Revealing the SIMPLICITY that’s in Christ

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"Understanding the new birth experience, part 2"



Remember the TV show, “The Beverly Hillbillies”? It’s the story of a family who lived in the hills of Tennessee, and while the father was hunting for an animal on his property. While shooting at an animal he saw, one of the bullets from his shotgun happened to strike the ground where crude oil was. Immediately, it caused an oil gusher to rise up out of the ground worth 25 million dollars! With all of that money, they were encouraged by loved ones to move to Beverly Hills, Ca, and start living life “high on the hog”. So with some help from business people, they packed up and moved there into a mansion. However, as rich as they were, they still had their same “hillbilly”, poor mindsets, living their lives as poor hillbillies. This may be a funny plot for a TV show, but sadly, this is the way many Christians live their lives on earth (Of course, I’m not advocating material prosperity, but rather, retaining a poor mindset). Because so many Christians remain ignorant of what God has done in their lives through the new birth (making them spiritually rich), they are tossed to and fro in life; especially, when faced with life’s pressures. 


It is in knowing who we are in Christ, understanding what happened to and in us through the new birth, that gives us “a point of reference” for growing up and maturing in Christ. 


So, let’s start getting some understanding of what took place in our lives when we experienced the new birth, so we can have a strong point of reference for growing up into Christ.


It’s paramount that we know that our spirit is ready and equipped to aid us in putting us over the top; especially, when life hits us hard. Look at what Jesus said in Matt 26:41 — “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing (or “prepared"), but the flesh is weak.” Jesus said that there are 2 ways that we can deal with life’s pressures. We can either react to them by our flesh, or we can respond to them by our spirit. Our flesh (our smarts and feelings) are not equipped to handle life’s pressures; only our spirit has been designed to handle them successfully. I remember counseling someone and I brought up this. I said how our spirit is equipped to cause us to overcome every situation of our lives. But because of what this person believed about themselves, they quickly resisted this notion, and wanted to argue with me about it. So, I politely said, “I cannot help you then.” Although this person was a Christian who loved God, they were ignorant of what He had done in them through the new birth. Our born-again spirit that we received at the new birth is identical to Jesus's spirit, see 1 John 4:17. That’s a hard pill for some to swallow because of their religious upbringing. But our new spirit is always willing to empower us through the times of temptation (when worldly pressures come knocking to solicit us to sin). This is because that’s the way God designed it to function. This is what we want to understand — the willingness, readiness and preparedness of our new, reborn spirit to put us over in everything we face in life. Most of us have been trying to take on life challenges with our minds, will-power and determination to implement the Word to overcome them. We’ve gotten frustrated, confused and burned-out. Some even start to think that this “faith-stuff” doesn’t work! 


What we must understand is that grace — which is God’s ability and help — functions from our spirit as we believe and rest in the finished work of Christ.


Quick review


In our previous study from part 1, we saw from 1 Cor 15:45, that Jesus became to us a life-giving spirit; producing in us a brand-new spirit containing the very life of Jesus. We saw from Col 1:13, that through the new birth, we were transferred from one spiritual place to another — from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Jesus. We started looking at Ezek 36:26-27, where I showed you that through the new birth, we have received these 3 amazing things: 


  • a new heart

  • a new spirit, and 

  • we were filled with God’s Spirit


As you can see from this, that we have been as drastically changed on the inside from what we used to be; even as a dark room is changed when the light is turned on. 


Comparing apples and oranges


Look at this series of comparisons that Paul made in 2 Cor 6:14-18 —  “14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.’ 17 ‘Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,’ says the Lord. ‘AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 18 ‘And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ Says the Lord Almighty.” It may just be me, but every time that I have heard this passage of Scripture brought up, it’s intended to condemn and judge Christians for who they hang out with, or the way that they behave. But this was never intended by Paul. His intent is to show us who we were and who we are now! Because sadly, many Christians are still “bound together” with the same mindsets of who they were before they came to Christ. So let’s see these comparisons.


Who we WERE:

v.14 — we WERE lawlessness

v.14 — we WERE darkness

v.15 — we WERE Belial (evil personified)

v.15 — we WERE an unbeliever

v.16 — we WERE the temple of idols


Who we ARE:

v.14 — we ARE Righteousness

v.14 — we ARE light

v.15 — we ARE Christ (as Belial represented evil personified, Christ represents good personified)

v.15 — we ARE a believer

v.16 — we ARE the temple of God


Then in v.17-18, he goes into God’s promises to us:

  • “I will dwell among them and walk among them”

  • “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

  • “Come out from their midst and be separate, And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you” (This is a promise of what happened to us when we became Christians; not what we have to do; for God has “welcomed us”!)

  • “I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me” 


We were unrighteous at the very core, but now we are the Righteousness child of God! This must be our point of reference in life; for this is the real person we are in Christ. This is the person addressed in the New Testament letters when it comes to living the ideal Christian life. Sure, there are plenty of New Testament verses that address our behaviors and actions as Christians, but the secret to overcoming any of those fleshly pursuits and bad behaviors is for us to learn that we — the real person inside — is a slave of Righteousness, see Rom 6:18. We are permanently bound to it and cannot escape it! Do you see what power this realization produces in our lives? It truly produces the Gal 2:20 lifestyle of grace!

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