Faith: Growing up spiritually
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
God executed His plan to redeem mankind through this simple method. He ingrafts the believer into Christ. Through this union with Christ Himself a new nature and a new kind of life is infused into the believer. This new life produces a transformation in the nature and in the kind of fruit that is produced through the person.
The word “new” used here means new in kind. It is a different kind of life than what we possessed before. It is the sudden emergence of an entirely new kind of life. This life is different not only in kind, but in quality. It is not only life that endures forever, but the same quality of life that Jesus Himself possesses. The life of the vine is infused into the branch through union.
1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
The joining of the believer’s spirit with the spirit of Christ produces this new life in the believer. It is a new nature. From the new nature flows new desires and new potential. This new creation gives man a new identity. Old things are gone and all things are new. You actually need to ask God to introduce you to your new self after you are born again. You are no longer exactly who you were. You are a new creation. It is important to understand your new identity so that your mind, will and emotions can cooperate with your new spiritual nature.
Paul lays out the inner workings of how God produced this redemption in his letter to the Romans. For the first 11 chapters, he reveals all that God did for lost man in Christ. After clearly laying out what God did for us, he gives us our assignment.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God … And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …
God re-creates your spirit when you believe in Christ. This is done by the Spirit of God through union of your spirit with Christ. Our assignment is to begin to grow up spiritually after we are born again. This is done by two things revealed here in Romans 12. By presenting your body to God as a living sacrifice and by renewing your mind with His Word.
Peter says it this way: 1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.
Just like a new baby needs milk to grow up, the believer who has been born again needs a steady diet of God’s Word to grow up spiritually. God’s Word nourishes your spirit and renews your mind, will and emotions. So God makes your spirit new by being born again through faith, but He gives us the job of offering our bodies to Him in worship and renewing our thoughts and desires by steady diet of His Word. So let’s give ourselves to daily worship and study of His Word and grow up spiritually.
Jason Haskell is pastor of New Creation Church in Craig and a missionary to the nations. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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