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Tag Archives: new nature

Two Births – Water and Spirit

BirthI’ve been posting about the Biblical definition of being born again. It’s more than just praying a single prayer. It’s the whole process of putting off the old man and putting on the new nature in Christ. In my last article we saw that it’s in this way that we experience the manifestation of the Kingdom of God in our lives.

This is one of the failures of the church of our generation. We’re learning the lesson Paul warned the Corinthian church about.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
1 Corinthians 4:20

When Jesus performed a miracle or healed the sick, the kingdom was present in that place. Now we’ve watered it down. We tell everyone who accepts Christ that they’re born again and in the Kingdom of God. The result is a church with no power. There are few manifestations of the Kingdom in our present culture.

We desperately need a reawakening of the new birth. We need to see it the way the Lord described it. That’s what will change the spiritual landscape of our nation. It will bring revival to our famished souls.

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
John 3:5

In this verse, Jesus literally says that unless you are born out of water and spirit you have no power to enter the Kingdom of God. Being born again is a spiritual work that requires spiritual power. The next statement of Christ emphasizes this truth.

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
John 3:6

These verses are foundational to our faith. That which is born of the flesh is fleshly in nature. That which is born of the spirit is spiritual in nature.

The question in all of this is; how is this spiritual work accomplished? Remember, we have the luxury of being able to look back on what Christ has done. This was all new to Nicodemus.

In order to explain the concept to this teacher, Jesus uses a parable.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8

Because of our position in history, we should be better equipped to understand what Christ is trying to get across. Notice that the Lord is speaking about being born of – or literally out of – the spirit.

Jesus was trying to get across a spiritual truth to this Pharisee. In my next post I’ll conclude this series by showing exactly what Jesus is referring to, and what this means to us. We must be born of the spirit if we are to experience the manifestation of God’s power in our lives and ministries.

Question: Why is our spiritual man so important in accessing the power of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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The New Man

 

MirrorI’ve been posting about the teachings that Paul referred to in his letter to the Ephesian church.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

I’ve talked about the putting off of the old self and the renewal of the mind. The final piece that these early believers were taught was how to put on the new man that was created to be like God.

This process can take place slowly or quickly, depending upon our obedience and understanding. In looking at the modern church, it seems like this is the step that we know the least about. We definitely have very little experience with it.

But, before I get into the “how” of putting on the new man, I need to warn you. What I found in Scripture, as I studied it, totally changed my perception of how God works in us. As I got deeper and deeper into the Word, I found that my definition of the words I was reading was inadequate and, in some cases, inaccurate.

As we go along, I will have to redefine some words that the church has watered down over time. It wasn’t done maliciously, but it’s had a negative effect on us none the less. Please keep an open mind as you prayerfully take in what the Word of God teaches us.

Keep in mind that this is what the early believers were taught, at least under Paul’s ministry. Through prayer in the spirit, they overcame and put off the old man. They won the war against the flesh and its misdeeds.

Also through prayer in the spirit they were able to grasp and retain the mind of the Lord. It caused their minds to be renewed in the process. They no longer thought the way they used to.

Now there’s a need to put on the new man. The old is gone, but we must replace it with something better. God wants to give a new nature that’s been manufactured, fabricated, to be like God.

What’s the sign of this transformation? According to the Scripture, it’s true righteousness and holiness in the lives of those who accept it. I’m not talking about positional righteousness and holiness. As important as these are, they don’t always manifest in the lives of believers. They must be laid hold of by faith.

I’m talking about the actual, physical walk of righteousness. It’s living out the holiness that God has for us. When this happens, the world sees something different in us.

Unfortunately, based upon this definition of the new man, much of modern Christianity has missed it. What we have is a church that can’t get out of its own way. God’s people are too busy chasing after the world and its pleasures. All the while we’re confessing Scripture and believing for the blessing of God. Any talk of commitment or devotion to God is seen as condemnation and we avoid it.

The simple truth is that we’ll never be like Jesus until we put on this new man. The phrase put on literally means to sink into like a robe. We must be immersed in it.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 13:12

It’s clear from this verse, and many others, that putting on the new man is a matter of our choice. It’s not automatic. Why would we be exhorted over and over again to do it if it would just happen by itself? It’s another step in our Christian growth.

For the next few posts I’m going to share what I learned as I looked deeply into the Scripture concerning this truth.

Question: How does the modern church compare to the life that Jesus Christ exemplified for us?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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