Fountain of Gardens Ministries
P.O. Box 470581
Fort Worth, Texas 76147-0581
Word of Faith > Bringing Many Sons To Glory

By: Martin Cisneros

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. (2Corinthians 5:16)

16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave — a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. (Philemon 1:16)

2Corinthians 5:16 isn't absolute truth. It's transitional truth. Paul was calling a carnal Corinthian Church out of the boat. Part of the problem with the interpretation given to natural and spiritual, flesh and spirit among many Christian groups is that people have thought that the flesh was something to be villified and gotten away from rather than something to be comformed to Christ with the power that He has for conforming all things to Himself in Philippians 3:21 that the Scriptures teach is power that's now inherent in you through your faith in the Gospel, if you've received the Holy Spirit that He gives to those that obey Him and are walking out these covenants of promise. Romans 8:11 says that Holy Spirit will quicken your mortal body. Hebrews 5:12-14 talks about coming to the place where your five bodily senses are trained to know the difference between good and evil:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

And you'll know that you're starting to get there when Philemon 1:16 is a higher truth to you than 2Corinthians 5:16 and when your faith and love are both in Lord Jesus and in the saints, according to Philemon 1:5:

5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, (Philemon 1:5)

1John 2:12-14 mentions briefly the three areas of spiritual growth and you can trace the characteristics of each through the rest of the New Testament:

12 I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.

The three levels of New Testament spiritual growth are little children, young men, and fathers. Little children regard everyone according to the flesh, young men regard no one after the flesh according to 2Corinthians 5:16 and Paul was trying to get that Church to at least that level, while the fatherly level, represented by Paul the aged in Philemon 1:9, sees absolutely everything from this side of the Cross and doesn't regard Christians as being remotely connected to the first Adam, but regards them both after the flesh and the spirit, according to Philemon 1:16. And that's when you're regarding both the literal and the spiritual in the way that Christ Jesus is, and when you're reaching the description of matured believers in Luke 6:40, 1John 2:6, and 1John 4:17:

40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1John 2:6)

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1John 4:17)

You know you're there when you can innocently say what Paul said in 1Corinthians 11:1, to imitate him as he imitates Christ. A true spiritual father, like the one in 1Corinthians 4:14-16 is elated on the day that he can say regarding someone what Paul said of Onesimus:

17If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me. (Philemon 1:17)

 

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For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd. Zechariah 10:2

 

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