Living Bread – Part Three C
(A gleaning from St. John 6)
by Fred Pruitt
Living Bread – Part One – https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/living-bread-part-one/
Living Bread – Part Two – https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/living-bread-part-two/
Living Bread – Part Three A – https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/living-bread-part-three-a/
Living Bread – Part Three B – https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/living-bread-part-three-b/
III C. Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood
We come to the point in our own journey in Christ, where we begin to sit and eat from the steak and strong drink table. Nobody was really ready for this talk the day Jesus gave it. Jesus knew some would go and some would stay. So what He threw out that day, were really some prime steaks, when most of them were not even digesting pablum yet! One thing we can say about Jesus. He wasn’t in it for the numbers. He knew He would split the crowd, but He did it anyway. The ones that left – they would be for another day; seeds were sown. The ones who stayed didn’t understand either, but still they knew something! Their hearts were burning within them when He spoke, though it went clear over their understanding.
What is the meaning of “Eat My Flesh, Drink My Blood?”
The first thing to note is that He said, “the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” There was no way anyone there that day could have understood this. They had no context. It had not happened yet, and they were still a long way off from the final showdown.
Since that day of course, the writings of the New Testament afterward explained the fuller meanings of “Body and Blood,” which in themselves embody the central reality of the whole faith of Christ. Let us understand, we are not seeking merely knowledge that tickles our intellect, cool to know, impressive to our friends. Man can do that, but we are looking for what man cannot do. Only God can do what we are speaking of. Only He can establish us, so that we know we are inwardly apprehended of the truth of His Body and Blood, signified in the bread and wine of holy communion.
The Spirit sees to it that this is always kept in our center, because it is along this path, the path of the Cross in the heart of God, that the Spirit educates each of us inwardly, for the express purpose, “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Eph 4:14,15).
Jesus said that when we follow Him, we also take up the Cross, and it becomes our Cross, too. It really cannot be otherwise, since we now live by His Life in us, rather than by a supposed independent human life trying to emulate Christ. The Life of the Cross is the Life of Christ expressed in us, which at first seems for ourselves and our own edification, but eventually becomes the modus operandi by which the world continues to be saved through Christ as us, or as Paul put it, “manifest in my mortal flesh.” Therefore it behooves us to understand this central Truth around which all the rest of His Life is manifest in us.
The reason the Body and Blood of Jesus must of necessity be the central reality in our innermost place, is because the Cross is always our center, and they represent the whole truth of the Cross of Jesus in our human lives. It is such a central truth, that it is the only observance the Lord instructed the Apostles to do of a continual nature, which later the church called sacraments or ordinances.
Oddly, we might think the clearest word would have come from one of the original eleven, the ones who were there the night it occurred, but it is Paul’s word that most succinctly expresses the truth of the “Lord’s Supper,” “Holy Communion,” or “Eucharist.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 11:23-26, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”
In other words, the Lord left us with that ordinance, to “do in remembrance of Him,” and “to show the Lord’s death until He comes.” We’ll look at that more a little later.
Most also include water baptism as a rite sanctioned by Christ. Christians have always baptized, but the Gospels say Jesus did not baptize anyone with water, though the Apostles did with His approval. The reason He never baptized with water, is because He was sent to bring the Baptism of the Spirit, and while He was here, the Spirit had not yet fallen “upon all flesh.” But during His earthly days the disciples baptized probably more along the lines of John the Baptist, for repentance and remission of sins. John put it like this to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt 3:11).
Leaving the subject of water baptism then, let’s get into how His “flesh” is given for the life of the world. There are at least two “ways” He gives His flesh for the life of the world. Before we can understand and live the second way, feeding on Him continuously, it was necessary that He must endure that which would transpire in Jerusalem, culminating in the sacrifice of His Body (flesh) all the way to death, in order to accomplish that which had been prophesied of Him by John the Baptist, that He came to “take away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).
Let us take note, he says the “sin” of the world, not “sins.” “Sins” plural, are remitted through His Blood, but it is “Sin” that produces “sins,” and when it says He comes to take away the Sin of the world, He is meaning the Producer, the Source of Sin, which is not a vague “principle” floating around in the universe, but the prime characteristic and spirit reality of the spirit of error, called Lucifer, Satan, the Devil, the Great Dragon, the “father of lies,” etc. John later in his letters speaks of the spirit of error and the spirit of truth. Each is a person, a spirit person, but let us remember, they are not equal. The Son of God/Son of Man declared, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt 28:18). There is only One Power, and all of it resides in Christ in God. There is none left over. Therefore Satan’s “power” is suffered for now, but his power is only in darkness, and he has only a short time, before all is overturned, and everything comes fully into its own principle, and everything is seen in full for what it is, and Christ is revealed in the Kingdom of Light as All and in all, and the darkness has forever been put under His feet.
Formerly, in our days as children of unrighteousness, every one of us were vessels of wrath, no matter how nice or good we thought we were. We were (knowingly or unknowingly) children of disobedience, and our members (the whole of our humanity, inner and outer) served unrighteousness. We are used to thinking of “unrighteousness” or “sin” as bad or evil actions, negative states of mind, evil or selfish intentions, etc. That is part of its deception. Where it is most prevalent, and hidden behind a mask, is in “good” unrighteousness. The pretense of “good.” That is the supreme lie that is pervasive throughout the whole world. The crazy thing about it is, we all know it is a lie. We are trained from birth by our parents who were trained by their parents from their birth ad infinitum, to “act like” whatever was appropriate. “We’re going to your Uncle’s house. I want everyone acting on their best behavior.” “It’s Christmas, Christ’s birthday – surely we can all act nice and civil to each other on this day!” (How many times has that been heard in Christendom?)
We all learn early the art of human deception in our state of inherited unbelief. It is the way the world works. We have to “act correctly” in school, learn “manners,” “etiquette,” “communication,” etc., all with the mind of using all that as “tools” in getting what we want – career, possessions, or a mate. We learn to be insincere but to appear sincere, and then we’re flabbergasted and highly insulted that anyone would ever think we could be insincere. We don’t even think it of ourselves. We buy our own “good” image, too! Or “bad,” as the case may be! But the rule is, above all, be on guard, protect and defend the inner citadel of who I really am, so that no one may approach! Deep down, we all know we are fakes, but we cannot admit it, ever, and we go to great lengths to remain unexposed. Something has to come along and smash that idol-image to pieces, like Daniel’s “great image!” (Dan 2:31-45).
In those days, I really did think I was a pretty nice guy. A couple of times (maybe a lot more) people nailed me for my nice-guy facade, and it was, though I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t come to Jesus because I thought I was a “sinner.” I came eventually because I had nowhere else to go, in a vain “search” for the Truth. (“Vain” on my part, but not the Spirit’s, Who initiated it and completed it!)
Later on the “sin” stuff came up, and it had to, because living Christ individually means a personal confrontation with Sin and sins in our experience, for a variety of edifying reasons. It really does not matter what kind of “theology,” by which we believe we are living. This is no respecter of persons. It finds us, and wants to do battle with us. And we wrongly think we are to “battle” it, to “resist temptation,” etc., and so we set about on our campaign to conquer, or at least keep back to a manageable level, sin. But eventually it knocks everyone of us off our inner high horse, so that we can begin to live as human beings for the first time in our lives. All of it is the both finished and continuing “work of the Cross” becoming “particular” in us as the Spirit brings us along day by day.
Here are a few more understandings wrapped up in this issue.
One, that we might always remember who we were, not for our sake, but for those who still live in spiritual opposition against themselves. In knowing who we were, we are continually reminded that He has overcome Sin in us, and that we are living in a kingdom where all things are continually new and of God.
Two, this personal confrontation teaches us with finality the utter futility of our own independent self-efforts, which is “coincidentally” the reverse truth of Galatians 2:20, “Yet not I, but Christ liveth,” compared to Paul’s opposite words recorded in Romans 7:17, “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Three, that through this sense of helplessness we found in confronting something that we could not overcome or live up to, no matter how hard we tried, by that we might come to the final end of this false sense of independence into which we have all been born, which has been in us as the devil’s leaven.
Four, through our seeing the lie as the pitiable thing it was, the Spirit comes and takes us across the chasm over which no human being can go, through the narrow gate, squeezing through the eye of the needle, and brings us through the darkness in which we thought we were engulfed, into the clear freedom of Christ, where the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death.
Five, that “law of sin and death” was always operable on us when we functioned as Paul’s wretched man of Romans 7:21 – “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” It is the “I,” or the, “I would,” that is the culprit! When “I” “would” do good. The ultimate hidey-hole of unholiness.
“There is none good, but God.” (Jesus)
Six, but now, on the other side of that hump, having been “brought over” by the Spirit, we no longer are operating according to our former fixed mindset (mind set on the flesh – sin and death), but now operate by a new fixed mindset (mind set on the Spirit – peace and Life!).
Seven, Life truly begins in a new reality, finally being brought by the Spirit into realizing inner oneness with Christ, and our full identification, not just conceptually, historically or symbolically, but in an organic and present tense union with Christ, in His Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension. From this point onward, we are conscious of living out of Paul’s word which we are free to confess as ours also, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life I live now in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)
Now why am I saying that the sin stuff “had to” come up, after one is born again? Are not sin and sins completely dealt with through the “finished work of the Cross?” Yes, they are, in a general sense. But it is not enough to know all that has been dealt with and put out, in “God,” in an existence apart from us. In that case it remains theoretical to us, no matter how much we might “believe it.” Where we need personal understanding and true freedom, is to know it has been dealt with and put out of us! We do not “know” anything until it takes form in us. What we are describing is how what we might call a “universal truth,” potentially applicable to all, becomes personally activated and fulfilled in each of us individually.
This is important to understand, though I admit it is not said by many, and it is not popular. To fully grasp who we are now, knowing who we were is an important piece of this mystery truth, because it is a stark contrast. We were delivered from Satan, from the power of sin that directed our lives while we were “children of wrath,” and did “by nature” the deeds of wrath. Understand, this “wrath” we are speaking of is inward, but may put on a very pleasant outward appearance. The characteristic of this “wrath nature,” is that it is for itself. It is a whole kingdom of darkness, in which, as children of wrath, we live and move and have our being. Romans 6 says we were “free from righteousness.” (Even as today we are free from sin!)
Therefore, the debate we used to have when we were kids, debating which things were sins and which were not, has no place in reality. None of us (in my crowd) knew the reality of the Living Bread, the truth of Jesus Christ. I think as children we saw ourselves, as most of humanity sees themselves, in our childlike way as free moral agents with sin and righteousness (or good and evil) being moment by moment choices, and God rewards those who are mostly good and takes them to heaven, and He punishes those who are mostly bad – who commit various acts called “sins.”
But that is not the truth at all. The world is a fallen world, and the whole world, lives under the power of the wicked one. (1 Jn 5:19 – New King James Version, New International Version, English Standard Version, New American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, American Standard Version, Darby, Phillips, etc.)
Sin has been condemned, but its final death sentence has yet to be carried out in the temporal, so it still works as a potent power in the world, because it knows it has only a short time. However, in Christ, we are delivered from Sin, from the power of darkness, and from the final end of the power of darkness.
Please understand, we were not just delivered from our own ignorance, alone. The real truth of the human race, in unbelief toward the Son, is the truth of a spiritual captivity, after a kidnapping at birth. There are numerous cases of the criminal taking of children when very young, convincing them their own parents deserted them or died, and their kidnappers become the parents. The children grow up believing that lie. That’s what Satan did to God’s offspring. He kidnapped us with a lie, and hiddenly became our de-facto father, as Jesus said he did. But he was only a kidnapper, and a false father, and we never fit with him. He was not our real father, just a criminal who stole us. But through this inner spiritual darkness, that seemed perhaps to be very “light” to us, we live in a delusion of independence, thinking “I AM good, yes I am,” and go on living in captivity, opposing our own selves, until we come to receive the acknowledgment of the truth, finding there God’s gift of “repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they [we] may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Tim 2:25).
We (the whole human race) were held by a spiritual power that deceived us from the beginning about who we are. We were Sin’s children, and did Sin’s lusts. (John 8:44). The Pharisees didn’t like hearing that. It made their teeth on edge, but it was the truth, and it is the truth about the whole world in general. The only rescue possible is the Son Who gave Himself for us, to deliver us from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of His Father. Otherwise, like Jesus said of the Pharisees, we die in our sins, and the New Testament does not recommend that highly.
Some say, well, he said that to the Pharisees, that doesn’t apply to us! But I say, we have all been guilty of every sin of the Pharisees! We read the gospels and think, “Oh, how could those Pharisees be like that?” Because of their false father who kidnapped them at birth and fed them a lie, the same false father we had also! So what have we over them? Did Jesus not pray for them as He died, when He said, “For they know not what they do,” as much as He said that of and for us? There are no degrees of unrighteousness so that some are more on the “good” side and others are on the “evil” side. Either side of that tree spews the same lies from the same source, and every one of us were at one time of that tree. So that stops the mouth of us all.
It is that false tree that must go, because it is not just a false mental concept by which we are living, mere ignorance, but a pure unadulterated palpable personified darkness, a spiritual power of wickedness, malevolence, hatred – that lo and behold, can appear as an angel, or a very good person, a truly altruistic for-everyone person, lauded by all, and by that almost even deceive the elect. Were it not for the fact that He has promised He would keep hold of those who are His, we would all go for it! “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Ps 14:2,3).
So that is the thing that has gotten hold of the human race, and the only way He can deliver them, is to their die their death in place of them, but even that alone could not do it. That is why no other man’s death could do what the death of Jesus did. Before He “gave up the ghost” on the Cross, He had to take all that mankind was, had done, up to and including Sin itself, somehow by the Word of the Father, and become the Sin that had taken us, and die to it, and make it our death to sin as well! That was a very tall order, yet it was the commission He had been sent to accomplish! His Body was killed by our collective sins and Sin, and not just by the Roman nails and the shouts of the Pharisees and Chief Priests. I do not pretend to understand it, nor even to grasp how it could be done. But I believe, and therefore speak.
Moses had testified to this in the wilderness, in Numbers 21:7-9: “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” The “serpent of brass,” representing the fiery serpents that had bitten the people and made them sick, raised up on a pole, and all who looked at the serpent raised up on a pole were healed.
Jesus mentioned it to Nicodemus, so He certainly understood where He was going. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jn 3:14,15) The Son of Man assumes the place where the serpent had been, and takes his sickness into Himself as the whole human race, and dies, separating the spirit from the body, without which the body cannot live.
Paul fully explains it in 2 Cor 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The only way we could be free from Sin was by our death, because Sin is spirit, falsely occupying our inner spirit, and the spirit of a person only departs its body when it dies. People have made it to be God “punishing” Jesus for our iniquities, visiting the fullness of His Wrath onto the Only Begotten, for our sake. But it isn’t just Jesus taking a “whipping that we had coming.” He took away what was whipping US! That was what it was all about!
As we have said over and over, the wrath “of God” is not really “in” God as He is in Himself, since He is love, and when we know Him in love, we do not know wrath. Wrath is awakened in the creature (created self) by Sin and its byproduct, sins. It is in the perception and reality of the creature, in a sense, “according to their faith.” Until we are delivered from wrath, and translated into the kingdom of the dear Son, it is all we know. We might believe in God, but we have a skewed idea of who God is.
Back to our line before we move on. So now we see that the first great accomplishment of Christ’s Body’s death, was to take away the offense that had caused all the offenses, the spirit of the serpent. We were sin – the Serpent’s brood – but He somehow, we do not know how and to look into it deeply might be confusing, somehow the Father caused Jesus to become that which we were – Sin – and made us, even those of us who did not exist in the space-time universe yet, one with His death, and one with Him in the unholy spirit departing from His Body. The replacement aspect, where in place of where sin dwelt now righteousness dwells there – He declared us righteous with His righteousness! We no longer belonged to the Accuser! He was not our father anymore, and now we know it! “The prince of this world cometh, but he hath nothing in me.” Jesus spoke that of Himself at the Last Supper, and because of Him we can now say the same thing ourselves: “The prince of this world comes, but He’s nothing in me, there is no place for him,” and that moves us into divine power.
The Blood of Jesus
Through the beatings and on the Cross, His blood poured out of His wounded and dying Body. Though His Body eventually stilled and became lifeless, it was His outpoured Blood that was the public witness to His death. Moses wrote, “For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof.” (Lev 17:14). Moses was talking about animal blood sacrifices, instituted first “officially” in the Tabernacle, but which had been practiced by the people of God from the beginning. It was not meant as a payoff to the priesthood for ritual cleansing as it eventually came often to be, but instead to draw attention to the seriousness of sin, something so serious that something has to die in order to be cleansed of it. What really had to “die” was the sinner that committed the sins, i.e., the one supposedly responsible for the sins. Not because God wanted “the sinner” dead, but because death was the automatic “wage” of sin. But also, because death was its only way to deliverance, once sin had taken hold. Everything God decrees, even seemingly “negative things,” has deliverance, or resurrection, or glory, and always love at its basis. So it was God, indirectly through an Angel as Paul told us, Who with Moses instituted the ritual sacrificing of certain “innocent” animals, guilty of nothing, to die the deaths we should die, and obtain for us a temporal forgiveness of recent and past sins, as we participated in the Tabernacle and Temple feasts and ordinances through the faith of Israel. But we would have to come again for sins committed in the future.
Without going through the entire book of Hebrews that lays all this out so well, the New Covenant Blood of Jesus does something the Old Covenant blood of bulls and goats could never do. The blood of animals could not really fully cleanse us, or soothe our consciences. They were the shadows of things to come. But in Christ we are tinctured with the heavenly Blood of Jesus; His Life poured out, is poured into us. His blood cleanses us from all our sins because the Blood is His Life, and He, i.e., His Life, cannot be any place where His Light does not shine nor can He be refrained from being All in all. Accordingly, in Him, the whole panorama of our human lives is re-seen in a new light, through His Life pouring into us, purifying everything everywhere it touches within us – which is everything everywhere in our vast inner world. Our whole world is changed, and even in this, we get a glimpse of the new heavens and new earth of which we have now become citizens and major participants!
Again, this is not something God needed, but what we needed! This cleansing from sins is not just a judicial act, a decree in heaven,whereby God as a human judge might do, pronounces us “clean.” He does indeed do that, but where His Word comes alive is withinus, when we experience through faith the washing ability of His shed Blood. The corruption that sin made in our inner selves, especially our souls – mind and emotions – overwhelmed us with guilt, in which we lived all our days while under the dominion of wrath. As the sins piled up over time, our load of guilt and shame, almost always deeply hidden, grew and grew. That is why when Jesus said to the crowd with the adulterous woman, “Those without sin, cast the first stone,” that the older ones left first. Experience had taught them that they, too, had sinned, and in a moment of honesty and perhaps a little bit of shame, they knew they couldn’t cast the first stone. The on-fire youth among them probably wanted very badly to “punish this sinner,” but even they were convicted finally of the truth about themselves, and they left, too, leaving only Jesus and the woman.
In the cleansing power and truth of Jesus’ shed Blood, our consciences are cleansed, made anew, like a child’s. The Blood of Christ returns us to an innocence that is ours but which we have never before known. We have become a completely new creation, never seen or known by anyone before! Behold, all things are new! And there is no more remembrance of sins. It is not that our human memory can no longer bring them to mind, because we still can. But they have been wiped out as a spiritual impediment to us, and we have been released from whatever guilt or shame from them which held us. God does not keep them in Himself to hold over our heads, but has cast them into the sea of nothingness. He had made us free, and we are free indeed! In the Spirit we hear this great word of thanksgiving from David, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Ps 32:1,2).
And now it is through the two aspects of His sacrifice, His dead body and His shed blood, whereby we are made whole. In the blood, the effects of sins are dealt with, and wiped out. We need have no more consciousness of sins. They have been removed in God, both from Himself and from ourselves, as far as the east is from the west, and that’s as far away as they can be. Secondly, through His body, He has taken SIN away from the world, and most personally to us, He has taken Sin away from us, as an operating principle, or a “nature!” Now we are indwelt by the “divine nature.” (2 Pet 1:4).
END PART III C.
(Note: When I began this over a month ago, I thought I would write out the whole thing in one piece of writing. When I finished the first, I thought the conclusion would be with the second. Then I thought that of the third. Now this is actually the 5th article in the series and we’re headed now for the 6th. I hope it has been as beneficial to the reader as it has been to the writer. Next time we’ll begin the last part, which will be Part Four: The Words I Speak … They are Spirit and Life. And maybe we’ll finally come to the conclusion. We’ll see!)