Conformed to Christ

Psalm 127

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

The Nature of Man

Body, Soul, Spirit

BODY: “...for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31)

SOUL: “ Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” (1 Samuel 20:17) "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me; your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women." (2 Samuel 1:26)

SPIRIT: “...he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.“ (1 Corinthians 6:17)

The image of God in our race is carried by the man and the women in equal weight. Whatever other terms we may wish to associate with man being made in the image and likeness of God, the existence of two separate sexes is a very important part. It is as if half of life is to be understood and interpreted from a man's point of view and half from a woman's point of view. These two points of view are not identical, nor opposites, nor polarities, they are complementary! Plus and minus are opposites as are night and day, true or false.

The existence of two sexes and the fact that it takes male and female persons to adequately reflect the nature of God implies that the Being of God is as much masculine as He is feminine. This is a difficult concept because God Himself does not describe Himself as a sexual being. All the persons of the Godhead are called by masculine nouns and pronouns in our English Bibles. Furthermore the godhead consists of a union of Three Persons, not two, as in human marriage.

Each parent contributes 50% of the genetic inheritance of the embryonic child. 50% of our biological heritage comes from our mother's side of the family and 50% from our father's. Our sexuality, as is well known, is determined by the male sperm, whether it is xx or xy, as far as the sex-determining chromosome is concerned. 

At birth we are instantly identified as boy or girl and our parents begin to raise us differently. Hormonal differences, set into play before birth automatically, move us towards essential male/female differences. At an early age we see ourselves as separate persons from our mothers and begin to identify with mother or father as far as our gender identity is concerned. 

However each one of us can say--whether we are men or women---"I am like my mother and I am like my father, both parents have influenced me." The fact that I resemble both my parents in certain character traits and behavior patterns is another way of stating that I have received from both parents both a genetic biological inheritance, and then, secondly, I have been molded or shaped, in growing up, by both male and female role models. Siblings and friends, grandparents often are big influences as we discover our place in society. Who am I? Where do I fit in?

According to the Bible, man and woman are alike in spirit, but not in soul and body. (For this reason the term "man" or "brothers" is often generic in the Bible when doctrinal teaching is in mind). The physical, anatomical differences between the sexes are well known. However man and woman are also quite different as far as the soul is concerned. God has built a vast wealth of variety and diversity into the human gene pool. Many variations in physical characteristics as well as some personality and emotional characteristics are governed by genetic factors. In terms of behavior, there are wide ranges in what can be considered normal masculinity and femininity. 

Jesus Christ is both the Word of God, (Logos, Masculine noun in Greek), and the Wisdom of God (Sophia, Feminine). We can not expect to understand all of life if I embrace only the written revelation of God, "head-tripping" --apart from knowing and experiencing God as a Person. Nor will a purely sentimental or traditional approach to knowing God bring a saving response from Jesus. He is intensely personal but will not violate my free will. This means that mere intellectual (or emotional) assent to Jesus as Lord will not bring about my wholeness and individuation. Jesus is intensely Personal as are the Father and the Holy Spirit.

"God is Love," according to the Apostle John. This means that the Persons of the godhead dwell together in relationships of love. The universe is designed to operate on the principle of both giving and receiving love. Thus initiating and responding are complementary opposites. Even in the absence of a universe, and us, the Three Persons of the godhead exist in an eternal round of giving and receiving love.

The Distinction Between the Sexes

One way to differentiate between men and women in terms of priorities and specialties is suggested by the following table. God has built a vast wealth of variety and diversity into the human gene pool. Many variations in physical characteristics as well as some personality and emotional characteristics are governed by genetic factors. In terms of behavior, there are wide ranges in what can be considered normal masculinity and femininity.



Paternal Instincts
Leads, takes charge
Initiates: Hunts, Ranges, Thrusts
Values logical thinking
Logos-centered mind
Bases decisions on reasoning more than emotions or intuition
Assertive, aggressive, outgoing towards the world
Provides outside support and protects (as a soldier)
Feels ill-at-ease in passive, receptive roles
May undervalue importance of emotions and intuition
Specialist in "Doingness," "Withoutness"
Mechanistic, scientific, digital-thinking
Divided left and right brain
Maternal Instincts
Shelters, nurtures, heals
Values emotions highly, relationship orientation
Heightened intuitive ability and perception
Sophia-based thinking
At ease in a passive, receptive role
Takes leadership with difficulty when male leader defaults
Natural concern for the present quality of life
Specialist in "Beingness" and "Withinness"
Nestles, nurtures, shelters, traps
Artistic, creative, analog thinking
More unified left and right brain, holistic thinking

To be certain that meanings are clear, "masculinity" is not identical with "manliness" and "femininity" is not identical with being "all-woman." Masculinity and femininity are abstract qualities. For example we have suggested by means of the above table that masculinity specializes in initiating and femininity specializes in responding. It is obvious that both men and women constantly both initiate and respond. We can say that God is the most fully masculine Being who exists because "from him...are all things." Gender Confusion today, a kind of social entropy, or disorder, represents a late stage in the downhill course of Western Civilization. God's standards for living in New Jerusalem are all about holiness. On the way up to New Jerusalem every Christian, from Pentecost till the Rapture receives a new body, because the seat of sin now resides in our old bodies. Our behavior in the Heavenly City must obviously be radically different from it often is now.

God is also love, according to the Apostle John. This means that the Persons of the godhead dwell together in relationships of love. The universe is designed to operate on the principle of both giving and receiving love. Thus initiating and responding are complementary opposites.

As noted, masculinity in our table is characterized by Logos truth. Jesus is called the Word of God (logos) in John's Gospel. Logos truth is truth spelled out in logical, rational statements. Jesus is the Word of God, He is the Truth because in Him God has spelled out truth in human form. The Bible is called the written Word of God. Scripture consists of sequential statements, one following another, all self-consistent, all designed to appeal to the logical mind. This is especially true of the New Testament. (The Old Testament relies on stories and historical narratives to illustrate truth in preference to doctrinal statements strung out in logos fashion).

The Bible also presents truth in the form of images and pictures. Truth can be intuitively perceived, or revealed as direct inner experience in the heart. In fact we must understand truth in our hearts if it is to do us any good, head knowledge in and of itself is of no avail. Also, truth which is not acted upon is lost. Truth perceived in its non-verbal, intuitive mode can we called Wisdom. Hence we have characterized femininity as specializing in Sophia knowledge. In Solomon's Proverbs, Wisdom is personified as a woman. The closer interconnected wiring between the two halves of the brain in women causes them to think more holistically. Because of the fall, when "Eve was deceived" that is, a woman's intuition is not infallible. God has assigned Adam, and male elders in the church the task of comparing truth in Logos form in order to guard the family and the church from error and deception, which creeps in constantly. Men specialize in being "logical" and most men can set aside their intuition and emotions and the entire right-side of their brains in the process. Of course this means that men are vulnerable to pride and stubbornness, and so on.

Masculinity specializes in "doingness" and femininity in "beingness." Men derive a great deal of their sense of purpose in the world from their work, their competitive strivings in the world. Men are therefore hunters and warriors who engage in hunting, thrusting, and ranging. This comes easily to them---by nature---because such characteristics are archetypically masculine. Archetypal femininity, in contrast, specializes in nurturing, sheltering, nesting, healing. Men tend to measure themselves by how much they accomplish. Women tend to measure themselves by the quality of their relationships.

Our premise is that men come equipped with a dominant set of masculine characteristics and a recessive set of feminine characteristics. A whole man gets in touch with his "other half within himself." A whole man succeeds in integrating these "two halves" of his psycho-sexual inheritance.

A man who is only in touch with his masculinity is likely to be driven, cold, hard-nosed, uncompromising, overly competitive. A woman who knows nothing of her masculine heritage is likely to be a passive wall-flower, helpless, driven by her emotions, or hysterical, often depending on others for almost everything.

Men who "get in touch" with their femininity do not become effeminate. In fact effeminacy in men means a man is especially unaware and usually enslaved by his inner feminine inheritance. Whole men are strong and brave and assertive when the situation demands strength, courage, and self-sacrifice. But he is also tender, meek, humble, able to cry and show compassion and tenderness. From the Bible we immediately recognize that Jesus is the whole man with whom we are all to identify.

Women who get in touch with the masculine heritage, which they have received from their fathers as it were, do not become coarse, and tough, and competitive as if they were as male as any man. Integration of the other half adds poise, self-confidence, and dignity to a woman's life actually enhancing her true femininity and causing men to respect her even more, to seek her wisdom and help in making life's decisions.

The Fall of Adam and Eve has Ruined the Human Race

The common experience of "love at first sight" or "falling in love" is usually what psychologists call projection. In the mechanism of projection we see others at first in an idealistic way based on our unconscious expectations or past experiences. The process of becoming whole men and women in Christ aids us in seeing the other person as he or she really is. We have been asked by God to learn to love others unselfishly and to give to them in ways that are edifying and redemptive. To do this, we must learn to discern between lust, selfish desire, need-love versus agape love which seeks the best for the Beloved no matter the cost to oneself. Romantic attractions, based on mutual projections, can be (and usually are) dysfunctional if not dealt with. Unhealthy mutual projections are suggested by the accompanying two diagrams below. In addition to a conscious relationships these projections constitute a kind of hidden agenda that may or may not work to the good of the parties involved. In the case of homosexuality there is an additional dysfunctional involvement by means of an unconscious identification with the archetype of the great mother, the goddess of pagan religion. All sexual immorality is idolatry no matter what form it takes.

The human race is now fallen, self-centered, corrupted and mortally damaged by the sin of Adam. All aspects of our humanity have been affected.

The entrance of evil into the universe has thrown immense disorder into the natural world, and brought mortality to man. One of the central marks of sin in man is self-centeredness. All types of sin involve this kind of selfish action. The first Adam and his wife head the entire fallen race of mankind as we presently know man on earth. The Second, or Last Adam, "the man from heaven," is the head of a whole new race of redeemed mankind chosen out from among both Jews and Gentiles. The old creation is subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics---and man is subject to death because of sin, but all things are made new in Christ. Basic human selfishness is the subject of James 1:14,15, a revealing description of how fallen archetypal masculinity and femininity co-operate together in each one of us to "conceive" sin and "bring forth" death.

For the sake of discussion one can make a table of what might be considered archetypal aspects of our fallen sexuality. The table below is suggested as a model for discussion purposes and is not a description of specific men or women, obviously!



Authoritarian, domineering, ruthless, despotic
Lords it over others
Devalues importance of emotions
Overly logical, methodical, rigid
Cold, indifferent, impersonal, unapproachable
Demands respect of subordinates
Intimidates others or rules them by fear
Unforgiving, and unwilling to be a team-member
Boring, unimaginative, overly self-controlled
Overly logical, unable to be spontaneous
Willing to compromise to gain position or power
A beast, tyrant or a despot

Possessive, controlling,
Manipulative, contriving
Irrational in rejecting logic, emotionally controlled
Gives love or affection but extracts a price
Selfishly concerned with appearances and prestige
Entraps others for her own purposes
Demands attention and recognition
A witch, sorceress or seductress

Once we make allowances for a fallen world and inherent self-centeredness (in both sexes) it begins to be clear that the relationship between the sexes ought to be impossible and totally without hope. Probably this would be so, were it not for the grace of God and the redemption God has made available to mankind---beginning with his restoration and re-creation of Adam and Eve after their fall.

A New Creation

When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Master, we each become part of the new creation. Jesus, by the Holy Spirit takes up His residence in the center of our hearts to build within us a new life and into a new kingdom which He will soon usher in.

After receiving Christ as Lord we are free to go our own way once again, in which case "self" is temporarily back on the throne of our hearts once again. In this case we become, once more, slaves of sin instead of free persons in Christ. The Apostle Paul prays for us in this way, 

"...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend together with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17-19)

We began by showing that the first woman, Eve, was taken out of the first man, Adam, and presented to him as a bride. Just as the "First Adam" was originally Adam/Eve, so the "Last Adam" is associated with a "Second Eve," the blood-bought church which is His bride, in a sense taken out His wounded side when He died on the cross. 

Jesus is called "The Word of God" by the Apostle John, and Paul identifies Him as the "Wisdom of God." Solomon depicts Wisdom as a woman in the Book of Proverbs. This Wisdom was present at the foundation of the world, (Proverbs 8:22-31). The image of God in man remains masculine/feminine in the new race of mankind Christ is bringing into being. 

"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure--for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" (Revelation 19:7-9)

Of course only heterosexuals can enter into a marriage, since a re-union of complementary opposites is what God intended from the beginning. Marriage is the oldest institution in society since it dates to the garden of Eden. The Law of Moses and God's dealings with His people Israel reveal the Lord's ongoing commitment to marriage. In fact in books such as Hosea, God pictures Himself as the Husband of Israel who laments over an increasingly spiritually-adulterous wife, Gomer. Malachi closes the Old Testament by lamenting over divorce, while reaffirming God's love for the family. Because of her spiritual adultery, God was reluctantly forced to put away his wife Israel under the terms of the Old Covenant. However because of the abundant forgiveness and mercy purchased by Jesus the Messiah, under the New Covenant God is able to enter into a new marriage relationship with both Israel---and many others of us as well, who are gentiles, and who were previously outside the bounds of God's covenant love. 

God's goal for the individual is wholeness (holiness). This is achieved only by an inner reconciliation and union of our broken, fallen M/F condition inherited from Adam and Eve. No man is pure masculinity and no woman all femininity. Rather, wholeness implies a balance between these qualities in each of us. Our biological sexual identity tells us which set of M/F characteristics is dominant and which is secondary. Christians are destined for wholeness whether single or married, since "You are complete in Christ who is the head of all rule and authority." The New Testament reaffirms the central importance of marriage and the family. But singles are as complete in Christ as those married are! The church constitutes a new family of mankind as well, Christians are brothers and sisters who have one God and Father. The true church, "Jerusalem above," is "the mother of us all." (Galatians 4:26) The relationship between man and wife in marriage is compared to the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the church in Paul's letter to the Ephesians: 

"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church..." (Ephesians 5:23-32)

Marriage gives us one picture of wholeness. This is to be more than the re-union of Adam and Eve but the creation of a mystical great communion and community between the Lord Jesus Christ and His people, the Bride of Christ. Inwardly in her relationship with the Lord Jesus, the church is feminine, that is submissive--a receptor, and responder. She is being made ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Individual believers love the Lord Jesus and follow Him in the same way that the Shulamite maiden follows Solomon in the love poem Song of Solomon. wholeness (holiness) is for everyone, single, married, divorced.

The presence of Christ within the human heart brings and integrating, healing, peacemaking life-force within. In terms of the masculinity and femininity within each person, an inner marriage ought to be the result. This of course ties in with the ideas of wholeness presented above. Carl Jung wrote extensively about this union of masculinity and femininity within the individual as a conjunction of opposites from which he derived great mystical significance by linking this concept to medieval alchemy and to gnosticism. It is not necessary for us to excurse that far afield in this brief study. Once the inherent differences between the sexes is perceived, once a person has made peace with God, it is time to get moving on one's own personal adventure of faith with the understanding that God intends to make each one of us whole persons--in fact to conform us to the very likeness of His Son.

How far down did Adam and Eve fall? All the way! No amount of training, good parenting, good role models, lower education, higher education, peer pressure, government provisions, incarceration, or religion in any form addresses either the root causes or the solution provided for us by a compassionate loving Creator.

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned."
(Song of Solomon 8:6,7)

Some Scriptures

"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. let us be of the same mind. 

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:8-22)


"I beg you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed (symmorphos) to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)

Homework Assignment

The Face of God
Glimpses of Jesus
Keys to the Song of Solomon
It Takes Three to Tango
Jesus, Judge of All
The Great Harlot

Born Again and Adopted
The Ruin of Creation
The Anguish of Adam
Man's Lost Dominion
The "I Am god" Problem
High King Jesus
City of God
A Glorious Church

The Call of Heaven
The Exchanged Life
The Excluded Ones
Christ in You

Yin, Yang, the Tao and Wholeness

Jesus, Judge of All
Jezebel and Athaliah

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November 17, 2020