…is, “Christ in me, the hope of glory…” (Col 1:27)
This morning I was pondering this verse, and a teaching about it that I listened to in my late teens. This teaching, called ‘Be ye Perfect’, by Arthur Katz, shaped much of my life. There is so much I can say about it but I will try to be brief.
Katz mentioned the two trees in the garden of Eden. When man ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil he became trapped in the ramifications of his carnal mind. Without God, we can at best look at any situation in life and judge it on the basis of whether it is good or evil. Many men think that simply choosing the good thing and eschewing the bad, is good enough. But…how many ‘good’ people do you know that are totally lost?
My good works are totally incapable of raising me up to a higher place in God. They remain in the limited realm of my humanness. Praise God for the tree of life! I am so grateful that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death! (Rom 8:2)
It is Jesus who is the tree of life, and as we come and eat of his presence we are able to understand those things which are spiritually discerned and seem foolishness to the carnal mind.
I am so thankful for the fact that Jesus lives inside my heart, that he has given me his Spirit so that I can walk in his abundant life. I no longer have to struggle to meet a standard of perfection, rather I can rest in Him and let Him live his life through me.
As far as choosing the ‘good’ thing and not the ‘God’ thing goes, I wonder what would have happened if Jesus had chosen to do the ‘good’ thing that most of his compatriots thought he should do. What if he had gathered himself a sure following and risen up against the Roman empire to free the Isrealites? I would still be lost today, scrabbling at the foot of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Arthur Katz mentioned Jesus’ response to Peter, when Peter did the very ‘good’ and ‘noble’ thing of telling Jesus that He wouldn’t have to die on the cross. Jesus said: Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Peter’s statement came straight from his own judgement, from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and Jesus’s response tells us exactly what he thinks of that.
Even today, as christians, we can sometimes get caught up in doing the good things in life and forget God. We eat from that cursed tree, thinking that we are OK, because we are doing ‘good’. Yet we forget that that tree puts us under the bondage of the law, where the tree of life sets us free by grace!
True life in God and freedom from the law only comes through intimacy with Jesus, from being in that place where ‘in him we live and move and have our being‘. (Acts 17:28)
Let us eat from that Tree of Life today, and let the life of Jesus set us free to walk in the things of God!