Sunday, November 01, 2015

Sin and Death (7) Born Again

Jesus was conceived when the Holy Spirit overshadowed his mother Mary. This broke the line of the flesh from Adam. He did not inherit the corruption of the flesh that troubled the rest of the human race.

When a person trusts in Jesus and is born again of the Spirit, the harm to their flesh/brain is restored. The Holy Spirit restores the damage to our flesh (including the brain) that was inherited from the first man, who was attacked by the powers of evil.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24).
When we are born again to become a new creation, the harm done to Adam that we inherited is restored. The Holy Spirit changes what we are. We are born again with a restored brain.
  • Our mind is restored, so that we can think the way God thinks. Unfortunately we will have taken on al lot of bad ideas in the years before we are born again, so the Holy Spirit will need time to teach us and clear out all the junk.
  • Our will is restored, so we are able to seek and do God’s will. This is the most important change. However, we are still free and need to listen to the voice of the Spirit and do Jesus will. Although our will is set free, we will still need to learn how to boy gladly. The big difference from the situation of Adam and Eve is that we have spiritual protection through what Jesus has done.
  • Our spirit is brought to life. We become intensely aware of God’s voice. We can perceive the power of evil at work around us. This is huge, but we have to learn to peceive understand clearly all that we are now perceiving. If we are not careful we can let our perception by deadened by what we learned in the past
  • Our desire for God that was deadened is restored.
  • Our emotions will continue to work as our internal senses, but as we begin to see thing as God sees them and receive the peace of the Spirit, our emotions will begin to respond more like Jesus would respond.
  • Our memory continue to retain most our experiences. A problem is that our memory will be full of bad thinking and lies, and bad decisons and their pleasures from the past. These will keep popping out and leading us astray, even after our mind has been restored. Evil spirits will stir these memories up if they get a chance.
Being born again reverses the damage done that we inherited from Adam and Eve, but that is the first step. While living with corrupted flesh we have picked up a lot of junk that we have to learn to let go.

There is one other important physical change. When a woman has been born again through faith in Jesus, this force of this curse is broken, Paul pointed to this blessing in his letter to Timothy.

Women will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control (1 Tim 2:15).
We should be praying that the Holy Spirit will work this restoration in woman who trust Jesus that he would restore their bodies from the damage that was done, when Adam and Eve sinned.


Lucius said...

This has been a topic of interest to me, so I hope you don't mind if I comment?

When I was a child, I asked why didn't God just get rid of the Devil when the Devil rebelled? It would have saved a whole lot of trouble. I believed God had infinite power, so certainly it was within his ability. But God did not, so why didn't he?

Over the years I learned an answer, but I had to ask many more questions to find it. Most important is, "What was the devil's lie?" We know he is the father of lies, but what is his lie?

His lie is the belief the he, and every created being, can know what is good and evil for themselves. This is an insidious lie, because it undermines God's claim to the throne. God claims that He alone has wisdom, truth, love, justice...the legitimacy of his rule is based on these claims. God claims to embody everything good, but the Devil says that everybody can know their own truth. But if truth is arbitrary as the Devil claims, then there is no kingdom and there is no God.

So this is why God did not destroy the Devil. If God had suppressed the Devil's lie, He would appear to be a tyrant. This would prove the Devil's lie to anyone who did not already believe it.

But God could not allow his kingdom to be dispersed because of the Devil's lie, so he came up with a plan to prove that his claims of truth are what he says they are. That is where we come in.

So to explain the forbidden fruit, I say the fruit represents the Devil's lie, and eating the fruit confirms acceptance of the lie in the same way that modern people sign contracts. To eat the fruit is to join the Devil's side.

So in the Garden of Eden we have two special trees, and we have two sides to a dispute. Adam and Eve chose to join the Devil's side. And when they hid from God, was it really because they suddenly saw they were naked? Or was it because they were now afraid of God? Certainly they knew they had denied him. And as any child will create a foolish excuse rather than to admit the truth, Adam and Eve created a foolish excuse for why they were hiding; they couldn't bear to tell God to his face that they had betrayed him.

To explain Jesus' death, I hesitantly refer to the ancient "Ransom Theory" of atonement. All of mankind is on the Devil's side because of Adam and Eve. Some of them (i.e. Christians) want to join God, but the Devil wants to keep us as his hostages. But there is one thing the Devil wants more than to keep us--he wants to humiliate God, proving by any means that God is not fit to rule! So the Devil demands a ransom--if God wants his people, God must be humiliated in an unimaginable way. The Devil only makes the offer because he believes it is the one thing God cannot do. But even if God agrees, the Devil does succeed in inflicting serious injury and shame on Jesus.

What seems to be overlooked in traditional versions of this Ransom Theory is that Jesus' humiliation and death is a genuine humiliation. To us it is a victory, but we forget the Devil got something out of it as well! Yes, for us it is the freedom for which we are eternally grateful, but for the Jews, it is their ultimate hope turned into their greatest disappointment.

With this framework of ideas in place, it is simple to explain any point of Christianity. I do not change any foundational belief, and I do not have any need to dissect the minutia of physical phenomenon and subtle changes to the human being. These things require considerable effort to work out, but I don't think all of this is necessary.

I think what I'm saying here has a striking resemblance to what Paul says in the second half of Romans chapter 1.

Ron McK said...

Your comment that God did not destroy the devil, but gave him freedom to do what the could do, because did not want to be a tyrant makes sense. It fits with what I teach in my book Kingdom Authority.