Monday, January 21, 2019

Born From Above

The fall of man through Adam left humanity devastated. However, at the fall of man God the Father began His work of man's redemption (Genesis 3:14-21). The extreme measures that He took to redeem man are recorded in the Bible and evidenced throughout man's history. His brilliant plan of redemption would be worked out in and through Jesus Christ. Deity would become humanity for man’s redemption. (John 1:1, 14) But, what does God’s plan of redemption mean to us today? What has the resurrection of Christ given to us today?

We see recorded in Scripture that Jesus would be beaten, suffer and die on the cross, (Matthew 27:26-50), be made sin ( Isaiah 53:6), be separated from the Father (Matthew 27:46), His body placed in a grave (Matthew 27:57-60), and His spirit descend to hell (Psalm 16:10; Psalm 88; Acts 2:2:31), as man's Substitute. Only God knows what He truly suffered. In hell, He satisfied the claims of justice, had been made Righteous, made a New Creation ((Romans 4:25; Colossians 1:18;1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18) had conquered Satan as well as all demons and evil spirits striping them of their authority (Matthew 28:18; Luke 10:18-19; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 1:18), resurrected, reunited with His body bursting forth from the grave shouting, "All hail," (that is rejoice exceedingly) (Matthew 28:9), Why? Redemption had come, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Law and all the prophecies concerning Christ  were fulfilled. 

This progressive revelation of God’s brilliant plan of redemption is seen throughout the O1d Testament.  We see a portion of this in Ezekiel. "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Ezekiel 36:24-27)

Though this is the Word of the Lord to Israel’s renewal, it is a prophetic Word concerning the New Covenant and New Birth. Becoming born again is at the heart of Christianity. From the fall of man to Pentecost every plan and purpose of man’s redemption is centered on this. This is the reason for the incarnation, death, burial, resurrection and glorification of Christ. Now, this wonderful plan of redemption is eternal, comprehensive (meeting every need of man) and available to anyone and everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and receives Him as Savior. Knowing these things, believers need to come into the revelation knowledge of the Scriptures and apply faith to who we are in Christ, what Christ is in us and how the Father sees us or Christianity is nothing more than one of the religions of the world.

Becoming born again, becoming a new creation in Christ, is not simply a conversion to new concepts or a theory. It is not rules and regulation to live by, but a reality. It’s the transformation of one’s life into the image of Christ from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Though Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke prophetically concern this, Jesus is the first one who speaks in specifics of being born again. This is revealed in His conversation with Nicodemus where Jesus explains what being born from above is and the need of it.

"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered; most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:1-8)

Some things to notice, "No one can see or understand the Kingdom of God except he is born from above…No one can enter the Kingdom of God except he is born of water and the spirit." Interestingly enough, Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, cannot understand it. Unfortunately, the same is true for many believers today. They have not found on their own or have been discipled into the depths of the tremendous reality of being born again. Jesus shows us the difference between the natural and the spiritual man. He tells us, one is born of natural means and the other is born of the Spirit. Looking into this passage, it is evident that Jesus fully understood the state of man. Jesus, in speaking to the Jewish leaders as recorded in John 8:44, tells them they are of their father, the devil. In other words, they are partakers of satanic nature.

Jesus also tells us, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24) It is apparent that Jesus believed man to be spiritually dead, a child of the devil, and that the born again experience is to be a change of nature, which also will mean a change of relationship. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Here we see that man is by nature a child of wrath. He is spiritually dead. The Apostle Paul also tells us, "...that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (Ephesians 2:12) The Apostle John tells us, "In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the Devil." (1 John 3:10 ) There are only two families and all of mankind is either a part of one or the other. They are either children of God or children of the devil which means they have either the nature of God or the nature of the devil. They are either made alive, born again, a new creation or spiritually dead, having the satanic nature. Although there is teaching in the church, Scripture does not reveal man having a dual nature, the sin nature and the divine nature, when one becomes born again. Prior to being born again, man’s spirit was dead, but now, being born again his spirit is made alive. It does not say one half alive or partially alive or that he is dead and alive, but that he is made alive. We see this revealed through Jesus, as well as the Apostles' Paul, John and Peter.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." (John 5:24)
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:12)
This is not a future possession but a present tense possession. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) I labor this point because to many believers live under guilt, condemnation, unworthiness and or inferiority and not the life that Jesus’ substitution has so abundantly provided through faith in Him. "Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." (1 Peter 1:23) "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Ephesians 2:1 ). Believers are not illegitimate children, nor hybrids or half breeds, but are legitimately and legally born of God.

These things are crucial for every believer to know and completely understand. Believers do not have to live a life here on planet earth with the struggles that the unsaved face day to day. We do not have to live under the burden of religious laws that are unscriptural and create unworthiness, condemnation, guilt and inferiority, for we are saved by grace through faith. This is the very key to live the abundant life that Jesus has provided as we wait in hope for our glorious arrival in heaven. I pray for you as the Apostle Peter stated, "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)

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