2. The Explosive Moment of the New Creation
But as wonderful as these things are, something much, much greater took place at the same moment. All those things are part of our salvation, they are all incredibly wonderful. But something much deeper happened. God lined up all the other things so that this primary thing could happen. In that moment, we were born again. This is impossible for us to understand.
2. The Explosive Moment of the New Creation
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4
God is Spirit. To worship Him, we must worship in our spirits. Our salvation begins in our spirit. You and I are a living soul - mind, will, and emotions, at the center of which is our heart, our dreams and hopes, what makes us who we are. God, then, has given us two bodies to communicate through. We have a physical body through which we relate to the physical side of the universe and a spiritual body, our spirit, through which we relate to the heavenly side of the universe.
When sin entered the world, death entered both bodies. The spiritual body died, that is, it was disconnected from communication with the godly side of the heavenlies, and the physical body began its decline back to dust. Death entered both bodies.
Man's fallen spirit became in him a driver of evil. When Paul speaks of the old man, he was speaking of that fallen spirit that turned dark in the sin of Adam. That old spirit was now breathed upon by the spirit of disobedience.
Up until Jesus, nobody could worship God through their spirit. God had given Adam a spiritual body through which he communicated and walked with God in the heavenlies. In the day that Adam sinned, he could no longer see heaven. The children of Israel, under the Old Covenant, could worship God only through their physical bodies. They could sing, clap their hands, bring an offering of sacrifice, offering the blood of sacrifice up to God. They could do many things of worship through their physical bodies. But they could not worship God with their spirits because their spirits were cut off from God.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, "Yes, during the time when man could worship only through his physical body, God set a single place as His dwelling place, the temple in Jerusalem." Man was not to worship God or offer sacrifices on every high hill or on every street corner. It was too easy for any supposed physical worship of God to fall into the worship of false gods. Therefore God instituted a very strict order for worship, a physical worship.
"Yes, that was true, but now God is looking for something more. God is a Spirit, and He is seeking worship from the spirit of man, from redeemed, made-alive spirits." Jesus pointed to something soon to come in the experience of man on this earth, that is, the re-creation of the human spirit. God does not restore the old dead spirit; He births a new spirit within us. And He gives us a new heart.
The dividing line between the human heart and the human spirit is hard to find. The human heart the central organ of our spirit, as it is the central organ or our body. Our human spirit, the largest part of our makeup, is anchored in the heart. When man has a fallen spirit, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Therefore, when God creates a new spirit within us, we get a new heart as well.
Jesus declared that God intends to bring this part of the human back to life so that He can relate to man once again through man's spirit.
When the disciples were in the upper room, Jesus came to them, breathed on them, and said,"Receive the Holy Spirit." John 20:21.
In that moment, when Jesus breathed upon these men and women, when He said Receive the Holy Spirit, for the first time since Adam had sinned in the garden, men and women had living spirits. At that moment the people in the upper room were born again; their spirits came alive. They had not yet received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that would come several weeks later. But in that moment, for the first time in their lives, they were ALIVE!
Every one of us who believe in Jesus had the same experience. There was a moment in our lives when we were dead, separated from God, with fallen spirits and hearts that were deceitful and desperately wicked. In our darkness and death, at a certain moment, a word, coming through the presence of the Holy Spirit hovering over us, entered into our hearts, and in that moment, in a flash of light, a new life was created inside of us.
There were a number of things that happened in that moment, drastic and awesome. Different people experienced different things outwardly. Some felt wonderful, glorious and clean, with a huge weight lifted off. Others felt next to nothing, with joy and peace slowly unfolding over the next while. Each person had a different and personal experience on the human side of things. But on the heavenly side, what happened in that moment was beyond extraordinary.
The New Testament tells us exactly what happened, what God's purpose is.
Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6.
At the moment that the word from God entered into our spirits and we were born again, the old fallen human spirit died. In that instant, everything inside of us that God hated, that was an abomination to God, died. It ceased. It ended.
That the body of sin might be done away with. This cannot be the physical body because we still have our physical bodies. What was done away with was our spiritual body that was dead, the old man, the source of sin in our life, the part of us where demons operated. Our old spirit, that was the source of sin flowing into our soul and body, died and was done away. You and I are no longer slaves of sin. For he that has died is freed from sin.
The old spiritual body, the body of sin, the old man, perished. It ceased. God ended it. But at the same moment, He did something else. And you He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins… Ephesians 2:1.
That deadness was the deadness of our fallen spirits and of our deceitful and wicked hearts.But at the same moment God raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 2:6.
What does that mean?
We cannot live in the heavenly side of the universe unless we have a spirit that is alive and able to communicate in that realm. At the moment that God ended the fallen human spirit, He created a brand new spirit body for us. He did not restore the fallen spirit. He ended the fallen spirit and in the same moment created a new spirit inside of us. That spirit is one spirit with God.
In our new spirit, we ARE seated with Christ in the heavenlies.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all things are made brand new. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Our physical bodies were not created brand new at that moment, just our spiritual bodies. Let's look at what else has become new.
You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 2 Corinthians 3:3
God created a new spirit inside of us, the part of us through which we can now live and walk in the heavenlies. We can worship God, now for the first time, with our spirits. At the same time He gave us a new heart and wrote upon that heart a letter of Christ. Our heart is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
My heart, my new heart, is the dwelling place of Christ.
We cannot have a new spirit without having a new heart. When we look at our heart today, we do not see selfishness and deceit, we see Jesus. Written on our heart is the writing and nature of Christ. It is the Person of Jesus, all of His thoughts, habits, and ways of doing things, flowing out of Himself.
The Person of Jesus is written upon my heart. I am a letter of Christ.
Let's look at something else that happened at that moment.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5
The moment we were born again, the love of God poured out in our heart by the Holy Spirit. When we look at our heart, we are looking at the fountain of the love of God in this universe. The Holy Spirit fills our heart to overflowing with the love of God. Abounding in our heart; the love of God overflowing.
Pretty awesome stuff happening. We didn't even know what was going on. But if we could have seen from the side of the heavenlies we would have seen awesome things taking place inside of us.
But as wonderful as these things are, something much, much greater took place at the same moment. All those things are part of our salvation, they are all incredibly wonderful. But something much deeper happened. God had lined up all the other things so that this primary thing could happen.
In that moment we were born again. This is impossible for us to comprehend.
…having been born again, (having been conceived from above) not with corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever… Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Peter 23-25
Peter is saying here that we heard the words that some preacher spoke once, maybe it was words we read in a book, or words someone spoke in conversation. Peter is saying that it was much more than just some natural man saying some words, much more than some vibrations in the air that we picked up by our ears and understood by our brain. Peter is saying that the word that in the gospel was preached to us was really the word of God that lives and abides forever.
The word of God that lives and abides forever is Christ. God spoke that word in the beginning, Let there be light, Jesus, issuing forth from the Father to bring about the Father's purposes in the creation. That is the same word that came into us the moment we were born again, God's own son, Jesus. A living word. That word was more than just a word spoken. That word came into us as a seed.
We must refer back to Nicodemus. Jesus said, You must be born again. And Nicodemus said, "How can I go back into my mother's womb now that I am old, how can I be born a second time?" Nicodemus was groping for an understanding of what Jesus was saying, and he was on the right track.
When Jesus said You must be born again, He used the term gennao, you must be conceived again. That word gennao means to be conceived. However, there is a New Testament word that corresponds to the normal usage of our English word "born." It is the word tikto. That word is used when it says Mary brought forth a new born son and laid him in a manger. That word "brought forth" is the Greek work tikto. The word tikto corresponds to what we normally call "born," the coming out of the womb. "Born again," refers, not to the coming out of the womb, but to the conception of the child as it begins in the womb.
Jesus compares the second birth with the first. When we were born the first time, our natural earthly father planted a seed inside our mother's womb and that seed found a lodging place inside the egg from our mother. The moment that seed penetrated the egg, there was a spark, instantly a new creation came into being. The two seeds became fused as one. The cells began to multiply, more and more, and in just a few weeks time the appearance of a new human became clear. Yes, it would be many long months of development before that child was ready to be brought forth out of the womb, but it was certainly a human child.
From its start that child shared all the characteristics that came into it from the seed of the father and all the characteristics from the seed of the mother. In fact, that new child growing in that womb consisted entirely of the seed of the father and the seed of the mother, together. It was not that the seed of the father worked on something else to create the new child. The child came entirely out of the seed of the father and the seed of the mother joined together as one.
When our natural father planted his seed in the womb of our natural mother, that seed was a corruptible seed, that is, it could die. But it was more than a corruptible seed, it was corrupt. The seed coming from our natural father and also the egg coming from our natural mother contained within themselves the sin of Adam, and the corruption and death that comes through that sin.
We were conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity. We, coming out of that union, carried the nature of both our father and our mother.
It is a law of God that like begets like, that like comes into union with like. It is an abomination to God for one species to come into union with another species. Elephants cannot mate with dogs; turkeys cannot mate with sheep. Like mates with like. Two sheep come into union together, out of their union comes another sheep just like them with all the nature and capacity of a sheep and with the ability inside it to birth more sheep in the future.
When the seed of a human father comes into union with the seed of a human mother, the union of those two seeds becomes a human being with all the characteristics of the father and the mother. That human coming out of that union has within him or herself the ability to reproduce more human beings just like themselves through marriage union with the mate God has chosen.
God has placed this principle into the universe, the means by which God brings forth life. It is a feature of the Holy Spirit who is the part of God that brings forth life. God has planted this picture of the reproduction of life all through his creation and all through the Bible, over and over again.
Abraham knew his wife Sarah and she brought forth a son, Isaac. Over and over again, all through the creation we have this picture. Whether it be in the plant realm or the animal realm or human history. Life begets life. God brings forth life by the seed of the male coming into union with the seed of the female and out of that union comes forth a new life that shares all the characteristics of the father and of the mother.
It is an absolute law of God that two species cannot cross. Like begets like.
Both Peter and Jesus were saying something beyond our understanding. Nicodemus was completely correct to be confused by what Jesus was saying, "How can I crawl back into my mother's womb to be conceived again?"
Peter was making this claim - a heretical claim, impossible to understand. A claim, that if people had understood what he said, it might have got him crucified. Well, he was crucified, wasn't he?
Peter claims here that when you were born again, the seed by which you were conceived the second time, the father's seed that came into your "womb" seeking the egg of the woman that it might come into union with that egg that it might bring forth a new life into the world, Peter says that that seed is not a human seed. He says it is an incorruptible seed, a seed from above.
Now angels are corruptible. Nothing God created is incorruptible. Everything is capable of turning from God and trying to find its own way, subject to vanity.
Only one seed is incorruptible, the seed that comes out of the bosom of the Father. When we were born again the seed that came into us, finding the female egg, that seed was the seed of God.
Now, we were conceived, we have not yet been born. We were conceived in that moment: we are looking forward to the moment when we will be born.
The seed conceiving the new life inside of us was the seed of Almighty God.
Here is a question. Species cannot mate across species. How on earth could God plant His seed in me? Would that not violate God's principle of like coming into union with like?
In the picture that God gives us of the reproduction of life in the natural realm, the woman has only a few eggs, one per child, but the man produces millions upon millions of seeds, each one of which could produce a child, but of the millions of seeds of the male, only one actually produces the new life.
God says that the word He spoke goes out over the earth abundantly. Yet the only way it will bring forth life is to find the egg of the woman. The gospel has gone out to the ends of the earth. The word is cast across the heavens, God speaking His Word to man. But the Word cannot bring forth its life unless it can find that one seed, that one egg of the woman, and come into union with it.
What is the seed of the woman?
For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Heb. 3:19
The seed from God which carries His life and nature goes out across the whole world; it always has. But it cannot bring forth the life that is in it unless it finds the egg of the woman, unless it finds faith. What is the Holy Spirit saying in these words?
When we were born the first time the seed of our father was a human seed. When we were born the second time in exactly the same way the seed of the father that came into us to conceive the new life that is growing inside of us was the seed of God.
How can the seed of God come into the egg of man - faith, and bring forth a new life, how can this be? What is man?
Satan has taught us to mock and ridicule man. To entertain a very dim view of man. It is Satan who gets you to call yourself "nothing."
What is man that God could plant his seed in our spiritual seed - faith, and bring out of that union a new life that shares fully in one all the characteristics of its Father and all the characteristics of its mother, completely joined together?
Unless man has been created in the image and likeness of God?
Because you see if man were created in the image and likeness of God, then the seed of God can be planted inside of us in our faith, it can come into union with that which is human and out of that union bring forth a new creation that is fully a child of God and fully a child of man.
What is man? Who are we!!?