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The Bride and the Body of Christ are one. This is generally understood. They are different ways of seeing the same thing… which is the ekklesia, the assembly, the called out ones. Believers in Jesus.

Yet it’s more. I can’t put it into words. It was a flash, an impression in my spirit. They/we are one ‘flesh’, with Christ  as the head. We are here on earth, yet also seated with Him at the right hand of the Father. The seat of authority and rest. Until He comes to be with us bodily, He is with us in the ekklesia, we are united in spirit.

I’m seeing a mixing of metaphors. The bride of Christ and the body of Christ are ways of describing the same group of people. The ekklesia. The gathering, the called out ones, the assembly. The family is also a description of who we are, where we cry out, Abba, Father. And where we are brothers and sisters of Jesus. Further, we are the house/dwelling/temple of God. We are also sheep. Branches of the Vine. The kingdom of God and heaven. The elect. We are all of that.

What we have in the bride and bridegroom, and the body, is a joining that makes of two, one. The head of the body is Jesus. As in the marriage example, the man, Jesus, leaves his home and joins with the woman and they become one. Bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.

While all the metaphors that apply to the ekklesia are referring to the same thing, describing the same thing, the body and bride indicate much more unity, almost like the vine and branches. It’s important to see this. Otherwise we have seemingly two different bodies of believers. But we do not. They are one.

Just as the Son and Father are one, and we are one with Him, so the bride and body are one. Remember, there is no more Jew nor Greek, but one new man. Ha! Another metaphor for the ekklesia – a new man. We are part of the divine dance, the perichoresis (this comes from two Greek words, peri, which means “around” and chorea, which means “dance” and refers to the mutual indwelling and intersecting of the godhead).

Eve came from Adam. The church came from Jesus. One was physical. The other is spiritual, though composed of physical persons. So the woman and the man both exist on the earth, united in spirit.  But the head of the church is Christ who is seated in heaven, and He will return as the Bridegroom and be with her physically one day.

We are to consider the bride and the body as joined and as one. They are metaphors for the same corporate expression of God’s plurality. It is hard to wrap our minds around metaphors sometimes, and all metaphors are incomplete. They are just descriptive of something that often can’t be seen and understood any other way. One day we will see face to face and know as we are known.

And even this is a poor attempt to put what I see into words. I so understand the struggle Paul had to express what he saw and knew in his heart.

What’s that mean, anyhow, to say “No” to the world? Are Christians supposed to say no to the world – the kosmos, the system of the world? What did John mean when he wrote, “For God so loved the world (kosmos) that He gave His only begotten Son…. (Jn 3:16)”?

And what did John mean in his first letter, when he wrote this?

1Jo 2:15-17 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world…..

God loved the world, but we can’t love the world, or the love of the Father is not in us. Hmmmm.

James says a similar thing: Jas 4:4 – You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Then there is Peter:

1Pe 5:9 – But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

2Pe 1:4 – For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

By “world” Peter means the Jews. The use of kosmos isn’t as narrow as we may think. We have the world system, created by God. We have the lust of the world, and the flesh, and the devil. We have the Jewish non-believers. Clearly, we should not hate what God created, called “good”, and came to redeem.

But we should not love the ungodly systems by which men govern themselves.

So, are we to turn our backs on the world, deny it, because we want to be spiritual? In fact, can we do this, seeing as we are to be in the world, but not of it? This is of course a bit of a trick question. Think about it. How do we become spiritual, and how do we know we are walking in the spirit?

We are no longer a part of this world system, because we are now in the kingdom of God. We walk in the spirit now. We don’t “turn our backs on the world” because we are not of the world – we are taken out of that system and placed into God’s!

1Jo 4:4-5 – You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.

2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,

Eph 4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,

Eph 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

Col 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

We are called to actively bring His kingdom into the kosmos!

It was Jesus who said to pray that the Father’s kingdom come and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are in it now!

Are we bringing the good news of the kingdom to the world? It’s more than preaching, but it is a message confirmed by signs. Physical healing is one sign that is promised to follow those that believe. It’s not a full message without the signs.

Say no to the world?

How can we say no, or yes, to something we have no part in?

We are dead to the kosmos – how can we then have any relationship to it?

Are Christians Supposed to be Poor in Spirit?

How are believers supposed to view the statements made by Jesus in what we call the Sermon on the Mount – or the Beatitudes?

Matthew 5:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Are we supposed to stay in an attitude of poorness in spirit? Some say so. If we acknowledge we are poor in spirit, we are acknowledging our dependence on God. Right? Are you sure?

Meekness, hungering after righteousness, mercifulness, purity of heart, peacemaking, and even persecution, all find support in our walk as believers. And at times we can feel poor in spirit and we mourn at times. Still, as a spiritual reality, poorness is not what we should be professing. How can we be poor in spirit when we have the Holy Spirit in and upon us, for power, and for so much more?

Jesus was teaching about what the kingdom of heaven was like. He said the kingdom was at hand. He even said it was here, for if he cast out devils by the power of God, the kingdom had come. Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

In the kingdom of heaven, no one is poor in spirit, neither does anyone mourn, for they are one with Jesus. Of course, we might mourn when we lose a loved one – but we don’t grieve as the unbelievers do. 1Thessalonians 4:13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not sorrow as others do who have no hope.

Are we also supposed to always mourn? Mourn for what? The word for mourn is much more than sorrow or grief. He is talking about lamenting. This is a deep, deep, despair and sorrow. We have no need to mourn. We have not lost Jesus. He is with us to the end of the age, for He sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to us. Our joy is full. One who mourns has no joy.

This is the same way we should look at being poor in spirit. Of course we live and move and have our being in Him – thereby knowing we are dependent on Him. But what else do the scriptures say about our spiritual state in Him? Do we not have all spiritual blessings and riches in Christ Jesus?

Colossians 2:1-3 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Jesus said the poor in spirit were blessed (happy and fortunate) and theirs was the kingdom of heaven. He also said He didn’t come to the well, but to the sick. He was saying that those who seek will find. Those who know they have need will seek to be healed. Those who think they have no need will not seek to be healed.

The Sermon on the Mount was about how to find the kingdom, and what that means. You have need, you mourn because you have not found it, but when you do, you be blessed. You will also be persecuted for His name’s sake. That’s just how it is. There is a cost, but the blessings far out weigh the costs, and even the costs will be rewarded.

Furthermore, in Him we have obtained mercy and purity, we are satisfied, and offer the gospel of reconciliation/peace to all who will believe. He was not saying we had to do these things to see the kingdom, but that we couldn’t possibly do them ourselves. Flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom, and the works of flesh and blood cannot get us there. 1Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

In more than one place, Jesus set up impossible standards. He said our righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. He said to pluck out our eyes if they cause us to offend. We know we can’t do those things in order to get into the kingdom.

Neither can we get there by being poor in spirit, nor see God if we are pure in heart, and so on. He alone makes us pure in the sight of God and we will see Him face to face on that great day. There is no other way. We can’t do it. In that respect, we are poor in spirit, for we can do nothing to get ourselves into the kingdom.

Know this: believers are not supposed to be going around under a cloud of mourning or of poverty in spirit. Only those who know they are poor in spirit can find the kingdom of heaven, but once we are in it by faith in Christ, we have all spiritual riches and blessings.  How can we be poor in spirit if we have Him? He did not leave us comfortless when He was taken up. He sent the Comforter. The kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! Fullness of joy is ours! Rejoice!

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