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You must be born again

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By Femi Aribisala

The son of man who is in heaven is here on earth at the same time.

My wife and son were trying to open a drawer at home, but it was stuck. They tried and tried, but to no avail. So they came to ask me to help. I said to them: “I’ll be with you in a minute.” When they left, I quickly turned to the Lord. I said to him: “If they cannot open the drawer, neither can I. But I know I can open it if you help me. Therefore, I am asking for your help.” Then I got up and went to the room where the problem was.

When I got there, my wife turned the whole thing into one big joke. “Daddy, Daddy; strong, strong, Daddy,” she chanted, knowing I would not be able to open the drawer or, at best, would have difficulty doing so. But just then the Lord spoke to me. “Femi,” he said, I want you to stick out your little finger.” Then he said: “Use it to pull out the drawer.” When I did, the drawer came out easily and smoothly as if it had been greased or buttered; to the great astonishment of my wife and son.

Born of God

Nicodemus came to Jesus in amazement. He said to him: “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (John 3:2). Jesus gave him the way out of his predicament: “You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8).

He explained to him furthermore: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6). When you are born of the Spirit, you are born of God. For example, your name is no longer Simon, son of Jonah: your name becomes Simon, son of God. Therefore, Jesus says to his disciples: “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for one is your Father, he who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9).

Jesus is the beginning of the new creation. (Revelation 3:14). The first human kind was in Adam. The new creation is in Christ. As Levi was in the loins of Abraham when Melchisedec met him, so have we been in the “loins” of God from the foundation of the world. As Noah was in the ark, so are we in Christ. The new creation is a completely different kind of human being. He comes through no human agency whatsoever. He is not by blood, or through the flesh, but as a result of the will of God. (John 1:13).

There is only one new creation and he is Christ. There is only one personality. There is only one character. There is only one look, and that is Christ: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:27-28)

Body of Christ

Christ is in the new creation. We often try to be religious by devotion, by dedication to the word, or by concentration on Christian graces. But Christ is in the new creation not as a result of any self-application, but because God has installed Christ in us. God is at work in the born again believer. What is he doing? He is working in Christ, systematically transforming the believer more and more into the likeness of Christ.

Moreover, the new creation draws strength from the reservoir of the body of Christ. The body of Christ is not made up of one part but of many parts. Therefore, the born again believer is no longer alone. He is now a member of an incredibly large family. When God said: “touch not my anointed,” it is not a vain threat. The new creation is his brother’s keeper: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Therefore the man who dares to fight a born again believer is going to have to face him together with all his relations. He might be in Lagos, but there are brothers and sisters of his in Toronto and everywhere else prevailing in battle on his behalf. Once the battle cry is raised, a message is transmitted to the twelve tribes of Israel that it is time to repel the forces of the enemy. So it is spiritually with the body of Christ.

Therefore know this for certain now, son of God; you are no longer alone. You are now part of a great army united in spirit and in power. You now have the spirit of excellence. You have the spirit of wisdom and revelation. You can see the invisible kingdom of God. You can hear the voice of God. You can perform miracles and do the works of Christ. You are the fulfilment of the law and the prophets.

Veiled glory

The new creation stands in perfect atonement with Christ and with God. This was the prayer of Jesus and it was answered completely at the Pentecost: “That they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one.” (John 17:21-22).

Jesus said to Nicodemus: “ No one has ascended to heaven but he who came down from heaven, that is, the son of man who is in heaven.” (John 3:13). This is a wonderful kingdom dynamic. The son of man who is in heaven is here on earth at the same time talking to Nicodemus.

As a man on earth, the pre-incarnate glory of Jesus was veiled. This ensured that Jesus baffled many. There was dissonance between his mighty works and his human pedigree. People wondered about him. He was brilliant, and yet he never went to school. “He’s just a carpenter’s son,” they reasoned, and yet no carpenter ever healed the sick and raised the dead. But we know his mother and his brothers. Surely he is just another Joe. (Matthew 13:55).

But at the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, John and James discovered what type of man Jesus is. They saw him in a completely different manner, covered with the splendour and glory of God. That is the nature of the new creation.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2).

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