The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"New Wine, In New Bottles"
"Our blessed Lord became what He was not on the cross of Calvary in order to spiritually birth us as who we are in Him."
I recently read a comment by a preacher who said of God giving the indwelling Holy Spirit to believers when we trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, "I do not see how a holy God could come to live in such sinful, unholy people." While his sentiment was noble, his understanding was incorrect.
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
God does not put new wine into old bottles (Luke 5:37). The entrance of the Holy Spirit into our spirits instead births a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). We still live in a fleshly, "natural body" that bears the inclinations and impulses inherited from Adam. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit" (I Corinthians 15:44; Galatians 5:17). The Apostle Paul references this challenge of our earthly members and faculties in the most extreme terms: "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin" (Romans 8:10). However, it remains true that our spirits, united to the Spirit of Christ, dwell in a newness of life and being birthed by the entrance of the Holy Spirit.
"Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him" (Colossians 3:9-10).
Failure to realize and affirm this "newness of life" constitutes an unwitting denial of Scriptural truth, and also a paralyzing failure to walk in the reality of salvation in Christ. In the innermost depths of our being, we are not who we once were despite still dwelling in a fleshly temple wherein a "law of sin" presently remains (Romans 7:23). Of the Corinthians, who so walked after the lusts of the flesh, Paul declared, "such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 3:3; 6:11). Moreover, the Apostle began his correction of his wayward brethren by affirming their newness in Christ, regardless of their wayward walk: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16).
An eternally, infinitely, pristinely righteous God could never dwell in a "sinful, unholy" environment. He rather dwells within our redeemed spirits, again, "created in righteousness and true holiness." This we must believe because it is true. This we must believe because we disobey God if we do not (Romans 6:11). This we must believe because we can never walk as who we are in Christ if we do not know and affirm who we are in Him. And, in devotional terms of love for our Lord, this we must believe because He sacrificed far too much to change our hearts for us to ignore or neglect the truth. "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21). Our blessed Lord became what He was not on the cross of Calvary in order to spiritually birth us as who we are in Him. New wine in new bottles. This describes the born again believer in Christ. The better we understand and affirm the truth of such grace, the better will live as the "new creatures" we are in Christ. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).
A final thought. The truth we consider provides a wondrous encouragement regarding living in faith and faithfulness. However, a great challenge also presents itself. If God has already effected a profound change within the innermost depths of our being, and has also come to dwell therein by His Spirit, every excuse for unbelief and disobedience dissolves into oblivion. The New Testament epistles continually sound and resound such truth, echoing the Lord's words, "Unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required" (Luck 12:48). This makes all the more important our determination to take God at His Word, in the face of any fleshly evidence and appearance to the contrary, that who we are is not who we were. May He grace much grace of illumination and reminder, and may we more and more walk in the light of a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness."
"That which is born of the Spirit is spirit…Ye are not in flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you… "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
(John 3:6; Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:25)
Weekly Memory Verse
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.