Number 36 February 2, 2003
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
By Jack Northart
In the epistle of I Peter, there is a verse that explains the characteristic of Christ's seed which a person receives when he is born again.
I Peter 1: 23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.
The first time we are born into this world, we are born of corruptible seed. This corruptible seed is not something that "liveth and abideth" forever. Because the first time we are born physically, we grow older and, if the Lord tarries, we will eventually die. But if a person accepts Christ and gets born again, he has a new seed within him from God. This seed is incorruptible. The reason the word "seed" is not repeated in this verse is that God is putting emphasis upon the incorruptibility of the seed and not the seed itself. This is the figure of speech in the Greek called Ellipsis, which means "left out." The word "seed" is left out to give emphasis.
How does the new birth occur? How do we have Christ's seed born within us? This originally occurred on the Day of Pentecost; and since we are still living in the same Grace Administration, we are included in and affected by the greatness of that event. Let's study what happened on Pentecost when salvation, the new birth, first became available so we can understand its application to us today.
I John 3: 9
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.
A man before he is born again, is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, without God and without hope. But in the new birth, he is born of God. A man still has the same body and soul that he did before he got born again. But as it says in this verse, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." In his body and soul he still commits sin; but in that seed of God which is incorruptible, he does not commit sin. Why? "For his seed [the seed of God in Christ] remaineth in him." If a born-again person could sin in that seed, the seed would not remain, it would be corruptible. But the Word of God says that this seed of God remains.
Eternal life becomes ours as body and soul men when we are born again of God's Spirit. What happens to bring this about?
Even when we were dead in sins [dead because God's spirit is not within], hath he quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of this grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Salvation is of grace. If it were of works, one person could brag more than another because he prayed longer, or went to church more often, or donated more time than another. God's Word says that we are saved by His grace, not of works lest any man should boast. Furthermore, verse 5 states that we were dead. But it says that God raised us up.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
If a person is to have the new birth, this new spiritual life, then God must create it. The word "create" is used because spiritual life has never before existed in that person (See Grapevine Number 5). At the moment that a person receives God's spirit within them, they are born again of incorruptible seed. We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. A person can now do the "good works" that Jesus Christ spoke about in the gospel of John.
Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
The works of Jesus Christ were fantastic. But this verse doesn't stop with the works of Christ alone, but it states "greater works than these shall he do…" Greater works than Jesus Christ? What could that possibly be? We must ask ourselves what can we do today that Christ could not do in his time? Since the new birth of incorruptible seed was not made available until Pentecost, this must be what Jesus was referring to. Jesus reconciled people to God, but the new birth was not made available until he ascended and made it available on the Day of Pentecost. We are now able to minister the new birth to men and women, getting them born again. And now we can reconcile them back to God.
II Corinthians 5:18-19
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
God has included so much in this "new birth" package. But many Christians today suffer from spiritual weakness because they lack an understanding of these "new birth realities." When we are born physically, there are certain characteristics that we have. For instance, our height, our body type, eye color, hair color, etc. is all dependent upon everything we received from our parents in our first birth. As we grow older, these characteristics manifest themselves more and more.
So it is in our new birth. When we are born again of God's spirit, we have every spiritual blessing that God has made available to us at that time (See Ephesians 1:3). But it is only as we study this Word of God that we begin to see what these wonderful things are, namely, things like righteousness, sanctification and redemption. We have been justified and we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ. We can do the works that Christ did and greater works. These are just a few of the many things that God has made to be realities for us in this new birth. As we realize that these are characteristics of being born again of incorruptible seed, we will begin to live a life of power and love that the world has not seen for centuries.
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