The following was given to Lenny in Meditation for the men in the
Sunday School class, to which he has been sent.
I want to show you a difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. I've always said that God has evolved humanity very slowly. From Adam to Moses, God advanced humanity strictly in the flesh, in the natural. From Moses to Christ, He advanced humanity in our soul realm, and from Christ on, God has advanced us in our spirit. Now, I can prove this to you. In the Old Testament, the word "forgiveness," was strictly referring to people doing things for God so that He would forgive them. That's all there was. God had not evolved people with love. Love was there, but love was like a caterpillar in a cocoon; it was dormant in them, not fully developed. Love only was able to manifest itself in the surrounding family, and it was conditional love. That's as far as it could go. When it came to someone outside the family, there was no love necessary. When someone wronged you, you were entitled to extract "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" (Ex. 21:23-25). When somebody killed somebody else, the emotional devastation for them was just like it is for us when we kill a fly today. That's all there was. There was no deep emotional distress when that happened.
When Christ came, He brought faith; He brought love; He brought mercy; He brought kindness; He brought new things for people to understand and accept. We're talking about an infant stage of new things. This is what the priests and the Levites and all those high people in the system of the church could not handle, because this was not in the law. You will find no place in the Old Testament where you have to forgive your brother of anything, or your brother had to forgive you. The forgiveness there was strictly God forgiving you. You had no power to forgive anyone, or have your brother forgive you at all. There was no such thing in the Old Testament. When Jesus came and said, "Forgive your brother; forgive your enemy," (Matt. 18:21-22, 35; Lk. 17:3) that was totally beyond the scope of the law. It was totally beyond any human ability. What I'm talking about here is, the law was there, but it was only able to do so much. Man was only responsible to a certain extent before God, but when Christ came and presented a new birth, a new love, a new mercy, a new kindness, and a new life of abundance spiritually, there was more responsibility in it because under the New Covenant, you have to forgive your brother.
The Lord's prayer clearly says that as much as you forgive your brother, that's how much God is going to forgive you (Matt. 6:12; Mk. 11:25). Do you see what I'm saying? When we read the Old Testament, we cannot put in love for brother, or mercy for brother, or kindness for brother because you won't find it there, and this is the problem with reading the Bible. You cannot put yourself into those times back there, because they were totally different. When God says, "Christ came in the fulness of time" (Gal. 4:4), what He was saying was that He had evolved humanity to a certain place where it was time to institute love, mercy and kindness. Through love, mercy and kindness, as He shows these things, we experience the grace of God. And when we start understanding the grace of God, what happens? Faith takes place within us. We start trusting God to that extent; we have evolved to an extent where we can trust God and faith can flow freely. Now, we know that Jesus said, "In and of myself, I can do nothing" (Jn. 5:30). What He was saying was that in His own flesh, He could do nothing, but the bible says that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 4:21; 10:21). He had the fulness of the Spirit in His life. (Eph. 3:19; Col. 1:19; 2:9). So, the Holy Spirit is the one who introduced love, mercy, and kindness and through that, we saw the grace of God and started trusting God and then, faith came forth.
In the Galatian letter, it says that Christ brought faith into the world (Gal. 3:22-26). Do you see the process that God has done in our lives to cause us to evolve into unconditional love? This is why I say that you need the Holy Spirit in your life. You need to be immersed in the Holy Spirit just like Christ was immersed into the Holy Spirit; so that He can operate in and through you and bring you the truth. He is "the Spirit of Truth" (Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13) and He will bring you into all truth (Jn. 16:13). And this is the truth that we are talking about here. In the Old Testament, God was expressed as Jehovah, as Yahweh, the powerful one, the one who sometimes seemed angry, but in the New Testament, God is expressed as the many breasted one, the loving one, the kind one, the merciful one (Lk. 6:35). The reason for that is because people had not evolved in the Old Testament to accept love, mercy and kindness coming from God. Like we said, Christ brought love; Christ brought mercy; Christ brought kindness. In Him, we saw the grace of God and trusted God completely and faith could then operate in and through us. You have to realize that if you are not forgiven, you cannot forgive someone else. If you are not loved, you cannot love someone else. If someone has not had mercy on you, you cannot have mercy on someone else. If someone has not been kind to you, you cannot have kindness toward someone else.
This is what Christ started. He started loving us, He started being merciful to us; He started being kind to us and He fulfilled that totally by dying on the cross and paying totally for all our sins. He brought total, unconditional forgiveness (Rom. 5:6). This is where we are today. We have been unconditionally loved; we have received unconditional mercy; we have received unconditional kindness (Lk. 6:35); we have been unconditionally forgiven by God. And, now, God expects us to give that out to others and that is what is going to bring others to God. What we don't realize is that all these things are flowing through us from God, but God is all these things: He is love; He is mercy; He is kindness; He is life; He is light; He is grace; He is faith. You see, we have it operating through us, but He is totally all these things. There is a tremendous difference between the two, but the more we realize that we are closer and closer to God, we realize that Christ, God, and the Spirit, as the trinity, are in us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When they are all in us, then we realize that we are in God. And when we see that we are in God, and that all these things operate automatically through us, we don't have to say, "Holy Spirit, come and do this or come and do that." That becomes foreign to us. We are these things. They automatically operate in and through us.
Just like God is light, we are light, and Jesus made that statement. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (Jn. 8:12; 9:5; 12:46). Then, He said to His disciples, "You are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14). Do you see the progression? We don't have to say, "Jesus, shine through us as the light of the world," because we are. Why? Because we are in Him and of Him and through Him (Eph. 11:36). We can only be what He is. We cannot be anything else, because in Him do we "live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
The Glory Road
We would enjoy hearing from you!
Edited and uploaded the web on Oct. 23, 2000.
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister
Last edited on Nov. 5, 2008