The Apostle Paul in his writings inspired by God to the body of Christ located at Colosse, speaks to them a lot about Christ. Who He was, What He did, What He is doing now. He speaks of regeneration (circumcision of the heart), putting off sin, putting to death sin in the flesh, and put on the gift of the Spirit. God’s spiritual “tools” go to work on us immediately when we are born again by the Spirit, and they continue “snipping” away throughout our life here on planet earth!
I. NOTICE WHAT AND WHERE THE NEW BIRTH TAKES PLACE!
Colossians 2:11 reads, “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.
Verse 13; “And you, being DEAD in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He has made ALIVE together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way having NAILED it to the Cross.”
Notice where the sin dwells. It is in our bodies, and many times we find the Lord referring to the flesh as our skin, bones, and organs, etc., but He also uses the term “flesh”(Greek term: Sarx), as a body of Sin dwelling in our bodies of skin and bones. HE is speaking to ME and to YOU who have been born again. So, there is a distinction between the body of sin, and the body which also carries the circumcised, new born believer! That is important to see! We are NOW alive, in Christ, but the body of flesh, both of skin and bones and organs, along with the body of sin that dwells there, is still DEAD to God and has NOT been regenerated like the New Creation Which we are right now living in the same body of flesh and bones.
II. THE NEW BIRTH DIRECTS OUR ATTENTION UPWARD!
Colossians 3:1-4; “If then you were RAISED with Christ, SEEK those things which are ABOVE, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your MIND on things ABOVE, not on things on the earth. For you DIED, and your LIFE IS HIDDEN with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
The New man, is IN Christ, so our attention is to be toward Him and His heavenly kingdom, which is the City of God above, where our LIFE really will and is now forever to be! It is HIDDEN in Christ with God!
The next things we look for is Jesus Christ who will appear and take us to Glory, or if He delays His coming back, we shall go at our passing from here immediately into His presence for HE is now in us and we in Him!
The new man doesn’t live in Sin, but the old man of the flesh has sin abiding in it, and it seeks to do wrong, but WE through the Spirit of God in us, fight against such activities day by day! There remains some mystery in all of this, and it relates to how our senses (5) which work within these two distinct states existing in the body. But we do know this fallen state is still there in the physical body of believers and is where temptations come from; the Flesh (Sarx – Sin – Greek Term) sinful it is,and the Devil and the World system.
I have stated many times, I hate religion. Religion will slay you and turn one into a Pharisee as quick as you can hardly say the word! It will seek to make all of us moral deist’s, behavior modification workers, and actually bring so much chaos and confusion to the soul and mind we can’t hardly breathe. In my long years into this journey with Christ, some of my biggest problems have not come so much from the world, the flesh and the Devil, but rather RELIGION i.e., the local Churches and their approach to the Gospel and the word of God!
It Worked hard, and by that I mean all of those in leadership positions, and either the denominational leadership, or their Seminaries and Bible Schools also. They worked hard to make me a Legalist, and worked hard to make me think I was more of a wicked sinner, than a Saint, as God called me, after I was placed into His body, the body of Christ, the place where the children of God are, and those who are no longer classified as wicked or sinners! Yes, we were sinners but now we are called by another name(s) (saint, child of God, pure, holy, sanctified, bride of Christ, sons of God, etc!)
Again, I keep repeating, this is not teaching sinless perfectionism in the body of flesh we now have to still live in as saints. For within the body, which has not been regenerated, or made alive in Christ, we do live.
Sometimes folks may say it is just semantics but not it is not. I don’t condemn my new self, which is now in Christ at all. I don’t fight against myself, for a division like that Jesus said means, I would never stand. A house divided against itself will fall! I struggle with sin which dwells within my flesh, a un-regenerated part of my very being as a human. My new man, is now and always is a saint! The flesh is ugly and sinful but we are not!! Our regenerated hearts are clean and pure and we desire God and life in Him! If God LOOKS upon me as pure, undefiled, a saint, His child, and I call myself a wicked ungodly sinner, I deny HIM and HIS word and make Him a liar! That is a terrible thing to do! He sees me in Christ and undefiled via HIS righteousness!
This was expressed well by another brother in the faith in this way; “The …presence of sin, a power that lives in us but is NOT us. The power of sin is not the old self. The power of sin Controlled the old self. The old self was a slave to sin, while the new self is not. The flesh is all of the programming (mind-sets, attitudes, reactions) that builds up over time as a person allows sin to operate in his or her life. When we’re made new in Christ, those memory banks of how to cope with life are still in the brain. We can still resort to walking according to the flesh.
So, the Old self has been annihilated, but two interdependent operators are still at work to sway the believer toward unbelief. This is why we still sin. If expositors would teach the presence of sin and the flesh alongside the teaching of our old self as crucified, buried, and gone, they wouldn’t need to worry about anyone presuming that they teach the heresy of sinless perfection.” (The Naked Gospel).
Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after ME, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” This is a invitation to lose one’s life and this is exactly what takes place in our life when we were born again becoming children of God and saints!
Keep your eyes upon Jesus and flee to Him when tempted. For our old man died that is not alive and risen, and is no longer under its rule and reign! Jesus REALLY DOES SAVE!
III. THE NEW BIRTH IS THE START OF OUR SANCTIFICATION WITHIN THE FLESH IN WHICH SIN STILL RESIDES!
Each new born saint needs to realize that when God pardons us, when God saves us, when God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and we are placed into Christ Jesus, we are now entering into the battle and warfare against sin!
I Thessalonians 4:3 reads, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality………for God did not call us unto uncleanness but in holiness.”
God has made our soul and spirit and innermost being and also using the term ‘heart’, totally new. Regenerated means to come to Life! The new birth means we have a new identity now because we are new. We have the following spiritual work done to us and in us; regeneration (bringing to life spiritually); conversion; born again experience; a pardoned and purified heart, soul and spirit which are placed INTO Christ and also the Holy Spirit’s presence, not to speak of the Father God and His presence. We really are NEW creations!
However, one part of the innermost heart of the believer has not been made a new creation. That is the Flesh where Sin (Sarx – Greek word) lives and abides.
Due to that we now enter into warfare and battles which rage off and on during our lifetime here. We are called to suffer for Jesus, but also we are called into the spiritual battle which will rage on and on until Jesus comes or we go to be with Him!
In that battle God gives us all the propre spiritual equipment and weapons to fight it and be victorious on the battlefield as we embrace them. Things like prayer, faith, the written word hidden in our hearts, meditation, plus dependance totally upon the Holy Spirit and the word of God to do our battles for us! Embracing their power we can see victory, and not embracing these things will bring many defeats, but remember, OUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN US, AND WE ARE SONS OF GOD, CHILDREN OF GOD, AND SAINTS NOW!
A key test that we are possessing the Holy Spirit and have Christ in our hearts, is that we HATE sin, we go to war against our Sin(s), and we fight the good fight of faith daily. Success is not always going to happen because we are weak and we fail to in our flesh to obey His word. Clinging habitual sins and even good things that weigh in upon us, can hinder our sanctification of the flesh! Remember again, our new man, the born again person we are, is Sanctified, and Holy now, but not the flesh! It is important to remember who we are now. Saints in a fallen body! There is a dichotomy there but yet, a awareness and understanding of sin and holiness going on all the time because of how God has chosen to deal with us now before we go to heaven to be with Him!
If we think all will be a bed of roses since we were saved, we have been not properly taught these matters. We are NOW soldiers in a spiritual battle of great consequences and matters of life and death, and honor and glory toward our Lord and Savior Jesus during all of it! So, let us go forth carrying the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and use it to Slay Sin and the world, and the Devil. His sword will conquer! His Spirit will win! Trust in Him saint of God, for He cares for you and Loves you and will never leave or forsake you! The battle is HIS! We can’t do it without Him being in charge!! Rest in Him! Looking forward to His soon return!