Re-Creation: The Rebirth
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Jesus, from John chapter 3
In the first foundational article we looked at the physical creation, and showed how the creation is wearing out. The physical world is decaying and passing away, heading towards a day of final destruction when God will create a new earth. We touched on the fact that while our bodies are decaying, that our spirits can be “re-created” or regenerated. This article will cover the foundation of this regeneration and “rebirth”, which is essential to experiencing true health.
The Spiritual Life
One of the biggest problems with healthcare or health management today is the denial of the spiritual life, and acknowledging the fact that we are primarily spiritual beings. The emphasis on health and healing is almost 100% physical.
God created man in His own image, and the physical bodies He created were created out of the elements of the earth, the physical world. Into these physical bodies He put a living spirit.
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
It is said that if one were to add up the value of all the physical elements that make up our physical bodies, that they are not worth much – probably just a few dollars. But obviously there is much more to us than the sum of our physical parts. We have a non-physical part to our existence, which is foolish to ignore.
Western culture today, probably more than any other period of human history, completely exalts the physical world and ignores or even denies the spiritual realm. The culture is built upon the foundation of evolution, and the worship of science as the embodiment of all truth. “Truth” is considered only that which is physical and can be observed by scientific methods.
The Bible clearly teaches that there is a spiritual world in addition to the physical creation. There are also other spirit beings in this world such as angels and demons. The record of the life of Jesus shows a constant intersecting of the physical world with the spiritual world, recording instances where Jesus defied the physical laws of nature by doing things such as walking on top of water, changing water into wine, or healing diseases, for example, and even raising physically dead bodies back to life. Those who worship the scientific method as the only valid means of determining truth will reject anything that cannot be proven in the physical realm. Most people intuitively know that the spiritual realm exists, because they have experienced it in some way or form. Experience can be just as valid for determining truth as any other means of discovery, “scientific” or not.
One of my favorite stories in the gospels is in John chapter nine. Jesus and his disciples encounter a man who was born blind. Jesus’ Jewish disciples did not have a western view of life built upon a foundation of evolution that saw all truth as being part of the physical world, so as they debated what the cause of this man’s blindness was, they didn’t even think about things such as neural pathways, cataracts, damaged corneas, etc. They saw his condition as a spiritual condition and began to debate whose sin had caused it to happen. Jesus responded: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” He then proceeded to heal the man of his blindness, displaying the truth that the spiritual kingdom of “light” that He was operating in had power over the physical world.
The story that follows is very interesting, because the leaders of that culture did not accept the man’s story as to how he gained his sight. When told that Jesus had given him his sight, they ridiculed him. The formerly blind man knew from experience the truth: He answered, "Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." But they would simply not accept it because his explanation did not fit in with their view of truth – specifically that Jesus had the power to perform an act such as this. They too thought that sicknesses were judgments of sin, and in their minds and to their understanding of the truth, Jesus was a sinner also, and incapable of performing such an act that only God could do. But the formerly born-blind man was not constrained to their views of the truth, because his experience over-rode their preconceived ideas. His experience was a valid method of discovering the truth, even though others did not accept his reasoning. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. (John 9:25)
When things like this happen today, they are equally rejected as false by the popular culture, but for different reasons. While the Jews of Jesus’ day believed in the spiritual realm, they did not accept Jesus as the ruler of the spiritual realm. Their views of the coming Jewish Messiah were one of a king who would overthrow the oppressive Roman government and setup a physical kingdom, not a spiritual one. Plus, Jesus threatened their power base and challenged their influence in the culture. Today, experiences like this are rejected because of a denial that the spiritual realm can interfere with the physical world (or that it even exists at all.) The superiority of the spiritual realm of Jesus also threatens the establishment and power base of western culture: medicine and science.
The Two Kingdoms
The Bible clearly teaches us that there are two spiritual kingdoms in the world today: the kingdom of Satan, sometimes referred to as the “domain of darkness” or the “ruler of this world,” and the kingdom of Christ, which is also referred to as the kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of God, or just simply “the light.” As we see above in the quote from Jesus in John chapter nine, Jesus declared Himself to be the “light” in the world, which invades and overcomes the kingdom of darkness. This is also written in the first chapter of John, where Jesus is referred to as the “Word”: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus created the world in the beginning, and then entered the flow of human history by taking on the form of a human being and being born as a baby. He had no physical father, because Mary, his physical birth-mother, became pregnant as a virgin by means of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus became a man and began His ministry, He had a purer relationship to the spiritual world while existing in a human body in the physical world, than any other human being that ever walked on the earth. He was not only a part of the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of light, He was the ruler of that kingdom, and nothing in Satan’s domain or the kingdom of darkness could stand in his way. Light drives out darkness. When the two meet, light always prevails. John continues in the first chapter:
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The gospels do record one physical encounter between Jesus and Satan, right before Jesus began His public ministry:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to Jesus. (Matthew 4:1-11)
Satan apparently knew that Jesus was a threat to his kingdom, and so he approached Jesus at a time when He was physically at His weakest. He tried three different temptations to get Jesus to join his kingdom, but Jesus had no interest whatsoever. He knew He was the ruler of the spiritual world and that Satan’s defeat was drawing near. When Satan made a mock offer to let Jesus rule in his kingdom, Jesus commanded him to leave.
Later on in His ministry, Jesus explained that His voluntary, sacrificial death on the cross would break the power of Satan and his kingdom:
"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. The crowd then answered Him, "We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" So Jesus said to them, "For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light." (John 12:31-36)
Even though Jesus, while still in his earthly body, was more powerful than Satan and the Jewish rulers who wanted to kill Him because of the threat He was to them, He voluntarily laid down His life to break the power of sin and death, the spiritual powers of the physical world, where Satan was the ruler.
"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (John 10:17-18)
And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" (Matthew 26:50-54)
Jesus was crucified on the cross, and then walked out of the grave three days later to prove He had power over the ruler of this world, and that He was more powerful than sin and death, which is causing the physical world to decay and wear out. Jesus won. Physical death is a result of a spiritual problem, sin. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23) Jesus had a perfect Spirit and never sinned, so death could not keep Him in the grave. The sin of the human race, passed on to us through Adam, never passed on to Jesus because He had no human father. He then took on a new resurrected, heavenly body which is “imperishable.”
Unfortunately, all of us who are born to human fathers and mothers do inherit the sin of the human race, and automatically become part of the kingdom of this world, which in the physical realm is decaying and wearing out. While Jesus broke the power of the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, Satan is still here and will remain here until the end times when the physical creation is destroyed and replaced with a new one. There will be no place for Satan in this new world, where Jesus will rule in a new physical kingdom.
But the good news for us today is that even though we must continue living in the physical world that is decaying and wearing out until we die a physical death, we can now enter into the kingdom of light in the spiritual realm where Jesus is already ruling. We do this through regeneration, by being re-born spiritually.
Rebirth and Entering the Kingdom of Light
In John chapter three we have the story of Nicodemus, a member of the religious ruling class who was not antagonistic towards Jesus. He realized that Jesus had a special relationship with God, because of the miracles Jesus was performing in overcoming the physical realm with spiritual power, mainly through healing diseases.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:1-8)
Even though Nicodemus was educated in the Old Testament and a teacher of Israel, he had a hard time understanding the spiritual rebirth Jesus was talking about. The way they had interpreted the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah (the king of the Jews who was to come from the line of David), they were expecting a king who would come and restore the physical kingdom of Israel to the glory years they had enjoyed under David and Solomon - someone who would overthrow the tyranny of the Roman government. Jesus just didn’t fit their preconceived ideas about the Messiah.
Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:9-21)
This discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus contains some of the most quoted verses in the Bible, because they so clearly explain the essence of the “good news” or “gospel” message. Nicodemus, while still fearful of his fellow ruling class Pharisees apparently, at least came to Jesus in honesty and without trying to promote his own agenda. He was confused, and Jesus took time to explain things to him as clearly as possible. What a blessing that this discourse was recorded for us to read! The main points are:
1. God loved the people of the world in their sinful state, and instead of judging them and giving them what they deserve, instead sent Jesus into the world to save them from the natural outcome of their sinful state.
2. This kingdom that Jesus established on earth, which is an extension of what exists in heaven, is spiritual in nature (at this present time), and one has to be born again spiritually to enter into this kingdom.
3. This kingdom is the kingdom of light, and those who choose to remain in the kingdom of darkness will hate the light, because the light clearly shows what they are like. Those who accept Jesus as the Messiah/savior of this kingdom will be saved from the natural outcome of sin, which is death and judgment, and will be able to enter this kingdom simply by their belief in and acceptance of Jesus, which will result in their re-birth spiritually.
The ruling religious class of Jesus’ day in general rejected Him as their Messiah/savior, because they enjoyed their power and chose to walk in the kingdom of darkness instead. There were exceptions of course, like Nicodemus, who saw the truth and changed their thinking (called “repentance” in Biblical language). Most of the people who accepted Jesus as their Messiah/savior were those like the man born blind in John chapter nine – people whom society had passed by and were basically hopeless and abandoned by the ruling class, and had come to Jesus in hope and faith and seen first hand what happens when the kingdom of light crosses over to the kingdom of darkness. Physical healing from sicknesses was more often than not the physical outcome of that encounter in the spiritual realm.
As we mentioned above, there are only two kingdoms in the world today. Everyone walking on the earth is in one of these two kingdoms. Everyone is either walking in the darkness, or walking in the light. The kingdom we are physically born into by default is the kingdom of darkness. To enter the kingdom of light takes a rebirth spiritually.
So this is where true health begins! It begins by being re-created through the rebirth experience in the spiritual realm, and beginning to walk in the light, rather than the darkness. It requires that we change our thinking about ourselves (Jesus can't "save" anyone who doesn't think they need to be saved) and our position before God, realizing that if we continue on the path we are on in the kingdom of darkness, that we will experience God's judgment. It begins by accepting Jesus as your savior - the only one who can rescue you from your hopeless condition. He is your true hero, and the only one worth pledging total allegiance to!
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:18-20)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of God’s anger, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:1-9)
Believing in and accepting Jesus as the only solution to our spiritual sickness is the way to spiritual rebirth, and becoming a new person so filled with God’s love, that nothing is ever the same again. It is definitely the first step in renewing your spiritual life and gaining health.
Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
Trying to obtain health and healing without this foundation is to limit yourself to options that only exist in the physical realm. You may obtain some benefit, but it is only temporary because the body is getting older, and is in the process of decay. Only the spirit can be renewed, and re-created.
So once we are reborn spiritually and begin walking in the kingdom of light, what benefits do we have?? MANY!!! So many, that it will have to be the topic of other articles. But with these first two foundational articles (this one on the rebirth and Foundations for Life: What’s Yours?), along with my own personal testimony as to how this worked in my own life, you now have enough information to believe in Jesus and become born again spiritually, and begin your walk in the kingdom of light. Just getting started will have a tremendous impact on your health, and then the Holy Spirit will be active in your life creating you into a new person and leading you into all sorts of truths that will result in health and well being for you and the people around you, as you come to experience God’s incredible love for yourself first-hand, through your own personal encounter with Jesus. So what are you waiting for? It is a FREE gift, and worth more than anything you can purchase here on earth from those who would claim to have something to offer you, including health. True health cannot be purchased. It is something Jesus offers to you for FREE, because He already purchased it by spilling his blood on the cross to defeat the power of sin and death, and now He offers you the FREE gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Accept this FREE offer today, while it is still valid!! This offer expires upon your physical death, or the day Jesus returns to destroy the earth and create a new one. And no one knows when that will happen...
Next Article: Living in The Kingdom of Light
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