3. Are you really 'Born Again'?

Last updated 13 May '98

 You may well lay claim to the name of Christ, but how did you become a Christian?

  • by good works?
  • by trying hard to be a good person?
  • by your church attendance?
  • by Bible study?
  • by your sincerity or dedication?
  • by baptism or traditions?
  • by repentance?

Unless it was by a 'new birth' then your not a Christian at all!

There is much more to Christianity than just the Forgiveness of Sins!

God uses two methods of His grace to secure our redemption not just one. The precious blood of Christ is for our deliverance from the penalty of sin and the death of Christ on the cross is for our deliverance from the power of sin.

To have the forgiveness of sins is one thing - but without anything else it does not resolve the problem of the sinner sinning.  Its great to have forgiveness for what I have done - but I need something more.  Otherwise, I will forever be on a merry go round of committing sins, to losing fellowship, to confessing that sin and being cleansed by His blood, to once again sin and repeating the process.  Often, those who stand against Christianity do so because of that very circle.  They question the injustice of a God who would just forgive someone endlessly time after time - for they see those who never change, who go on committing the same sins over and over.  Oh, that those Christians would lay claim to the whole gospel - for we need more than cleansing and forgiveness.

We need forgiveness for the sins we have done, but we also need a deliverance from what we are.  As we showed earlier we were born with a sinful nature.  Therefore we need to be set free from our inherited nature - the nature we were born with - that of being a sinner.

I also need a deliverance from what I am...... And that is also what God has provided for in the death of His Son on the cross. Jesus died, not only to pay the wages of our sin, He died also to secure our deliverance from the old nature of sin we inherited from Adam. A better translation of the word Saviour here would be Deliverer, because He has already saved us from the penalty of sins, and what He does now is in His role as Deliverer.

When we accepted the death of the Lord Jesus as payment for our life of sin, we then accepted His death as being our death! We were the ones that should have hung on that cross because we were the ones guilty of sin! So we can see then that somehow the Lord Jesus included us in His Life on the cross just before He died. The Lord Jesus not only died for what we did but also for what we are. He also died for us, the sinner, by including us in Himself on the cross. Jesus gathered up into Himself at the cross all that there was of Adam in us and terminated it in His death. That included all of you and all of me for all time! The old nature of sin was therefore done away with and crucified in Christ on the cross.

The Old Nature was a Law of Sin within us......

The problem we had with the old nature was that it was a law of sin within us. Whenever certain situations confronted us, we reacted and committed sin. God gave Moses the Law and Holy commandments, not that we should ever obey them but that we would disobey them! ...and that we might indeed discover that we had a law of sin within us. God gave the commandments not for us to keep, but to break!. We needed God to give us a standard to break to prove to us that we were indeed sinners. We need the grace of God to save us and the goodness of God to deliver us! And this He has done. We needed the Grace of God both as Saviour and as Deliverer. Jesus really nailed it down when He stated that, even if you think an evil thought in your heart, you are just as guilty as the one who performs the act. Who could ever honestly ever attain to God's standard if this is his requirement? The answer of course is nobody. If we could have then we do not need a Saviour or a Deliverer; and in that case Jesus Christ has died in vain for us. God delivers us, by bringing in a new Law in Christ, to transcend and supersede the old Law of obedience to written commandments.

The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus!

It takes the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus to set us free from the law of sin and death.(Rom.8:2) When Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, God did a miraculous thing for us out of Christ's death. He took something out of Christ and fashioned it into a new Spirit and gave it to us, so that all who would become identified in Christ might receive a new life! This is a life that is made possible only 'out of' the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God effected this miracle in the same or similar way to the creation of Eve from out of Adam. Only that which God took 'out of' Adam became Eve. And in a similar way, only that which comes 'out of' Christ is our new spirit and Christian Life that we receive at the point of new birth. Let us not be confused any more on this point. God promised that there would come a day when He would cleanse us from all our sins; and then create in us a new heart by giving us a new spirit. This new spirit is the new 'Law of Life' within us! Please note that it is the new Spirit of Christ that obeys God completely, not us! We either choose to co-operate with Him or not. We need to be clear here that the new spirit is not God's Holy Spirit, but it is that part that comes directly out of Christ that constitutes us Christian, and it has no history of sin. It is this today that constitutes the Church as the 'Body' or container of Christ. Or you could say Jesus is alive in my new spirit in the person of God's Holy Spirit. This new spirit 'out of Christ' that we receive, is the temple of the Holy Spirit within us. This new spirit is the new wineskin that contains the new wine. Romans 8:9 declares that if any man has not the spirit of Christ he is none of His. This is then is the new spirit that we receive. This is the part of us that is the new creation of God. This spirit is not created by God, it is born of God! .....and it contains His life, which is something Adam never had. We are delivered out of the dead spirit of Adam through our co-death with Christ on the cross. We are not changed but exchanged!

Change by Exchange

The Christian Life is never a changed life but an Exchanged one!.... God does not change people from one condition into another. In fact God does not change people at all! What God does do is Exchange them by crucifying their old nature and exchanging it for life in the spirit! And Wow! what an exchange this really is for all who experience it!! ....From out of Adam into Christ! But always remember we make our exit Through co-death in Christ before we make our entrance into His resurrection Life. Calvary precedes Pentecost! Whereas all are dead in Adam, many are now being made alive forever more in Christ. We need to take this into serious account by reckoning it so; and not try to crucify ourselves daily as some advocate. We walk by faith. Faith is in 'knowing this' and 'having reckoned it so'. God has done away with the old 'us' in the death of His Son. We are dead, but the reason many of us don't experience it, is because we can't seem to believe God absolutely because we look at ourselves according to our own logic and reasoning. We must remember that what we are now as a new creation is because of our identification and inclusion in Jesus Christ, due to what He alone has attained to for us. Outside of our relationship in Him, we have no reality of deliverance or New Life. We must see ourselves as God sees us, because that is the way we are now in God's eyes. The reality is that we are now born again in Christ, the lie is that we are not. It does not matter whether I feel it or I don't feel it; it does not matter whether or not I understand it; it even does not count on whether I really believe it or not; it is true nonetheless. God has done it for me in His Son on the cross and God is the one who says so!!! God did not wait for me to believe it or understand it before He did it. God did it anyway and that is a historic fact that neither man, nor devil nor demons can dispute. It becomes real to us the instant we accept it and know it in our heart. Some would advocate the need of great faith and power to believe before we can receive. But Paul said, the life that I live now in the flesh (human body) I live by the faith of the Son of God. Who's faith? There you have the answer. It's not by our faith, it is by His faith and by His faithfulness! Our new born again spirit comes to us with the Life and faith of Jesus built in to it!

The Christian Life is Life in the Spirit! Our new spirit believes God implicitly and protests whenever we choose to believe otherwise. Our new spirit is born of God and it does not sin. It has no history of sin and does not know sin. When we sin it will not rejoice but reprove us. It will not follow us into our sin. It will grieve if we sin and we will suffer loss, separation and broken fellowship if we do sin. Our spirit is the noblest part of our being: here it is that we experience the presence, love, joy, peace and freedom of the Lord. The Spirit of God communes and fellowship with us in this place only and no where else. God communicates with us here, Spirit to spirit. God does not communicate directly with our mind or directly with our feelings. God never interferes with us in those areas but the enemy of God does so just about all the time.. The enemy has means of access to both our mind and our emotions. He regularly accesses these areas to deceive us so that he might coerce our will and bring us under subjection to himself. Satan does not respect our sovereign rights but God does. God will never ever force Himself upon us, neither will God tamper with our feelings, or interfere with our thinking. We need to know that our mind and feelings are sovereign to us and to be used to magnify and express the Life of Christ who lives in our new spirit. May we all have a spirit that rejoices in God our Saviour, and a soul that magnifies and expresses the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:46-47) The Lord Jesus more than desires to express His life through us, but we have to co-operate with Him by the positive execution of our will. If we will not choose, God will not act, and neither will His life be able to be expressed through us. Our born again spirit is still subject to our will, just as the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. If we choose to express the life of our spirit then the Lord Jesus can express His Life. If we don't choose to allow Him to express His life then all that will be expressed is 'us' ......and that does not give life to those who are around us.

Jesus is the Spirit of Life!.... The first Adam was created a life giving Soul but the Lord Jesus as the second Adam was born a Life giving Spirit. Or you could say Jesus is alive in my new spirit in the person of Gods Holy Spirit. This new spirit that we receive is born out of Christ, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit but it is not the Holy Spirit Himself. This new spirit is the new wineskin that contains the new wine but it is not the new wine. Romans 8:9 declares that "if any man has not the spirit of Christ he is none of His" ....This is the new spirit we receive. This is the part of us that constitutes us as a part of Christ and a new creation. The intent of the Lord Jesus is not to give us another book or another set of rules, but to give us His Life!. The old Testament was based on the principle of God's Law. The new testament is based on the principle of God's Grace. The old was the commandments of God; the new is the Life of God. Jesus said, the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are Life (John 6:63). This is salvation, and this is deliverance from the sin nature!! Jesus did not give us a new set of rules to be obeyed; He gave us His Life. We are now complete in Christ and we need not suffer any longer from either a depraved character or a sinful nature.

We are now Complete in Him!..... In conclusion, it is an amazing fact that all the weaknesses of mankind fall into one of two categories. Anger or Fear. Our 'old' nature is predominantly 'fear' or 'anger' based. This too can be traced to our character which is either predominantly proud or rebellious. The extroverted temperaments suffer from pride and anger. The introverted suffer from rebellion and fear. Behind every sinful act of anger lies the Demon of Pride. Behind every sinful act of fear lies the Demon of rebellion. The Lord Jesus has Given us His Resurrection Life to be our new nature. This new nature is a now a righteous nature within and He has also given us God's Life which is now our character!. God is both Holy and Righteous and this is what He has also made us to be in His Son. We are now a complete in Christ! We have God's Life and God's nature! We are now Holy (Whole) in character and we now have a Righteous nature. Jesus is much, much more than just our personal Saviour, Jesus is our Life! To forgive us our sins is one thing but to deliver us out of being a sinner is so much more. This is what Salvation really is in God's eyes. God has delivered us out of Adam and translated us into His Son. In Christ we are now not just the image of God but we are actually like Him as well. This is what it is to be really 'Born Again'

As Christians, let us be clear about the meaning of resurrection life. First of all, it is not your life or my life and not even our life now that we are a Christian. Resurrection has to do with life after death, and seeing that we are not dead physically; then what is resurrection life. Some would suggest that when we become a Christian we change our life to be like Jesus. No never, the Christian life is never us changing ourselves at all, neither is it God or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit changing us. The Christian life is Christ's life and it has nothing whatsoever to do with changing us. The Christian life is not a changed life but an exchanged life. We exchange our life together with our sin nature for His life and seeing we can't live His life anyway, we simply obey on our part and count on Him to live out His life in us. Why do we find such little expression of His life in Christian circles?. Why do we have to suffer so much of the 'self life', both in ourselves and from other believers?. The reason is not to do with a lack of Life, but rather a lack of death.

Resurrection Life is most certainly Christ's life, but it comes to us from 'out of' Christ in a unique way. It is a Life that comes 'out of' death and only out of death. If there is no death then there can be no life. We can illustrate this with a grain of wheat, it must first die and fall into the earth before it can produce new life. This is the basis of resurrection life and also an aspect of the death of the Lord Jesus that has nothing to do with the forgiveness of sins or redemption. He most certainly died to pay the price of our sins and secure for us Gods forgiveness, but He also died in order to give us His life, which is Resurrection Life. The reason is not because of a lack of Life on His part, but due to a lack of 'death to self' on our part, by a 'not letting go of our self life' or soul life to death. Death to self is separation from the self life. Adam was created from the dust of the earth and God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and the catalytic effect was that Adam became a living soul, that is he had 'self life' or he was alive in his soul. He was neither spiritual nor fleshly, but normal and neutral, yet with a free will with which to choose.

The Lord Jesus, as the second Adam, was not created by God but born of God and He is a life giving spirit. The life the Lord Jesus imparts to us is spiritual life and that life is imparted to our spirit not to soul, yet it is through our soul that His life is expressed. How hard this can be at times if self is occupying the same space in our soul. Either Christ is expressed or self, or worse; evil spirits delight in taking opportunity by deception, to express their malignant and depraved personality through the soul of Man and ignorant believers. We need revelation from the Lord Jesus to know what is our spirit from what is our soul. We can be assured that God is at work in our environment for our very best, and His Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts causing us to experience more death in separation from self, so that more of His life will be able to be expressed in us. What most of us have at best is mixture. A little of His life expressed and a great deal of self.

Therefore God is at work not to increase us but to decrease us. We are still too big, too fat, too bloated with our self life, overriding our spirit. We need to know that we may grow, and revelation is the only way to go. The Lord Jesus has so much more to give us, so much more to show us and so much more for us to know. Yet few there are who inquire of Him for light, revelation and understanding. He said back then, 'You know the scriptures and you think in them is Life, but the scriptures point to Me, and yet you won't come to me for Life. This is even more so today. Revelation is all about knowing Him and His resurrection Life intuitively. 2 We only know God by the revelation we have of the Lord Jesus. Those who don't have any personal revelation of Jesus, don't know God.

If you are a Christian, that has been Born Again and baptised or filled with His Holy Spirit and you are still looking for more from God as far as Life input is concerned, then you will be disappointed because there is no more. God has given us His Life. He has given us a new spirit that is born out of His Son and does not sin. He has baptised or filled our new spirit with His own Holy Life. He has given us His life on the cross to redeem us; He has given us His resurrection Life to complete us. There is no more to give. The rest is out working; that is a revealing or progressive revelations of what Jesus is and what we are in Him. The true answer for our lack lies elsewhere. If His part is the Life part, then our part is the death part. If He has taken care of the spiritual part, then I have to choose to take care of the 'death to self' part. Allow me to make the word death here a little more palatable. Death is ultimate separation is it not?, then what we need to choose is ultimate separation from self in the soul, so that we may experience the full flow of His new life from out of our new spirit.

The soul requires one life to magnify and express not two. This is the work of His cross, that by the separation of self from the soul, our soul may be free and our mind crystal clear, so that He can express His life in us and through us, unhampered by what was there before. At the cross the Lord Jesus divided life from death, just as light is divided from darkness. On the one side of the cross we have death, on the other side we have resurrection life. In our experience of having been crucified in Christ; His Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts, to give us the experience of spiritual life by dividing our Spirit from our soul. Do we see this? It requires for us to choose; it requires the use of our will to co-operate with what He has already achieved. We do not have to do anything here, as to try to crucify ourselves; He has already crucified us, because when He died, we died. What we do need to do is co-operate with what He has already done, and to know that self is dead and that we have separation from it.

We need to base all our reckoning on historical fact. Because He died for us, self, sin and Satan are in fact all dead to us now. We have been eternally separated from Satan, sin and self. None of these have any power or authority or dominion over us any more. We are free from sin, Satan and the old self life. That is an absolute truth because it is an absolute fact. Now, why then do we still experience problems with sin, problems with Satan and problems with self?. The answer is to be found in another fact, and that fact is we do not believe God absolutely, but we do believe the enemy. It is a crying shame that we put more faith in our doubts than we do in Gods facts. If we did a turn about and started to doubt all our doubts and put our faith in the facts, then we would have the experience of His Life. Lets doubt our doubts and have some reality for a change.

Resurrection Life comes forth in us in experience when we take a stance with an attitude of death and separation to self. The loss of our self life has nothing to do with salvation or even redemption, but if we want to have the experience of resurrection life now before we die physically, then we must loose our self life now. We need to recognise once again that we have undergone a traumatic change in Christ by exchange, and the life we have now is in our spirit, not in our soul. We have been made alive spiritually. The life is now in our spirit not in our soul as it was before. The cross of Christ is the big T in our lives, it has Terminated the life that was in the soul by death; it has Translated us into the life that is of God in our spirit by resurrection. Adam was created a living soul, his life was in his soul; Jesus on the other hand is a life giving spirit, His life is in our spirit not in our soul. We don't have to sweat and strain to be spiritual people, we need only discover what is already ours by taking into account the fact that self is already dead in Christ. This is not to suggest that our soul is to remain idle, far from it. What we do mean is that an exchange has taken place and as a result our soul is no longer our source of our life, but has become our unemployed servant of sin. We may now direct it to choose to express the Life of Christ. Previously, we were dominated by the desires of body and soul. God labelled us as Flesh. Our 'flesh life' was 'of the world', as well as in it. All was under the direction of Satan as the 'god of this world' and its system.

When we got saved and we were delivered out of being 'of the world', yet we remain carnal as long as self or soul dominate us. To move on and to be spiritual, we must choose our spirit to have dominion and allow the Life of Christ to be our Lord. This is a reversal of what we were. Previously it was body, soul and spirit. Now it is spirit, soul and body. Not just in theory but in experience and fact. We were born into this world upside down!! Our bottom was where our top should have been and our top was suppressed underneath our bottom!! No wonder we felt so uncomfortable before we got saved!! But praise God He loved us enough to see our dilemma and send Jesus to turn the thing around by reversal. We now have His life, His light, His truth, His way, His peace and His joy on the top end in our spirit.

The purpose for our unemployed 'soul' servant, with its mind, emotion and will, is to now serve God by expressing the Life of Christ in place and in preference to what was there before. The soul is the link between spirit and body. What comes out of our mouth from our spirit must pass through our soul. Here it is that magnification and individual temperament colouring is added. What we express is mixture, but what we need to avoid is obstruction from self. We need to also know, that until we go to be with the Lord, there is no such thing as sinless perfection as salvation for the soul, it remains a future reward for those who choose to loose their self life in this World. We will never be infallible in the world as it is today. But we can start to experience now what it will be like in small measure, as we form an attitude of death and separation to self, and start to experience His Life from out of our spirit. The Life from our spirit is His part, and what God has done in our spirit, He alone will perform in our lives. Our part is to keep our mind, emotions and will free and separated from self and Satan.

If you will choose to take up your cross, follow Him and loose your self life through death and separation, you will shortly experience the dividing of soul and spirit, and the Life of Christ will flood your soul. To follow Him means that your mind and feelings walk after the leading that you receive from your spirit through intuition. Our mind is directed by our will to follow the revelation in our spirit in preference to the thought in our head. Or our will directs all our thinking to be governed by what God has made known to us in our spirit. This is life and peace for us now, in place of a wandering, confused or passive mind. Not only has God given us love and power, but also a sound mind. We need to experience the fantastic transformation a renewed sound mind brings.

Our make up can be compared to a table lamp. The Holy Spiritual life of God is the electricity, our will is the switch on the lamp and our spirit is the filament of the globe that shines, our mind and emotions form the glass that encases both the filament and the electricity. How imperative it is to have clear transparent glass and yet some have a lead encasement in place of glass. The problem is not with the electricity or wattage of the lamp, the light is there, the power is there, but all is covered and therefore is not able to be seen or expressed. Resurrection Life emerges and shines out of darkness, just as the Sun at dawn rises and shines from out of the night. It is Life emerging out of the darkness of all that self was.



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