The Outer of Religion versus The Inner Reality:
I define Religion as man’s feeble self-effort in seeking to find, and ‘serve’ God ‘outwardly,’ looking for ‘outward gifts’ of God’s earthly blessings by observing ‘outer’ rites, rituals, and laws of man’s religion.
Man’s religion misses the mark, ignoring man’s real ‘innermost’ desire and man’s need for a new overcoming life, one that provides rest and peace for man’s soul, and direction and power from ‘within’ to overcome sin and adversity, inwardly … by the “Seed [of life], which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).
“For the law [regulating principle] of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath [already] made me free from the law [naturally operative principal] of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2 (KJV)
Abiding in union with the indwelling life of Christ as the “Lord” of our life makes Him the ‘governor,’ regulating our life from within. Christ is the One and only true Christian and He lives within the human “spirit of man” (Zech. 12:1) of every regenerated Christian, renewing them. Christ is The Christian within us! By way of my life’s journey in Christ, I have come to know this inward reality, which is unshakable.
I paraphrase Madam Jean Guyon from one of her books saying; “sooner or later we must come to live indoors” that is to live inwardly, enjoying our invisible, unshakable, union with Him who is our All. The eternal part of mankind, which is for Christ’s dwelling place is innermost, in our “spirit of man” (Zech. 12:1). From thence He leads, guides and satisfies our soul’s longings, renewing us to a ‘new understanding’ of Him and His purposes and His will for us. The pressures of this world push us to find Him there, as our All. It is within that that we discover and learn what Paul calls, “the deep things of God” Himself. (1Cor. 2:10).
Gene Edwards in his allegorical book ‘A Tale of Three Kings’ he writes about the Christian life, addressing the outer versus the inner:
“I [Gabriel] have here the second of two elements of the Living God. This is not a gift, but an inheritance. A gift is worn on the Outer Man; an inheritance is planted Deep Inside--like a seed. Yet, even though it appears such a small planting, in time it fills all the inner man.”
Man’s body is of the temporal and external, which is in and of this world, for relating to the physical world. Man’s soul (man’s self) is intended by God to be subservient to Christ who is alive within the believer’s regenerated ‘spirit.’ The outer man of his body, is intended to be ruled by his innermost part, by Christ in our spirit (Rom. 8:13). Thus, we see these three parts in their proper order in this one verse below.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (KJV) And the very God of peace sanctify you [set you apart] wholly [completely]; and I pray God your whole Spirit and Soul and Body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.