Saturday, February 22, 2014

Becoming What We Know

Immersion in the Mikveh

Most of us have heard enough of the word of God to understand what it means to be saved.  While many are full of the letter, too many have yet to become living epistles written by the Holy Spirit and read of all men (II Corinthians 3:2-3). We have learned enough to spot what is wrong, but few have been spiritually empowered to impact what is wrong.  It is not enough for us to simply know what is right; we must be transformed to "become" what we "know" in order to reach others. 

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." II Corinthians 4:7-12

We do realize that this is the goal, right?  God is not after us just having a bunch of head knowledge and serving as fruit-checkers examining the lives of others, but for us to actually have our lives poured out to be the hands and feet of Christ in the earth so that others may be saved. 

Can we honestly look at our lives and see anyone who has been impacted by our zeal for Christ?  Has anyone been set free from darkness through our witness for Him?  If so, then praise God!  If not, then even our vast knowledge is dead, because every living thing produces after its own kind.  At this late hour we cannot afford to be a sounding gong with no real Godly power.  You can only talk about what is wrong for so long before wondering whether you have been made an instrument of God's deliverance, for that is what counts.

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  " James 1:22

There are many learned hearers in the churchworld, but in this late hour the world needs deliverers. The word "hearer" above means to understand, perceive, consider; to learn or give ear to a teaching.  On the other hand, the word "doer" means one who produces, bears forth, or performs; one who obeys and fulfills the law.

If we have not been changed from hearers to doers, then this is a cause for great alarm.  How does one go from being a mere hearer of the word to being a doer of the word? Immersion in the mikveh.

The mikveh is a ceremonial & ritual cleansing similar to a baptism, representing separation from a former way of life unto a new one.  We have spoken about this before in terms of it being a requirement for a betrothed woman.   The mikveh is part of how the bride prepares herself and makes herself ready for the bridegroom's return.

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." Revelation 19:20

As believers in Christ Jesus, we also must go through a mikveh by immersing ourselves in God's word.  As we do, we will be cleansed and made new into the image of Christ in preparation for Jesus' return.

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:25-27

The word for this "washing" is loutron which comes from a word meaning: to bathe a dead person or a washing to cleanse blood out of a wound.  This is the same word used in the following text:

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Titus 3:5

There is a specific washing each member of the Body of Christ must undergo which cleanses, sanctifies, and regenerates us.  An earlier article highlights a video outlining how Satan sought to contaminate the genetic make-up of the human race so that God's promised seed of the woman would never come to pass (Genesis 3:15).

The fall of man in the Garden of Eden caused man to become spiritually dead and in need of a blood cleansing.  This is why Jesus came; to make us spiritually alive again and cleanse us by His own blood so that we may be reconciled to the Father. Faith in this sacrifice is the means by which we are regenerated, or born again (Romans 3:25).

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7

The blood of Jesus was not just offered to the Father as a sacrifice after His resurrection, but Jesus' blood must also be tangibly applied to us now (Hebrews 9:21; Hebrews 12:24; I Peter 1:2).  How is Jesus' blood applied to our souls for this cleansing?  By the word of God.

When delivering the Israelites from Egypt, God told the Israelites to apply the blood of the lamb to the lintels of their doorposts by hyssop (Exodus 12:22).  When Moses established the law of the covenant with Israel, he sprinkled the tabernacle, the vessels, and the people with blood by hyssop (Exodus 24; Hebrews 9:19).  In the New Testament, God also applies the blood of Jesus to us with hyssop.  How? By the word of God.  As we immerse ourselves in God's word, it is acting as hyssop, sprinkling our souls with Jesus' blood and changing us to be like Him.

"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

Hyssop was often used in the Old Testament as a purging agent.  It is also believed to have properties that will repair, reprogram, and restore the human genetic code (DNA). As we meditate on God's word, it is literally painting our souls with the blood of Jesus and thereby changing us into a new creature (II Corinthians 3:18; II Corinthians 5:17; James 1:23-25; Galatians 6:15).  We are being normalized and restored to the creation that God first established with Adam and Eve before the fall.

When the Israelites used hyssop to apply the blood to their doorposts, they were protected only if that stayed within that border (Exodus 12:22-27).  Yes, they were God's people.  Yes, He had protected them by the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb.  Yes, He had promised to deliver them.  However, if they moved beyond the boundaries marked by that blood, then they too would suffer judgment along with the Egyptians.  They would be destroyed.

The same is true for us.  As soon as we transgress and go beyond the boundaries of the word of God, we place ourselves outside of the protections God has given us; outside of the sprinkling of His cleansing blood.  In doing so, we not only become one with the world, we will be judged as the world.  As the Apostle James says, we are changed into a doer of the word only as we continue in the word (James 1:23-25).  If we leave the word and go off our own way, we deceive ourselves.

So why is it then, that some people immerse themselves in the word of God and are transformed into the image of Christ while others immerse themselves and are not?  Consider what the Jewish Virtual Library has to say about the mikveh:
It is emphasized that the purpose of immersion is not physical, but spiritual cleanliness...Now 'uncleanness' is not mud or filth which water can remove, but is a matter of scriptural decree and dependent on the intention of the heart. Therefore the Sages have said, 'If a man immerses himself, but without special intention, it is as though he has not immersed himself at all.'
It comes down to a condition of the heart.  If you receive God's word without a heart of repentance, then you will be filled with head knowledge, but remain unclean.  It will be as if you were never washed at all.  Conversion is impossible without repentance (Acts 3:19).  The word of God must fall on good soil if it is to produce fruit (Matthew 13:23).  If we are not bearing Godly fruit, then it is because our hearts are not right.  We will not continue in the word, but will stray beyond the word, becoming merely puffed-up hearers with a religion that is in vain.

How do we become what we know?  With a heart of repentance, stay in the word of God and let His power do the work. As we immerse ourselves in the mikveh - letting the washing of the water of the word by the power of the Spirit cleanse, sanctify, and regenerate us - we will find ourselves becoming more like Christ.   It is not an outside work, but an internal one.  It is not about what you do for Christ, but what He does in you.  We will not just know about Jesus, but we will become a reflection of who He is.  It is Christ living in us which is the hope of glory...for ourselves and for others.

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