You Must Be Born Again
By Robert Thompson
"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27—NIV)
All the commandments and promises of the Old Testament look forward to the day when Christ will be formed in human beings. All the commandments and promises of the New Testament are for the purpose of bringing forth Christ in the human being. Circumcision was part of the Divine covenant made with the Jews. Circumcision is not part of the Divine covenant made with the Christians. But the old covenant leads to the new. And the ultimate goal is the forming of Christ in the believer.
When the new creation in us comes to maturity, many of the problems that currently trouble us are solved. We no longer can be brought into bondage by religious systems because we perceive them as scaffolding, as means that have brought us to Christ Himself.
Our struggling to overcome the world, Satan, and our flesh are assisted greatly (although never eliminated completely) by the maturing of the Life of Christ in us. The pull of the world weakens and we long for the city that has foundations, the city of God. The new creation is the fruit of our travail, the fulfillment of our hope, the accomplishment of our desire to please God.
It is important to understand it is Christ who is being formed in us. This is not a figure of speech meaning we are beginning to grasp the principles of Christianity. It is Christ who is being formed in us, not Christianity, not religion, not Christian character, not good works, but Christ.
Christ is brought forth through the travail of the ministries and gifts of the Spirit of God. The world, Satan, the human soul, the lusts of the flesh, organized religion—all war against the efforts of the soul to endure faithfully as the Spirit of God brings forth Christ in us. Multitudes fall by the way. Only a few, it seems, bear lasting fruit. Some bring forth a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold.
The transformation from Adam to Christ, from the caterpillar to the butterfly, is a gradual, not always understandable or evident, process. Bit by bit, rule by rule, commandment by commandment, Adam undergoes the metamorphosis from living soul to life-giving spirit. This is the fundamental nature of the new covenant.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Corinthians 3:18)