SPIRITUAL Co-FARMERS
By Augusto Y. Hermosilla

God’s and Mankind’s Multifacetedness

Even the physical nature’s and the creations’ complexity and structure reflect the quintessential and intrinsic complexity of its Creator’s nature, personality, character, and attributes. Particularly reflecting God’s great glories is the creature called mankind, whom He created in His image and likeness.
If we study the attributes, natures, personality, and character of God and mankind, we can see their obvious multifacetedness. It describes some kind of unity in the diversity of their attributes, natures, characters, and personalities. Actually, God is the most multifaceted perfect being, and mankind, as His creation, only imperfectly reflects such kind of multifacetedness. This multifacetedness particularly of God can be liken to a diamond, when it is usually cut into different facets or faces that can reveal its hidden beauty that reflects its strong molecular structure. Diamond, as the strongest and hardest solid such that only a diamond can cut a diamond, is among the most expensive gem known to mankind.
Another good reflection of the simple complexity of God’s multifaceted character is the double helix structure of the DNA of the cell of any living being as the blueprint of life. The DNA contains the code of life so as to give like some foreordained structure of how a living being would come out, at least, in its physical structure. The basic building block of DNA are what is called it’s alphabet of biochemicals that would spell our some kind of code called words that would program or foreordain the characteristics of the unique individual with such unique DNA code, which is different from other codes in terms of mathematical permutations and combinations of the DNA’s alphabetic letters.
We can read in

Genesis 1:27-30
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

To see that God created man in (literally, in essence as) His own image, not evolved into His own image, contrary to some pagan or pseudo-scientific beliefs. That is, mankind was created in essence as reflection or mirror of God’s multifaceted nature. Since God as the Supreme Spirit has no physical form, this image is only figurative. This image imparted only to humans (see Gen. 2:7) figuratively refers to mankind’s sharing of God’s nature, though as imperfect and finite reflection of God’s perfect and infinite nature.

God multifarious and multifaceted attributes can be classified into communicable and incommunicable attributes. For the incommunicable attributes only exclusively found in God that highlight His transcendence and uniqueness to show how different a being HE IS from His creatures (as the Great I AM), He has the facets of independence (self-existence and self-sufficiency), immutability (entire freedom from change, leading to entire consistency in action), infinity (freedom from all limits of time and space, i.e. on His eternity and omnipresence), omnipotence, and simplicity (no elements that can conflict, so that, unlike man, He cannot be torn different ways by divergent thoughts and actions). Incommunicable in the fact that they are characteristics of God alone, and no other being share them. Man, just because he is man, and not God, does not and can not share any of them.

On the other hand, God’s communicable attributes that He shares with mankind so as to be called created in His image and likeness, God has the facets of spirituality (God and man are spiritual beings), freedom (i.e., to make choices, particularly, as free moral agents), omnipotence (though limited as compared to God, and only in terms of being within man’s boundaries and limits), along with all His moral attributes as goodness, truth, holiness, righteousness, etc. That is, when God created man in His image and likeness, He communicated to or shared with man His communicable attributes that define their communication or fellowship with one another. So, this means that God made man a free spiritual being, a responsible moral agent, with powers of choice and action, able to commune with Him and his fellow human beings, and by nature, originally good, truthful, holy, upright, in short, godly (i.e., like God). However, when man fell from favour in the Garden of Eden, mankind’s, he lost some, if not all, of those communicable attributes that God shared with him, so that he can no longer fellowship with God due to his sin that violates God’s holiness. Christ had to sacrifice His blood to redeem mankind, and restore him back to fellowship with God by putting in man His image and likeness. Man can be liken to a mirror that reflects the shared attributes of God. But when he fell due to his disobedience to God’s simple command, he is like that mirror that fell and broke to pieces, each piece may be like a facet lost from the original integrated whole!!

In sharing God’s communicable attributes (e.g., life, personality, truth, wisdom, love, holiness, justice, with seeming polar facets of justice and mercy, goodness and severity, etc.), as communicating spiritual beings, man was given the capability to fellowship in spirit with Him. But the moral attributes that belonged to the original divine image were lost at the Fall. Particularly lost was his holiness, because sin was like virus that ruined the facets he shared with God. God’s image in man has been universally defaced, for all mankind has in one way or another, lapsed into ungodliness in form, style, spirit, and substance. His written Word which testifies the Living Word, tells us that now, in fulfillment of His plan of redemption of mankind’s lost image, God is now at work in the Christian believers to repair in him and in others His ruined image by communicating to them these communicable qualities afresh. This is what the bible means when it says that Christians are being renewed in the image and likeness of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18) and of God (Col. 3:10), which is through the power of the blood of Jesus, words, and Holy Spirit of God.

In creating mankind in His own image, God’s purpose was for man to rule or to have dominion (see Gen. 1:26,28) as His representative of His higher dominion over the universe, with the earth, particularly, the Garden of Eden, as mankind’s domain, as can be read in

Genesis 2:8
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

God pronounced blessings to the created male and female that they were to be fruitful and multiply in number. And in reflecting God, He expects us to be like Him as He commanded in

Micah 6:8
He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

because we see also the harmony of His attributes as Paul said in

Romans 11:22
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

which may find disharmonious contradictions and inconsistencies in the fallen image of mankind.

As another facet reflected by man from God is the idea of dominion. Man lost his God-given dominion when he relinquished to Satan his dominion of the world to make Satan the god of this world system. Consequently, this idea of dominion was later perverted in idolatry when a human sovereign who claimed deity would have idols casted in his image and likeness as representative statues of his dominion. However, because of Adam and Eve’s fall from fellowship with God after their disobedience, all things originally under mankind’s authority was no longer under man’s dominion (see Heb. 2:8), because the archenemy, the adversary, stole mankind’s dominion. But after Jesus resurrected from the dead, Jesus redeemed mankind with the infinite price of His blood to again re-establish His dominion as mankind’s representative over all the earth to be fully fulfilled at His Second Coming (see Heb. 2:5-8).

God ever since the start of creation of the universe has always been working. He worked when He created the universe by His creative words, making things come out of nothing by the power of His words. And ever since mankind started his history, even after his fall from fellowship with God, God has been working in trying to redeem mankind back to fellowship with Him. God worked through the life and death of Christ to pay for the sins of mankind. God worked when He resurrected Christ from the dead, so that He would continue His working out His plan of the redemption of mankind through the works of the Holy Spirit, who was sent to the disciples during Pentecost. He continuously works out mankind’s redemption through His Holy Spirit till Christ will come again for the Second time to establish His promised kingdom, which will destroy all the evil kingdoms under Satan’s control of this present evil world system that reflects the kingdom of Satan. And God will still continue to work even during the end of and beyond human history. And He has called His chosen people of royal priesthood to co-work together with Him in fulfilling His plans and purposes through the ages.

God’s nature is actually a unity of diversity of His quintessential simple complexity!!! In His multifaceted nature, we can see some of His complex attributes which find perfect harmony only in His character, but are so in imperfect disharmony if mirrored in the human character, as a result of mankind’s fallenness. God has such integrity in His character that was lost in mankind after his fall.

For example, the facets of God’s attributes of goodness and severity, justice and mercy, love and jealousy, wrath and grace can only find their harmonious unity in His holiness. But in mankind, because of his fallenness and brokenness, we may not find their perfect harmony because after his fall, he lost that holy and perfect aspects of his nature when he lost that former fellowship with his Creator, who is still trying to redeem back that lost image of God given to mankind. Man’s sinfulness perverted that harmony that only can be found in God, and was formerly instilled in his nature. Their sin of disobedience to His simple prohibition was like a computer virus that corrupted the divine image programmed and imparted to mankind, making his programming go awry.

In a related article by this author on the integral relationship between work and worship, we recall the following observations:

Because work is to do something essential to our humanness, be it sacred or secular, God so called the chosen believers to be His co-workers, but not His co-equals. We can never be God’s co-equal, particularly, never can equal His omniscience, omnipotence, and other attributes He never shared with man, despite man’s ethical and moral likeness with God. God essentially works in, by, and through the workers in whatever He wills. For example, God authored the bible through the different writers who were inspired by His Holy Spirit, as God’s way of revealing Himself to His people. The inspired writers wrote, not of themselves, but “from God,” as one of the modes in which God made known to men His being, His will, His operations, His purposes. As distinct mode of revelation as any mode of revelation can be, and therefore the writers’ inspiration performed the same office which all revelations were performed. That is, in the expressed words of Paul, the inspired scriptures makes men wise, and makes them wise unto salvation. All “special” or “supernatural” revelation, redemptive in its essential idea to occupy a place as substantial element in God’s redemptive processes, has precisely this for its end. Holy Scripture, as a mode of the redemptive revelation of God, finds fundamental purpose just in this: if the “inspiration” by which produced the Scripture renders it trustworthy and authoritative, then it renders it trustworthy and authoritative only that better serve to make men wise unto salvation. God is as good and trustworthy as the integrity of His words. From the perspective of the writers of the New Testament, Scripture was conceptualized, not merely as the record of revelations, but as itself a part of the redemptive revelation of God. Not merely as the record of the redemptive acts by which God is saving the world, but as itself one of these redemptive acts, having its own part to play in the great work of establishing and building up the kingdom of God.
As a holy nation of priests first, then kings who co-work with Him, as called first to be like HIM, then to reflect Him, this can only be fulfilled by the believers by being good stewards of God’s manifold riches. Stewardship defines human dignity or worth, as can be read in

Psalms 8:5-9
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

This gives the raison d’etre of man’s creation by God. This translates to managing what God created and gifted man, particularly, the time, treasure, talents, truth, testimony that God has given and worked out in His worshippers. And stewardship can only be meaningful if the elected would have the perception and perspective that to work is to do a godlike thing, a kind of the creature imitating and reflecting His Creator. This is just an echo of what God ordained in

Genesis 1:26
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

To rule and manage the earth as God’s stewards, man is fulfilling the image and likeness God has instilled in him. Even in the first chapter of Genesis, God is seen as a worker who worked by creating the universe, particularly, the heavens, the earth, mountains, seas, lakes, rivers, forests, the Garden of Eden, and everything that lives and breaths. In creating mankind, God makes mankind as workers too just like Himself. The reformer Ulrich Zwingli said:

“There is nothing so like God as the worker.”

The work does not matter, but on the faithfulness in what the worker is working on, be the worker a master or a slave. The dignity or worth of a worker in not what possessions, position, profession, or power he may have, but what they do with what they have. To be a good steward defines the dignity of a worker, not the salary. A slave who may receive low or no salary is more dignified than a highly CEO who is a bad steward. Not the profession, possession, position, or power, but how the worker acts a good and faithful steward, as Jesus commended repeatedly in the parable of the talents in

Matthew 25:21,23
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
but a scathing rebuke for the bad and unprofitable servant in verses 26-30:
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And God is still working even up to this time with the re-creation of the fallenness of man by regenerating the new believers with the workings of His Holy Spirit. And those whom He recreated, He calls as His co-workers in proclaiming the gospel of salvation by grace only in, by, and through His Son who sacrificed His blood on the cross to redeem mankind from spiritual darkness, death, and decay and bring them into His marvellous kingdom of light and life.

GOD as a FARMER

In the multifacetedness of God as a worker, one of God’s facets can also be viewed as a farmer, the original Great Farmer with the universe as His farm. God is actually the Source of all inspirations and gifts for mankind to do the works He want them to produce. God is the Great Healer, the Great Mathematician, the Great Lawmaker and Judge, the Great Architect and Builder of the universe, the Teacher, the Preacher, Jesus as the High Priest, and many other ways to see a facet of God’s being a worker as reflected in the God-given skills of a particular human worker. God is the integration of all man’s creativities expressed in mankind’s works, professions, occupations, and pre-occupations, because God is the Source, the beginning and the end of creativities. But this article will focus only on the work of God as a farmer.
His words in the bible are so rich in agricultural allegories and metaphors that convey the spiritual truths underlying His plans and purposes. That is, what is true in nature, particularly, in agriculture, is also true in the spiritual realm, and vice versa. God’s laws do not only rule His creation, but also rules the spirit and unseen world. In fact, it can be said that all truths are parallel, that a truth say in one aspect can be viewed in parallel metaphor or allegory in another aspect. But even in the field of mathematics with the concept of perspectivity, parallel lines meet at the ideal point or infinity. The mathematical infinity can represent God, the source of all parallel truths that intersect in His perspective. Searching man should just try to appropriately connect them to piece together something like a jigsaw puzzle that can reveal the hidden and mysterious perspectives revealed to him in many kinds of truths, not just in God’s words, but even in any perceivable things. So, a spiritual truth can be viewed clearly say in agricultural allegories, as what we can read in God’s words, especially on the parables of Christ (e.g., the parable of the sower in Matt. 13:3-9, Mark 4:1-25, and Luke 8:4-15, among other parables that illustrates spiritual truths using everyday and ordinary things).
Now, we can read in the song of Isaiah in

Isaiah 61:3
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

that show God’s chosen people are His farm to show forth His glories by their fruitfulness, which is related to his song in:

Isaiah 5:1-7
1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved ]hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

In verses 1 and 2, the first stanza, we can here how God cares for His beloved vineyard, and the condition of His vineyard. Then, in verses 3-6, the second stanza, God gave the diagnosis of the sick condition of His beloved vineyard. In verse 7, the third stanza, the vineyard is identified to be Israel, His chosen people (see also Isa. 3:14, Ps. 80:8-18, Jer. 2:21, 12:10, Ezek. 15:6-8, Hos. 10:1). In the first stanza, God planted a vineyard on a fertile hillside, and planting only the best vines. He built a watchtower to guard the vineyard, and a winepress in anticipation and expectation of producing good wine. However, despite all of God’s investments on the plants, only poor grapes came out of the vine, and despite all the care and fertilization the vineyard owner invested in them. Because the vineyard did not live up to the expectations of the vineyard owner Who wasted resources in caring for it, the owner, who had nothing more to do to make it productive, will judge it by removing it’s protection to allow animals (e.g., foxes in Song 2:15) to enter and ruin it. Neglecting the cultivation of the vines, thornbushes would grow to choke and smother the vines. God would stop the rain to fall on this unproductive vineyard so that it will die ultimately. So, with the grievous sin of the vineyard’s unproductiveness, destructive judgment would come when protection and provision by the vineyard owner would be withheld. The whole nation of Israel and Judah was identified and indicted as the unproductive vineyard destined for destructive judgment by the caring vineyard owner who was expecting their fruitfulness with all His investments. God, who cared for this vineyard, expected good fruits, particularly, justice and righteousness (see Isa. 1:21). He saw instead only bloodshed (see Isa. 1:15), and heard cries of distress, to contradict the fruits of justice and righteousness He expected of them. The bad grapes of injustices and unrighteousnesses would lead to the people’s destruction by being killed or being taken to captivity. Using two interesting assonances (i.e., similar word sounds, as in words play, which is like sword play that cuts through the subtle nuances of the assonances, and God’s word is sharper than a two-edged sword), Isaiah stressed out the stark contrast between what God expected in His people and what would happened to them. The good fruits of justice and righteousness did not come out of them, but instead only the bad fruits of bloodshed and distress.

In other words, instead of reflecting or mirroring His image that He created in them, particularly, His moral and ethical attributes of justice and righteousness, they only fructified toxic injustices and unrighteousnesses, which will only deserve God’s judgments because of His intrinsic harmonious attributes of holiness, love, and jealousy that can not stand the presence of sin. And also as chosen people of God or the elect, Israel is the Old Testament vineyard of God, while the church is the New Testament vineyard of God. And in the bible, it can be seen especially in the parables of Christ (e.g., the parable of the sower), that our hearts, minds, and even bodies are vineyards God has been farming with His manifold blessings, as what we can glean

Deuteronomy 6:5
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

which was re-echoed by Christ in His Great Commandment in

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We sow God’s words in our spirits, sow His thoughts in our hearts and minds, and sow His words of health in our bodies, and we’ll reap bountiful harvest of righteousness and peace.

And for the New Testament disciples of Christ, in the process of spiritual multiplication, the world is their vineyard, or their mission field, where they are to sow the seeds of His words of life to produce, fructify, and multiply to reflect the glories of their Redeemer. These allegories and analogies will be expounded later in this article.
Particularly what is said in

Hosea 10:12,13
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.

affirms the Law of Sowing and Reaping, not only true in nature, but even in the spiritual farm of the hearts and minds of the Israelites. God urged Israel, His farm, to seek Him by cultivating righteousness (or justice), and then reaping His unfailing love (or loyalty). The showers or rain of righteousness allegorizes God’s future gift of righteousness or deliverance from their unrighteousness when the Messiah would come to do so for them. Throughout Israel’s history, God’s prophets had been exhorted to fulfill what is said in verse 12. But the sinful chosen people did not respond accordingly, not fulfilling God’s expectations of their fruitfulness in righteousness because they only bore toxic fruits of unrighteousness with their wickedness, evildoings, and deceptions. Instead of trusting only in their God, they depended on her own military might or carnal weapons that wouldn’t profit for them. The stark and frank contrasts between God’s expectations versus Israel’s sinfulness only heightened their guilt before God. So, they were called to repentance to testify of God’s graciousness to contribute to the prophet’s accusation of their sins against God.
Actually, since the creation of the earth, God has been working as a farmer by the laws He foreordained to rule His created universe, be it in the natural, but even also in the spiritual realm. We can particularly read after the destruction of the world with a universal flood after Noah’s salvation from the flood in

Genesis 8:22
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

After God’s judgment of the antedeluvian world’s wickedness with that universal deluge, and after Noah made a sacrifice to God to honor His salvation, God promised never to cursed the ground again by ordaining the continuity of the seasons, particularly, seedtime and harvest to evidence His forbearance of mankind’s sinfulness that only deserves His judgments, like that flood that only saved Noah and his family. Actually, just as natural as the law of gravity and the law of thermodynamics that rule the natural universe, a more universal law that is not only ruling the natural order but also even like the spiritual realm can be seen in the law of sowing and reaping, as said in

Galatians 6:7
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

So, what is true of the law of sowing and reaping in the agricultural realm can also be seen like in the spiritual realm, as we can read in

Galatians 6:8-10
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

This law of sowing and reaping also rules the spiritual realm as can be seen in the following:

Job 4:8
Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Psalms 126:5,6
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Proverbs 22:8
He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

Jeremiah 12:13
They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

Hosea 8:7
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

2 Corinthians 9:6
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

From the preponderance of the concomitant words on the sowing-reaping law in God’s words, we can see that if we sow in the spirit where we obey and follow God and His laws, we would reap life and righteousness. His law is our protection and provision from destruction. Else, if we sow to our sinful flesh, we would reap death and unrighteousness. God is a farmer who farms the words by the laws He ordained to rule His universe. When the hearts of the chosen people got so hardened with their continuous sinfulness, aside from what is said in Hosea 10:12,13, God commanded them to repent by the words through the weeping prophet:

Jeremiah 4:3,4
3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Actually, throughout Israel’s history, the prophets had been appealing the chosen people to repentance, lest judgment would come. And if they would repent, God would abundantly pardon and bless them accordingly as He always graciously and mercifully promised. Else, God judged them accordingly. But this sinful chosen people did not respond accordingly, producing instead wickedness, evil, and deception among each other. Rather than trusting on God’s power, the nation proudly depended on their own strength, particularly, their own military might. Actually, these words of God’s appeal through the prophets only reveal God’s graciousness which the nation only took for granted to deserve only His consequent judgments.

If we sow a thought, we reap an action. If we sow an action, we reap a habit. If we sow a habit, we sow a character. If we sow a character, we reap a destiny. If we sow a destiny, we reap eternity!!! Such is the law of sowing and reaping!!!

If we sow in the spirit, we will reap life, but if we sow in the flesh, we will reap death and decay, as can be read in

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 6:8-10
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

For emphasis, it is said that if we sow to a thoughts, we reap an action. If we sow an action, we reap a habit. If we sow a habit, we reap a character. If we sow a character, we reap a destiny. If we sow a destiny, we reap eternity.

Aside from watering and fertilizing as principles a farmer like God does to propagate His beloved plants so that they would bear fruits to be reaped later, another agricultural principle that can also have spiritual analogue is on pruning that should lead to more fruitbearing. We can clearly read for example in the following texts:

Isaiah 18:5
For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.

John 15:1-8
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

In this context, we can see here that God is glorified and honoured if His disciples would bear fruits, particularly, fruits of the Spirit, which can be seen in

Galatians 5:22-26
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

and in

Ephesians 5:9-11
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Unrighteous fruitlessness frustrates God’s plans and purposes in blessing mankind, which He did even way back in the Garden of Eden. And fruitlessness of good works and righteousness will lead to God’s judgments, as can be seen in the tragic history of Israel, His own Chosen and Cared-for Vineyard, for example in the preponderance of texts on being cut off due to their continuous wickedness, like a plant or vine which is unprofitable, such as the following:

Leviticus 18:29
For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

Leviticus 19:8-10
8 Therefore every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the LORD: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 20:3-6
3 And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus 26:30-39
30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
36 And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

1 Kings 9:7
Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:

Psalms 12:3
The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:

Psalms 34:16
The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

Psalms 37:1,2,9,22,28,34,38
1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
22 vFor such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalms 75:10
the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Psalms 80:6-12
6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
7 For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.
8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Psalms 94:23
And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.

Psalms 101:5,8
5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

Psalms 129:4
The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.

Psalms 143:12
And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Proverbs 2:22
But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

Isaiah 14:12
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Lamentations 2:3
He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.

Ezekiel 14:17,21
17 Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

Ezekiel 17:9,10
9 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof.
10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.

Ezekiel 25:7
Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.

Particularly, on what Christ said on the unfruitful tree in

Luke 13:7-9
7Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

We can see that God does not want to waste on useless fruitlessness. Thus, pruning, uprooting, or cutting down an unfruitful plant is God’s judgment of wasteful useless fruitlessness. Pruning in particular is the process of cutting away the useless and wasteful branches which will suck the life out of the tree or vine. If not pruned, the unfruitful branches will reduce the productivity of the plant because the plant spends and waste most of its energies in maintaining the life of an unfruitful branch. We can see that once plants are pruned, we can see sprouts of new life and productivity, which represents God’s pruning of the useless branches of one’s spiritual life that can suck the life out of God in the believer, and limit its productivity.
Aside from very clear lesson on the pruning process in John 15:1-8, we can see that God works of pruning is clearly seen in what Paul said with rich farming metaphors in

Romans 11:15-36
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

The same Greek root word katharos is for pruning, cleansing, and casting away. It’s like saying that the unfruitful branches are like lifedraining pollution that defeats the purpose of God for the fruitfulness of the plant, and that pruning cleanses the plant of such polluting branches. The pruning of a vine involves cutting back live wood to improve its fruitfulness and the removal of dead wood that might spread decay. Here, this beautiful allegory of discipleship relates the responsibilities of the branch, viz. to abide in the vine, to bear (not produce) fruit from and for the vine, only to bear fruit (a branch is useless for anything else, its wood cannot be used for furniture, firewood, or building purposes), to bear much fruit. This is in stark contrast to Israel, God’s fruitless Old Testament vine (see Jdg. 9:7-15; Ps. 80:8; Isa. 5:1-7; Ezek. 15:2; Hosea 10:1, and similar texts mentioned earlier), and lastly, to be submitted to pruning. Despite the pains of pruning for the plant, the pruning will make the plant focus more of its energies in fruitbearing, the desired expectation of the vinedresser.
Pruning does not threaten the salvation of any true disciple of Christ. From John 15, the statement that says, “like the (not a) branch that is thrown away” emphasizes on the metaphor, not the believer. The branch of the grapevine has no use and purpose but bearing fruit. The stringy wood cannot be carved or used in building. It can only be thrown out and burned. Jesus is saying that the person who does not abide in Him is as useless as the branch that is thrown away. We are called to bear fruit. God redeemed us to restore His image to make us bear fruits of good works, as can be seen in

Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

And God prunes true believers so that they will fructify good works and the fruits of the Spirit. We “remain in” Jesus experientially by responding obediently to Him (v. 10). This places us where we are sensitive to His leading and praying in His will. Such prayers God answers! We glorify God by doing that which brings Him praise and glory, as a way for His disciples to reflect His image in them. Here, Jesus says that this means bearing fruit. Living a good life in obedience to Him glorifies God, because we could never do it without an intimate, dependent relationship with Jesus (v. 4). Apart from Him, we can do nothing. The flesh profits nothing.

The pruning process is related to the word on the severity of God in Romans 11:22, where the severity of God refers to being cut off, properly denoting excision, cutting off, as the gardener cuts off, with a pruning knife, dead boughs, or luxuriant stems. The severity of God in that text refers to Israel’s being cut off so that God will graft into the Vine, i.e., Christ, the Gentiles who would put their faith in Him, so that with the union of the believing remnant Israelites and Gentiles, God could form the church. Pruning surely is painful to the plant, but with the pain of pruning, the plant will bear more fruits, the purpose of its existence. He urges that His disciples should be fruitful. The reason is, that they are the media through which He Himself brings forth fruit, serving the same purpose to Him that the branches serve to the vine. His own personal work had been to choose and train them—to fill them, so to speak, with the sap of divine truth through His lifegiving words and Spirit — the sap of the written and Living Word of God. Their work was now to turn that sap of His words into grapes of good works of His Spirit, and continue the process of spiritual multiplication with God forming His spiritual family of true believers and worshippers. The Father in heaven, by sending Christ into the world, had planted Him in the earth, a new, mystic, spiritual vine. He had produced them, the eleven, as His branches, with Judas being pruned as the useless traitorious and unfruitful branch. Now, with His personal ministry ended during His ascencion, and continued by His Holy Spirit that started at Pentecost, it remained for the branches to carry on the work to its natural consummation, and to bring forth a crop of fruit, in the shape of a church of saved men believing in His name. If they failed to do this, His labor would be all in vain.

Returning now to the conditions of fruitfulness, we find Jesus expressing them in these terms: “Abide in me, and I in you.” These words point to a dependence of the disciples on their Lord under two forms, which by help of the analogy of a tree and its branches, it is easy to distinguish. The branch abides in the vine structurally, while the vine abides in the branch through its sap, vitally. Both of these abidings are necessary to fruit-bearing. Unless the branch be organically connected with the stem, the lifegiving sap coming from the watering and fertilizing of God’s words, which goes to make fruit cannot pass into it. On the other hand, although the branch (i.e., the disciples) be organically connected with the stem (i.e., Christ), yet if the sap of the stem do not ascend into it (a case which is possible and common in the natural world), it must remain as fruitless as if it were broken off and lying on the ground. Abiding in the doctrine of Christ, in the doctrine He taught, and acknowledging Him as the source whence it had been learned is what He meant with His “Abide in me”. That is, to hold and profess the truth He had spoken to them, and give themselves out merely as my witnesses. The disciples are to be His fruits of the Father’s planting Him on earth, and in turn, the disciples are to bear fruits also as disciplers of the future disciples. The other abiding, on the other hand, signifies the indwelling of the Spirit of Jesus in the hearts of those who believe. Jesus gives His disciples to understand that, while abiding in His doctrine, they must also have His Spirit abiding in them; that they must not only hold fast the truth, but be filled with the Spirit of truth. All of the fruits of their words and works are only through the lifegiving sap of the power of His word through the Holy Spirit as their lifesource. So, pruning is also so related to the chastening of the Lord as said in:

1 Corintians 11:32
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

To be a branch in the Vine means we are united to Christ and share His life. As we abide in Him, His life flows through us and produces fruit, all due to His credits. It is possible for the carnal Christian to produce “works,” but only the spiritual Christian can bear lasting fruit that will be rewarded on judgment day. That is, fruits through the work of and in the Spirit in the heart and mind of the disciples will reap rewards, while works of and in the flesh will reap rebukes and judgments on judgment day. God will burn all our works, and works will the flesh will burn out, while works in the Spirit will remain like purified gold. Note that the fruitful branches are “purged” ( v. 2—same word as “clean” in v. 3) so that they will bear more fruit. God cleanses us through the Word, chastening us to make us more fruitful, which helps to explain why a dedicated Christian often has to go through suffering. As believers move from producing “fruit” to “more fruit” (v. 2) to “much fruit” (v. 8), they glorify the Father. The evidences of the “abiding life” are: a sense of the Savior’s love (v. 9), obedience to His Word (v. 10), answered prayer (v. 7), and joy (v. 11). Again, in relation to chastening as a kind of pruning, we can read:

Hebrews 12:5-11
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

and from an encouragement in

Proverbs 3:11,12
11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

the author of the epistles to Hebrews showed that divine discipline evidences divine love. So, when God will discipline His own children, they should not lose heart but should endure the hardship of His corrective discipline, and should consider it as an evidence of their sonship in training them for the later glory of the many sons (cf. Heb. 2:10) to be revealed when the Lord will come again for the Second time for them to join Him in glory where they will reap the fruits of their rewards. All God’s children are subject to His loving discipline. Those who are not disciplined are considered as bastards to represent those disobedient and disloyal to the faith to result in their loss of inheritance or reward to be acquired by the many sons and daughters, as promised by their Divine Discipliner. Such bastardous Christians would only be punished with severe judgment by the loss of their rewards when God will burn all their works. God’s disciplining process is basically God’s educational process to prepare His children for His earthly reign after His Second Coming again. So, submission to the full effect of divine discipline is life-preserving as well as fruitful in experiencing His holiness, which would involve a rich harvest of righteousness and peace.
God has some special purpose for Israel, as He said in

Deuteronomy 7:5-11
5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.

Israel was supposed to showcase God’s glories before the unbelieving world, so that they will be attracted to God if Israel would abide by their covenant. The world was supposed to go to Israel and know their God by the way they obeyed and followed their covenant with God. But with God’s permissive will, Israel failed so that He can call the New Testament Church of believers in Christ who He commissioned to show forth the glories of God by going out to the world with the Great Commission of Christ, which Israel failed in their history and existence.

God’s Farm and Co-Farmers: His Church

From the very beginning of God’s word, we can read in

Genesis 1:26-28
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

that mankind was created in the image and likeness of God to make mankind His co-workers, but not His co-equals, in ruling the created order, which mankind relinquished to the Adversary when he was deceived through Eve, but redeemed again by the blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary’s cross!! Since man was created in the image and likeness of God, mankind also share with the multifacetedness of the nature of God as reflections of the complexity of the multifaceted nature of God, the Creator. Finite and imperfect mankind may be a creature, mankind shares with the Creator His multifaceted communicable and relational nature, such as life, personality, love, holiness, justice, truth, wisdom, etc…, though God did not share His omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience with mankind. God, the Great I AM, is the only perfect OMNI-being in the whole universe, who is reflected in His creation, particularly in His image and likeness in mankind. The purpose of the Creator in sharing His image and likeness with His creature, mankind, is on His original and ordained plan and purpose to make mankind know Him and have spiritual fellowship (since God is the Great Spirit) with Him particularly in giving mankind dominion to rule, to be fruitful, and to multiply over the earth as mankind’s way of being His stewards of His created order.
In the calling of Jeremiah to be a weeping prophet for God, we can read in

Jeremiah 1:7-10
7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Here, we can see that God called Jeremiah to be His co-worker in rooting out, pulling down, destroying, throwing down, building up, and planting what He wants to be fulfilled in accordance to His plans and purposes particular to His vineyard, Israel, and also the pagan Gentile nations in relation to His chosen people! God reflecting His facets as a worker unto Jeremiah, His co-worker as His prophet, whose name means Yahweh establishes, exalts, and hurls down, to express the creative and destructive facets in God’s nature, His creativity coming from His facets of love and lifegiving, while His destructiveness coming from His facets of holiness and jealousy (more of holy jealousy), which are all perfectly balanced and harmonized only in His complex personality and character. In verse 10, reflecting God’s facet as the Divine Farmer, Jeremiah was called to be God’s co-farmer to uproot by announcing judgments to come, and in harmony , on the other hand, to plant by announcing blessings if God is obeyed and honored. Plants that are giving good fruits are blessings from God, while those which do not bear fruits as expected will be uprooted. Also, in verse 10, as another facet of God being a worker, as the Divine Architect, is to be expected in and commanded to Jeremiah as God’s architect to tear down, destroy, and overthrow with the pronouncements of judgments from God, and in harmony, on the other hand, to build with the pronouncements of blessings. In a way, the calling to be a farmer and architect are actually the same difference in essence, the same kind of different ways of proclaiming judgments and blessings from God. Thus, farming and architecturing are parallel reflections of God’s judgments and blessings to be reflected in Jeremiah’s image as His prophet who will speak for Him as His co-worker! Jeremiah’s weepings and lamentations reflected God’s weeping and lamentations in judging His chosen people for their wickedness! An architect is like a farmer by planting and uprooting buildings, and a farmer is like an architect by building and destroying plants. This is called an isomorphism, or one-to-one correspondence of structural similarities!
As God’s co-workers, we can read in

1 Corinthians 3:5-10
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

that Paul’s and Apollo’s ministries actually complemented or parallelized to each other in some kind of interdependent interrelationships, say as in the farming and architecturing as aspects of working in God’s mission field being the farm or the construction site. This can be further clarified

Ephesians 4:11-13
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

As believers and disciples of Christ, we are only the means, not the cause of God’s building His kingdom here on earth. We are only the messengers to proclaim, not the message to be proclaimed! The messengers as God’s farmers, architects, co-workers, etc… are by being apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and other kinds of giftedness for work to build His kingdom as all coming from only One Source with Only One Spirit in all of them, as what Paul said in

1 Corinthians 2:4,5
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

This shows many diverse gifts, but only One Giver. A diversity of works with only One Source and Motivator. All gifts and works united in One Giver and Source of all the gifts and works. A unity in diversity in the simple complexity of God’s personality, purposes, and plans for His universe!
In the farming process, the farmer plants in faith, not knowing how the plants will thrive, even with all his inputs and investments of his resources. He has faith on the laws that God foreordained, particularly the law of sowing and reaping. But only God can make the seeds planted by the farmer to grow, as what Paul said in 1 Cor. 3:6. So, God alone, not the farmer, should get all the credits, as verse 7 said. He owns the ground where the seeds are planted, the water to make it drink, the fertilizer and carbon dioxide as the plant’s food, and the farmer who sows and farms. As God’s servants and stewards, the different diverse giftings should complement each other interdependently, not compete against each other’s ministries, as verse 8 admonished their co-dependent co-operation. Diversity of ministries, but only one common purpose and objective: to bring the church to full maturity of Christlikeness, as can be read in

Ephesians 4:12,13
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

All saints and believers are gifted to serve in various ways, as stated in

Ephesians 4:7-11
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Their faithfulness to the task will reap rewards from what they sow as what Paul said in

1 Corinthians 4:1-6
1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

Though serving in the church as God’s farm, the saints are all basically and ultimately accountable to God of how they use God’s gifts of there time, treasure, talents, truth, and testimony. As God’s co-farmers, they all belong to and worked for God in His field (or husbandry) through the church, as what Paul said in 1 Cor. 3:9. As disciplers-farmers, with the words of God as seeds, water, and fertilizer, their farm is the church in service to one another, and the world that Jesus sent them to proclaim His glorious gospel of grace in Him!

GOD’s Farming Instructions

To redeem, revive, and reproduce God’s lost image in mankind after his fall at the Garden of Eden, God gave His farming instructions to redeem and cultivate back His image in mankind, so that ultimately, they will come out with the image and likeness of His Son whose blood was shed to make His plans and purposes get fulfilled in His believers and disciples. With the church and the world as His farm, His farming instructions can be found in His Great Commission and Great Commandment.
Before Christ ascended back to heaven, and before the sending of His Spirit to take His place on earth to continue God’s farming activities, the Great Commission was given in

Matthew 28:16-20
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying,
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Here, due to His sacrifice on the cross to redeem mankind, Jesus was given all power and authority in heaven and earth to exercise His exousia or official right and power to send the saints to all over the world on the basis of that authority. So, in a continuous spiritual multiplication process till His Second Coming, after the Seed died, was planted, and raised again to bear His fruits in the disciples, who in turn will be the seeds to be fruits who were to sow the seeds of His words and Spirit to the world as the farm to be cultivated to further build and expand His kingdom in relation to the prophecy of Daniel where the Rock will cover the whole earth.
His Great Commission is to propagate disciples and disciplers as to discipline new believers by first proclaiming the truth about Jesus Christ, the Living Word, as revealed by God’s written words, as the fulfilment of all what God had been promising not only for Israel, but all mankind. This is one command to make disciples or to farm with 3 participles, viz. in going, baptizing, teaching. It is to preach to reach each with His message by evangelizing (i.e. by proclaiming the good news or gospel of Christ), then enlisting the new disciples as Jesus’ fellow farmers. It also involves baptizing new believers by immersion in water as a seal of God’s owned possession, and that the new believer are no longer their own because they died and resurrected with Christ. And with His full authority, they are to do this till He will come again for the Second Time to physically establish His heavenly kingdom here on earth. His final promise before ascending to heaven to rule with His power and authority is that He will be
with His disciples always till the end of the age.
From 1 Cor. 13, the Great Commission is incomplete and meaningless if the Great Commandment is not followed, as given in:

Mark 12:29-31
29 And Jesus answered him,
The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The Great Commission and the Great Commandment are like two legs that must be balanced for the church to walk properly in obedience and faith to their Divine Discipler with their beliefs and behaviours also harmonized and balanced to define their distinctive belongingness. An imbalance only shows some sickness as can be seen in their walk.
A balanced walk is what is referred in

Ephesian 2:10
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The disciples are to walk properly with the two legs of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. God’s workmanship can not be achieved by good works, but should result to good works as fruits of the Spirit living in the believers. The foreordained good works of God is not for them to work in them, but to walk in them. That is, God has prepared a path of good works for believers which He will perform in, by, and through them as they walk by faith. This does not mean for believers to do a work for God, but God to perform His work in, by, and through the believers. This path of good works is expounded in Ephesians 4-6.
And in our vocation or calling to be like Christ, Paul admonished in

Ephesian 4:1
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

This means a walk of balancing their calling and conduct, their beliefs and behaviours, their doctrines and their deeds, and most of all, balancing the two legs of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. And our walk identifies Who and Whose we are as Paul said in

Ephesians 5:8,15-18
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

To please their Lord, believers are admonished here to live carefully and wisely by shining the light God has put in them. Many walks in sinfulness, and since time is short, with wise conduct, believers must make full use of all opportunities to be good stewards of the God-given time, treasures, talents, truths, and testimonies in them, so that they can help those walking in darkness to walk in the light. A genuine knowledge of Christ manifest itself in transformed character to affect conduct, and in Christlikeness. Related texts in

Colossians
1:10
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
2:6,7
6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

show that to please their Lord in every way, believers are to walk in all worthy conduct, such as to anticipate and do His wishes in every aspect of life. Mere men-pleasing is incompatible to serving Christ. Indeed, Paul ambitioned of his life to please God (2 Cor. 5:9). This would involve fruitbearing, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened (v.11), and giving thanks (v.12). Growing and bearing fruits are correlated processes, and as Augustine put it:

“Faith is understanding’s step, and understanding is faith’s reward.”

Christian life of growth and fruitfulness continues after commencement. Paul exhorted the Colossians to not forsake its divine authority for any human sophistry. With their divine roots in Christ that began in the past, they should continually build up (edify) and strengthen in faith. If they did so, they would not be blown to and fro with every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). Believers built-up in Christ become more grateful and overflowing in thankfulness.

As reflection of our walk with God’s attribute of love, with the power of His spirit, we love Him and others because He first loved us through Christ’s works, as can be read in

1 John 4:19-21
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

A believer who loves other believers also loves God, and in facing his Judge on Judgment Day, he will simply face the One whom he loves. His love for God originated in God’s love for him. There is no fear in that experience. Though love for God can not be substituted by love for others, John pointed out that it would be a false claim to love God but not love his brother. Love for the unseen God can only be concretely expressed by love for one’s visible Christian brother. The Great Commandment is an indivisible package deal, separating one from the other makes the commandment meaningless.
Because of the Great Commandment, we are also to love one another, especially in the house of faith, as what the love apostle, John, said in the following texts:

John 13:34,35
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Even after Christ’s ascension, the disciples can survive by obeying this commandment. The newness of the command refers to a special love for other believers based on the sacrificial love of Jesus. Christians’ love and support for one another can enable them to survive in a hostile world. Each disciple show embody and reflect Christ’s love, just as Christ’s embodied and reflected God’s love. This love is a sign to the world as well as to every believer (I John 3:14).

1 John 2:7-11
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

1 John 3:11
11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

2 John 5,6
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

Obedience to God’s commands is a test of personal intimacy and knowledge of Him. The oldness of the commandment here refers to that new commandment earlier given by Christ in John 13:34,35, the message they heard from the very beginning of their Christian experience. That is, that commandment never loses its freshness from the time Christ gave it to His disciples. The New Church Age is supposed to be ruled by this commandment, which does not belong to the old age of darkness which is passing away. Christ’s incarnation brought a light into the world which can never be extinguished. The love He manifested and taught His disciples to manifest is a characteristic of this New Age to come. The darkness of this present world systems and all this hatred is destined to disappear forever. John contrasted light and darkness in his epistle, with light as one fundamental character of God (1:5). That light has been shining as long as there has been a revelation of God to man. For John, Christ’s Incarnation is the brightest light that shone from God as the revelation of God’s deep divine love. Anyone who claims to be in the light but still hates his brother is still in darkness, particularly, in the Christian contexts. Only those who love their brothers in the faith lives in the light of the new age that shone brightly when Christ incarnated. Living in the light will not make him stumble. Hate is an internal darkness and stumbling block which can lead to disastrous spiritual backslidings. But they can be avoided if one loves his brother. Darkness blinds and can lead to destruction. Those who hates lost a sense of direction like a blind. Wandering aimlessly in the darkness can lead to potentially grave dangers.
And the most difficult commandment to follow is what is said in:

Luke 6:27-38
27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

In these texts, as proof of true righteousness, Jesus discussed seven aspects of unconditional love expressed as actions not naturally done by fallen human nature to require His supernatural enabling, viz.:

1.) Love your enemies
2.) Do good to those who hate you
3.) Bless those who curse you
4.) Pray for those who mistreat you
5.) Do not retaliate
6.) Give liberally
7.) Treat others the way you want to be treated

This supernaturally distinctive (vv. 32-34) love characterizes the heavenly Father (v. 35). Again, Jesus taught here the fundamental universal law of sowing and reaping — we reap what we sow (vv. 36-38; see Gal. 6:7) — as outlined in five areas to highlight the sowing-reaping principle oftenly mentioned in Scripture:

1.) Mercy reaps mercy (v. 36)
2.) Judgment reaps judgment (v. 37a)
3.) Condemnation reaps condemnation (v. 37b)
4.) Pardon reaps pardon (v. 37c)
5.) Giving reaps giving (v. 38)

This law of sowing and reaping only shows that certain attitudes and actions can often reap to reflect back on the sower.

Love should motivate and compel us to serve Him and others, as what Paul said in

2 Corinthians 5:11
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

This same love causes us to treat others the way He would. Therefore, we should spend some time today reflecting on the fact that “He is the LORD” and “there is none other” (Dt. 6:4). Then, we should be faithful in letting others know as well in everything we say and do.

 

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