The nature of the seed determines the nature of the life within it. The new life is incapable of sinning, and it comes about by living a life of faith. It is born of incorruptible seed, feeds on the incorruptible Word of God, to become a partaker of the divine nature. As this happens, we are delivered from the corruption that is in the world through lust.
It’s good to be with you again as we draw near to the close of another week. This week our theme has been, “What Is Man?” In our talks this week we’ve seen that man’s rebellion against God produced a radical change in every area of man’s triune being; that is, in his spirit, his soul and his body. Briefly the changes were as follows: man’s spirit died, it became dead; man’s soul was infected by rebellion, there was a rebellious principle injected into man’s soul; and man’s body became subject to corruption, to decay, to death.
However, the good news of the Gospel is that God has provided a miracle by which man’s spirit can be brought back from life to death. This miracle is called rebirth or regeneration. Jesus Himself said it’s essential. There’s no alternative, there’s no substitute. You must be reborn.
Very briefly, the process of rebirth goes like this. A person receives into his heart by faith the incorruptible seed of the preached or read Word of God, the Scripture. Then the Holy Spirit supernaturally and sovereignly causes that seed to germinate, and out of that seed comes a nature that corresponds to the seed: the seed is divine, the nature is divine; the seed is eternal, the nature is eternal.
And this seed is also the personal word of God. For Jesus is the personal word, the Bible is the written word and they are always completely identified. So out of the preached word, the Holy Spirit brings forth by a miracle, a new life. And this life is the life of the personal word, the life of Jesus Himself.
Today I’m going to speak more fully about the new life that results from rebirth or regeneration. First of all, I want to emphasize again this vitally important principle that in the whole universe, the nature of the seed determines the nature of the life that comes out of it. In the 6th chapter of Galatians, Paul says, “Whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap.” We know this is true in the natural. If you sow an orange pit, you don’t reap an apple. If you sow a barely seed, you don’t reap wheat. You know that the nature of the seed determines the nature of the life that comes out of the seed.
The same is absolutely and equally true in the spiritual. The nature of the seed determines the nature of the life that comes out of the seed. And we’re talking now about being born again, of the imperishable or incorruptible seed of the Word of God. I believe that many people who are truly born again do not fully appreciate what God has placed inside them because they don’t look long enough in the mirror of God’s Word to see what this new inner nature or personality is like. You see, the miracle of God’s Word is that first of all, when we look it shows us our own lost and sinful and corrupt condition. But if then we accept God’s remedy, and we begin to look again, it shows us the nature of the new personality that God has brought to birth within us.
So I want to read now in the first epistle of John, chapter 3, verses 9 and 10:
“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed [that’s God’s seed] abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: any one who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” (NASB)
So there are two kinds of children, two kinds of descendants from a person. The children who are descended from God, the children who are descended from the devil. And John says their conduct makes obvious whose children they are. And speaking about those that are born of God, reborn, regenerated, he says, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Now let me say that I do not believe that means a born again believer cannot sin. The way I understand that is that within the born again believer is born a new nature, a new life which is absolutely incorruptible. The seed is incorruptible, the life is incorruptible. And that new nature is incapable of sinning. No one who is born of God practices sin. Why? Because God’s seed, the incorruptible seed, abides in him and never can the life from that seed become corrupted. It’s incorruptible.
And so John says something very strong, “He cannot sin because he is born of God.” Let me say again I do not believe that that refers just to the born again person, but it refers to the nature born in the born again person. It’s very important that we see the difference.
Now let’s look at what the Scripture says about this new nature born into such a person. It’s an undefeatable life, an undefeatable nature. 1 John 5:4:
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith.” (NASB)
Bear that in mind. In you are born again, there is a life that cannot be defeated. It will defeat the world. But it only becomes effective as we live it out in faith. “This is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith.” In the new birth is the potential of victory, but in faith is the actual realization of that victory.
And another thing about this new life that’s born in us is it cannot be touched by the devil. 1 John 5:18:
“We know that no one who is born of God sins; [see again that incorruptible nature produces an incorruptible kind of living.] but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.” (NASB)
We’re kept by Jesus, the first born of the dead, the eldest brother. The evil one, Satan, cannot touch that new regenerated nature. It’s outside the territory that he can reach. He can touch man’s soul, he can touch man’s body, but he cannot touch the regenerated spirit.
And then we need to see that God had already made full provision for every need of this new life. 2 Peter 1:3-4:
“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruptions in the world caused by evil desires [or lusts].” (NIV)
So you see, the new life is born of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God and it feeds on the incorruptible Word of God. And as it feeds on that incorruptible Word of God, it becomes more and more a partaker of the divine nature and in proportion as it partakes of the divine nature, it’s delivered from the corruption that’s in this world through lust.
I said before that the key word that describes the old carnal nature, the flesh, is the word corrupt. It’s essentially corrupt. The key word that describes the new nature regenerated within by the Holy Spirit through the seed of the Word of God, the key word that describes that is incorruptible. So we have these two natures in absolute opposition to one another. The one nature, the divine nature born in us is incorruptible, but the old carnal nature is corruptible. And neither nature can be changed. God’s nature can never become corruptible, and the old nature can never become incorruptible. And the way we live will be determined by which nature controls us.
In closing I want to remind you again briefly on something that I touched on before. This new nature that’s regenerated within us by the Holy Spirit from the seed of the Word of God is the very nature of Jesus, the personal word. In other words, the personal word comes out of the preached or the written word. The two agree in one. This is so clearly stated by Paul so vividly in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV)
Paul says, “When I turned to Jesus Christ, and surrendered my life to Him, my old life died. That had been dealt with by the death of Jesus on the cross. I was identified with Jesus in His death on the cross. But a new life came up within me and this is Christ living in me.” And notice again, Paul always emphasizes the need for faith. This life is made effective by faith in the Son of God. The potential is there in the new birth. But the realization of the potential in actual Christian living depends on the continuous exercise of active faith. “Christ lives in me, the life I live in this body I live by faith in the Son of God.” You see the combination of the new birth and faith that makes the potential actual. So in this way God’s purpose is fulfilled that Jesus becomes the firstborn among many brothers. Listen to Romans 8:29:
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he [Jesus] might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (NIV)
So through the regeneration, through the new life brought forth within us, we become sons of God and younger brothers of Jesus Christ. The same nature that is in Jesus is reproduced in us.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll continue with this theme, “What Is Man?” I’ll be explaining how spirit, soul and body function together after regeneration.
My special offered this week is my Self Study Bible Course, a complete course of basic Bible study in 14 lessons, with explanatory notes, correct answers and coordinated memory work. So many people feel a need to study the Bible systematically, but don’t know how to begin. My Self Study Bible Course is specially designed to meet that need. The pastor of a large church told me recently that he requires every new member to take this course individually.
Also, my complete series of messages this week on “What Is Man? Part 1” is available in a single, carefully edited cassette. Stay tuned for details.