“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Thessalonians 5:23]
A born again person is someone who has a direct connection with Almighty God by receiving the Holy Spirit inside their human spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. They are new creatures by the revolutionary change that takes place inside them when the Holy Spirit enters their spirit, and this permanent transformation establishes them as adopted children of God.
Before new birth, the conscience of the human is clouded and dark without God’s presence emblazing the holy standards of His Law upon it. This is revealed in Acts 2:37 as Peter presses the Jews with the criminal charge of breaking God’s Law by murdering the Messiah. “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’” This event verifies that from outside of an unbelieving person the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit slams the Law into the human spirit, and cuts into the conscience!
God’s Word explains this in Hebrews 4:12,13. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
This means that God’s Law proves the case against you is true, and yes, you are guilty of the crimes God holds against you. The Holy Spirit mercifully influences your heart by pressing the truth of your sin into your conscience which brings guilt. The convicted sinner that is grieved over their sin and repents, seeks God’s forgiveness and receives the gift of salvation. New birth happens under this amazing grace through the nudges of God’s mercy and grace.
So what happens when you are born again? God promised, “I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. 27 I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.” [Ezekiel 36:26-27 (MSG)]
First and foremost the miracle is real because the Holy Spirit enters the repentant sinner and makes him a new creation with a new spiritual heart and change begins.
Next, a river of life as Jesus promised in John 7:38 gushes into you, causing a chain reaction of events inside your spirit. This is the flood of grace that is His divine influence upon the heart that the Bible promises us. And God’s Word guarantees “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…” [Romans 8:16 NKJV]
To grasp the impact and miraculous result of this event it is necessary that you understand some important things about the human spirit. First, under the old life, your spirit is dead to any connection to God because of your sin. Since faith operates from inside the human spirit, when the Spirit of God enters, the very first thing that happens is faith ignites causing you to believe [trust in, rely upon, and cling to] Jesus Christ as the one who died in your place for all the spiritual crimes you committed.
In real faith, not blind faith, He opens your eyes and you make a clear examination of the facts that Christ lived, died, and was resurrected from the dead; and He did it to pay for your crimes. It is by God’s divine influence on your spirit, and your response of faith alone, that you are even able to see and admit you broke the moral standards of God’s Law and turn to Him for forgiveness. Your dead and blind spirit needed God’s grace to spiritually awaken you and give you eternal life.
But once accomplished, how does He prove you are born again? How does He “bear witness with our spirit” so that we know we are Christians? Well, remember, a witness in a courtroom gives testimony and evidence. So when the Holy Spirit invades your spirit He brings life-changing evidence! This corroborating evidence is the divine grace that immediately flows from the All-Powerful God now inside the human spirit, flooding the born again Christian with new holy desires, energy, and strength to please God.
Like plugging a pinball machine into the electrical wall socket, new spiritual life ignites and activates all kinds of new things once dormant or non-existent in the human spirit without God. Yes, the Holy Spirit activates or gives life to the dead spirit of the sinner. His grace rushes into you and connects you directly to Him which makes you a brand new, supernatural creature. And immediately “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.” [2 Peter 1:3 from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.]
This grace of God…
1/ surges into the human spirit lighting up the conscience,
2/ establishes and stretches real faith,
3/ starts cravings for fellowship with God and other Christians,
4/ activates spiritual gifts,
5/ initiates a hunger for worship,
6/ kickstarts new ideas of creativity,
7/ stirs up new thoughts and ideas for discernment,
8/ and enlightens the heart with new wisdom.
All these functions of the human spirit were turned off or fully corrupted because you were dead in trespasses and sin, but immediately at salvation, spring to life by His mighty power! This flow of supernatural energy never ceases, because God’s grace has no end. And these new godly desires are the evidence of being a new creature in Christ. “It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please him.” [Philip. 2:13 GW]
The Holy Spirit begins immediately to influence you to give the Father true worth-ship. Jesus promised, “A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers. 24 God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality). [John 4:23-24 (AMP)] This is the time, and you are the one that God wants to have a deep and close relationship with. The more you see God’s love for you, the greater your awe and worship will explode inside your spirit.
Spiritual worship is different than just singing some songs and attending church gatherings. Paul explains the difference “…make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” [Romans 12:1 (AMP)] Giving of your self to the Lord as His faithful servant and then pouring out yourself to love others pleases Him and proves the true worth you hold for Him. He is so valuable to you that you hang on his every Word and follow His lead.
Another thing, your spirit quickly experiences the Holy Spirit’s whispers to protect you and inspire you. Our Lord warned His first followers, “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” [Matt 10:16 (MSG)]
To be cunning and inoffensive you need fresh creative ideas from above to live your new life, and withstand difficult times in your life. “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” [1 Cor 10:13 (MSG)] He will always kick start fresh and creative ideas for you to succeed through problems and impossible situations.
Never forget, your mentor is inside you, and the Holy Spirit is constantly there to guide you. Learn to think creatively and outside of your norm when you are facing temptation, trials, and difficult situations. Looking forward to the future, Jesus gave this promise. “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” [John 14:15-17 (NKJV)] Today we look back and rejoice because when you are born again, you experience this amazing promise.
And grace causes a longing, a craving for friendship with other Christians. When the church started about 2000 years ago the Book of Acts reported this force and fabric of the church. Acts 2 states, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
One of the four main pillars of the Holy Spirit’s design for your life is fellowship. You are not saved to live life alone, but to join together with other believers. The Greek word used for fellowship is koinoônia and it means partnership, close social union, deep communication, and common distribution.
This is far beyond friendship, which is a product of your soul, but an experience from your spirit that is filled with God’s presence. Like a piece of plywood, God wants you involved in a local church and to be glued together in such a union that the pulling apart of any one Christian will hurt and scar the group. The Holy Spirit formed “original church” exemplifies this love bond.
This is clearly presented in the language of Acts 2, “All who believed were together;” “all things in common;” “continued daily with one accord;” and “breaking bread from house to house.” God deeply influences His new saints with this bonding cement of love for each other. Fellowship is the life practice of Christians loving and helping one another.
Plus a spiritual gift is infused with your spirit when you are born again to deepen this bond of love. “Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others.” [1 Peter 4:10 (GW)] God’s desire is that you are strongly bonded to other Christians and investing into their lives by caring and serving them.
The Bible explains there are seven grace gifts that the Holy Spirit picks from to strengthen you to serve. “So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. 6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; 7 [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; 8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.” [Romans 12:3-8 AMP]
God’s grace bubbles through your soul impacting how you look at the world around you. Yes, your one grace gift creates a deep passion to serve fellow believers from a very specific, godly perspective. It is like putting on one of seven different color sunglasses. The longer you are a born again Christian the more you see from one of these seven God-given perspectives, judge everything from that perspective, and live and are driven by that specific passion of holiness. Your spiritual gift is your strength and it feels like it comes naturally, even though it really flows supernaturally from the Holy Spirit.
Also, remember this, grace gives you new desires. “Desire God’s pure word as newborn babies desire milk. Then you will grow in your salvation.” [1 Peter 2:2 GW] Because your spirit is the home of wisdom, God causes a new hunger for His Word to gnaw at your heart. His will is to turn you from a simple foolish child into a wise and strong spiritual adult. “Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.” [Psalm 51:6 AMP]
What is wisdom? It is seeing life from God’s perspective! So as you begin to read God’s Word and satisfy the hunger growing inside you for God’s truth, you will grow in wisdom, establishing the foundations in your soul [mind, will, emotions] to identify the foolishness of all sin, and the wisdom of following Jesus Christ and all His commands.
And along with the new source of wisdom coming from God’s truth, your conscience is also receiving divine impulses from God’s Holy Spirit, as conviction presses your mind when you are about to do something morally wrong, or gives assurance when you are about to do something morally right. Your new spirit now senses good and evil by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
In time, as you grow in understanding the Bible, stronger convictions multiply, and new power is experienced to keep you from constantly doing wrong. The spirit of the born again creature quickly becomes stronger because over time it becomes mighty “by reason of use” they “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” [Hebrews 5:14 NKJV]
As you mature, you learn to use your knowledge of God’s Word to recognize good and evil. Discernment is different than judgment in the same way the duty of a jury is different than the judge in a court of law. The jury studies the facts, testimonies, and evidence presented in the courtroom so that they can come to a clear conclusion of the truth or falsehood of the parties entangled in a trial.
The judge, however, is an expert in the truth of the law, takes this information with authority and makes binding decisions. Your judge is God and truth is revealed to you by God’s Spirit. As you grow in the faith you are enabled to understand the way God wants you to make decisions and how to take steps to protect yourself from bad choices and evil people.
For “God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]. For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
Because the Holy Spirit lives in you, He influences your thoughts and reveals the truth to you that the “normal” person cannot understand.
Be confident in this, God loves you very much and has given you everything you need to experience new life, godly character change, and relief from the burden of sin. The more you read His Word and understand His Biblical principles the easier it is to trust Him. When you seem alone or overwhelmed, remember His promise, that He will never leave you, nor forsake you.
And believe me, it makes it even easier when you understand what is going on inside of you as a new creation in Christ Jesus. It is easier when you recognize the Holy Spirit is really at work inside you, by first constantly changing your desires, and then consistently giving you new strength through grace to please your Lord.
Now, if you are ready, let’s move forward together with The Seven Steps To Spiritual Maturity.