It is often said that
‘experience is the best teacher.’ And in many cases this may be true. Yet at
the same time it is frequently pointed out that if we can ‘watch and learn’
from someone, or be coached by him, all the better. For though we can
readily learn things in ‘the school of hard knocks,’ it is often easier for
us to learn how to do something, or learn how to apply some particular
knowledge to a situation, when we can actually watch someone else do it
first and so observe what he does.
For when we have an experienced example or coach to
watch, we get a double-dose of learning power, so to speak. In other words
not only do we acquire knowledge and learn about its proper application from
what a coach says to us, but we also get to actually see him put
it into practice.
Hence we get to see him take the knowledge and properly
apply it and make use of it, without ourselves having to go through a
process of trial and error of trying to figure out the proper application.
We therefore can minimize the necessity of ‘learning from our mistakes,’ and
we also can avoid wasting precious time as we go about acquiring the ability
or skill that we are after.
So by both ‘hearing and seeing’ the learning process is
made more powerful and more productive. Moreover it is also usually more
complete. For as we observe an experienced example or coach we are often
able to see the full capabilities of the knowledge being applied.
Therefore we are able to pick up on or perceive things about the use of the
knowledge that we probably would not perceive so quickly if we were not able
to actually see it being put into action before our very eyes.
Wherefore by having visual instruction accompany what we
either read or hear we often make quicker and more insightful connections in
our understanding. That is, we often grasp applications of knowledge more
thoroughly, and also discern details about its proper use more clearly,
because we do not just read or hear about it, but we are able to see it
properly demonstrated to us.
Having, therefore, an observable example to follow —
someone to watch who has already learned what we want to learn, and who has
already successfully applied and experienced what we want to apply and
experience — is a big advantage for us whenever we need to learn something.
Begs the Question
With this being so it begs the question, Are we
disadvantaged when it comes to learning certain things from God’s word?
Or to put it more specifically, Are we disadvantaged when it comes to us
following the apostle Paul’s example and pattern for our sonship lives,
since it is not possible for us to personally observe his example?
This is a legitimate question since there are a number of
times in our epistles when God makes reference to us personally ‘seeing’
what the apostle Paul experienced. And then on the basis of his example we
are expected to learn just how he applied specific aspects of our godly
edifying to his sonship life, so that we can do the same in our own lives.
For example, in I Corinthians 2 Paul says...
1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not
with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the
testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among
you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear,
and in much trembling.
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. (I Corinthians 2:1–5)
When God had Paul write this to the saints in Corinth the
vast majority of them had firsthand or eyewitness knowledge of what Paul
said. For they had personally seen and witnessed the things that he said
regarding his example to them. They therefore actually saw Paul’s
"weakness" and his "fear" and his "much trembling." While at the same time
they also saw and observed how he dealt with these things and
operated in spite of them, just as he relates.
But obviously such is not the case with us today at all.
We have no such personal observation of Paul’s experience, nor of his
Does this, therefore, mean that we are at a disadvantage
compared to the Corinthians when it comes to us being able to effectually
learn and apply what God has Paul say to us in this portion of our sonship
Similarly, for example, in Philippians 4 Paul says...
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and
received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall
be with you. (Philippians 4:9)
The Philippian saints had personally "seen" in Paul many
of the very things that he speaks about in this passage. As such they were
eyewitnesses of how Paul handled himself in the sorely trying situations of
which he speaks, seeing for themselves just how he made particular
application of the specific knowledge that our Father gives to us as "the
God of peace" that He is.
Wherefore the saints in Philippi were able to call upon
their personal memory of Paul’s example to them, recalling to
themselves exactly what they had ‘seen in him.’ And then they were able to
"do" the same, or put what they had "seen" into practice, just like Paul
said, in order to have ‘the God of peace be with them’ as He was with Paul.
But what about us today? We have no such personal
recollection of Paul’s example to us upon which to call.
Are we then at a disadvantage when it comes to either
effectually or fully learning how to have "the God of peace" with us,
compared to how the Philippian saints learned it? Does the fact that we have
not personally ‘seen’ or observed Paul’s example limit us in the sense that
it makes it more difficult for us today to learn what Paul teaches in this
passage and apply it to ourselves?
Simply put the answer is ‘No.’ We are not one whit
disadvantaged by not being able to benefit from personally seeing Paul’s
example and pattern with our own eyes.
Instead the truth of the matter is that we are just as
equally advantaged, and we are just as equally capable of fully
benefiting from Paul’s example and pattern, as the saints of his day were.
For in accordance with one of the most extraordinary
features and capabilities of God’s word, our Father has both endowed and
empowered the curriculum for our godly edifying with the ability to make
virtual eyewitnesses out of us.
In other words God our Father has given our "doctrine
which is according to godliness" the amazing ability to produce within our
hearts and minds the very same ‘powers of observation,’ and the very same
degree and amount of perceptibility, as that which was expected to be
operational in the saints who personally saw Paul’s ‘face in the flesh.’
An Extraordinary Capability
Now this is truly an extraordinary capability, and one
that we should deeply appreciate.
However it is important for us to understand that this
capability is not simply the result of God giving us a supplemental
narration of events, (or an accompanying descriptive account of things that
happened to Paul), as might be given by a common storyteller or reporter,
who wants to help his readers get a sense of what was happening.
In other words our Father has not simply supplied us with
an historical record, or descriptive journal, of some of Paul’s activities
in either the Book of Acts or in his epistles, from which we are supposed to
obtain a measure of understanding of what the saints in Paul’s day actually
Instead we need to understand and appreciate that what
God has done amounts to much more than this. It involves much more
than providing us with mere background or reference information, despite the
measure of help that such information can some times give when it comes from
the hands of a capable writer.
For the truth of the matter is that God has provided for
us to have bona fide empathy with Paul in his example and pattern. Or
to say this more specifically, He has enabled us to personally and actually
enter into both the spirit of place and the spirit of fellowship
when it comes to Paul’s example and pattern. And this is something that is
beyond the ability of any human writer or communicator.
Now God accomplishes this phenomenal feat by the
operation of His Spirit in conjunction with the particular way in which He
had Luke set forth his information about Paul and his experiences in the
Book of Acts, and also by the specific way in which He had Paul convey his
personal information to us in his epistles.
Whereby God has made it so that the information He has
given to us about Paul’s example and pattern has the following essential
(1) it has the power to enable ‘the eyes of our
understanding’ to see events and happenings as clearly, and with as much
authentic realism, as if we actually had been there seeing these things with
our own physical eyes.
(2) it has the power to enable our hearts to genuinely
sense, perceive, and respond in the very same way that they would have done,
had we actually been there in person observing things for ourselves and
responding to them.
This, once again, is an extraordinary capability that God
our Father has built into His word, and particularly into the curriculum for
our sonship education. As such the impact and fruits of its effectual
working within us are nothing short of genius on His part.
Extraordinary, but Needed
Yet at the same time this kind of capability is exactly
what we should expect from our Father.
For in view of the fact that our sonship edification is
our vocational education and training as God’s "new creature"; and in view
of God having set forth Paul’s sonship life as a "pattern" for us when it
comes to us understanding, appreciating, and properly putting into practice
the effectual working of our own sonship education; then we need to be able
to genuinely observe our pattern, and as such be coached by him, so
Therefore instead of us being disadvantaged or
handicapped in any way, the opposite is true. For by means of this
supernatural capability our Father has ingeniously empowered His written
record of Paul’s example and pattern with the ability to make the very same
kind of visual and emotional impact upon us today as would have been made
had we actually been there to personally observe it.
A Closer Look
Now the more we truly understand and appreciate this
extraordinary capability, the better off we will be.
For in order for us to fully benefit from Paul’s example
and pattern, (i.e. to ensure that we get the full effectual working from
them that we should), we need to give them their full value and weight as we
encounter them in the course of our "godly edifying." And in order to do
this we need to know just how our Father expects us to deal with them, and
what He expects us to extract from them.
Consequently this means that we need to deal with the
details of Paul’s example and pattern with the intelligent and insightful
understanding of their designed effectual working within us. And so we
need to deal with them with the clear expectation and anticipation that they
will accomplish within us what they are supposed to accomplish.
Therefore it is imperative that we have more than just a
basic realization or awareness that our Father has empowered Paul’s example
and pattern with this extraordinary capability, despite how impressive it
is. For simply being in awe of it will not do. For we really cannot get by
with only a vague notion of this matter, or with a poorly defined or foggy
idea of what we should expect the information to do for us.
Instead we need to have a real and clear appreciation for
this capability. One that comes from a knowing understanding of how it
works and of what it does within us.
Now our Father is fully aware of this. And as such He
took this into account when He designed and composed the curriculum for our
Wherefore before God actually has us encounter and deal
with Paul’s example and pattern as part of our sonship edification, He
provides for us to acquire a knowing understanding of this extraordinary
capability and how it works. And this He does by making use of it at least a
dozen times before we ever get to Romans 12, where the curriculum for our
sonship education begins in earnest.
So then doctrinally-speaking by the time we are ready and
prepared to fully delve into our sonship education, we already should have a
fairly good working knowledge of this extraordinary capability.
Therefore to enhance our understanding and appreciation
for this capability, let’s briefly look at two of these pre-Romans 12
occasions. The first focusing upon us being virtual eyewitnesses, and
the second upon us having virtual empathy.
God first provides for us to be virtual eyewitnesses when
through the effectual working of "the gospel of Christ" He enables us to
clearly see with ‘the eyes of our understanding’ just what was taking place
on the cross when the Lord Jesus Christ was "delivered for our offences,"
and then three days later "was raised again for our justification."
In fact Paul makes direct reference to the issue of us
being virtual eyewitnesses of Christ’s crucifixion when he reproved the
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you,
that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ
hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? (Galatians 3:1)
As we well know the actual crucifying of the Lord Jesus
Christ did not take place in Galatia, nor did it occur when Paul was among
the Galatians. Rather it took place in Jerusalem in Israel, and years
Yet through the effectual working of "the gospel of
Christ" God has provided for "the preaching of the cross" to enable us,
(like the Galatians), to be virtual eyewitnesses of Christ’s crucifixion. Or
as Paul says, to have Jesus Christ "evidently set forth" before our "eyes,"
and thereby have Him ‘crucified among us.’
Now without any exaggeration, and also without the use of
any figurative licence or speech, this is exactly what "the gospel of
Christ" is capable of doing to us. It truly has the extraordinary power to
enable us to enter into ‘the spirit of place’ of the cross of Calvary, and
thereby allow us to ‘see’ with the ‘eyes of our understanding’ Christ being
crucified for us.
As such therefore when we go through "the gospel of
Christ" in Romans 1–3 its effectual working has the power to make virtual
eyewitnesses out of us, who (1) can ‘see’ Christ being crucified in front of
us with as much realism as if we were actually there; and (2) who can also
‘see’ His crucifixion taking place with the intelligent and insightful
comprehension of one who knows exactly what Christ is doing, and knows all
that is happening to Him, and knows the reasons for everything that happens.
In fact this is the reason Paul says "before whose eyes
Jesus Christ hath been EVIDENTLY set forth,..."
Accordingly therefore the provision exists in the details
of "the gospel of Christ" for the eyes of our understanding to perceptively
"see" and follow the very order in which the Lord Jesus Christ went about
meeting and fulfilling every legal requirement and every judicial
satisfaction that He needed to fulfill for us as our Redeemer.
Hence just as one is able to watch an orderly
presentation of evidence in a court case, together with an orderly and
corresponding pronouncement from the bench of judicial compliance and
satisfaction regarding the evidence, "the gospel of Christ" provides for us
to be able to "see" everything that Christ did with the same intelligent and
comprehending eyes that God Himself had when as Judge He set forth Christ
"to be a propitiation through faith in his blood," and He watched Christ
bear and satisfy each and every judgment that was brought against Him as He
took our place.
Now God has both endowed and empowered His "gospel of
Christ" with the ability to accomplish this primarily by the way that He
composed it, together with the way that He composed the historical record of
Christ’s crucifixion in each of the Gospel accounts.
Therefore through the effectual working of "the gospel of
Christ" God provides for us to be virtually transported to Golgotha,
where not only are we able to witness Christ being ‘crucified among us,’ but
we are also able to hear Him describe and explain to us in detail, (and in
order), the judicial proceedings that took place there when according to
Paul’s gospel Christ "was delivered for our offences."
Consequently as we are effectually enabled to watch
and observe the crucifixion, and as we hear God through His gospel
define for us and describe to us each aspect of the judicial proceedings
that take place, He enables us to understand and appreciate each one of them
as He does.
In fact as each step in the process of Christ securing
propitiation for us unfolds before our eyes, not only are we enabled to
perceptively watch what happens to Him, but as we follow the proceedings
we are also able to intelligently respond to each of them.
Hence by being in possession of as much realism as those
that were there, with knowing comprehension we are able to say to ourselves
such things as:
‘Now I can ‘see’ God laying my vile sins on Him, making
Him, (who knew no sin), to be sin for me.’
Then as we watch the process of redemption moving on we
‘The horrors of what it must be like to be under God’s
righteous wrath are starting to chill my soul, as I see Him beginning the
process of suffering the debt and penalty of my sins for me.’
And then as we are in the midst of the darkness, and our
hearts are seized by the horrific cost that Christ is paying to produce
propitiation for us, our trembling souls admittedly confess...
‘The sheer agony and travail of His soul is terrifying
me. For though I am blind to seeing His suffering at this time, I know that
He is undergoing ghastly writhing tortures and torments as He is being
stricken with blow after blow of punishment from the rod of God’s Justice,
as God’s righteous indignation and wrath against my sins is expended upon
But then finally, after what seems like an eternity, the
darkness is lifted. And with our anxious hearts straining to know the
outcome, and with our eyes once again able to see, what we see overwhelms
us. And so we are overcome with such a thrill in our souls that the words
just burst forth from our lips...
‘I can see Him! And, yes, He is still alive! He has
endured! O yes He has endured! — And I now hear Him triumphantly declaring,
"It is finished." — O Hallelujah, my Blessed Redeemer!’
This has been nothing more than a very brief, simple, and
feebly put description of the realism that is produced by the extraordinary
capability of God’s word when it comes to making us virtual eyewitnesses.
Nonetheless it sufficiently illustrates the power of this
extraordinary capability, which in turn completely erases any notion that we
In fact we are so equally advantaged by the power of the
realism of being virtual eyewitnesses, that without one whit of
exaggeration, and without any semblance of pretense, we can answer the song
writer’s question, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" by
honestly saying, ‘Yes! Yes I was.’
Such is the realism of being virtual eyewitnesses — of
being ones "before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth,
crucified among you."
Now as remarkable as it is for God to provide for us to
be made virtual eyewitnesses, He actually takes things one step further when
He provides for us to have virtual empathy.
For with virtual empathy God first of all enables us to
realize the way in which Paul was impacted by the things that he experienced
as our example and pattern. But He does not stop there, as if He was only
giving us some frame of reference material. Instead our Father also provides
for us to genuinely have the same kind of feelings and emotional
responses that Paul had, so that we can enter into an authentic ‘spirit
of fellowship’ with Paul, and thereby unmistakably and confidently know just
how the effectual working of our Father’s word is to likewise work within
Wherefore it takes something extra, in a sense, to
produce virtual empathy since there is more involved, especially as it
pertains to our souls. It requires our Father to use information that He
specifically empowers with the ability to reach all the way through into our
souls, and once there purposefully touch the emotional and sensory chords
of our hearts.
But then once it has successfully done this, our Father’s
word also needs to have the power to go to work in our souls to cause the
chords of our hearts to resonate with the same sentiments that Paul
expresses in his example and pattern — thusly producing an authentic
‘spirit of fellowship’ with Paul.
Now not surprisingly our Father has perfectly provided
for this very thing. In truth He actually has made it so that the
information about Paul’s example and pattern has the power to be ‘felt’ by
us, just as Paul himself felt it at the time. That is, it has the ability to
penetrate into our souls and effectually stir within us the same kinds of
corresponding reactions, emotions, sensations, sentiments, and the like.
And besides this, just as God has done when it comes to
enabling us to be virtual eyewitnesses, so also before we ever get to Romans
12 He has given us some practice sessions, so to speak, with the issue of
understanding, appreciating, and possessing virtual empathy. In fact He
provides us with no less than five opportunities whereby we can get a
working knowledge of having virtual empathy.
So to enhance our understanding and appreciation for this
issue, let’s briefly look at one such occurrence at the end of Romans 8 at
the conclusion to our sonship establishment.
Feeling the Heat
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed
all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:35–37)
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" is the
last of the five heart-probing questions that we are asked in Romans
8:31–39. By them our Father works within us to produce the full measure of
confidence, assurance, and conviction that we need to have as "sons" in the
power of the curriculum for our sonship education, before we actually start
dealing with it.
Specifically our Father probes our hearts in five
particular ways in order to expose to us any problems we might have in the
five areas of our hearts that are responsible for producing and maintaining
the issues of confidence, assurance, and conviction.
Hence by the effectual working of each of the five
probing questions our Father performs open-heart surgery on us, so to speak.
First He works within our heart to expose it to the specific stimulus
contained in each question. Then as we respond to each of the stimuli, He
proceeds to work to eradicate any weakness, or doubts, or faintness of heart
that we might have. And once such things are eradicated, He then
simultaneously goes to work to effectually generate in their place the full
measure of sonship confidence, assurance, and conviction that we should have
in the power of the curriculum for our sonship education.
Now of the five heart-probing questions, the last one in
verse 35 purposely stimulates our hearts regarding the Adversary and his
policy of evil against us. For by its effectual working it actually causes
our hearts to sense, or feel, the very kind of naturally unpleasant
sensations and sentiments that it is going to feel when we eventually do
encounter the Adversary’s policy of evil in the course of our sonship lives.
Wherefore through the effectual working of verses 35 and
36 our Father causes us in advance to ‘feel the heat,’ so to speak, that
will eventually come upon us from the policy of evil. He causes our hearts
to experience an authentic foretaste of the intimidating and
fear-mongering power of the Adversary’s opposition, so that He can
address any weakness we might have and replace it with the confidence,
assurance, and conviction that He wants us to have, and that we need to
Hence the effectual working of verses 35 and 36 causes
our hearts to experience virtual empathy. For as our Father’s
question in verse 35, and the parallel example He gives us in verse 36, work
within our hearts, they actually stimulate within us a genuine foretaste of
the very same kind of chills, fears, trembling, fainting in our minds,
straitening of our bowels, and the like, that the Adversary will work to
produce within us.
Therefore by the power of virtual empathy our Father
actually causes us to ‘taste tribulation,’ to ‘taste distress,’ to ‘taste
persecution’ and the rest, and to do so with as much realism as if we were
already experiencing them.
In fact it is because of the authentic realism of our
virtual empathy with the Adversary’s opposition that we are enabled to be
"persuaded" that we will have success in the face of the entire scope of the
policy of evil, just like verses 38 and 39 declare.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things
present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)
For this profession of persuasion is not an academic one.
That is, it is not merely the result of logical reasoning, nor of convincing
argumentation. And neither does it get produced within us by the
‘inspiration’ of others.
But rather this ‘persuasion’ is both an heart-generated
and an heart-felt persuasion. For it is conceived and brought to the birth
in the depths of our hearts, where by means of the effectual working of
verses 35–37 and its virtual empathy both the power of the word of God and
the power of the policy of evil squared off within our hearts to see which
would impress us more. And as we are caused to authentically ‘feel’ the
power of both, it is the mighty power of our Father’s words that should
impress us the most — that should impress us with its excellency. Hence our
own hearts should fully concur with, and we should be able to mutually
articulate, the heart-felt persuasion that is expressed in verses 38
Such, therefore, is one of the pre-Romans 12 examples of
the authentic realism that our Father is able to produce within us through
the power of virtual empathy.
Realism Times Two
So then through the realism of being virtual
eyewitnesses, and through the realism of having virtual empathy,
our Father has eliminated any notion that we are disadvantaged. For He has
fully provided for our eyes to actually ‘see’ things as if we were truly
there, and for our hearts to actually experience the very kind of feelings,
sensations, sentiments, and the like, that He wants us to experience, (and
that we need to experience), when it comes to learning our sonship education
and living out our sonship lives.
And in particular this includes the issue of us being
virtual eyewitnesses of, and having virtual empathy with, the apostle Paul’s
example and pattern, so that we can be effectually ‘coached by him’ as we
(1) enter into ‘the spirit of place’ with him and authentically ‘see’ him in
his situations and circumstances; and (2) have virtual empathy with him and
an authentic ‘spirit of fellowship’ with exactly how his situations and
circumstances affected him, and with how he dealt with them by means of the
effectual working of his sonship education within him.
The Importance and Necessity of this Extraordinary
It was said at the outset of this article that it is
often helpful for us to be able to watch and observe another’s example when
we are endeavoring to understand how to properly apply new information, or
when we are trying to learn a new skill. And indeed it is.
However when it comes to our sonship education and
edification it is more than just helpful to us to be virtual
eyewitnesses of Paul’s example and pattern, and to have virtual empathy with
him. It is actually a necessity.
For to us Paul’s example and pattern is designed to be
much more than an help. For God our Father has designed it to be much more
than a simple guide, and even much more than a practical tutelage.
Instead He has designed it to be a pattern to be
followed. A pattern in which we see the very kind of things that happen
and occur when we pursue the course of our sonship education and properly
live out our sonship lives. A pattern in which we can both see and sense how
the demands and experiences of living our sonship lives are going to affect
us. (For as they affected Paul, so also will they affect us.) And a pattern
in which we can both see and sense just how the effectual working of our
sonship education successfully operated within Paul, and in doing so be able
to intelligently perceive exactly what our Father has designed specific
aspects of our education to do for us, and how to properly apply them, so
that they will effectually work within us as they worked within Paul, and
thereby bring forth the same fruits unto God’s glory in us as they did in
Such is the fundamental nature of a pattern, which in
turn necessitates that a pattern be able to be watched and observed so that
it can convey to the observer all of the pertinent information that he needs
in order for him to be able to unmistakably and confidently follow the
Therefore the importance and necessity of God empowering
His word with the extraordinary capability of making us virtual
eyewitnesses, and giving us virtual empathy.
But now let’s be a bit more specific and look at this
extraordinary capability a little closer. For the truth is that through the
effectual working of being virtual eyewitnesses of Paul’s example and
pattern, and by having virtual empathy with his heart and mind, our Father
has actually enabled us to follow Paul’s very thought processes, and also
to sense the responses of his heart and bowels, as he himself operated
upon our sonship education and applied it to the details of his own sonship
In fact this means that our Father has enabled us to know
the very kind of godly cogitations and heart-calming persuasions that Paul’s
godly edifying produced within him, and He has enabled us to know them just
as intimately, and just as thoroughly, as if we were able to personally talk
to Paul about them, like saints in his day were able to do with him.
Wherefore as our Father enables us to virtually observe
Paul’s example and pattern, and empathize with him, we are actually able to
benefit from his counsel and ‘coaching’ in the same way, and to the same
extent, as if he personally took us aside and counselled us saying, ‘Look,
this is how what you have just learned is designed to work in your sonship
life.’ And so by being our pattern we are actually enabled to benefit from
Paul explaining to us exactly what to expect out of the effectual working of
what our Father teaches us, (just like he did with the saints in his day),
seeing that he himself has already experienced what we are now experiencing,
and he himself has already benefited from our Father’s words on the matter.
Only The Beginning
Once again this is truly both an extraordinary and a
phenomenal capability which our Father has given to the curriculum for our
sonship education. What’s more, the closer we examine it the more phenomenal
it becomes. For what has been briefly described in this article is only the
beginning of what it is designed to do for us, as we receive our sonship
education and follow Paul’s example and pattern.
In fact we need to understand that as we progress through
the curriculum for our sonship education it becomes more and more
important for us to be able to benefit from being virtual eyewitnesses
of Paul’s example and pattern, and to benefit from having virtual empathy
with his heart and mind. This is because things in our sonship education and
lives become much more personal, and they become more intensely subjective,
the further along we get in the course of being conformed to the image of
For not only does our progressive conformity to Christ’s
image naturally make things more personal and subjective for us, but so does
the increasing opposition that we receive from the Adversary’s policy of
evil. For by nature it too becomes much more soul-troubling and more
Wherefore as we get further along in our conformity to
Christ’s image it becomes all the more important for us to be able to ‘see’
and observe more as virtual eyewitnesses than we did at the first. For God
has Paul relate much more that needs to be ‘seen’ by us, and much more that
needs to be observed by us, as we deal with later occurrences of his example
Likewise through the power of virtual empathy we must be
able to sense and ‘feel’ more of what went on in Paul’s heart and mind than
we did at the first. For not only does God have Paul express more ‘feelings’
in later occurrences of his example and pattern, but during the latter
stages of our sonship lives the battle within us between what ‘feelings’
tell us to think, and what our Father teaches us to think, becomes a raging
battle within us right to the end.
So whether we have just been introduced to this extraordinary capability,
or know it well, it behooves us to invest the time in understanding and
appreciating it all the more. For only then can we ensure that we will fully
benefit from it like we should as we live out our sonship lives.