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A New Birth Into a New Realm
By David A. DePra
Dogs can hear sounds which are outside of the human capacity to hear. Other animals can see parts of the light spectrum we cannot see. In short, there are dimensions in the physical realm to which human senses have no access. There is no use arguing about it. Using our natural senses, we canít reach those dimensions.
According to the Bible, there is yet ANOTHER realm Ė which is beyond the physical. In other words, even though there are dimensions to the physical realm to which we have no access, there is yet another realm beyond even the physical. The spiritual realm Ė the kingdom of God Ė is that realm.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, You must be born again. The wind blows where it lists, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it comes, and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:3-8)
Have we realized that there is more to God than our perception of Him? What an understatement! But despite such an obvious declaration, some of us donít live as if there is more to God than our perception of Him. We think that whatever we see, whatever we understand, and whatever we feel, is IT. But we are wrong. That is NOT IT! There are dimensions to life, and to the realm of the Holy Spirit, and Godís kingdom, that remain beyond us. We cannot reach them with natural senses, but only with the Holy Spirit in and through us. And even then, in this life we will only BEGIN to experience that reality.
God is eternal and therefore, to be in Christ is to be in an eternal realm. But donít think of this is terms of TIME. The word, "eternal" never refers to time, in the sense of unending time. No. It is a word indicative of TIMELESSNESS. In other words, that which is "eternal" is that which is OUTSIDE of time, not subject to time, and which cannot be measured or defined in terms of time. Such is the realm of the Spirit.
Now, donít bother trying to imagine what it would be like to live in a condition which is outside of time. You cannot imagine it. You havenít the tools. The moment you start to think about what that might be like, you are at once comparing it TO time Ė indeed, the thoughts you are thinking are happening in the time and space continuum.
Yet for those who walk in the Spirit, there IS a sense of timelessness which can occasionally come. Sure. It ought to. For those who are in Christ have been born INTO a new realm, and are OF that realm. We are birthed anew a new creation -- of the realm of the Spirit.
The Clash of Two Realms
In case you havenít noticed, your physical body isnít yet saved. Nope. Not a bit. Your body is just as much subject to this fallen creation as it ever has been. That doesnít mean that God cannot intervene and heal you, or override some of the things which would normally take their course in this physical realm. But in the end, the body must die. And everyday our bodies prove that it remains subject to time and space.
Yet we HAVE been born again -- inside of us. The real us is a new creation in Christ Jesus. Our spirit has been made one with God through Jesus Christ Ė if we have given our lives to Him. Although it seems a rather inadequate way to say it, you and I Ė the person we are in Christ Ė are living as "prisoners," incased in this fleshly body. We have eternal life within us, yet death all around it.
Actually, we have more than just the physical flesh and bones to contend with as new creations. We are have to deal with our emotions, our psychological frame, and our intellect. Those are also not born again. All of those things must come under the governance of the Holy Spirit. Our minds can be renewed. Our emotions can be adjusted back to normal. But unless they are, they will just keep on functioning the way the always have.
So we really have a clash of two realms. We have the old body of flesh. But we have the new man in Christ Jesus. The old body of flesh cannot live in harmony with God. (Rom. 8:8) The new man in Christ does. This means conflict, inner struggle, and outright WAR.
Nothing new about that. Paul, the apostle says that this is what it means to be born again:
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would. (Gal 5:16-17)
If you read the Bible, you are going to discover that this conflict is NORMAL for a person filled with the Spirit of God. Why? Because you are filled with something that is of another realm Ė and whose nature is contrary to that of the realm of the flesh. Therefore, if you have continual conflict going on in you, this may be a sign that everything is going according to schedule. You are normal Ė for a born again believer. But if you have NO conflict, there may be a big problem. Why? Because the flesh is certainly there. Thus, if there is NO conflict, it is possible that the Spirit isnít in you.
If you have the Spirit of God in you, there will be a continual push to break you free of being a slave to the natural realm. This includes not just, "things we do." It also includes the way we think. Most importantly, it has to do with our motivation for living and who we SERVE. The Spirit will seek to make all of us holy unto God Ė body, soul, and spirit. But the flesh will resist all the way.
Now, donít think that by trying real hard you can avoid this battle. You CAN make it easier by obeying and yielding yourself to God in everyway you know Ė and by continually surrendering yourself to Him. But you are not going to simply "will yourself" into being able to make your flesh obey God! If you could do that, you would not need Jesus. All you can do with the flesh is surrender it. Let God crucify it. Then, and only then, will the Spirit break forth. Then the Spirit will overcome the flesh and you will be better able to live to Godís glory.
The good news is that in Jesus Christ Ė by the power of His Cross Ė the power of sin and the flesh is ALREADY broken. It IS finished. Notice I did not say that sin and the flesh are wiped out of existence. No. They are still there because you are still living in a physical body in a fallen realm. But the POWER of them is broken in the life of one who is born again Ė meaning you donít have to obey them. Why? Because despite the fact that we do live here, in this physical realm, we are no longer tied to it Ė no longer slaves to it. We have been born again into a new realm.
If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. (Col 3:1-7)
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom 8:10-14)
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Rom 6:9-13)
Herein we see a key to ALL OVERCOMING: Realizing our identity in Christ. Realizing that it really IS finished. Thus, instead of continually fighting the OLD nature Ė and then despairing because we seem to be losing the battle, we ought to concentrate on living in the new. In other words, we need to stop trying to beat to death that which God says is DEAD. Instead, letís treat it as if it is dead, and start living like we are alive in Christ.
Does this mean that we should never resist sin or the Devil? Of course not. But the key to all warfare is NOT to try to win a victory. The key is to operate FROM victory! But not ours. HIS victory.
Paul says that because the victory is already won, we ought to "Mortify therefore your members." The word, "mortify," means, "to destroy by neglect." In other words, when sin rears itís ugly head and make a suggestion to me, the answer is not to turn on it and try to beat that wrong thing down with a big club. It does no good to beat a dead body with a big club. The key is to turn to God and be filled with the right thing Ė His life. Paul is simply telling us that if everything Christ did on the Cross is real, then if we believe and obey, that we are going to discover that the old life IS dead, and that we do have new life in Christ. Once we begin walking in the power of that Truth, it will prove itself real. We will see that we do not have to obey those lusts and sins any longer. We are able to obey God.
None of this is going to seem like it is real at first. You only find out you are free from sin once you begin walking in obedience. You MUST believe and obey. Otherwise, the best you have is a theoretical doctrine. But no power or experience.
A Sinless Christian
There are doctrines today which suggest that since Christ bore our sin, and the power of it is broken, then we ought to be able to live sinlessly. Or without disease. But again Ė this is impossible if we live in a physical body in a fallen realm. The issue is therefore whether we have been born again into a new realm, and are relying on the finished work of Jesus Christ. If we are, then the Blood of Jesus has continually cleansed us from all sin. We will be in the resurrection some day.
The Christian is in a PROCESS. By "process," I do not mean that you are in the process of being saved. Or that there is anything UNFINISHED about Christís victory for you. No. You ARE saved if you are a Christian. You are complete in HIM. But rather, you are in a process of discovering and coming into what is already finished. You are in the process of seeing the Truth, and of discovering the previously unknown territory of the kingdom of God. If you and I have been born into a new realm, it is going to take some time to learn how to live there, let alone to discover what that realm is like.
A person who is born again into the kingdom of God is no longer a slave to this old realm. They are no longer subject to everything that man became a slave to through the sin of Adam. They are free from that Ė because they are a new creation. This is not some crazy notion. It is, in fact, basic Christianity. If Godís people would only return to these realities and begin walking in them. *
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