Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God...Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God“ (John 3:3, 5). To change a lost sinner into a “new creature” requires a new nature, which is the same creative energy that originally created life. The apostle Paul wrote, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:9, 10).
How to receive the new nature?
This new nature is not the product of moral goodness assumed by some to be inherent in man, and needing only to grow and be manifested. There are millions of professed moral individuals who make no profession of being Christians, and who are not “new” creatures. The new nature is not even a decision, to do right (Romans 7:15–18). It is not a mental belief in specific doctrines, of sharing one’s beliefs or feelings with another, or even of sorrow from sin.
The new nature is the result of the presence of a supernatural power given to a man, which results in his dying to sin and being born again. Paul wrote, “or if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:5,6)
This divine power transforms believers and they get created anew in the image of Christ. They become adopted as sons and daughters of God and start a new life (Ezekiel 36:26, 27; John 1:12, 13; 3:3–7; 5:24; Ephesians 1:19; 2:1, 10; 4:24; Titus 3:5; James 1:18).
By faith, believers become partakers of the divine nature and are given eternal life. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4 also 1 John 5:11, 12).
Daily growth in Christ
Adam was made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), but sin corrupted the divine image. Christ came to restore that which was lost by sin, and the believer may therefore expect to have the divine image restored in his life (2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 3:14). This possibility should urge him to seek the Christ-likeness. He will reach to this goal as long as he daily accepts and uses the powers in the spiritual gifts Christ has provided for him.
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:5,6). Christians can abide in Christ by a daily study of the Word and prayer.
The new born Christian is not born a full-grown, mature Christian; he initially has the spiritual ignorance and immaturity of an infant. But as a son of God, he does have the advantage and chance to mature into the full stature of Christ (Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 4:14–16; 2 Peter 3:18). Thus, the transformation starts at the new birth and continues until Christ’s appearing (1 John 3:2).
In His service,