Tuesday, September 16, 2008

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The New Birth Issues A New, Sinless Nature

“Ye Must Be Born Again”

Living a victorious life in Jesus involves the continual struggle to put off the old nature and walk in the new nature of the rebirth in Jesus. It cannot be done without yielding to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
As Christians, we must constantly be aware that our old nature is in direct conflict with our new nature given to us when we were born again in Christ. Corruptible seed produces a corruptible nature. The seed of man is corruptible; the birth of man is natural. Therefore, the nature of man is sinful. The seed of God is incorruptible; the new birth is spiritual. Therefore, the new nature is sinless. (I John 3: 9)”Whosoever is born
of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (as a usual practice) sin, because he is born of God.” This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. We cannot base our understanding of it on the basis of personal experience. We must keep in mind that the verse is talking about the new nature-not the old nature-because the old nature is not born of God. The old nature is born of fallen man, and is depraved. The new nature is born of God, and is holy.

First, let us examine what the verse says about the new nature:

(1) The new nature does not commit sin, because it is the product of the “seed of God.”
(2) The new nature cannot sin, because it is the divine nature of God (II Peter 1:4) and since God cannot
sin, the new nature that issues from His holy seed cannot sin.
II Peter 1: 4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye
might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world
through lust.”
Second, let us see what the Bible says about the old nature:
(1) The old nature does sin any time you let it sin.
(Rom. 6:12) “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts
As a child of God, you will keep under, or control, the old nature (I Cor. 9:27) by not yielding to the
desires of the flesh; or the old nature will keep you under, and you will live a defeated Christian life
(Rom.6: 13)
(I Cor. 9: 27) “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,”
(Romans 6: 13) “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of un righteousness unto sin:
but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as
instruments of righteousness unto God.”
(2) There is nothing good in the old nature.
(Rom. 7:18) “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is
present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
The power to live a righteous life cannot be found in the old nature: it can only be found in the new.
(Gal. 2:20) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave
himself for me.”

If you have been “born again,” you have two natures-the old and the new- and you are walking according to one of the two. Remember what Paul said regarding his struggle against his old nature.

Romans 7: 19,22,23 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” We can examine our Christian walk in the light of Romans 8:5,6 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 13: 14 states that we must “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Be not dismayed but stand upon this promise from His word. (II Philippians 1:6) “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

In today’s world of political correctness and “tolerance”, one who chooses to be conscious of the true meaning of right and wrong Biblically speaking, is more apt to be looked upon as a bigot. To take a stand against sin is so often regarded as being arrogant and self-righteous. I do not mean that it is right to try to thrust ones own beliefs and convictions upon another. Yet I do desire to continually seek His will as best I can that He may keep my feet upon the straight and narrow path. I pray that I may never close my heart to His continual corrections and changes within my own life. I thank the Lord that He has promised that He will not give up on me, no matter how many times I fail him.

I heard someone say that tolerance of homosexuality was a “social” problem. It was said that homosexuality and gay marriages were becoming more acceptable because people, as they see others practicing it, were becoming more “comfortable” with it. For those of you who may think I am “picking on” homosexuals, lets put that particular sin aside for right now and replace it with cheating and/or lying. Homosexuality is not a greater sin than cheating. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. Yet we humans try to categorize sin and depict one sin as being an abomination before God while we may designate another sin as being a little thing and not really all that bad. Cheating and lying seem to be regarded as very minor evils in today’s world. We’ve all heard of the idea of “little white lies.” It seems that people think that “everybody does it”, so it is now an acceptable thing to do because man has become more “comfortable” with it. Do we not see that these are the seeds that lead to desensitizing our consciences; thus, making us less and less capable of discerning good and evil?

The following is an example is just one example of how cunning deception is in seducing us to get caught in the trap of sin. I was in college and taking a test, which I was ill equipped to do. Fear of failure convinced me that looking on someone’s paper just this one time couldn’t hurt, could it? After all, cheating just one time was not all that bad and everybody does it. Well, I gave in to the temptation and did just that. After turning in my paper, the Holy Spirit convicted me of the terrible thing that I had done. Right away I knew that I must remedy the situation somehow. I asked the Lord to forgive me. But more than that, I prayed that I would fail the test. If I did not fail the test, I knew that I must go to my teacher, confess my wrong doing, and ask him to give me the failing grade that I deserved. Later that week I got the test back with the beautiful grade of “F”. Inwardly, I felt like leaping for joy. I praised the Lord for answered prayer. Once you do something that you know is wrong, and you don’t repent, you have headed down the slippery slope that could eventually lead to the bottomless pit of being enslaved by that sin. I know without a doubt, had I not listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit, it would have become easier and easier to cheat each successive time until I would completely quench that still small voice within that is meant to guide me and keep me on the straight and narrow path.

Philippians 2: 13 states “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
However if we, with stubborn and rebellious hearts refuse to acknowledge the power of the one true living God, then we have chosen to walk through life depending arrogantly upon our own limited intellect and opinions. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will never force Himself upon those who do not seek, want, or believe in Him and His ability to guide and lead us into all truth.

Each individual, at some point in life, will make a decision to follow God or to rebel against Him and follow in the light of their own finite understanding. II Timothy 3: 2-7 “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Consider the full meaning and impact of that last statement, for we see its effect today as man turns away from the real truth of God. We have people forever searching and striving to learn so often from every false teaching. Always saying “well that principle may have some truth, but we must consider the teachings perhaps of Buddha, or Gandhi, or whoever the latest and most popular Guru of the times may be.” Always willing to continue to “learn” from anything and everything except from the “truth.” I Timothy 4: The bottom line is that we often choose to live in the pride and arrogance of our own abilities and capabilities, forever choosing to live according to our own opinions and preferences, and rejecting the principles and commandments of the truth of God. So many today have a “form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” For example, within their belief system you may find many of the teachings from God’s word, even the very same scriptures. They will use bits and pieces when it seems to agree with their own opinions or life style preferences. Of course, there is no wonder that, for them, there are no absolutes, no real right or wrong. For the opinions and principles which they live by are forever subject to change, depending upon what is pleasing or “politically correct” to them at that period of time. (A man’s ways are right in his own eyes.) When I use the pronoun “they” I do not exclude myself, for I have been just as guilty as the next when it comes to being a hearer, but not always a doer of the word. But God and His word are the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has given us His commandments, not to use as restrictions or hammers with which to beat us over the head, as some may think. You are familiar with the saying,“God’s going to get you for that.” That statement is far from the real purpose of God’s commandments. Instead, His commandments are given to guard us against the enslavement of sin and self-destruction. His commandments are for the purpose of setting us free from the enslavement of sin, that we may walk in the light of His Word, which gives us liberty and freedom from the power of sin. Let me relate God’s commandments to a simplified example of a “commandment” that a parent might give to his/her child.. “Thou shalt not touch or play with fire.” Now, does that parent give that “commandment” to use it as a “hammer of control”? No, the “commandment” is given to set the child free from the consequences of being burned, hurt, or possibly even destroyed by the “sin” of playing with fire. A loving parent my sometimes choose to place their child in the safe confines of a playpen. Is the purpose of the playpen meant to be for the purpose of giving the parent total domination over the child? Of course not, as the playpen is a way of protecting the child from danger, so are God’s commandment and instruction. If we would but choose to stay within the confines of His instructions,
they would guard and protect us like a hedge against the encroachment of the fiery darts of the enemy.

To put off the old sinful nature and grow in the strength of becoming more Christ-like in our new nature, it is imperative that we seek God’s wisdom from His Word to be daily filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the daily process of being filled, fed, and formed by the Holy Spirit that will transform us by the washing of the water of the Word. Philippians 2: 13 “For it is God that works within you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

God does not wish that any would perish, but have life everlasting through faith in Jesus Christ, the one who paid for our sins. I Timothy 2: 3-6 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Collosians 2: 6-8 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, to walk ye in him; Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” I Timothy 4: 1,2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” II Timothy 4: 3,4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves, teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” In essence this is saying, man will prefer to hear only those things which are pleasing to themselves and reject that which is the truth of the Lord because it just does not fit into their own way of thinking. It’s kind of like that expression often used in reference to some one that is hard of hearing: He hears what he wants to hear, or perverts whatever is said in order to suit their own opinions or preferences. You know it is easy to listen to the words of a preacher who says to his flock that it really doesn’t matter what or in whom you believe; for there are many ways to God. If that is true, then Jesus died in vain and he is either who He says He is or He is the biggest fake and liar that ever existed. Jesus said:” I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life; No man comes to the Father but through me.”

I pray that we would all come to the saving knowledge of the truth through the one true living God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If we deny the power of the Holy Spirit then we deny the Father and the Son. It is the Holy Spirit that leads and guides us into all truth. It is He that woes and calls to us to receive the Father, and the Son as our personal Lord and Saviour. It is He that convicts of sin, our need to repent, and our need of Jesus our Saviour.

One of the greatest principles to live and grow by is to seek to do those things which are pleasing in the sight of the Lord. We know what is pleasing to the Lord though the life of Christ, His Word, and the infilling of His Holy Spirit. He is able to keep and transform us into his image as we yield ourselves to Him in thought, word, and deed. Becoming more Christ-like, that is being transformed from our old corruptible nature into our new incorruptible nature, is not something that happens all at once, but is a daily growth process. Just as a little baby grows and learns in little daily steps, so is the growth of our new nature in Christ. God will perfect that which concerns us. He receives us just as we are, but He does not leave us as we are. Thanks be to God that He is ever working within us and never leaves or forsakes us. In this world, He tells us that we will have trials and tribulations. He also assures us that He gives us the Holy Spirit to comfort and grant us His peace. Therefore, He enables us to give thanks in all things regardless of our situation or circumstances.

Belief in the resurrection power of Jesus is not a crutch nor is belief in Heaven an escape. It is God’s intent that, through our knowledge of the gospel, we should begin our journey into heaven while we are in the here and now on Earth. If we begin our transformation now through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, then we have the opportunity to begin to taste and see that the Lord is good. The scriptures tell us that we can begin now to see heaven and its treasures, but only in part as a reflection as when we look into a mirror. However, eventually we will see and understand in full when we enter into Heaven and see Him face to face. Eternity in Heaven is the extension and fullness of what He begins within us now. God cares about our needs in the present, not just for eternity. He comes to breathe life into where we are now and then links that to eternity. That is why we must choose to believe in Him in the present time that He may begin to prepare us for life with Him in heaven. Heaven is a vocation, or a calling, for us to choose. It transcends far above that which we could ever imagine. If we have not opened to His calling in the present, we will not open to him in eternity. Thus we will be forever separated from him. Entering into Heaven is not something that we can do on our own. Eternity is now ours, not because we deserve it or have done anything to earn it, but rather is granted to those who love Him for He loved us first. God does not wish that any should perish, but that all would come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The choice is yours and mine to make. The Lord calls to each of us and asks, “What have you done with my Son?” What is your answer?

Ginger Rahn


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