Starting this week we want to look as the results of the New Birth.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, repeatedly preached on the subject, “Ye must be born again.” On one occasion a listener approached this servant of God and said, “Don’t you know anything else except, ‘Ye must be born again?”‘
Wesley smiled and replied, “Certainly, but the reason I preached on John 3:7, Ye must be born again, so often is because Jesus said, Ye must be born again.”
One can only be “born again” or “from above” if his theological concept of Christ is accurate. 1 John 5:1 states, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…. What a power-filled statement.
“Why?” you ask.
Because Jesus means “Saviour” (see Matthew 1:21) and Christ means “Sent One.“
Therefore, one must believe that the Saviour is the “Sent One” or a “born again” experience becomes impossible. Involved in the terminology, “Sent One,” is the eternal deity of Christ. One must believe that He always existed, yea was the preexistent God, the second member of the Trinity.
One must believe that He was …from everlasting (Micah 5:2) and was “sent” to earth to inhabit a blood-filled body to die for sinners. That’s why Galatians 4:4 states, But when the fullness of time was come [the time for God’s plan to be enacted, see Revelation 13,http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2013&version=KJV God SENT [not created, but SENT] forth his Son…. If He sent Him, Christ preexisted, for one cannot be sent if he is nonexistent.
Now this “Sent One” came to Bethlehem’s manger to die upon Calvary’s tree. Yes, He took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:7, 8). No other Christ suffices. He must be the virgin born, blood covered; resurrected God-man or salvation is impossible. Believing this and receiving Him makes one “born of God.” This in turn produces three results.
1 John 3:9 declares, Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Greek scholars teach that the word commit should be translated “practice.“This is so because a Christian may still slip or do wrong. Believers still have fleshly natures until the day of redemption. Then Christ “raptures” our old “vile bodies” into His presence (see Philippians 3:20).
Presently, this old nature is constantly at war with the newly produced nature received at salvation. Paul described the battle in Romans 7http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%207&version=KJV and also in Galatians 5:17. He says . . . the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that [you] cannot do the thing that [you] would. However, victory through the indwelling Spirit is possible for verse 16 states, Walk in the Spirit, and [you] shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
It must be obvious to all Christians that there is a constant battle to be fought. Paul wasn’t whistling in the wind when he said, I have fought a good fight… (2 Timothy 4:7. He knew the danger of egotistically shouting, “I could never do wrong.” for he again declared in 1 Corinthians 10:12. …let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
We see, then, that it is possible for any child of God to commit sin but impossible for the genuine believer to live a life of sin. This is true because his seed [the Holy Spirit] remaineth in him: and he cannot [practice] sin, because he is BORN OF GOD (1 John 3:9). When one is truly saved, Christ and the Holy Spirit enter one’s heart and life simultaneously. That’s right … if any man have not the Spirit of Christ; he is none of [Christ’s] (Romans 8:9). This blessed Spirit, living within the believer, becomes “grieved” (see Ephesians 4:30) and “quenched” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19) when the smallest infraction of God’s commands occurs.
The Spirit’s grief, in turn, becomes the believer’s heartache as he feels what the internally dwelling Spirit experiences. This elucidates our previously discussed text which says, Whosoever is BORN OF GOD doth not commit sin; for his seed [the Holy Spirit] remaineth in him: and he cannot [practice] sin, because he is born of God (1 John 3:9).
Let’s go a step farther. If one is miserable over sin but continues to walk in disobedience to God, the offender gets a spiritual spanking. Hebrews 12:5-8 declares, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth EVERY SON whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you, as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof ALL are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
This spiritual spanking, administered to ‘every son” (verse 6),http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2012:6&version=KJV yea “all” disobedient ‘children” (verse 8),http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2012:8&version=KJV is for one purpose and one purpose only. …that we might be partakers of his HOLINESS (verse 10).http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2012:10&version=KJV We see, then, that it is God’s supreme desire that His children live holy lives. This is in accordance with their “new birth” experience.
2 Timothy 1:9 states, [God] hath SAVED us, and CALLED us with an HOLY calling…. Again, .. .God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto HOLINESS (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
That’s why Romans 6:4 states that we have been raised unto …NEWNESS of life, and why 2 Corinthians 5:17 adds … if ANY MAN be in Christ, he is a NEW creature: old things are passed away; behold, ALL THINGS are become NEW. This is a direct result of receiving Christ.
Let me explain this truth with an analogy of the physical birth.
When one is born, he receives the nature of each parent. The mixture of the genes means that both parents’ traits are combined in their commingled product. The mean, grumpy nature comes from dad, and the “sugar and spice and everything nice” traits from mom-to hear some ladies tell it! Ha! The combining of the two natures within the finished product results from “human generation.“
Likewise, when one is ‘born from above,” or “born of the Spirit,” he receives God’s nature through REGENERATION (see Titus 3:5). As the child received the nature of his parents through generation, the believer receives the nature of God through regeneration. This is what makes holiness possible. Since one has become a partaker of the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4) and since God is holy (see 2 Peter 1:16), the nature of God within the newly formed “babe in Christ” is divine and holy.
It certainly does not take any ingenuity to see that God within produces holy living.
HIS HOLINESS rubs off and must be reflected in His children. The Bible commands this holiness of life through conversion. …[you] shall be holy, for l am holy… (Leviticus 11:44)…. thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God… (Deuteronomy 7:6). They shall be called Thy holy people, The redeemed of the Lord… (Isaiah 62:12). Paul pleads with the people of God to walk according to their standing, saying, . . .yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (Romans 6:19).
The Apostle was concerned because he wanted all of God’s people to share the joyous hour when Christ presents us holy and unblamable (see Colossians 1:22). Colossians 3:12 informs believers that they, as the election of God, are holy and beloved. They are …holy brethren… (Hebrews 3:1). Elected to such a high calling, we are to, Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). One’s holy walk and talk proves that genuine salvation has occurred.
Strange, is it not, that denominations who push “election” the hardest are usually the cocktail-sipping, tobacco-sucking crowd. Beloved, election is unto holiness! He chose us …in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be HOLY… (Ephesians 1:4). Preaching and teaching about “predestination” and “election” is naught but empty platitudes and vain repetition if the life of holiness is missing. In other words-pardon my grammatical error-you ain’t got it! Why? Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.
Now back to the original premise. Genuine believers may slip and fall, but they do not remain in the mud of sin for months and years. The apostle John harmoniously ties the two teachings, already considered, together by saying, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. However, He that [practices] sin is of the devil… (1 John 1:8 and 1 John 3:8). Make the distinction God does, and the pieces of the puzzle fit the picture.
In the light of what has just been discussed, let’s consider the outcome of practicing sin. Multitudes think that walking an aisle, signing a card, and sending one’s photograph for baptism constitutes a salvation experience. Soothed and salved by such religious pilgrimages to the altar or prayer room, they continue the practice of every abominable degradation known.
Regardless of their decadent lifestyle, all is well because once-upon-a time they made a beeline to the altar. Unfortunately, all they gained by it was “exercise,” not an “experience.” The “move” made, the practicing sinners rest in an unexperienced experience and they will die as unconverted converts. How deceived they are! How sad they will be at the judgment when Christ cries, I NEVER knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:23).
As I preach such convicting truth I realize that some sin-laden worldlings are angry. They are crying, Christian liberty, Christian liberty.”
Ah, but Christian liberty is never a driver’s license to steer one’s life into the pathways of sin!
Others lament, “We are under grace and thus are able to do anything and everything. “
Ah, but grace does not allow for a lifetime of disgrace!
The ‘Apostle of grace” dogmatically teaches this.
Strange as it may seem to some, Paul’s “grace” message concerning sin is identical to John’s “legalistic” discourse about iniquity.
Why not? God wrote all of the Bible.
He used Paul, John, and others-even their personalities and vocabularies-but He guided every word into place (2 Peter 1:2-21). As a result, Paul, as well as John, makes it clear that one cannot love sin, desire sin chase sin, live in sin, and check into a sinless heaven.
Though any Christian can commit any sin at any time, Paul nevertheless concludes that there must be evidence of a “new nature” constantly battling against an “old nature” if one has been born again. No evidence-no experience with God! It’s that simple.
This is so because the Spirit of God becomes “grieved” (see Ephesians 4:30) and “quenched” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19) when believers sin. The believer, in turn, shares the grief produced by the indwelling Spirit. Then, if he continues in sin, he is “spanked” spiritually (see Hebrews 12:5) and may “die” prematurely (see 1 John 5:16), going home “ashamed” (see 1 John 2:28) and suffering the loss of all rewards-being saved …as by fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). It is foolish, therefore, to teach that Paul’s “grace” proclamation allows one to live in sin.
If, at this point, one is still unconvinced, Paul’s following warnings should settle it once, for all, and forever. Hear him in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not [SHALL NOT. That’s right, shall not!] inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators [premarital sex experimenters and “trial marriage” proponents] nor idolators. nor adulterers [extramarital flingers and swingers] nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards [social tipplers who tipple one too many], nor revilers. nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul again warns in Ephesians 5:3-7, But fornication [premarital sex], and all uncleanness, or covetousness [love of materialism and filthy lucre], let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints: Neither filthiness. Nor foolish talking. nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this [you] KNOW, that no whore monger [immoral sex practitioner],nor unclean person [smutty jokester] nor the covetous man, who is an idolater [money lover], hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
[None? None!] Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things [sins] cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. No doubt about it. Depraved, debauched, decadent practitioners of sin inhabit the lake of fire for all eternity (see Revelation 21:8).
One more judgmental alarm is sounded by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21. He says, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past. that they which do such things SHALL NOT [What? SHALL NOT!] inherit the kingdom of God. Such grammar is so simplistic and understandable that further comment is unnecessary. It all convincingly says, He that practiceth sin is of the devil.
Does all this mean, then, that practicing sinners have no hope?
Perish the thought!
God loves sinners and sent His Son to Calvary’s cross to shed His blood for a world of wicked inhabitants.
This blood, which flowed so freely from a love-filled Saviour, cleanseth from ALL sin (see 1 John 1:7). Because of it, a great number of Corinthians described in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 as fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners were eternally forgiven as verse 11 proves. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus , and by the Spirit of our God. This is what the “second birth” did for them and will do for you today if you receive Christ. Remember, …whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
March 11, 2013 | Reprinted July 22, 2013