We fear that in the general sense it is something far different from the life of the average Christian today. The apostle Paul gave us his definition in Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ, therefore it is no longer I, but Christ, who lives in me: and the life which I now live in this physical body, I live by the faith of the Son of God". "It is no longer I, but Christ" ...this was not Paul's doctorate diploma of high level Christianity, but his verdict of God's normal for every born again Christian believer. He is simply stating here that for him to be alive as a Christian, it is 'no longer he but Christ that lives out His life in him'. God makes it very clear in the Bible, as His written Word, that He only has one answer to every human need; and that answer is His Son Jesus Christ. "Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6) In all of Gods dealings with us, He works by taking us out of the way and then substituting Christ in our place. This becomes a very personal experience. For example:- (1) Jesus died in place of me, as a substitute for my death, providing me with a total forgiveness for my sins, and an end to the old sinful nature of self. (2) Jesus lives in place of me, as a substitute for my life, providing me with a new nature and the Holy Spirit of God, in place of all that was there before. The Lord Jesus performs all this in me, so as to provide me with a complete deliverance from sin, Satan and self. This new life that He lives out in us is the Christian life. Only Christ can live the Christ life in us, we can't! The Christian life is not really our life at all, it is Christ's life lived out in us in the person of His Holy Spirit.
Contrary to popular belief a Christian is not one who goes to Church regularly, prays and reads the Bible. That is what a Christian may do but it is not what he is. You can go to Church Seven days a week, pray twenty four hours a day, read a thousand Bibles a month and still not be a Christian! The meaning of the word 'Christian' can best be understood by breaking the word up into Christ - ian, which means to be one who is related to Christ by being 'of Christ'. This can also be used to demonstrate that one is 'born out of Christ' as in being one who is 'born again'. The 'ian' part denotes origin of birth or nationality. An Australian, for example, is one who is 'of' Australia or born an Austral-ian. The '-ian' on the end of a word means to be 'from or of '. Therefore a Christian is one who is 'from or of Christ', or 'born out of Christ'. Romans 8:9 declares that those who do not have the 'Spirit of Christ' are none of His. To be of Christ and to be members of the body of Christ as the true Church, we must therefore be 'born again' into the resurrection Life of Jesus Christ (John 3:3-7) Therefore, a born again Christian is simply a forgiven sinner who is regenerated spiritually in Jesus Christ; and who now possesses the life of Christ, including a new clean spirit (heart) and a new nature that does not sin. Now the next question may well be......
The meaning of the Greek word Ekklesia (church) is 'Called out of' or 'the called out ones'. To be a part of the body of Christ as the Church, we must first be included 'in Christ' so as to be 'of Christ' before we can be referred to as that which is 'called out of Christ'. Contrary to popular belief the Church is not an assembling together of Christians, nor is it a place for meetings on Sundays. That is what the Church does but it is not what it is.
The real Church, from God's perspective, is the present day body of Jesus Christ on earth. Only that which is 'of' Christ or called 'out of' Christ can be 'His body', simply because it must be born into His resurrection life. The character of the life, determines the nature of the body. For illustration purpose:- Consider the creation of Adam and Eve. Adam, we know, was created out of the dust of the earth, but not so with Eve. Eve was taken out of Adam. Eve stands as a good type of illustration for the Church. God formed and fashioned Eve out of that which He took out of Adam. Only that which came out of Adam could be Eve, nothing else could. So also, only that which comes out of Christ can be the Church, nothing else can.
Please, for your own sake; consider the following very carefully. This may be your one and only opportunity, or it maybe your last chance to get right with God. After death comes the Judgement of God on all who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and who's names are not recorded in the Lamb of God's book of Life. We pray that you will meet God as your Justifier and not as your Judge. Accepting Christ now could well be the turning point of your life. God's time, by the way, is always now!
These 4 universal spiritual laws are simple truths from the bible, yet very profound. We urge you to examine each of the four spiritual laws in detail and, if you have not already come to a conclusion where you stand regarding God, then consider carefully. All of us need God. It's simply a matter of discovery regarding our deep inner need. It makes sense because it is a reality. Everyone of us is born into this world with this deep inner void, or vacuum in their heart. This is a spiritual emptiness that can't be satisfied with anything tangible that the world offers. It can not be satisfied with anything less than God's life.
Make no mistake:- There is no husband, or wife, or children, or family, or achievement, or accumulation of riches that can get anywhere near to even touching this huge spiritual gulf in our life, let alone filling it. In fact, it is God Himself who has created this emptiness inside each one of us. We are all born into this world with it. It is very much like a large vacant piece of unusable real estate in the depth of our being, with a sign on it saying, "Reserved for the life of Jesus Christ" We either accept Jesus Christ for who He is or we reject Him. We are left with no other option. There is no middle ground, no fence to sit on. There is no third choice to consider. God has not left us with an alternative, other than allowing us to enter into a lost eternity and face the consequences of God's judgement upon our sins. This may be the one and only chance you will ever get to accept Jesus. It's too late after you die, because after death comes the Judgement of Almighty God. There is no second chance when you die.
To be a Christian means to be of Christ. Just as an Australian is one who is of Australia, so also is a Christian one who is of Christ. From God's perspective, a real Christian is one who is born of Christ - not physically, but spiritually. As the Lord Jesus Himself said, "you must be born again" (John 3:3-7). Only one who is 'born again' in Christ is saved.
To be born again requires God to identify us in Christ. When we accept the death of Christ on the cross; - first of all in the shedding of His precious blood as a sacrifice to God for our sins and secondly as our substitutionary death for all that we are as the sinner of those sins, then God immediately identifies us and reconciles us in His Son. This has to be a heart rendering experience, not just a figment of our imagination, otherwise it just does not work. We must be identified with Christ in this way, through His death, before we can ever become identified in His resurrection life. Resurrection life itself means a risen life that comes out of a death. Calvary (death of the old life) will always precede Pentecost (new resurrection life). Before Jesus died on the cross, He gathered up into Himself all that pertained to us regarding our old nature and self. He included in Himself all that which was of us before He died. Jesus actually became totally 'full of sin' on the cross, but it was with our sins that He was sin-filled, not His. Jesus in Himself is both Holy and righteous, He has never sinned, nor indeed will He.
Know this:- Only God Himself has lived a perfect life on this earth,- no one else ever has or ever will. This God has done Himself in the person of Jesus the Christ and it is this same God who has died for us on the cross, and it is this same God who has paid the price for all our sins. It is this God-man Jesus, who first of all gathered us up into Himself - that is, gathered up all our sins and also all of us (the sinner of those sins) -and then died for us and shed His precious Blood to pay the price for sin, and to deliver us the sinner from the power of sin, self and Satan. Thus if we accept Christ's death as our death, then God will identify us 'in' Christ through His death. From that point on we are 'of' Christ because we are in Christ. We are now a Christian.
On the basis of our acceptance of Christ's death for us, -God puts us into Christ. First, He identifies us in the death of Christ before He can identify us in the life of Christ. We need to know this in our heart before we can expect to have any reality of it in our experience. This is what it means to receive Him and be given the right to become the 'Sons of God' The Sons of God are those who are born of God. Those who are born of God are those who are born again. The life of Christ, that comes into us at new birth does not sin.
Now, if you will accept and confess the fact that you are a total sinner and that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you, and shed His precious blood to pay for all your sins, - then God will save you from His forth coming wrath and judgement; and He will cause you to be risen with Christ and born again. Salvation is always a very individual and personal experience, no two experiences are ever exactly the same. You must have God's forgiven of God for your sin before you can expect to experience what it is to be born again. Christ shed His blood on the cross before He rose again from the dead.
Sin is defined as all that which falls short of the expectation of God, as outlined in God's Holy commandments, and also by the Lord Jesus with the sermon on the mount. God is a Holy God and He can accept nothing less than what He is in Himself. Holy means complete perfection. The Bible declares that all of us are sinners and that no one is righteous, or right with God, except that which is of God Himself. Be aware that God does not save 'good' people or 'good' Christians - for none are good enough in His sight to qualify to His required standards of perfection. Thus God only saves those who confess that they are sinners and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. We cannot save ourselves by doing good works. The proud and self righteous can never be saved. Another definition of sin would be, 'all or anything that separates us from God'. According to the Bible, we are all born into this world with the nature of sin. We have the nature of a sinner. This nature of sin goes way back to Adam. It is hereditary, we are born with it. Sin is not so much a consequence of our behaviour but the product of our nature. Sin is simply the expression of our sinful nature. We don't even have to try hard to sin, we just do it!
Accepting Christ into your life requires a turning to God from self and an acceptance of what Jesus Christ has achieved for you. First, you need to accept the fact that Jesus died in place of you on the cross to pay for the wages of your sin, and that by the shedding of His blood He attained for you a total pardon and forgiveness from God for ever. Next, invite Jesus into your heart to be your Saviour and to be the Lord of your life. Upon the basis of your need, coupled with the desire of your heart, Jesus will come into your life and God will save you totally from the penalty of your sin. To just agree intellectually in your mind does not work and will not make you a Christian, neither will having just an emotional experience. Only by accepting Jesus with all your heart is that which is acceptable with God enabling Him to bring you into His Kingdom. This is what is meant by the word faith.
We must each accept Jesus by faith. We must choose to accept Him by a deliberate act of our will. And then to follow that by coming to His cross to surrender all that we are. We need to surrender our whole life, especially our will. Only in this way can we expect to gain Him as our new life and become Christian. God identifies us in Christ the moment we accept His death, and thereafter we appear before God in the likeness of His resurrection. We are now in fact, Born Again in Jesus.
Firstly: "Come to God just as you are"
Accepting Christ in this way demands a truthful heart. No matter how sinful you consider yourself to be, you need to come to the cross of Christ in the condition you are in right now. Come just as you are, don't try to change yourself to be a better person first - you cant anyway! Don't worry, God loves you just the way you are and God will accept you just the way you are! That which is born of God does not sin!
Secondly: "Be truthful with God"
Be as truthful and as honest as you can with God. The Lord Jesus is a huge loving Lord and Saviour God with big shoulders who understands you completely, in fact far better than you will ever understand yourself! God knows you, and He knows all about you, and knows about all your circumstances, - much better than you do! Whatever sins God forgives, God forgets. God does not retain the remembrance of any of our sins once He has been able to forgive us through the cleansing shed blood of the cross. How wonderful this is!
Thirdly: "Have a solid rock foundation for your faith"
(a) Be assured of our co-death in Christ: To be born again we need to go one step further than just accepting the death of Christ for our sins, we need to also accept the fact that Jesus died for us as the sinner of those sins. When we accept that fact in our heart, it puts a very definite end to us, as far as our 'old self' and our old nature is concerned. God now identifies us in Christ through His death on the cross for us. Because He died, I am dead also. The real reason I am dead is because it is God that has crucified me in Christ, with Christ. Now all we need is for God to show us our new identity in the risen Christ! Because Christ died therefore I am dead too.
(b) Be assured that Christ is alive in us: To be born again we need to go one step further than the grave and enter into Resurrection Life. The life that God offers us in Christ is a resurrection one. Resurrection is a life that comes out of a death. If there is no death then there can be no resurrection. We need to do our maths correctly first, and to reckon on that first fact clearly first. Next, we need to know that Jesus did not stay dead, but that on the third day He rose again from the dead and came back to life on the earth. Now just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so also has God raised all that is in Him from death. This includes you and I and all who have accepted Him. We are therefore born again on the basis of Christ's resurrection. Because Christ is resurrected therefore I am born again.
(c) Be assured that it is by God's grace alone: All is dependent upon what God has been able to achieve in Christ, as our substitute. All depends on what Jesus is, and not on what we are, or are not. Grace means that God sets me completely aside and that He Himself undertakes all for me. This means that God expects nothing from me from now on, except failure, but He decides instead to do all of that which I cannot do, and to do it in me and in place of me!
Prayer is simply just talking to God. Just talk to God as you would talk to your best respected friend. God already knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words. Remember, Jesus is always the friend of the sinner before he becomes the sinner's friend!
"Lord Jesus, I need you! I want you in my life. I accept the fact that you died for me personally on the cross and shed your precious blood to pay the price for all my sins. I accept the fact that you have also died for me the sinner. I accept the fact that you are risen from the dead and are now ready to give me your life. I invite you into my heart to cause me to know that I am forgiven of my sins and born again. I surrender my life and my self will. Thank you for paying for me, my sins, and for giving me eternal life. Cause me to be the kind of person you want me to be. Take responsibility for my life as I choose to make you Lord of my life." .....Amen.
All assurances in the Christian life are based on Christ. We must have a base or foundation for the faith we claim. A faith that has no foundation for its existence is not reality . If you don't have a foundation for your faith, then when the test of fire comes, your Christian life will be consumed or shredded in tatters, and you will be left holding nothing but ashes. Every aspect of our faith needs to be soundly based on Christ as our foundation rock. When your house is built on a rock foundation it can never be removed! When your faith is based upon Christ and Christ alone, as your one and only rock foundation, then you too can never be removed. Hope is not faith. Hope focuses on a future event as its basis. Faith focuses on a past historical event for its basis. What the Lord Jesus has accomplished for us at the cross must be the basis of our faith.
God forgives us our sins on one basis only, and that is that, Jesus Christ has died in our place and shed His precious blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness for sin from God. By this one fantastic feat, the Lord Jesus has paid the price for all of our sins, once and forever! Our sins are no longer a problem or an issue with God. God is now our Justifier and no longer our Judge! It's that pure but it's that simple. God justifies us totally in Christ! Jesus has already shed His precious blood on the cross, 2,000 years ago and God deems that feat to be totally acceptable to Him and also totally sufficient. God has accepted the sacrificial death of Christ as the wages of our sins. We would do well to accept that and do the same by forgiving ourselves and others on that same basis.
Gods forgiveness in this way transcends time and is not just applicable to our past sins but also covers our current sins and future sins! ...- the ones we are yet to commit! You can't get a better forgiveness than that! If you have this confession in your mouth, from the 'knowing' of this in your heart; - then you are assured of Gods eternal forgiveness forever! It's not based on 'what I have to do', nor on 'what I should do'; -neither is it based on 'what I have done' nor on what I shouldn't do. It is all based on what Jesus has already done and achieved for us! Jesus 'has' died and shed His precious blood therefore we 'are' forgiven by God. This is the one and only basis of God's forgiveness. You can not add anything to what Jesus alone has accomplished! If Christ died then my sins are paid in full.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness" ...(1 John 1:9)
To confess our sins is to say the same thing about ourself that God says. To confess is to say 'I'm wrong' Confession is the one and only requirement that God needs to restore us to fellowship with Himself and with others. Sin never breaks our relationship to God. Relationship is not an issue here but fellowship is. Broken fellowship means that for some reason God is not with me and speaking to me as He was before. My soul (mainly mind and feelings) is separated from the love and life of God that resides in my spirit and I have temporarily lost my joy and my peace.
Broken fellowship with God is always caused by some form of sin. Not necessarily a very bad or deliberate sin. Sin here is better defined as anything which separates us from fellowship with God. Usually, this is shown in attitude. We often seek to justify ourselves and our actions, adamantly demanding that we are right, yet our conscience insists that we are wrong. A self righteous attitude is always hostile to God, yet many times we may not even recognise it.
We need to be very strict with ourselves right here if we desire God's Truth to set us free. We need to agree with our conscience no matter what it costs. Providing that our conscience has not become seared or damaged then it remains to be our 'in-built monitor' of God's judgement upon our actions. When conscience says that we're wrong then God is saying that we're wrong. Obey conscience and we obey God. Agree with conscience and we are back in agreement with God. When we agree that we are wrong and confess it to God with our whole heart, then we are back in agreement with God and He instantly restores us to His presence and fellowship. His joy and peace returns to make us most glad once again!
To ask God for forgiveness is both unnecessary and incorrect because we have already been forgiven for all our sin. You can't put Christ on the cross a second time. Forgiveness is not the issue here. Restoration to fellowship is. Therefore we are restored to God on the basis of our confession of having been wrong and by nothing else. Just agree with God that you got it wrong, whatever it is. Just say to God, "Lord Jesus I am wrong!" If you are humble then that is so very simple to do.
All assurances in the Christian life stand not on our faith but on what our faith is based upon. (Read "How to be assured of the forgiveness of sin".)
"But as many as accepted Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to those that believe on His name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God" ....(John 1:12,13)
Jesus said: "I tell you truthfully, no one can even see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again." ...(John 3:3)
Jesus said: "Except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" ...(.John 3:5)
Jesus said: "That which is born of
the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Don't be so surprised that I have said to you that, You must be born again" ...(John 3:6,7)
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world" ...(1 John 5:4)
God causes us to be born again on one basis only and that is on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If Jesus has risen from the dead then I am born again. Christ rose from the dead for no other reason than to give us that eternal life of God that Adam missed in the garden of Eden. Jesus did not rise from the dead to be proved God. Jesus rose from the dead to be proven as man! It was a man that came back onto the earth; and that man did it not for Himself but for us!, as our representative, so that we could share in His resurrection life. Jesus Christ now lives out His life in us in the person of His Holy Spirit. We are made to be alive in Christ through His resurrection; and He is now made to be alive in us always, for now and forever. "Do you see it now!?" We have received a brand 'new' spirit that now loves God, and that from out of a new nature, that is built-in to our new spirit. This new spirit within us is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The temple of the Holy Spirit is not to be confused with the Holy Spirit Himself. One can be compared to a wineskin and the other to the wine that fills the wineskin. We obtain this new spirit solely on the basis of Christ's attainment due to His resurrection and never on any other basis of what we are or are not.
All of our efforts, to improve ourselves as Christians, will not help us one bit. The Christian life is never a changed life but an exchanged one! God does not change anybody! God first of all accepts you through the precious shed blood of Jesus, and then He crucifies you in Christ; so as to exchange all that you are for all that Christ is! This, God does by His method of the cross, which is the on-going process of life and death. Death to self with all its old nature and life to the 'new spirit-man' that is being formed in Christ Jesus.
Jesus died for me on the cross, as my substitute, to secure my forgiveness and He rose again from the dead as my substitute to be cause me to be born again in Him and to give me new life with justification from God. God is no longer our Judge! He is now the Justifier for all that is of the new born again man in Christ. God works in this dispensation of grace by first removing us and then substituting Christ in our place. Our new spirit is that which is born of God and it comes to us with a new nature built-in that does not sin. It is good to know that there is at least one good thing in us that is Righteous and has never sinned! That part, and that part only, is the born again us.
All assurances in the Christian life stand not on our faith but on what our faith is based upon. (Read "How to be assured of the forgiveness of sins".)
"By this He meant the Holy Spirit, whom those who had believed in Him and accepted Him, would receive: but as yet they had not received because the Holy Spirit had not as yet been given because Jesus was not as yet glorified" ...(John 7:39)
After Jesus rose from the dead, it was stated that as yet the Holy Spirit could not be given because Jesus was not yet glorified. The giving of the Holy Spirit was conditional upon the glorification of the Son of God. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon all the believers that were gathered together in that upper room thus signifying and confirming that Jesus Christ was now the glorified Lord of all. Again we need to be reminded that it was a man that ascended to the throne, and it was 'a man' that was glorified and it is a man who sits upon this throne on high right now. This Man is Jesus! but He is there as a man to represents us!
Jesus Christ is once again our representative man in His ascension and glorification; exactly the same as He was as our representative man on the cross to die for us; and in the resurrection He is our representative man to live for us; - so also is Jesus our representative in His glorification and to fill us with the Holy Spirit, which of course is the promise of the Father and the very uncreated life of God Himself . On the day He was glorified, the Lord Jesus received all the glory and we received all the promise of the Father. This is that which is often referred to as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God promised two things here; Glory for Jesus and the Holy Spirit for you and me. It is inconceivable to imagine that God has glorified Jesus on the one hand, and yet neglected to give us His promise of the Holy Spirit on the other. The Lord Jesus received the glory and we have the promise of the Holy Spirit. The proof of the Holy Spirit indwelling us is not that we speak in other tongues or display many wonderful spiritual gifts, but that we now 'know' Jesus Christ as the Glorified Lord, not just in theory but in our own individual personal experience!
All assurances in the Christian life stand not on our faith but on what our faith is based upon. (Read "How to be assured of the forgiveness of sins".)
"Then He called the twelve disciples together, and He gave them power and authority over all demons, and to heal all diseases." ...(Luke 9:1)
"These signs shall accompany those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will lay hands on the sick, and the sick will recover." ...(Mark 16:17-18)
When Jesus Christ was glorified on the throne on high far above all principalities and power; - He was glorified as a man not as God. Just as He represents us in His glorification as a man, so does He also represent us on the throne of all power and authority. It was Jesus in the person of a man that died on the cross for us; - it was Jesus as a man that rose from the dead for us, it was a man that ascended and it was glorified for us. The Lord Jesus did not achieve this status to prove that He was God! He already knew He was God and so did all the heavenly powers! Jesus did this as a man for us because it was 'man' that had to be proven, not God. He did it for us and for our benefit! - All so that He might share His glory and His power and His authority with us. To be glorified means to reign as the supreme ruler.
Today a man sits on the throne at the right hand of God, and that man is Jesus Christ the Lord! "even the Son of man which is in heaven" ...(John 3:13)
"And God has raised us up with Christ Jesus, and has seated us in Him to be with Him in the heavenly places" ...(Ephesians 2:6)
To be glorified is to be made to rule and to reign with all supreme authority and power. We are glorified in Christ because He has been glorified for us in place of us! Wow! - what an achievement the Son of God / Son of Man has obtained for me! Therefore, we have been commissioned by God to rule and to reign in Christ over all the power of the enemy in His name! ....In the name of Jesus! God has given the name of Jesus to us to be a name above all names, both in Heaven, and on earth, and over all the things that are in Heaven, on earth and under the earth; so that, in the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. We have the God given right in Christ to use the authority of the name of Jesus with all power because it has been given to us for that very purpose.
Also, we need to know that we have a new name now that we are born again:
"I will give to him that overcomes to eat of the hidden manna, and I will also give him a white stone and in that stone is written a 'new name', which no one knows except the one that has it." .....(Revelations 2:17)
Before you came to Jesus your real name may have been John Smith, meaning that you were born into this world with legal blood bondage to the family name, Smith. This came to you through the blood line and goes right back from your parents to your grand parents, etc. etc -Even as far back as to Adam himself. But, when you came to Christ, you came to Christ and His cross; God crucified you there, in Christ, thus putting an absolute end to your inherited ancestry and its associated evil sinful nature. All of us have been crucified in Christ; and indeed, our new life source is no longer of us, or of our earthly parents, - but of Christ. Therefore as the Church, because we are 'the called out of Christ ones'; then are we 'the born of Christ ones' who contain His life and thereby we bear His name and we now have His authority and power.
We have it because we are born with it:
So therefore, our real name, in God's eyes, is now no longer 'John Smith' in our example, but now it is 'John in-Christ' This is really great news for all who are struggling with the Authority and power aspect! We have it because we are born again in Christ Jesus with it. Also, we are seated with Him on the throne because we are in Him! - We have been born again in Christ so as to be glorified in Christ, so as to be like Christ in everyway! We are to rule and reign with Christ forever! - and it is God's will for us to now regain dominion over the this whole earth as man and cast Satan out! This means that God desires us to regain all that Adam lost to Satan back in the garden of Eden. This is available right now, to every born again believer on the face of the earth! This is really encouraging stuff to all who have eyes that can see it!
"The up-dating for this page has so greatly encouraged me (the writer), that I just wanted to say this.. As I have been typing, I have been praying and seeking revelation from the Lord Jesus on these simple truths, and He has caused me, to not only type this, but also to be strongly edified and encouraged by what is typed! May this page be a real special blessing of encouragement to all who are sincerely seeking Him" Updated: Ivor 23 / 01 / 2011