Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesians. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-four through thirty-two of the fourth chapter of the epistle. When you come to these final verses within the fourth chapter of the epistle which Paul wrote unto the Ephesian congregation you will find that they are a continuation of a line of thought which he wrote in the preceding verses. If you read the twenty-fourth verse of this particular chapter you will find the apostle Paul writing unto the Ephesians concerning a reality which he had written and spoken about before. In order to preface that which the apostle Paul writes in this particular verse it is necessary that we turn and direct our attention to the fifth chapter of the second epistle which he wrote unto the Corinthian congregation. If you begin reading with the seventeenth verse of the fifth chapter of this second epistle to the Corinthian congregation you will find the apostle Paul speaking to them of this new creature or “new man” which he wrote about in this particular passage. When writing to the Corinthian congregation the apostle Paul made the emphatic declaration that if any man would be in Christ they are indeed and in fact a new creature. What’s more, is the apostle Paul doesn’t simply stop with declaring that if any man is in Christ they are a new creature, but he goes on to write that old things have passed away, and behold all things are become new.. please don’t miss or lose sight of that which the apostle Paul writes unto the Corinthian saints and congregation, for this is an absolutely tremendous reality which we must Gietka grasp within the depths of our heart and spirit. I feel the need to present you with the question of whether or not you are aware of the reality that there is a new man—a new creature as is mentioned in the epistle unto the Corinthians—that is made available unto you. Are you aware of the fact that the Lord your God has prepared a new creature and a new man that is ready and available for you when you make the decision to be in Christ?
When you journey back to the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find that in the days when the Lord created the heavens and the earth He made man in His own image and in His own likeness. In fact, when you transition to the second chapter of this Old Testament book you will find that the Lord God took man and formed him from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. What’s interesting about this first creation of man is that when the Lord formed man He took the dust of the ground and formed man from that which the substance of the earth. It is true that when the Lord created the heavens and the earth He did so “ex nihilo,” which simply means that He created the heavens and earth from absolutely nothing. There was absolutely nothing the Lord used to create the heavens and the earth other than the divine and eternal Logos, which is the divine Word that was with the Father in the beginning. There is, however, a fundamental difference between the creation of the heavens and the earth and the formation of man, for while the first chapter of the book of Genesis presents us with a dialogue that took place between the members of the triune Godhead that they would create or make man in their own image and after their own likeness, the second chapter reveals that when the Lord created man within and upon the earth He didn’t do so by speaking him into existence as He did the heavens and the earth. When it came to the creation and formation of man, the Lord didn’t speak and call him into existence as He had done with everything we see in the natural. What we read concerning the creation of man is that rather than the Lord bringing man into existence by the divine Logos, the Lord formed man from the dust of the earth. In other words, the Lord didn’t create man “ex nihilo,” but formed him from that which was already present within and upon the earth. When the Lord created man He did so by taking dust from the ground and forming and fashioning it into man which would be in His own image and after His own likeness. What’s more, is that when we come to the creation—or rather the formation of man from the dust of the ground—we find the Lord breathed into his nostrils, thus causing him to become a living soul. Oh please don’t miss this incredibly important reality, for man was not brought into existence from nothing, but from the substance of the earth. Moreover, man was the only part of creation where we read of the Lord Himself breathing into in order that it might become a living soul.
Consider if you will the words and language that is used in both the first chapter, as well as the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis concerning the creation and formation of man. Beginning with the twenty-sixth verse of the first chapter we find the following words written and recorded by Moses the friend of God: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28). It is within this particular passage of Scripture where we find the triune Godhead interacting among and with each other concerning the creation of man. Perhaps one thing that is so interesting and so. Unique about the creation of man is that when you read the entire first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis—man is the only part of creation the triune Godhead actually dialogues within and among themselves concerning making man in their own image, and after their own likeness. Everything else God created up until this moment was created from the mere word which He had spoken, and nothing that was created was created in the image of the triune Godhead, nor was it created after the likeness of the triune Godhead. One of the fundamental differences between the creation of man as set against and opposed to the creation of the heavens and earth is that man was created in the image and after the likeness of the triune Godhead. There was to be something entirely and altogether unique and different from man than anything else the Lord God created, for man was to be created in the very image of God, and after the very likeness of the triune Godhead was man to be created. Moses records how God did created man in His own image, and in the image of God did He create them, thus making them entirely different from anything and everything else He had created.
When you come to the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find Moses recording something else concerning the creation of man within and upon the earth. Although it is only one single verse in the second chapter the words which Moses writes concerning the creation of man presents us with additional commentary concerning the creation and formation of man. Consider if you will the words which are found and recorded in the seventh verse of the second chapter: “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” (Genesis 2:7). This reality of man being formed and created from the dust of the ground is further emphasized and presented in the third chapter after Adam and Eve had sinned against the Lord by disobeying His command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the nineteenth verse of the third chapter we find the Lord speaking and declaring the following words unto Adam after his transgression in the garden: “…in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). In the seventh verse of the second chapter we find the Lord forming man from the dust of the ground, and in the third chapter of the same book we find the Lord declaring unto man that he was in fact formed from the dust of the earth, and unto dust he would return. The Lord emphatically declared unto Adam that as a result of his transgression he would return to the ground, for it was from the ground he had been taken. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to this reality, for it reveals something absolutely incredible concerning the creation of man. When it came to the creation of man—not only was man taken from the dust of the earth, but man was also formed into that which the Lord Himself had designed and intended for Him to be. What’s more, is that even though man was taken from the dust of the ground and formed into that which the Father had within His heart and mind, man would and could not become a living soul until and unless the Lord breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. Scripture records of man that he was the only part of creation that was created from the dust of the ground—a reality we would be wise to recognize and understand.
When we speak of the creation of Adam and Eve, we must understand that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground into that which the Lord desired and intended, and Eve was taken from within Adam himself, for the Lord took one of Adam’s ribs and used it to form Eve. Adam was created from the dust of the earth and was taken from the earth, whereas Eve was taken from Adam and formed from man himself. As you read of the creation of man within and upon the earth it is absolutely incredible to consider the reality that man was not brought into existence from and by the word which the Lord spoke as was everything else that was created, but man was taken from the dust of the earth and actually formed into that which the Father desired and intended him to be. When it came to the formation of man from the dust of the ground, and when it came to the formation of woman from the man—both were actually formed by the very hands of God. It’s almost as if because man was to be made in His own image and likeness, man could not merely be spoken into existence as was everything else in creation. There was something different, special and unique about the creation of man that required the Lord’s hands to actually be involved with his creation. The same reality is true of the formation of Eve, for when we read of the formation of Eve we again find the Lord Himself fashioning Eve from that which she had taken from man. In other words, both Adam and Eve were touched by the divine, as it was from and by the Lord’s own hands they were brought into existence. It’s almost as if the Lord couldn’t wait for this moment in creation, for the Lord couldn’t wait to get His hands on the most important piece of His creation. Man and woman were the only part of the creation of God that were formed and fashioned by His hands rather than simply spoken into existence by the divine Word which God spoke. What’s more, is that man and woman were the only part of the creation of God that we actually read of the Lord breathing into them, thus causing them to become a living soul. We must not neglect and forget this very important reality, for when man and women were created within and upon the earth, their creation was altogether and entirely different from anything else the Lord created.
There is yet another reality that must be carefully understood concerning the reality of the Lord having a new man prepared for those who are in Christ, and that is found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints. If you read within and from this particular chapter in the first epistle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation you will find the apostle Paul speaking of the resurrection of the dead, and its direct connection to the resurrection of Christ from the grave on the third day after being crucified upon the cruel Roman tree atop Golgotha. This entire fifteenth chapter is centered around and focuses on the reality of resurrection from the dead, and beginning with the resurrection of Christ as the first fruit of such a reality, the apostle Paul goes on to speak to and reveal the resurrection from the dead as it pertains and relates to man. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the thirty-fifth verse of this fifteenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul writing concerning the resurrection of man and what that resurrection is going to look like on that day when the trumpet shall sound, and Christ shall descend with a shout and resurrect His saints from the earth. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul in this particular chapter beginning with the thirty-fifth verse:
“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, andother of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raise in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The First man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As it the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as it the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have burned the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a. mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eve, at the last tump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The string of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).
Please pay attention to the words which the apostle Paul writes in this particular passage of Scripture, for within this passage of Scripture the apostle Paul emphatically declares that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It would be easy to think and consider that that which the apostle Paul is speaking about is that which is present here upon the earth. Both John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ preached a message of repentance, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. When the apostle Paul was writing unto the Corinthians and declared that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, that which he was referencing, and that which he was speaking about was the eternal realm of heaven where the very throne of God is. The apostle Paul was writing unto the Corinthians concerning the actual kingdom of God in heaven where the very throne of God was, and where Jesus was seated at the very right hand of the Father. What we read in this passage of Scripture is a powerful statement and declaration that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, for flesh and blood were never intended on inheriting the kingdom of God in heaven. The flesh and blood which we have here upon this earth were never created to be present in the kingdom of God which is in heaven. When the Lord formed man from the dust of the ground and gave Him flesh and blood, that flesh and blood was intended and meant on being present here within and here upon the earth. When the Lord formed man from the dust of the earth He never in tended on flesh and blood entering into the kingdom of God which is found in eternity—beyond time and beyond space. When we speak of flesh and blood, we must understand it in terms of this natural and physical earth. The apostle Paul made no mistake when writing and declaring that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, for flesh and blood was never designed, nor was it ever created to enter into or inhabit the kingdom of God in heaven. I have to admit that during all the years I have read and studied the Scriptures, this is in all reality the first time I have every seen this particular reality and encountered it for myself. I fully recognize that there is nothing new under the sun, but this particular reality is one that is absolutely striking and powerful in a tremendous way. Flesh and blood were created to inhabit the exist within and upon the earth, and neither were created, nor were they intended on inhabiting or experiencing the kingdom of God in heaven.
When you read the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation in this passage of Scripture it is completely and totally clear that there are essentially two distinct bodies which the Lord God has created and prepared for man. There is the first body which was created and formed by the Lord to exist within this earthly, natural and physical realm, and there is another body that was created and formed by the Lord to exist within the eternal realm of the kingdom of God in heaven. You will notice that when writing to the Corinthian saints and when writing unto this particular church the apostle Paul wrote that there is in fact a natural body which is found present within and upon the earth, but there is also a spiritual body which we have yet to be aware of or even experience. It is true that we are a tri-part being and that be are essentially triune in nature—body, soul and spirit. It is in this triune reality that we are and have been formed in the image and after the likeness of the triune Godhead, for just as the Godhead is three in one, so also are we three in one. With that being said, however, we must understand that there are two bodies which have been prepared and created for us. The earthly tent which we have right now is meant for this world and this world alone, whereas the spiritual body is meant to experience and enjoy the kingdom of God which exists in heaven. IN other words, there are realities which we cannot experience in the here and the now, so long as we are still within this earthly tent. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fifth chapter of the second epistle which he wrote unto the same Corinthian congregation beginning with the first verse: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confidence, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:1-8).
When the Lord formed man from the dust of the ground, what He essentially did was take man from the very substance he was to exercise dominion and authority within and over. When God formed man from the dust of the ground He did so by taking him from the very place he was to inhabit according to the divine purpose, plan and will of God. When man was taken from the dust of the earth and formed from the dust of the ground he was taken from the very substance which he would exercise dominion and authority according to the word and will of the Father. Thus, that which man was taken and formed from was meant to dwell and exist within the natural and physical realm that is found upon the earth. Even when man was formed from the dust of the ground and given flesh and blood, that flesh and blood was designed and intended to move, operate and function within and upon the earth. THE NATURE OF THAT WHICH YOU ARE FORMED FROM DETERMINES WHERE YOU ARE TO MOVE AND OPERATE! Man was taken from the dust of the ground and formed and fashioned by the hands of God, for the Lord desired that man tend to and care for the garden, as well as to exercise dominion and authority over every living thing that moved upon the earth. In all reality, there was and there is a nature that is designed solely and specifically for this earthly, natural and physical realm, which is the “tent” which the apostle Paul wrote and spoke about in the fifth chapter of the second epistle which he wrote unto the Corinthians. The apostle Paul wrote and declared that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, which is a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. What’s more, is the apostle Paul goes on to write that we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven in order that if we are so clothed we shall not be found naked. So long as we are present within this earthly tent and this earthly house we groan in order that we might be clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. The apostle Paul takes this a step further and declares that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, and that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Oh dear brother, dear sister—there is an earthly and natural tent and house which we have been given so long as we are on this earth, but that is not the final creation for which we have been called. There are a great number of us who live for this earthly and natural tent, and yet we care nothing for the spiritual and eternal tent which was not made with human hands, and has been prepared for us in eternity.
The more I read the words of the apostle Paul concerning this new man—this new creature which is found to be in Christ—the more I am convinced that so long as we are on this earth we are able to experience this resurrection in part. How absolutely incredible and how absolutely amazing it is to think about and consider the fact even though we have an earthly tent that is to essentially be traded for an eternal tent, we don’t have to wait to begin experiencing this reality. I am firmly convinced that this reality which the apostle Paul speaks about concerning the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new man is a type, a shadow, and a foretaste of the ultimate reality we have been called to experience in that moment when the last trump shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds. While not everyone will experience the resurrection from the dead in that their bodies will emerge from the tombs and graves which they have been placed, all who are in Christ will experience the transformation of the natural into that which is spiritual. Though not everyone will experience the resurrection of the dead with their bodies emerging from the grave, all who are in Christ shall experience corruption putting on incorruption and mortality putting on immortality. Beginning with the twentieth verse of the fourth chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesian congregation the apostle writes the following words: “But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24). Within these words the apostle Paul not only writes and speaks of the putting off the old man, but he also speaks of the putting on of the new man, thus indicating and suggesting that there is a new man which has been prepared for us in the here and the now. While there is a new body which we have yet to experience until that moment comes when the last trump shall sound, there is a new man which we have been called to experience and enjoy while we are here upon the earth.
I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle which he wrote unto the saints which were at Rome concerning this old man. Beginning with the third verse of the sixth chapter the apostle Paul writes the following words: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin once: but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:3-14). In the sixth chapter of the epistle which Paul wrote unto the Romans, in the fourth chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesians, and in the third chapter the apostle Paul not only writes concerning the old man, but he also goes on to write concerning the new man which has been created and prepared for us by God the Father. It is absolutely imperative that we understand this tremendous concept, for so long as we are in the here and the now there is a stark contrast between the old man which has been formed and fashioned from the nature of the earth, and a new man which has been formed and fashioned from the nature of heaven. Remember how the apostle Paul declared that the spiritual doesn’t come first, but the natural, and goes on to write that the first Adam as a living soul, while the last Adam was a life-giving and quickening Spirit. How absolutely crucial and critical it is that we fully recognize and understand that we have been called to put off this old man which is of this earth and earthy, in order that we might put on this new man which is of the heavenly and is spiritual.
Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Colossae in the epistle which was sent and delivered unto them: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:5-11). Oh beloved, there is a new man which is available unto us to put on while we are still in the here and the now, but the only way to experience this new man in the here and the now is to put off the old man with all of its lusts and deeds. There is coming a day when we can and shall experiencing the transformation of our physical and natural body into that which is spiritual and heavenly, but until that moment comes we must first learn how to put off the old man which is of the earth and is earthy and natural and carnal. The question is whether or not we are truly willing and able to put on the new man which has been formed after the image of Christ who is the last Adam and a life-giving and quickening Spirit. While we are present within this natural and earthly tent we can experience a taste of that which is to come when this natural tent takes on itself a heavenly tent, for we are able to put off the old man with all its lusts and deeds and put on the new man which has been created and formed after the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. This new man which we have been called to put on is not natural in its scope and function, but is formed and fashioned after Jesus Christ who is in all reality the exact representation and image of God the Father in heaven. When Adam was formed from the dust of the earth He was created in the image and after the likeness of Jesus Christ, but when Christ came He was not formed from the dust of the earth, nor was He created in the image and after the likeness of God the Father, but was in all reality the exact image and manifestation of God upon the earth. With that being said, it is absolutely imperative that we put off this old man and that we put on this new man which is not formed or fashioned from anything of this earth, but is formed and fashioned after Christ who is the exact image, the exact likeness, the exact manifestation of God the Father who is in heaven. OH that we would resolve and purpose within ourselves to put off this old man and to put on the new man, for such an act on our part is not only a statement that we are living for a greater reality that has yet to be experience, but is also a powerful statement that we are not living for this world, but are in fact living for the world which is to come.