March 11, 2013
In the last two newsletters we have covered what the New Birth is, and have showed that God demands the New Birth for us. 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.”
Results of “The New Birth”
One can only be “born again” or “from above” if his theological concept of Christ is accurate. First 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 13:81, 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.
First, the birth by the Spirit produces holiness. First 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 7 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 4:71. 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), yea “all” disobedient ‘children” (verse 8), is for one purpose and one purpose only. …that we might be partakers of his HOLINESS (verse 10). 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. Salvation produces holiness. Second 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 co-mingled 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 1:44)…. 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 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 1). 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).
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
A few summers ago, after sensing the need for a change of pace, my husband and I drove to Montreal, Canada, the largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. It was delightful and so relaxing. Just what we needed. The people were friendly, the old city intriguing, the food wonderful. Montreal is considered to be one of North America’s most interesting cities. And we found it to be true. In fact, we agreed Montreal is one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever seen. In two weeks’ time we walked 150 miles savoring all the sights and delights, and learning about the history and the greater metropolitan area itself.
One afternoon we found an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. “It has to be a great place,” Jack said, “look at all the people!” He patted his “midsection” and I raised my eyebrows and we walked in. We found an empty table and placed our order.
Just as we were being served, two bedraggled-looking young people came in each carrying a backpack. They were obviously exhausted. They spied an empty table where the waitress hadn’t removed the plates from the previous customers, and they plopped down. But just that quickly, they snatched up the leftovers and wolfed them down. Eyes darting around, never making eye contact with anyone, they focused on other empty tables with plates containing food and quickly ran from one to the other, stuffing the food into their mouths. The young woman, whom I guessed to be about twenty, was more aggressive than the young man. They were just starved!
It happened so fast that everyone was in a state of shock. About the time we and others had recovered from seeing this, they grabbed their backpacks and were out of the door and gone. “Jack, if only they’d stayed long enough, we could have offered to buy them food!” I was dazed by the brief encounter. “Oh Jack,” I continued, “I wonder whose child she is …” my voice trailed off.
Jack leaned across the table and patted my hand. The food which had been served so attractively had somehow lost its appeal. I looked around and noticed others were feeling the same way. The charming place which just moments before had been the scene of animated conversation now seemed strangely silent.
Jack’s eyes were sad; mine were tearful.
As we left the ice cream parlor and continued our leisurely walk, my eyes glanced around. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the young couple. “There are so many like them in city after city all over Canada and the United States,” my husband said.
“Where are the parents?” I asked. Jack shook his head. Later, as I reflected on the incident, (in fact, I don’t think I will ever forget those two young people), I was reminded that one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that we are Gods children. Our needs are important to Him and He is always ready to supply (Phil. 4:19). He knows the way that we take (Job 23:9). I took comfort in the knowledge that God even knew their names (Isa. 45:4). I could leave them in the Fathers hands.
As we walk through life, we can do so with confidence, knowing that the steps, as well as the stops, of God’s children are ordered by Him (Ps. 37:23). Because we are His children, we can count on His promises, and they are so many! Our potential as His children is limitless.
But we need to be living up to our potential. How do people know we belong to God? Three things, it seems to me, characterize the life of a child of God: (1) Our conversation; (2) Our conduct; and (3) Our convictions.
Our conversation: She (or he) openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Prov. 31:26).
My mother had a little saying which I have called to mind many times: “He that thinketh by the by the inch, and speaketh by the yard, shall be kicked by the foot.”
The Bible is full of counsel about the need to guard our conversation. Consider just these few: A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous word stir up anger (Prov. 15:1). How many relationships would fare better if these words were called to mind when people were tempted to temperamental outbursts! The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is (of) little worth (Prov. 10:20). Silver reflects. What a beautiful word picture this presents! Our tongues should reflect the Lord.
Our conduct: We must back up our conversation with right conduct. Those beautiful graces depicted in Galatians 5 should exemplify the conduct of our lives: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (w. 22, 23). An entire article could be written around each word, but let me simplify it in this way: LOVE is a new constraint, JOY is a new cheer, PEACE is a new compassion, LONG-SUFFERING is a new continuance, GENTLENESS is a new characteristic, GOODNESS is a new character, PATIENCE is a new confidence, MEEKNESS is a new courtesy and TEMPERANCE is a new contentment.
Our Convictions: The story is told of David Hume, the agnostic, who was reproached by his friends because of his inconsistency. He used to like to go hear the famous preacher John Brown preach, and when questioned about this he explained, “I don’t believe all that he says, but at least once a week I like to hear a man who declares his convictions.”
How important for us to have strong convictions and to abide by them. The letter of James emphasizes that our “yes” should be a simple “yes,” and our “no” a simple “no” (Ja. 5:12). In other words, be convinced in your heart and stand by your convictions. Be a man or woman whose word is unquestionable. If you say you are going to do something, or you promise something, it ought to be as if you were in a courtroom and had taken an oath to speak the truth.
These are just some of the identifying characteristics that mark us as children of God. The Psalmist said, Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace (Ps. 37:37). None of us have arrived, we aren’t wholly perfect, progress is perhaps a more accurate word to describe our condition. But we should be progressing.
Perhaps a good prayer would be: “Lord, help me to reflect the fact that I am your child.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack and Rexella,
I wanted to tell you how glad I am that you both are on TV doing what you do. You deliver news that I don’t hear anywhere else and deliver the Lords Gospel so sweetly and gently, blessing anyone within earshot of your program.
When I saw you on Daystar’s schedule this morning, my heart said yeah!
Thank you for all that you do. May God bless you and protect you all the days of your lives!
Hugs and kisses,
Dear Dr. Van Impe,
Thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who I feel certain must have moved you to write your topic for the subject newsletter. I have struggled for what seems like years with a gossiping tongue. I was often self-righteous in my attitude and blind to the stick in my own eye.
My wife and I raised our 3 children in the church and now that they are grown up and living on their own; I have recently become aware that they are all struggling with their own belief in God. It pains me to realize that my own sinful nature may have contributed to their unbelief.
I will be praying for Christ’s forgiveness and for his blessing upon my children. Thank you once again Dr. Van Impe for your newsletter.
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