A. HIS LEGAL STAND BEFORE GOD
With this we have already dealt. He stands before God as a perfectly righteous person. That is his legal position. He is covered from head to toe in the cloak of Jesus’ righteousness. To the Father, he looks just like Jesus did on the mount of transfiguration.
and his garments became glistering, exceeding white, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them. (Mar 9:3).
B. THE CONDITION OF HIS INNER LIFE
His inner state, however, is all but holy; it usually is in a mess due to all his years of sinning – wallowing in the mud pond of sin.
Earlier on we spoke briefly of the new birth; we will now deal with it in more detail.
C. THE NEW BIRTH
- What it is
When a person surrenders his life to God, the Holy Spirit moves into his inner being to renew him to look the same inwardly as he looks on the outside (clothed in the righteousness of Christ). The Holy Spirit brings about a new spiritual birth within as Jesus explained to Nicodemus.
Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again. The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (Joh 3:3-8).
From the moment a person is born again, he is moved by an inner Force, by the Holy Spirit, in his thoughts, words, actions and attitudes.
The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the voice thereof, but know not whence it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (Joh 3:8).
He is newly created. It is an act of God, an act of creation, just as great as when God first created Adam:
So that if anyone is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Co 5:17).
This newly created person is authorized to call himself a son of God for he is indeed conceived and born of God; he is of God’s seed and not of the seed of man; he has the same spiritual “genes, DNA” as the God Family; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name, who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God. (Joh 1:12).
- What it is not
Think of a physical birth with which the Lord compares this new inner spiritual work of the Holy Spirit. It starts with the seed of man being sown into the womb of a woman. The seed is joined to a seed of the woman, then comes to life and a human being is gradually formed within. A miracle is taking place; a skeleton of bone, muscles, thousands of arteries and veins, a nervous system, stomach, lungs, heart, eyes, hearing system, brain etc. Nine months go by. All observant people can see that something is happening inside of this woman; her waistline expands.
At last this human being is ready to live in the outside world and is born. It moves from darkness into light. It gets smacked on its behind and begins to breathe and cry, then drinks milk and sleeps. A living human being was born and is seen and heard. This happened on a certain day and at a certain time. The birth is registered, and a birth certificate is issued to this effect. It could not be issued beforehand, let’s say at conception, because there was no assurance that it would eventually result in a living unique human being. There could be a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.
But now it is born alive and begins to grow and is weighed every week to see if it is picking up weight. The pregnancy took nine months, but the birth was instantaneous; it happened on a certain date and at a certain time.
The birth of a spiritual child is very much the same. The Word of God, which is spiritual seed, is sown into the heart of man, germinates and grows. The new being becomes aware of the God of creation; of his glory, holiness, righteousness and love, but also of his own sinfulness and need. He begins to see his need of God’s grace and may even begin to long to know him. This may take many years or happen within a short spell of time. At last the Holy Spirit considers the person ready to make a choice and triggers the birth by a Gospel message, Bible verse or whatever and the unborn baby accepts Jesus by faith and in an instant a new child is born for the Father; a child similar to his Son.
The new birth is not a process, it happens in an instant. If it were a process it would result in an absurd situation in which a person would, until death, be in a process of being born again, yet never being able to say, “I was born again on such and such a date.”
If the Lord Jesus were to ask Nicodemus (supra) three years later, “Well, Nicodemus, did you do as I told you to: did you get born again?” And he would answer “Lord I am still in the process of being born again.” The Lord would answer “Then you are not yet born again and your time on earth is up and you will not be accepted into heaven for, as I said, ‘unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,’ sorry.” (Wow, what a horrible outcome that would have been for a man that was really searching to get right with God.)
After birth begins the spiritual growth. Bible teachers and spiritual leaders must ask God for discernment to determine whether the spiritual change that is taking place in a person’s life, is spiritually prenatal or postnatal; has the person been born again, or is he still being prepared. A prenatal spiritual baby will, per definition, not have assurance of salvation for he has not yet been saved, not yet been born-again. A miscarriage can take place at the last moment, resulting in a still-born baby that will never be able to be raised to life.
Prenatal babies need spiritual food as blood flowing through the umbilical cord leading to birth. Post-natal babies need nourishment from the Word for growth