22 November 2021
Let me go back and revisit what I wrote about what's real. Sorry folks, but this is kind of long.
Creation has at least two levels of reality. There is ultimate reality and there is our fallen "reality". Jesus spoke with Nicodemus about how one needs a spiritual awareness to see the first. Otherwise, you are stuck with only the fake reality that your human capabilities can perceive.
We are fully capable of doing both. If you embrace the spiritual awareness, you'll definitely have a totally different perception of things, which is why Nicodemus struggled with the apparent conflict between his Pharisaical reasoning and what God was actually doing on the ground in the miracles of Jesus. He knew the law on a human level, and his level of awareness perverted the divine revelation of God.
The Bible assumes that we are spiritual beings in fleshly bodies. The fleshly body is not our natural state; the existence of a mortal form is a punitive condition. Our time in this mortal frame is where we work out what happens when this time is over. The fleshly body will die and the spirit then translates into it's natural state in God's Presence. If your spirit remained disconnected from Him during your fleshly life, then you will not be welcome in His Presence. You have only this life to make the connection.
According to Scripture, the mechanics of this is not a matter of having a living spirit, but of recognizing it. Election is eternal, not a temporal event. We are elected into His Kingdom before the world was built (Ephesians 1:4). We are in no position to comprehend the having issue at all, and the biblical teaching on this matter is exceeding difficult to grasp on a human level. People argue endlessly about what to make of Romans 8 and 9. But as a matter of practice, the Bible teaches us to act as if there are a majority who will never recognize their spirits, never have a spiritual awakening.
The Bible further divides us on the human level between those inside the Covenant and those outside. The boundaries are not that clear from a human perspective. That's why Nicodemus was so confused; he was using only his human capabilities to consider the whole question of what the Covenant of Moses was and what it required. Since the false rabbinical teaching made it a matter of DNA inheritance, he wasn't taking advantage of his presumed spiritual awareness.
Those who take advantage of their spiritual awareness must awaken a faculty that mediates between spirit and flesh. The Hebrew language, being indicative and symbolic, refers to that middle faculty as the heart. The heart is the seat of your will, your faith, your ability to commit to obeying God as your feudal Lord. The heart becomes the locus of your conscious awareness, instead of having it rest in your fallen mind.
On the human level, "reality is fungible". Nobody is going to get the right answer anyway, so whatever a human perceives with their minds cannot be trusted fully. You have what you have in terms of perception and experience, and that's all you can handle with your brain. If the locus of your awareness is in your heart, then you can have a sense of order that looks to divine revelation to define what's real. You can gain a higher level of awareness. It's still provisional and can be shared with others, but then you are aware of that in a way no fleshly mind alone can be.
The fleshly mind wants to believe that there is an objective reality that exists separate from the individual human perception, and that it is possible for that mind to discern this alleged objective reality. A human mind is not aware of its limitations. A heart-borne awareness includes a sense of limitation that comes off as humility. Keep in mind that a few people wrote down some of what their heart-borne awareness could teach them, and a great many folks without that awareness have tried to absorb those writings without really understanding them. So we have a sort of fleshly mythology that includes statements of higher truth, but without a full consciousness of what those statements mean.
That's why Nicodemus was so confused. He read the Hebrew Scriptures of the Covenant, but didn't really understand them, except in terms of mythology. He had a mental concept of humility, but no real actual humility. He could have done better, even without a spiritual awakening, but his training made him reject the leadership of the heart. From the context, John's Gospel writing indicates that Jesus was berating Nicodemus for not connecting his head to his heart. The Holy Spirit of God doesn't address the fallen mind, but will speak in terms of moral imperative to the heart. To have your spirit awakened is the same as having the Holy Spirit in your soul. The only way your spirit can be awakened/made alive is if His Spirit enters into communion with yours.
It's not that we should all somehow think alike, but there is a common ground that God can grant us while still in our flesh. That's how the heart works when it dominates the mind. But the mind without that domination comes up with a lot of wrong answers, even when lots of minds agree with each other on such answers, on whatever grounds they choose to agree.
Thus, every covenant in Scripture includes a law code of some kind. It's not always laid out so clearly as the law code of Moses, but it's there. The reason should be obvious: People living under any valid covenant with God will have to live among a majority who have not fully invested their awareness into their hearts. This includes the idea that everyone may well be traveling the path toward a full moral consciousness, but at any given time, the majority are not quite up to their potential. Thus, we make boundaries of law that the human mind can grasp, as the markers of something much higher. That's where Nicodemus was, and his Pharisee pals were all reading the markers improperly.
So, humans without a heart-borne spiritual awareness can easily agree on law boundaries. If they base them on a valid covenant, then it's at least closer to the spiritual truth than letting them make up their own framework. But the lack of a spiritual input makes them tend to drift away, as Israel did again and again. At some point, it became unworkable, and God sent His Son as the final revelation, as a living Covenant. We still have a law code in Christ, if you want to grasp it as such, but the soul of our Covenant is a Person. It's His human existence that becomes our law code.
How many folks do you know who claim to be spiritually alive/awake but who live outside of any useful Covenant boundaries? Like Nicodemus, they aren't going to understand what's really going on in the Covenant. And that Covenant is the frame of reference by which God works with us in our fallen state. That's why miracles are so iffy among Christians. Miracles are consistent and easily understood by the Covenant-led heart, but not by the mind alone. And while not everyone will tend to legalism as Nicodemus did, they still don't have any better grasp on what the Covenant offers than he did.
It's not a question of whether people can come together and agree on a moral standard. It's whether they are also agreeing with the Person of Christ. An awful lot of folks are convinced that they do agree with the Covenant, just as Nicodemus did, but they still don't understand what Jesus said and did, or the miracles He performed. They can't duplicate reliably what He did, even though He promised we could. They can sense the Presence of the Holy Spirit, but can't understand what He is saying. He speaks only from the heart, and the full clarity of what the heart can know is only within the Covenant boundaries.
Outside of the Covenant boundaries, you really cannot understand anything.
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