December 6, 2007 ©Homer
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Commentary — From the Margins
The Commonality of the Flesh
For as many of you [Galatians] as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:27-29)
If disciples are Abraham’s offspring according to the promise, they are spiritually Isaac (Gal 4:28-31) and Christ Jesus is analogous to, or functions as Abraham. If disciples are presently Isaac, then in the womb of Grace are two spiritual sons who have done nothing either good or bad (Rom 9:11), with one son hated and the other loved (Mal 1:2; Rom 9:13) even though neither has yet been born. The Apostle Paul says this one hated, one loved scenario exists “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call” (Rom 9:12).
At the end of telling the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus has the king say of the guest without a wedding garment, “‘“Bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,”’” then says as Himself, “‘For many are called, but few are chosen’” (Matt 22:13-14). Many disciples are called, but some pay no attention to their calling, some are too busy with their own affairs to be bothered with the things of God, some treat the servants of God shamefully, even to killing His servants. Of the many called, only a few will come to the wedding feast, and of these few, not all will come cleaned up, ready to participate in the wedding. It is not enough to be invited to the wedding or even to come as the person normally is—the few who will be accepted come with hearts cleansed by faith.
Being called of God is not an infrequent occurrence rarely seen in this era as it would seem based upon the number of disciples willing to obey God. Rather, many are called. Many are baptized into Christ, and many have put on Christ’s righteousness as if it were a garment. For no person can come to Christ unless he or she has been drawn and called (John 6:44; 15:16), and as no corpse can command receipt of the breath of life, no living person can compel God to give the person the Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion], the divine Breath of God, the means through which a person is born anew, or born again, or born from above, or born of Spirit—all expressions for receiving a second life that is not from this world, a spiritual life that is foreshadowed by physical life received through physical breath.
The secret and hidden things of God are seen by the
things that are: the visible reveals the invisible (Rom 1:20). The hidden
things of God have been in plain sight all along: foremost among the secret
things is the commonness of the flesh
of every disciple born of Spirit. The distinction made in the flesh by
circumcision of foreskins was abolished by Christ at
The Flood of Noah’s day was the world being baptized into death by water, and this baptism will be followed four plus millennia later by the world being baptized into life by the Holy Spirit. Then a little more than a millennium after that, the world will be baptized by fire into Spirit. The One who does the baptizing by Spirit and fire is the glorified Christ (Matt 3:11); the One who caused the baptism of the world by water was the One who came as His only Son—all three baptisms are done by the Logos, Theos, who is now the glorified Christ.
In type, the baptism of a disciple reaches behind
the disciple to represent the watery death that came upon the commonness of man in the days of Noah,
when among humankind, no distinction made in the flesh existed although distinction
among the animals [clean and unclean] did exist. Without now offering evidence
to support the claim, it will here be asserted that “the eight”
were to the animals as spirit beings are to human beings. In one typological
scenario, “the eight” represent Christ [Noah] and the angels to the
seven churches [Noah’s three sons, his wife, and his daughters-in-law],
with this scenario coming into importance when spiritual
Again, with baptism, all flesh becomes
“common” and analogous to Noah’s descendants after the Flood
for whom all meats were declared food (Gen 9:3-4). This collective commonness is central to understanding
what Jesus referenced when He said, “‘Hear me, all of you, and
understand. There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile
him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. … Do
you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,
since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled’”
(Mark 7:14-16, 18-19). The new creature or self is not the flesh; so those
things that pertain to the flesh cannot defile the new creature. Physically
The covenants of promise from which the nations [Gentiles] were separated by
circumcision were not abolished at Calvary, for the nations were brought near to these promises “by the blood
of Christ” (Eph 2:13). The laws of God were not abolished when
circumcision moved from being of the flesh to being of the heart, but these
same commandments moved from outside disciples [written on two tablets of
stone] to inside disciples [written on two tablets of flesh]. The so-called
ceremonial laws were not abolished but moved inward so that a disciple’s
prayer of repentance equates with an ancient Israelite’s sin offering,
with words uttered in the spiritual realm equating to the blood and breath of
livestock in this earthly realm. Thus there is no distinction between a person
who “esteems one day as better than another” and another person who
“esteems all days alike” (Rom 14:5). The flesh of neither is
defiled by the acts of the hand and body: keeping the commandments or not
keeping the commandments is the same to the flesh. Likewise eating swine or not
eating swine is the same to the flesh, as they were the same to the people of
Note the above: when a disciple is baptized, the
disciple is as a person getting off Noah’s
Heaven is a timeless supra-dimensional realm in which those who have been born of Spirit have actual life as sons of God that have not yet reached their majority. In this dimension living entities exist without possessing mass; they exist as an energy force that is metaphorically like wind in this earthly realm.
To the descendants of
Jacob, the twice selected human cultivar descended from Abraham, God gave
instructions regarding eating clean and unclean meats, ending these instructions
with the reason for Israel to eat only clean meats: God said, "'For I am
the Lord your God [YHWH your Elohim]. Consecrate yourselves
therefore, and be holy; for I am holy'" (Lev 11:44). Thus, the reason for
The epistles of Peter are his fulfilling his commission to feed the lambs, tend the sheep and feed the sheep (John 21:15-19), with the first three chapters of 1 Peter directly relating to feeding the lambs, those disciples who are newly born of Spirit. And Peter tells these lambs that since He who called them is holy, they are to be holy (1 Pet 1:15-16); he then cites Leviticus 11:44 … if disciples, who are free to eat or not eat any meat, choose to be holy as God is holy, these disciples will return to where God tells Israel how to be holy as He is holy. They will exercise their freedom by choosing to abstain from eating unclean meats. This is especially true if a disciple is to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:4-6), or chooses to imitate the Apostle Paul (Phil 3:17) who, when on trial before Festus, said, "'Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense'" (Acts 25:8). Both Jesus and Paul lived as Observant Jews, and it is impossible to make an Observant Jew jealous—the reason Paul gives for why Gentiles are called (Rom 11:11, 14)—if a disciple lives as a Gentile.
Disciples today cannot be defiled by what they eat, the Apostle Paul’s point in Romans chapter 14. But they can be defiled by what comes from hearts and minds. The distinction between an Israelite circumcised of heart who wants to please God and every other born of Spirit Israelite is that the person who wants to be holy as God is holy will do those things that show God this desire—not because the person has to do these things, but because the person desires to please God.
There is nothing that can be done to the flesh to cause God to recognize a distinction between Jew of Greek, male or female, bond or free. To God the Father, all flesh is the same. It is only what comes from within the heart and from within the mind that causes God to make a distinction between one person who has been born of Spirit and another, with those things that come from within being manifest through the actions of the disciple, thereby setting the few who will be chosen apart from the many who have been called.
The acts or actions of the few determine who these chosen few are, for James said, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can this faith save him? … So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (Jas 2:14, 17-18).
Only when a disciple makes a journey of faith equivalent to Abraham’s physical journey of faith is the inner new self set apart from the commonness of the “many” that are called. And this journey of faith will come from believing God, with this belief counted to the person as righteousness as Abraham’s belief was counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6).
Sin has no dominion over the new self that is born free to keep the commandments of God or to reject obedience to God. Yes, disciples are truly free on the day of their salvation to choose life or death (Deut 30:15-20). They are free to eat or not eat any meats, for all meats enter the body through the mouth and pass out through bowel movements. The “cleanness” or “commonness” of meat does not pertain to this new creature which is not of this world. But the disciple who desires to be uncommon [i.e., clean] will not eat that which is common to all men: by a decision freely made, this disciple chooses to reject the commonness that came with spiritual birth, and chooses to make a journey of faith like Abraham’s journey of faith, with this disciple journeying from a mental landscape that is common to every son of God to a mental landscape that is analogous to Judea under the judges and the first two kings.
In 1996, at Feast of Tabernacle services in Vail, Colorado, Pastor Jim Turner of the new Worldwide Church of God (WCG) told me, “Isn’t it nice not having to be special anymore,” as he reflected approvingly upon the changed doctrines that returned the WCG to mainstream Evangelical Christendom. Turner felt free under the changes to return to the commonness that had come to him and to every other son of God when first born of Spirit. And I felt appalled that he could not hear what he had just said.
The eating of unclean meats which does not defile a person because the meats enter the flesh through the mouth and does not enter the inner new creature—this is what Jesus said and about which Mark or some later scribe commented upon in the parenthetical insert, “(Thus he declared all foods clean)” (Mark 7:19)—does however defile the inner new creature if this new creature lusts after that which will make him common. All flesh was given to the descendants of Noah as food. All meats are given to born of Spirit sons of God as food. But of all the descendants of Noah, only one had faith that would be counted to him as righteousness; from only one will come the firstborn sons of God (Ex 4:22); from only one will come those who are liberated from indwelling sin and death as ancient Israel was liberated from physical bondage to Pharaoh; from only one will come those who are commanded to be holy as God is holy; from only one will come those who walk as Jesus walked, and who will walk as Jesus today walks. And the descendants of spiritual Abraham will make a distinction between clean and unclean meats so they can willingly be holy as God is holy; as the One who called them is holy.
Again, disciples are born free to keep the commandments of God; they are not under bondage to sin unless they voluntary place themselves there by returning to disobedience—sin has no dominion over the new creature (1 Co 6:14). So disciples are not under the law. Obedience is voluntary and comes from what is within the heart and mind. Likewise, disobedience—which the newly born son of God is free to choose—is voluntary and comes from what is within the heart and mind. And disobedience will defile the inner new creature, just as lusting after commonness defiles this new creature. If Turner had not previously defiled himself, he did so when he expressed his pleasure in no longer having to be special.
The various Sabbatarian
Christian fellowships and sects that legalistically attempt to enforce
observance of the law and its many provisions upon disciples have better intentions
than theology when they exercise their heavy handed Nicolaitanism over disciples in their fellowships … no son of
God has to leave the commonality of
the “receiving the Holy Spirit experience” and mentally journey
into the uncommon territory of obedience to God. Every son of God can stay with
the common pool of the many who have
been called to be disciples. In fact, too many of these sons of God will be
like Terah, who started out well in his journey from Ur of the Chaldeans to
“the land of Canaan” (Gen 11:31), but who got part way and settled
in the land of Haran, later to be the land of the Assyrians, the geographical
landscape that represents death. Today too many Anabaptist Christians,
descendants of the remnant of spiritual
Except for a few stalks
of a remnant of a remnant, the Anabaptist remnant that left Babylon in 1525 CE in
a manner analogous to the remnant of natural Israel that left Babylon by order
of King Cyrus have stopped and built spiritual houses for themselves as Terah
settled in the land of Haran—they stopped before they entered into
God’s rest, what the Psalmist called the Promised Land (95:10-11) and
what the writer of Hebrews identified as Sabbath observance (3:16-4:11). They
did not turn around to reenter sin as
Returning to what Paul wrote, “[I]n order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works [what the flesh produces] but because of his call” (Rom 9:11) one son while still in the womb is hated, and one son is loved, which is not injustice on God’s part but God having mercy upon whom He will—and God having mercy upon whom He will is being numbered among the few who will be chosen (again, Matt 22:14).
All sons of God are as
the descendants of Noah were when disciples are baptized. Those sons of God who
choose to remain a part of this world and have a part in the governance of his
world are as the son of Noah were who remained in Chaldea, dwelling in the
great city of Ur. Those sons that left
Again, within the womb of Grace are two sons struggling with each other, one hated, one loved. Both sons come from the commonness of all disciples; both begin by being numbered among the many who are called … many are made into disciples through being drawn from this world, but few will be chosen for few will show God that the disciple knows and appreciates that God has sanctified the person by this person choosing to observe the Sabbath (Ex 31:13). Few will show God that the person knows that God has consecrated the person by not eating “common” meats—and the faith that will have the disciple doing those things that pertain specifically to Israel now causes this disciple to make a distinction between him or herself and all other disciples who will not make such a showing.
redundancy, let it again be said that every person baptized into Christ has
been made spiritually “common” and is placed in a relationship with
God [the Father – Theon] that is analogous to the relationship Noah and
his descendants had with God [Theos] when they disembarked from the Ark. Even though a distinction between
clean and unclean was made for animals prior to when they entered the
When a person is baptized into Christ, the person
becomes a common son of God as the
person was before a common [or uncommon if circumcised] son of man. As long as
this son of God remains as he was born, he has fellowship with the many other sons of God who have been
called out from this world. He is not distinctive in any way—and there is
nothing the tent of flesh in which he dwells can do that will defile this son.
So if this son of God does not desire to be special
he can do what other sons of God do as Terah’s neighbors in
It is really pointless for a Sabbatarian disciple to argue with the Christian who wants to continue in the commonness that came with receipt of the Holy Spirit; for the person who desires to be common has adequate scriptural support for doing so, especially since meaning must be assigned to every word forming Holy Writ. Let this person be like Pastor Jim Turner, who is only special in that he is named here as one who celebrated his return to commonness. But let the disciple who desires to be numbered among the chosen few show God that this disciple knows that he has been sanctified and consecrated by this disciple choosing to keep the Sabbath and to eat only clean meats. The disciple cannot spiritually defile himself by choosing to walk physically as Jesus walked physically. Nor will the disciple be numbered among the many who will not so walk physically.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."