From Glory To Glory
4. Born Again Into Glory
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. … And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (Jn. 3:3-16; KJV)
Jesus, then, said to them again, ‘Peace to you! According as the Father has commissioned Me, I also am sending you.’ And saying this, He exhales and is saying to them, ‘Get holy spirit!’ (Jn. 20:21-22; CLNT)
As we’ve just seen, besides of dying a physical death for us, Jesus died first of all a spiritual death for us (and thus, for a short period of time, took on the state in which we were born already) before He was raised by the Father to be the firstborn from the dead – i.e. the first who was ever resurrected from the spiritual dead – so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers (Ro. 8:29). This was the purpose of it all, namely that many, many people would follow Him in the resurrection from the spiritual dead.
This was the mystery that even the devil had not seen (who, of course, knew the Scriptures of the OT), namely that the Messiah, in the midst of all His physical suffering, would take also our spiritual death into Himself. The devil and his demons could not understand how the physical suffering of Jesus would help a spiritually dead mankind, “for had they known [the wisdom of God], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Cor. 2:8).
In John 3:3-16, Jesus explains some details about our new birth, or being born again:
it gives us admission to the kingdom of God (or the kingdom of heaven, which is actually talking about an available intimate relationship with God right HERE and NOW, not about our eternal abode)
it cannot be attained through the natural birth (of the flesh)
it is a birth of the spirit, of God
it is a phenomenon that is as mysterious to our 5 senses as the blowing of the wind (in the Greek, the words for “wind” and “spirit” are identical = “pneuma”; in the Hebrew the same is true: “wind” or “spirit” = “ruach”)
it gives us eternal life (not eternal existence, but an eternal intimate relationship with God! – cf. Jn. 17:3)
it is attained through personal faith in Jesus as my Savior (Ro. 10:3-11).
The term “water” in verse 5 (“be born of water and of spirit”) is probably referring to God’s Word (cf. Jn. 15:3; Eph. 5:26; Jam. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:23).
The Miracle of our New Birth – a New Spirit
In the Gospels (in Mt. 28:1-10; Mk. 16:9-14; Lk. 24:1-49 and Jn. 20:1-23) we find reports of the first day after Jesus’ resurrection – how the disciples found the empty grave early in the morning, and how several of the disciples had a personal encounter with Jesus, including the two disciples who were on the way to Emmaus and to whom He explained all the Scriptures pertaining to Him (Lk. 24:27). When these two disciples finally recognized Jesus, they got up immediately “… and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them … And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. … Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”(Lk. 24:33-49; KJV).
Regarding the same incident, we find these details in Jn. 20:21-22 (CLNT): “Jesus, then, said to them again, ‘Peace to you! According as the Father has commissioned Me, I also am sending you.’ And saying this, He exhales and is saying to them, ‘Get holy spirit!’” (When we use the literal translation of the CLNT, as I just did, we can see that according to the Greek manuscripts Jesus didn’t say, “receive the Holy Spirit/Ghost” as most translations render it, but He just said, “get/receive holy spirit.”)
And now comes the miraculous – namely when we explore (by using the Greek manuscripts) what exactly “exhales” (or “breathe on”) is talking about. The Greek word, that was used here, is “emphysao”:
I encourage you to look here where else this word (“emphysao”) is used, so that it will be easier for you to appreciate what this word is actually conveying.
Right on the first day after His resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples a new spirit – the life of God – by breathing on them. Thus, He transferred them back into the likeness of God, in which God had created man in the beginning of human history! (Look again at picture 7 at the beginning of this chapter.) He was able to do this now, firstly because they had long since accepted Him as their Messiah, their Savior (Mt. 16:16), secondly because He had now paid for the sin of all mankind (1Jn. 2:2) and thirdly because He had just risen to new life. (Ro. 10:9)
Greater than John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an extraordinary prophet of God, whose main task it had been to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. For this extremely important assignment he had been filled with the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the godhead, while yet in his mother’s womb:
“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John … he will be great in the sight of the Lord, … and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb. And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” (Lk. 1:13-17; NAS)
After John the Baptist had been imprisoned, Jesus talked about him to the people:
“But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet. … Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt. 11:9,11; NAS)
The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist. The kingdom of heaven can only be entered by being born again – by being born of the spirit (Jn. 3:3ff.). This means, even though John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit for his important task, he wasn’t born again (he was not born of the spirit – because this was to become available only after Jesus' substitutionary death and resurrection). – This makes it evident that the new birth and the infilling with the Holy Spirit are not identical! – Or with other words:
Our new, born-again spirit is not the Holy Spirit
When Jesus breathed on His disciples on the first day after His resurrection, He gave them the spirit that put them in the likeness of God again! (This would be real easy for you to see now if you just took that little excurses on the word “emphysao = to breathe into.”) Jn. 20:22 is not talking about the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the godhead, as one could think at a first glance. – In the beginning, when God created man in His likeness, He gave him of His spirit, but not of the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the godhead – just as little as in the new birth! – This here is about the new spirit – free of sin, perfect, and holy – that only Jesus could give us after He had taken our sin and our punishment into Himself, had paid for us with His death, and was risen to new life. This spirit which we received from Jesus, is absolutely perfect, free of sin and therefore holy (s. Eph. 4:24), but it is not the Helper or Comforter which Jesus promised to His disciples in verses such as Jn. 14:26.
This promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Comforter, Helper and source of power (for a victorious life as Jesus‘ disciples) was to be fulfilled only 40 days later at Pentecost (s. Acts 1:3-5; 2:1-4,33).
Our born-again spirit is the “new spirit” promised by God already in the OT – for example in Eze. 36:26f. (KJV): “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
More precisely, it says in Gal. 4:6 (YLT) that “God did send forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father!’” – Every time a sinner claims the substitutionary death of Jesus for himself, his old man (his old sinful spirit) gets immediately replaced by the resurrected spirit of Jesus. From this moment on this person is no longer a sinner but a new creation and for ever made righteous before God, because now he has the perfect spirit of God’s Son.
If this seems too wonderful to you that God did send the spirit of His Son into our hearts, then just think – if you take away a portion of the wind/spirit, does the wind/spirit get less? And when human parents pass on their dead sinful spirit to their offspring in the process of procreation, do they loose some of their spirit? – When a human child is conceived, the child immediately receives his spirit from his parents and gets born after 9 months. If this same child would get “born again” at some point, he would immediately receive his new spirit from Jesus and thus immediately be “born again” – that is “born of God” (s. Jn. 1:13; 1Jn. 5:1), or “born of the spirit” (Jn. 3:5-8).
Consider also these verses which you may never have viewed in this light before:
“But he who is joined to the Lord [Jesus] is one spirit with Him.” (1Cor. 6:17; NKJ)
“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1Jn. 4:13; NKJ)
“… because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1Jn. 4:17; NKJ)
“...what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27; NKJ)
“When the Christ – our life – may be manifested, then also we with him shall be manifested in glory.” (Col. 3:4; YLT)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20; KJV)
“But you are not in the flesh, but the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Ro. 8:9; DRA)
Also Ro. 8:9 makes it clear: the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are not really synonyms. ﺖ To have the Spirit of Christ (our new, born-again spirit) is so to speak the basis, before the Spirit of God (here, the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the godhead is meant) comes to dwell in us. When you practice this discrimination of the spirits, some passages of the Bible will make more sense all of a sudden, such as: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Ro. 8:16; KJV).
If you would now link the statements from the last chapter (how Jesus was raised up from the spiritually dead by the glory of the Father) to the statements made just now about our born-again spirit, then these verses should make more sense, too:
“Now on the last, the great day of the festival, Jesus stood and cries, saying, ‘If anyone should be thirsting, let him come to Me and drink. He who is believing in Me, according as the scripture said, out of his bowel shall gush rivers of living water.’ Now this He said concerning the spirit which those believing in Him were about to get. For not as yet was holy spirit given, for Jesus is not as yet glorified.” (Jn. 7:37-39; CLNT)
Jesus was glorified when He got raised up from the spiritually dead by the glory of the Father (after He had paid our dept and nailed our bill of indictment to the cross, as shown in chapter 3). After having dealt with the things that were against us and having been glorified now, He was now able to give us His resurrected, perfect, sinless, righteous, holy spirit (which would “plug us into” the life of God, as we had been in the very beginning of human history). – We receive this holy spirit the moment we accept Him as our personal Savior (i.e. in the new birth).
Sealed with the Spirit of Promise
“In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14; KJV)
Our born-again spirit itself is the seal – and it marks us as God’s property! (Objects get sealed “in order to mark a person or thing ...” – Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon.) This happened because of our new, very intimate relationship with Christ (this is what the Bible is pointing to when we read the phrase in Christ – here it says “in whom” but is talking about Christ).
According to Eph. 1:14, our new spirit is our guarantee (“the earnest”) of our final redemption (since we are “the purchased possession”, cf. 1Cor. 6:20). – But Eph 1:7 says that our redemption had happened already: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7; KJV). – The answer is that so far only our spirit has experienced its redemption. And our new, born-again, redeemed spirit is the guarantee that we will also experience the redemption of our soul and our body. To a certain degree, this is possible here on earth already (regarding the soul – reason, will, and emotions – see Ro. 12:2; 2Cor.3:16-18; regarding the body, see Ro. 8:10,11; 1Pet.2:24). But what we don’t attain in this regard here on earth, we will experience completely and with absolute certainty in heaven when we will “move into” a new glorious body (1Cor. 15:49-55; Phil. 3:20f.) God does promise this because now we belong to Him and we are to partake in and enjoy His awesome state of being.
At the moment of our new birth, a glorious change takes place at the core of our being. – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Cor. 5:17; NKJ). – This change obviously is not applying to my body (my outer appearance hasn’t changed a bit at this moment), nor to my soul (my mental abilities to reason are still the same) – which leaves only the radical change of my spirit. But this means also (see pic. 7) that my new, born-again spirit is now surrounded by a soul whose processes and habits of thinking, feeling and willing were programmed while I was still under the leadership of the devil. – My reason, will, and emotions still act according to the ways the devil instilled into me – until I begin with the help of God and God's Word to renew my soul (that is, to reprogram it) and bring it under the leadership of God (s. Ro. 12:2). When this process of renewal/ reprogramming is taking place in my soul, then this will also affect my body that has no other choice but to cooperate when spirit and soul are acting in concert. – This process of renewal is what we will be talking about from here on.
The Abundant Life
Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10; KJV). Jesus is the only one who ever kept the Mosaic law perfectly (Mt. 5:17.20). Thus, He earned a righteousness that He can give now to us – in exchange for our guilt. Through Jesus, God’s grace can now become abundant in the life of God’s children (Ro 5:17-21). Here are the reasons:
He became sin for us – that we might become the righteousness of God
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor. 5:21; NKJ)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pet. 2:24; KJV)
We are not just declared “righteous” somehow (in the sense that God would now just pretend, closing His eyes to truth). But just like we had a dead spirit with a sinful nature before we were born again (s. Eph. 2:1), that caused us inevitably to commit the diverse sins, so now we received with the new spirit of Christ also His righteousness as our new nature. Now, we are free from sin. Sin doesn’t have any power over us anymore. If we still commit sins, it is because (1) we don’t have proper knowledge about our new status and/or (2) we haven’t renewed our mind yet, but by habit we are still running the old “computer program” of our old reasoning, feeling, and willing. (Ro. 6:5-7)
To have proper knowledge of our righteousness is extremely important for us. It gives us the status of a righteous person before God and therefore access to God’s blessings and promises (cf. 2Cor. 1:20). If we don’t know about it, then we are like millionaires who don’t know anything about their abundance and who live in poverty instead.
If you want to learn about your righteousness, you must also understand this: Just as we were not able to make ourselves righteous by our good works when we were sinners (the sin-nature of our spirit remained), likewise now that we are righteous, our bad works cannot make us less righteous or unrighteous (because the righteousness-nature of our born-again spirit remains).
“For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” (Ro. 5:15; KJV)
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1Pet. 1:18-19; KJV)
Christ purchased us with His precious blood. As already mentioned, He died our death so that we could have His spiritual life. For this reason, our individual sins cannot turn our righteous nature back into a sin nature (as it had been the case with Adam and Eve). Adam and Eve belonged to themselves (until they enslaved themselves, s. Ro. 6:16), therefore their one sin had this catastrophic effect on them and on all their descendents. Since then, we human beings belong no longer to ourselves – we belong either to the devil (Jn. 8:44; Ro. 6:16) or to Christ (Ro. 6:18; 1Pet. 1:18f.).
At the beginning of Ro. 7, Paul illustrated this point by relating it to the marriage relationship. Under the OT law, only the man had the right to divorce his wife, but the woman was bound (she didn’t have the right to dismiss a husband). Carried over to our situation, the husband was so to speak our dead spirit – enslaved to sin and the devil; and the wife was our soul (that which we normally consider as our personality). When we were finally ready to accept Jesus as our Savior, Jesus took our old husband and died together with him, then Jesus rose again, leaving our old spirit in the grave, and gave us of His resurrected righteous spirit – to become our new Husband. Therefore, His righteousness is now also our righteousness.
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1Cor. 6:15-17; NKJ)
“As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”(Eph. 5:31f.; NLT)
“So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. … But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Ro. 7:3-6; KJV)
If the sins I am committing now don’t affect my righteousness before God, does this mean I am free to sin as I please? – The answer to this question can be found here.
When I know that Jesus made me righteous – that I have His righteousness – then through faith I can draw on God’s grace for my life – in all areas of my life. But if I try instead to make myself righteous before God through my own (ever so pious) works and thus earn His grace, then (apart from the fact that nobody can earn grace) I am like the millionaire who knows about His fortune, but who despises it and prefers to live as a day laborer. (We will get into more detail later.)
He bore our punishment – that we might have peace
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him...” (Isa. 53:4f.; NIV)
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ro. 5:1; KJV)
He bore our curse – that we might receive the blessing
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal. 3:13f.; NKJ)
“For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Ro. 4:13; NKJ)
“And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29; NKJ)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3; NKJ) – When you are blessed with every spiritual blessing, then you automatically have the seed in your hand for every earthly blessing (cf. Hebr. 11:3; Mk. 4).
If you would like to know the difference between living under the curse and living under the blessing, study Deut., chap. 28.
He bore our shame – that we might share His glory
“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.” (Hebr. 2:10; NAS)
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18; NKJ)
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (Jn. 17:22-23; NKJ)
He bore our sickness and pain – that we might be healed
“Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, and our pains -- he hath carried them, … by his bruise there is healing to us.” (Isa. 53:4f.; YLT)
“…And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’”(Mt. 8:16f.; NKJ)
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed.” (1Pet. 2:24; NKJ) – the word “healed” is referring to physical healing; the same root word is still contained in the contemporary Greek word for a medical doctor.
He bore our death – that we might share His Life
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (Jn. 5:24-26; KJV)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Ro. 6:23; KJV)
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Jn. 17:3; KJV)
He bore our poverty – that we might share His abundance
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2Cor.8:9; NKJ)
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’” (2Cor.9:8,9; NKJ; cf. Ps. 112:9)
He bore our rejection – that we might have His acceptance with the Father
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” (Eph. 1:3-5; NKJ)
“to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph. 1:6; NKJ)
He was cut off – that we might be joined to the Lord
“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1Cor. 6:17; NKJ)
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27; NKJ)
Why do we see so little of this Abundant Life?
To a great extent the reason, why we see so little of this new life here on earth already, is that we just don’t know (A) what has happened on our inside through the new birth and (B) how we are supposed to let this seed (or potential) unfold that’s been put into our hearts through the new birth. Even though there are many teachings going around in the diverse religious circles, trying to deal with this problem, but many of those teachings are just a mixture of human wisdom, tradition, and legalism. Already in the OT, God said:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hos. 4:6; KJV)
Also Jesus reproved the same conditions:
“Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mk. 7:13; NIV)
“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” (Lk. 11:52; NIV)
The same testimony that Paul gave against the Jews, is still applicable to many religious contemporaries:
“For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Ro. 10:2; NKJ)
There are many more scriptures that stress the importance of our knowledge (and our resulting ability to cooperate with God and walk in truth). And very often we do believe to be grounded in the whole truth (or that at least the people do whom we have chosen as our examples). But if you are dissatisfied with your Christian life and your relationship with God, then it’s a pretty safe guess that something is going wrong.
In my own case it had been so that, after I had converted to Christianity and found a nice church that I liked in 2001, I was taught there many things, but also things that I really couldn’t see in the Bible based on my own personal Bible studies. But because I had just left my New-Age experiences behind me (see the Start page), I decided to bank on the insights of my pastor rather than on what I was reading in the Bible myself (or maybe didn’t read there). God occasionally talked to me personally and directed my ways, and so I assumed that this time I was on the right track. Then, in the summer of 2005, God gave me a promise that was very meaningful to me – to wit (A) to rebuild me from scratch (just as I had to rebuild my computer from scratch that had just crashed with a complete data loss) and (B) to unfreeze me.
One of the happenings, that unfolded shortly after I had received this promise, I rejected – not knowing that by doing this I was refusing to cooperate with God. – To wit, I was rejecting an influence that would have led me a little bit into a charismatic direction. But this was an absolute no-no according to my religious convictions of that time. – However, in the summer of 2008, I had finally reached a point where I was asking myself when it had been the last time that God had talked to me, or that I had perceived His presence in any way, and why His promise of 2005 had still not been fulfilled. I felt like I was spiritually drying out, and all my experiences with God seemed to be so far away and unreal now. So, I asked God what was going on, and why my relationship with Him was fading into a distant memory. – And then God took me back once more to the spot where I had been standing already in 2005. This time I was more than willing to go the way, and step by step I opened up my thinking, which was made easier by the fact that I remembered how at the beginning of my (Christian) religious training there had been many a teaching that I had not seen in the Bible for myself, but that I had accepted only out of submission and respect for my pastor of that time.
When I took these first little steps in the renewing of my thinking, the promised process of unfreezing set in, too – with the result that all of a sudden my head was flooded with so many negative (evil) thoughts, that I didn’t know how to get it under my control. These negative thoughts kept rotating in my mind and were plainly exhausting me, but I felt helpless and powerless to shut them off. In the face of this development, there came a day when I thought: “I am so absolutely terrible – not even God could love me!” (Do you recognize this voice of the devil?!) In this moment, however, I didn’t know that the devil was trying to condemn me, and I really was devastated – until I remembered that God had been teaching me during these past years to never – ever! – doubt His love. And so I was lying in my bed at night, praying: “Lord, what are YOU going to do about this?”
The next morning I awoke with an absolute, profound peace in my heart. And on the same day I received an assurance that everything would be okay. Shortly after, a friend sent me an email, directing me to this link: Holy Spirit. I listened to these audio teachings that my friend had pointed out to me, and by acting on them I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues. – Thus, God had given me access to His source of power and strength for the believers – and one of the things this did for me was that now I had the power to deal with this chaos in my head. – And the reason, why I mention this at this point, before I continue writing about how we can experience the abundant life of God, is that all I’ve learnt and understood about it came only after I had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and thus got to speak in tongues.
Jesus Himself described the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the believers so:
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (Jn. 14:16f.; NKJ)
“...whom the world cannot receive” – i.e. you have to be a child of God already, before you can receive the Holy Spirit
“You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” – The disciple were already familiar with the ministry of the Holy Spirit (s. Lk. 9:1f.; 10:17ff.), but Jesus said that they would experience Him in a new way.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (Jn. 14:26; NKJ)
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (Jn. 16:13f. ; NKJ)
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father … for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. … And He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons … but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem … and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-8; NKJ)