For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB

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New Life of Beauty and Grace

Learning to See Double

Many things in the spiritual life come in matched pairs, or mis-matched pairs if you count the ones that are on opposite sides like the new you and the old you, or the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Sometimes it can make your eyes cross and your head swim, but we’ve laid them out in a way that should help you steer clear of confusion.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV
 

There Are Two Sides to Everything

Just as there is good and evil, heaven and hell, angels and demons, there is an inner life and an outer life, an invisible realm and a material realm, a life in time and a life in eternity. This can get Double Set of Eyes : Truth and Reality in Matched Pairsvery confusing! No wonder that many people throughout history have played favorites, choosing to favor one way of looking at life while ruling other ways out.

Some think the inner life of the soul is better than the outer life of the body (aesthetes) and vice versa (hedonists). Some live only for this world (the godless); others live only for the next (the hyper-religious). Some live only for today; others plan for tomorrow. Some love justice; others love mercy. Some prefer to live for Satan; others for the Lord. That’s a lot of conflicting opinions.

God said that everything He created was good.[1] Living under His leadership, we don’t get to take sides: We have to learn how to live as a people fully immersed in two worlds. Walking with Jesus on earth, we are seated with Him in the heavenlies. Attending to the needs of our bodies, we never lose sight of the Spirit. Living with our King today, we also pray and press into His kingdom that is coming.
 

Why Double Vision Is Necessary

Never in any of this are we meant to take sides with the enemy. Whether it is our flesh, the fallen world, or the evil ones, we must hold the line. Part of our learning to see double is due to the way that we have to choose between opposites everywhere we turn. Anything in all creation can be used for good or for evil, for advancing life or death, blessing or cursing.[2] Take heart: Jesus is with us in every moment to help us with every decision.

Another reason for learning to see double is mystery. God is a vast mystery; the realms He created lie beyond our ability to fathom. Truth, it seems, must come in matched pairs in order to teach us how to walk a fine line through mystery while remaining in balance: predestination and free will; grace and accountability; the fear of God and the love of God—these are not easily reconciled. Yet, in Jesus love and truth, mercy and justice, flesh and spirit, time and eternity, God and man are not only reconciled, they are fused into One.[3] It gets even better: He is in us and we are in Him.

How’s that for seeing double? Good thing we have two eyes! Or rather, two sets of eyes, both natural and spiritual. Oh, oh, there we go again. Why not practice your focus with these matched pairs?

Two Competing Covenants  The two Testaments of the Bible include many covenants. By one count there are four with the nation of Israel and three with humanity in general. Why so many? Evidently, we need a lot of examples to prove to us that God keeps His part of the bargain! Why highlight just two? Only one OT covenant was ever superseded by another. The “Old Covenant” refers to God’s covenant through Moses with the Jewish people on Mount Sinai which gave way to the new and “better” one that Jesus made with all of us.

Two Avenues of Grace  The Lord knows how difficult it is at times for us to believe in Him; how hard it can seem to only live by faith in His Word. We yearn for a “touch” from God; we want to see Him in the flesh. And He wants to meet with us! These two “avenues of grace” are His way of bringing invisible divine life into events of the material world. We make contact with Him through tangible means which are not only aids to our faith, but actually pathways for His life to enter and transform ours.

Two Realms of Habitation  It is hard enough learning how to live in one world, this one. Yet, our calling is to learn to live in two realms at once. It’s no good saying you can’t—God knows you can with His help. In fact you have already been “seated with Christ” in the heavenlies. You are in this world, but not of it: You are on pilgrimage through it looking for the “city not made with hands” which God is building with the new creations He is raising up.

Two Invisible Kingdoms  You won’t find this in your science books. They don’t even have it on their radar. What science reveals to us, however, is the presence of invisible realities we never knew existed. Things like bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, and radioactive emissions threaten our lives even though we cannot see them. It’s time to gain eyes to see what science is blind to. Two invisible kingdoms are at war all around you; sometimes you even feel the “tug of war” going on within you. It really helps to know what you are up against.

Two Powerful Motivations  It takes passion to "press in" as you reach to go higher and deeper into the intimate embrace of our God. It also takes grit and determination to "stick and stay" when the going gets rough or the temptations get too tempting. To help us stay on course and sail when we can, we have been given two powerful motivations to fire us up: the fear of God and the love of God. No, they are not primarily feelings. Feelings are notoriously flimsy and fickle; these are tough as nails!

Two Warring Natures  Take a good look in the “mirror”—the mirror of God’s Word. What you will see is that there is now the new you and the old you. At times the old you may seem more real than the new you, but don’t fall for its disguise. You are no longer who you once knew yourself to be. You are a new creation. However, your true self—your real life—is a mystery “hidden with Christ.” It can only be revealed as you walk with Him in trusting obedience into the new life He has planned for you. Get used to not being in charge!

Two Passionate Purposes  The unbelieving world, plagued with emptiness, loneliness and boredom, ever seeks distraction through selfish pursuit of pleasure or ambition. What a difference a wholesome sense of real purpose brings into any life! Suddenly, one has reasons to live for, a passion to live by, and a destined purpose worthy of great and noble sacrifices. As believers in Jesus we have not one, but two magnificent purposes. Learn how to strap them on, my friend, and you need never be empty, bored, or lonely ever again.

Two Monumental Tasks  When it comes to our problems down here, God has His Hands full. Every individual person needs saving from sin and restoration to the life they were created to live in full fellowship with the Lord. Every world system needs saving from injustice and oppression and restoration to the Lord’s way of running things. Out of this emerges our twin tasks: the Great Commission which is aimed at the spiritual needs of individuals and the “Great Compassion” which is aimed at creating freer, nobler societies.

Two True Testaments  We have been given, not one, but two Testaments of scripture in the Bible. Obviously, we need them both and it would be a mistake to neglect either one. But it would also be a mistake to think that they can be read the same way. We who believe in Jesus have been brought into the new and “better” covenant which the New Testament contains. We read the Old Testament as believers in the New. Put your gospel glasses on, if you want to keep your understanding grounded with a proper perspective.


Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:31 ESV
[2]  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 ESV  The importance of learning to see double is because there is always a second side to every choice: life or death; blessing or cursing.
[3]  Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Psalms 85:10 ESV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV