22nd August 2016 - Bruce Mackay
Jesus continued to teach from the mountainside. As soon as He had finished teaching on the nine attitudes for true happiness, He moved right onto the subject of how to be right with God so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven. Everyone wants to go to heaven! We all hope we will make it. But how? By what means? What is the criteria? Do all roads lead to heaven? Many people have opinions. Some say to just do the best you can; God understands that He can’t ask for anything more than your best effort. Others say you must be baptised, while others insist that you must belong to a certain religion. There is an old song about getting to the pearly gates […]
Born of the Spirit
A person has been born of the Spirit once all three Persons of the Godhead are dwelling within their heart. We note that it is the Holy Spirit who takes up residence in their heart first, regenerating and renewing them in the inner man. This is followed by the Spirit of the Father, who comes to bring them to birth as a new creation through the incorruptible seed contained in His word. Finally, the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in their heart as the substance of their sonship. This means that they can live by a life that is not their own. It also means that they will no longer be trying to demonstrate their own righteousness. They will begin to demonstrate the righteousness of Christ by the power of His life within them. They have not been able to live this way previously.
Jesus provided an explicit description of what it means to be born of the Spirit. He said, ‘The wind [spirit] blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit’. Jesus was explaining that when a person is born of the Spirit, they are able to relate to the Spirit and to others ‘in the Spirit’. Together, they are able to know and move with Him in one Spirit, as He leads according to His own intrinsic substance and will. In contrast, a person who lives by the principles of the flesh is nothing like the wind. They know where they are going and how they will go about it, because their initiatives are allsourced in themselves. Their desire for control over their life, and the lives of others, is the antithesis of the nature of the Spirit.