Born Again – Part 9
Why Is Regeneration Necessary? Cont.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1Jn 3:2.3)
The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Christ (see Roman 8:29). This process will not be complete until we see Christ face to face (1Corinthians 13:12; Philippians 3:21). But knowing that it is our ultimate destiny should motivate us to purify ourselves. To purify means to keep morally straight, free from the corruption of sin. God also purifies us, but there is an action we must take to remain morally fit (see 1Timothy 5:22; James 4:8; 1Peter 1:22).
The need to abide in Christ
It is critical to note that being BA is not the end of the story. You must abide in Christ (Jn 15:1-11)
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (Jn 15:4)
“Abide in me.” After a person believes in Christ and is forgiven, he or she receives eternal life and the power to remain in Christ. Given that power, the believer must then accept that responsibility in salvation and remain in Christ. The Greek word menō means to remain, continue, abide or live. Just as the branch has life only as long as the life of the vine flows into it, so believers have Christ’s only as long as Christ’s life flows into them through their remaining in Christ. The conditions by which we remain in Christ are: (1) keeping God’s Word continually in our hearts and minds and making It the guide for our actions (v.7); (2) maintaining the habit of constant intimate communion with Christ in order to draw strength from Him (v.7); (3) obeying His commands, remaining in His love (v. 10) and loving each other (vv.12, 17); (4) keeping our lives clean through the Word, resisting all sin and yielding to the Spirit’s direction (v. 3; 17:17; Rom 8:14; Gal 5:16-25; Eph5:26; 1Pet 1:22).
Read Romans 7 & 8. Paul shares three lessons that he learned in trying to deal with his old sinful desires. (1) Knowledge is not the answer (7:9). Paul felt fine as long as he did not understand what the law demanded. When he learned the truth, he knew he was doomed. (2) Self-determination (struggling in one’s own strength) doesn’t succeed (7:15). Paul found himself sinning in ways that weren’t even attractive to him. (3) Becoming a Christian does not stamp out all sins and temptation from a person’s life (7:22-25).
Being born again takes a moment of faith, but becoming like Christ is a lifelong process. Paul compares Christian growth to a strenuous race or fight (1Corinthians 9:24-27; 2Timothy 4:7).
Thus, as Paul has been emphasising since the beginning of this letter, no one in the world is innocent; no one deserves to be saved—not the heathen who doesn’t know God’s laws, not the Christian or Jew who knows them and tries to keep them. All of us must depend totally on the work of Christ for our salvation. We cannot earn it by our good behaviour.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” (Rom 7:15)
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