So in Part 1, we said that Jesus came to earth to show man how to legally use this dominion that God gave man from the very beginning.
Psalm 8:5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. Most versions say “angels” in this passage, but the actual word used in the Hebrew language is “Elohim” which also translates as God or deities. I’m sure that can be debated, and is. Several translations show it as “a little lower than God.” And the New Testament says in 1 Cor. 6:3 “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” Taking these two verses together, one could make the case for a translation of “God” in Psalm 8:5.
This elevation of man to just a bit lower than God Himself is HUUUGE. Man has a uniquely high position in the universe and in the mind of God. If we have been baptized in His Spirit, (Acts 1:4-5) we have access to His thoughts because of this indwelling Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2) We are His temple, His home, the place He resides. We are now regenerated human beings.
The scriptures also say we are joint-heirs with Christ. There are some conditions attached to this in Romans 8:16-17. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” When we are saved, we actually are placed in this position of heirship; we ARE heirs of God, but when an heir is a child, as we are at first, he is placed under guardianship until he matures and can actually inherit the full inheritance. (Galatians 4:1)
The suffering mentioned here implies several things. Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” To be conformed to His image requires that we learn to think like God and love like God. Most of the time, our mind, will, and emotions get in the way of those goals. They have been trained by the world. Surrendering our own will and desires to His will and desires requires trusting Him implicitly, even when we don’t understand what is going on.
I am reminded of the saying about the Israelites when they were set free from Egypt. It is said that God could take them out of Egypt, but He couldn’t get Egypt out of them. They resisted transformation from their worldly ways. Egypt is a type of the world. We all have much of the world’s ways and thinking in us that do not line up with the scriptures. Therefore, in order to get in agreement with God, we have to abandon those ways of thinking.
The Bible has this to say about that group in 1 Cor. 10:5-11 “…with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
God has given man dominion and rulership over satan, but in order to effectively function in that position, there is much about us that needs to change so that we can be trusted with that rulership. We start as newborn babies at salvation, but we are expected to learn from the Holy Spirit and be trained in the ways of God. Romans 12:2 says we are not to be conformed to this world, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
This renewing is life long! Our training involves prayer, worship, study of the bible, church attendance, relationship with other believers and serving with the gifts God has given us. We are a part of the Body of Christ, which implies that we need other believers as part of our education and growth in the faith. And we need to learn to surrender always to God and His word as situations arise in our lives. We need to learn to deal with everything under His leadership, in the manner the Bible teaches us to behave. We are in school!
That is where the Israelites who left Egypt failed. They saw the wonderful rescue of God in the deliverance from the armies of Egypt at the Red Sea. They experienced the provision of food (manna) daily in the wilderness, the miraculous provision of water when they didn’t have any, and more. When they refused to enter the Promised Land because of unbelief, they were set on a course to wander there for forty years. But miracles still happened. God provided for them; He took care of them. Their clothes and shoes never wore out for forty years, Deuteronomy 29:5 “And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.” They saw miraculous things, but their hearts did not change. And that is why 1 Cor. 10 records what eventually happened to them. This is key.
When difficulty comes, what does your heart do? Grumble and complain? If so, you are not gaining ground in your life with God. But God still loves you. Or, do you ask God for answers to the problem? Do you pray? Do you search the scriptures to find out what He has to say on the matter? Do you take him aside as the disciples did in the gospels and humbly ask, “What is the meaning of this trial? What do I need to understand?”
The tests of life are just that: tests. Remember school? We take tests in order to gauge the level of our ability and to see if we qualify to move to the next grade. This is no different. The tests we take in life are for the same purpose. We need to learn to accept them, surrender to God in them, and find HIs purpose so that we can move on from there. I have found if I will do this, the trial is soon over.
James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.“