When we become born again our natures change completely. Through one sacrifice we were completely justified and made holy. The only thing that remains is for us to be completely transformed into the image of Jesus.
“And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.” Col 3:10
“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Phil 1:6
This change does not come through effort or holy living. It will happen naturally and effortlessly as you behold Jesus, and what He has accomplished for you on the cross. We need to hear this message over and over again – it is the power unto salvation (and the power that will change us into His image).
“Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].” Heb 12:2
In the previous two posts we spoke about our positions as sons of God, not slaves of God. Being sons of God, it follows that we are heirs of God. This means we will never lack any beneficial thing. Today I want to speak a little about your new natures as sons of God.
Firstly the Word tells us that we become a new creation the moment we believe in Jesus:
“Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” 2 Cor 5:17
Our natures change completely once we are born again. We become sons of God. The essence of a human runs through the veins of a newborn baby. The essence of God’s spirit runs through the veins of a newborn Christian. We now possess the authority and the power to speak life into dead situations. We can change events with what we say. The same spirit which raised Christ from the dead now dwells in us (Rom 8:11), meaning we can now do the works that Christ did, and even greater works (John 14:12)!
Jesus raised people from the dead, miraculously fed hungry mouths, calmed storms, walked on water and many more incredible things! This is now our new identity – no threatening circumstances should intimidate us anymore!
If we try to change our lives by looking at our flaws and trying to eliminate them ourselves, we will become frustrated. It is the same as going to a pear tree, and being angry at it for not producing apples. By picking each pear you will not be changing the tree into an apple tree – you will just be wasting your time. Each new season it will continue bearing pears – the whole root system and nature of the tree needs to change in order to produce apples.
The same principle applies to our spiritual life. When we are born again, something really amazing happens. We become born of the spirit, meaning our nature changes completely. We are no longer subject to the flesh – but we become a new spirit man.
“What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6
The nature of the spiritual man bears spiritual fruit. It is effortless – just as easy as it is for an apple tree to bear apples. It is in it’s nature. We don’t even have to struggle and strive to accomplish it – the Word says it is the Spirit that brings forth the fruit. All we need to do is believe – and live in a relationship with Him.
“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness…” Gal 5:22
I used to fear ‘backsliding’ before I heard the truth. Condemnation can be so consuming that Christians even fear for their salvation, as if it is something that can be undone. This simply is not true. If a person is truly born again, believing in Christ and what He did for us on the cross, he is born again. Just as a baby cannot re-enter his mother’s womb and be ‘unborn’, we cannot become ‘unborn again’.
1 Peter 1:23 says we have been born again, not of corruptible, but incorruptible seed. That means even if we decide to return to a life of ‘sin’, we cannot lose our salvation. Becoming born again is a permanent change!
I believe the feeling of separation associated with ‘backsliding’ is only due to condemnation. You notice you are not ‘adhering to the rules of the Christian life’ and suddenly your eyes are covered by a veil (2 Cor 3:15). This means you are unable to see God, and His grace and kindness. But – the moment you just turn to God, that veil will be stripped off! It’s as simple as that!
Don’t waste time feeling guilty about ‘backsliding’, shying away from God’s presence because you feel unholy. Just turn around and see God’s grace! Approach Him with boldness, knowing you are the righteousness of God in Jesus (2 Cor 5:21).