The New Birth: 4. The New Man - Eternal Life

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 7
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Let us now gather up what we have learned in our former meditations before we pass on.
1st — The absolute necessity that a man should be born again — that is, born anew — before he could ever see God’s kingdom. This new birth is not the putting the same nature into another condition, but the impartation of another which is totally distinct from the old. This nature is produced by the Word of God reaching the conscience by the Spirit’s power, and thus laying bare the roots and springs of one’s being, as unmendable, evil, and bad; and the soul, cast over upon Jesus, and believing in Him, has eternal life. Thus the person who believes in Jesus has received Him as his life, having been born again, on the ground of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.
2nd — The new birth (that is, the Word of God reaching the roots and springs of one’s nature) has produced such a judgment and a loathing of self, that the soul has been perhaps thrown into the deepest distress before it has got peace. All this was the true and necessary work of repentance, the learning what the old nature is in God’s eye, which followed the new birth.
3rd — This new nature is quite distinct from the old — never amalgamates with it, never improves it, and never sets it aside. Both natures remain to the very end, until the Christian is changed at the Lord’s coming, or until death. Yet he is entitled to recognize only the new nature as himself, and the old as an enemy to be overcome.
We will now meditate on the eternal life of the Christian, which he possesses in Christ. The soul is often feeble in this. There are often vague thoughts of what eternal life is. One thinks it is eternal blessedness; another thinks it is heaven when they die; another that it is future bliss, etc. Eternal life is Christ! He is the life of everyone who has been born again.1 In God’s eye, man — the whole race — lay in moral death. He had a purpose before the world was, to bestow eternal life (Titus 1:2,32In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; (Titus 1:2‑3)). None had been entrusted of old to make this secret known. It was too glorious a thing for God to tell through man, even though he be a Moses or a David. It was reserved for His Son to disclose! He is the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us in the Son of His love (1 John 1:1,21That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (1 John 1:1‑2)). He came down from heaven — became a Man upon earth, and displayed before our eyes the virtues and beauties of eternal life; characterized by two features; that is, complete dependence upon God, and undivided obedience to Him. He was the bread of God which came down from heaven to give life unto the world. When He came, it brought out that there was not one single principal which governed the heart of man, that governed His; and not one principle which governed the heart of Christ governed the heart of man! His love was straitened — for His love He had hatred and scorn: a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Yet the mighty love of God was pent up in the heart of that lowly Man! He found no channel for it to flow in here, and so He was straitened till He poured it out unto death! God’s righteousness required that an end be made before His eye of the first man, that He might, so to speak, be free to treat the race as dead — gone out of moral existence before him. The Lord Jesus comes in and enters as the victim, in divine and mighty love and grace, into that scene of death where man lay. The world was shrouded with a pall of judgment, and no effort of man could cast off or break through the pall! He goes down into the scene. The pall of judgment, like a shroud, enclosed the blessed One. He bears in His soul, on the cross, the judgment of God which enshrouded the race — the first man — and pours out His soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. He rises out of the mighty waters, having exhausted their power, and established the righteousness of God — breaks through the shroud which wrapped itself round Him — annuls death — destroys him who wielded its power; He emerges from death, and stands — the last Adam — in His victory, in the majesty of His resurrection, the fountain, the stem, and source of life to every one who believes!
He is the last Adam — the Second Man (1 Cor. 15:4747The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:47)). The history of the first man in God’s eye is ended, excepting the judgment of the lake of fire! Faith believes this, and lives by the faith of the Son of God. The believer knows he has the old nature in him, but that in the eye of the Judge it has been judged on the person of Christ! His life is Christ risen out from among the dead. It is hid with Christ in God.
How feeble are our souls in this! How constant is the recognition of the old man. Some looking for fruit from it still; some giving it a place in their soul’s experience, hearkening to its unbelieving suggestions; others giving it a place before God in their religion; others, too, looking for a status, a recognition in the world for it again — reviving the man that God has swept out of His sight forever.
How glorious to know that there is but One Man alive before the living God! — One man on whom His eye can rest with full complacency — One life which fills the sphere, to which it belongs, with its beauty and that He is my life — the One in whom I live forever! This life is not in me — God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son! His Spirit, through whom I am born again, has communicated this life to me, and linked me up with the Son of God, forever! Oh for the eye of the soul to gaze, and gaze, and take in His excellency. To breathe the air, so to speak, where that life alone is. To draw down the supplies from Him. To live this life here below, and thus rise superior to a world amid a scene where there is not a breath of air but is detrimental to its display: and yet to be sustained in vigor and power in the midst of it all! to know experimentally the power of the word, “Christ liveth in me.”
Do you say, I have never experienced it — never tasted its wondrous power, and yet I see it is all true.
I have been reviving and recognizing the old man — yielding to its dictates — hearkening to its unbelieving suggestions — seeking a place of recognition for it in this evil world — supposing I could serve God with it — giving it a place of recognition in all my practical ways — obeying its lusts — its pride — its vanity — its gratification, and now I find that one throb of its whole being has never had recognition in God’s eye. How am I to drink in the excellence of this other life, and live in its power?
Well — this is not learned in a moment — yet it is where God begins with me. All my exercises of soul and conscience have been leading up to the consciousness of that glorious level — the new creation in Christ! but there it is where I have begun — it is there where God has begun with me. When my soul is consciously there, I am in the state in which I should begin to put forth leaves and fruit, and Christ be magnified in my body here below.
Now the great point is this, Do you accept it fully and wholly: and, by His grace, are you determined to have nothing else? This is the great thing, the acceptance of it! People go to work to curb this propensity, and clip that folly: to give up this lust and that vanity, in order to get into the consciousness of this life. If they but once accepted and tasted it, they would find that the things which minister to the old nature are not looked for in heaven. They would begin to hate the things and dread the things which come in to interrupt the soul’s joy of abiding in Christ. They would not be looking for the scene around to minister to them; but they would discern that they are down here, with the sweetness of their own things flowing through their hearts, to minister to it the life of Him who has delivered them from it.
Many a Christian here fails. He knows he is in Christ before God, and wonders why he has not the joy of it. Look at him in his daily life, and you will find he is ministering to the old man. Surrounding himself with those things which fill his eye. Yielding to those things that belong to him. Nurturing those desires and propensities which emanate from the old man. Giving it a place of recognition and revival. Taking it up again out of the death where God has placed it; and all the while wondering why he is not happy in Christ!
Oh for the soul to be peremptory with itself through His grace. To get the eye upon Christ in the sense and acceptance that He is its life. Would it not then be easy? If you have known the joy of this even for a moment — if ever you have tasted its sweetness, you will rise above yourself and everything around which would distract your eye from Him. You would dread the encroachment of aught which would turn your eye from Jesus, or fill your heart and engage your mind to the putting out of Him.
May the Lord give his beloved people to know this — to live, and move, and abide in Christ. To feed upon that death which severed your connection from the whole scene — yourself included — that death which was your deliverance from it, and which — fed upon — sustains the severance, and links up the heart to Him who died. and rose, and ascended into the bright and blessed presence of God.
1. This statement is too broad, too unguarded.