POSSESS THE LAND Part 2 by Doug Fortune
I am of the opinion that when all is distilled down to the most basic element, there is really only one sin- UNBELIEF! Lust is really simply not believing that God Himself is enough for us. Pride is really the illusion of our own sovereignty (“ye shall be as gods” Genesis 3:5), and not believing that He alone is sovereign. All sin is really a result of our UNBELIEF of what God says is true of us, “This we know–that our old self was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our sinful nature might be deprived of its power, so that we should no longer be the slaves of sin;” (Romans 6:6 Weymouth New Testament); “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 Amplified Bible) The question is: Can we BELIEVE Him?… Can we really trust that He is sovereign in all things? Our ‘Jordan’ brings either our unbelief or our belief to the surface! That is why we must face it head-on.
Although we normally think of the following verse as having to do with our initial conversion experience, I believe it has much more to do with the essence of our everyday life; “For with the heart men BELIEVE and obtain righteousness, and with the mouth they make confession and obtain salvation.” (Romans 10:10 Weymouth New Testament) The very basis of our righteousness and salvation really boil down to whether or not we can BELIEVE Him. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3) Many see righteousness and salvation as one-time experiences that happen at our initial conversion. Yes that is true, but righteousness and salvation are also progressively unfolding in our lives; “…that we might BE MADE the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) The word translated as ‘be made’ in that verse, ginomai in Greek, is a prolonged and middle form of a primary verb meaning ‘to cause to be (“gen” -erate), that is, to BECOME’. We are all in the process of BECOMING something. “…WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) It seems that WHAT we are becoming is determined by the SALVATION that is being ‘worked out’ in our lives. Are we becoming the righteousness of God?… Are we possessing the full salvation that is being ‘worked out’ in our lives?
I’m really talking about POSSESSING the ‘land’, because I believe that we enter our ‘promised land’ as we begin to possess the fullness of the character and nature of Christ showing forth in our lives. “Beloved, now are we the sons 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)We shall be LIKE HIM!… in His image and likeness! I particularly like the way the Literal Bible brings clarity to that verse as it says, “we know but that IF He is revealed, like Him we will be.” The word translated as WHEN (as the King James says “when He shall appear”) and IF in the Literal Bible is ean in Greek. It is a conditional particle, often used in connection with other particles to denote indefiniteness or uncertainty. This certainly changes the implications of the verse. Rather than reading “when He shall appear” which sounds very definite, it is really much MORE a sense of ‘IF He is revealed’. Now we understand that WE have a part to play in it, because the best place to look for Christ to be revealed is in the Candlestick, the Church! (see Revelation 1:13, 20) To put it in the Authorized Doug Fortune Paraphrase Version (smile), 1 John 3:2 seems to be saying ‘Now we are sons of God, and IF He is revealed IN US, we will be like Him!’ This is what Paul is saying in Galatians as he says, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, To REVEAL His Son IN ME, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” (Galatians 1:15-16)
My friend, THIS is the ‘land’ of promise that flows with milk and honey. “…I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.” (Leviticus 20:24) In Biblical symbolism milk speaks of the Word of God and honey speaks of revelation. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Peter 2:2) “Then said Jonathan… see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.” (1 Samuel 14:29) So this ‘land’ of milk and honey speaks of the Word of God being REVEALED in and through us. To say it another way, the Word being made flesh IN US (John 1:14)… or as Paul said in the Scripture we just looked at in Galatians, “…it pleased God… to REVEAL His Son IN ME…” In essence, it’s a matter of the Life of Christ being lived through us. I love the way the Weymouth New Testament states it so clearly, “The Life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and we declare unto you the Life of the Ages which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” (1 John 1:2) Imagine with me for a moment… an entirely different Entity from another realm of existence, a Life that originates from eternity, “the Life of the Ages” manifesting through us.
What I’m about to say may shock you and offend you, but I believe it will illustrate the point quite well. In the New Testament we can read many accounts of those possessed of devils. Most of us have enough faith to believe that evil can be powerful enough to possess a person who yields to it. We have enough faith to believe in demon possession. The question is: Do we have enough faith to believe that Christ is powerful enough to possess a person who yields to Him? Do we have enough faith to believe in ‘Christ possession’? “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst BELIEVE, all things are possible to him that BELIEVETH. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I BELIEVE; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:23-24)
You see, my friend, the only way we can POSSESS the ‘land’ is when we are ‘possessed’ by the ‘land’, and the ‘Land’ is Christ! “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” (Joshua 1:3) When this verse speaks of every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, I believe it is speaking of the every day ‘walking out’ of the nature and character of Christ. It is one thing to make mental ascent to spiritual concepts, it is quite another walk it out in everyday life. The only way we can really walk it out in everyday life is when we are possessed by Christ. When Paul speaks of being apprehended, I believe he is speaking of being possessed by Christ; “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12)
There is a secret to possessing the land that Paul alludes to when he says, “that I MAY APPREHEND that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Remember, God had given the children of Israel the promised land forty years before, but there was a problem… they did not APPREHEND the thing they had been given because of their unbelief. We have been given “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:4). We have been given the ‘promised land’ of living out the fullness of the character and nature of Christ. This was purchased on the cross and delivered on the day of Pentecost, however it must be APPREHENDED! And the way it is APPREHENDED is by faith. Can we really BELIEVE that the character and nature of Christ can show forth in our lives?… or will we continue to wander in the wilderness of unbelief?