Tag Archives: new life

Leave That Place of Death!

Photo by Greg Ortega
Photo by Greg Ortega

Ephesians 4:22-24   (ESV)

22  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

23  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

24  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Romans 13:14   (ESV)

14  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.It does not take long for a beggar to put off his rags and take instead a new suit of clothes, and it need not take a moment longer to put away habits and thoughts, ways of speech and life which are unworthy of the children of God. Do it now, and look up to the Holy Spirit to keep renewing you in the spirit of your mind.

“If the Holy Spirit be ungrieved He will witness to our sonship; He will enthrone Christ as King of our life; will keep the self-life in the place of death; will give us a hunger for the things of God; He will give power in witness-bearing. In order to have a strong and blessed Christian experience, the one thing is to see that we do not grieve the Spirit. I do not think that we can grieve Him away, but we may greatly limit and restrain His gracious work by insincerity of speech, the nursing of an unforgiving spirit, any kind of over-reaching or fraudulent dealing, impurity of speech, or failure in love. We may be bound, so as not to be able to move our arms, by a number of cotton threads, quite as tightly as by a strong rope-thong. Let us take care not to grieve Him by such inconsistencies.” —F.B. Meyer

At the moment of true faith, when, in recognition of the utter sinful rebellion of one’s being in the sight of God, a person accepts that God’s perfect mercy was shed in Jesus Christ, and His Grace is available for cleansing, that old, self-life sinfulness dies with Christ on the Cross. The poor, mourning soul is buried with Christ and called out, like Lazarus, grave clothes and all, to new life. The New Man is regenerated with life from the Risen Lord who tells us to come out of the place of death and encourages us and those of our family to remove the grave clothes.

Put off the old man! that’s the command to remove the grave clothes Come out of the tomb! We’re to leave the place of death and the clothes that are only appropriate in such a dark and loathsome place. We are to walk, not remain lame. We are to show ourselves to the Priest, Christ, that we are truly cleansed, not continue to live in blindness or corruption among the leper colony.

In addition to putting off the things of the dead self-life, we are to put ON the things of Life, the garments that have been provided by the Father for the wedding feast. How many will attempt to attend the wedding feast without the appropriate garments? They will be cast out because they never received the cloak of righteousness that comes from the Father because of His great Grace, recognizing the payment He made through His son, Jesus Christ.

We understand through quantum theory that one particle can exist equally in two places. So, it is not hard to imagine how we can exist in the Heavenly realm with Jesus as our representative, whose Spirit resides within us, as well as bodily in this earthly realm. But we must increasingly associate ourselves with the Ascended Lord who sits in the throne room of Heaven, a very real place, rather than this temporary shell of what we know as reality.

We should be like travelers who, as we draw closer to home, we see landmarks that are more reminiscent of Home than of the places through which we traveled. These landmarks should encourage us and remind us of the Home to which we’re traveling.

The Old Man resides in the place of death and values the grave clothes over anything else. The riches of this world, the recognition of fellow dead men will one day be revealed to our sight in stark detail that will not be missed. In that day, the dead men of the rebellion will know how foolish they’ve been and will see clearly how useless their wealth and status is against the Lord. They will feel like the primitive savage confronting a modern army. Their spears will be like toothpicks and their witch doctors will be revealed as frauds. The LORD will roll over the rebels decisively. There will be no resistance. There will be no hope.

Death and the grave cannot survive in the purifying Light of Life. Not for an instant.

Put off the Old Man, leave the grave behind. Put ON the New Man, who is Christ our LORD.

Born Again!

Galaxy copy

“… unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

Nicodemus, like many who read the Bible, was perplexed! He was a respected man of the Pharisees, a ruler of the Jews. No doubt he was blameless with religious pedigree and solid moral character. Had anyone seen this man of the upper-crust religious society, they would have known him and paid due respect.

If this were today, we might celebrate Nicodemus because he sought out Jesus! Although he did so under the cover of night, hoping for his earthly curiosity to go unnoticed by those of his social standing.

He confessed Jesus as a teacher from God. The high-churchman acknowledged Jesus as being from God and having words of instruction (though he felt ashamed to approach him in daylight).

Nicodemus knew that Jesus had power from God to perform signs. Anyone seeking fame in this world would accept these words of high praise from such a lofty man. “Rabbi,” “Teacher” from God.

Perhaps Nicodemus expected Jesus to be grateful for this recognition from the seat of religious power. In his mind, perhaps he thought Jesus would join with him and establish himself alongside the other religious elite.

Instead, Jesus looked at this man, impeccable by any human measure, and saw that his nature was earthly, not spiritual. This man, cloaked in darkness and seeking the Lord was as far from experiencing the spiritual kingdom as an unborn child is to experiencing the world at large.

“unless one is born again…” 

Nicodemus must have been taken aback. Here he’d just flattered this poor man with divine titles and he condescends to tell him what he needs? And what is this nonsense of being ‘born again?’

“… unless one is born of water and the Spirit…” 

Jesus’ reference to water, being so close to the ministry of John the Baptist certainly shouldn’t have been lost. John baptized with a baptism of repentance. Not only were people acknowledging their sinfulness before a Holy God, but they were repenting of that life in expectation of the Messiah and the new life He would provide.

Jesus referenced the water of repentance and the Spirit, His Holy Spirit, as the two parts of a new birth which would allow a person to experience the kingdom of God (which is, at this point and currently, a spiritual one. See John 18:36, “my kingdom is not of this world”).

Nicodemus remained amazed. He recognizes that something powerful and uncontrollable is happening, like the wind (vs. 8 ” the wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it”) but Nicodemus doesn’t understand it and doesn’t know its source.

In the end, despite his religious rank, he was a man of the world, unable to experience or understand the work of the Spirit.

Are you a Nicodemus?

Many will admit Jesus was a prophet or teacher … and even that he was “from God.”

Many admit Jesus is God’s son, one part of the Holy Trinity, God in the flesh!

Many, because of this creed, will perform religious acts, penance, baptism, church attendance, festivals, dietary rules, etc. Such people may be extremely virtuous and moral. They are admired by those around them for their charity and piety.

But they seldom want to go deeper into God’s Word than the superficial. Christianity is an outward religion for a healthy life, not an inward birth of a new life. 

In reading this, you may admit that you haven’t experienced anything new. Church and religion is nothing more than a habit or a culture of comfort for you. When you read the Bible, you see strange tales of talking donkeys, animals on boats, waters parting and bolts of lightning shooting down from some dark, mysterious mountain. Jesus teaching sounds vague and enigmatic, like that of some guru.

If that’s the case, despite some clergy christening as an infant, or some well-practiced catechism, you haven’t been born again. You experience no more of the kingdom of God than does an embryo the world that is  yet in its future.

But you can be born again. By the water of repentance and the Spirit of Jesus’ resurrected life.

Today could be your birthday.