Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

The Tree of Life

Today, I am hosting a guest post for Phil Watson, a dear brother in the Lord, fellow pursuer of the truth, and new blogger with the same desire to “Hold to Truth in Love.” So let’s enjoy what Phil has to share with us concerning “The Tree of Life:”

This post is part of a review of a conference recently held in the Baarlo, The Netherlands. The title of the conference was: “The Four Pillars of the Lord’s Recovery: Truth, Life, the Church, and the Gospel.”

The subject of this 4th message is the second pillar, life, specifically—”The Tree of Life.”

Why are we talking about the tree of life, you may ask? Isn’t that just mentioned in first few chapters of Genesis and then nevermore? No, it appears again at least in the the book of Revelation, in two places. Once, as a promise to the overcomers, to eat of it (Rev 2:7), and again in Revelation 22 in the New Jerusalem.


So in the beginning, God intended man to partake of the tree of life, charging him to eat of every tree, but due to man’s fall he was cut off from the tree of life. But this was not forevermore; no, in fact, it is still God’s intention that man partake of the tree of life, and in eternity future that will be our portion forever. So are we just in a big waiting game, waiting for that day? No, for

Christ is the Tree of Life

How can we say this? If we assemble a few verses it becomes clear. Christ Himself declared “I am the life” in John 11:25. Then in 15:5 He declared that “I am the vine”. According to Rev. 22:2, the tree of life must be a vine tree, because only a vine tree can be “on this side and on that side of the river”. So Christ is the vine tree, and Christ is life; hence, He is the vine tree of life, or more precisely, Christ is the fulfillment of the figure of the tree of life.

What does this mean to us today? This must become more than a doctrine to us. Christ came that we may have life (John 10:10), and according to His speaking (John 5:39-406:547:3820:31) He intends for us to take Him as life today, not in the next age. Consider these verses prayerfully, and you will become clear.

Recovery of Eating

Today, when we eat physical food, our energy, our living that follows, is because of that food. We eat it, we enjoy it while consuming it, then as we digest it the food becomes part of us and our energy to live by. If we don’t eat, our function, our capacity is reduced, until at the extreme we cannot move. God has given us this picture to help us understand His original intention in creating man. He wants man to partake of and assimilate Him so that He becomes our content, our energy, our life and our living. We are vessels created to be filled with Him and express Him as glory (Rom 9:21, 23).

Too many Christians have forgotten this matter of eating Christ, and instead try to live a godly life without eating God first. This is akin to running a marathon after going on a starvation diet– there is no way to succeed! We all need to be recovered back to the beginning, God’s original intention, to eat Him.

Jesus used a phrase that was difficult to the ears then, and may still be now: “eat Me”. If we do so, we live because of Him, in the same way that he lived because of the Father while He was alive on earth (John 6:57). This is what He wants. He wants us not to be passively waiting for some promised blessing in the next age, but instead to be actively eating Christ as the tree of life today so that we live on earth a life that expresses the God who is our life within us. According to Rev 2:7, all those in the church today should aspire to overcome by eating. Eating Christ as the tree of life should be the primary matter in our church life.

The Way to the Tree of Life is Opened Again

What of that angel who barred the way to the tree of life in Genesis 3? What of the fall of man? How can man come back to the tree of life today? Christ on the cross took care of not only our sins, but even our sinful nature. Today, we can “come forward with boldness” (Heb 10:20). All we need to do is accept Christ and apply His blood:

Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life. (Rev 22:14)

This is good news; this is the gospel. We should speak to others that they, too, can recover their right to the tree of life.

The Grafted Life

Another picture of man today living by the life of God is found in John 15:4-5:

4 Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.

We are branches.He is the vine, with the “sap” as the source of the life supply. If we abide in Him, we live because of Him, even bearing fruit. If we do not remain in Him, we dry up and are cast off (v.6). It is as if we are branches from another tree, cut off and grafted onto a healthy tree. This metaphor was used by the apostle Paul in Rom 11:17. In tree grafting, the grafted branch does not change its nature; you cannot make it bear different fruit, but its fruit is richer, juicier, and more numerous when the source of its life is greater. In the same way, when we are spiritually grafted into Christ, our human life is not eliminated, but is strengthened, uplifted, and enriched by the divine life. We still live a human life, but a divinely enriched human life.

Part of the Tree of Life

These branches that are grafted in, are they something separate from the tree? No longer. Are they the tree itself? Yes, at least in part. So as we eat Him, abide in Him, living by His life, we become part of Him, part of the tree of life. We live by the same life, express the same life. This is a life union, an organic union. We become one spirit with Him (1 Cor 6:17).

May we all see that we are part of Him, branches of the tree of life, and yield to His flowing life until He spreads as the branches grow and multiply, so that He fills the whole earth!

So I take the position of a mother and ask this simple question: Have you eaten today?

I’m collaborating with a few other bloggers for this little review.  For more appreciation of the messages of this conference you may want review the posts to date as well as the stream of comments:

  1. The Four Great Pillars in the Lord’s Recovery: Truth, Life, the Church, and the Gospel (ITERO 2011) (agodman.com)
  2. The Progressive Issue of “Holding to Truth”—Four Great Pillars (holdingtotruth.com)
  3. Being Sanctified by the Truth to Move Out of Ourselves for the Oneness (holdingtotruth.com)
  4. The Truth: How to Find It and Why It’s Awesome (Clark’s Bible Blog)

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

9 Replies

  1. Phil,

    I really enjoyed your post on the tree of life. It’s always good to have these life-giving words coming from another mouth—the more the better. The only problem with your post is that you don’t have your own blog to link back to. I hope that problem can be fixed soon. LOL.

    Tom

  2. Thanks, Tom. I will seek my Counselor for advice on if/when I should start my own blog. Meantime, I sure enjoyed composing this, and thanks for hosting the post!

  3. Phil, I like the section “the way to the tree of life is opened again.” At the end of Genesis 3 God drove man out of the garden and closed the garden so that man could not take of the tree of life. Man fell but God’s eternal plan and His intention for man do not change! Christ came and accomplished redemption so that we could come back to the tree of life. To repeat from above, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life” (Rev 22:14).
    Through redemption we have forgiveness of sins to bring us back to eating the tree of life. We have the once-for-all forgiveness at the time of our initial repentance and believing in Christ. We also have the constant forgiveness through our confessing. This is 1 John 1. Eternal life was manifested and we are called into the fellowship, the participation, in this life. To maintain this fellowship is to be in the light. Sinning can break our participation but confessing our sins applies Christ’s redemption and brings us back to the fellowship of life. Surely this fellowship is equal to partaking of the tree of life.
    Lord, keep us washing our robes to be in the light as You are in the light.

  4. Great post. It reminded me to eat the right thing. I like this paragraph on eating:

    “Too many Christians have forgotten this matter of eating Christ, and instead try to live a godly life without eating God first. This is akin to running a marathon after going on a starvation diet– there is no way to succeed! We all need to be recovered back to the beginning, God’s original intention, to eat Him.”

    I think I’m very guilty of making the mistake of trying to live a godly life without eating God first. It’s not possible. So, in a matter of speaking, I should just forget trying to live a godly life and first just eat God!

    Thanks for the reminder Phil. I need to be reminded to eat of the tree of life often. After all, Christ did so much to re-open the way!

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