As we have looked through this week there is 4 distinct elements that the Bible declares as the normative, essential elements of the birth of a new believer. They are:
Faith IN Jesus;
Water baptism &
Receiving the Holy Spirit.
The four elements of new birth are essential for the three processes of salvation, these being justification, sanctification and glorification.
The first two pertain largely to the justification of a believer and the latter two to the sanctification of the believer. The glorification of a believer is the transformation that occurs when we move from our earthly bodies to our heavenly bodies and is incumbent upon the initial completion and continuation of the first two, repentance and faith. Living our lives in victory, defeating the power of sin and being conformed into the image of Christ as a true disciple requires the second two. Fullfilling his purposes for our lives.
We will all stand before God one day and have to give an account. Those who truly are believers, while they will not be under condemnation for sin because of they are righteous through Christ will still be called to give an account of every word spoken and for all that they did & didn’t do through faith with what God had appointed to their care.
Next Steps… In the book of 2 Peter we read the following, I think it has much to us as we seek to walk thsis life of a disciple of Jesus.
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:2-8
What an encouragement! It is, as if in writing this, Peter was to confirm to the believers that they are not lacking anything, there is no more further steps to wait for. They do not need to get to another level of understanding, or intelligence. They are complete in Christ and are called to continue in the life given to them because they are complete.
God has called us to live a holy life, following the example of Christ and he has given us, through this new birth everything we need, including precious promises!
When God is the promise maker we have not place to doubt but to believe. The promises of God are complete when they are given. Some fulfilled immediately, some awaiting fulfilment.
We are promised the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, adoption into Gods eternal family, salvation, an end to suffering, power through the Holy Spirit for transformation and obedience, purpose, a way out from all temptation. In fact, the promises of God in the Bible are well over 7,000, some conditional others not. How amazing that a perfect God can promise so much and perfectly keep every single one!
Peter sets in these truths a clear understanding to the new believers of who they are in Christ and what they have. They are renewed to be partakers of divine nature, they are no longer of the flesh, with minds set on the earth by necessity but people born again and set free to have their minds set on the things above and to live lives that serve the God who has saved them and set them free. It also shows that Peter is aware that some people come through new birth and do not understand who they are. It is important to remind ourselves of these truths regularly because we will become ineffective for the kingdom. This also exemplifies why our faith needs to be built on truth and not feelings. Feelings can corrupt our thoughts and cause us to believe untruths. If our lives are set upon these truths we can overcome negative thoughts by our trust in the promises of God about who he says we are and that in him we have already received all things for life and godliness.
Peter goes on to encourage action, BECAUSE of the promises we have received and our new identities in Christ we should make effort “to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love”
Notice here that these qualities resemble the fruit of the Holy Spirit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” yet Peter is instructing the believers to make effort.
This shows us that bearing fruit of the Holy Spirit, our growth in the Lord and our maturity as believers is not a passive, sit and wait it happen and God will do everything. “My sin is ok because God is a sanctifier, he is full of grace.”
We can’t take part of truth and make it the whole truth. God is full of grace but he will not tolerate continual unrepentant sin.
We need to commit our ways to the Lord and to make every effort to live in Holiness according to his ways, recognising that it is only by his power that we can even do such a thing.
Praise to Jesus.
Thank you for making me alive! Thank you for putting to death my old sinful nature, for the faith you have given me, for the washing you have provided through the shed blood of Jesus. Thank you Holy Spirit for making your home among us and in us.
Lord I pray that you would help me to live according to your ways, convict me of sin and where I need to conform to your ways. Put to death all the lies in my life that lead me to not surrender to you. Open my eyes to the reality of your creation so that I can see and discern things as they truly are.
Lead me on your ways, always, that I may live a life pleasing to you. Where the name of Jesus is glorified and your scent is offered to the world as I live.
In Jesus name