"Free Will or Heavenly Mind?" (Scripture taken from Amplified Bible)
I Corinthians 15
If we do not understand what it means to be heavenly minded, we will find ourselves falling back in a trap of our own will and desire to obtain a goal believing that we are pleasing God. Whether that goal is to have a personal relationship with God or natural achievements, we will always be ensnared with our own self efforts and works that can never be good enough no matter how hard we try.
Verse 45-49: "Thus it is written, the first man Adam became a living being (an individual personality); the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving Spirit (restoring the dead to life (Gen. 2:7). But it is not the spiritual life which came first, but the physical and then the spiritual. The first man (was) from out of earth, made of dust (earthly-minded); the second Man (is) the Lord from our of heaven. Not those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust (earthly-minded); and as is (the Man) from heaven, so also (are those) who are of heaven (heavenly-minded). And just as we have borne the image (of the man) of dust, so shall we and so let us also bear the image(of the Man) of heaven."
The first Adam is focused on himself (earth-minded); the second Adam is focused on a corporate body (heavenly-minded). Once we are baptized into Christ we loose our individual personality and become corporate minded as one body. Being heavenly minded is not about acknowledging a personal relationship with God, but accepting a corporate identity of being one in Christ. This means that our individual identity becomes dependant on the rest of the body of Christ by which we function as one body.
This sounds good until we find ourselves wanting others to conform to what we consider to be a righteous Christian. We can no longer declare ourselves to be a Christian in the eyes of God while establishing a mindset filled with judgment and condemnation on others because they have not acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The body of Christ was not established by a theology or a title referred to as being a Christian. Paul tells us that we are a many member body, but yet one Christ with Jesus as the head of the body. Being a Christian is freedom from the individual personality and identity as one person, and coming into a corporate unity as one in Him. A finger or toe can not function individually. It required being connected with the hand or foot, which requires connections with the arms or legs, etc. etc.
Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ (in Him I have shared His crucifixion); it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
As Christians, we are no longer an individual earthly body or personality looking out for ourselves, but a part of the physical, tangible, natural body of Christ which is depended on the rest of the body to function as one.
To be heavenly minded requires us to understand the one that rules the body by being submissive to the mind of Jesus Christ. We must first understand what the second Adam was like that was different from the first. A key element in understanding the mind of Jesus Christ is to realize that God does not change; He is consistently the same throughout time. He is not subject to change in His Being or attributes. The permanence of God's character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises.
The unchanging ability of God is our assurance that God's promises are already finished. Before time began, the promises of God were already fulfilled. The consistency of His Being allows us to function by faith that His promises will be manifested according to His will, and not by anything that we do. God knows all that was going to happen before it happened. If the promises of God were dependant on our will, then there is a high probability that they would not come to pass. It would mean that the will of man is greater than the promises of God.
Since God has no beginning and no end, He can know no change. He does not evolve, grow, improve, or deteriorate. He is not dependant on the will of mankind. He is already perfect. James 1:17-18 tells us, "Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all (that gives) light, in (the shining of) whom there can be no variation(rising or setting) or shadow cast by His turning (as in an eclipse). And it was of His own (free) will that He gave us birth (as sons) by (His) Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of fistfights of His creatures (a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself)."
Regardless of how individually we relate to God, He is consistently the same. There are no shadows; negativism, darkness, condemnation, judgment, limitations, or any conditions that could cause us to be able to change God. He is unconditional LOVE, LIGHT, and ETERNAL LIFE. In Him, there is no darkness in any form (I John 1:5). Malachi 3:6 says, "For I am the Lord, I do not change; that is why you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."
Not only does God not change, but He does not react or is moved by our thoughts or actions. He already knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, whether we sin or act righteous; whether we beg and plead or rebel in self defiance, we cannot cause God to change or respond any different than His identity and character of unconditional love. The only thing that can change is: We are either drawn closer to God or we draw ourselves away from God based on our own deeds, actions, and thoughts. Our relationship with God is based on what we do, not on what God does for He is unchanging. Since He does not change, neither does our true identity as His children based on His will.
God sees us in the beloved son-ship of Jesus Christ. He sees us as His body. God does not see us in time, but eternity of what is already finished. Ecclesiastes 3:14-15, "I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so that men will (reverently) fear Him (revere and worship Him, knowing that He is). That which is now already has been, and that which is to be already has been; and God seeks that which has passed by (so that history repeats itself)."
That which has been is NOW. That which is going to be has already been. What you are going through in life has already been in God. What you are experiencing today has already been accomplished. Therefore, what has been in God is NOW being manifested in us. All that God is doing is already finished. There is no way around God. Isaiah 46: 10 says, "Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose." 2 Corinthians 4:15, "For all(these) things are (taking place) for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase (and redound) to the glory of God."
The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. Every good deed or bad behavior that we may experience is not being ignored by God, but has already been crucified at Calvary over 2000 years ago. God is declaring this to us. Everything in Christ is what He sees in us. Everything that is outside of Christ has already been dealt with. This is the grace of God. He is not bringing us into a realm of righteousness, but unveiling the fact that we already are in Him.
What does God gain or loose if we are good or bad? In Job 35:6-7 we read, "If you have sinned, how does that affect God? And if your transgressions are multiplied, what have you done to Him? If you are righteous, what do you (by that) give God? Or what does He receive from you hand?"Our actions can not change God at all because He is consistently the same. As for us, it is in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
With this in mind we address the issue of what the body of Christ is being taught concerning what is called "the free will of man." Religion teaches that every person has the ability to "will" the refusal of God and spend eternity in hell, or the "will" to choose Him through Jesus Christ as their personal savior. If this were really true, then man has more power than the will of God. However, knowing that this is not true, we must re-evaluate the "will of mankind" by being heavenly minded versus listening to our earthly understanding.
Romans 12:3 says, "For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought (not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance), but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, so we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another (mutually dependent on one another.)"
How often do we hear among Christians the boasting that they are saved? Then from the same mouth the separation of the body because they consider that others are not? Many times judgment comes because of what believers see outwardly being manifested instead of searching the heart. A major reason that there are non-believers is because of the mindset of the believers boasting of themselves while judging others. Our words have the ability to create life or death in the atmosphere around us.
Our created purpose is to unite the body of Christ as one body in Him. We are the manifestation of Him. Since God can only have a relationship with Himself, we can not separate some people and include others in our thoughts and actions towards one another. Jesus came to this earth to gather people to Himself to be connected to all of mankind. If we place judgment on someone else to be a sinner, we cannot consider ourselves to be sinless. If we declare ourselves to be a Christian, we must see all mankind through the eyes of God as already righteous even though they themselves may not acknowledge this truth.
The greatest faith that can be manifested is His faith within us believing that the whole earth is filled with the glory of God. Our natural mind can not comprehend this. It must come by the faith of God given to each of us by His grace and activated by His unconditional love which is our identity in Him. When we get hold of the reality of who our Heavenly Father is, we then can walk in the manifestation of as He is, so are we in this world (I John 4:17).
When we exalt ourselves, while judging others, we come against God. It would be like us trying to function in our natural body with our arms making demands to do one thing and our feet stubbornly going in a different direction. At the same time, our heart is beating irregularly; our stomach is up-chucking its contents; our intestines are gurgling and expelling its matter; and our kidneys and liver have decided to stop working. Can we really believe if our natural body was trying to go through a day in this kind of condition that our mind would be full of unconditional love, peace, and harmony? Yet, this is an example of how we try to function as the body of Christ splitting ourselves apart because of doctrines, theologies, and opinions of what WE THINK God means with scripture.
It is not possible to be a non-judgmental, non-critical person on our own. We need the connection of one another to cover each other with His love, mercy, and forgiveness that we each have with us. The natural disasters occurring around the world speak to our true identity to be manifested. We put aside our opinions, politics, religions, and race opening our hearts to those in need. Why do we do this? Because it is the unconditional love of the Father in us which is our true identity being lifted up drawing all men unto Him (John 12:32).
"I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains (just one grain; it never becomes more but lives) by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest." John 12:24
"I have been crucified with Christ (in Him I have shared His crucifixion); it is no longer I (self, individual, first Adam) who live, but Christ (the Messiah, last Adam) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body (corporately in Christ) I live by faith (given by God) in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20
"The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth;when there were no fountains abounding with water, before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there; When he set a compass upon the face of the depth; when he established the clouds above; when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men." Proverbs 8:22-31. KJV