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Tag Archives: putting on Christ

Born Again – The New Man

SproutIn my last post I looked at a verse that talked about the possibility of becoming born again.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…
John 1:12

To have the right, simply means that believers have the permission to become sons of God. Do you do everything that you have permission to do? Of course not.

The next verse goes on to tell exactly how this change takes place.

…children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 1:13

The term natural descent is talking about our flesh. This born again process is not a work that our flesh can do. Neither is it accomplished by human decision or the will of man. It’s not a process of my mind. I could decide to receive Christ and be saved – I cannot just decide to be born again and have it automatically take place.

God is Spirit. Being born again is a work of the spirit. Yes, we have permission to let it take place in us. But in order to go through with it we must yield to the Spirit. This is a work that can only take place in the spiritual realm.

That brings us full circle to the passage we looked at in the first post of this series.

…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:5-7

Paul continues on to say that we have been justified by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s our salvation. It’s the free gift to all who believe in His name. But there’s more. Having entered His saving grace there’s the hope that we might become heirs.

As I said before, Scripture is clear that not all believers will inherit anything. Some will make it to Heaven with no rewards. Their works will be burned up. In order to receive your inheritance you must put on the new man. They’re the ones who overcome the world and receive their reward.

We must come to the understanding that it’s those believers who are born again that can walk in the authority of Christ. It’s not enough to give lip service to the Word of God. It must be a part of your spiritual DNA.

John had a deep understanding of this truth, but so did Peter.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:22-23

Peter is talking to a church that had purified themselves. They allowed the life changing work of the Word to take root in them by immersing themselves in Christ. To these people Peter says, “You have been born again.” He shows us that it’s through the Word of God – the imperishable seed – the work of the rebirth is accomplished in us.

This is an important concept because it shows us what it takes to yield to the Holy Spirit. In my next post we’ll see how Jesus described it in detail to a Pharisee.

Question: How would the church of our generation look if we were all immersed in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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What does it Mean to be Born Again?

ButterflyWe’ve been told throughout the New Testament that we must clothe ourselves with Christ. Anything less is a refusal of the blessings that have been obtained for us. To ignore this call is a willful decision to live outside the kingdom blessings that are only available in Christ.

But the real question is; how do we clothe ourselves with Christ? I believe this is something that the church has lost sight of over the past 2000 years. We need to get back to the basics of Christianity. We need to relearn things that were a way of life to the early church.

I need to warn you. What follows is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to teach. In many ways it goes against 100 years of church teaching. But as I study the Word of God, I’m convinced that it’s the only way to experience the abundant life that Jesus spoke about to His disciples.

We need to put on Christ – the new man. If we’ll do this, then we’ll walk and minister as Christ did. We’ll see an increase in the miraculous. We’ll also see a great harvest of souls as the world sees the church walking in the glory of God. In order for this to happen, it will require a change in our mindsets.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
Titus 3:3

This verse is talking about what should be our past lifestyle. It also reveals a sad truth. Read it carefully – slowly. Do we know any Christians that are still living like some of the descriptions given? This actually describes a large segment of the church today.

This is the old man. It needs to be released and we need to take on the life of Christ. Where does this change come from?

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…
Titus 3:4-5

We are saved by the kindness and love of God, manifested in Christ. This is the on-going work of the Lord in us. But do we really hear what’s said in this passage? Paul explains that the change in our lifestyle is accomplished by the washing of rebirth. This is a foundational principle.

Washing is a choice, but so is the rebirth. Somewhere along the line we’ve missed this basic truth. Washing and renewal is the putting on of the new man. This is a very tough revelation for us to grasp. It was for me.

Let me state it as plainly as I can. The laying down of our sin, renewing our mind, and the subsequent putting on of the new man is the essence of being born again. This term, born again, has become so watered down that it’s barely recognizable in our generation. The fact is, putting on the new man is being born again.

Let that sink in for a while. We’ve been taught that the initial act of receiving Christ – praying the sinner’s prayer – is being born again. As I’ve studied Scripture, the Holy Spirit has impressed me that this is not the case. Being born again is something that we must attain to.

Please understand what I’m saying. You can be saved and on your way to heaven and yet not be born again in the Biblical sense. I believe that our modern terminology is at odds with what Scripture teaches.

I’m not going to try to change hundreds of years of Christian vocabulary; but when we read the Scripture, we need to understand what it’s saying. I pray that you won’t shut me off at this point, but read this series with an open heart. In my next post, I’ll bring you through the Scriptures that show this to be true.

Question: How do you define the phrase Born Again?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Your Wedding Clothes

DinnerIn my last post I talked about being immersed into Christ as the putting on of the new man. The church would look totally different if this were the case in most believers.

In reality, the world doesn’t need to look for Christ in us. What they truly long for is to see us in Christ. Christ in you is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). But if you’re immersed in Christ, then the world can see His glory.

Jesus told a parable about a banquet. To understand it thoroughly you need to read both the way He set it up and His summary at the end. The reason for this is that many of the Lord’s parables sound similar, but have different purposes.

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”
Matthew 22:1-2

This parable is about the kingdom of heaven. It centers on how the blessings of the kingdom are bestowed upon those who would enter into it. The riches of God’s kingdom include blessings, provision, healing, fulfillment, and much more.

In the parable, we see the king inviting all of his friends. They agreed to come when they originally heard about the plans. When the day of the wedding arrived, however, they changed their minds and refused to show up. I believe that this refers to the nation of Israel who refused to acknowledge Christ as Messiah.

The king became angry over this and made a decision to fill up his banquet hall by any means necessary. He sent his servants out into the streets and highways to get anyone they could to come in and enjoy the feast. In short order the wedding hall was full of guests. Then something very strange occurs.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.”
Matthew 22:11-12

From our perspective this sounds strange. Why even ask this question? Isn’t it obvious? “I had no notice. I came in right off the street.”

That’s not the case. The customs of the day dictated that the person throwing the party was to provide the clothes for the guests. This man was given his party clothes the moment he agreed to come to the wedding. That’s why he was speechless. There was no reason for him to not be dressed appropriately.

“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Matthew 22:13

We need to understand the application. In many of Jesus’ parables, people get “thrown out” of places. Sometimes it’s to jail other times it’s into a fiery furnace, or in this case, outer darkness.

I don’t believe that this is referring to someone who is unsaved. He’s not thrown into hell, but merely the dark world outside the kingdom. I base this on the closing statement that Jesus makes to summarize what He’s trying to get across.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

The issue is not saved versus unsaved, as would be the case if the man was thrown into the fire. Instead, it’s called versus chosen. I think this is an accurate picture of the church today. Many believers are walking around in spiritual darkness, weeping and gnashing their teeth, because they refuse to put on the clothes that the King has provided.

Question: How does walking in the new man bring a life of blessing?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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