These Bible verses are very plain.
JOHN 3:3, “Except a man be born again” or “from above”, i.e. have a new birth he cannot see or partake of the kingdom of God. It is not new fruits but new roots. It is not reformation but renovation. It is a new sphere of existence. The main point in this verse is to be born again. The main point in this verse is about being born again. If not born again, a person cannot see or partake of the kingdom of God or of heaven. God is real. His kingdom is real. Heaven is real. All should make heaven their destination. It is for an eternal situation. To avoid the issue is not a wise thing to do. How does one know it as a personal hope? Jesus explains it for us in these verses in John’s Gospel.
Please note: When verses of the Bible are quoted, quite often I have used several translations. In those cases, the sign / is used to divide each translation of the same portion of verse from the other.
1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which lives and abides forever. You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God. By God’s living and enduring word / of immortal, not of mortal seed since your new Life has come not from perishable but imperishable seed / the living lasting word of God”. 1 John 3:2 we are God’s children now.
1 John 5:18 “Whosoever is born of God is not habitually committing sin but it is the Son of God who keeps him safe / but He who was born of God keeps him / For the Son of God will guard him / but the Son who was born of God continues to keep him and the evil one cannot get his hands on him / does not get a grip of him / and the evil one does not touch him.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Whosoever, then, is in Christ, is a new creation / a new being / There is a new creation whenever a man comes to be in Christ / For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether / he is in a new world / united to Christ there is a new world”.
WHY BE BORN AGAIN?
There is no other way to become part of the family of God, or to go to heaven. We must be born again. “Except a man be born again”, Jesus said. Man is outside of the Kingdom of heaven, away from God. He is outside of the grace of God and is not a child of God.
The new birth is not by natural means. It is a supernatural act of God in a person. John 3:6, shows it “is by the Spirit”. This means it has nothing to do with what is material or natural, including the water of baptism. The new birth, as the Bible declares, is totally of Spirit.
All have evil hearts. Romans 3:10, “There is none who is righteous, no not one”. The description of mankind is also found in Ephesians 2:1,2, “You were dead through trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. Following the desires of flesh and senses, by nature children of wrath”. The Bible reads our hearts in Ephesians 4:22, “corrupt and deluded by lusts”. Psalm 51:5, “In sin did my mother conceive me”.
These verses should speak to all of us.
In the Bible, the Greek word “Sarx” is translated “the flesh”, in the case of human nature in general. We read that Galatians 5:19,20 is how we are, before regeneration by the Spirit, before being born again. That tells us how we all need to be born again. Our condition is shown in the following places. Romans 8:10 shows that the “flesh”, the nature mentioned above, even in the one born again still remains the abode of sin.
The problem is sin and not demons. All people are sinners. All of us are tainted with sin. Every one must surely admit that we all are prone to sin. We may call it something else. God calls it sin. Body and soul are born in and with sin. There is an intermingling of body and soul. No wonder sicknesses and malfunctions of the body afflict the human race – always ending in death. The judgment of God is still on the body.
Sin has started in the spirit not in the flesh of the body. The temptation of Adam and Eve was directed to the spirit and succeeded due to their nature. Then impulses from the spirit affected the flesh because of its material nature. We see today that sins and sometimes demons pass on through families, from generation to generation. This happens because the habits of these things are passed on to the children. Each generation, both father and son, is responsible for his own condition, Ezekiel 18:17-20, “he will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin”. “Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?” “The son will not share the guilt of the father; neither will the father share the guilt of the son”.
These come through both parents, through their genes and not through the father’s blood. The child receives the blood group of the father and not his actual blood. It receives the blood of the mother. Sin comes through genes of both parents. David said, “In sin did my mother conceive me”, showing that through the mother also, sin now comes into the race. Adam was the first to sin and Eve fell into sin. Sin thus mastered Adam and also then mastered Eve.
ALL MANKIND IN SIN
Man Perished in the Fall of Adam. Light perished, man died but retained his fundamental existence as a being who would never experience total non-existence. After his death, he would still exist forever and ever. In Hebrews 2:14, “that He (Christ) might destroy the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them (those who believe in Christ) who all their lifetime were held in slavery by their fear of death”. The state of mankind could be reversed.. After the Fall of Adam, his spirit existed “dead in trespasses and sin”, as in Ephesians 2:1,2. Death began to work in his body and soul until finally he was dead. Scientists now tell us that each one of us is born with a death gene.
The spirit originally ruled the soul. The spirit died, Genesis 2 and 3. This is seen in Adam. God had said, “The day you eat, you will die”. Yet, Adam lived on earth. At that time, his spirit died in relation to God. Now the soul rules the spirit and the evil of the senses dominate. The soul experiences trouble, sorrow and sin. Finally the main part of the soul dies, with the body. The rest lives on, caught up into the spirit. Genesis 35:18, “as her soul was in departing for she was dying”. Leviticus 4:2 “If a soul shall sin, it shall die”. Deuteronomy 12:15,20 “the soul lusts after”. Job 27:8 “when God takes away his soul”. Psalm 33:19 “to deliver their soul from death”. That part of the soul that is of the spirit, does not die. Matthew 10:28, The soul dies in so far as it has become part of the body. Its life that comes from the spirit is not destroyed completely. For the unsaved, the sinful spirit that has left the body cannot know God or reach out to Him. It is spiritually dead. It has eternal death and condemnation. In life in this world, when the soul dominates, the world-spirit gets in and through this, the spirit of darkness. 1 John 2:16, “For all that the world can offer, the things our physical nature and our eyes crave for and the proud display of life / all that panders to the appetites, or entices the eyes, all the glamour of its life is not of the Father but is of the world”. John 3:19, “people have loved the darkness more than the light for their works were evil”. Luke 22:53, “the dark Power has its way / hour when darkness reigns / the cover of darkness”. Luke 16:23, the rich man and Lazarus. Psalm 30:3, “You have brought up my soul from the grave (Sheol) that I should not go down to the Pit (Hell)”. “Grave” is “Sheol” and means “state it is in” of an Old Testament believer, in paradise; unbeliever, in torment, Luke 16:23-26.
The spirit fell under the bondage of the flesh. Its God-image substance continued still. Its God-resembling life was quenched. This became Adam’s experience after the fall. Instead of being directed on all sides by the spirit that lived and moved in the God who was its source, Adam’s spirit became dead. It became a gross materialistic nature.
Because the spirit is dead as above, there must be a born again experience in a person for them to live forever and ever in joy and glory, in the heaven prepared for those who are redeemed from the power of sin and Satan. Hence this book.
THE NEW BIRTH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Examples are found in Isaiah 57:15; Jeremiah 11:19; Psalm 34:28;51:10,11; Exodus 31:3;35:31; Nehemiah 9:15; Job 10:12;27:3a; 26:9; 38:0; 51:2,5; Ezekial;11:19; 34:23; Zechariah 3:5;7:12.
The Bible speaks of circumcision of the heart, in Deuteronomy 30:6, “The Lord your God will give to you and to your seed a circumcision of the heart He will rid your heart and the hearts of your children of all defilement and you will love the Lord your God”. Circumcision is a cutting. Under the Old Testament it was only in a measure as the foretaste of what would come under the New Testament.
Forgiveness of sins is the first blessing mentioned for those who repented. Exodus 34:7 “God, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin/bearing away/forgiving wickedness, crime and sin. 9, give us forgiveness for our wrongdoing and our sin “
Also, the Law of God had a power deep within man, Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it – prosperous.”
Psalm 19:7 “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb”.
It was possible to have a new heart. David prayed this in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a new, clean heart and put a new and right spirit within me”. Under the Old Testament it was a small thing only. It was in expectation of the abundance under the New that we now enjoy. It was then a small beginning. Now that small beginning has grown into a fullness of blessing. Under the Old all blessings were in part and were small and incomplete. They gave promise of the New Testament forgiveness, atonement, justification, new heart, regeneration, Holy Spirit, sanctification, and righteousness, There were external blessings foretelling the internal we can now receive.
At the creation of the world and all that is in it God said in Genesis 1:26,7, “Let us make man in our image”. It literally means “a shadow, hence sketch, outline, portrait copy”. It was not to do with bodily form, since God has none. It was to do with his created spiritual nature. God breathed into the form of man made from dust. He “became a living soul”. We do know that many scientists can prove scientifically that the world was created and not evolved.
We should understand our make-up. It is important to know the difference between spirit and soul. This helps in the realisation that there must be a new birth, a truly born again experience. It aids in our explanation as to how this occurs within us. Then when we are born again, we know that our spirit was dead and now lives forever and ever. The body and soul are never affected by the new birth on this earth. It is the spirit that God deals with. Body and soul will be affected when Jesus comes on the Resurrection Day. There will be a great change to the bodies of all believers. The dead will rise up out of their graves in a new body. The living will experience also, as the scripture says, “mortality will put on immortality”. This is the great hope of the believer. Perfection of being will take place. This will continue on to be our experience in the age to come in heaven forever and ever.
This created image of God, was in the personality of man. Man was ruined by sin. In man’s creation, God breathed forth from Himself, out of the fullness of His nature. He breathed out spirit that man was to have in common with Himself. It is not “the Creative Spirit” that has come within man. It is put clearly as to what we are in Isaiah 2:22, “Puny man! Frail as his breath! Don’t ever put your trust in him”. This shows how evil is humanism! We see from Zechariah 12:1, “that God formed the spirit of man within him.” Man’s spirit-soul is called as in Proverbs 20:27, “a candle illumined (or lit up) by God”. This self-conscious spirit of man is distinguished from the Self-conscious Spirit of God, 1 Corinthians 2:11 “What human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within him? No one but the Spirit of God can understand the thoughts of God”.
The real purpose of creation was that in time, God would have many sons brought to glory. Hebrews 2:10, “In bringing many sons to glory it was fitting that God should make the author of their salvation (Jesus Christ), perfect through suffering”. He desired sons, who needed to be redeemed first of all. This would be effected through the cross and their belief in Christ. At that point, their spirits that had died in Adam, would be made alive. Receiving Christ would enable His Spirit to live within. His Spirit would become one with their spirits, 1 Corinthians 6:16, “The one who joins himself to the Lord, is one spirit with Him”. The heart of God desired to be united with sons for eternity. When we received Christ, God did this miracle within. Now, as we live in Him, we are one spirit with Him. This will continue on into eternity if we do not “fall out of Christ” as Paul warned in Galatians 5:4, “You have alienated yourself from Christ. You have fallen from grace” Also, in 2 Peter 2:21,22, “It they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness”. “He who endures to the end will be saved” as said by Jesus. All should beware.
God desires to inhabit sons forever and ever and to live amongst them, Revelation 21:3, “Now the dwelling of God will be with men and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God”.
MAN – SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY
Man consists of spirit, soul and body. Each is distinguished, Mention of them is made in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May your spirit, soul and body be kept sound”. The spirit is that part of man that has the capacity to know God. The soul is the natural part of man. It enables a man to connect with this world and with its inhabitants. The soul communicates with others. Genesis 49:6, “O my soul, stay away from them. May I never be a party to their wicked plans. For in their anger they murdered a man”. This was said by Jacob regarding Simeon and Levi. The soul is enlightened by the light of Holy Spirit but only in a natural way. In John 1:9, we read of “the Son, the true light” who lights mankind with reason and understanding.
He is now the author of spiritual light to all who obtain mercy. This spiritual light is implanted in the spirit of the one who turns to Christ of the cross of Calvary. Man was to reflect God, whose light was the life of man. In Colossians 1:15, “Now (Christ) is the image of the invisible God. He was before creation began for it was through Him that everything was made.” If Christ is within us His light will be expressed in and through us, reflecting God. The light that Adam had gave him life and he reflected God. In that way he was a partaker of the divine nature. What he had cannot compare to what Christ does within us when we believe on His saving power. His essential likeness to God and perfection that he had within dictated to him what God wished. In that measure, God was shining forth in his spirit. The soul appeared in Adam when he was created.
Scripture gives the two distinct functions of spirit and soul.
In Hebrews 4:12 we read how Christ has the power to so enter our being that He knows the distinction between soul and spirit. He “penetrates as far as a dividing asunder of soul and spirit/strikes through to the place where soul and spirit meet/pierces even to the severance of soul from spirit/penetrates deeply making a distinction between soul and spirit.” Soul is a copy of the spirit who is the image of the triune God. The spirit is superior to soul, being its manifestation. “The spirit in man, in order to be able to be have interaction with the material world and its people, appears as soul. It is united to the brain, operates through this organ and acts as soul, yet the spirit still is above the soul.” The body is the seat of the senses. The soul is the seat of the emotions. The spirit is not the seat of the emotions. That is one reason it is important for believers to be filled with the Holy Ghost according to Acts 2:4 to recognize this. The Holy Spirit within operates from the spirit and not from the soul. Therefore, much of the unbalanced emotional content of their experiences of speaking in other tongues, is not necessary. “My spirit (not my soul) prays”, says Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:14, and all Spirit filled believers should be praying that way very often indeed. The spirit and soul are not distinct natures. However, spirit and soul are connected parts of the internal make-up of all mankind. They are separable. Adam was given a soul as well as spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45, “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit”. Life of a creature, even brutes, is life effected in matter by God. Psalm 104:30, “When you send forth your Spirit they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.”
The spirit knows God and exists never to be destroyed. The soul as it is can never enter heaven. At death or when bodies are changed by the coming of the Lord, most of the soul will disappear. That part of it connecting it to the spirit, will shrink up into the spirit. Without the soul on this earth, a redeemed and saved person would not have a certain ability. It is this. Whatever happens in his spirit, whatever knowledge of God, whatever the spirit sees, hears and understands, needs the soul so that it can be expressed in the human existence on earth.
Genesis 2:7 The body was created first. The soul did not come from it. God breathed into man an active soul and breathed into him a spirit of life. He was given a limited and mortal nature body of earth. He did not have immortality. Man was made of earth, the most elementary form in creation. It was mostly water. When the body was created (Adam being the first man) it was not yet an organism living of itself. The formed body lay there, not breathing, inert. Then Jehovah-Elohim (translated “God”) breathed into it. That was the end of the creation of man. There was a creative act of in-breathing for man, from God. Then man breathed forth from himself. The Creator gave the human body a spirit to belong to man’s own nature. God the Creator created out of Himself that which man was to have of spirit in common with Himself. This is as far from being God as a breath of man is from being man. We will never be “gods”. The human spirit came into being in time. It was temporal. This was by an act of God alone. Man had nothing to do with it.
Similarly, in the creation of spiritual life for the born-again, the Saviour in John 20:22 gave to the disciples something of the absolute Spirit of His divine-human person. It came even though He was confined by His flesh, albeit His resurrected body. (When He left heaven as God becoming man, His Divine glory was veiled). Now, as in the creation of man God breathed into him, so in the new creation Christ breathed on His first disciples.
God breathed the power of life into Adam, of which spirit and soul are two distinct parts of that one principle of life. Spirit is superior to soul, Genesis 2:7. Soul was the manifestation of the spirit that was breathed into him from the personal God. Spirit is the inbreathing of the God-head and the soul is the out breathing of the spirit. The spirit is of life and endows the body with soul. Spirit is the life-centre provided for the body. The soul is the shining forth of this centre of life. The spirit is the inward being of the soul and soul is the external nature of the spirit. Genesis 49:6; Psalm 7:6; 16:9; 30:13; 57:9; 108:2. The spirit is the image of the triune God-head. The soul is the copy of this image. It is related to the spirit as the Spirit of God is to God the Spirit.
It is necessary that in the existence of the spirit it is conscious of itself. It begins with a condition of unconsciousness, in the womb. The actual knowledge of itself begins after birth, Ecclesiastes 6:3-5. At conception in the womb, bodily life begins as an embryo. At the same time, there is the beginning of the spirit’s and soul’s life. The “person” is in the womb. This is why abortion is murder.
Luke 1:25 where Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost in his mother’s womb, shows that the fruit of the body has not only soul but also spirit. However, it is the human spirit is that part of man that can receive the divine. See Isaiah 49:1,5; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15; Psalm 22:10; 71:6; Genesis 25:22; Hosea 12:4; Luke 1:41.
Proverbs 20:27 “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart (his deepest self” – or “Man’s conscience is the lamp of the Eternal, flashing into his inmost soul” (Mof); “A man’s conscience is the Lord’s searchlight exposing his hidden motives.”
Even the heathen have a conscience, a lamp of God within and a knowledge of right and wrong. The lamp of God is the light placed within a man by God, being his self-consciousness that has a conscience. John 1:9 bears this out, reading also “He was the true light that enlightens everyone coming into the world”. This Light came into the world in the birth of Christ. He already knew mankind. He had prepared His coming to earth by deep relations with humanity. Over the centuries, He had enlightened every man, including the heathen as well as the Jew. He lit him by intuitions of the good, the beautiful and the true, deep within a man’s (or woman’s) being.
The candle, conscience, which God has lit in man, is close to the condition of the man himself. The spirit understands all that belongs to the nature of man. This is in his self-consciousness. It penetrates his inner being. It searches throughout. There is a problem because of sin. The conscience tries to rule man by its power. The spirit penetrates all that is within. It is self-testing and is a self-knowing light, Matthew 6:22, speaks of “the inner eye”. Man knows himself according to his moral as well as his natural condition in the light of his spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:11. “Who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?” Man’s spirit has this kind of knowledge.
However, towards God that same spirit, without Christ, is dead. He can never know God in that condition. By his spirit can never find God. This is as God says, Romans 3:11, “There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God”. The body without the spirit is dead towards God, as says James 2:26. The natural mind and soul is between the spirit and the body. This is the life of the soul that comes from the spirit itself. Matthew 10:28, “can kill the body but not able to kill the soul”. The soul is of one nature with the spirit. It belongs not to the side of man‘s nature but to the side of spirit. It is proceeds from spirit. Thus in death, the body dies but not the soul. The soul’s earthly part is lost and the soul itself is absorbed by the man’s spirit that can never die. It lives forever either in heaven or in hell.
When God manifests Himself He appeals to the spirit of man. He has the power by His Spirit to cause or create a response to occur in that spirit of the unsaved. The spirit of the saved, born-again person, has life in it enabling it to respond at any time. The soul is a participant. The decision is made in the spirit. Psalm 51:10, man’s spirit is renewed. Titus 3:5, the giving of new life in the Holy Spirit (renewing Spirit/soul/body. Psalm 30:12, That my spirit may sing to Thee and not be silent. Luke 1:46,7, My soul exalts / spirit. The spirit is the image of Triune God-head; the soul is the copy of this image and is related to the spirit. The body is the house, 2 Corinthians 5:1; Ecclesiastes 12:3-7.
The Spirit is That Part of Man Enabling Him To Receive the Divine. Luke 1:25, John was in the womb full of the Holy Ghost. Isaiah 9:1,5, “When I (prophesied of Christ) was still in my mother’s body he had my name in mind, formed me from the womb to be His servant (No sin tendency, Mark 1:11).” Jeremiah 1:5 “before ever you came to the birth, I set you apart for myself”. This happened also to Paul, Galatians 1:15, “who separated me from my mother’s womb, even before my birth”. The spirit existed in the womb but was unconscious of knowledge, especially regarding self. Ecclesiastes 6:5,”though it came in vain and goes into darkness and its name is in darkness; though it has not seen or known sun yet a dead child is at rest rather than such a man.”
The flesh (or matter) of the body has no power over the spirit. Rather, it is the reverse. The spirit and soul have power over the body. The soul is the link between the spirit and flesh (matter). Body, soul and spirit make a man. He is not a “spirit being”. He is a man. Yet flesh is not itself spirit, Genesis 6:3, “The life-giving spirit shall not remain in man for ever; he for his part is mortal flesh”. (This was after the Fall and speaks of that part of man that is life-giving through the circulation of the blood. His soul would eventually leave his body at death as in Genesis 35:18, “It came to pass as her soul was departing, for she died”. His soul was His).
There is to be a final glorification of the material world including the body. See Romans 8:23, “While we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realised our full sonship in him. 21 because the universe itself / the whole of created life will be rescued from its bondage to decay (tyranny of change and decay)”.
THE ANSWER IS CHRIST
The answer to the terrible condition of mankind is realised in Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:47, “The first man is of the earth, formed of dust; the second man is from heaven.”
The First man (Adam), had a heavenly side and the second man (Christ) has an earthly side of His nature. The First, had an earthly beginning. The Second (Christ) had a heavenly beginning. The First (Adam), had a created spirit united with a body created out of dust. The second already was a Person, an Eternal One, when He made Himself subject of a human nature that did not come into existence without His will. Verse 48 shows we must bear image of the heavenly.
There is hope for mankind in Christ. There is deliverance from this terrible condition only in Christ and His cross where He paid the price for our deliverance. There is eternal life available for all who will believe this, in Christ.
Ultimately, inwardly, is to be like Christ. At the resurrection, the believer will be totally free of sin and death. 1 John 3:2, “We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” Also, the believer will be given an immortal, glorious body. It will be energized by the Holy Spirit. It too will be like “His (Christ’s) glorious body”, Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body”. What a glorious hope!
Sharing in the First Adam, body, soul and spirit – physically born. Sharing in the Last Adam, body, soul and spirit by means of a new creation who is a birth from above, & different from earthly.
THE NEW BIRTH
The spirit is re-created, born again. We are made or “become” a partaker in the spirit, soul and body of Christ. The spirit (the real person for an eternal existence) is born again. The soul in this life still has sin. The body is redeemed at the coming of the Lord for His second descent to receive us. Sinful man by his descent from Adam was earthly. So by his partakers of the holiness of Christ, he becomes spiritual and heavenly. There proceeds from Christ according to his three-fold human condition, certain operations. These place the believing man, in participation with Christ’s spirit, soul and body. This is in a union with Christ. It is powerful to transform the believer’s own spirit, the remaining part of his own soul and his own body at the coming of the Lord. The spirit is transformed at the new birth, by the impartation of a new life and a new nature, in Christ. There is a new spiritual being, creature, nature or life. It continues on in a course of being transformed, as in 2 Corinthians 3:18. As born again, we are then said to have God as the “Father of spirits”, Hebrews 12:9.
This new birth does not produce an inherent nature, that could be called “the nature of God”. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature”. He is a “creature”. It can never be said that he as such a creature, has the “nature of God”. A new creature is a moral man, not a God. There is a workmanship of God within us, Ephesians 2:10. He has put His Spirit within us. First of all, the sinner has to repent. Then God produces within by His creating act, a new creature, Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:10.
In 2 Peter 1:4, “He has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you become participants of the divine nature”. This divine nature is not the total nature of God. We cannot say we have the nature of God, as Copeland or Kenyon. We ourselves do not subjectively partake of this nature. It is a nature but it is a principle of operation, created in us by God and bearing His image. We can never receive the nature of God. God has created within us a “creature”, a “new nature”. God can never create Himself, so He does not create within us His nature. We have created within us a new nature after His image, or “the new self, created according to the likeness of God,” Ephesians 4:24. It is stated in Galatians 4:19 how this happens. It is that “Christ is formed in us” and as in 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are “being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit”.
While the believer lives on this earth, the soul follows suit, not to obey sin but to obey God. This is as the believer does what it says in Ephesians 4:24, “to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”. The body will not be transformed until it experiences 2 Corinthians 5:2, “For in this tent (body) we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling” and 1 John 3:2, “when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is” and Romans 8:11, “He who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you”.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF LIFE
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life, Romans 8:1, He is the one by whom we walk in newness of life. Those who are Christ’s have the Spirit. The Spirit is the way the eternal God and his Christ have come to us in the present as personal presence taking up residence within the life of the believer. As the Spirit of life he is God’s surety in our present existence that we have already entered into the life of the coming age, Hebrews 6;5, “Who have tasted of the word of God and the powers of the coming age”. Our present experience of the Risen Christ and with God the Father, is operative through the presence of the indwelling Spirit. The Spirit of life gives life both now and in the future to those who are Christ’s.
We receive of the Spirit of Christ. After every limitation of Christ was laid aside through the resurrection, the Spirit in Christ was combined into one with the Holy Spirit who was eternal with the Father and the Son. Now whenever the Spirit is given it happens since the ascension through the Spirit of the Son of Man. The giving of the Spirit in the New Birth revives the extinguished image of God in our spirit. This image remains. By this born again experience, our spirit is restored and restored more abundantly, to what God intended. Man, who even in his natural state without Christ, did not cease to have a spirit on believing for the first time again has a spirit that lives in Christ, Colossians 3:3,4; Jude 19; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; John 3:6.
We receive of Christ’s soul, for we receive of Christ’s blood, Isaiah 53:10, “He (Christ) will see his offspring”. The blood which removed the wrath of God, is now in its Divine and complete perfect soul of Jesus through the divine love. This divine human blood of our Mediator is vital within us. The Blood means we do not have to answer to judgment. There remains no curse.
By virtue of this blood and of the Spirit which in Christ’s spirit has again become God’s, the soul recovers its godlike form, as in the beginning of creation. However, it is in a far better way than it was with Adam.
We receive of the flesh of Christ, which, because it came into being by means of heavenly begetting in the womb of Mary and has the life-giving Spirit flowing through it Luke 1:35, John 6:63, 1 Corinthians 15:45, is of the nature of spirit. Therefore it can be given to us for spiritual benefit. It is the Heavenly bread of life, (Jesus), John 6:35;54, “I am the bread of life” and “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” This is the manna that makes us eventually immortal. This manna enters into us without mingling with our sinful materialistic animal flesh. It can never happen at the hands of man. Oh, how we underestimate the great salvation that God has given. In respect of our Adamic flesh, it then becomes for us a power, an assurance and pledge of life in the midst of death. Eating of this heavenly Manna (Christ) gives us a taste of immortality. That will bring about the regeneration of the natural life, the “redemption of the body”. See 2 Peter 1:19c, “until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts”. To arise in our hearts (spirits), the morning star (Christ), has to be already in residence.
Our “new man” within us should continually be transformed by being “changed from glory to glory”. This takes place by the Spirit of the Lord. Our carnal nature (old man) within our souls can never be changed. We are One with the God-Man, Christ, in spirit (new man). He thus imparts (gives a share of) to us of His essential fullness. We are not able to have a clear and permanent consciousness of this our new life, that is hidden with Christ in God, Colossians 3:3. We are still bound to this world by our material body.
This life fulfils itself without the help of our knowledge and will as long as we remain “in Christ”. This new life is silently living and growing. The new life is invisible but we know it is there because the Word of God says so. Also, there are times when this new life shows itself in our communion with Christ and through heavenly ways, in our lives. This new life should predominate We maintain living faith, secure in the knowledge that we are united in spirit to the Spirit of Christ. By faith, we await the revelation of Christ from heaven, 1 John 3:2; Colossians 1:27. However, there are definite acts of faith we need to take to ensure growth in the new man. This is to be in the area of “denying self”. We do not die to self. We already died with Christ on the cross. Also, we need much prayer in the Holy Ghost to be changed from “glory to glory”. This matter is dealt with further on.
WHAT HAPPENS IN US
The new creation has a point of entrance into us. That point of entrance is in our spirit. This changes the godlessness of that we had as unbelievers. We were separated from God. Now as a believer, we have fellowship with God. The new creation is a birth from above, different from the earthly birth. See 2 Corinthians 5:17 that follows v.16. Formerly we lived according to the flesh. We lived according to the ways and darkness of this , world. We were without God and without Christ in the world. Now, in Christ, the old order of our living has gone. The new order has come, for the church and the believer. The flesh sees life from the viewpoint of the old age (the Old Testament age, or the world’s age). 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, God has reconciled us to Himself. We are now living in the end time, the last days. It started on the Day of Pentecost.
Note: The believer is “in Christ” and only as such is he a new creation. He does not stand on his own as a new creation with a new spirit full of righteousness. The Spirit within who leads him, Galatians 5:16,18,25: Romans 8:14 is He who will enable him to have holy and righteous living.
Man is not a spirit, or a spirit being. He was created first of all with a body, into which God breathed spirit and soul (life). He is still body, soul and spirit. In eternity, he will be immortal, resurrected body, with spirit and soul.
By the power of the eternal Word united in Him with His human nature, Christ is a person who has power to create. He is able to produce from His being, the likeness to Him in us. This happens because Christ is in us.
In natural birth, the babe formed comes out into the world. In the spiritual birth, the new creation by the Word and the Spirit within the spirit of the man, comes into the Kingdom of God. We have a nature of sin, not Satan, Romans 1:18-32; 2:5,6,12-16,22,23; 3:7-20;,6:15-23; 7:17-23. When Jesus said, John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil” He meant that they did the things Satan did. Literal meaning – “You are sons of the father who is the devil and not, as you think, of that other father who is God”. “You desire, you are eager to” shows the person wills to consent. Each person who sins is the one who is guilty. The Scriptures do not blame a demon for killing Abel but Cain.
In Eden, Satan seduced Eve, thereby causing man (Adam) to fall under the yoke of sin and thereby of death. He separated man from God, through falsehood. The devil is a liar from the beginning”. Man thus fell into ruin. Satan personifies hatred of man and enmity to Truth. Men subject to Satan, also hate and are enemies to Truth, whether unbelievers in the world or supposed believers in the church.
The serpent threw false light upon the tree, thus deceiving Eve. It looked good. There was something in her that responded. She had not heard the Word from God but only from Adam. Lust was conceived immediately it brought forth sin, James 1:14,15, “Each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”. The man next fell into sin deliberately and lost his manly dignity to the woman.
A beast, the serpent, seduced them who were made in God’s image. The lords of the world, Adam and Eve, fell through a tree, their natural environment. Satan brought about their fall by means of a beast and about a tree. There was and is an aspect of man’s nature that is “beastly” in the sense that there is even then, the possibility of a conformity to the “lower nature” already there. The blame lies not on Satan. Adam bears the guilt, Romans 5:12, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death”. We all being sinners, bear our own guilt. All sin begins by being sensual. Then it becomes bestial, like a beast and finally, the person commits the sin.
It appears that God from the creation of Adam, had conversed with him in a visible shape, as the Father of His children, in the form of the Angel of the Lord. See also Colossians 2:16 and Proverbs 8:27-35. We see this kind of appearance in Genesis 2:19,22 when He brought the beasts to Adam and gave him the woman to be his wife. This was possible because man was made in the image of God and had a spirit. “God is Spirit”, John 4:24. God did not have a bodily shape. However, through the Old Testament God appeared to different people through the Angel of the Lord (the Son) with a bodily shape for a small measure of time. One instance is with Abraham, Genesis 18.
When Adam and Eve fell in Genesis 3:9-15 he tried to hide from God. Verse 8 does not imply that God came down every evening. It implies that “In the wind of the day”, they heard His footsteps, as in 2 Samuel 5:24. He came at that time to deal with their sin.
The correct translation of Genesis 3:15 is “I am putting and will put enmity between you and the woman. She has chosen to make the breach, I will widen it.” The position was that when God came to both Adam and Eve after the fall, He questioned both of them. In Genesis 3:12, 13, Adam blamed the woman. He did not acknowledge his sin. God dealt with Adam first and then Eve, because Adam was the sinner. Eve was deceived and fell into sin, 1 Timothy 2:14, “Adam was not deceived. But the woman, being deceived fell into transgression”.
In her answer to God, Eve covered her husband’s guilt. She did not name him as being the sinner even though he should have made sure that she knew enough of the Word of God not to listen to anything different.
Most probably there was already something in the heart of Adam that made him hope to be like God, having dominion and able to act independently in pride, being the “man” mentioned in Isaiah 14:12-16. Contrary to the teaching that began in early times in the Roman Catholic Church, this “man” cannot be “Satan” who is not a man.
Perhaps some explanation of both Isaiah 14 regarding Babylon and Ezekiel 28 about Tyre, would be appropriate. These two chapters in both books are tied together. The general view of those chapters is that they refer to Satan, was never taught by the early church. It became a doctrine when Jerome of the Roman Catholic Church, in the fourth century and Tertullian whose doctrines generally tended to error, in the early third century, introduced the idea.
It was carried on right through the Middle Ages until the Protestant Reformation, when both Luther and Calvin rejected it. It is sad that many of those wrong beliefs from the Catholic Church still exist in Pentecostal, Charismatic and Protestant circles.
Adam was given dominion over the earth, Genesis 1:27-30. Satan was never given dominion over the earth. Adam forfeited it to God, Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 4:11. Through Christ, it has come back to man, as in Romans 4:13 and Hebrews 11:18 with Galatians 3:16,18. in relation to the new earth, 2 Peter 3:13, “In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness”. Satan is Prince of this World, meaning this world’s system of ideology, rule, culture, philosophy, ways and manner of life.
Isaiah 14:8-11 refers to the King of Babylon, Meriodach-Baladan, who in chapter 39 sent messengers to King Hezekiah. A special place was reserved for him in the world of the dead, because of his great evil, tyranny and idolatry. The fall of that king, in verse 10, stirs all the kings already in Hades, in the place reserved for kings. In verse 11, the love of music by the Babylonians is to be noted.
The whole of Isaiah 14 is about this king, who was also a god-king as was normal in those ancient days. Verses 12 onwards concern a myth of the god, Lucifer, Helios Klymene, son of Eos. Also, El-Elyon was a god and the god-king, Hebel, son of Schachar and a great hero, who tried to make himself like the god. History says he wanted to make himself higher than the clouds, above all the stars of the god. He would raise himself to the very mountain to the farthest north, where the gods were thought to gather. There he would reign over the universe, including the gods.
In a picture of Adam in his sin, in verse 12, “Day Star, Son of the Morn”, we could refer to 2 Peter 1:19 that says about the people of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”. This is not Satan. It would appear that all the angelic beings were created on the first day in Genesis 1, according to Job 38:7, when they all “sang together”. This verse 12 has to refer to Adam.
Isaiah 14 refers to the Edenic curse and not to the fall of Lucifer as commonly taught. Regarding Satan in John 8:44, Jesus said “He was a murderer from the beginning”. This shows he was always a murderer from his beginning. Therefore, his beginning could not have been in heaven, but on earth, a murderer at all times. See Isaiah 45:7, “I am Jehovah, and none else, Forming light and creating darkness, Making peace and creating evil; I, Jehovah, am the author of all these things”. The darkness here is the moral decay of darkness. It would appear that God created Satan as he is and allowed him to live in the heavenly places until he fell from there on the crucifixion of Christ, to dwell among men.
In Isaiah 14:16, it refers to “the man who made the earth tremble”. Of course, primarily that is the King of Babylon. Satan is not a man. This King also refers to Adam as he who made the earth tremble – with his sin.
Ezekiel 28:11 is about the King of Tyre. How can any king be a picture of Satan, who is not a man, who does not die and go into the grave or Pit? It would appear that those verses onwards are also a picture of Adam. He was in Eden, a place never controlled by Satan. He was the “anointed cherub”, or living man. He was driven out of the Garden of Eden, when God placed a Cherub to “guide (or guard) the way to the Tree of Life”. This Cherub must represent “eternal life of the nature of God (Christ)”, the very life of God, in the believer, that is the only way to future heaven and “Eden” on the new earth.
Continuing in Ezekiel 28, Verse 4 shows the vanity in the greatness of the man and the King. In Verse 13, there is no mention of music in more recent English translations. For all music lovers, it might be good to remember that music has to be a God-created ability but that the wicked line of Cain produced evil Lamech, whose son, Jubal, “was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe”, Genesis 4:17-24, noting Verse 21. As a musician with most talented musicians and singers in my family, I have noticed in musicians around the world in the church and out of it, that the area of music is one most prone to money-making, vanity, pride, egotism, a competitive spirit, jealousy and worldliness. The god of many Christian musicians and churches these days is their music and their ability to make music. It is after that, offered to the true God! Jesus is to be Lord and all believers are to walk in the Spirit as they are filled with the Spirit. They are to worship “in Spirit and in Truth”. Talents of music have little part in that kind of music if one observes the words of Jesus and those of Paul regarding “songs in the Spirit”. Worship is not music and song. However, music and song can be part of Holy Ghost worship. This is only if such are based on the New Covenant and all are moved upon by the Spirit.
Lucifer thus is not the author of our music. It is part of God’s fallen creation of man. The reference to music in Isaiah 14:22, “the sound of your harps” refers not to Lucifer or even Adam but particularly to the king of Babylon, a man of history who received the judgment of God. The Babylonians as stated, loved music.
Back to Ezekiel 28. Remember that Verse 11 shows that the verses after that are part of the prophetic lamentation over the king of Tyre, who cannot be Lucifer. The king is written down in history as having existed. Being a man, he would be a type of Adam and not of Lucifer who is not a man. Verse 14, in speaking of the “anointed cherub” cannot have reference to Satan. It can only refer to “man”, Adam, as in Genesis 3:24, it was not Satan who was placed at the entrance of the Garden to “keep the way to the Tree of Life”. The cherubim can only refer to the “Life of God in man”, as indicated by the cherubim before the throne of God, worshipping the Lamb of God, Revelation 4:6; 5:8,9,11-14. Verse 17 of Ezekiel 28, as well as referring to the King of Tyre, has a reference to Adam. See Proverbs 16:4 for further thought.
There is no thought in either Ezekiel 28 or Isaiah 14 of the being of Satan. It is about men. See Ezekiel 30:10,11; 31:12.
The heart of the “man” has never altered.
BEING BORN AGAIN, THE NEW BIRTH
If we read these scriptures, we should receive revelation. Titus 3:3-7,”Rebirth” from “paliggenesia”, means that spiritual life begins all over again. The old life is renewed. It is transformation by a new birth in the Spirit. Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10. It is new life and purity. John10:10; 17:3 (knowing Him); Romans 8:3-11, spirit is life. Ephesians 2:1, made alive, v.4. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10. 1 John 3:10,24;4:13, shows the Spirit bestows a godlike character.
The new birth is the miracle and mystery of the Holy Spirit, John 3:1-8. God has given us eternal life and that life is in His Son. He who has the Son, has life. That explains in part the new birth.
Psalm 51:17 The sinner must show a contrite spirit / broken / shattered – because of our sinfulness. On believing on Jesus, we receive of the spirit of Christ. This spirit of Christ after the resurrection laid aside every limitation by being in the earthly Jesus. He was then combined into one with the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:33,35. Now all impartations of the Spirit is effected since the ascension of Christ through the spirit of the Son of Man. This coming of the Spirit gives “life of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”, 2 Corinthians 4:6b.
Our spirit then has the life of Christ within. This is to have the Spirit of God within, Jude 19; 1 Corinthians 1:12-16; John 3:6. We receive of Christ’s soul, for we receive of Christ’s blood, blood is the soul (life of flesh is in blood).
Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 53:2, Christ poured out His soul for us. It was the blood that flowed from His dying form that cleanses. We also receive the flesh of Christ, as typified in the sacrifices (Exodus 29:32) where the priests ate flesh. Our new life came into being by being born by the Holy Ghost and is pervaded by life-giving Spirit, as in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit that gives Life, mere flesh is of no avail. The words I speak are spirit and life”. Also, John 6:54,5, “He who feeds on my flesh drinks my blood has eternal life. My flesh is true food and my blood is real drink”.
I Am the Bread of Life. From His spirit, soul and body comes life to our spirit, soul and body at the resurrection.
The story of Nicodemus tells us much. It is found in John 3:1-10.
Verses 3,4. “Unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus was saying, “It is not a new teaching only that you need but a new birth”. Nicodemus had his idea of the Kingdom as did the Pharisees and thought it would come with Jesus. Their idea of the Kingdom was of a national kingdom with the Messiah as a natural King, breaking off the yoke of the Roman Empire. Jesus shows him something quite different. “The new birth is not a glorified earthly life; it is not national; it is not to throw off the yoke of Rome.” To enter His kingdom there must happen within a man, a “Spirit-ual” work. This must happen from heaven. It is to be a new life and a new sphere of existence.
Jesus spoke of “seeing the kingdom of God”. “To see” has the following meaning. This new way of life happens after being born from above. Being born again happens first. Then the capacity to “see” the spiritual things of the Kingdom of God is given. A new sight implies a new life. When given this new life to enter the Kingdom, then one can “see” what the kingdom is all about. We can then understand its ways for us personally. We can know about the end of the world and God’s plans concerning a people for Himself. At present, the Kingdom of God is invisible.
Nicodemus could not think beyond entering into a new sphere of existence by a second natural birth that was impossible. It seemed to him on this basis he could never see this kingdom. He did not realise there is to be a different beginning. For a teacher in Israel, it was a disgrace not to know of it. Nicodemus had a Carnal mind and reason. That was why he asked Jesus, “How can these things be?” Romans 8:7 “The mind is hostile; not subject to Law of God”.
John 3:5-8. Jesus showed it a necessity that it must be from God. Psalm 36:9, “With You is the fountain of life; in your light we see light”. Our spiritual life comes from God, with Christ as the Mediator. Colossians 1:19 “In Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”; John 1:16, “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace”.
This is restated as, “Christ is our life”, Colossians 3:4, not so much that we live, as that “Christ lives in us”, 2:20, It does not spring from our actions but His and see 1 Corinthians 15:10, “by the grace of God I am what I am”. The fountain of this life is in God. The fullness and power of it is in Christ.
Christ comes and lives in us by His Spirit, Romans 8:9-11, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him, And if Christ is in you, though your bodies must die because of sin, your spirit is full of life because of righteousness / your spirits are now enjoying life because of right standing with God / yet the spirit is life itself because you have been justified / yet your spirit is life, because of righteousness which dwells within it.” The Holy Spirit gives it from Jesus Christ.
Nicodemus, a Pharisee, had refused John’s baptism. This baptism would have placed him, a Jew, under the Messianic promises. Now Jesus is saying, you did not have that baptism but there is still hope for you even though a Pharisee. There is a fountain of blood to be opened for you, at the Cross. You can believe for that and experience the new birth.
Water as a type is found in Old Testament. Psalm 51:4,9, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”; Ezekiel 36:25 “sprinkle upon you clean water”; Zechariah 13:1 “In that day there will be a fountain opened”. You can be washed from your sin through the new birth, as the shed blood of the Lamb of God will cleanse you. 1 John 5:6, “by water and blood”, the Spirit witnesses, relating it to John 19:34, “blood and water, from His pierced side” . Verse 35 John “bare witness”.
Now to us, the Spirit gives witness. The water and blood was swallowed up by the earth at the Cross. For us now, the death was finished in the past. In a spiritual way what took place at Christ’s death we are to regard as taking place and going on all the time, in the present. “From before the foundation of the world” Jesus is “the Lamb slain”, Revelation 13:8. Nevertheless, The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was some thousands of years after that. In God’s eternal sphere, His death had that eternal aspect even though it happened in time. For us now, the Spirit applies this water and blood to us. The death of Christ of Christ made this possible.
Nicodemus had tried to understand this new birth according to his senses. It has nothing to do with the senses that include the emotions. It is of the Spirit. Jesus said, John 3:8, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit”. The new birth is invisible as we cannot see its operation.
He should have known, as he was a teacher in Israel and the Old Testament spoke about this new birth. See Psalm 143:10,1; Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33. He knew that water was used in the Old Testament ceremonies, Leviticus 14:1; Numbers 19:1. He often saw the laver between the altar and the entrance of the Tabernacle. It contained water for cleansing. Ezekiel 36:25 declared, “I will sprinkle water upon you and you will be clean”.
Water is a type that speaks of cleanliness in. It was used in the offerings that were given to God for sin in the Old Testament ritual. The priests had to wash themselves with water. It was a type of the obedience of Christ in the atoning sacrifice. “He offered Himself without spot to God”. We, in our person have to be cleansed in the born again experience. It is a work of the Spirit. He applies Christ’s obedience and sacrifice to us. That is the meaning of the water. 1 John 5:6 shows, “He came by water and blood”. These are applied to us when we are born again, as in Titus 3:5, by the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost”. They are heavenly things and not natural, earthly or material things. 1 John 5:7 says, “There are three that testify, the Spirit the water and the blood”.
We are to consider the Glory of the Kingdom in a person newly born again and not look for holiness working out in him. Neither are we to say he is not a new creation because he is doing this or doing that, as e.g. smoking, or wearing gold.
When a person is born again, of the water and of the Spirit, the experience with water and Spirit is at the one time, at the one second. They are simultaneous. It is the Word and the Spirit as stated. This experience is deep down in his own spirit. Water baptism by immersion is the step that obedient believers take after being born again. It is not the born again experience. You must believe first. Later on the person chooses to be baptised by immersion. This was the case when Philip baptised the eunuch of the Queen of Sheba, in Acts 8:25-29. The eunuch believed first in his heart and then requested baptism by immersion. Also, it is unscriptural to say that a person is born again if he or she speaks in other tongues. Many people are in heaven today, who were never baptised by immersion or spoke in tongues. Consider the thief on the cross to whom Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise”, Luke 23:43. He was never baptised and neither did he speak in tongues. He went to paradise immediately on dying on that cross as a thief.
That Jesus showed the need to be born again, shows the terrible condition of human nature. No one can enter into anything of God, into heaven, into perfection, into light, illumination, life or into the Presence of God, without being born again. Ephesians 5:18, because all men in their natural condition are in a condition of “sleep and death”. As they are, they can never contact God. They can never experience Him in a friendship. It is only the Holy Spirit speaking deep within as they hear the Word of God who can open hearts. Then an operation of grace upon us, in the depth of our unconsciousness, brings about the born again experience. It is somewhat similar to natural conception, where the parents unite and conception takes place in the mother’s womb. The baby conceived is unconscious of anything taking place. As soon as he is born with life, he cries. As soon as we are born again, there is the cry of the Spirit within us that causes us to know that now God is our Father.
Sinners (as all of us are) need a turning from darkness to light, Acts 26:18 shows this was the reason the gospel needs to preached. God must create light in us. Sinners have vanity of mind, Ephesians 4:17,18. Sinners are depraved, corrupted, are in darkness, vanity, are enemies of God and are carnal. See Romans 8:7. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God. Indeed it cannot obey it; it is worldly, anti-Christ, makes gods of things, animals, people, the human self, their own kind of Jesus even or their own imagination of God. 2 Peter 2:12, talks about men as “natural brute beasts”. These men with no more sense than the unreasoning brute beasts which are born to be caught and killed, sneer at what they can not understand. This is because of their corruption. They will perish.
The soul is the source of the carnal nature, that is ever with us until we get to heaven, Ephesians 4:22, “you lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit”. Romans 7 explains this very well, how it causes a man to “walk after the flesh”. There is a change when he hears of Christ and accepts Him. He believes and he is placed into Christ Jesus in a spiritual was. All his sins are forgiven and washed away. He is no longer under the condemnation of God. The guilt of sin is removed on believing in Christ and His Word. Once born again, we are to live in submission to Christ.
THE NEW CREATION
Despite the terrible condition of mankind, into which all of us are born, there stilled remained within us that which could know renewal. On believing in Christ, the believer is a new creation. There is a new world for him, his old life has passed away, a new life has begun, 2 Corinthians 5:17. Christ identified Himself with us in our humanity but not in our sin. He did not sin. Now (verse 19), we are in Christ.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. There needed to be a reconciliation. We were all enemies of God. Because of that condition, God could not act favourably to us. His Son, Jesus Christ came to this earth, born of a virgin. One purpose God had was that the enmity between mankind and God would be taken care of. Christ came to make reconciliation for us with God. Hebrews 2:14,15, “The children share flesh and blood, he (Christ) himself likewise shared the same things, (identification with humanity) that he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the Devil and free those who all their lifetime were subject to bondage”.
He reconciled us to God on His cross. To do this, He had to take our place as a sinner. This was as a representative only. He was not actually made to be sin in the sense of becoming sinful. He represented us in our terrible and sinful condition. 2 Corinthians 5:14,15, says “One died for all” as He represents His people. He represented us in our sin only.
It is for the many, Romans 5:15,19, “The free gift abounded for the many” and “by one man’s (Christ’s) obedience, many were made righteous”. He identified Himself with ours humanity and plight. He did not share our sinfulness. He did not need to be born again, as sin did not touch His inner being to become part of Him. He was never made to be literally full of our sin. He died the death sinners should have died. He received the judgment of God on our sin, in our place. The penalty of our sins borne by Him. He died so that we might receive forgiveness. We receive His righteousness as we stand before God who is in heaven. God sees us not as sinners but as righteous. This happens when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers now share His resurrection newness. Christ’s oneness with men caused Him to act for us as an offering to God for us. He was our substitute before God. He died for us by acting as our representative. Because of His death for us we can now live for Christ. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves.
Ephesians 2:10, “We are created in Christ Jesus for good works” produced by the Spirit. In Ephesians 4:24, we are told to “put on the new man which is after God, created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” This means we are to live according to that new man who is in us. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “there is a new creation”. This is not water baptism or christening, where it says in Ephesians 5:26, We are, “washed by the water of the Word”. This is stated in the original which is in Greek and in all English translations. They all read “by the washing of the water by the Word”. It is not as in the Tamil or Malayalam Bibles, where it is wrongly translated, “water of baptism”. We should note that water is a symbol. Water cleanses from filth. Spiritually, this cleansing within is by the water of the Word. The Spirit works regeneration within and cleanses by the blood of Jesus. There is to then follow a life of obedience to God as a result of His redemption.
Jesus in John 3:6 shows “What is born of the Spirit is spirit”. It has nothing to do with baptism by christening or by immersion. Jesus repeats all that He meant in the whole passage as by “water and Spirit”, John 1:13, shows it is not by natural means. It is of “spirit”. This means there is a new spiritual being, (creature, nature, life). This was a secret, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit upon our spirits. After that miracle within, the Spirit witnesses to our spirits, Romans 8:14-17. The Spirit witnesses personally. He makes it certain to us that we are indeed the children of God. We are born of God. We are part of His kingdom. If certain actions in a person are undesirable to us, there is no reason to say they are not a new creature. Every one born of God is equally so, though one may act more Christ-like than another, as he reveals the image of his heavenly Father more wonderfully. Some who are truly born of God may not have this image revealed through them to such a degree that others can see it. It should be. With the children of God it is the same as natural children in world. All are different and some are more clever or more beautiful etc.
We should always remember the difference between water baptism and the cleansing of the inward man. Natural water does not cleanse from sin and neither does it have any part in our being born. There is a clear explanation of 1 Peter 3:21, “In answer baptism now saves you (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”. The baptism mentioned is not water baptism. It refers to the baptism being the death of Christ. That baptism, that death and resurrection, is what saves us. Peter says it has nothing to do with any cleansing of the flesh from filth or dirt. It actually means “to question” rather than “answer”. A person having been cleansed within through faith in the death of Christ on the cross in His baptism, may ask? “Lord, am I clean?” “Yes”, the answer would be. Then the conscience knowing cleansing, feels free before God.
The outward baptism which is material, is not an actual washing of the inward man and it does not wash the body. The Apostle distinguishes between the outward ordinance of baptism and its typical meaning and the work of regeneration itself. This is made clear in Galatians 6:15 that reads, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcisions (an outward act) avails anything, nor uncircumcision but a new creature.”
“Circumcision” means the whole system of Mosaic ordinances. Similarly regarding the gospel, “baptism” is merely an ordinance. From them all Paul distinguishes the new creation and says it is without “circumcision” (or “baptism”). Baptism does not mean regeneration. See Acts 8:13, where Simon was baptized but in verse 21 Peter said to him, “Your heart is not right before God”. Baptism had not saved him.
“Circumcision” in a transferred sense only, corresponds to water baptism. It is a sign only. In Colossians 2:11, we see that “the body of the flesh” was “the condition in which the corrupt desires rooted in the flesh were not yet extinct”. In v.13 the expression, “the uncircumcision of your flesh” is derived from the fact that the foreskin was the sign of impurity and alienation from God. That was one reason the Children of Israel were circumcised naturally. Reading from Colossians, “made you live again through fellowship with Christ”, it can be understood that in Christ’s circumcision, our carnal nature of flesh was legally cut off. Then we lived with Christ in the new birth. This living was an actuality. Christ by His Spirit actually came into our hearts or spirits. Creation in the new birth is instantaneous. It is a miracle. We are begotten of God. James 1:18, “He begat us/gave us birth by the word of Truth”. 1 John 5:1, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is been born of God and every one who loves the father loves his child also”.
Let us look at the whole of Colossians 2:11-13, “In whom also you are circumcised when you threw off your sinful nature in the circumcision of Christ/by being set free from the sins of the flesh by virtue of Christ’s circumcision/in the circumcision of Christ you were set free from your sinful nature) in baptism you were buried with Him/united with His burial and raised to life with Him through your faith in the power of God who raised Him from the dead. Yes, although you were dead through your sins and your uncircumcised nature/were physically uncircumcised/dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh”. In Colossians 2:11,13, “baptism” is not referring to water baptism. The “flesh” in the Greek Dictionary means, “mere human nature, the earthly nature man apart from divine influence.” Jesus’ death was a “baptism”, Mark 1;38; Luke 12:50; Romans 6:3; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 2:19-21.
The verses in Colossians are clear. We see Jesus dying on the cross. That was His baptism into death. We were dead in our trespasses and sin. As the above verses show, we were “uncircumcised” in our flesh, carnal nature. In other words, this carnal nature (called uncircumcision) meant eternal death resided in that nature. Our place because of death in us, was actually on the cross. However, Christ was on the cross instead of us. When we believed in Christ, God considered that legally we had been united to Christ. This union was with Christ on the cross. This meant we shared, legally, in His baptism into death.
Then He rose from the dead. On belief in Christ, that resurrection became our resurrection. We were united to Him in that resurrection. This happened through our faith. We are one with Him in His resurrection.
To believe in Christ is “to die”. This occurs once, only once. It means we never “die daily” as some people say. Paul said he “died daily” when he was suffering and in hunger, because he was actively preaching the gospel in different places. This “death” enables us “to rise” and experience a new kind of life that we did not have before. It means we live for God. It means life beyond any physical death that may come. It is not just a different kind of life in this world. It guarantees us everlasting life in the next world that is to come.
It is Spirit that gives birth to spirit. We are born “from above” in the new birth. Water is not spirit. Water is not from above. Spirit works like water in a spiritual sense, by working this change. This is called regeneration. As water cleanses the filthy, so the Spirit applies the blood of Christ for cleansing. It cleanses the pollution and there is a renewal in true holiness. Water refreshes the thirsty and as applied by the Spirit, the “fainting” souls of sinners are refreshed. Psalm 42:1, “As the hart longs for running streams so long I for thee O God (my whole being longs for Thee)”. In the new birth, there is created within us a longing. It corresponds to the thirst of a hart panting after a long run. Notice John 3:6, “That born of the flesh is flesh”. It has material element. The baby has flesh, just as the mother has flesh. That birth is not in a spiritual realm.
In the spiritual realm, that “born of the Spirit is spirit”. It does not have any material element. John.3:4 shows the Spirit moving in the spiritual realm. Nicodemus thought he would have to return to the “womb and be born”, an impossibility. Man, the same as Nicodemus did, tries to put spiritual truth into the carnal ways. He tries to give spiritual truth a carnal understanding. “The carnal mind is at enmity with God”, Romans 8:6,7.
In John 3:5, the Spirit is likened to “water”. In John 3:8, the Spirit is likened to “wind”. in verse 7,8. “Water” in the Word generally means “The Spirit”, as in John 4:24, speaking of living water. Water can also be “the Word”, as in Ephesians 5:26, where it mentions in the King James and other translations, “the water of the Word”. Also, as when Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who quickens: the flesh profits nothing …My words are spirit and they are life”, John 6:63.
Also, the Spirit is compared to “wind”. John 3:8, Ezekiel 37:9, “Come from the four winds, O breath (or Spirit).”
When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, the baptising of repentant sinners in the River Jordan was a common experience for Israel. Nicodemus, as a Pharisee, would not have subjected himself to this baptism. This meant he rejected the forerunner of the Messiah, Matthew 3:3. Jesus was not telling him to submit to John’s baptism that he had neglected. Now Jesus, the Messiah had appeared and he must listen to Him.
Jesus had the true message of salvation and not John. When mentioning salvation, Jesus never taught the necessity of being water baptised to obtain it. It was always, “Repent and believe in the Gospel”, Mark 1:15; “He who does not believe is condemned”, John 3:18; “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”, John 9:35; “Believe in God, believe also in Me”, 14:1; “have not seen and yet believe”, 20:29. The apostles generally just mentioned “believing”, Acts 2:21; 8:17; 15:11; 16:11; 26:27; Romans 3:22; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 1:21; see also Acts 4:4; 5:14; 9:42; 11:21; 13:12; 14:1; 15:2; 17:12,34;18:8. The emphasis is on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour from all sin, Matthew 1:21. See Romans 3:9; 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:1; Hebrews 10:17; 1 Peter 2:24.
Christ comes to us as the Spirit, even in the new birth. “I will not leave you fatherless I will come to you (in Holy Spirit)” John 14:18; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 15:45.
Being Born Again is to have a new life imparted to the individual. 2 Corinthians 5:17, calls it “a new creation”. This is not the Christian’s experience or behaviour. The “new creation” is that miracle done within the new believer by the Holy Spirit. This is something created from the Spirit alone. It is not something created from our dead spirit. The Holy Spirit takes the seed of the Word of God and implants it within, as in 1 Peter 2:23, “born of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God”. It is something imparted. This is something from the very Divine and holy nature of God. It is not the Divine nature in essence. This new creation with the newness of life is not referring to a new kind of life the believer is to live but to a new source of spiritual life imparted to him by God. By this he is enabled to live the new life of the new creation, in the resurrection life of Christ. It has nothing to do with acts, legalistic or otherwise. It does not refer to outward change of behaviour or habits. It has nothing to do with following laws and regulations. However, a new conduct proceeds from this new life in due course. The new creation happens because of faith in Christ Jesus. Saving faith in Christ Jesus is the criterion and not the person’s conduct of which we may disapprove. Often a person’s way of living takes time to change. This depends to a large degree on how the new believer is taught from the Word of God. Sadly, throughout the world, correct teaching is almost missing.
2 Corinthians 5:17,18, “If anyone be in Christ there is a new creation; the old order has gone, to be replaced by the new (in every way).” “This new order in all respects is God’s doing who reconciled us”, or “The older order has gone and a new order has already begun/his old being has passed away and behold, all has become new / His old life has passed away; a new life has begun!” In v.21 we read, “God appointed him (who was without any acquaintance with sin) to be a sin-offering on our behalf, that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
This happened because of imputation. “To impute” means “to regard as belonging to”. Thus, God regarded our sin as belonging to Jesus. It was reckoned to Him and He was charged with our sin. It does not mean that He in His being became sin or took on the nature of sin. He is, was and ever will be holy. Our sin was charged to Him, in the same way in which someone might buy you something and charge it to another person. God charged our sin to Jesus. We received instead, of His righteousness. This was imputed to us or reckoned to us.
There was transfer of our sin. Romans 4:4-8 declares the ungodly to be righteous. He acquits the guilty. Unto those who believe in Christ, God “reckons righteousness apart from works / credits with righteousness apart from his actions”. The sinless Christ took our condemnation. This was so that for us there might be condemnation no more. Christ in his sinlessness took responsibility for our sin. We then are given “righteousness of God”. “Substitution” and “imputation” are explained in Romans 5:19, “By one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous”. Christ’s perfect obedience alone deserved righteousness. This righteousness is credited to our account.
2 Corinthians 5:17 relates to reconciliation and a new way. See 2 Corinthians 3. The gospel is not the old external Covenant. It is the New Covenant of Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 4 we see that Satan rules the world and “blinds the minds of the unbelievers”. In vv 1-15 Paul says that he does not follow other preachers and the false apostles and teachers who rely on worldly success and lordly power. By such things they try to establish their standing as preachers. In 4:16-5:10 he says their idea is “we walk by sight”. Paul is the opposite. He speaks against their type of thinking. They lived merely in the present. They even denied the future hope of resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15. This made them angry with Paul. They said he was “out of his mind”. Thus verse 2 Corinthians 5:17 does not really talk about a person’s conversion as in the new birth. It shows he has entered the new order in Christ, God’s Kingdom. The emphasis is not on experience. There is too much emphasis on experience. The emphasis should be on what God has done. This verse emphasises a new act of creation, not a person’s new living or his forgiveness as a sinner.
The old order is the old world of sin and death, “flesh”. It has gone in the sense that its rule is broken. Its power remains, Galatians 5:16-21,24. In Christ, so “there is a new creation” under a “new covenant”, as in 2 Corinthians 3. In Christ, the old world of sin and death, the flesh, cannot have and does not have any part.
The tense of “passed away” in 2 Corinthians 5:17 points back to a definite event, namely, the experience of the new birth. It was then that old things, the traditions, prejudices, wrong ideas and bondage of the former way of life became “past”. “Became new” is the Greek perfect tense. This indicates the old things “became” and “continue to be” new. For the newness of God’s new creation is not a newness that in course of time grows old. It is a newness that is always new. This new creation is present in the hearts of all who though still in the world have become those who are part of the world to come. There is the present earthly body and the future glorified body. There is still the present old nature. In the future all sin will be removed. Revelation 18:4, “that you may not share in her sins”; 14:3 “redeemed from the earth”; 21:4 “the old order past or gone”.
In Christ we have experienced death and resurrection. Therefore we live now in His resurrection life. This is by the Holy Spirit. We are to reign in life by Jesus Christ, Romans 5:17. The old order has gone, the new “creation” has come in its place. The old order of Law with its sin and death has passed away. We should never try and go back to Law. There is a new way of life for us. We are not to live according to the power of the flesh (carnal nature) in us. We are to live by the Spirit. Power, influence, wealth, wisdom 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 are important for the “flesh”. In Christ all that passed away, the new has come. We are in the time and dispensation of the Holy Spirit power in our lives to be victorious over sin and the flesh is by the Spirit within. By grace our “inner nature (or person)” is “being renewed day by day”, 2 Corinthians 4:16. This will happen as we walk in the Spirit.
There is now for us a glory far more than Moses had, 2 Corinthians 3:7,8,18. Being born again is made clear in 2 Corinthians 4:6,7. Believers are not made divine. We are reborn and now belong to the future order of the new heavens and the new earth. We experience heavenly things now. The old order of the things of this world and the carnal nature, has given place to an experience in which everything is new. That is how we are to live. A creature is “created by God”. A new creation is produced within by the power of God. We know all this by faith, through the Word and the Spirit. It is something new. Anything we have or do, from the old man, or the old life, is not new. It belongs to the old creation. It is not the new creation. It is nothing we do or are. Galatians 5:6, “once we are in Christ circumcision means nothing and the want of it means nothing.” The faith that finds its expression in love is all that matters. That is the criterion. Galatians 6:15. Neither circumcision nor the lack of it is important but a new creation counts, (a new future). Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship” (not the workmanship of a Pastor baptising us in water)
Psalm 51:10, Create in me a new, clean heart, O God. There is nothing added to the old nature. It is a totally new creation.
Faith in Christ enables us to share in the Divine Nature, 2 Peter 1:4. Perhaps “may become” is a better translation, giving the idea of growth. See Hebrews 12:10, “Partakers of His holiness”. Through this might and splendour He has given us his promises, great beyond all price, in order that through these you may come to share in the divine nature now that you have fled from the corruption in the world, resulting from human passions. It is the nature of God that we personally partake of, worked in us by God. We do not partake of His essential Divine Nature, that cannot be given. It is rather something of His Divine Nature that He is able to give to us. It is “in Christ” for us. We are “partners” with Him in His nature. We bear His image. A divine, supernatural principle of spiritual actions and operations is imparted to us. Ephesians 4:22-24, “Put on the new man which is created to be like God”.
It is also a matter of living out the life of this righteous God in this world of sin. Romans 6:1,2 shows it is not right to sin so as to repent and experience God’s grace. In fact, that path leads downward to hell for any believer who chooses it. The gospel does not give us freedom to do as we like. Some in Corinth thought that sexual irregularities were matters of small importance Paul had to tell them differently. It is not a matter of small importance. It is a serious matter, family wise, church wise and socially. There is a terrible amount of adultery, fornication, immorality and divorce in churches of the West. Western society has gone down that pathway. The church should act according to holiness. It should not follow the evil ways of the world. It is not a matter of, “You must show love and not judge”. It is a matter of standing up for the standards of God’s holiness and righteousness. Believers are “dead to sin”. Death means separation. Physical death is separation of a person from his body. Spiritual death, separation of a person from God. When born again, there is a cut between the person and his evil nature. This happened in the mind of God when that believing sinner, elected to salvation before creation, was identified with the Lord Jesus in His death on the cross, Romans 6:3-7.
God thus separated the believer who was a sinner, from the evil nature, He did not take it out of him but left it in his inner being. 1 John 1:8 shows that the evil nature remains in the believer throughout the earthly life. It is not removed until that believer dies or Jesus comes again. John says, “If we say that sin we are not constantly having, ourselves we are deceiving (nobody else) and the truth is not in us”. Sin here is the nature, not the act. There is a separation of the person from the sinful nature. Yet it remains in him until he dies or is glorified.
Because of the frailty of man, believers do give in to the evil nature and sin. This need not happen. God has given a share of the divine nature (partakers or participants of that divine nature through the promises) that gives the believer a hatred of sin and a love of righteousness. See 2 Peter 1:4 (participate in); John 3:3; James 1:18;1 Peter 1:23; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:1. In 1 John 4:15 God dwells in us and we dwell in God. We have “the seed of the divine remaining in us”, 1 John 3:9. “We know that we have our origin in God”, 1 John 5:19 and “we dwell in his Son, Jesus Christ”, 1 John 5:20. “How is it possible for such as we, who have been separated once for all from the sinful nature, any longer to live within its grip?”
This baptism is into Jesus Christ, into His death and then resurrection. That makes us His property, He is the One whose death, resurrection and ascension began a new age. Christ must always be thought of in terms of crucifixion and resurrection. “Baptism into Christ” means baptism into Christ crucified. “Baptism into His death” is a spiritual fact. It is not a fact concerning natural things. Therefore it is not water baptism. His death was a “baptism”, Mark 10:38,39, Luke 12:50. Water baptism is a type, 1 Peter 3:21 but we are saved “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” that gives us a good conscience.
Paul shows how the cutting from sin was made. It was by God’s act of baptising the believing sinner into Christ so that that person would share His death on the Cross. This separates him from the sinful nature. As in Romans 5:11. Christ died regarding the sinful nature (ours) once for all. This the death of the Lord is regarding sin. Romans 3:21-5:11. He died because of our acts of sin. Romans 6:11 concerns our sinful nature. He paid the penalty for us. This was the penalty that the broken Law demanded.
It actually is the act of God introducing a believing sinner into vital union with Jesus Christ. This is so that the believer might have the power of his sinful nature broken. The divine nature (the principle of the new life) is implanted. This is through a person’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
TWO NATURES – THE NEW CREATION
AND THE OLD MAN, THE CARNAL NATURE
The relation of Christ’s death to the sinful nature breaks the power of indwelling sin in one’s life. What must the believer do if he is to get results from this inner change God made in him? Two things – a. Reckon himself dead to sin; b. reckon himself alive to God. “Reckon” means “to count, compute, take into account”.
As we are to live a life in accordance with the Word of God, we must consider that we are dead to sin, not acting according to the evil nature, that it no longer has power so that we can say “No” to sin. We must count on the fact that we are a partaker of the Divine nature within because we are born of the Spirit with Christ within. We are united to Christ. Our sinful nature has not been changed into the Divine nature. We can never say we had the nature of Satan and that now we have the nature of God. We still have the sinful nature within and participate in the Divine nature.
Romans 6:14-16 In a sense we are no longer “under the Law’, Galatians 5:18, “If we are led by the Spirit we are not under the law”. That does not mean there is no longer any requirement for it in our lives. There is. It is fulfilled in us because Christ fulfilled the Law. He lives in us and His Spirit works through our spirits. Galatians 5:6, “Faith that works by love”. That faith is in us because Christ is in us. The way we live is through faith. It is not by works. Christ did it all on the cross. We benefit from what He did, through faith that He gives us as a manner of living. He has given it to us. We do not have to try to work it up. It is within us. As we meditate upon these truths, they come alive within us. Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing even the soul and spirit”. In this case, where the new creation must be dominant, the Word will so divide soul (old man) and spirit that the soul will have to submit to the spirit (new man). We find that they feed the love principle deep within our spirits. Then we find that they are so influencing our lives that we live them almost automatically. We are not struggling from our carnal nature. Our “new man” is then in control over our carnal nature. We do not follow the carnal nature. We are walking in the Spirit and living in the Spirit. The Spirit so controls us that His fruit is produced in our lives. We are living in victory and not in defeat, subject to the lusts of our carnal nature. Our carnal nature has gone to sleep, as it were. Our new man is very much alive.
We find that we are showing forth the love put within us by the Spirit, when we were born again, Romans 5:5, “The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”. He was given to us when we were born again. At that time the love of God was “shed abroad” within our spirits, within our new creation man, our new nature. Love is the fulfilment of the Law, Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14. Therefore, the law is fulfilled within us and in our lives by the Spirit of Christ within our new creation spirits. Love does not exclude reference to commandments, for love and obedience cannot be separated, John 15:10. The Spirit enables us. If, as believers, we try to do good, try to act as if we are under the Law thus disobeying the truths of the gospel, we are not pleasing God. Even before the time of faith arrived after the resurrection of Jesus, no one could fulfil the Law. Jesus fulfilled it for us and now the Spirit has set us free from the law of sin and death and writes the law of God on our hearts, Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:16. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death”.
Brother, sister believer, you are free from that law that could only result in sin, show sin is within and pronounce the sentence of eternal death. However, we are still aware of the fact that we were under that power. Christ nailed that law to the cross, Colossians 2:14. We still recognize that within us is that old man, that carnal nature that would like to follow law and not look to the Cross. We, however, by faith, look at the cross and its power in our lives. We do not deny the existence of that old man but we walk in the Spirit, keeping it under subjection. The new nature with the fruits of the Spirit, relying on Christ and what He did on the cross, lives in the Spirit. There is our victory.
Yet we have been released from the law by the death of Christ, i.e. law as we see it written in the Old covenant has ceased. Rules regarding food, special days and circumcision do not apply. Ritual law has been removed totally. Any part of the Law that was ritual, e.g. its priests, the garments, the incense and the sacrifices, have all finished. The music (singing, dancing, instruments) that was under the Law at the time of King David, the Psalm singing at the time of sacrifices and keeping of the Feast of Israel, have finished. We are not under those things. We are under the New Covenant. Ministration of the Law is one of death and does not give life because we transgress the Law and are guilty, 2 Corinthians 3:8,9. The Holy Spirit within convicts of sin. We have changed our masters. “Doulos” = servile slave first of Satan due to our sinning and now of the Lord Jesus. We have a new nature, the divine and the evil nature forcing us to serve the Devil has its power broken. We hate sin and try to keep it out. If we sin, we must immediately confess our sin to Him, 1 John 1:7-9. Before it was the will of Satan, now the will of God. The believer’s identification with the Lord Jesus in His death, broke the bands which bound him to Satan, Colossians 1:13.
He makes us as sons of God. We are, as in 1 John 3:1,2, “Born of Him. See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called the sons of God (children); and such we are”. Galatians 4:6 “Because you are sons, God has sent forth His Spirit into your hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father’.”
We are adopted as sons, when we believe in Christ. Galatians 4:5, “That we might receive adoption of sons”. This is the placing of a son used in every-day Greek into the status of sons. Ephesians 1:5 “The adoption of children by Jesus Christ”. It is a Roman legal term. It was not a Jewish practice and Paul was a Roman citizen, That was why he used this metaphor. The legal act of “adoption” was one by which a Roman citizen entered another family and came under the fatherly protection of its head. It is to receive the “status of sons”. In the Christian sense, it transfers believers from being slaves in Satan’s slave-camp to the family circle of God’s favour. It gives believers heavenly citizenship and untold privileges. Exodus 4:22 Israel is shown as the first-born son. Adoption shows Father’s good pleasure that a company of sons of God should be gathered one by one and stamped with the image of His eternal Son. They are made co-heirs with Christ forever and ever. This is not reformation, good works, legalism or baptism. It is a supernatural act of God.