Grace Unplugged

The Source of PowerA number of years ago the music industry became fascinated with the aspect of “unplugged” performances.  It became a new medium of entertainment to well established musicians as they switched from the “electrical” format to an acoustical format.  The natural, simplistic format that acoustic sound provided to standard pieces these artists had previously performed lent a whole new level of respect to the artistic quality to many of the performers.  Today we are going to look at what happened when grace went acoustical and the sight and sound that it produced.

Grace Plugged In

The first two chapters of Genesis depict the fullest manifestation of grace in operation that we have record of prior to Jesus.  In these chapters we catch a glimpse of what the Father’s original intent was and is for man and how we are to operate through the grace that comes from the kingdom.  In the previous post I bought out that the first grace gift from God to man was in the form of woman.  In that post I made the following statement:

An important aspect of grace that many overlook has to do with honor.  This honor is evident in the kingdom by the presence of the throne of grace.  As grace operated in the creation event, the highest honor is given to each object that reflects the fullness of the elements it came from.  Man received the highest honor being the fullness of not only the dust of the earth but the image of God also.  In this same manner, the woman receives the highest honor being made from man.  This is not an honor of authority over man but honor as a crown upon man.

At the end of six days of grace’s creative expression, man and woman stood as its apex.  Their first day functioning in the grace that God had deposited in the earth was to be spent in the rest of the Father.  Their purpose upon this earth began in a rest ordained by the Father.  In that day of rest they experienced the fullness of the creator in ways that we can only imagine as they explored the realm that had been established for them.  Fully man, the image and likeness of the living God, eternal, and empowered with the grace and honor that befits a royal line, Adam and the woman stand to many as the figurehead of what mankind lost rather than what we are supposed to be like prior to the fall.

What happened to the Power?

Power LostThe third chapter of Genesis provides us with the events that caused what everyone refers to as “the fall of man.”  I have come to recognize these events are what caused the “disconnect” from the grace of the kingdom of God which affected his ability to access the kingdom of God.

When I began this whole study of grace I was focused entirely upon what have we missed in the definition of grace and how it is supposed to function in our live beyond the standard “saved by grace” mentality.  Over the weeks and months I have found there is also a facet that needs to be explored in order to fully explain what is missing.  That facet is what the affect of the loss of grace was.  Sure, we have all some understanding of it, but according to its truest meaning, we have no clue what it means to be out of grace or even recognize when we are.  In other words, if you know what God knows about being disconnected from grace, or disgrace, then you’ll be able to know what the enemy will use to keep you out of the kingdom of God.

The First Fall from Grace

This study would not be complete if I didn’t mention the enemy of God.  satan, or lucifer, was an anointed cherub created by God and responsible for leading the angelic realm in the worship of God.  Ezekiel 28:12-16 and Isaiah 14:12-14 tell of what led to his fall from the kingdom.  These verses do not provide us with a timeframe of when the fall occurred in relation to the creation of man.  But what they do provide is a description of what he looked like before the fall and how his pride for the position that he held led to his expulsion.  I want to draw your attention to a part of the description to out of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 28:13-14 

(13)  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created.

(14)  Thou art the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set thee so: thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

In this passage is a reference to him being in the Garden of Eden.  Also I want you to see the description of the covering that clothed him in his position as the anointed cherub.  Lastly, notice in verse 14 that he was a cherub that “covers”.  This was his purpose, to cover God, or protect and defend the King of Grace.  Whenever God moved this anointed cherub would proceed before Him with the angelic host of worshipers in a posture of protection.  The passage from Isaiah informs us that his pride to be exalted above God was the factor that expelled him from his vaulted position.  Additionally, the sixteenth verse from the Ezekiel passage informs us that the unjust, violent manner that he conducted his business matters also led to his expulsion.  This backdrop of the enemy gives us a look at the tactics he will employ in the garden to wrestle the earth from out of the hands of man.

Paradise Lost

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 

(Genesis 3:1)

This first verse in chapter three is very distinct in a number of ways.  We see here that the enemy comes as a serpent in the Garden but that his appearance is radically different from what is recorded in Ezekiel.  Obviously a snake is a radical departure from a cherub, but what is significant is the term “cunning” used in this passage.  While it does mean “crafty and cunning” its primary meaning in Hebrew is “to be or make bare.”  In this description we see that the enemy has lost all of his covering and is bare before the woman.

Another distinction to be made here is that the snake speaks.  This is not something that many believe could have happened simply because it doesn’t happen today.  I want you to understand this one thing:  The kingdom of God is not like anything that we’ve ever experienced: Donkeys talk, ax heads float, and virgins give birth are just a few of the “normal” occurrences we discount as “unbelievable” a matter which will be addressed in a moment.

Consider this:  The person that the enemy speaks to in this drama is the crown jewel of God’s creation, a similar position that he once occupied in the kingdom.  The woman, as I stated above, held the highest honorable position in the creation, a position that if compromised would mean the subjection of all things below it.  Tarnish the crown and it affects the entire kingdom.  Many miss this very fine point by thinking that the enemy’s attack is on the “weaker” vessel.  It had nothing to do with strength but everything to do with a position lost wanting to be regained.  The enemy has only been concerned with one thing – being worshipped – nothing else matters to him.  He will use whatever means necessary to make this occur.

So we now have in place an understanding of the condition of the enemy and what he intends to accomplish in this dialogue.  He understands that there is no authority for him to do anything on the earth since God has placed it in the hands of man.  He has to get the man to willfully turn over his realm if he is to have any power.  This can only be done by disconnecting the link that man has with the eternal kingdom; a disconnect that has been clearly specified by God himself in commissioning man’s work in the garden, “. . . for in the day that you eat of it (tree of the knowledge of good and evil) you shall surely die.”

Genesis 3:2-5 

(2)  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;

(3)  but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

(4)  Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

(5)  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

If you’ve been around any teaching of these events in the past there is always mention of what the woman added to the condition that God set before man about the fruit of the tree.  The Hebrew scholars state that the additional information the woman provided is due to the fact that the enemy had pushed the woman next to the tree and by forcing her to touch it he was able to demonstrate that death wouldn’t occur, making the woman to doubt if what God had said was true.

Belief to Doubt – a road most traveled

The number one tool that the enemy uses against everyone on the face of this earth is the tool of doubt.  He knows that if the seed of doubt can be planted it will grow on its own fed entirely on circumstances.  I mentioned a moment ago about the unique characteristics of the Kingdom of God and you were given a number of instances from the operations of the kingdom that you either believe or doubt.  There is no middle ground, either yes or no.  The enemy operates more in the “middle ground” than at either of the other two poles.  He knows God’s truth and if you align with it, you are aligning with God, something that he hates.  He knows that he cannot get you to shift from knowing a truth to denying it in one move.  So he strategically uses doubt to subtly move you from belief to unbelief.

Let me give you an example: The word of God states that we are healed by the stripes that Jesus bore on his back.  This is a kingdom truth.  This is how God sees you today, right now.  If you have never been sick a day in your life, you align with this truth.  But most of us have at one time or another been sick.  These circumstances never negate the truth of the kingdom yet the enemy uses them to build a case of doubt about the truth in God’s word.  Every sickness, disease or ailment acts as another seed of doubt.  The enemy uses this principle for every truth and promise God has given to us.  He knows that time is on his side simply because it reinforces the doubt when things don’t happen when we expect them to happen.

In these few verses we see this very principle in action.  The serpent has planted the thought that runs contrary to the truth that God has spoken.  This was accomplished in verse one with the statement “Has God indeed said,” which begins the cycle of you having to prove the truth.  Truth doesn’t need to be proven for it to be truth, but our insecurities in truly knowing and living a truth causes us to over-extend ourselves and try to prove a truth we haven’t fully assimilated. This is what is occurring in verses 2 and 3 as the woman conveys what she knows about the restrictions that have been placed upon the trees in the garden.

For doubt to function it has to create a thought in you that is different from the one thought that you have been fixated on.  The thought has to be equal to or greater in value to what you presently obtain from your original thought.  The enemy knows that thoughts of equal value are the hardest to establish a basis of doubt with.  So the ploy that is often used is to accentuate a difference – even if it has no bearing upon the matter at hand – and then places the difference between the similarities and establishes a greater reward available in the second thought due to its difference.   This takes place in verses 4 and 5.

So can you spot the similarities and the one difference?  The similarity is that Adam and the woman are made in the likeness and image of God so they are eternal beings incapable of dying also.  The difference is in the eyes.  The eyes are known as “the windows to the soul” and this is what the enemy will use to thwart any belief about the kingdom you possess.  But how is this possible you might ask?  Give me a brief moment and I’ll show you.

The 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews is known at the “Hall of Faith.”  Recorded in this chapter are all the great and mighty people of the bible that had faith, or belief, in God.  A foundational principle in the chapter is that it is impossible to please God without faith (belief).  In 2 Corinthians chapter 5 Paul tells us that, “we live by faith and not by sight.”  Put another way, we live by what we believe in not by what our eyes see around us.  Link this to the prior verse I mentioned and it is expanded like this: God is happy with us when we live by what we believe in rather than what our eyes see about us.

What the enemy does in these verses in Genesis is cause the woman to doubt what she knows, or believes, about God’s words.  Knowing that her belief is what is pleasing to God, the enemy calls into question the woman’s ability to see correctly since any reliance on her natural sight to bolster her belief will work to his advantage of strengthen her doubt.  In order for her to rely more on her sight than her belief he creates a deficiency in her god-like character and links it to the use of her eyes.

The Eyes Have It.

Genesis 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

How many times have you seen something and said to yourself, “I’ve got to have that,” only to regret it latter?  This is the working of the enemy on your soul.  The woman, the crown of God’s creation, caught between belief and doubt, battles an attack on her soul.  The word “pleasant” and “desired” are two separate Hebrew words that both have the meaning of lusting, or covet for, the very actions that expelled the enemy from the kingdom of heaven.  Coveting any item is a direct attack on grace because its intent is not based on giving but on hoarding.  Hoarding often operates when there is a perceived sense of lack or where an item of value is limited.  In this verse we see both of these in operation: A single tree produces a fruit reported to increase wisdom.

Our greatest attacks from the enemy are those that pit our soul against the kingdom simply by allowing our eyes to create a picture contrary to the kingdom and then let our thoughts associate an intense desire to posses it.

What did Adam see?

In the latter portion of this verse we witness the progression of the woman’s actions: Seeing and coveting the fruit, she takes and eats it and then gave it to her husband and he ate it.  Many people just pass over this aspect of the narrative without considering what truly is happening here, but if you want to understand how grace operates even at this junction, there are few things that you had better recognize and they surround the actions of Adam.

Recall that God told Adam that in the day that he eats the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil he will surely die (Genesis 2:17).  We know that even though he ate it, he didn’t “die” that day, but 930 years later.  Some would take this and say that God is a liar, but while Adam didn’t die in body on that day, he did die in spirit.  It was their spirits that linked the man and woman to the kingdom of grace.  But it was the woman that ate the fruit first.  In that moment before Adam ate what did he see or witness in his wife?  Obviously, she did not die in body at that moment either, but something happened that he hadn’t expected.

Many bible scholars believe that Adam and the woman were clothed in the same glory that clouds God himself.  A vibrant, living light that also was characteristic of the glory that Moses experienced on Mount Sinai and subsequently wore upon him when he came down to the children of Israel.  Following this thought consider that when the woman ate of the fruit, this glory-clothing departed from her and for the first time she as “dark” in appearance to Adam.  She literally was turned off to Adam!  That also meant that for the first time, Adam no longer had communion with the woman’s spirit since it died when she ate the fruit.  He looks upon a being that resembles more the creatures of the earth rather than the pinnacle of God’s kingdom.

In that brief moment, Adam has got to be asking himself what is happening, nothing looks familiar except for one sign: A hand extended with giving.  Despite the loss of her connection to the kingdom of grace, the woman still responds with the characteristic that are the hallmark of the kingdom – the giving hand.  Adam still connected to the kingdom understood this gesture from a deep personal level.  At that moment Adam had a choice to make: Accept the gift or turn it away and with it the very essence that makes him whole.  Made in the image and likeness of God, Adam made the decision that a king of grace always makes: Adam took on sin for his bride.

When you make a claim like that it shocks people.  They have never looked at this matter from that perspective.  Certainly a king of grace would take on the sins of the world thousands of years later by claiming in a garden that he would follow the will of the Father but this isn’t what happened in this garden, even if Jesus is called the “last Adam” by Paul!  Right?

The Natural Effect

So both the woman and Adam have eaten the fruit that they were forbidden to partake of.  The result is immediate death to their spirits which means a disconnect from the realm of grace they were created from.  Do we have any idea what that disconnect feels like at that moment?  Let me give you two last verses that properly depict what that effect looks and feels like.

Genesis 2:25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. 

Genesis 3:7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

In these two verses the word “naked” is different in the Hebrew.  They both have the same premise, bare or nude, but how you arrived in that condition is what makes the difference and shows us what the effect of the fall had upon the grace that they once knew.  The first word in verse 2:25 depicts the nakedness that defines a new born child.  The second word defines the nakedness that is associated with a whore, a person who sells themselves to receive a living wage.  You will find in the Hebrew language a number of words that have the term “disgrace, reprove or reproach” as one of their meanings.  For each of these words the root meaning is the same: to be made naked, just like Genesis 3:7.  Obviously, there is a great sense of shame that comes with the baggage of this form of nakedness.

What we need to be aware of is this: Whenever we feel shame, no matter what the situation, we have experienced the effect of being disconnected from grace.  Proverbs tells us that love covers a multitude of sins.  This is speaking directly to the nature of the kingdom.  Anyone who operates from the kingdom is expected to “cover” another from any potential shame the enemy brings.  Realize that Jesus endured the greatest shame known to mankind by being hung on a cross, naked, with the entire weight of the sins of man placed upon him for each and every one of us.  This was His grace gift to us so that we would be reconnected to the kingdom of grace not having to experience the weapon of shame that the enemy uses so effectively.

Finally, what is interesting is that their response to having their eyes opened and seeing their nakedness is to immediately work at obtaining a “living” covering to replace what had departed from them.  This tells me that the glory which clothed them was a living material that they could sense about them.  Because they sewed the fig leaves together it tells me that the glory clothing was tailored to fit the person exactly.  We, in like manner, will be fitted with the clothing that the Father has perfected for our eternal purpose.

So in this teaching we have seen how the enemy, a cherub created to protect God in worship, who was expelled from the kingdom grace due to his pride and covetness, devised a plan to regain the position that he sought after and used the highest expression of God’s creation, the woman, to usurp the kingdom from the man.  We have seen how the enemy uses doubt to works with circumstances in order to undermine your faith or belief.  Also in this we have revealed (no pun intended) what the disconnect from grace looks like and the emotional condition of shame that results from it.

When I pick this up again we will look more into the affects upon the woman in the fall and how God redeems her actions with the greatest curse of all.

Grace and Peace to You

Mike

 

 

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