“That we be no more infants, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
The nature of Adam was made manifest in the garden when Eve was deceived by the serpent. She was not given the ability to trust in God as the consummate provider as she looked upon the fruit and saw it was good for meat. Almighty God had prepared this garden specifically as the place perfectly suitable for man to live and work. He planted the garden “to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Gen. 2:9). He then “took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it” (15). He also “formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air and brought unto Adam to see what he would call them and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (19). Finally, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh thereof; and the rib, which Yehovah God had taken from man, made He a woman and brought her unto the man”(21). These were the provisions which God had ordained necessary to for man for the facilitation of His purpose upon the earth. He prepared man and provided everything for him, without any petitions or prayers of man or ever man even knew what his needs were.
But the inherent nature was demonstrated when the serpent castigated the Word of God by questioning his righteousness. He insinuated that man would become like God when he had the knowledge of good and evil; this is an affront to the Godhead (3:5). The mind of the woman was deceived as her heart was enticed with pride and her curiosity was stimulated to the prospect of rising above her station and ascending unto the status of being like God. She was unstable in her ways, being temporal and sensual, and being drawn away after the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of her heart, in complete deference to what God had given her, she was deceived to desire more.
The ignorance of man was displaced by the knowledge of good and evil as man became like unto God and, having his eyes opened, he saw that he stood naked before his Maker. Yet he was not given to seek the mercy of God unto forgiveness, nor did he claim his ignorance as a defense; rather he followed after the imagination of his heart and devised a plan that he full well expected God to accept. The aprons of fig leaves were as corrupt and insufficient as the man who fashioned them. The argument for the defense before God was accusative and belligerent as he denied himself, that is Eve who was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, and having an heart that is desperately wicked above all things equipped with the knowledge of good and evil; “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually” (6:5). This inherent nature was not changed in man after the earth was destroyed by the deluge for the sons of Noah and their children continued to make an open shew of their wickedness. And so it continues, and shall until time is no more, that man is corrupt in his ways, which are carnal, lustful after that which cannot satisfy and governed by the deception of the pride of his heart.
“This only would I learn of you; did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal. 3:2)
The brethren in the region of Galatia had been beset by the religious teachers of the day who were given to attempt to ‘cash in’ on the latest religious craze. The problem was two-fold; not only were the religious leaders of the established state sanctioned religion concerned about this new sect and the departure of people but also the people themselves were subject to the fears and trepidations of the inherent nature of man. The teachers could not conceive how a man could be delivered from anything unless he first be found blameless according to the law. Then being found blameless according to the righteousness of the law the obedient subjects were entitled to come forth with the accomplishments of the arm of the flesh. These accomplishments granted the right to stand worthily before God. This was the same things that Adam attempted in the garden; “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil.3:6)
The called out assembly at Galatia, being of like passions and having been given the glad tidings of great joy of the deliverance from their sin, were also deceived as Eve that there was something more needed for their salvation. They were tossed to and fro by the cunning trickery of the mind of man to conclude that they now were enabled to keep the law albeit that the commandments were but types. They desired circumcision as the sign of the covenant in the flesh for the tangible blessings of the flesh. They were convinced that obedience was rewarded by God as the fruits of their labours resulted in prosperity, prominence and wealth. Thus conditions were preached as the means to salvation and grace was discarded.
These brethren were being taught of the Spirit, through the corruption of the theology of man, that no flesh has ever been capable of keeping the hand-writing of ordinances, which are the ministration of condemnation. The testimony was one of bondage to the weak and beggarly elements of this world, through ceremonies, rituals and daily observances but deliverance was in and of the Anointing; “Wherefore if you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world are you subject to ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all perish with the using), after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, humility and neglecting of the body not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh?” (Col. 2:20f).
Were these brethren weak in the faith? Had they lost their ‘first love’ and fallen from grace? Or had the Spirit of God ordained that the method of their instructions in righteousness be that they be taken in the delusions and deceptions of their hearts to think they could improve on the job which the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah had declared to be finished? The grace of God and Adam do not mix for they are diametrically opposed to each other. Even though the child of grace in Adam is the passive recipient of the grace of God which is sufficient for the evils of the days which He has ordained, yet the flesh has no awareness of grace or control over it. He is a sentient being who is confined to the limitations of his environment and when faith is revealed the natural man attempts to explain it in a natural way. Thus the development and allure of man’s theology.
They who are led by the Spirit of God walk in the light of Yehovah. They live by the faith of the Son of God who loved them and gave Himself for them and they are saved by hope. These cannot be understood or perceived by the natural abilities of man for the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them. Those things which are by faith are contrary to those things which are of the flesh wherein the children of hope have been made subject; thus the law of the mind wars against the law in the inner man wherein the children of the King delight in the Law of God.
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, this is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left hand” (Is. 30:21)
God has not left His people to find their way unto a determined destination nor has He left ‘sign posts’ along the way to help those seeking after Him to find Him. He has ordained, of old, a path that every man should walk, a course that must be followed and a race that must be run. The journey He has given, to every man in his order, and each step along the way is precisely ordered and established fast and sure so that everything happens in the fullness of time in complete coordination and cooperation with the whole of creation. Not one thought, word or deed comes to pass but that it has been brought to pass by the power of His will as it has been ordained of God for good; that is according to His eternal purpose. The cohesive working of all things together is for the good which He has decreed for His Beloved; to the called according to His purpose. This good encompasses the trials and tribulations along the way which He has ordained for the purpose of proving the fruit of the Spirit. The presence of the indwelling Spirit is the surety of the Father of sonship for if one has not the Spirit, he is none of His (Rms. 8:9). The testimony of the Spirit is manifested in the love of the brethren for the other, the earnest expectation of the deliverance from the body of this death and the faith within. These three bear witness with the inner man that he is a child of grace and that no flesh shall ever glory in His presence.
This is the comfort of the Spirit and the assurance of hope to the redeemed and the frustration of Adam for man does not know these things. Adam is drawn away after the glitter and brilliance of the trinkets of this world and his philosophy follows suite. As he ignorantly walks the path assigned unto him, he imagines himself a champion of a cause, a good servant, a righteous person and a defender of the truth yet these are based upon the frailties of his limitations and the corruption of his nature. He has been given itching ears and so he heaps unto himself teachers to speak and hear something new. He also has an out stretched neck to appease the desire to look beyond the present and see what is to come. He is deceived to think the decisions he makes are his own and his choices are made of his independent and free will. Thus he is “ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7).
The grace of God is given to the citizens of Zion as they walk through this world. He reveals the true nature of Adam and the corruption of this world. His Word, which is alive, full of power, sharper than any two-edged sword and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, is the lamp and the light unto the feet of the pilgrim as they walk upon the path they have been given. The outstretched neck of the sons of Anak is desperately looking to see those things yet to come, being devoid of patience which comes by tribulation, while the eyes of the children are bowed low to see each step upon the path. His Spirit directs each step of the righteous causing them to walk according to His statutes and to keep His judgments as He shows forth the vileness and vanity of Adam. And thus He has given certain ‘sent forth with orders’, with the ‘proper interpretation of the hidden things’, for the ‘proclaiming of glad tidings’ and for the ‘overseeing’ and teaching of the brethren;
“That we be no more infants…”
These brethren had been instructed of the Apostle that they walked in former times according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. He did not say that they were once children of disobedience and now were made obedient but rather that this was their course before God revealed the truth unto them. The incorruptible seed can not deny the Father nor be disobedient to His Word. Being born from above he cannot commit anything which does not ‘hit the mark’ of the perfection of holiness in Christ because the eternal seed remains in him (I John 3:9).
The Spirit gives the illustration of an infant because of their total dependence upon those who care for them. They are helpless without guidance and will instinctively do that which is by nature. But the reference is also to them which cannot speak (Gk. – ‘nepios’ – no say) thus giving the indication that he is not speaking of small children or of young adults but rather of those of a very young age. Now the infant acts by nature as they grow and as they mature they follow after that which they learn through nurture. They desire food and attention as they are led about by whom ever is their care giver. They follow after the natural course of the body and having no expectations set upon them, they show forth the natural traits of Adam being dead in trespasses and sin.
The child of grace, born of God, grows in the grace and knowledge of His will as he matures unto “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature if the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). He does not walk after the lusts of the flesh for his affections are on the things from above. He is not drawn after the music of Babylon or the songs of his captivity for he longs to hear the song of the redeemed and sing the praises of His Redeemer. He is indeed seated together in the Anointed in the heavens but this reality does not yet appear while in the bondage of this corruption.
The child of the dust, however, is born to die. He progresses through the time of his existence, professing himself to be wise yet he is a fool, as the outward man perishes. He is maturing in age but as the years pass, the manifestation of his arrogance, his pride and his rebellion against God become more pronounced and evident. The natural man is oblivious to these transgressions as he continues to seek the approval of God in his righteous works; “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? And in Your name cast out devils? And in Your name done many wonderful works? And the will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22).
The gifts that God has bestowed upon His called out assembly, manifested in time, are to the intent that His people be not deceived in the flesh to follow after the instinctive habits of their Adamic nature. These are necessary for if left without grace and the discipline of the Spirit, the flesh will follow after that which is right in the heart, which is deceitful and desperately wicked. Thus as the struggle continues between the incorruptible seed of the inner man and the corruption of the outward man, God, who knows the frame of dust that He has afore prepared for His seed, supplies the necessary elements in the assembly “for the perfecting (repairing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”.
Each of His Beloved children, having been made subject to the bondage of sin in the body of this death, groan within themselves because of the worthlessness of this existence. Adam has no life of his own for God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and made him a living soul. He has no strength in him but that which the Maker has equipped him with and Adam has no future but to return to the dust from whence he was formed. The seed, planted in the earth, has eternal life in the Father, who is the life of the body. They each have the strength of Yehovah God as they endure with Him; therefore they are the Israel of our God. Their earnest expectation is the moment when, in the twinkling of an eye, they are manifested as the sons of God. This is the time when the veil of this habitation shall be removed and His children will be made like the Son (adoption), where unto they have been predestinated; “Beloved now are we the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is: and every man that has this hope in him is himself purified even as he is pure” (I John 3:2f).
“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh and these are contrary one to the other so that you cannot do the things that you would” (Gal. 5:17)
The wicked of this world, which have been created and reserved unto the day of judgment, are indeed the enemies of the truth but this includes every son of Adam. Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. He does not come to the light because then would his deeds be revealed just as Adam hid himself when his eyes were opened and he knew he was naked before the Lord. In the time when it pleases the Father to reveal Himself in His people, they are not shown only that they have been delivered from this love of darkness but also they are shown how dark the darkness is and how evil their deeds are. The Spirit of God reveals the craftiness and trickery of the natural man who, like the Canaanites of old, seek an alliance of deception with the children of promise (Josh. 9).
The people that ‘belonged unto, were associated with, were accessory unto and had reference to the hills’ (Gibeon) saw what mighty things that Yehovah God had done by the hand of His salvation, Joshua. All the kings on this side of the Jordan, in the hills and in the valleys and in all the coasts of the great sea against Lebanon, had gathered themselves together to fight with Joshua and with Israel with one accord. But when these people of the hills heard what Joshua had done to the mighty city of Jericho, they devised a plot to make a league with Israel and save themselves from the sword of Joshua. These men disguised themselves in old clothing, torn and rolled up, and presented a very convincing charade before the men of Israel for they were the sons of fear and terror (Heth). They lied to Joshua saying they were from a country very far away who, as the servants of Israel, heard of his fame and “all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan”. Thus these men deceived Joshua and a league of peace was made with them, to let them live and the princes of the congregation sware unto them (9:15).
These people through the craftiness of their imaginations dwelt all their days among the children of Israel and although they did not worship Yehovah God; nor were they made part of the covenant as the stranger which dwelt in the midst of Israel, yet were they put to tribute all the days of their lives; “And Joshua made them that day, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of Yehovah”. Thus as the sin of Israel was manifested so it grew as the nation remained in league with the people of the land. They gave their children in marriage and exactly as Moses had said would happen; they turned the hearts of the people unto the gods of the earth. Israel forgot Yehovah and served other gods.
The children of the Kingdom of God cannot forget their God nor can they turn or be turned from Him. Yet they dwell in weak and frail earthen vessels formed from the dust of the earth. The desires of the carnal nature strive and contest daily attempting to draw the inner man away from God and bring him down into the dust through the dainties of this world and the vain philosophy of man. But God is faithful who will not allow His Beloved to be tempted above that which they are able but will with the temptation provide a way of escape, that they may be able to bear. This common experience and the lessons taught of the Spirit through them are the certain gifts given for the perfecting of the saints. It is the ability of the members of the body to identify and empathize with those who are out of the way and have been taken in a fault. It is the earnest desire to bear one another’s burdens, to weep with them that weep and rejoice with them that rejoice, in the knowledge that the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah has overcome the world. It is the love of the brethren and the harmony of like precious faith of the members of the pasture of God wherein the sheep are “sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Christ Jesus, and called” (Jude 1).
These all speak the truth in love for they speak that name which is above every name whereby they have been, are being and shall be saved. They speak of His faithfulness and the work He has completed in righteousness as they grow up into Him in all things, which is the Anointed head. This love is communicated to the brethren by fellow companions in tribulation who have been so taught to speak of the wickedness of their heart, the uncleanness of their ways and the grace of Yehovah God. They find that whatsoever state they are in therein to be content for this is where the perfect will of God decreed they should be. They know that the Redeemer lives and that He is seated in the heavens where He rules over the kingdoms of this world therefore they are not afraid of what man can do unto them.
Though they cannot give proof of this to the eyes and ears of man yet they have the hope of glory within and since they all have the same hope wherein they have been called, they all live by faith;
“Now faith is the substance of things earnestly desired and the evidence of things unseen” (Heb. 11:1).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
September 4, 2016