"From Death Unto Life!"
(1 John 3:14)
From "death unto life…" Many think this is a promise, when in reality, it's a fact! It's already done. I'm not striving FOR it, I have already OBTAINED it! And not only I, but countless of thousands of others, as well. A problem I see as I go from church to church, is that not everyone knows the above fact, and, consequently, not everyone is walking in it. "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).
One of the first teachings I learned when I became a Christian, was to know who I am IN Christ Jesus. Once I became a Christian, there was a working that took place IN me that God did, because I received Jesus as my Saviour, and then crowned Him as my Lord. I had become what the Bible calls, "Born again," or as some translations have it, "Born from above". There was a new birth that took place inside of me. Not in my mind; not in my body - but a newness of life that took place in the real me - the spirit man. It was a spiritual birth that God produced and not man. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Another version said, "If any person be in Christ, he is a new species of man that never existed before…" There's a NEW YOU, if Jesus is your Lord. Now you've got to go forth and find out what this "new you" is; what this "new you" has; what this "new you" can do - in and through the Name and personage of Jesus Christ. It's called renewing the mind. Renew our way of thinking to what HAS been accomplished within us via the new birth.
When we become born again, it's NOT a renovation - not a make-over. It's an entirely new person that is birthed. Oh, you still have your mind, your body, sometimes even those nasty habits that you have trained your mind and body to think and do. I call them excess baggage. But the real you, is different. You have such peace, such joy, in you. You don't understand it - you just know something has happened deep within you. It's Father giving you a new birth with ALL the qualities that He has planned and purposed for each of His children to be, to have, and to do. NOT EVERYONE ON PLANET EARTH IS GOD'S CHILD! In order to be a child of God, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN. There's NO other way. It's either HIS WAY, or NO WAY.
Within the NEW BIRTH, God has predestined* (Ephesians 1:5) ALL who have experienced it, to be certain things; to have certain things; and to be able to do certain things. It's a lack of knowledge of these facts that will hold us to believing "we're not capable of doing good", "we are just worms of the dust", "we're nobodys…" etc. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free…" (John 8: 32) It's THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH that sets us free. Free from bondage of believing the above and KNOWING the opposite! RENEWing of the mind means we start telling ourselves WHO we are IN Christ Jesus, WHAT we have IN Christ Jesus, WHAT we can do IN Christ Jesus!
Colossians chapter one states: "12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption, through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."
Permit me to unravel the Elizabethian language used here: the word "meet" can be translated "able". The word "hath" is simply "has," and this word "power" is "authority". We have been made ABLE to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (meaning ALL who are born again). God HAS delivered us from the AUTHORITY of darkness (that is, Satan and ALL that is within that kingdom); God HAS translated us INTO Jesus' Kingdom; and God HAS given to us redemption because of the cross of Calvary! It's ALL of God and NOTHING of us. We are simply recipients OF the GIFT of Salvation that HE HAS OFFERED (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Go through the New Testament and look for the past-tense of God's Word. For instance, Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Now, we take this verse and make it personal. We renew our minds by speaking the same thing that God has declared about us (in Christ). We say, "I am justified with the God of the universe; I have peace, all because I have received the Gift of God - the Lord Jesus Christ!" I may not feel like it's true, but I know it is because I believe God's Word is Truth. Therefore, I tell myself, "I am justified. I have peace." After a while, it hits me… I AM JUSTIFIED! I HAVE PEACE! FOR I HAVE THE JUSTIFIER AND THE PRINCE OF PEACE IN ME!"
The entrance of His Word gives understanding.
Look at 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18 & 21 with me.
"17If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation… 21For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Again notice the past-tense of God's Word: God has reconciled us to Himself… has given to us the ministry of reconciliation… has made him (Jesus) sin in order that we could be made the righteousness of God - IN him (Christ).
We are … not gonna be … put in right standing with God. We are … not gonna be … given certain attributes (characteristics) that God planned way back in the beginning of time itself! Our need is, first, receiving that provision by making Jesus our personal Saviour, and then, start renewing our thinking with the declared realities of God's Word. If we get our thinking right, we'll get our speaking right, and then get our believing right. Our believing right will cause us to walk right. It's called Transformation.
All true believers have a preplanned design, outcome, or quality, that God, Himself, purposed that ALL who are born-again will have. These attributes are the outcome (outflow) of the innermost part of their being. They are the results of that new birth. Just as in Adam, all are made partakers of the devilish nature, all in Christ Jesus are made partakers of the divine nature (Romans chapter 5). That's why Jesus said, "You are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do" (John 8:44). Because of one man (Adam) ALL humanity are partakers of the satanic nature. And because of that nature, certain "sins" are produced, or, flows out of. It's part of the "design, outcome, or quality" that are imbedded within humanity's innermost being. That person is condemned. His or her destiny is hell. NOT because of WHAT they do, but because of WHO they are. The person in that condition MUST be born-again to escape the judgement placed upon the satanic nature. At the new birth, God removes that spirit (nature) and places a new man in its place.
Ezekiel prophesied of this action when he said:
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:" (11:19) and "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (36:26)
This will instill within that person, the preplanned - the predestined design - that God imparts to "him that believeth." Doesn't make that person better than any other in the natural, but does reroute that person's spiritual destiny. A "new heart", a "new spirit" will be the benefit of that new birth. And THAT spirit will contain the attributes of its father, God; producing from THAT source, the "works of righteousness." Ephesians 2:10 says it this way: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had prepared that we should walk in them." I AM HIS WORKMANSHIP - NOW!
We have passed from death unto life. The "We" here is not speaking of humanity. It is speaking to those who are born-again. "We," the born-again ones, have passed from death - been delivered FROM the authority of the devil - and transferred INTO the kingdom of God's dear son (Colossians 1:12). At the time of the new birth, God declares that we are no longer under the bondage, the lordship, the dominion of - Satan. We have been removed FROM that kingdom which God has placed a judgement upon. Then at that time, a new spirit is given and we ARE (past-tense) put INTO another kingdom of which there is no penalty - the Kingdom of His dear Son. Ephesians 1:6 says, "… we are accepted in the beloved." We ARE rat-now!
Now the newly-birthed person must grow in the knowledge of WHO he/she is IN CHRIST JESUS, and discipline their flesh, renew their mind to the characteristics, or attributes, of God, Who now is their spiritual father.
Look at John 7:37-39 with me:
"37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
He that believes on me as the scripture saith, out of his belly (his innermost being) SHALL flow rivers (plural) of LIVING water - which is the Spirit that they who believe on him should receive. Any one who is born-again, shall produce from their innermost being, a life-giving ministry to those around them. Christians can hide it, or not allow that force to flow, but nevertheless, the force is within them FOR ministry. Ministry isn't "in the pulpit" only… it's every day contact with the world, telling them of the Love that God has for them, and all who will make Jesus Lord of their lives; it's setting the captives free.
"Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). That life-force contains the fruit of its source - God Himself! You ARE that nature; you HAVE that ability; You can DO that ministry - ALL because it's His nature; His ability; His ministry freely given (called G R A C E) to the new born-again person.
Let me share, in part, the August 30's devotional from Day-By-Day By Grace, by Bob Hoekstra:
"Surely none of the men that came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: except Caleb… and Joshua… for they have wholly followed the LORD." Numbers 32:11, 12.
Did you get that? This is where a lot of Christians are today: they are delivered FROM sin, but aren't following the prepared virtues OF that Kingdom that God has given to them. This is the land, the abundance of life, the power that is available, and the life of victory that they can possess for themselves AND be equipped to give to others.
"Joshua and Caleb were the only adult Israelites in that first generation who went "into the fullness" of God's calling. They alone went into the land. Joshua would not only enter the land, he would lead Israel into God's victory. "Then Moses called Joshua and said to him . . . you must go with this people to the land . . . and you shall cause them to inherit it" (Deut. 31:7).
"Unlike Joshua and Caleb, the other Israelites followed the Lord's calling out from Egypt, but they did not follow Him into the land. Many Christians repeat this same error today. They have followed the Lord as He led them out of the spiritual death of sin and guilt. They are "out of Egypt." They are forgiven of their sins. They have new life in Christ. However, they do not follow the Lord on "into the land." They do not follow by faith into abundance of life. They do not follow the Lord in humble dependence for transformation, for fruitfulness, for a life of spiritual victory."
Its NOT about us performing in order to get God to do something in ours or other people's lives; its about growing in the grace that has already been purchased at Calvary in our behalf, that now resides IN US. "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
Philemon verse six states: "That the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus."
How does your faith get spread? How does it become fruitful to yourself and to others? By the communication - the acknowledgement of - those things that God has placed within you IN CHRIST JESUS. It's not confessing, "I'm nobody… I can't do anything right… I am such a loser…"and etc. It is confessing, "Greater is he that is IN ME than he that is in this world… I can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me… I am NOW the righteousness of God IN CHRIST JESUS… I am God's creation and good works I shall do…" and etc.
Acknowledge those things that Father has put in you. Find them in the Word and make that your confession. "For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Notice the "to will and to do" portion; God started the work, and He'll finish that work - IF you allow Him. Jesus is both the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is faithful; how faithful are you in allowing that finishing to take place?
Transformation (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:22-24) includes:
It is all of the above that every Christian needs to incorporate in their life. There's a dying world out there in dire need of being shown that God is alive - that He is alive in us, through us, and upon us. They have a hunger deep down for the real thing. Too much of the time, they have seen "religion," and not Christianity.
- Manifesting the Glory of God. John 14:9, 10
Manifest means to reveal, make known, to show forth - the Glory of God.
This gives the world a clear image of God (John 2:11).
- Living His Life - showing God's Character.
- Speaking His Word - showing God's thoughts and intentions.
- Working His Works - showing God's power.
We can, with His help.
(From the 4th paragraph)
* Don't get all bent out of shape over the word "predestined". It simply means, "pre-planned". There is an erroneous teaching of predestination that says something like: "If you are predestined to be saved, THEN you'll be saved. If not, then you're predestined to go to hell, and there isn't anything you can do about it. It's all God's determination." This teaching is false: "God so loved THE WORLD…" (John 3:16). See how Satan can twist scripture and mess with one's mind?