A New Nature

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. – Hebrews 2:10

Jesus, the uncreated Son of God, existing through all eternity past, walked through life as a man in sinless perfection. And yet, in taking on flesh and emptying Himself for us, He subjected Himself, not only to our weakness and temptations but to a need to learn and grow.

In creation, He counseled with God. The Word God spoke in creation, John reveals as Jesus. That spoken Word of creation continues to create galaxies today. It continues to hold all things together.

But this all knowing, all powerful, everywhere present Son of God needed schooling.

Let’s start in Luke 2 today.

The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. – Luke 2:40

This is amazing to me. We are introduced to Wisdom in Proverbs 8. When you have a few minutes, you can read the whole chapter, but in particular, check out verses 22-31. I can’t get away from the fact that this passage describes Jesus, the Word of God. And of course, this makes perfect sense. Where could you find more wisdom than in the Word spoken by our infinite, all-knowing Father?

Yet here is Luke 2 we find Jesus increasing in wisdom.

Next Luke tells the story of the boy Jesus in the temple at age twelve.

After that, we have only one verse in the entire Bible telling of Jesus’ life from age twelve until He starts His ministry at thirty.

And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. – Luke 2:52

This one is really striking because, at age thirty, we hear the voice of God at Jesus’ baptism.

and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” – Matthew 3:17

The Father is well pleased with His Son before Jesus begins His ministry. Before He ever works a miracle or heals the sick. But we learn from Luke 2:52 that Jesus’ grew in favor with God.

It’s a little mind-bending. How can the one who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, grow, learn, or progress?

It goes back to the concept of Jesus emptying Himself, and living life with a man’s nature. Not a sin nature, like you and me, but an un-fallen human nature. This is the nature offered to every man and woman in the new birth. It’s why the new birth makes such a great metaphor for the New Covenant offered to every one of us.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

The new nature we receive in the New Covenant puts within our grasp the ability to walk like Jesus walked. It makes it possible for us to grow in wisdom and favor with God.

Today was a bit of a rabbit trail from Hebrews 2:10, so we’ll come back to it on Monday. In the meantime press into all that God has for you. You can grow in favor with God. His pleasure in you will increase as you give yourself to Him in worship, in devotion, and in your daily walk.

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for coming by today.

Bloom and flourish where God has planted you.

Ben

If you’ve missed anything – check out the Hebrews page to get caught up.

Implications

how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? – Hebrews 2:3

Let’s go a bit deeper into this “so great salvation.

Friday, in my post “Bread” we talked about the truth of God dwelling in the believer. What implications can we draw from this concept of God on the inside?

It gets pretty interesting and will cause us to look at whether or not faith exists on any level in the life of the average pew-sitter. Remember I said that Hebrews will drive us to look at our concept of eternal security? Does a repeat-after-me prayer said at the altar of a church make you a child of God? (Please hear me, I have asked people to repeat after me bunches of times–I will never despise this practice.)

But honestly–repeat after me and “REALLY” mean it “IN YOUR HEART.” What does that even mean? How do we know if they “really” mean it?

The old Bill Bright method had you read a booklet, pray a prayer and then gave you scripture and verse assuring your salvation. They even had a follow up to their Four Spiritual Laws booklet which encouraged you to put Jesus on the throne in the center of your heart, now that you were a Christian. WHAT??!!

I’m sorry. It’s just not like that. If Jesus is not on that throne, there is no new birth.

The new birth may come via prayer. It can start at the altar of a church. It can happen as a result of reading the Four Spiritual Laws. But these do not define salvation.

This “so great salvation”, this new covenant, requires only one thing.

It’s not about the truths you agree to, though doctrine is important.

It’s not about the church you attend, though gathering with other saints is critical for your health and growth.

It’s not about how much you give to what ministry.

The only way for a man or woman to move from the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ is for God to take up residence inside you–for your spirit to welcome the Spirit of God–for Jesus to be on that throne–in the center.

When Jesus told them you have to eat my flesh and drink My blood in John 6, when He instituted the Lord’s Supper, He demonstrated that He had to be in us.

Christianity that tries hard to be good, to pull itself up by its bootstraps, that toils to resist sin, may not have the God of all grace and comfort dwelling inside.

What would it look like for God to move in?

If you talk to some Christians, you get the impression that they used to sin and never have another thought, but now they sin and feel guilty. Charles Finney would have called this the alarmed or awakened sinner. He would not offer assurance until the breakthrough to life on the inside.

Jesus didn’t die to make us feel guilty. He bore our guilt so we would be free!

He lives inside each and every citizen of His kingdom. We are His dwelling place.

That has to look like something, doesn’t it? If it’s just words on the page, it’s worthless, and we should bag it all.

If there is no evidence in your heart of the presence of God, today is your day. Today is the day of salvation. God desires to take up residence in you, to partner with you in everything you step into. What He asks of you is surrender. Let Him know that you see your life is a mess. Confess your sin and need for a Savior. Then invite Him to take control. It’s God’s will and your only hope.

We who are in Christ need to press in until His presence in us becomes a reality. Confess it out loud. Believe it every day. Expect Him to show up in every circumstance. Don’t just let satan bludgeon you into thinking you’re on your own. God lives. Jesus lives. The Spirit of the living God, aka YHWH, dwells in you if you are a citizen of His Kingdom.

Here’s a declaration you can use today.

I am a dwelling place for God, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Husband, and my Friend. God is inside me. I am loved by the Father. I am filled with the Spirit of God. I am blessed with all spiritual blessings because I am in Christ and His Holy Spirit is in me. Nothing can separate me from His presence. I am His and He is mine. He walks with me in all of my circumstances.

cropped-BenHeadshotHey, thanks for sticking with me in this study.

Love you…

Ben

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