(The following is excerpted from a study I did about the body, soul and spirit of man. JJB)

THE PROGRESS OF REDEMPTION

 

We have just seen how sin brought death; a death that went from spirit to soul to body. As the process of death is progressive, likewise there is also a ‘progress’ in the work of restoration from that death. The progressive nature of this redemptive work of God needs to be emphasized; it starts with our spirit, it renews our soul, it heals, and otherwise moves on our physical lives and, it ultimately resurrects our bodies.

 

Jesus, sinless Son of God; agent for all of God’s physical activity; active with God in the creation, and yet he also was created; came here “delighting” to do God’s will; showing us The Father, showing us grace, showing us truth; He the “Quickening wind of the Spirit” came to breathe into us a “new birth” (“…ye must be born again…born of the spirit…”) and set in motion the restoration of everything we lost in Adam and make us truly, in his image, Sons of God.

 

In John 3:7 Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be “born again.” Although Jesus told him to not be “surprised” by this statement, Nicodemus obviously was. He responded in a typical fashion and from a physical perspective; he asked “How can a man be born when he is old?” (3:4 NIV) Everything about the Jewish law involved the physical. As a Pharisee, Nicodemus was schooled in the physical requirements of those regulations. His reaction should have been expected.

 

Jesus explained to Nicodemus that in this ‘new birth’ the Spirit would give birth to spirit. (v.6) This new birth has nothing to do with beating out a few dents and giving it a new paint job; it is no rejuvenation of something old and failing; instead, this is throwing out the old dead spirit and replacing it with a brand new, never dying, ‘Son of God’ spirit.

 

When this transformation was worked in me, I received a spirit that was both, and in every way, perfect and complete. “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.” (II Cor. 5:17 NIV) In I John 3:9 I learn that being ‘born of God’ invests me with a “seed” that stops me from sinning and in Eph. 1:4 I see that I am now “holy and blameless in his sight.” I have received the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jer. 31:33-35. God has written his law in my inward parts. This newly created spirit has no further need to be taught “know the Lord.” It knows God, and the Holy Spirit of God, more intimately than one can ever know another in the physical dimension.

 

Does this mean that there is now nothing left that I need to be doing? Absolutely not!

 

The New Testament is full of instructions for my Christian walk. I constantly have need of instruction; we always need to be encouraging one another and “spurring one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Heb 10:23 NIV) The big difference is that B.C. (i.e. before Christ) I futilely attempted To Do the Old Testament thing. I vainly pledged allegiance to ‘carnal (read, ‘physical’) ordinances’ that were against me. Those rules tried to prescribe holiness for me through an external regulation of my conduct and pronounced curses as the consequence of my disobedience. Just like the Israelites ‘under the law,’ I was never good enough; I was forever “coming short of the Glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23 KJV)

 

But now I am A.D.! In my ante dominium life God looks at the perfect new ‘spirit baby’ in me and is satisfied. Just like in the baptism of Jesus, God’s Spirit now testifies that ‘this is my beloved child, I am well pleased.’ Having now been, ‘by grace,’ conferred this status; I stop striving for God’s favor, I already permanently have it. From henceforth my physical activities spring from the innate desire of my spirit to, as Jesus said, ‘do thy will, O God,’ and not the other way around.

 

And so, as I continue this progression, this restoration of the things ‘I lost in Adam,’ I next come to the soul. Here I am face-to-face with the whole Christian doctrine of sanctification. After being ‘born again’ I am immediately conflicted. I find that I can’t go very far in this new life before meeting the devil, the world, and my, as yet un-regenerated, desires. I am now learning about ‘taking up a cross’ and following him to a place where “his will” replaces “my will.” This is the place of “hating” everything else, as contrasted with “loving God with all my soul.” Only as I succeed in ‘putting to death’ the desires of my soul do I succeed in walking “in newness of life.”

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