Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Created, then Formed

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.”    Gen. 1:1-2

I have always seen Gen. 1:1 as an overview, a summation if you will, of the whole first chapter of Genesis.  Then starting in verse 2, I thought we back tracked and were told the detailed process of how creation came about.   I no longer believe this to be so.  For the text clearly states that God indeed had already created the heavens and the earth in verse one, yet it goes on to say in verse two that, “The earth was formless and empty.”    How could the earth have no form and be void and empty, and still be considered the earth?

 In the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth, He first created them in His mind, or better said, in His will; then later He formed what He had “already” created in His will.  God made the heaven and the earth, and all that is upon the earth including you and me in His will, “before the foundation of the world.” (Eph. 1:4)  God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”  Revelation 13:8 says that Jesus was even crucified before the world began, though none of it had yet taken place.  But when the proper time came, God formed all things by speaking them into existence.  “And God said, Let there be…” and there was.  When God spoke, the physical matter was formed, and what was spoken came into a tangible existence.  First God wills something, then He forms what He has created in His will.  Much like an artist who envisions a painting or a sculpture in his mind before any of it begins to be formed with paint or in clay.  Yet with God what He has willed is just as real before it is seen, as it is after it takes on a form. 

A lack of this understanding has caused much confusion for me and many others within the body of Christ concerning righteousness and holiness.  The Bible says that through faith in the blood of Jesus we have been made righteous and holy. (1Cor. 1:29 / Rom. 6:22 )   Yet how can we be righteous when we sometimes act so unrighteous?  How can we be Holy when our actions are often so unholy?  The Bible says we are made righteous and holy by an act of God’s will through His grace. Righteousness and holiness are imputed to us, or in other words, it is “credited” to our account. (Rom.4:22-24)  Jesus took our sin and rebellion and placed them into His account, (and was punished and killed because of it) while at the same time, Jesus’ righteousness and holiness were transferred from His account into ours.  Wow, what a deal for us! What a bummer for Him!  It would sort of be like you trading assets and bank accounts with Bill Gates, (though our trade with Jesus is far, far greater.) 

So how does this trade take place you might ask?  Just as God’s Spirit was hovering over the formless and empty waters, God’s Spirit hovers over our formless and empty spirits, waiting to move upon us with creative power.  The moment we truly believe and accept God’s gift, and our faith in Jesus and His blood connects with God’s grace, life is breathed into our spirit and God immediately creates us righteous and holy, and the Spirit of God moves in and takes up residency in our hearts.  Once God has made us righteous and holy by willing it so, He then begins, by His “Word,” the process of forming us outwardly into the righteous people that He has already made  us in our spirit.   This process of forming us into what God has willed us to be, comes about through the power of the Spirit within and, “the renewing of your mind,” (Rom.12:2)  This process of the renewing of the mind comes through filling it with the “Word” of God.    Again, just as Gods spoken word formed the physical into existence, Jesus (the Word made flesh,) and the Bible (His written Word,) will form us into what God has already made or willed us to be.  Ephesians 5:26 says that we, the church, are made Holy by allowing the “Word” to wash us, “So that He (Jesus) might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word.  By studying the “Word” and  hearing it proclaimed, and then submitting to that “Word,” we will little by little begin to take on a more righteous form, or as Paul puts it in Galatians, 4:19 “until Christ be formed in you.”  As the “Word” fills us and changes our old way of thinking, into Kingdom thinking, we will become more and more Christ like, taking on more and more of His nature. “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 john 3;2)  None of us will become fully righteous “physically” while we are trapped in these earthly bodies, but we can continually take on more of Jesus’ character.  For the more time we spend in the presence of the “Word made flesh,” and the more we let the “written Word” permeate our thinking, the more we become like Christ, because the more we will “see Him as He is.”  So surrender your will to the “Word,” and let the Spirit form you into what God created you to be. 

“Every scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (Heb. 12:16-17) Amp

If you haven’t experienced this new life in Jesus; then by “faith” accept His gift of salvation.  He will take away your sin and shame, and in return immediately make you righteous and holy by giving you His righteousness and holiness.  He will then begin the process of forming you into what you were created to be, and begin leading you in the purpose for which you were designed.