The words “born again” get tossed around pretty carelessly these days. What is the evidence one is born again, and therefore involved in the reversal of the primal fault?
We have this from the apostle Peter:
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever (1 Pt 1.22,23).
Peter says the evidence we are born again is that we love one another with a pure heart—and fervently. This is the identifying characteristic of those who are born again, and moving in an eternal realm now. Much is made of “eternal life” being the portion of the born again. Rightly so—they are born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, of the word of God that liveth and abideth forever. But see how eternal life and love are inseparably linked together? The law of eternal life is love.
This from the apostle John:
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in Him (1 Jn. 3.14,15).
The evidence of eternal life, that we are living and moving no longer in the corruptible realm of the lusts of the flesh, but in the incorruptible realm of the Word of God, is that we walk in love…
…Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.
“For all flesh is as grass,” Peter continues…
…and all the glory of man is as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away;
But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you (1 Pt. 1.24,25).
This is quite something. How short-sighted we humans are when it comes to taking the measure of our days. All flesh—all mankind—is grass. How enduring is the blade of grass? And what of all the great works we boast ourselves in? All the greatest achievements of man, all his great works, all his finest art and music—all his glory—Beethoven, Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci—it is all the flower of the grass that today is, and tomorrow is gone.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone…
But the word of the Lord endures forever.
And so while they are in this world, the wise, motivated by love, sow the eternal word of God. They sow to the Spirit. This creation is in bondage to a law of corruption, but in those who sow to the Spirit a very different principle is at work, a very different law. Life everlasting is resurrection life—life that renews itself, rejuvenates itself, like the eagle’s. It is indestructible, indissoluble. Whatever comes against this life only causes it to flourish. It is life that increases, that grows, that gets better… whatever comes against it. For, “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 2.16).
Yes it’s true—we do not yet see the full outworking of what Christ accomplished at Calvary when He dealt with the primal fault right there and then. But the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus continues to work in those who are in Christ Jesus, though even yet we have scarcely tapped the potential of this powerful law. But it is at work—at least in a measure—in the spirit, in the soul. It will yet come to full expression in us. Ultimately it will change even our mortal bodies (Rom. 8.23, 1 Cor. 15.51-55)…
…And the whole creation around us. There is a law of increasing entropy at work in our world. Not only in nature, but in the world of man, where moral decay is rampant now. But there is also another law at work in this world of ours—a law that means a feast that mends in length, a kingdom that grows in strength, till ultimately… let’s go to the prophet Habakkuk to discover the ultimate outcome of it all:
Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the peoples shall weary themselves for very vanity (futility)? (Hab. 2.13).
That’s the insight of the ancient prophet Habakkuk, who saw the primal fault at work in God’s creation about 600 years before Paul the apostle wrote about it in Romans 8. In fact I wonder if Paul wasn’t thinking of Habakkuk’s words when he wrote in Romans 8 about the creation being subjected to futility. All the labour of man to build himself a life without God… it’s complete futility. It’s like labouring to build a house that’s already going up in flames.
But Habakkuk also saw the wondrous intent of God in subjecting His creation to futility like this. God had a primal motive behind it all. God subjected the same “in hope,” as the apostle Paul wrote:
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8.20,21 New KJV).
And so eagle-eyed Habakkuk continued his prophecy:
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2.14).
As the waters cover the sea? This sin-ravaged world of ours being covered with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea? Oh, what hope, what great and glorious hope! What compelling words! I incubate them within me, I keep them warm within me, as they keep me, in a world of dismal prospect. God subjected the creation to futility “in hope.”
How wondrous wise—the ways of God only wise! Man, the creature God made to be the shining forth of His own glory… he sins against Him—the primal fault—and as a result the whole creation is brought into bondage to futility. But behind it all a God of eternal purpose—and great love—is at work. Behind it all there is a primal motive—love—the love of God as revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord at Calvary, and which continues to work in the children of His love, and which will yet fill all creation “far as the curse is found.”
I know… Christmas is over. But I love this old and timeless hymn. I sing it all year round whenever the Spirit inspires me. Joy to the world, the Lord is come…
Let’s sing a couple of the verses now.
No more let sin and sorrow reign,
Nor thorns infest the ground:
He comes to make His blessing flow
Far as the curse is found.
Far as the curse is found.
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, and wonders, of His love.
Hallelujah! There is more before us than there is behind us, beloved!