Monday, June 1, 2015

YOU MUST GET YOURSELF BORN AGAIN

We are in a sad state of affairs in this country (USA) when a new law is passed for the stated purpose of "making people feel more secure."
There is no law written, nor can be written, that will change the heart of man and force him to be good.


In chapter three, Paul continues his argument against legalism showing that life cannot be attained through keeping any kind of law (Gal. 3:21c).

He presents a strong defense of the doctrine of justification by faith, and shows the purpose of the law was to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:19, 24).

The premise of Paul’s letter is given in 3:3—“Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?”

This is something I have had to ask myself many times over the years, as I would continually “fall from grace” (Gal. 5:4) and revert to trying to be right, or maintain my walk with God, through my actions.

But, I would learn yet again that the law in any form only serves to show me that I cannot do right (Rom. 3:20).

Trying to do right in my own strength is an exercise in futility (Rom. 7:18).

Apparently, we very easily forget how it is that we came to the Lord and were saved in the first place.

From the human perspective it appears as if I made a decision to follow Christ, which I did in 1967.

However, if Romans 7:18 is true (and it is), how was it possible for me to make that decision? And, after I ‘decided’, how is it possible for me to continue in the faith living a changed life?

These are good questions that demand an answer.

As usual, the Bible has the answer. (When we are looking at these verses, it is important to remember to see from God’s perspective rather than a human one.)

Paul makes an interesting mid-sentence correction in 4:9 when he writes,
“…after that you have known God, or rather are known of God…” This is consistent with the general tenor of scripture that teaches it is God who reaches out to us, not we who reach out to God.

Let’s take a quick and cursory journey through some of the verses that speak of the initial aspects of our salvation.

John 3:3—How can you get yourself born again? Did you get yourself born the first time? No. It is a passive experience that happens to you. Jesus was not remiss in using the analogy of the natural birth to highlight the second.

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” (Ezek. 11:19; and Ezek 36:26)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8). Paul says here that even the faith we profess is not from within us, but from God.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5)

Okay. All that is fine and good. But, what about maintaining my salvation? Don’t I have to DO something? After all, the writer of Hebrews tells us to not neglect our salvation (Heb. 2:3).

This is where it becomes vitally important to understand spirit and human nature, which are diametrically opposed to one another (Gal. 5:17).

While it may look as if you are the one doing it, we must realize such is not the case (John 15:5c)

Paul writes in Phil. 2:12 that we are to “work out our own salvation,” but he had previously set the stage for this in Phil. 1:6 by pointing out both the beginning and the process and the end of our salvation.

He also goes on in v. 13 to say, “For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.”

I trust, dear reader, that Paul’s concern expressed in Gal. 3:3 is now clear to you.

Your salvation began with God, is maintained by God, and will be completed by God.

When that knowledge becomes a revelation in your heart, you will then become one who is able to do much more than the one who tries to do in order to please God. (cf. Dan. 11:32b)


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