of the Holy Spirit, I believe, stem from the fear that one is not able to distinguish good from evil. But the writer of the Book of Hebrew said by constant use we can train ourselves to distinguish good from evil.

What I like to see is that the Body regards the manifestations of the Holy Spirit as spiritual food, as tailored food, as solid food and goes for it. Let the less mature (no offence intended) seek help (showing humility) from the mature, and the mature extend help (freely you received, freely you give) to the less mature, so that the whole Body is built up and becomes stronger.

Anthony Chia - Manifestations of the Holy Spirits are food

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @:
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.