CHAPTER 9

                                   THE PLAN


               For whom He did foreknow,  He also did predestinate  to
               be conformed to the image of  His Son, that He might be
               the firstborn among many brethren.

               This final verse in our study is really the key; the overall
          plan; the  will of  God.   It is  the desire  of God  the Father,
          indeed the requirement,  that we  be formed in  the image of  His
          Son.  This works  in tandem:  first,  God must see us as  He sees
          His  own  Son  if  we  are to  fellowship  with  Him  intimately.
          Secondly, for  any of God's  promises to be effective,  the Devil
          must also see us as though he were seeing Christ.  This principle
          actually   reveals   the   meaning      of   "foreknowledge"  and
          "predestination."
               Much  time  could  be spent  attempting  to  explicate these
          doctrines, Romans 8:29  easily interprets itself, however,  so we
          need  not spend  much time  doing  so.   "Foreknow" simply  means
          (known before hand).   Certainly the conscientious  Bible student
          recognizes  that  God  the  Father   knows  us  from  before  our
          existence.   Since our God is omniscient,   and knew us before we
          existed, He chose to "predestinate" - predetermined - that we, as
          His offspring, should look like [resemble] His only begotten Son.
          This  is, in fact,   literally what Romans  8:29 proclaims:  "For
          whom He  did foreknow  [before hand],   He also  did predestinate
          [predetermine] to  be conformed to  the image  of His Son."   Our
          concern,  therefore,  should  not   be  predestination,  but  our
          resemblance to Christ.

          CONFORMED
               The Greek word for "conformed" in Romans 8:29 means (jointly
          formed).  It comes from two words; (union) and (together).  Thus,
          (harmony) or  (to harmonize)  would be a  proper rendering.   The
          Greek usage actually comes from a word which means in  (shape) or
          (nature).    Thus,  we  who  are "the  called"  are  [have  been]
          predetermined to be formed or shaped in the "image" of Christ.

          IMAGE
               The Greek rendering of "image" in our verse simply means "in
          likeness," such as  a statue or  profile.  It  comes from a  base
          meaning (to  resemble).  God, of  course, created man  in His own
          "image,"1  and   likewise  we   are  new   creations,2  made   to
          (resemble) Christ our Lord.
               Some may  assume we  began to resemble  Christ when  we were
          born again;  such, however, is not the case.   For the born again
          Believer, spiritual  death occurred  with Christ  upon the  cross
          which  is when,  and  where,  we "crucified  the  flesh with  the
          affections and lusts."3  It is  because of the cross we begin  to
          resemble Christ who gave His life for us.  Keep in mind, however,
          that   Romans   8:29   confirms   that   this   resemblance   was
          "predetermined" before creation.
               An excellent comparison to this doctrine is  that of David's
          explanation  of conception  in the mother's  womb.   He confirmed
          that before  actual conception, our existence; even our form I.E.
          physical  measurements,  intellect,  personality etc.,  were  all
          known and recorded by God.4  Such is likewise true of  salvation.
          God  has before  ordained  that we  should  resemble His  eternal
          nature  in His Son once born into  His kingdom.  Additionally, as
          Christ was  the image  of God,5  so we  now have  been given  the
          image of His Son according to Romans 8:29.
               "Why," one might ask, "do we not resemble Christ as  much as
          we ought?"  The answer is revealed in the mystery of prayer as we
          partner with the  Holy Spirit.  His ministry is to "help" us when
          we pray.   One might find it interesting to note that part of the
          word translated in the King  James Version as "helpeth" in Romans
          8:26  is also  found in  the Greek  word rendered  "conformed" in
          verse  (29) of  Romans  8.   In  another  words, the  Holy Spirit
          harmonizes with our  prayers to "make  intercession" which is  in
          agreement with God's will and  plan.  His ministry, therefore, is
          one of bringing unity in the spirit through prayer.  If we are to
          interpret Romans 8:29 correctly, we  must conclude that a lack of
          prayer  promotes less  resemblance, less profile,  less likeness.
          If  we will  pray  with, and  in,  the Spirit,  however,  it will
          produce a greater resemblance to that  of our Lord Christ.   Such
          is the plan [will] of God.

          IMITATORS
               My dad had ligaments severed through an accident on the ring
          finger of his  right hand as a youth.  The  damage had never been
          repaired.   Consequently the finger pulled inward, shortening it,
          and although he had full use  of the finger and hand, the  middle
          knuckle was always raised about a half an inch when all the other
          fingers  were  stretched  flat.   I  always  tried imitating  the
          likeness of  my Dad's hand by trying to bend  my finger.  It took
          practice, but  I managed to accomplish it some  of the time.  Why
          did I do it?  To be like my Dad, of course!
               Paul  commanded us  to  "be "followers"  of  Christ."6   The
          Greek  word translated  "followers"  in  Paul's  epistle  to  the
          Ephesians is  literally (imitators).  Somehow we  have gotten the
          idea  that such  conduct would  indicate spiritual  illegitimacy.
          Yet clearly we are commanded  to imitate our Lord.   Stranger yet
          is our Lord's revelation  that if we were to believe  in Him, not
          only would we  be able to  do the works  which He did  while upon
          earth, but even greater works would we do, because He, Jesus, was
          going  to the  father.7  Lest  He be  misunderstood, He  went one
          step  further; confessing that if  we would ask  any thing in His
          name, that is, (as we went about doing His works), He would do it
          that the Father might  be glorified in the Son.8   If we plan  to
          obey Him, apparently Jesus knew we would  be imitating Him in the
          process of doing His works.
               The  results  of imitating  my Dad  were first:  identity; I
          looked like my  Dad.  If you  didn't think so, just  ask Mom; she
          said so.  Having identity with my father was personally rewarding
          because he was well liked, had many friends, and was respected by
          others.   To be identified  with him, therefore, afforded  me the
          same; to a lesser degree, but the same nonetheless.  It felt good
          to hear someone  say, "That's Willie's  kid...just like his  Dad,
          isn't he?
               A second benefit  of imitating my Dad was intimacy.   When I
          hear my children  repeating word-for-word something I  have said,
          or rehearsing  a joke they  heard their Dad  tell, I  become more
          sensitive since I know they are listening; watching; doing.  This
          results in personal fondness and draws me to them intimately.  As
          they imitate their  Dad, I see myself in them and thus I responde
          affectionately.  I  am sure my Dad  felt the same way,  too, as I
          imitated him.
               In  a very  real sense, it  is also  true with  our Heavenly
          Father.   When we identify ourselves with Him - act, talk, think,
          work  - as  He does,  intimacy  results.   The  Father hears  His
          children talking -  saying the same words - as  He has proclaimed
          in His Word and  He listens.  he sees us walking  in His ways and
          He desires  to walk with  us in  fellowship.   When such  occurs,
          spiritual intimacy  flows.  This  is the true meaning  of "Submit
          yourselves therefore  to God.  Resist the Devil, and he will flee
          from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near  to you."9  We
          need to  be careful  whom we  imitate, however.   We  need to  be
          absolutely  sure we  are indeed  imitating Him  and not  another;
          another preacher,  another teacher, another man,  another friend.
          To imitate the wrong  "One" - resemble the wrong  "image" - would
          produce something far different than spiritual intimacy with God.
          If we are  going to walk as  Jesus walked, talk as  Jesus talked,
          and  live as  Jesus  lived,  in order  that  we might  experience
          spiritual intimacy  with Him, we  need to make  sure we  know who
          Jesus is.


                                    PERSON

               For one claiming to be  a "Bible Believer," we willingly and
          eagerly  acknowledge our Lord's  deity, Sonship, second personage
          in  the Godhead, eternality, sovereignty, and we reverence Christ
          as Creator God.  In light of such  doctrine, it sometimes becomes
          difficult to simply acknowledge Him as a real person; yet  He is.
          He did not  come to earth to function as God, although He was and
          is God; but He came as a man and lived as such upon earth.

          PROPHET
               For years  I believed and  taught that Christ  performed His
          miracles - the healing of the blind  and deaf, the raising of the
          dead, the  feeding of the five  thousand, the walking  on water -
          because  of His deity  I.E. God.   If such were  true, why did he
          wait till the  age of thirty to  begin doing miracles?   There is
          even one other haunting question which made me uncomfortable when
          attempting to  explain this dilemma.  We  are told that Jesus did
          not  do many  mighty works  in His own  country because  of their
          unbelief.10  If  our Lord ministered on  earth as God,  why would
          such perfidy  have negated His  miracle working power?   The only
          logical, and  Scriptural answer, is  that He did not  function as
          God upon  earth, although He  was, but  rather as  a Spirit  led,
          Spirit filled Prophet.
               The  office of a prophet  was highly respected; and revered,
          especially in Old Testament times.  They spake  both words of God
          and  words  from  God inspirationally.    Miracles  were likewise
          performed  by prophets.   They experienced visions  and witnessed
          Heavenly  manifestations.    Their  position  and  authority  was
          greatly honored.   Such was  still the case  during New Testament
          times.  Our Lord  walked in such an office as  He ministered upon
          earth.
               When  the  Pharisees were    perplexed  by  the practice  of
          baptism which John  the baptizer was  employing in his  ministry,
          they  sent priests  and  levites  to  question  his  unorthodoxy.
          Besides asking  if he, John,  were Christ or Elijah,  and finding
          his answers unacceptable,  they desired to know if  he were "that
          prophet;"  a reference  to Christ.11   Furthermore, our  Lord was
          called a prophet throughout His entire ministry by many.  His own
          testimony,  however,  of operating  in the  office of  prophet is
          recorded in  three of  the four  Gospels.12   Two  of our  Lord's
          disciples also confessed Him, Jesus, as being a prophet after His
          resurrection  while  they   walked  through  the   countryside.13
          Jesus functioned on earth as  a prophet; a Spirit filled prophet,
          but a prophet nonetheless.14

          PREACHER
               Jesus also came to  preach and teach God's  Word.  He  began
          His  ministry   at  the  age   of  twelve  by  teaching   in  the
          synagogues.15     We  even   gain  insight  as   to  what   Jesus
          continually preached  and taught throughout the  synagogues: "The
          Spirit  of the  Lord is upon  me, because  He has anointed  me to
          preach the  Gospel  to the  poor;  He has  sent  me to  heal  the
          brokenhearted,  to   preach  deliverance  to  the  captives,  and
          recovering sight to  the blind, to set  at liberty them that  are
          bruised,   to  preach  the   acceptable  year  of   the  Lord."16
          Immediately  following this  reading  of Isaiah's  prophesy, Luke
          records:   "And  He began  to say  unto them,  This  day is  this
          Scripture  fulfilled in  your  ears."17    If,  therefore,  Jesus
          "began"  to say  these  things, it  would be  safe  to assume  He
          continually said  such throughout  the balance  of His  ministry.
          Indeed, Jesus read from Isaiah's prophesy exactly  the message He
          was sent to bring; that is, [(1)  The Spirit of the Lord was upon
          Him; (2) He was anointed to preach the Gospel to the poor; (3) He
          was  sent to  heal the  brokenhearted;  (4)    He  was  to preach
          deliverance  to the  captives; (5)  He was  to bring  recovery of
          sight to the blind; (6) He was to set at liberty the bruised; (7)
          and He was to preach  the acceptable year of the Lord].  This was
          His Gospel and He preached it pertinaciously.

          PRIESTHOOD
               The  levitical  priesthood was  a  select group  of  men who
          served  the needs  of the  people by maintaining  the tabernacle.
          They were assigned various tasks including preparing and offering
          of sacrificial offerings  for the  people, tending  to the  inner
          court, and  generally interceding  for the people.   As  has been
          mentioned earlier, once a year the high priest sacrificed a lamb,
          carried its blood behind the  thick vail which separated the Most
          Holy  Place  from  that  of  the inner  court  [The  Holy  Place-
          sanctuary] and poured the blood  out upon the mercy seat  [ark of
          the covenant].18   This mirrored the  ministry of the  prophesied
          Messiah.    Jesus  our  Lord  became both  our  High  Priest  and
          sacrifice for sin;  entering once behind the vail,  by rending it
          from top-to-bottom,  to offer His life and blood that we might be
          eternally one with God the Father.19

          PASTOR
               The  pastoral  ministry   of  our  Lord  is   not  generally
          emphasized or even recognized.  This may be do to the  absence of
          a  church?   Yet Jesus  Christ is  the  chief cornerstone  of the
          Church.20    Furthermore, Christ  is confirmed  as the  "Head" of
          the Church [Body].21
               Although  we recognize  Jesus as  The  Prophet, as  The High
          Priest,  as  The Apostle,22  as  The  Teacher,  and even  as  The
          Evangelist  - one who brings good tidings - we often overlook our
          Lord as The  Pastor.  The Greek  word for "pastor:" "And  He gave
          some,  apostles; and some;  prophets, and some,  evangelists; and
          some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for
          the  work of  the  ministry, for  the  edifying  of the  body  of
          Christ,""23  is  actually  translated (shepherd).    Our  Lord is
          even called  "The Chief  Shepherd."24   The nature,  personality,
          character, and responsibilities  of a shepherd is well  known and
          thus we  perhaps can  gain a better  understanding of  our Lord's
          ministry as He was upon  earth.  He ministered to the  multitudes
          as a pastor  and yet had  time for the  individual.  Such  is His
          ministry yet today.

          POTENTATE
               The wise men of the east came to Herod looking for the "King
          of  the  Jews."25    As  He fulfilled  prophesy  by  riding  into
          Jerusalem  on a  colt, He  was  thus being  honored as  "King."26
          Although His  nature and personage is that of King, He came first
          to serve.

          APPLICATION
               We are cut,  stamped, formed in the image of Christ.  As He,
          our Lord  Christ, functioned  upon earth,  He  did so  as a  real
          person.  He  did not appear as  a ghost a mystical  apparition, a
          moral creed, religious philosophy, or even  as a life style,  but
          as  a person who  demonstrated personal interest  in real people.
          Often today this aspect of ministry is overlooked by the busyness
          of the ministry itself.   Even individuals forget and forsake the
          personal  aspect of  ministry.    We are  sent  to the  world  to
          minister  as one,  that is,  individually, and  as "one"  Body in
          unity.  Such unity is achieved by first imaging the person of our
          Lord.
               Jesus walked as The Prophet.  Such men were those  who spoke
          inspirationally.   If we are  in His image  today, we, too,  must
          speak accordingly.  Our speech  must resemble that of our Lord's.
          We need to  identify ourselves with  Him by the  way we talk  and
          what we say.  As we begin  to speak His Word, we will function as
          preacher and  our message will  be His Gospel.We also  must never
          neglect His works in order that others may see Christ in us.
               In  our  imitating  of  Christ,   we  must  not  forget  our
          responsibility as interceding priests.   As kings and priests  of
          Christ, we  need to  fulfill that mediator  aspect of  our Lord's
          person in order  that others may  be ministered  to in His  name.
          "There  is one  Mediator  between  God and  man,  the man  Christ
          Jesus."27  If  others cannot see  that image in  us, then we  are
          not exercising Scriptural conformity.
               As Jesus ministered in a pastoral capacity, showing personal
          care and concern for not  only the multitudes but the individual,
          we need to  maintain this image in  our service for Him  as well.
          If we forsake individuality, we loose the image of His person and
          thus loss of effectiveness in ministry.
               Finally there is the matter of kingship.  We need to walk in
          the power and authority of our Lord's image as King.   Often many
          serve  the Lord  and do  everything discussed  thus far,  only to
          forsake the image of "King."  We must rule,  therefore, our lives
          by the power  and authority of His  Word in order that  the world
          will see His likeness in us.


                                    POWER

               As noted  in this chapter,  our Lord did not  exercise power
          because of His deity but because He came as an anointed  prophet.
          He  was our  example that  we might  do even  greater works  than
          he.28    We need  to  consider  the  answers to  three  questions
          therefore:  What was the  origin, nature, and method of execution
          of His power?

          HEAVENLY
               Early in  His ministry,  He began  choosing  the twelve  who
          would  follow  Him.   In  John's  Gospel,  He was  introduced  to
          Nathanael  and informed  him that  He, Jesus,  was aware  of his,
          Nathanael's,  Godly character.   Nathanael  was  shocked by  this
          revelation and immediately confessed Jesus as the Son of God; the
          Messiah.29   Apparently Jesus  had seen  Nathanael in the  Spirit
          and revealed his  thoughts to him personally in  more detail than
          is recorded; thus Nathanael's astonished response.  Such personal
          revelation is, of  itself,  an indication of  the power Jesus had
          in  (word  of  knowledge)  manifestation.    Jesus  continued  by
          confessing that Nathanael would see  greater works as the heavens
          were  opened  and angels  would  decent  and ascend  upon  Him.30
          Thus,  by  this statement,  Jesus  confirmed His  power  was from
          Heaven.
               Our Lord  continually confirmed  His power  was heavenly  in
          origin throughout His ministry.  For example, He confessed He was
          Himself come  from  Heaven,31    that  He  in  fact    came  from
          "above,"32  and what  He had  seen and  heard [implying  from His
          Father  in  Heaven]  of  such   He  would  testify.33    He  even
          confirmed that He was sent from  Heaven to do God's will.34   His
          power,  therefore,  was  authoritative because  of  its  Heavenly
          origin.

          HOLY
               I know it seems superfluous to  say that the power of Christ
          was "Holy"  in nature,  but we do  need to  differentiate between
          that of God's eternal power and that of His Son's.   Although the
          Scriptures  clearly identify Christ as God, He, Jesus, functioned
          upon earth as God-Man I.E. The Son of man.  His power, therefore,
          was not acquired,  shared, or given by  God.  It was in  fact the
          nature of Christ, as  God, at work on earth through  the ministry
          and manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
               The  virgin  birth   of  Christ  is  the   first  Scriptural
          indication of our Lord's innate power, since His birth was of the
          "Holy"  Ghost.35  Strangely  enough, even demons  confessed Jesus
          to be  the "Holy One  of God."36   His name  is Holy,37 He  is at
          the  right  hand  of  the  Father  exalted,38  and  the   angelic
          seraphim [six  winged creatures]  ever minister  in His  presence
          crying  "Holy, Holy,  Holy."39    Such  evidence,  therefore,  is
          indisputable; the innate power of Christ was [is] Holy by nature.

          HOLY SPIRIT
               In focusing  on the  power of Christ  as He  ministered upon
          earth,  we must  conclude His  power was  a manifestation  of the
          Holy Spirit of God.  We  know,. for example, the Holy Spirit came
          in the  form of  a dove  and rested  upon Him.40   Likewise,  the
          apostle  John confirmed  that  the Holy Spirit  was not  given by
          measure   unto   Christ.41      Our   Lord   was   led   of   the
          Holy Spirit,42   He  was  full  of  the  Holy Spirit,43  He  went
          forth in  the power of  the Holy Spirit,44 and  Isaiah prophesied
          that  God would  put  the  Holy Spirit upon  Him.45   Jesus  even
          claimed that He cast out devils [demons] by the Holy Spirit.46
               One might ask if our Lord could  have done His works without
          the  Holy Spirit.   To  do so  would  have negated  His claim  as
          Messiah; for  Messiah would  come anointed of  God with  the Holy
          Spirit.47   As we saw earlier  in this book,  the Holy Spirit was
          present and functional  during the creation of the  universe, the
          virgin birth of our Lord,  the inspiration of the Scriptures, the
          regeneration  of the  sinner, and  even the  resurrection of  our
          Lord.  For  Christ to have ministered outside  of the Holy Spirit
          would have been evidence that He was  a false christ.  His power,
          therefore,   was  manifested   through   the  ministry   of   the
          Holy Spirit.

          APPLICATION
               If we are  in His image, and Romans  8:29 confirms that such
          was  ordained  before  time  began,  we must  do  His  works,  as
          imitators  [followers] of  God.   We  must  first, therefore,  be
          careful our works are heavenly in origin.  It is easy to function
          by  rule  and   regulation;  thus  to   more  easily  judge   our
          spirituality.  To do so, however, is fleshly - carnal.48
               Since we  have been given  a new nature  in Christ, we  thus
          should imitate our  Lord with "Holy" works.   Such is  not always
          the case, however.  Often  a Christian will find himself walking,
          performing, exercising, heavenly works but as a form and not as a
          (faith)  - conviction.   When  our imitations  image that  of our
          Lord's  naturally, that  is, supernaturally;  power will  result.
          This,  therefore,   becomes  the   manifested   mystery  of   the
          Holy Spirit in partnership prayer.
               Finally there is the Spirit filled life.  If we can see from
          Scripture that  our  Lord functioned,  operated, ministered,  and
          walked  in  the  power  of  the  Holy Spirit,  how  can  we,  His
          imitators, forsake such  Biblical truth?  "And you  shall receive
          power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."49


                                   PRACTICE

               Although the dictionary defines "practice" in a multiplicity
          of  ways,  I  liked  the  following:    (actual  performance  and
          application  of   knowledge   -   distinguished   from   theory).
          Conforming to the  image of Christ is not  simply "practice makes
          perfect," but  rather "perfect  makes practice."   We are  in the
          image of  Christ as joint  heirs.  In covenant  relationship with
          Him, we share all things common including His nature.  Thus as He
          is  perfect,  we are  likewise perfect  in  the eyes  of God.   I
          practiced looking,  acting, and  talking like  my  Dad because  I
          already carried his  likeness. In another words,  since I already
          looked like him, I wanted to practice  being like him rather than
          like another.  We thus practice the image of  Christ, not because
          we desire to look more and more like  Him - indeed we do - but to
          appear less  and less  like the world;  thus fulfilling  the plan
          [will] of God I.E.   to conform to the image of  Christ.  We must
          consider, therefore, how do we practice His image?

          ASSOCIATION
               In chapter 1 we  looked at "Partnerships."  I  used the word
          "association" to define an aspect  of a true partnership and said
          it was  the (closely  joining together of  persons with  a common
          purpose).  We  closely associate ourselves with our  Lord because
          we  look like  [image] His  very person  and personality.   Close
          association even  implies similarity in  nature, or, that  at the
          very least, one desires similarity.
               When  first meeting  my wife, Sandy,  we began  calling each
          other  every day;  sometimes many  times  in a  single day,  thus
          establishing regular and consistent communication.   Before long,
          of course, we  made direct contact  by dating.  We  associated by
          calling, by communicating, and by direct contact.  Such should be
          the nature of practicing the image of Christ.  We must  call upon
          Him  continually, regularly, and consistently.  The establishment
          of such  practice results  in perpetual  communication giving  us
          direct contact  with Him as Lord of our  lives.  This practice is
          the performance, or application, of the knowledge that we  indeed
          already possess His likeness - nature.

          ARTICULATION
               A common  spiritual disease  among Christians  often is  the
          idea that one  can remain a "silent  partner."  Jesus said  if we
          did  not confess Him before men, He likewise would not confess us
          before His Father."50
               In  music,  (vocal) means  that  which has  been  written in
          relation to,  performed by, or  arranged for, the human  voice in
          contrast to  instrumental.   The Christian  practice is  likewise
          "vocal."  We must articulate our likeness by the sound of our own
          voice.   The natural world  and the spiritual  world must hear us
          sounding  like [resembling] our  Lord in order  that His likeness
          might be recognized and revered.

          ACTUATED
               I have chosen the word "actuate" to represent the "practice"
          of  the image  of Christ because  it has a  stronger meaning than
          just "action."   One  dictionary definition of  "actuate" is  (to
          incite to action) or to (move).  Our practice, imaging, of Christ
          should  incite, not simply  be, to action.   In another words, we
          need to  be about  our Fathers  business.   Such is  a matter  of
          discipline which, in fact, is practice.  Such activity of "doing"
          and  "discipline" results  in  development; development  of Godly
          character, thus to be more identifiable [recognizable].


                                  PERFECTION

               Jesus commanded that  we should be perfect as  our Father in
          Heaven  is  perfect.51    God  the  Father,   therefore,  is  our
          standard.  His Son, on the other hand, is our model, our example,
          the image  of such  perfection.   One  might protest  that it  is
          impossible to be a  "perfect" Christian.  I might  point out that
          Jesus did not command for us to be "God;" the command is simply a
          statement; be perfect  as God.  As we have thus studied, Jesus is
          that image we  are to mirror.   Romans  8:29 confirms that  God's
          will is for His offspring to  look like [image] His own Son.   If
          such is His plan, it must not only be carried out but it must  be
          possible.  What is a "perfect Christian?"  A perfect Christian is
          one  who continually  matures in His  walk and  relationship with
          God.  "How is such maturity accomplished?"
               Jesus  taught in  the parable  of the  sower, that  the seed
          which fell among  thorns went forth -  grew - but because  of the
          cares of this world, riches, and worldly pleasures,  were choked;
          bringing   no  fruit  to  "perfection."52    The  word  used  for
          "perfection" in this  case is translated  (mature).  Thus,  Jesus
          said,  although they  began to  grow  [bear fruit]  they did  not
          mature  in their relationship with God.   Why?  They were choked;
          literally, strangled by the things which were secular in  nature.
          Thus,  if  one  desires to  maintain  spiritual  maturity  in his
          relationship  with the  Lord, he  must  conform to  the image  of
          Christ.
               The writer of Hebrews addressed  the subject:  of perfection
          - maturity- "To make you perfect thoroughly in every good work to
          do  His will,  working  in  you that  which  is  well pleasing  -
          agreeable  -  in  His  sight,  through  Jesus  Christ."53    This
          amazing verse  teaches that we are made  perfect - the Greek word
          is  (complete) - through works  [His works], it  is His will that
          such works be carried out, and that His "working" in us  is "well
          pleasing"  in His  sight.  The  statement is  concluded; "through
          Jesus Christ."  Often,  however, our problems begin as we  try to
          perfect ourselves  - mature -  through the doing of  works rather
          than the  offering of them.  If such works are carried out in the
          image of His Son, it will be  "well pleasing" - in agreement - or
          harmony with His nature I.E. perfect.  If you are still uncertain
          about  your perfection  before the  Lord, let  us consider  a few
          areas which confirm we are already "Complete in Him."54

          RESURRECTION
               For  those who  have  confessed  Jesus  as  Lord,  there  is
          resurrected life.  We were "planted" [grown along with] the death
          of  our  Lord in  likeness.   Similarly, we  were raised  in that
          likeness  -  resurrection  likeness  -  and  walk  in newness  of
          life.55   We were  buried with Him  and raised  by God  as Christ
          was  so raised;  all of  our sins  forgiven.56   Furthermore, sin
          has  no dominion  over  us for  we  live as  one  risen from  the
          dead.57   Such is  the symbolic  representation of  water baptism
          by  emersion  as an  act of  obedience  by a  Believer.   We thus
          identify ourself  with the  buried and  resurrected  Lord of  our
          life.   Such resurrection  life is perfect,  spiritually matured,
          conformed to the image of Christ.

          RIGHTEOUSNESS
               Such  resurrected life  is the  nature of  God  I.E. eternal
          righteousness.  This  nature of God is not  afforded one by works
          of  (right--ness) which is  performed, but according  to mercy.58
          As  we walk in the fullness of  the fruits of righteousness which
          are by  Christ, we thus  resemble the  nature of God  through the
          image  of His Son.59   The righteousness  which is of  God is the
          righteousness  of His  Son  and  is only  obtained   by  faith.60
          Since  it is of God, it is  then, perfect, fully developed, fully
          grown, and resembles  His Son.  If we thus reflect this image, we
          walk in spiritual maturity.
          REWARD
               As  heirs of  God  and  joint-heirs of  Christ,  we have  an
          inheritance.  This inheritance is  total, full, and complete.  It
          does not need improvement, restructuring, or to be spiritualized.
          It encompasses secure fellowship  with God, righteousness, peace,
          full  joy, personal  provision,  forgiveness of  sin, redemption,
          abundant life  now, and eternal  life to come.   The inheritance,
          therefore,   is  our  reward.     We  have   obtain  this  reward
          [inheritance] through predestination  and the counsel of  His own
          will in  order that we  should be to  the praise of  His glory.61
          Furthermore,  Paul said his  prayer was  that God's  people would
          have  the eyes of  their spiritual understanding  enlightened, so
          that they  might know [understand]  the hope of His  calling, and
          the riches  of the glory  of His  inheritance in the  saints, and
          that the  heirs would  likewise know  [experience] the  exceeding
          greatness of His power toward those who believe in that inherited
          reward.62   We must  therefore learn to  understand this  reward,
          we must practice it, we must rightly discern its application, and
          we must tenaciously affix  ourself to its provisions.   If we  do
          so, we identify  ourself with its perfection;  demonstrating full
          growth and maturity.
          RELATIONSHIP
               When we begin to  walk in resurrected life,  manifesting the
          righteousness of God as we do so,  and hold fast to our reward of
          inheritance,  such constitutes  a perfect  [matured] relationship
          with God the  Father.  As we  practice the knowledge of  such, we
          not only  will please Him  but will be  shaped and formed  in the
          image of Christ the Son whose image we are.

          SUMMATION
               The  will of God,  the plan, is  for each of  His children -
          likenesses - to be cut in the image of His eternal Son.  To do so
          we  must become  imitators of His  Son.   As we thus  imitate and
          image Christ, we are demonstrating we have identity with God - in
          His glory.  We must practice  His person to experience His power.
          We must practice His will to maintain  perfection - maturity.  We
          must keep  in mind, however,  that we, as His  offspring, are not
          reflections of His image; we are the image likeness.  In  another
          words, we  are not  reflecting Christ,  as in a  mirror, when  we
          walk, talk,  and work as  He did; we are  demonstrating likeness,
          form, shape, image, I.E. His image.   The Lord was our example as
          He ministered  on earth, but  all such is impossible  without the
          ministry  of the  Holy Spirit.   We are  back, therefore,  to the
          absolute necessity of harmonious partnership with the Holy Spirit
          of God.
               As we  consider our feeble  attempt at imaging our  Lord, we
          must quickly recognize our total dependency upon the Holy Spirit.
          The power of the Holy Spirit does not come from the laying  on of
          hands but  through prayer.   If one carefully studies  the Gospel
          writers,  it can  be seen  clearly that  Jesus ministered  in the
          power of  the Holy Spirit  because He  spent time  in partnership
          prayer with  Him.   Often Jesus spent  entire days  preaching and
          healing the  sick; only to withdraw Himself to spend all night in
          prayer.  Most of us fail as Christians because we do not have the
          power  of  the Holy Spirit.   We  do  not have  the power  of the
          Holy Spirit because we fail to pray.   It is time we who  are the
          called of  God dedicate ourself to prayer  in order that we might
          do the works of our Father which is in Heaven; such is His plan.


          FOOTNOTES FOR CHAPTER 9

               1 Gen. 1:27
               2 II Cor. 5:17
               3 Gal. 5:24
               4 Psalm 139:14-16
               5 Col. 1:15
               6 Eph. 5:1
               7 John 14:12
               8 John 14:13
               9 Jam. 4:7-8
               10 Matt. 13:58
               11 John 1:21
               12  Matt. 13:57, Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24, Luke 13:33.
               13 Luke 24:19
               14 Luke 4:1
               15 Luke 4:16-21
               16 Luke 4:18
               17 Luke 4:21
               18 Heb. 9:1-10
               19 Heb. 9:11-12
               20 Eph. 2:19
               21 Eph. 1:22, Eph. 4:15, Col. 1:18.
               22 Heb. 3:1
               23 Eph. 4:11-12
               24 I Peter 5:4
               25 Matt. 2:2
               26 Matt. 21:5
               27 I Tim. 2:5
               28 John 14:12-14
               29 John 1:47-50
               30 John 1:51
               31 John 3:13
               32 John 3:31
               33 John 3:32
               34 John 6:38
               35 Matt. 1:18-20
               36 Mark 1:24
               37 Luke 1:49
               38 Acts 2:33
               39 Rev. 4:8
               40 Matt. 3:16-17
               41 John 3:34
               42 Matt. 4:1
               43 Luke 4:1
               44 Luke 4:14
               45 Matt. 12:18
               46 Matt. 12:22-32 (28)
               47 Matt. 12:28
               48 Rom. 8:1-8
               49 Acts 1:8
               50 Matt. 10:32
               51 Matt. 5:48
               52 Luke 8:14
               53 Heb. 13:21
               54 Col. 2:10
               55 Rom. 6:4-5
               56 Col. 2:12-13
               57 Rom. 6:12-14
               58 II Cor. 5:21
               59 Phil. 1:11
               60 Phil. 3:9
               61 Eph. 1:11
               62 Eph. 1:18

                            End Of Chapter 9

                            PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT


                                      BY

                                 PHIL SCOVELL




                             Copyright 1989/2004

                               By Phil Scovell

                             All Rights Reserved



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