Are You A Spiritual Christian Or A Literal Christian?
Two Kinds Of Christians
Copyright 2005 VVeasey Publishing
There are two kinds of Christians the spiritual-minded Christians and the literal-minded Christians, those who follow the law and those who follow the spirit.
But first a little symbolic foreplay!
Symbolically, the law represents the father, who lays down the law, rules of conduct, discipline and metes out punishment to those who disobeys him or his law. Spirit represents the mother, who gives love, affection, solace, sympathy, understanding and forgiveness to those who disobey the law (the father) through lack of understanding, immaturity or ignorance.
God is the father, the Goddess is the mother; the father is discipline, the mother love; the father is the masculine aspect of God, the mother the feminine aspect of God.
The feminine aspect of God had been left out of the male dominated Jewish religion but Jesus brought it back with his emphasis on the less masculine virtues of love, forgiveness, loving one’s enemies, praying for those who despitefully use you and the greater serving the lesser, as in the example of his washing the feet of his disciples.
The masculine aspect of God is the complete opposite of this view.
The child represents the harmonious conjunction of the qualities of the Father and Mother, of the Law and Love.
The child is the Savior who brings salvation by showing others how to harmonize the spirit and the law within themselves and represents the future, progress, and the new.
Now back to the point of this article
The spiritual-minded Christians have a more spiritual view of the law and of Jesus, while the literal-minded Christians, have a more literal view of the law and Jesus.The Spiritual view of the law, is for the more mature, independent minded persons, who are critical adult thinkers, self directed and who internally control and guide their behavior.The literal view, is for the more immature dependent minded person, motivated more by belief than by adult critical thinking, and who need some, external force or locus of control to guide their behavior.
(I'm not insulting anyone by this statement. This is just how I symbolically see it. So please don't start leaving me nasty comments or I will have to delete them. thanks)
Lord Of The Sabbath
Judeo-Christianly speaking, the law is the old Jewish Law of Moses and those early Jewish Christians, who were still influenced by that tradition, stuck to the tradition of literal obedience to the law, like religiously keeping the Sabbath or the practicing circumcision, as a sign of their being God’s people. They maintained strict obedience to the law, even after Jesus appeared teaching that, " Mark 2:27 The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath" (King James Version).
Many Christians reading this, will probably focus more on the "Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath" than on "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" because they've been taught, to view Jesus as different than themselves and everybody else. But, Jesus, makes the connection between himself and everybody else by saying, that the son of man is "Lord of the Sabbath", which is the same as saying that, man is "lord of the Sabbath" that follows logically from Jesus say, "The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath".
Man was made to rule the Sabbath, the Sabbath was not made to rule man, you can see this if you're willing to see it honestly, the way Jesus puts it.
The Son Of Man
Another question for you to ponder: who is the son of man or what does that phrase the son of man mean?
Obviously, Jesus is including himself in the category, man. When he’s accused of breaking the Sabbath he replies, “That the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.
Since he didn’t specify that the “Sabbath” was made for him, personally, that suggests that he means it was made for all men (and women).
The same can be said for his reference to “the son of man”. If he was specifically referring to himself, wouldn’t you expect him to say “I the son of man, am lord also of the Sabbath?” but he didn't say that. That suggests that, when he’s referring to the “son of man”, he means himself and as well as all men.
The literal, interpretation of the law of the Sabbath was that, man was compelled to observe it, and his soul's salvation depended on his strict observance of it. The symbolic, spiritual interpretation, presented by Jesus, was that the Sabbath was created for man's use, therefore strict observation of it was up to man’s discretion. Mark 2:27-Mark 2:28.
Jesus And Paul's View Of The Law Was Spiritual
Jesus' view of the law was spiritual or symbolic, as was Paul's.
Paul elucidates his view for us, Galatians 3:10 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 3:11 "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith”.
Paul says, no one can be justified by following the literal law, justification comes only by the faith. Faith symbolizes Spiritual perception of the law.
Paul confirms this, " Colossians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight" . Walking by sight means, walking by sensory perception, walking by faith means walking by spiritual perception. Paul states that the law is a curse, and those who work under it are cursed! Galatians 3:10.
He continues, Galatians 3:5 "He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
Paul emphasizes that miracles, are worked by faith (Spirit) not by the law. He's pointing out the difference, between what can be accomplished with a Spiritual perception of the law, compared to a literal perception of the law.
He goes on, Galatians 3:6 "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness". 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham". Paul says those who have faith the way Abraham had faith are the "same" as the children of Abraham.
Jesus concurs, that a genetic connection isn't necessary to be a descendant of Abraham,
He says, " Mat 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham"
He's saying that, God can make anybody or anything, even stones, into to children of Abraham. So don't think you're special, because you may be genetically linked to Abraham.
Jesus Accused of Making Himself Equal To God
Jesus healed and performed good deeds on the Sabbath, in contradiction to the literal view of the law and was accused of being a sinner and making himself equal to God. John 5:18 "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God".
(Jesus was accused of blasphemy for saying things that went against what they believed, as some of those accused me of the same, when reading things in my religious hubs that go against their beliefs)
Jesus gave this explanation as justification for his behavior. John 7:21 "Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. 7:22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the Sabbath day circumcise a man. 7:23 If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day? 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment".
Doesn't it sound like he's telling them that they're taking this Sabbath thing too seriously?
What does he mean by "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment"? Doesn't it sound like He means don't judge his behavior by the literal view of the law because, the literal view is judging by appearance or face value?
He literally broke the law. He healed on the Sabbath. So the accusations against him were correct as far as the literal view of the law goes. But Jesus focused their attention on a "higher" more spiritual perception of the law.
He said don’t judge by “appearance” but by” righteous judgment”, “meaning spiritual judgment”, because although to appearance he was breaking the literal law. He was keeping the “higher spiritual law" of doing what's good or right when needed which transcends the constrictions of the literal view of the law.
The Spirit Frees You. The Law limits You
Paul contrasts how the law limits you compared to how the Spirit frees you.
He says Galatians 4:4 "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, where unto ye desire again to be in bondage? 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years".
Paul says, they were giving up their spiritual freedom as “heirs of God through Christ’, by returning to observing days, months, times and years, or back to the literal observance of the law, like keeping the Sabbath. Paul says that through faith in Christ, one becomes a Son of God, and is an heir with Jesus, and has the same freedom as Jesus.
Our Father Which Art In Heaven
Jesus concurs with this view. He said address your prayers like this, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Mat 6:9. He said pray, "Our Father" not his father, or my father. I think this means, he means, "Our Father", not "his father", confirming Paul's view on the subject, that those who accept "the spirit" of God's son into they're hearts are heirs with Jesus.
The Son Of God
Paul is speaking spiritually about being a "Son of God", when he says, " God hath sent forth the “Spirit” of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father". He didn't say God has sent forth Jesus, into your hearts, but the "spirit” of his son, in to your hearts! I take that to mean he sent forth, Christ, his spiritual son, into their hearts, not Jesus the physical man, which would be impossible. Heart means Mind, Soul, Spirit, not body.
Christ Liveth In Me
Paul never met Jesus in the flesh. So his Jesus is spiritual! He's not focused on the physical Jesus, but on the spiritual man, Jesus ( Christ). He says, Gal 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me"
Saying "yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" confirms what I just said, and isn't this the same as Jesus saying, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10) Isn't that the same experience?
Paul calls it Christ, Jesus calls it the Father, but what's more important? What they call it, or seeing beyond what they call it, to the underlying experience, of what it is?
Is Paul talking about Jesus the physical man when he says "Christ liveth in me"? If he was, why didn't he say, "Jesus liveth in me"?
It’s impossible for Jesus, the physical man to “liveth” in Paul, but not for Christ the spiritual man. The Christ that "liveth" in Paul is the same “Spirit of his Son", that God sends as a salvation, to the hearts of all those who are ready to receive it.
From A Tormentor Of Christians To A Leader Of Christians
This same "Spirit of his Son" transformed Paul from a tormentor of Christians, to a leader of Christians. The writer of acts describes it this way, (Acts 9:3 "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man".
Does this mean that a light from heaven, literally shone around Paul?
What is heaven? It's not up in the sky, unless it's a planet!
Paul Had A Spiritual Experience
Something happen to Paul mentally and emotionally. He had a spiritual experience!
Heaven means the Spiritual Mind, The light is a visionary experience. That's why the men heard a voice but saw nothing. If that happened today, you would say he was hallucinating and those with him, had a group hallucination. But I say, was it a hallucination or a elucidation?
Psychologically speaking, a part of Saul, (Paul’s name then) which was repressed by his religious upbringing, because it was unacceptable, was secretly in agreement with the Christians he was persecuting. He tried to stamp-out in them, what he couldn't consciously accept in himself. But the more he heard the Christian doctrine, and the more contact he had with them, the more agitated this repressed part of himself became, and the more hostile he toward Christian he became! Eventually, it became so agitated, that it burst through into his conscious awareness on the road to Damascus ("I am Jesus whom thou persecutest"). Psychoanalytically speaking, it's called the return of the repressed.( See Freud "Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defense", In which Freud introduced the concept of "the return of the repressed" (1896, p. 170)
An Experience So Powerful
This experience was so powerful, it had a psychosomatic effect on Saul. It blinded him. A functional blindness, nothing was wrong with his eyes physically and he eventually regained his sight and became a different person. The split between his conscious and repressed personalities was erased. He was "reborn!" and became a new man with a new name, Paul.
Paul Experience Different Than In Acts
But, in contrast to how the writer of Acts describes Paul experience, Paul describes it this way, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace". 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood" Galatians 1:15-16.
Paul was a fully-grown man, so being "separated" from his mother's womb, has to mean spiritually separated from his mother's womb, "the cultural womb". He became spiritually independent of all social, cultural and hereditary influences, of all the things that gave birth to him, as a specific person with a specific identity and a specific history in time.
That’s why his name was changed from Saul to Paul. It was a new birth, a spiritual birth, a change in ego identity.
"To reveal his Son in me" is the same as that "Spirit of God's Son" that is sent into the hearts of all who are open to it.
"I conferred not with flesh and blood," means he didn't attempt to verify his experience with the disciples or any person, only with the “Spirit of God’s Son” in his heart, the Spiritual Son, the Christ.
Paul's Christianity Differs From Early Jewish Christianity
The early Jewish Christians' religion was exclusive, ethnic, and personal. They practiced circumcision, as sign of their ethnic identity and were fixated on the physical man, Jesus, as their savior. Paul's view differed from their view he states, 5:2 "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law” Galatians 5:2-3.
Paul lays it on the line! He says, you gain nothing from Christ by being circumcised, that in fact you are a debtor.
He continues, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5:5 for we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love" Galatians 5:4-6.
Paul really lays it on line! He says if the law justifies you, Christ has no effect on you and you have fallen from grace! Whew! Notice he didn’t say Jesus has no effect into you, but “Christ has no effect into you” meaning that he’s referring to Christ the spiritual man, not Jesus the physical man.
He explains how being a Jew and being circumcised, has nothing to do with genetics or physical reality, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" Romans 2:28-29.
Hear that people! Being a Jew is inwardly, within the person, in the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter or to be taken literally. He’s expressing the same idea about being a Jew, as he does about being a descendant of Abraham or an heir of God in Galatians 3:7 and Galatians 4:6-7.
He sums up his spiritual view of the matter nicely!
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28. He's saying even though we're all ethnically different, we're all one in Christ (Spirit). Paul's religion is non-exclusive, non-ethnic, transpersonal and universal!
Jesus Agrees With Paul About The Spiritual Meaning Of The Law
Jesus agrees with Paul that the inner, spiritual, meaning of the law is the central thing.
"And he saith unto them, are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;" 7:19 "Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?” Mark 7:18-19
Jesus is saying that physical things can't defile you spiritually, only spiritual things can. The heart is the Soul, the Mind. What one eats drinks doesn't enter into the Soul, only into the body.
He continues, "And he said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man" Mark 7:20-23.
Jesus makes it clear that, what motivates us from within, our thoughts, desires, emotions, fantasies, etc., is the true cause of evil behavior (and good behavior I might add). He emphasizes the point saying, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" Matthew 5:28 .
In other words, whatever you're fixated on in your heart (your imagination, your mind) is the true judge of your moral rightness, not just your behavior.
He emphasizes this point in John; “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" John 7:24.
Righteous judgment is judging by what’s in a person’s heart, not only by their outward appearance or behavior. Whatever dominates one's heart tends to dominate one's behavior.
Two Types Of Christians
There were always two types of Christian followers, following two types of Christianity, and two types of saviors. The literal-minded Christians following Jesus the physical man, and the spiritual-minded Christians following Christ, the spiritual man.
One based on a physical link of the savior to God, the other on the spiritual link of the savior to God,.
Paul’s saying that having faith like Abraham, makes one a true descendant of Abraham, rather than a genetic connection to Abraham, illustrates the spiritual view.
The Physical Man Precedes The Spiritual Man
The appearance of the physical man always precedes that of the Spiritual man.
Paul illustrates the pattern for us, 15:46 “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven”. 1Colossians 15:46-47.
The first man, symbolizing the physical man, is Jesus. The second man, symbolizing the spiritual man, is Christ. The thing that made Jesus different from men, was the spiritual development in him of Christ.
This pattern of the earthly mind preceding the spiritual mind, is seen in the Old and New Testaments. Adam and Eve. Adam represents the physical mind and Eve the spiritual mind. The same goes for Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Moses and Joshua, John the Baptist and Jesus. Jesus and Christ, all represent that same pattern.
Flesh And Blood Can Not Inherit The Kingdom
Paul continues,” And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” 1Colossians 15:49. The earthy represents the physical, the heavenly, the spiritual".
We start life as the earthy (physical) man, but have the potential to become the spiritual (heavenly) man or person.
Paul goes on, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” 1Colossians 15:50.
Woeooooh! Stop the Presses! Paul says, “flesh and blood” cannot inherit the kingdom of God!
How does that impinge on the idea of dead physical bodies being resurrected from the dead or that Jesus ascended to heaven physically? If “flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom” I think that pretty much rules it out don’t you? The resurrection must be Spiritual: Our Spirits are resurrected from the dead, not our dead bodies; spiritually dead means the spirit is not consciously active in you.
Paul continues: 15:51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” 1Colossians 15:51-52.
Paul says, “we shall not all sleep” meaning die, but shall be changed in the “twinkling of an eye”. If we don’t die and change in the “twinkling of an eye” that means the change is spiritual not physical.
He explains "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” 1Colossians 15:53.
The corruptible and the mortal is the physical body, incorruption and immortality are the spiritual body. The spiritual body is resurrected from the physical body, that’s how “death is swallowed up in victory”. The spiritual body is the spiritual mind. The Spiritual mind is immortal and can’t die.
Paul concludes with, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” 1Colossians 15:55.
Again Paul emphasizes the connection between death, sin and the law! He even says (as shocking as this may be to many of you) “the strength of sin is the law!” but faith in Jesus, the spiritual Jesus (Christ), brings victory over death, sin and the law.
The Resurrection Pattern
The following is the resurrection pattern. I'll leave it here to simmer in your minds!
“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (Or a sensory mind and a Spiritual mind) "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” 1Colossians 15:45.
The first Adam is the sensory man, the second Adam, the spiritual man. We all, male and female, contain both these “men”.
Spiritual Truth Frees Us
Spiritual Truth frees us from the law and death. Jesus says, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" John 4:24.
He also said “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. John 8:32
See how the Truth makes you free, like the Spirit makes you free?
So what kind of Christian are you? Spiritual or Literal?
Before we go there, let me make this last point: Jesus didn’t create Christianity his followers did. Search the four gospels and you won’t find Jesus mentioning the words Christians or Christianity. These names didn’t come into usage until after Jesus’ supposed resurrection and ascension to heaven.
The writer of Acts points this out to us “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” Acts 11:26.
Since the events in Acts supposedly take place after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, isn’t this proof positive, that Jesus didn’t teach anyone to be a Christian or create Christianity, but his followers did? (The same is true of Buddha and his followers)
As a matter of fact, Jesus and Paul aren’t instructing you to be Christians at all. They’re instructing you to be something much more. Here are some hints as to what that may be:
Jesus said: “Neither shall they say, See here! or, see there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” Luke 17:21.
“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods?” John 10:34.
‘Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father” John 14:12 .
Paul said: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me” Galatians 2:20.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5
Christ appears to be a spiritual experience rather than a person.
Now all you need is, the intuitive insight to see it, accept it and put it into practice, in your everyday life, to experience it.
What Kind Of Christian Are You?
Literal-minded Christians worship a divine being. Spiritual-minded Christians develop themselves into a divine state of being.
So what kind of Christian are you? And how can you to know if you’re a true follower of Jesus?
Well let’s, let Jesus tell you, if you meet the criteria to be a true disciple of his,
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” John 13:34 .
Unless you meet this requirement can you be a true follower of Jesus?
I rest my case.