God's Love for this World
Why did Jesus come? Was it to found a church? To improve humanity or give us a code of conduct? He came for one purpose: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
The Bible says that, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The Bible also says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
This eternal life He came to give us is the nature of God. John 5:26 says, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he give to the Son to have life in himself.”
In John 1:4 we get the first intimation of what this life will do for us: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Light stands for development. In other words, “In Him was life; and the life was the development of men.”
There are four different Greek words translated life in the New Testament. First, there is zoe. This is the life of God. Then there is psuche. That means natural or human life. Bios means manner of life. And finally, anastrophe means confused behavior.
In seems strange that the Church has majored on “manner of life” or “behavior” rather than eternal life, which determines in a very large way the manner of life.
No matter what manner of life or behavior you have, if you don’t have eternal life, it won’t amount to anything. Receiving eternal life is the most miraculous incident in life. Often we call it conversion or the new birth. Some call it “getting religion,” but that is not it at all. It is, in reality, God imparting His very nature, substance, and being to our human spirits.
It is described by the Apostle Paul in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, 18, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
This is the miraculous recreating of man. “Therefore if any man be in Christ….” You understand Paul is not talking about the body, or the outward man, or the mind. He’s talking about the spirit-the inward man-who is in Christ. God is actually giving birth to a new man!
In the new birth, our spirits are born of God. More than one of the prophets of the Old Testament prophesied that God would establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel. This covenant is the New Testament, as we know it. Concerning this new covenant, Ezekiel said:
What he is prophesying about is the new birth. The words “heart” and “spirit” are used interchangeably. Your heart is your spirit.
When God is speaking of the heart of a man in His Word, He is speaking of the real you. A scripture that is illuminating on the subject is 1st Peter 3:4: “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Peter is talking to Christian wives, and he mentions the outward adorning of the flesh. He says in effect, “Don’t take all your time on your hair and clothes. But see to it that the inward man, or hidden man of the heart, is adorned first with a quiet and meek spirit.
Paul, in 1st Corinthians 9:27 says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Notice what Paul said: “I” keep my body, and “I” bring it into subjection. What is he saying? He’s saying, “I don’t let my body rule me.” You see, “I” is the man on the inside. IF your body were you, Paul would have said “I keep myself under.” He calls the body “it.” Who is “I”? “I” is the real you, that is, the inward man or hidden man of the heart.
With most people, their body rules their inward man. That is what makes carnal Christians.
Here Paul is telling the Corinthians church thy are carnal or baby Christians. Paul says something else that is interesting when writing to the Romans.
Paul wasn’t writing to the world, he was writing to the Christians at Rome. “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints….” (Romans 1:7). He said you do something with your body. IF you don’t do anything with it, nothing will ever be done.
2nd Corinthians 4:17 says, “Therefore if any man….” What is Paul talking about? Does he mean the outward man? No, it couldn’t be because he said, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature….”
It is the life and nature of God coming into your spirit that makes you a new creature. It makes the inward man a new man. The body is not new. Thank God, at the coming of the Lord, we will have a new body. This new man, the hidden man of the heart, is to dominate the body. The body is not to dominate you.
Paul not only talks about doing something with the body, but in Romans 12:2 he talks about renewing the mind. He is instructing people who are born again and Spirit filled, yet they need to do something with their bodies and minds. One of the greatest needs of the Body of Christ today is to have renewed minds. Your mind becomes renewed with the Word of God.
Some have wondered whether the reborn spirit, the new man in Christ, is perfect, or fully developed after receiving eternal life. The spirit couldn’t be more perfect, because Peter says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (1st Peter 2:2).
Paul says, “I have not yet reached perfection. The Greek word used there for perfection means reaching maturity.
Some folk say, “I’m perfect and complete in Christ.” Yes, you are a complete person, but you are not full grown. There are always people who are promiscuous about permitting sin and who want to excuse themselves by saying, “It was just my body that sinned; it wasn’t my spirit.”
But sin is a spiritual thing; it isn’t just a physical thing. Paul in writing to the Church at Corinth, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body”
(1st Corinthians 6:18). So if it’s without the body, it has to be a spiritual thing. However, even fornication originates in your spirit. Your spirit has to give your body permission to sin or your body can’t do it.
You are the custodian of your house. Remember Paul said, “But I keep my body, and bring it into subjection. You are responsible for what your body does. It all starts in your spirit. That is what Paul meant when he said, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2nd Corinthians 7:1).
Don’t let things that are wrong start in your spirit.
The body of sin Paul is talking about is not the physical body; he’s talking about the spiritual man. You are a new creature. The old sin nature in your spirit is gone. The sin nature in your flesh is still there.
The problem is that flesh nature still wants to do things that are wrong. It wants to keep on doing things the way it always did. If your mind is not renewed with the Word of God, it will side in with your flesh and dominate your spirit. But if you get your mind renewed, your spirit, through your mind, will dominate your body.
The old man is the old spiritual man. You have still got the same body you had and the same mind you had. That old spiritual man had the nature of the devil in him. That is the nature that’s gone, or the body of sin that’s gone. It is up to us to put on the new man on the outside.
Many ask what the difference is between renewing your mind and training your spirit. Actually, if you follow those principles involved in training the human spirit, your mind will become renewed. What you are doing in renewing your mind is training your mind to think in line with God’s Word. Even if the Word doesn’t seem to be registering on your mind, it will speak to your spirit, because it’s spiritual food. By meditating upon it, your mind becomes renewed.
Your spirit becomes new when you are born again, it will know things your head doesn’t know. Your spirit will try to tell you things the Word already tells you but you can’t see them. That’s because your spirit picks up knowledge from the Spirit of God. Notice in James 1:21 it says, “Receive with meekness he engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” That scripture troubles a lot of young believers. That is why it is important to separate your spirit and soul, because we think our soul was saved when we were born again. Your spirit became a new man, but it is the Word of God which will save your soul, or restore it.