Crossing the River

By Ole Henrik

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

From the day we are born we are conditioned to think, sense and judge in accordance with appearances, that is, the natural world and how it presents itself. When we are born again it is vital that we learn how to perceive the kingdom of God which is contrary to everything we formerly know. Even if we have been involved in other religious systems which claim to know the spiritual world we need this renewal of the mind, because what characterize every religious system is self effort; what you must do to change, what you must do to satisfy the gods, how you must perform to make yourself acceptable to the deity.

The Old Testament conveys the most astounding and precious spiritual truths when the Spirit enlightens and renews our minds. Without this paradigm shift in our understanding this part of the Bible will remain nothing but pictures of lives lived and occurrences in ancient times. It will not render any deeper meaning than being a receipt for shoulds and oughts.

There came a day after forty years of wandering in the desert when the Israelites finally were in a position to cross the Jordan River (Joshua 1). But, Moses, representing the law, was not allowed to cross the river and had to die in the wilderness (Deut 32:48-52). The law’s presence was banned from the Promised Land, which is Christ. So, when the people entered Canaan they entered Christ who has fulfilled the law in us.

The promised land was abounding with milk and honey and flourished with fruit the Israelites had not cultivated. This is a magnificent picture of the fruit of the Spirit which is manifested when we are in Christ. The fruit of the Spirit characterizes God and his being. When you read Gal 5:22-23 you can meditate at God’s perfection which is portrayed in those two verses, and which through faith is a mirror of you. In the same manner as the Israelites received the abundance of Canaan we receive the fruit of the Spirit when we are in Him.

In the desert there was only bareness and hard work – there is no abundance of fruit when we are subject to the law. In the wilderness every man did what he thought was right in his own eyes (Deut 12:8), which denotes a Christian life of self effort and self reliance. In this religious system you are as holy as your best deeds. In Canaan holiness is imparted to you because of Christ (Hebr 10:14). We now clearly see that no fruit can grow and blossom under the law. In this system every self-effort will be devastated when tested by fire.

God led the Israelites to the threshold, but Joshua was the one who led the people across the river. They could dimly behold the realities of the new life ahead of them on the other side of the river, but they had to walk over themselves. The similarities to how we enter God’s rest are stunning. This entering in is a conjunction of revelation and faith. We are given to see the shadows across the river (Deut 32:49), and we then take a leap of faith to possess what is our inheritance. Unbelief will cause us to continue our tedious march in the wilderness where the only thing which will sustain life is manna from above. But, when the diet has been manna for too long a period it grows bitter in the mouth , and this will be reflected in a person’s whole being.

When you are in the desert you cannot return to Egypt and your unregenerate life, even though you long for those days when the law didn’t condemn you. You long back to the evil taskmaster and the food he served you. But, the Red Sea is closed again. Your salvation is perpetually secured, but the desert doesn’t offer much comfort or promise. You are saved, but you do not carry any fruit in the wilderness. In the Red Sea all the enemies who were against you, and who asserted ownership over you were obliterated. The Holy Spirit urges you to take the leap of faith into the unknown, but as the Israelites you are scared of what lies ahead. Those of us who have crossed the river can promise you one thing: Canaan really is overflowing with life and freedom in Christ.

Notice again that Moses had to die before anyone could enter the Promised Land. We cannot bring the law into Canaan, because there a different law operates; the law of life. It is only by the renewal of the mind that we can understand the spiritual realities which all are contrary to what we have always beheld in this natural, temporal world. We are unable to see grace and the union life – Christ in us – us in Christ, and our new identity in Him when we are in the desert. All these wonderful truths are obscured under the law, that is, in the wilderness.

12 Responses to Crossing the River

  1. Dan Powers says:

    Dear friend and brother Ole! What a fine thing to have finally found this website of yours! Thanks so much. Praying that our Lord continues to bless you with wonderful words where you can share these great liberating truths with all of us.

    Much Love, Dan & Cher
    Buffalo Valley, TN

  2. Ole Henrik says:

    Thanks, Dan! I am delighted to see you here! You have blessed me tremendously with your greeting and your presence. Much love to you and Cher!

  3. Barbara Hughes says:

    Wow!!!!!! That is really insightful, revelatory and very well written and just causes me to hunger for that depth. I don’t know of anyone who has that revelation of Moses not entering the promised land because Law couldn’t enter. We all though it was because he had a bad temper and hit the rock twice. God help us, seek the truth for yourself!
    Brilliant writing Ole, now that I have discovered this, I will certainly be reading more.

  4. Margaret Nabasirye says:

    Dear Ole,

    Indeed this is mystery revealed! This is truth I had never got close to. How I have been struggling on my own, without getting far. It is my sincere prayer that the Lord uses this revelation to bring me back on the road to Canaan.

    Normally, I do not make comments on such postings. I could not resist the temptation of saying how I felt when I read this. Thank you very much for putting it clearly. How I wished it were slightly longer.

    May God continue to bless you mightly as you minister to his people.


    • Ole Henrik says:

      Dear Margaret! Thanks for visiting the blog and your encouraging comment! Your words both edify and inspire me. Your are on the road to Canaan, and in fact you are already in the Promised Land, that is Christ. We simply hold fast to this truth in faith and then the Spirit will settle us in the truth in His perfect timing. Then we know that we know, that is, faith has become substance.
      Thanks for you blessing!

      Blessings to you too and may the Lord continue to open your inner eyes so that you ever-increasingly can see the glory you are a part of as His child.

      Ole Henrik

  5. The Lifeguard Christ says:

    Oh, I enjoyed this! (for the first time).
    I read your writing as a vision, similtaneously: people going down into the river, flailing across, and coming out as new creations. That river is our baptism; and Paul says in Romans that when we were baptised into Christ, we also died with Him, But as we come out, we are resurrected with Him into eternal life on the Canaan side.

    How many have jumped into the river and swam across under their own power, dried themselves off, and carried on in their own power as if it was just another bath?

    I see others go down in the water by faith into the deep end, where they cannot touch the bottom, drown (die), only to be rescued and REVIVED by The LifeGuard who watches all cross in joyful anticipation of receiving them on the other side! Rejoice!

    • Ole Henrik says:

      Man, you sure have a vivid imagination! That sure is a good thing because you added color to my account. Nowadays I like the deep end of the pond or sea or whatever kind of waters we have in Canaan. The Spirit has said, ‘dive here’, and since I am a nice boy I dive there.

      Btw, I believe the Red Sea marks the beginning of the new creation. The desert is Romans 7, whereas Canaan is Roman 8 where we finally understand we are free from the law and a wonderful transformation takes place in our consciousness – we begin to see Christ within. That demands a quite huge leap of faith.

      • Vividus Imaginari says:

        Ole, I know, you really have dived off of the deep end 🙂
        Me, too. I want to know “the deep things of God”.
        But there’s a reason why the diving board is on the deep side of the pool; the higher we dive off by the leap of faith, the deeper we go when we hit the water. “Deep calls to deep”, as the Psalmist proclaims (42:7). This is personal experience to me, for I grew up surfing in the ocean, and I don’t know how many times I have almost drowned in the big waves. But I have learned that if I get caught inside and am going to be smashed by a big breaker, I am going to dive deep for protection where I am safe; that is, if I have enough air (Spirit) in my lungs to wait it out for the cascade to pass over me.

        And, yes, Romans 6, 7, and 8 are key, taken together. God’s Word comes alive and lives in us, amazing.

  6. Ole Henrik says:

    Your wisdom and how you relates it to your own personal experiences blesses my socks off. How you portrayed you going deep to avoid the cascades of water spoke volumes to me this morning. Thanks for that one, bro!

  7. Ruth Coleman says:

    Brilliant Ole! Thank you. I gather that you are off facebook. Miss your enlightening posts. Abundant blessings brother. And congratulations on your published book.

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