To Be a Reborn Disciple 4

To Be a Reborn Disciple 3

If you are reborn again, your entire life depends upon God. You become aware of sin, of your frail state, of your infallibility, and that you need God to overcome. When Jesus truly saves us, it makes a difference in how we think, act, speak, and conduct ourselves. We WANT to obey Him, not because of duty but because of love and adoration. As we begin learning to practice righteousness, our habits change. We will not be sinlessly perfect while we’re on this planet; but if we’re Christians, we need to behave like Christians. If we say we’re saved but nothing has changed about us, something is wrong. We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works, and the Gospel is a transforming agent in our lives. If we are truly saved, we will grieve over our sins, confess them, and seek God’s grace to do better.

When we’re genuinely born of God, we’ll be growing to be an overcomer as we deal with the temptations around us—the world, the flesh, and the devil. We may not be victorious over every temptation every time, but we’ll make progress in gaining more victories and losing fewer battles as we grow stronger in Christ and the power of the abiding Word of God. It says: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13). God truly knows who truly believes and who yields and who yearns and longs for God to fill their lives. We can fool man but not God.

Jesus Christ is the way to our spiritual rebirth (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:31). Hebrews 1 says ”1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

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No one else can save us. God sent Jesus, His one and only Son, to earth so that He could make a way for our salvation (John 3:16). After living a perfect life, Jesus was crucified, bearing the punishment for our sins upon Himself. He was resurrected from the dead three days later, conquering death. When we place our faith in Jesus and His sacrifice, we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit within us is what enables us to live out the spiritual rebirth that has taken place: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Yet it is also the Spirit that wakens us up from our slumber through divine conviction. Those legitimately born again are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5). What does it mean to have the Holy Spirit living within us? Fundamentally, it means that the Holy Spirit is communicating a conviction about Christ’s moral beauty to the eyes and ears of our hearts.

Thus we need to understand very clearly it is by the Spirit of God that we ultimately made alive to be united with Christ. John 6:63 says: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.” So the new birth — and the new life that comes with it — is the work of the Holy Spirit. The powerful work of the Spirit to bring new life is also demonstrated in Ezekiel 37 when it comes to speaking life over the dry bones.

The Holy Spirit is our direct connection to God and enables us to remain free from the power of sin. When we are spiritually reborn, we walk anew with the Holy Spirit as our guide and companion (John 6:63; Romans 8:14). The Spirit’s presence in our life is the seal of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13–14). Through Christ’s sacrifice and the continual presence of the Holy Spirit within us, we can walk with God in the freedom that comes from spiritual rebirth. It is written in Romans 6: (New King James Version): 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As our physical life comes from our parents, so life has to come from our spiritual Father – as we are birthed miraculously in the physical, so is our spiritual birth is a miracle and one that will forever astound and amaze. Indeed, Apostle Paul calls us to be alive to God, which means we need to bury our old man and our old ways to be resurrected in the fullness and glory of our Lord.

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You can also call the Spirit’s work as a process of regeneration. Another word for regeneration is “rebirth,” from which we get the concept of being “born again.” The classic proof text for this can be found in John’s gospel: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). We need to understand the Holy Spirit – who is God Himself as part of the Trinity – is the source of new life. Moses told the Israelites before entering the Promised Land that “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live” (Deuteronomy 30:6). This circumcision of the heart is the work of God’s Spirit and can be accomplished only by Him.

Right in the beginning, the world was dark and void of life. We read that the Holy Spirit hovered. Yes, He was first mentioned as part of the Trinity. Only when the Father spoke “let there be light” did the Holy Spirit move and bring about life. Yes, the Father spoke, and so the Spirit was activated to bring about life and so the earth was rebirthed. If we are talking about the Holy Spirit being the conceiver of life, consider “Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Yes, the Lord Jesus was conceived and brought to life by the Spirit of the living Lord! Indeed, Jesus said He is the Life and He gives Life in abundance, but remember the Lord is ONE, and so Jesus while one earth was operating and functioning in the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit! After all, Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit.

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We can see the powerful work of the Holy Spirit as the activator of life also in “Psalm 33:6 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” John 6:63 says in the Amplified that “it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh conveys no benefit [it is of no account]. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life [providing eternal life].” King James says it as follows: It is the spirit that quickeneth …

So we need to realize life is a spiritual issue. Life is not simply the biological event that begins with conception and ends with the last heartbeat. The ‘flesh’ represents the biological expression of life but is mortal, fragile, and temporary. When Jesus says the flesh profits nothing, He is speaking of the inability of the flesh to produce true life in the spiritual sense. Eternal life, the life of God, cannot be generated by mortal flesh. Only the Spirit can give that kind of life.

Jesus declares that His words are Spirit, and therefore life. Jesus, the Word made flesh, therefore speaks words which are Spirit and life, because on earth He was also baptized in the Spirit. Now, what happened on the day of the crucifixion? It says in “John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Remember, the Holy Spirit dwelled within Jesus, for this happened on the day of the baptism. Yes, the Lord was conceived by the Spirit but the Spirit only dwelled within Jesus at the start of His ministry. So Jesus “breathed” the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. Glory to God! The Holy Spirit who is Ruach Elohim, thus the Breath of God, was now ready to stay on earth to be the One to regenerate and to make us alive again in the spirit so that we may be true worshippers in spirit and truth! So it is by the working of the Spirit of God that we are reborn. And for what purpose? Yes to truly and deeply know God, and to walk in God’s ways.

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Romans 8 says “28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” It is always been God’s intention to be conformed into the image of Jesus, which can only happen when we are reborn in the Spirit of God. And to be reborn according to Romans 8 means to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh so that we may produce the fruits of the Spirit. We need to walk in the Spirit to stay true to “Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Riaan Engelbrecht

To Be a Reborn Disciple 5

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